Record Store Day (April 17) releases swarm the Tastemakers Albums, Vinyl Albums and Hot Singles Sales charts as the annual independent music retailer celebration brings a bevy of unique, limited-edition and vinyl titles to the lists.
In the U.S., indie retailers sold 30 percent of all physical albums and singles in the week ending April 21 (749,000 out of 2.5 million), according to Nielsen Music. Vinyl LP sales were unsurprisingly robust during the latest tracking week as the vast majority of Record Store Day releases are produced on the format — with 521,000 vinyl albums sold during the tracking week (up 131 percent). That’s the largest week for the format since the frame ending Dec. 24, 2015 (753,000), and the biggest week for vinyl LPs outside of the Christmas season since Nielsen started tracking sales in 1991.
Some further statistics about Record Store Day and vinyl sales in the week ending April 21:
— 13 percent of all albums sold were on vinyl (521,000 of 4.1 million).
— Indie stores sold 74 percent of all vinyl albums for the week.
— Indie stores sold 640,000 albums – a gain of 131 percent compared to the previous week (278,000).
— Indie stores sold 383,000 vinyl albums – a gain of 320 percent compared to the previous week (91,000).
— Indie stores sold 108,000 physical singles – a gain of 2,600 percent compared to the previous week (4,000).
— Indie stores sold 100,000 12” vinyl singles – a gain of 4,900 percent compared to the previous week (2,000).
— Record Store Day limited edition albums and singles combined to sell nearly 300,000 copies, according to Nielsen Music.
The news of Prince’s death last week has now translated into a massive increase in sales and downloads of his music across Canada. According to Nielsen Music, four Prince albums are in the Billboard Canadian Top 200 album consumption chart (which includes track equivalent sales and stream equivalent sales), and last week Canadians purchased 8,000 Prince albums, which is more than twice the 3,250 that were sold in 2016 before last week. 38,000 of Prince’s digital tracks were purchased last week, vs. 15,000 for the rest of 2016.
ON THE CANADIAN BILLBOARD CHARTS:
• Very Best Of Prince is #1
• Purple Rain #26
• The Hits/The B-Sides #61
• Ultimate #131
On the Digital Songs chart, 11 songs entered the top 200:
• Purple Rain #13
• When Doves Cry #20
• Kiss #23
• Little Red Corvette #28
• Let’s Go Crazy #33
• 1999 #45
• Raspberry Beret #48
• I Would Die 4 U #83
• Cream #136
• U Got The Look #165
• I Wanna Be Your Lover #184
Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” drops 6-8 on this week’s Hot 100 after topping the chart for two (nonconsecutive) weeks, and grants Bieber history: it has spent its first 22 weeks on the Hot 100 in the top 10, dating to its debut at No. 4 on the Dec. 5 chart. With its latest week in the region, “Love Yourself” breaks the record for the most consecutive weeks logged in the top 10 from a song’s debut, passing his two prior singles from his album Purpose, as well as two other tracks.
Here is an updated look at the songs to debut in the Hot 100’s top 10 and remain in the tier for the most consecutive weeks:
22 weeks, “Love Yourself,” Justin Bieber (2015-16)
21 weeks, “Sorry,” Bieber (2015-16)
21 weeks, “What Do You Mean?,” Bieber (2015-16)
21 weeks, “Sugar,” Maroon 5 (2015)
21 weeks, “Starships,” Nicki Minaj (2012)
The Power Station was a 1980s supergroup made up of singer Robert Palmer, former Chic drummer Tony Thompson, and Duran Duran members bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor. Bernard Edwards, also of Chic, was involved on the studio side as recording producer and for a short time also functioned as The Power Station’s manager. Edwards also replaced John Taylor on bass for the recording of the supergroup’s follow-up album. The band was formed in New York City late in 1984 during a break in Duran Duran’s schedule that became a lengthy hiatus.
The success of the band was really extraordinary. The quality of the videos and performances was far superior to most 80s bands, and hit on all the major genres of the era – rock, pop, r&b, metal, and punk. Three singles were released from the album, two of them major hits. The first, “Some Like It Hot”, reached number 14 on the UK Singles Chart and number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The second single, “Get It On (Bang a Gong)”, went to number 22 in the United Kingdom and number 9 in the United States, while competing against the Duran Duran single “A View to a Kill”, which was an American number one.
The group’s unexpected success led to two incompatible results: first, the band decided to headline a summer tour in America with Paul Young, Nik Kershaw and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark; second, Robert Palmer decided to record a solo album to take advantage of his sudden name recognition. This led to Palmer’s departure from the band. (Tony Thompson, Andy Taylor and future Power Station bass player Bernard Edwards all contributed to Palmer’s highly successful 1985 solo album Riptide.)
When Palmer left, they recruited singer/actor Michael Des Barres (formerly of Silverhead, Chequered Past and Detective) for the tour. Des Barres also performed with them at the Live Aid charity concert in Philadelphia that summer.
One thing is for sure when you talk to Michael, he’s exactly how you hope a lead singer would be – funny, larger than life, smart, and has a memory like an elephant. He’s thoughtful enough to sing the praises of others, while also expressing gratitude of discovering on a daily basis, just how wonderful this life is for him.
Eric: How did you first get involved in The Power Station in the beginning?
Michael Des Barres: It’s a crazy story. In 1985, I was in Texas with my friend, Don Johnson, and another friend, who I don’t want to bring up names here. There I am with Don and old friends we are. And he was making a movie! I got a call at this hotel, and they asked “What are you doing this summer?” I said “Hanging out and celebrate ‘Obsession’ (the Animotion song written by Michael) number one all over the world.” He said “I want you to come to New York to meet these guys and they want you to front this band.” I said “Are you flying in the first class?” and he said “Yes.” So I said, “See you soon.” There was a huge white limo and got to this office right away at Manhattan.
Eric: Which band did you think it is at this point? Did you have any guesses?
Michael: I didn’t care! I’m off to New York! So there I was at New York, walking to the office. John Taylor sweating and Tony Thompson seemingly nervous, because they both were on tour. Robert, who I’ve known, by the way, for 20 years start to this. My first band in 1972, he was in a band called Vinegar Joe, and a lovely, lovely man. Now they were there. I was like, “Oh my God, this is The Power Station. They’re the number one!” I mean that album was massive already. So I was sitting there, and I got quickly interjected with these guys. A bit of advice to say right here – always be ready, because you never know when the magic strikes. What did I do? They have flied to London that night on the Concorde to meet with Andy Taylor. I went straight to the recording studio and I’ve already got takes from the album. Took his voice, learned the words. We did 8 hours until Andy to turn up. He shared with a couple of his bodyguards that feeling smoked from strange cigarette. He comes in quick and said “Ok, hit it Michael.” I sang the verse and chorus quick. “Let’s go shopping,” said Andy Taylor.
Eric: At that point, when you knew it was The Power Station, and you know that you were also friends with Robert Palmer. Does it ever occur to you not to do this, for fear of ruining a friendship?
Michael: I would never have any of those thoughts. Are you kidding? All I ever thought about won’t wear a suit. I was delighted to bein the band. I can’t think of negative things, you know? I can’t worry what people would think about me, because you can’t please everybody. You’re gonna get a couple of chats from the couch if they don’t like you. This is gonna happen, and I could care less. It was so fast and magical, but I went through a time in my life to stop being negative. Once I got back to New York, Andy was in and he wanted to meet me. I checked him to the car hotel, but I got a call from the manager saying, “Michael you’re out. Robert has decided to do the tour.” I went to the dinner with Don to this Chinese restaurant, and there was John Taylor at another table. Looking at me sort of sheepishly. Don went over to John, and says “Can I have a word with you?” I don’t know what they said still today. We came back after finishing the dinner and went back to Colorado to fly back to LA. At 7AM I got a call, saying “Michael, you’re back in.”
Eric: Wow, what do you think he said?
Michael: I never knew, but, I think that Robert Palmer is one of the greatest artists that we’ve ever had. But as a performer, he loses his left shoulder a couple of inches in here and there. So that you got the crowd of 20, 40, 60 thousand people, all 16 years old girls, and usually topless. So Robert Palmer perhaps was not the right guy to focus on kids go crazy.
Eric: The Power Station were so cool. They had one of the most popular guitarists and bassists in the world. You had Robert Palmer, and Tony Thompson. It wouldn’t work on paper, but it did.
Michael: Yeah, it was great recording unit. They made great records. Andy is a rock n’roll star. He was already kind of wanting to move in a rockier direction, which I moved in to him, because I introduced him to Steve Johns and they did an album together, Steve and Andy, and Andy’s solo record which is rocking. It was distort group of musicians. It goes to prove that you cannot categorize yourself. You got to be opened. I couldn’t sing Robert. Robert Palmer’s voice is very contained – he’s almost like baritone. I’m out there and playing to each and every person in the crowd. So I need to come down and somehow interpret these great songs.
Eric: How was Live Aid for you? Your friend Don Johnson was the one that introduced you. In the stretch of an hour or so, performing were Neil Young, The Power Station, Thompson Twins, Eric Clapton, the CSNY reunion, and then Duran Duran. Those two hours backstage must have been just the greatest rock n’roll experience at the time, or ever.
Michael: The greatest rock n’roll experience that anybody ever had was at the hotel! All the people you’ve mentioned were at the hotel. We just played a gig for almost two billion people.
Eric: Do you remember being on stage for those moments?
Michael: I was on stage? Ha! Of course I remember it.
Eric: Did you feel any different than any other shows that you were doing at the time? Forget the television audience for a moment – or can you?
Michael: Of course. I was levitating. If you look at the tape now, you could clearly see me levitating. I was so excited. It’s amazing. There were so many people, I that were so nervous, I mean people writing the words of their biggest songs on the palm of their hands with a magic marker. I was standing next to Madonna and she was just breaking in. She was shaking so much that she was going mad. It was beautiful. So you’ve got to know the two things going on. One is yourself helping out the starving people in Africa, and showing the power of music to help. But on the other hand, it was a good career move that they caught on you on your business. It was fascinating. You had Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood playing in different keys for the same song. There were so many things going on that it was such a magic. You could make a move at the back stage at night back in the hotel, be equally be interesting concert itself.
Eric: Do you still keep in touch with John and Andy Taylor?
Michael: Yes, I still text with them and send each other a Valentine’s card. I love John. He’s beautiful, brilliant musician, writer, and a huge heart. And I love Andy. He’s very close. I don’t hear from him much. He lives in Ibiza. He’s isolated now but I’d love to see him. I try to remain connected with all of the people that I had an incredible core experiences with. It’s important to me that the people and friendships remain.
Capping the Hot 100’s top 10, Ariana Grande soars in at No. 10 with “Dangerous Woman.” The steamy song launches at No. 2 on Digital Songs (118,000, following its March 10 arrival) and No. 15 on Streaming Songs (9 million, with nearly half from Spotify clicks), while adding 24 million airplay impressions. The song is Grande’s seventh Hot 100 top 10 (and fifth to debut in the top 10) and the title track and lead single from her third full-length studio album, due May 20. She performed it (and fellow album track “Be Alright”) on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which she hosted, March 12.
The arrival of “Woman” is additionally historic for Grande: she is the first artist in the chart’s 57-year history to debut in the top 10 with the lead single from each of her first three albums. Her debut single, “The Way” (featuring Mac Miller), began at No. 10 on April 13, 2013, introducing her first LP (and first Billboard 200 No. 1) Yours Truly. (The song would peak at No. 9.) On May 17, 2014, “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea) soared in at No. 3 (before peaking at a career-best No. 2), setting the stage for the No. 1 Billboard 200 entrance of My Everything.
George Martin, the brilliant producer for much of the Beatles’ classic catalog, has died. The cause of death has not yet been released. He was 90. “George Martin made us what we were in the studio,” John Lennon said in 1971. “He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians.” There’s no doubt The Beatles wouldn’t be The Beatles without Martin.
Here are fun facts about the man they call “The Fifth Beatle.”
1. In his early 20s, Martin’s oboe teacher was Margaret Eliot, the mother of Jane Asher, who would later become involved with Paul McCartney.
2. Following his graduation, he worked for the BBC’s classical music department, then joined EMI in 1950, as an assistant to Oscar Preuss, the head of EMI’s Parlophone Records from 1950 to 1955. Although having been regarded by EMI as a vital German imprint in the past, it was then not taken seriously and only used for EMI’s insignificant acts.
3. Beginning in the late 1950s, Martin began to supplement his producer income by publishing music and having his artists record it. He used the pseudonyms Lezlo Anales and John Chisholm before settling on Graham Fisher as his primary pseudonym.
4. Martin also produced numerous comedy and novelty records. His first hit for Parlophone in 1952 with the Peter Ustinov single “Mock Mozart” – a record reluctantly released by EMI only after another producer insisted they give Martin a chance. Later that decade Martin worked with Peter Sellers on two very popular comedy LPs.
5. Martin met the Beatles in early 1962. At the time, they had a cult following in parts of England, but little success in landing a recording deal. The group’s manager, Brian Epstein, approached the producer, who worked for EMI records, and got him to agree to give their demo tape a listen. “The recording, to put it kindly, was by no means a knockout,” Martin wrote in his 1979 memoir, All You Need Is Ears. “I could well understand that people had turned it down. But there was an unusual quality of sound, a certain roughness that I hadn’t encountered before. There was also the fact that more than one person was singing.”
6. In The Beatles’ first audition for Martin, he asked the individual Beatles if there was anything they personally did not like, to which George Harrison replied, “Well, there’s your tie, for a start.” That was the turning point as John Lennon and Paul McCartney joined in with jokes and comic wordplay that made Martin think that he should sign them to a contract for their wit alone.
7. He was great at predicting hits. The Beatles’ first recording session with Martin was on September 4th, 1962, when they recorded “How Do You Do It”, which Martin thought was a sure-fire hit even though Lennon and McCartney did not want to release it, not being one of their own compositions. Martin was correct: Gerry & the Pacemakers’ version, which Martin produced, spent three weeks at No. 1 in April 1963 before being displaced by “From Me to You”.
8. Even he doesn’t even know how The Beatles managed to write their hits. “There seemed to be a bottomless well of songs,” Martin once said. “And people asked me where that well was dug. Who knows?”
9. His classical music background came in handy. “My approach to the strings on ‘Eleanor Rigby’ was greatly influenced by Bernard Herrmann and his film score for Psycho,” Martin said in a 2012 interview. “He had a way of making violins sound fierce. That inspired me to have the strings play short notes forcefully, giving the song a nice punch. If you listen to the two, you’ll hear the connection.”
10. Craft doesn’t even begin to describe him. Martin also played on some Beatles songs, including the piano on “In My Life.” “I couldn’t play the piano at the speed it needed to be played, the way I’d written the part,” he said in another 2012 interview. “I wasn’t that good a pianist, but if you had had a really good pianist, he could do it. I couldn’t get all the notes in. One night I was by myself and played the notes at half speed but an octave lower on the piano, recording at 15 inches per second. When I ran the tape back at 30 inches per second, the notes were at the right speed and in the correct octave.”
11. Martin’s age and his lack of interest in drugs became an advantage as their music became increasingly psychedelic. “Drugs certainly affected the music. But it didn’t affect the record production because I was producing. I saw the music growing, but I rather saw it like Salvador Dalí’s paintings. I didn’t think the reason for it was drugs. I thought it was because they wanted to go into an impressionistic way.”
12. Martin loves Ringo Starr’s drumming, calling him “probably … the finest rock drummer in the world today”.
13. Martin was just as creative as The Beatles. For “Strawberry Fields Forever”, he and recording engineer Geoff Emerick turned two very different takes into a single master through careful use of vari-speed and editing. For “I Am the Walrus”, he provided a quirky and original arrangement for brass, violins, cellos, and the Mike Sammes Singers vocal ensemble. On “In My Life”, he played a speeded-up baroque piano solo. He worked with McCartney to implement the orchestral ‘climax’ in “A Day in the Life” and he and McCartney shared conducting duties the day it was recorded.
14. He was adamant The Beatles should never reform after their split in 1970. “It would be a terrible mistake for them ever to go into the studio together,” he said in 1976. “The Beatles existed years ago; they don’t exist today. And if the four men came back together, it wouldn’t be the Beatles.”
15. Oh, he never made much money from The Beatles until later on. Much later. Within the recording industry, Martin is known for having become independent at a time when many producers were still salaried staff—which he was until The Beatles’ success gave him the leverage to start, in 1965, Associated Independent Recording, and hire out his own services to artists who requested him. Until this arrangement, he never shared in the record royalties on his hits.
16. He would be one of the greats even if you didn’t mention The Beatles. He also produced Gerry and the Pacemakers, Kenny Rogers, Cheap Trick, Jeff Beck and Celine Dion. In 1997, he produced Elton John’s new version of “Candle in the Wind” to honor the late Princess Diana. It became one of the best-selling singles of all time.
17. He even worked with another hearing-impaired musician – Pete Townshend. In 1992,the duo helped create the musical stage production of The Who’s Tommy. The play opened on Broadway in 1993, with the original cast album being released that summer. Martin won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in 1993, as the producer of that album.
18. He’s no stranger to mixing family with business. In 2006, Martin and his son, Giles Martin, remixed 80 minutes of Beatles music for the Las Vegas stage performance Love, a joint venture between Cirque du Soleil and the Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd.
19. He thinks The Beatles will be remembered in the next century, but he won’t be. “They’re just great musicians and great writers, like Gershwin or Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are there in history, and the Beatles are there in history, too. They’ll be there in 100 years, too. But I won’t be.”
20. He’s wrong.
“In March 1952 [John Williams] was reassigned to the 596th AF Band, Pepperrell Air Force Base, St. John’s, Newfoundland. During his stay at Pepperrell he was able to put his training to use with special arrangements penned for the 596th Dance band and Newfoundland folk songs re-arranged for the concert band sparking the many appearances of the Pepperrell Band. His greatest accomplishment during this period was the composing, arranging, directing and playing of a 22 minute film background score for a Newfoundland travelogue entitled “You Are Welcome.” The success of this accomplishment was reflected in the film being selected as “one of the outstanding travelogues for 1954” during a premier showing in New York City. The score was unique in that it utilized themes from Newfoundland folk songs for local color. In addition, the fact that the recording ensemble, composed of members of the 596th AF Band, was limited to 12 pieces and lacked the ever present “lush” string section necessitated Johnny to call upon his former training to gain proper utilization of the limited instrumentation and intricate scoring to give the over-all effect of a large orchestra.”
– Paul Galloway, The Beacon, Aug.27, 1954
The Grammy Awards lived up to its billing as “Music’s Biggest Night,” according to same-day numbers from Border City Media’s BuzzAngle Music platform, which collects daily data from all meaningful U.S. sellers of music, both digital and physical, as well as music streaming services.
Nominated artists gained on average an increase of 17,000 album sales (a 27.8% increase) and 118,000 song sales (a 39.7% increase) on Grammy Monday as opposed to forecast.– Nominated albums gained an uplift of 54.8% and nominated songs gained an uplift of 130.4% against forecast.
“Traveller” by Chris Stapleton was the top selling album on Grammy Monday (over 8,100 sales), “To Pimp A Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar had the largest growth against forecast (over 4,500 sales) and James Bay’s “Chaos And The Calm” had the largest % increase, 657%. All three artists performed during the telecast, while Stapleton and Lamar each received Grammys during the broadcast.
“Let it Go” by James Bay was the top selling song on Grammy Monday (21,000) as well as the largest growth against forecast (over 18,000). Alabama Shakes “Don’t Wanna Fight” had the largest % increase against forecast, over 1,900%.
Top 10 Selling Albums on Grammy Monday:
||To Pimp A Butterfly
||Sound and Color
||Beauty Behind The Madness
||Chaos And The Calm
||Cheers To The Fall
||Joey + Rory
Top 10 Selling Songs on Grammy Monday:
||Let It Go
||Little Big Town
||One Call Away
||Thinking Out Loud
||Can’t Feel My Face
||Take Your Time
Without fail, exposure from the Grammys’ annual telecast provides robust activity in the market for participating artists, with performances generally meaning more than who does or doesn’t win. Last year, album of the year winner Beck and nominees Annie Lennox and Ed Sheeran were among those who garnered the biggest upticks in both album and song sales, all three among the acts who played the 2015 show.
Even though this year’s Grammys fell the day after Valentine’s Day, this marks the fourth time in five years the industry will see the benefit of Valentine shopping and award show exposure fall within the same tracking week. This time, however, it happens because the July 2015 adoption of Global Street Date moved the start of the U.S. tracking week from Monday to Friday. In the previous alignment, benefits from those two market drivers would have fallen into different weeks.
Since 2004, when the Oscars moved into late February, where the Grammys used to reside, the Recording Academy has strived to schedule its show in front of Valentine’s Day, but that is contingent on where in the calendar the Super Bowl lands. This year’s Grammys happened on the President’s Day holiday, only the second time since 2004 that the awards show didn’t air on a Sunday.
According to overnight ratings, various entertainment journals report the telecast brought in 24.8 million viewers, down slightly from the 25.3 million drawn in 2015.
Released in 1952, the de Havilland Comet was the world’s first commercial jetliner. But engineers did not know at that point that a forgotten feature – square windows – would be a disastrous design.
We often learn the most from our failures, this is particularly true for advancements in the field of engineering. Unfortunately for the engineers in the aviation industry, the prices to pay for failure are high. The flip-side of this unforgiving industry, is that it consistently provides learning opportunities for engineers, because failure is not an option when peoples lives are at risk.
One of the greatest examples of this occurred during the development of cabin pressurisation. The problems caused by cabin pressurisation didn’t develop until the introduction of the first commercial jet powered aircraft, The De Havilland Comet. It entered service in 1952 and initially proved to be a massive success, but just one year into service catastrophe struck. Three Comets suffered fatal mid-flight disintegrations and the entire fleet was grounded until the cause was identified.
The root of the problem was double-edged. The introduction of jet engines required planes to fly even higher in order to make the fuel hungry engines economically viable (less drag in the upper atmosphere means less fuel is needed). As a plane increases in altitude the external atmospheric pressure lowers to a greater extent than the internal cabin pressure. This creates a pressure differential that causes the fuselage to expand ever so slightly. Engineers accounted for this, but the effects of repeated pressure cycles over time were not well known at the time. Over thousands of cycles and metal begins to fatigue and cracks can form at high stress locations.
The effects of stress concentration were also not well understood at the time. Stress concentration occurs when the flow of stress is interrupted. Square windows, in contrast to modern oval windows, provide a significant barrier to the smooth flow of stress. Because of this stress peaks at the sharp corner of the window, and this is exactly where investigators determined the origin of failure to be.
These combined phenomenon proved to be fatal. Today all airliners feature oval windows to avoid this stress concentration and comprehensive fatigue testing is required before a plane can be approved by the FAA. We often learn the most from our failures, this is particularly true for advancements in the field of engineering. These are now two basic concepts that every materials engineer is taught, these events allowed us to further our understanding of materials and prevent further failures.
Photo by Rebecca Meek
12-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander makes a big chart splash thanks to his profile on CBS’ 60 Minutes (Jan. 3). His My Favorite Things album re-enters chart Billboard 200 at No. 59 (a new peak) with 9,000 sold in pure album sales — up by 3,563 percent. My Favorite Things also gives Alexander his first No. 1 on both the Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts. It flies 22-1 on the former, and re-enters at No. 1 on the latter. Alexander also dots the Jazz Digital Songs chart, as he places five cuts on the 25-position list, including his album’s title cut at No. 6 (1,000 downloads sold; up 1,722 percent).
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