Thursday, December 9, 2010

Billboard Top 5 - 1991

1991 Billboard Top 10

Music was going through another period of change, but my life hadn't changed very much. I was working my butt off in NYC, a freelancer doing all kinds of corporate communications gigs - your basic corporate rah-rah. Sales meeting, computer shows, video sales training, it was still going strong. I had my long hair, with my 'John Lennon' wire-frame glasses, quite the rebel in the corporate world. It would not be unusual for me to show up to meetings with my hair flowing, a t-shirt, shorts and purple flip-flops, charming some, irritating others. I had a clear identity at the time, while music, on the other hand, did not. The rough-hewn sound of Grunge was still forming in Seattle. New Wave music had pretty much started to fade. Some of those bands started to change their sound, either moving toward a pop theme, while others went to a rock vein. This allowed for Pop to reign supreme on the charts. Take, for example, Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), the song by C+C Music Factory, which was not really a band, but a duo of producers who lined up talent to perform the music. Robert Clivillés and David Cole put together the talent in the studio, with Martha Wash (of The Weathergirls fame) taking the lions-share of the vocals, and hunky Freedom Williams rapping. When it came time to make a video, Clivillés and Cole made the decision to put Zelma Davis in front of the camera, leaving Wash in the studio. She was also left off the credits for the song. Following a lawsuit, it was official, Wash was awarded a settlement, and given credit. None of this managed to distract from the popularity of the song, which hit #1 all around the world, and made it the #5 song of the year.

Mariah Carey broke on to the music scene with the release of her debut album in 1990. That was followed up by her second album in the fall of 1991, Emotions. Still soaring from the success of her debut, the sales for the 2nd took off, including for the first single, Emotions. To date, the album went quadruple-platinum in sales, while the single went gold. The song was written by Carey as well as the guys from C+C Music Factory, David Cole and Robert Clivillés. It was the #4 song of the year.

Paula Abdul had a huge success with her debut album, Forever Your Girl. That was released in 1988, and it wasn't until 1991 when she had the second, Spellbound. The first single, Rush, Rush, moved up the charts, making Gold status sales. The ballad made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the top-selling single from the album.

The King of Pop had his first solo song to top the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, with Ben. Ten #1 songs later, Jackson was once again on top with Black or White, from his chart-topping album Dangerous. The song made it to #1 across the globe. The song blended dance with rock, including a hot guitar track by Slash of Guns 'N Roses. The video had an intro that featured Jackson's friend, young Macaulay Culkin, and Cheers actor George 'Norm' Wendt as his father. Check out the #2 song of 1991.

Canadian rocker Bryan Adams had his first #1 song in 1985 with the ballad Heaven. His second time to top the US Billboard Hot 100 was in 1991, when (Everything I Do) I Do It For You not only topped the chart, it was also the top-selling single of 1991. While it did appear on his album Waking Up the Neighbours, it went into heavy rotation thanks to being the theme from the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The song went on to earn a Grammy for Adams and co-writers Michael Kamen and "Mutt" Lange, named Best Song Written for a Movie, as well as being nominated for an Academy Award.

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