March 2011

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I was recently listening to a mix CD that I worked on a while ago, and which I remembered being unhappy with but, on re-listening, reminded me of a number of good songs that I’d forgotten.

One of those, hardly unknown, is “Better Be Good To Me” by Tina Turner. It suffers a bit from the very 80s production (though other songs have suffered more), but I think her vocals are spectacular.

She is able to move nicely from being brash on a line like, “I don’t have the time / for your overloaded lies” to seeming genuinely pained in the verse:

I think it’s also right that we don’t need to fight
We stand face to face and you present your case
Yes, I know, you keep telling me that you love me
And I really do wanna believe
But did you think I’d just accept you in blind faith
Oh, sure baby, anything to please you

It really is a pop gem — great performance with more emotion and smarter lyrics than you would expect from a typical pop song. Again it has a little too much sheen in the production, but it holds up well.

RS passed along to me a web page that is fascinating, occasionally astonishing, and capable of sucking up huge amounts of time.

Billboard magazine has put up a chronological list of the 1000 songs that have hit #1 on the hot 100 chart at some point since it began in 1958, including a link to a video of each song (usually but not always the version that charted).

It’s an astonishing compilation of pop music history.

It’s interesting to see some trends, like the fact that in the 80s there was a lot more turnover at the top of the charts than there has been since. There were 231 distinct #1 singles in the 80s for an average of just over 2 weeks at #1!, compared to 140 in the 80s and 150 since 2000.

Want to see the Supremes on Television in awesome reflective blue gowns, it’s there. Want to be reminded of how young Rod Stewart was in 1971?

Or you can just be amused at juxtapositions like the fact that “Come On Eileen” was the song that knocked “Billie Jean” out of the #1 position (and was, itself, replaced by “Beat It” which then gave way to “Let’s Dance”)

(cross-posted at unfogged)

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