In our latest mailbag, a look at acts who've notched multiple No. 2 hits, but no No. 1s, on various charts. Plus, some of the Hot 100's top current hits recall the past, while tomorrow marks a notable anniversary
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DECADES OF DECADENCE
So … some thoughts:
Eminem's "Berzerk" samples the '80s hit "The Stroke" by Billy Squier, marking the songwriter's, and the tune's, highest peak (No. 3 when it debuted). The original hit No. 17 in 1981.
Meanwhile, "Holy Grail," by Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake, samples the '90s hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. Currently at No. 4, it's the three songwriters', and, again, the song's, highest rank.
So, two rock tunes have been represented via samples in current hit songs. First, it's interesting to note the continuance (now decades-long) of rock and rap blending. Second, this isn't the first time that Em has sampled a classic rock tune. E.g.: his use of Aerosmith's "Dream On" for his top 20 hit "Sing for the Moment." And, third, if "Berzerk" goes to the top of the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, it would be a rarity in that we'd see a rock songwriter (Squier) credited with an R&B/hip-hop No. 1.
More '80s rock? Katy Perry's "Roar" makes an obvious nod to Survivor's 1982 No. 1 smash, "Eye of the Tiger."
Beyond '90s and '80s rock, "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell borrows (steals?) a '70s soul vibe from Marvin Gaye. Meanwhile, songs like Lorde's "Royals," Avicii's "Wake Me Up!" and Lady Gaga's "Applause" are all-new, sung by familiar artists from the past few years to now, i.e., representing the late '00s and early '10s.
The more music changes …
Pablo Nelson (from the '60s to the present …)
Great insights, as always. As for more of the '60s, no current single may recall the decade better than Paul McCartney's "New," which rises 27-25 on Adult Contemporary. It's surely one of his most Beatles-esque solo singles.
Still, McCartney says that his album of the same name, due Oct. 15, isn't merely a trip through the past musically. "It's funny, when I play people the album, they're surprised it's me. A lot of the tracks are quite varied and not necessarily in a style you'd recognize as mine," he says. "I didn't want it to all sound the same."