Tag Archives: Missy Elliott

My Top 100 Songs of 2017

Without any comment, herewith is my list (and playlist) of my 100 favorite tracks of 2017.

Okay, one comment: I was a Johnny-come-lately regarding Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” so I’m saving that for my 2018 list.

1. On Hold – the xx
2. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane
3. Slide – Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos
4. Young, Dumb & Broke – Khalid
5. Mask Off – Future
6. Los Ageless – St. Vincent
7. The Story of O.J. – JAY:Z
8. Pills – St. Vincent
9. New York – St. Vincent
10. Everything Now – Arcade Fire
11. Praying – Kesha
12. Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
13. Passionfruit – Drake
14. Havana – Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug
15. Feels – Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean
16. Bad and Boujee – Migos feat. Lil Uzi Vert
17. HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar
18. Be the One – Dua Lipa
19. Love on the Brain – Rihanna
20. We the People… – A Tribe Called Quest
21. Green Light – Lorde
22. Candy May – Alex Cameron
23. To the Moon and Back – Fever Ray
24. Name for You – the Shins
25. Sign of the Times – Harry Styles
26. rockstar – Post Malone featuring 21 Savage
27. It’s a Shame – First Aid Kit
28. (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano – Sampha
29. Bank Account – 21 Savage
30. Hot Thoughts – Spoon
31. The Way You Used To Do – Queens of the Stone Age
32. Bad Liar – Selena Gomez
33. Chanel – Frank Ocean
34. Liger – Young Thug & Carnage
35. 4:44 – JAY:Z
36. High Ticket Attractions – The New Pornographers
37. Stranger’s Kiss – Alex Cameron with Angel Olsen
38. Tonite – LCD Soundsystem
39. Thinking of a Place – The War on Drugs
40. Over Everything – Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile
41. Ascension – Gorillaz featuring Vince Staples
42. All Night – Beyoncé
43. Little of Your Love – Haim
44. Waiting on a Song – Dan Auerbach
45. Accelerator – Paul White ft. Danny Brown
46. iSpy – Kyle featuring Lil Yachty
47. Shine on Me – Dan Auerbach
48. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – The National
49. No. 28 – Methyl Ethel
50. I Feel It Coming – the Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
51. Better Than Me – Blood Orange feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
52. Call the Police – LCD Soundsystem
53. Love Galore – SZA featuring Travi$ Scott
54. DNA. – Kendrick Lamar
55. No Plan – David Bowie
56. Holding On – The War on Drugs
57. Runnin’ Outta Luck – Alex Cameron
58. Amputation – Jesus and Mary Chain
59. Love – ILoveMakonnen featuring Rae Sremmurd
60. Malibu – Miley Cyrus
61. Want You Back – Haim
62. Carin at the Liquor Store – The National
63. Long Time – Blondie
64. Secrets – The Weeknd
65. Wyclef Jean – Young Thug
66. Slip Away – Perfume Genius
67. Bop N Keep It Dippin’ – Dizzee Rascal
68. XO Tour Llif3 – Lil Uzi Vert
69. Dis Generation – A Tribe Called Quest
70. Play the Field – Partner
71. PRBLMS – 6lack
72. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – DMX
73. Colors – Beck
74. BagBak – Vince Staples
75. I Think of You – Jeremih feat. Chris Brown
76. Perplexing Pegasus – Rae Sremmurd
77. Wreath – Perfume Genius
78. Swang – Rae Sremmurd
79. Shining – DJ Khaled feat. Beyoncé and Jay-Z
80. Say Something Loving – the xx
81. Dear Life – Beck
82. Heatstroke – Calvin Harris feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande
83. Zayn Malik – Swet Shop Boys
84. Give It Up – Angel Olsen
85. Sky Walker – Miguel featuring Travi$ Scott
86. Total Entertainment Forever – Father John Misty
87. Hallelujah Money – Gorillaz feat. Benjamin Clementine
88. Ballad of the Dying Man – Father John Misty
89. I’m Better – Missy Elliott featuring Lamb
90. Told You So – Miguel
91. Mad as Hell – U.S. Girls
92. LOYALTY. – Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
93. Bam – JAY:Z featuring Damian Marley
94. I Dare You – the xx
95. Andromeda – Gorillaz featuring D.R.A.M.
96. Rage – Vic Mensa
97. Whiteout Conditions – The New Pornographers
98. Stick to Your Guns – Watsky feat. Julia Nunes
99. When I Was Young – MØ
100. Never – J.I.D.

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Top Songs Of 2016

Herewith, my top 99 tracks of 2016 (playlist below the written list):
1. “Sorry” – Beyoncé
2. “Happy” – Mitski
3. “Wasn’t My Fault” – Christie and the Dream Beats
4. “WTF (Where They From)” – Missy Elliott featuring Pharrell
5. “Starboy” – The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk
6. “Hold Up” – Beyoncé
7. “Tilted” – Christine and the Queens
8. “Lazarus” – David Bowie
9. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” – Justin Timberlake
10. “The Community of Hope” – PJ Harvey
11. “Broccoli” – D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty
12. “No Problem” – Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
13. “Formation” – Beyoncé
14. “Sister” – Angel Olsen
15. “On My Heart” – School of Seven Bells
16. “Augustine” – Blood Orange
17. “The Wheel” – PJ Harvey
18. “Here” – Alessia Cara
19. “Kill v. Maim” – Grimes
20. “The Pop Kids” – Pet Shop Boys
21. “Wow” – Beck
22. “Nikes” – Frank Ocean
23. “Lipslap” – Kero Kero Bonito
24. “California” – Grimes
25. “T5” – Swet Shop Boys
26. “Work from Home” – Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign
27. “Gardenia” – Iggy Pop
28. “Player” – Tinashe featuring Chris Brown
29. “Flesh Without Blood” – Grimes
30. “Frankie Sinatra” – the Avalanches
31. “Floridada – Animal Collective
32. “When We Were Young” – Adele
33. “Borders” – M.I.A.
34. “Wide Open” – the Chemical Brothers featuring Beck
35. “Highway Vagabond” – Miranda Lambert
36. “Boy Problems” – Carly Rae Jepsen
37. “I Have Been to the Mountain” – Kevin Morby
38. “Crisis” – Anohni
39. “Rich” – Maren Morris
40. “Hands of Time” – Margo Price
41. “Mercy” – Eric Bachmann
42. “The Big Big Beat” – Azealia Banks
43. “Too Good” – Drake featuring Rihanna
44. “Genghis Khan” – Miike Snow
45. “Straight Outta Vagina” – Pussy Riot featuring Desi Mo & Leikeli47
46. “All the Way Up” – Fat Joe featuring Remy Ma, Jay-Z & French Montana
47. “Knickers” – Jidenna
48. “Little Bit of This” – GTA featuring Vince Staples
49. “River” – Leon Bridges
50. “Radio” – Sylvan Esso
51. “Giant” – Banks & Steelz
52. “I Can’t Give Everything Away” – David Bowie
53. “Daddy Lessons” – Beyoncé featuring Dixie Chicks
54. “In Bloom” – Sturgill Simpson
55. “You Want It Darker” – Leonard Cohen
56. “Come Down” – Anderson .Paak
57. “Lake by the Ocean” – Maxwell
58. “One Dance” – Drake featuring WizKid and Kyla
59. “Life Itself” – Glass Animals
60. “Runnin’” – Pharrell Williams
61. “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
62. “Real Love Baby” – Father John Misty
63. “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” – Adele
64. “Boyfriend” – Tegan & Sara
65. “Cranes in the Sky” – Solange
66. “Really Doe” – Danny Brown featuring Kendrick Lamar & Ab-Soul & Earl Sweatshirt
67. “Bike Engine” – Stylo G x Jacob Plant
68. “Burn the Witch” – Radiohead
69. “I Wanna Boi” – PWR BTTM
70. “Work” – Rihanna featuring Drake
71. “Fuck Donald Trump” – YG & Nipsey Hussle
72. “Guns of Hysteria” – Annalie Prime
73. “Born Again Teen” – Lucius
74. “City Lights” – the White Stripes
75. “Somewhere in Paradise” – Chance the Rapper featuring Jeremih
76. “Sister of Pearl” – Baio
77. “U-Turn” – Tegan & Sara
78. “Shut Up Kiss Me” – Angel Olsen
79. “Moth to a Flame” – Chairlift
80. “Blackstar” – David Bowie
81. “A Burning Hill” – Mitski
82. “Pretty Pimpin’” – Kurt Vile
83. “Break” – Kero Kero Bonito
84. “In the Night” – the Weeknd
85. “Elevator Operator” – Courtney Barnett
86. “Piece of Me” – MK featuring Becky Hill
87. “Love and War” – Banks & Steelz featuring Ghostface Killah
88. “Cold Light” – Operators
89. “Vice” – Miranda Lambert
90. “Water under the Bridge” – Adele
91. “Dorothy” – Kevin Morby
92. “Say U Want Me” – Chris Farren
93. “Lifted” – CL
94. “Sound & Color” – Alabama Shakes
95. “Cash Machine” – D.R.A.M.
96. “Drone Bomb Me” – Anohni
97. “Who’s Gonna Miss Me?” – Loretta Lynn
98. “Lift Me Up” – Vince Staples
99. “Cool Out” – Matthew White and Natalie Press

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Throwback Thursday – 1997

Randy Badazz Alpert received many requests to license “Rise,” a song he co-wrote that became a #1 hit for his uncle Herb in 1979, as a sample in hip hop tracks. He said no to Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice, Eazy-E, and the others who requested permission. However, when he received a cassette from the producer then known as Puff Daddy of a new song utilizing the sample, he consented. He loved the new tune and felt it could make his song go to #1 again.

He was right. The new recording was “Hypnotize” and it was performed by the Notorious B.I.G. “Hypnotize” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1997, less than two months after the rapper was killed in Los Angeles.

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights the best of 1997, kicking off with The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” which uses a sample from a songwriter whose middle name really is Badazz.

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It’s Moby’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

On September 11 I was living in New York City, two miles from where the Twin Towers stood. I remember voting that morning, as it was Primary Election Day. I remember walking to work. I remember my boss coming in to my office to tell me the towers are falling and I should go home. I remember how crowded yet quiet the sidewalks were. I remember spending the rest of the day sitting on my bed crying. I remember thinking about dinner. I don’t know how to cook. I usually ordered in or went out. I regained some composure around 8 PM. I opened my apartment door to find the hallway full of smoke. A neighbor down the hall saw me and yelled “The building’s on fire. The fire department is here.” I went back inside. The only food I kept in my apartment was a can of soup for emergency colds. That night for dinner I had a can of soup.

I remember a lot more details about that day and the days that followed. I still cry when I think about them.

On September 12 I had dinner with my friend Jesse. As the police would not allow anyone below 14th Street who didn’t live in that area, as Jesse did, he came to my place on 16th Street. We figured we’d see if any restaurants in Chelsea were open.

Not only were almost all restaurants along Eighth Avenue open, they were packed. Music was playing. People were laughing. That may sound strange to people not there, but amidst all the horrendousness, amidst the postings of missing people that started to cover all available wall space, amidst the stench that worked its way uptown and permeated our neighborhood, people were celebrating life and friendship.

I’ll never forget what my city was like on September 11. I’ll never forget that night of September 12 either. Life is fleeting. Take advantage of being alive. Celebrate.

Every Friday Tunes du Jour celebrates life with a dance playlist. We kick off this week’s party with Moby, who turns 50 years old today.

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It Really Shoulda…

Sam + Ringo
It’s that time of year when music geeks such as I think about the I.R.S. I.R.S. as in It Really Shoulda, as in it really should been a top ten hit.

Eight years ago, a colleague from my Sony Music days, Rich Appel, created the I.R.S. countdown. Music fans submitted a list of songs that didn’t make the top ten on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 but should have, in their opinion. Rich compiled the tallies to create the overall I.R.S. top 104. He’s been compiling this survey each year since.

As for why a song should have been a top ten hit, that’s left entirely up to the list-maker. On my list, I included records that are perfect or near-perfect melodically, lyrically and/or production-wise. I included songs that have withstood the test of time and are still part of the public consciousness years later. I included records that everybody thinks were top ten hits. I included tracks that would have been top ten hits except they didn’t conform to Billboard’s rules for chart placement at their time of release (e.g. they weren’t available on commercial 7-inch singles or viral video play didn’t count in metric measurements). I included singles by artists who hit the top ten with lesser songs. I focused on tracks that have pop appeal, leaving out fantastic recordings from some of my favorite acts, such as The Replacements and The Smiths – they were called “alternative” because they weren’t pop.

My list for 2015 is below, followed by a Spotify playlist of those songs. Rich asks people submitting lists to put them in order, with #1 being the record one feels should have, more than any other, been a top ten hit. Ask me to do so tomorrow and my list will likely be in a different order.

For today, here is my I.R.S. 104. After the artist name I listed how high the song charted during its initial release. If the single hit the Hot 100 at a later date, I included that information as well.

You can hear the official I.R.S. 104 tally for 2015 on Rich Appel’s radio show, That Thing, this coming weekend on RewoundRadio.com. Friday at 6PM Eastern he’ll go from #104 to around #53 and Sunday starting at 6PM Eastern he’ll pick up from where he left off and go to #1.

1. Wonderful World – Sam Cooke (#12, 1960)
2. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (#19, 1967)
3. River Deep, Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner (#88, 1966)
4. I Only Want to Be with You – Dusty Springfield (#12, 1964)
5. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival (#14, 1969)
6. Cupid – Sam Cooke (#17, 1961)
7. Holiday – Madonna (#16, 1984)
8. Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder (did not chart, 1977)
9. 1999 – Prince (#44, 1982; #12, 1983; #40, 1999)
10. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen (#23, 1975)
11. It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston (#14, 1967)
12. Little Egypt (Ying Yang) – The Coasters (#23, 1961)
13. I Want to Take You Higher – Sly & the Family Stone (#60, 1969; #38, 1970)
14. Into the Groove – Madonna (did not chart, 1985)
15. We Will Rock You – Queen (did not chart, 1978; #52, 1992)
16. S.O.S. – Abba (#15, 1975)
17. You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King (did not chart, 1971)
18. Hold On! I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave (#21, 1966)
19. Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding (#25, 1967)
20. The Way You Do the Things You Do – The Temptations (#11, 1964)
21. It’s a Shame – Spinners (#14, 1970)
22. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine – Ike & Tina Turner (#14, 1961)
23. Under My Thumb – the Rolling Stones (did not chart, 1966)
24. Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me) – Four Seasons (#13, 1966)
25. Me and Julio down by the School Yard – Paul Simon (#22, 1972)
26. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John & Yoko & the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir (did not chart, 1971)
27. I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan (#21, 1978)
28. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley (#29, 1964)
29. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid (#13, 1984)
30. Super Freak – Rick James (#16, 1981)
31. Mighty Love – Spinners (#20, 1974)
32. Stan – Eminem featuring Dido (#51, 2000)
33. So Far Away – Carole King (#14, 1971)
34. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love (did not chart, 1963)
35. Because the Night – Patti Smith Group (#13, 1978)
36. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell (#67, 1970)
37. Candy Girl – New Edition (#46, 1983)
38. Brass in Pocket (I’m Special) – Pretenders (#14, 1980)
39. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M. (#29, 1993)
40. It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock (#36, 1988)
41. Heartbreak Hotel – the Jacksons (#22, 1981)
42. Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton (#20, 1976)
43. Valerie – Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse (did not chart, 2007)
44. Rock and Roll All Nite (live) – Kiss (#12, 1976)
45. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Sylvester (#36, 1979)
46. L-O-V-E (Love) – Al Green (#13, 1975)
47. It’s Raining Men – the Weather Girls (#46, 1983)
48. I’m a Slave 4 U – Britney Spears (#27, 2001)
49. You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC (#35, 1980)
50. Wake Up Everybody – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (#12, 1976)
51. Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed (#16, 1973)
52. Bring It on Home to Me – Sam Cooke (#13, 1962)
53. Pride (In the Name of Love) – U2 (#33, 1984)
54. Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – McFadden & Whitehead (#13, 1979)
55. Move Your Feet – Junior Senior (did not chart, 2003)
56. Heroes – David Bowie (did not chart, 1977)
57. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon (#21, 1978)
58. One Way or Another – Blondie (#24, 1979)
59. You Get What You Give – New Radicals (#36, 1999)
60. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel – Tavares (#15, 1976)
61. Ain’t Nobody – Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (#22, 1983)
62. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon (#44, 1986, #23, 1987)
63. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt (#18, 1992)
64. Young Americans – David Bowie (#28, 1975)
65. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke (#31, 1965)
66. Respect Yourself – the Staple Singers (#12, 1971)
67. Moondance – Van Morrison (did not chart, 1970; #92, 1977)
68. Where’s the Love – Hanson (did not chart, 1997)
69. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder (#16, 1974)
70. I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow (#62, 1982)
71. Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club (#31, 1982)
72. Beautiful Stranger – Madonna (#19, 1999)
73. Shame, Shame, Shame – Shirley (& Company) (#12, 1975)
74. The Way I Am – Eminem (#58, 2000)
75. Jungle Love – The Time (#20, 1985)
76. Gypsy – Fleetwood Mac (#12, 1982)
77. Smile – Lily Allen (#49, 2007)
78. Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give up the Funk) – Parliament (#15, 1976)
79. Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert (#11, 2013)
80. Solid – Ashford & Simpson (#12, 1985)
81. Rapper’s Delight – The Sugarhill Gang (#36, 1980)
82. The Cup of Life – Ricky Martin (#60, 1998; #45, 1999)
83. Me, Myself and I – De La Soul (#34, 1989)
84. Bad Luck – Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (#15, 1975)
85. Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads (did not chart, 1981)
86. Fuck You – Lily Allen (#68, 2009)
87. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service (did not chart, 2003)
88. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (movie version) – Lauryn Hill (did not chart, 1998)
89. Dedication to My Ex (Miss That) – Lloyd featuring Andre 3000 (#79, 2011)
90. Jump To It – Aretha Franklin (#24, 1982)
91. Mamma Mia – Abba (#32, 1976)
92. Space Oddity – David Bowie (did not chart, 1969; #15, 1973)
93. P Control – O{+> (Prince) (did not chart, 1995)
94. Got Your Money – Ol’ Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis (#33, 1999)
95. LDN – Lily Allen (did not chart, 2007)
96. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Buddy Holly (#13, 1959)
97. Does Your Mother Know – Abba (#19, 1979)
98. Up in a Puff of Smoke – Polly Brown (#16, 1975)
99. Blue Limousine – Apollonia 6 (did not chart, 1984)
100. All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople (#37, 1972)
101. Fight the Power – Public Enemy (did not chart, 1989)
102. Pass That Dutch – Missy Elliott (#27, 2003)
103. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne (#21, 2003)
104. You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse (#78, 2007; #77, 2008)

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How Empire Changed Timbaland

After Empire creator Lee Daniels hired music producer Timbaland to be the television program’s Executive Music Producer, the Grammy Award winner sent the Academy Award nominee music to be used in the pilot episode.

As he recounted to Out.com, Daniels brought a copy of that first episode to Timbaland to show him how his music was used. Daniels was out of the room during the scene where Jamal and his boyfriend kiss. Said Daniels “I knew he was fascinated by seeing his music in the work, but he said, ‘Those guys kissing, man. Wow.’” When the music producer showed his family the pilot, he made his children leave the room during that kissing scene.

That shouldn’t surprise anyone. This was the man who said “Some people listen to a song like ‘SexyBack’ and think, am I queer? Am I funny? If you are that way, you’re just that way. But if you’re a masculine man, embrace it. Have a glass of wine, put the record on and invite your girl over to get sexy.”

He has a point. When I listen to “SexyBack,” I ask “Am I queer?” That’s because Justin Timberlake doesn’t do anything for me. If I were a masculine man who drank, I’d have a girl over and get sexy for the song’s four minutes and three seconds. But I’m funny.

Per Daniels, who is openly-gay, Timbaland is singing a new tune. “[Working on this show has] changed his opinion on how he feels about gays. He said it. And I remember hanging up the phone and being very emotional after talking to him, and after him telling me that. And how he really had this epiphany. It was beautiful, and it deepened our friendship.”

That must have been some conversation. “Hi, Lee? It’s Timbaland. I’ve worked with many gay people in my twenty-five years producing music, and every one of them disgusted me with their talent and work ethic. But after seeing a fictional gay character recite scripted lines and give his, uh, male friend a quick kiss, I’ve had a change of heart. I can handle a gay person for a few scenes one hour a week, provided my kids aren’t in the room. Let’s have dinner soon. Feel free to not bring your boyfriend. Love ya (in a platonic way)!”

Today the man born Timothy Mosley turns 43 years old. There’s still time for him to continue evolving. Here are twenty tracks he produced or co-produced. WARNING: This playlist includes “SexyBack.” Be sure you’re masculine enough to listen! (Before anyone asks, his stellar work with Aaliyah is not available on Spotify.)

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The Song Retains The Name

Winston + Bobby Brown
Today is Bobby Brown’s 46th birthday. A former member of New Edition, Brown had his first solo hit in 1988 with “Don’t Be Cruel,” which reached #8 on the Hot 100. Though it shares its title with an Elvis Presley #1 hit from 1956, Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” is not a remake.

That brings us to today’s playlist, which I call The Song Retains the Name. It consists of different songs with the same title. I initially planned to include twenty such songs, but more kept springing to mind. Before I knew it, I passed 100 entries. There are plenty more, so I decided to open this up to my reader(s). If you have songs that share titles you’d like to add, feel free to do so.

(NOTES: I included The Jacksons’ “This Place Hotel” because when it was released in 1980 its title was “Heartbreak Hotel.” Thought he didn’t have to, Michael Jackson, the song’s writer, later changed its name to “This Place Hotel” to avoid confusion with the Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel.” Whitney Houston didn’t feel the need to make the same Hotel accommodation.

Also, though it is listed on Spotify as “The Best of My Love,” the Eagles track does not have a “The” on the 45 or the band’s On the Border album.)

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It Never Rains In Southern California

As you may have heard, our sleepy little hamlet of Los Angeles got some rain over the past week. I assume you heard this because Los Angeles is the center of the world and our weather is likely reported everywhere, especially when we get rain, which lesser cities take for granted. More rain is forecast for this week.

If you were near a radio in the United States in 1972, you heard Albert Hammond’s hit single “It Never Rains in Southern California,” and learned that while in L.A. it never rains, it pours. Man, it pours.

Today’s playlist consists of songs with word rain or some variation thereof in the title. It includes Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains in Southern California,” one of two top forty singles Hammond had as an artist. (The other was 1974’s “I’m a Train.” Remember that one? Didn’t think so.) As a songwriter, Hammond’s hits include The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe,” Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You,” Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time,” Chicago’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love,” Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around,” Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” and The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding.” His son is a founding member of The Strokes.

Back to the weather. Get your umbrella and enjoy today’s playlist while the sun is still shining.

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Now That’s What I Call Win Win! | Missy Elliott’s Birthday Post

In yesterday’s post I mentioned a negotiation class I took. The teacher gave us many different tactics and approaches, with the overriding goal being for each party to feel they got what they were seeking and were treated fairly. This is commonly referred to as a win-win.

In 2005, the joint venture that produces the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations requested from Warner Music, where I worked, a license to include Missy Elliott’s hit “Lose Control” for the next volume of the series. Until that point, Warner hadn’t licensed to any of the Now albums. Senior management was eager to change that.

Atlantic Records, the Warner label to whom Missy was signed, wanted the song on the album. Missy’s mother, Pat, who handles her daughter’s license requests, approved of its inclusion. However, the song features two guest artists, Ciara and Fatman Scoop, and also contains two samples. The royalty we were to receive from Now wouldn’t cover these expenses; Missy would end up losing money for each unit sold.

I set about to renegotiate everyone’s portion of the royalty pool. The argument I used to convince each party to agree was simple – we can’t afford to license the track at the present rates. If we don’t do the license, then nobody makes any money. However, if everyone agrees to reduce their share of the royalties, then we can proceed with the license. As Now albums routinely sold several million units each back then, the money everyone would receive was a nice chunk of change, especially as all one needed to do to get it was to sign the one-page agreement I sent over.

All parties saw the logic in this argument, and the song made the album. Warner became a part of every Now compilation going forward. Missy’s mom marveled at how I got this done. A couple of years later, a new deal for Missy hit the desk of Atlantic Records’ legal department. Pat Elliott told the attorney “Give this to Glenn Schwartz to handle. He’ll get it done.”

The goal of this post isn’t to brag about myself. Okay, maybe that’s part of it. The other part is to encourage you to look for win-win situations, or, as was in this case, win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win situations. The more happy people there are, the more happiness there is. Seems simple, no?

Ringo + Missy 2014-07-01 15.17
Today Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott turns 43 years old. Here is some of her finest work.

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A Change Is Gonna Come If You Make It So

A company I worked for – I won’t say which one – has an amazing catalogue of rhythm & blues music, arguably the best r&b catalogue of any record label. Despite possessing this goldmine, most of our catalogue releases were from white rock bands. I asked a member of senior management why we didn’t do more with our black artists, and the answer I got was “We don’t know how to sell that music.”

Is that not a stupid response? If you don’t know how to do that, hire someone who has that expertise, or learn how to do it. Why ignore a large swath of your potential market, especially when you already own the assets?

Years ago I was put in charge of licensing at a record label. I knew the music and I knew the components of licensing deals; however, I wasn’t a very good negotiator. I found the process intimidating. I could have left it at that – “I don’t know how to negotiate.” My company would have made money nonetheless, though not at its full potential. For that matter, I wouldn’t be working at full potential.

I took a course in negotiations. Six weeks, $300. Money well spent. I put what I learned in the class into action. Practice makes perfect, and I became an excellent negotiator. In my four years at that company our licensing revenue increased 400%. My skills also led to my next job as the Vice President of Licensing at another company.

Is a lack of some skill or knowledge holding you back? Fix that. Read a book, attend a seminar, take an on-line course or find a mentor. Saying “I don’t know how” won’t lead to success; learning how will.

Winston + Chuck 2014-06-30 11.25
Today is the last day of Black Music Month. It would be ludicrous to think a 40-song playlist would cover black music in any comprehensive way. Enjoy it for what it is – nearly three hours of fantastic music. Listen to it while you research how to learn a new skill.

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