Jio's HoF :NOW:REMEMBERING PRINCE: 1993

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Postby jio » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:10 am

R&B 1995 Top 40 part 1

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1995 was another strong year in R&B, albeit perhaps not as strong as the one before it. The year was dominated by several teenage R&B stars such as Brandy, Aaliyah, Monica and Usher, all of which managed to sustain long careers as they grew up mainly because, unlike their counterparts in pop, they were actually talented and their fame was not based on looks alone. Another trend of the year was the emergence of East Coast rap, challenging the dominance of West Coast derived G-Funk. So this is R&B's best of 1995... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
40.
Think Of You-USHER
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Of course today Usher is one of the biggest R&B stars around with a career counting 31 Hot 100 Top 40 hit singles (including nine #1 hits) and 25 UK Top 40 singles (including four #1s) but back in 1995 the singer was just 17 years old and part of a group of teenage R&B stars who emerged at the time (others included Brandy and Aaliyah). This was his third single release ever and although it failed to become a hit, it did chart better than the two which preceded it and became his first ever R&B Top 10 hit. To date Usher has achieved a total of 25 R&B Top 10 hits, twelve of which went all the way to the top.

39.
New York, New York-THA DOGG POUND
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Tha Dogg Pound was a rap act whose career lasted just one album but that album was quite big. Released by Death Row Records and produced by Dr. Dre, their album "Dogg Food" went double platinum becoming the fourth major release by the label after "The Chronic", "Doggystyle" and the "Murder Was The Case" soundtrack. Unlike those three albums though, "Dogg Food" failed to launch any hit singles, thus retaining an underground quality to its success. "New York, New York" is a diss song against East Coast rappers (the infamous West Coast-East Coast rivalry culminated in the next few years with the murders of two of the biggest rappers around) and was the second single to be taken from that album.

38.
Sentimental-DEBORAH COX
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Deborah Cox was one of the very few major R&B stars to emerge from Canada. Although her crossover to the pop charts was rather limited, the lady has a career which has provided her with no less than five R&B Top 40 albums in a span of 13 years. This was her first ever single and managed to become a rather sizable hit peaking at #27 on the BB Hot 100 and #34 on the UK Singles chart. The video is not available on youtube.

37.
You Bring Me Joy-MARY J. BLIGE
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Mary was riding an all-time career high during 1995 thanks to the success of her sophomore album "My Life". That album basically uses samples of pretty well-known R&B standards as the basis for creating brand new hard-edged R&B songs, in other words transferring what is pretty standard in the hip-hop world over to the R&B world. The sample used in this song is Barry White's 1977 R&B #1 hit "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" and became the fourth single taken out of the "My Life" album. Meanwhile around the same time "My Life" was released, Barry White was going through a revival of his own as he scored his sixth (and final) R&B #1 hit as the main artist (his first in more than 17 years) with "Practice What You Preach".

36.
Baby-BRANDY
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Brandy was the biggest teenage R&B star to emerge around 1994 and 1995 with a debut album which sold enough to be certified double platinum. That album became much more of a success inside the USA rather than internationally and found its biggest American success with its second single, "Baby". The song became the second straight R&B #1 hit for Brandy but it peaked two positions higher than "I Wanna Be Down" on the BB Hot 100, becoming Brandy's first-ever Top 5 hit by making it to #4.

35.
Brown Sugar-D'ANGELO
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One artist who chose not to follow modern trends in R&B but to take a more classic approach to songwriting was D'Angelo. The singer achieved a cult following and also an overnight legendary status with his debut album which carried many references to classic R&B artists such as Stevie Wonder, Prince and Sly & The Family Stone. "Brown Sugar" was the title track and first single taken from that album and managed to become D'Angelo's first ever international hit single peaking at #27 on the BB Hot 100 and at #24 on the UK Singles chart.

34.
Diggin' On You-T.L.C.
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TLC's "CrazySexyCool" album was so good that the girls could get away with releasing one of the least interesting songs on the album as a single because even the worst of "CrazySexyCool" was far better than most stuff on R&B radio at the time. So, "Diggin' On You" became the fourth (and final) single taken from that album in a slightly remixed version with added horns and a video promoting the girls' world tour of the time. The song became another international hit for TLC peaking at #5 on the BB Hot 100 and #18 on the UK Singles chart.

33.
I'm Goin' Down-MARY J. BLIGE
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Although Mary's "My Life" album was largely built around samples of old songs, there was actually only one straight cover included. That was a cover of the Rose Royce's "Car Wash" song of the same name. Mary didn't change much compared to the original song (it was a perfect R&B ballad as it was anyway) but still managed to have the biggest hit from her album with this song when she released it as the third single off "My Life". It peaked at #22 on the BB Hot 100 and #12 on the UK Singles chart (her biggest UK hit up to that time)

32.
Scream-MICHAEL JACKSON & JANET JACKSON
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Ever since Janet Jackson shot to fame back in 1986, the whole world was waiting for the mega-duet between her and the biggest pop star on the planet who also happened to be her brother, Michael Jackson. Janet kept answering that she didn't feel she was quite ready for it for the next decade but, in 1995, the siblings finally made it releasing "Scream" as the first single off Michael Jackson's "History" album. Well, with a 10 years' waiting period preceding it, some disappointment was perhaps to be expected as people were probably anticipating a "Billie Jean" meets "Rhythm Nation" type of song. One can't deny though that the single, although working pretty well as a club record, was a sort of a letdown as most Michael's "Dangerous" singles and most Janet's "Janet" singles were actually far better than this. The disappointment was to be seen on the way this single charted as well. For the first time a Michael Jackson comeback single failed to reach #1 on any side of the Atlantic, instead peaking at #5 on the BB Hot 100 and #3 on the UK Singles chart .

31.
Let's Play House-THA DOGG POUND feat. MICHEL'LE
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This sexually-charged rap single was the biggest hit off Dogg Pounds "Dogg Food" album and the only Rap Top 5 hit for the group. Dr. Dre provides production as well as a few verses right in the beginning of the song whereas Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg can be heard rapping and singing respectively as well. All those guest stars were pretty unnecessary though as Tha Dogg Pound was an act made by two rappers who enjoyed long careers after the band called it a day. Those were Daz Dillinger who has released 14 solo studio albums to date and Kurupt who has released 11 studio albums of his own to date.
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Postby jio » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:15 pm

R&B 1995 Top 40 part 2

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1995 was another strong year in R&B, albeit perhaps not as strong as the one before it. The year was dominated by several teenage R&B stars such as Brandy, Aaliyah, Monica and Usher, all of which managed to sustain long careers as they grew up mainly because, unlike their counterparts in pop, they were actually talented and their fame was not based on looks alone. Another trend of the year was the emergence of East Coast rap, challenging the dominance of West Coast derived G-Funk. So this is R&B's best of 1995... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
30.
Happy-MN8
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MN8 were probably the biggest of the myriad of faux-R&B bands that appeared in the UK around the mid-90s. While the boys were trying to convince everyone they were making true R&B, most of their music sounded to me similar to what the Backstreet Boys did (much better) a few years later. Still though, the band did have one song I adored and it was proper R&B to me and it is of course this single, which peaked at #8 on the UK Singles chart giving the band their third straight (and last ever) Top 10 hit. That single is so far better than the crap the band was usually recording that it came as no surprise to me when I found out that "Happy" is actually a cover of this 1987 American Top 20 hit by Surface. Oh well...

29.
Warning-THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
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Notorious B.I.G. was simply the biggest rapper to emerge during 1995. His debut album, weirdly titled "Ready To Die" (a title which would become prophetic a couple of years later) sold enough copies to achieve four times platinum status in the States. This song remains one of my personal favorites despite only being released as a double A-side single along with the much more famous "Big Poppa"

28.
Brokenhearted-BRANDY
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This was the first ever ballad release of Brandy and the girl thankfully managed to keep it raw and sexy for this single instead of going down the sleep-inducing power ballad route so many R&B stars were preferring at the time. Interestingly enough, the song was recorded in just one take as Brandy wanted to leave the studio to head towards an amusement park. Unfortunately, instead of releasing the wonderful album version as a single, what was released was a far lesser remixed version featuring Boyz-II-Men member and Brandy's boyfriend at the time Wanya Morris. Despite that, the song managed to become the third Top 10 hit for Brandy peaking at #9 on the BB Hot 100 .

27.
Froggy Style-NUTTIN' NYCE
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Nuttin' Nyce was yet another all-female R&B band which was recording and releasing songs since 1993. The girls never managed a hit single in either side of the Atlantic, however this gem which samples the sing-a-long part of Prince's "Anna Stesia" simply cannot be ignored. The song became a major R&B hit but it was also the final single release ever for the band. Interestingly enough, this was the second time in a row Nuttin' Nyce took inspiration from Prince, the girls had released a straight-up cover of the Prince-penned "Nasty Girl" right before the release of this single .

26.
Big Poppa-THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
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If there is one song which became synonymous with the emergence of the East-Coast rap scene in 1995, it's definitely this gem which turned Notorious B.I.G. into a rap superstar overnight and it was essentially the second step (after Mary J. Blige's "What's The 411?" album) in the process of turning the song's producer and guest-rapper Puff Daddy into a household name as well. "Big Poppa" peaked at #6 on the BB Hot 100 and #30 on the UK Singles chart becoming the first (of five) American Top 10 hits for Notorious B.I.G.

25.
Crazy-MARK MORRISON
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During the mid-90s, while R&B's popularity in Europe was increasing fast, the UK became the breeding ground for a different variety of the genre. More infused with pop and dance and less urban than its American equivalent, the British version of the genre did create several memorable hits as well as a few stars of its own. Mark Morrison was one of them and this Cameo-reminiscent, reggae-infused track was his breakthrough hit. Originally just a minor #19 hit in his homeland, the track will get a second life upon re-release a year later when it will become Mark's second UK top 10 hit by peaking at #6. To date Mark has scored nine UK hit singles, 5 of which have reached the Top 10.

24.
Love City Groove-LOVE CITY GROOVE
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Talking about R&B in Europe, one can understand that the genre was getting really big in the old continent during 1995 from one fact alone: it managed to make an appearance... in the Eurovision Song Contest. Indeed the contest which had become mostly a bizarre mix of ethnic songs and romantic ballads by the mid-90s was the stage where this band was supposed to shine representing (who else?) the UK. In the end, either the song was too much of a shock for Europe or Europe wasn't too impressed by its performance. The song finished 10th in the contest which may well sound like a miracle in comparison to the country's results nowadays but it was actually the second-worst result ever for the UK at the time . The song did much better on the UK Singles charts where it peaked at #7 but nothing was ever heard again from the band.

23.
Shhh-PRINCE
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Shhh is a song with a long history. Originally composed by Prince and performed live in several dates of his 1992 "Diamonds And Pearls" tour, the song was eventually passed over to Tevin Campbell (whose career began with another Prince track, "Round And Round" in 1990) who recorded the first studio version of the song. The Tevin Campbell version was released to radio in 1993 as the first single taken from his second album "I'm Ready" and went Top 10 on R&B airplay. Tevin already had 6 R&B Top 10s by that time but the physical release of the single was scrapped in favor of "Can We Talk". Prince meanwhile continued to perform the song live and finally, in 1994, released his own version of the song to radio. Prince's cover of his own song climbed as high as #62 on R&B airplay but, when Prince's 1994 album "Come" finally came out, fans discovered that both "Shhh" and another big 1994 Prince hit, "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" were absent. Unlike the latter which was released as a single in 1994, people who heard "Shhh" on radio and loved it had no way of buying it since it wasn't released in any type of physical form. That would finally happen in 1995 when both songs were included in "The Gold Experience" album and hence the inclusion of the song in the 1995 rather than the 1994 countdown.

22.
Keep Their Heads Ringin'-DR. DRE
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Although Dr. Dre's releases and productions in the mid-90s did not sound quite as inspired as in "The Chronic" or "Doggystyle", the man developed a formula for massive R&B/hip-hop club hits. The first example of that was this single, taken from the soundtrack of the Ice Cube film "Friday" . The song became a massive international hit climbing as high as #10 on the BB Hot 100 and #25 on the UK Singles chart. All in all, this was the first American Top 10 hit for Dr. Dre as a rapper since his feature in Snoop Dogg's debut single "Who Am I?" back in 1993

21.
Sittin' Up In My Room-BRANDY
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Brandy's own favorite singer is Whitney Houston. The girl made this fact perfectly clear in several early interviews and even mentioned Whitney Houston as her inspiration in the linear notes of her debut album. So after that album's success, Brandy took the opportunity to work with her idol in any way possible. The first non-"Brandy" single to be released was this track, taken from the soundtrack of the Whitney Houston film "Waiting To Exhale". Despite the song not being a real departure from the sound of her debut album, it became Brandy's biggest hit up to that time peaking at #2 on the BB Hot 100 and #30 on the UK Singles chart. The Brandy/Whitney Houston connection continued as the two ladies co-starred in the made-for-TV musical "Cinderella" in 1997 and, after the passing of the legendary singer, Brandy dedicated her 6th studio album, 2012's "Two Eleven", to Whitney Houston.
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Postby jio » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:32 pm

R&B 1995 Top 40 part 3

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1995 was another strong year in R&B, albeit perhaps not as strong as the one before it. The year was dominated by several teenage R&B stars such as Brandy, Aaliyah, Monica and Usher, all of which managed to sustain long careers as they grew up mainly because, unlike their counterparts in pop, they were actually talented and their fame was not based on looks alone. Another trend of the year was the emergence of East Coast rap, challenging the dominance of West Coast derived G-Funk. So this is R&B's best of 1995... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
20.
Freek 'N You-JODECI
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Jodeci were scoring (mostly American) hits since 1991 and, as a result, they are rightly considered one of the most important R&B bands of the decade. That said, I wasn't much of a fan of their music prior to this single. "Freek 'N You", the first single taken from their third studio album was the one which caught my attention. I know, the cover of the single looks like a second page ad of your local lap-dance parlor but the song is indeed about sex, so no problem there. The single became the band's seventh BB Hot 100 Top 40 hit by making it to #14 and their third (and biggest ever) UK hit by making it to #17 on the UK Singles chart. More importantly, "The Show, The After Party, The Hotel", the album promoted by this single, became the most successful of their career going Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic and selling over a million copies in the States alone.

19.
Tonite's Tha Night-KRIS KROSS
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When Kris Kross broke into the rap scene in 1992, not many people expected the band to outlast their debut album. The boys proved everyone wrong as they kept scoring rap hits for the next five years. This single, in which the boys embrace G-Funk, became their biggest hit since their debut single "Jump" by peaking at #12 on the BB Hot 100. All in all, this was the fourth (and final) American Top 40 hit for Kris Kross.

18.
Love Enuff-SOUL II SOUL
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By 1995, the early '90s flag-act of British R&B, Soul II Soul, sounded so out-of-sync with what was considered hot in the R&B world that they were unable to maintain the success of previous years, despite bringing their legendary vocalist Caron Wheeler back into the fold. Still though, their music retained that certain late '80s/early '90s quality and, because of that, they could be very well classified as an act moving in quite a decent way into veteran act territory. This was their comeback single and peaked at #12 on the UK Singles chart. The album from which the single came from failed to maintain the momentum of their previous three offerings and sadly became their first set to miss the UK Top 10 and the American Top 40 .

17.
Like This And Like That-MONICA feat. MR.MALIK
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After Brandy and Aaliyah, Monica was the other star to complete the holy trinity of female teenage R&B divas to emerge in the mid-90s. Like Brandy and Aaliyah, Monica managed to maintain a career with remarkable longevity as the lady released her 5th American Top 10 album only last year. This single was the second taken from her debut album and became her second straight R&B #1, as well as her second American Top 10 hit by peaking at #7 on the BB Hot 100 (as a double a-side along with the ballad "Before You Walk Out Of My Life"). Over in the UK the single peaked at #33. Monica's debut album, "Miss Thang", sold over one and a half million copies in the US alone.

16.
Who Are You-ETERNAL
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By 1995, Eternal had been reduced to a trio but the girls soldiered on. Although their second studio album, "Power Of A Woman" was welcomed with rave reviews in their native UK, it looked as if the girls lost half their inspiration along with departing member Louise, since the first couple of singles "Power Of A Woman" and "I Am Blessed" sounded a bit like "Always And Forever" rejects. However this single (which was bizarrely released only in Japan) showed a band still on top of their game and capable to still create great music if only they'd forget about keeping up with R&B trends. The single became their second Japanese #1 hit at a time when the girls had yet to reach the top of the charts in their native UK.

15.
Best Friend-BRANDY
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It's quite funny that my favorite song from the "Brandy" album (well, after the totally out of this world "I Wanna Be Down") managed to become the smallest hit from that album by far. Whereas all other three singles went Top 10 on the BB Hot 100, this one just managed to crawl to #34 on that same chart. That doesn't mean anything though as this song has aged so much better than, for example, the biggest hit from that album, "Baby". Moreover, it also has undoubtedly the best "Brandy" video to go with it.

14.
Red Light Special-T.L.C.
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There were some steamy songs and videos in the mid-90s but few reached the levels of hotness this little TLC ditty had. The girls who once appeared with baggy trousers, patches over their eyes, oversized eye-glasses and condoms hanging left right and centre had evolved to three gorgeous ladies whose singing became orgasmic for some of us. "Red Light Special" was another massive hit from the "CrazySexyCool" album reaching #2 on the BB Hot 100 and #18 on the UK Singles chart.

13.
I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By-METHOD MAN feat. MARY J. BLIGE
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Mary's music was based on sampling and the whole rap genre was based on sampling too. So it was only logical that the two would meet sooner rather than later. That hapenned with this smash single which samples the infamous hook from Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "You're All I Need To Get By". The Method Man/Mary J. Blige version became a huge hit peaking at #3 on the BB Hot 100 and #10 on the UK Singles chart, positions which were actually higher than any prior Mary J. Blige single in either territory. It also became Method Man's breakthrough and biggest ever hit, despite the rapper having a career which continues strong until today.

12.
Shy Guy-DIANA KING
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Now that I think about it, it is just amazing how many artists from Jamaica made it big in the '90s. Diana King was just the latest in a long list which includes the likes Shabba Ranks and Dawn Penn. Well, "Shy Guy" was THE reggae hit of 1995 and the song which shot Diana King to superstardom. It was helped of course by its inclusion in the soundtrack of the Will Smith film "Bad Boys" but the song was good enough to make it even if it had been released on its own. It peaked at #13 on the BB Hot 100 and #2 on the UK Singles chart. Unfortunately this was the only time Diana would enter the Top 40 of either country with an original track. Her only other hits are two rather uninspired versions of Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" and Aretha Franklin's "I Say A Little Prayer".

11.
Gangsta's Paradise-COOLIO feat. L.V.
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Had this countdown been compiled ten or more years ago, this would have easily been my #1 for the year. A massive hit indeed, the song went where no other rap song before it had in the charts by spending three weeks on top of the BB Hot 100 (and becoming the biggest hit single of 1995 in the US officially) and by spending two weeks on top of the UK Singles chart. The song was included in the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film "Dangerous Minds" and began a rather short-lived career for Coolio who scored a total of six BB Hot 100 top 40 hits and seven UK Top 40 hit singles, mostly proving that his "Gangsta's Paradise" inspiration was just an accident and a rather obscure career for L.V. as the singer in many many rap records. The reason this song ranks a bit low in my chart is because it has become way overplayed over the years. Yet, nobody can deny it's a fantastic record all the same.
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Postby Play » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:57 pm

Gangsta Paradise is still in my phone, timeless record!
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Postby Phoenixx » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:30 am

Think Of You - Usher
Gangstas Paradise - Coolio
8-) 8-) 8-)
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Postby jio » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:49 am

R&B 1995 Top 40 part 4

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1995 was another strong year in R&B, albeit perhaps not as strong as the one before it. The year was dominated by several teenage R&B stars such as Brandy, Aaliyah, Monica and Usher, all of which managed to sustain long careers as they grew up mainly because, unlike their counterparts in pop, they were actually talented and their fame was not based on looks alone. Another trend of the year was the emergence of East Coast rap, challenging the dominance of West Coast derived G-Funk. So this is R&B's best of 1995... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
10.
3 Is Family-DANA DAWSON
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Although most people in English-speaking countries discovered this American artist only in 1995 through this single, Dana had actually been a recording artist for more than 7 years already, albeit her success was limited in France. Indeed, Dana had already four French Top 20 hits under her belt with the older ("Ready To Follow You") having being a hit as far back as 1988. However, "3 Is Family" is the song which broke through for Dana in the UK where it peaked at #9 on the Singles chart. Two more UK hits followed. Sadly, Dana died of colon cancer when she was just 36, same age as me. RIP

09.
Mary Jane (All Night Long)-MARY J. BLIGE
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"Mary Jane" was the opening track of Mary's sophomore "My Life" album. Used here as a sample is one of the most famous basslines of all-times, the one from Mary Jane Girls' '80s R&B hit "All Night Long", composed by legendary Rick James and sampled also by LL Cool J. in his 1990 single "Around The Way Girl". Of course Mary had no intention of hiding the very obvious sample which is why she named her song "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" which is basically a word play of the song's chorus, the name of the original song and artist and her own name. The song peaked at #17 on the UK Singles chart.

08.
I Care (Soul II Soul)-SOUL II SOUL
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This was the second (and final) single taken from Soul II Soul's 1995 album "Believe", which is a shame because, as this song suggests, there were plenty of gems left to release in that album, arguably Soul II Soul's best up to then. However the mediocre commercial performance of first single "Love Enuff" as well as of this one (which peaked at #17 on the UK Singles chart) sent the band back into the drawing board. That said, this song, as well as the whole "Believe" album, has to be one of the most underrated 1995 releases.

07.
Exhale (Shoop Shoop)-WHITNEY HOUSTON
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I have to be honest, it took me over a decade to appreciate this song. Tbh, the first time I saw it on MTV, I was wondering how Whitney could release such a weak song as her comeback single after "The Bodyguard" smash. Turns out though, that this soulful little song has more power and depth in it than many of Whitney's more famous hits (including "I Will Always Love You"). The song was taken from the soundtrack of the second Whitney movie "Waiting To Exhale" and yes, it is the song that Brandy hums to on the beginning of the video of her own "Waiting To Exhale" single "Sittin' Up In My Room". Although the song spent just 1 week on top of the BB Hot 100, it did spent no less than 11 (!!!) weeks stuck at #2 behind one of the most overrated hits of that year. It was also Whitney's 11th (and final) American #1 hit, a number which at the time put her in a tie with Madonna for most #1s among solo female artists. In the UK the song was far less successful peaking at a mere #11 on the Singles chart.

06.
I Love You-MARY J. BLIGE
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And here is another curiosity. What is by far the best ballad on Mary's "My Life" album received the most understated release possible. In the UK it was released without a video resulting in a big fat flop whereas in the US it was just released as the lesser song in a double a-side along with "You Bring Me Joy". Despite all that, the song received enough airplay to peak at #60 on the pop charts and the song has become a staple in Mary's concerts.

05.
Waterfalls-T.L.C.
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This was the song where TLC stopped being just the best R&B band on the planet but became legends. That's because they managed to release a socially conscious funky gospel-influenced song, dealing with crime, AIDS and other afflictions of modern society. The song was an undeniable smash by spending 7 weeks on top of the BB Hot 100 and becoming the first ever UK Top 10 hit for the girls by peaking at #4. So why do I rank it so low? Well, the overplayed factor once again. I love TLC to death and I can still listen to this song, however by now I know every word of it, even Lisa's rap and they have better songs in my opinion so...

04.
I Got 5 On It-LUNIZ
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And here is my biggest rap hit for the year. This song burned the clubs back in 1995 and provided a major smash for until-then unknown Luniz. The single peaked as high as #3 on the UK Singles chart and #8 on the BB Hot 100. The lyrics of the song (which talk about the price of marijuana on the streets) caused quite a controversy in American radio and as a result several alternate versions of the song with slightly altered lyrics were released as to not offend middle America. The bassline of the song remains one of the most recognizable in rap ever and it has been sampled by a number of artists including Puff Daddy, R. Kelly, The Game, Lloyd Banks, Nas, Jennifer Lopez, Lil' Bow Wow and even Jessica Simpson.

03.
Every Little Thing I Do-SOUL 4 REAL
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This was the second (and final) American hit for this band who had already scored a massive American Top 10 with "Candy Rain". However, this second single (which peaked at #17 on the BB Hot 100) is by far the personal favorite of mine from the boys. Watch the video for appearances of many other R&B stars of the time such as Total, The Lost Boyz and Heavy D.

02.
Freak Like Me-ADINA HOWARD
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Adina was something like the Sabrina Salerno of R&B. With song and album titles such as "Do You Wanna Ride?", "My Up And Down", "Let You Hit", "Chocolate (Cuties & Condoms)", "Nasty Grind" and "Hips", it was obvious what was the favorite activity of the lady. The formula worked successfully for Adina only on this single which became THE signature R&B hit of 1995 and guaranteed that Adina's name has a place in the history of music forever. The song peaked at #2 on the BB Hot 100 and at #33 on the UK Singles chart. In the latter market, it took a rocked-up cover by the Sugababes to finally send the song to #1 seven years later.

01.
Tell Me-GROOVE THEORY
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My #1 for 1995 wasn't really my favorite R&B song of the year back in the day, that would have probably been "Waterfalls", "Freak Like Me" or "Gangsta's Paradise". But this record has stood the test of time much better than the songs above and, as a result, today it is my favorite song to come from that year. The song peaked at #5 on the BB Hot 100 and at #31 on the UK Singles chart and remains the only hit for the band in either territory. Despite Groove Theory being an one-hit wonder, they did release two studio albums both of which have this classic R&B quality to them. Most underrated R&B band of the '90s? Quite possibly so...

most mentions so far:
* features receive just half a point
Code: Select all
1. (6) Mary J. Blige    9.5
2. (2) Soul II Soul   8
3. (-) T.L.C.     8
4. (3) Dr. Dre      6.5
5. (7) Prince     6
6. (1) En Vogue     6
7. (9) Janet Jackson    6
8. (-) Eternal     6
9. (4) Ice Cube    5.5         
10.(5) Snoop Dogg   5.5
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Postby Dragon » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:53 am

Gangsta's Paradise-COOLIO feat. L.V.
love it. :)
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Postby Benny » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:15 am

1995 had some great R&B songs, I like all these:

32. Scream-MICHAEL JACKSON & JANET JACKSON
21. Sittin' Up In My Room-BRANDY
12. Shy Guy-DIANA KING
11. Gangsta's Paradise-COOLIO feat. L.V.
07. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)-WHITNEY HOUSTON
05. Waterfalls-T.L.C.
04. I Got 5 On It-LUNIZ
02. Freak Like Me-ADINA HOWARD
01. Tell Me-GROOVE THEORY
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Postby jio » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:37 am

R&B 1996 Top 40 part 1

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1996 was a pivotal year in the history of R&B. For one thing, the genre had really truly arrived at the top of the charts and perhaps this accounts for the lack of extraordinarily good releases this year. Things seemed to be in a flux with few new names emerging and close to no new trends making themselves apparent in the genre during that year. As a result, 1996 was one of the weakest years of the '90s in R&B. However, historically speaking the R&B world was rocked by the murder of rapper 2Pac in September of 1996. That murder (and the possible implication of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in it), led to the realization by the masses that the gangsta life so many rappers were singing about, as well as the East Coast/West Coast rivalry were real and dangerous. It also confirmed the demise of the historical Death Row label (which was on its way out ever since Dr. Dre abandoned it) with the incarceration of its boss Surge Knight for criminal activities. So it was a flux in R&B combined with a completely changed legal and moral environment in hip-hop which would change everything the following years. This is R&B's best of 1996... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
40.
Hit Me Off-NEW EDITION
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New Edition were of course one of the biggest R&B bands of the '80s and one of the biggest child acts of all times. The band, fronted by a very young Bobby Brown achieved fame as far back as 1983 with the R&B #1 hit "Candy Girl". Another two R&B #1s would follow before Bobby Brown being voted out of the band for erratic behavior in 1985. Faced with the prospect of yet another one of the band's leading vocalists heading for the exit, the band introduced Johnny Gill as Bobby's replacement but after just one more album and one more R&B #1 the band called it a day. Most members did achieve a respectable solo career, the biggest of which was of course Bobby Brown's who scored 9 BB Hot 100 Top 10 hits (including three #1s) and no less than six R&B #1s in his own right. Besides Bobby, Johnny Gill scored four solo R&B #1s, Ralph Tresvant scored one R&B #1 whereas the three remaining members (Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins) formed their own band called Bell Biv Devoe and through that band scored four R&B #1 hits of their own. By 1996 however, the solo career of all ex-members was in serious decline so New Edition reformed. The 1996 line-up of the band was actually a unique one as it included both Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill. Although the comeback single could have been a far better track, the song rose on the charts helped by the comeback factor and peaked at #3 on the BB Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts, becoming, as a result, their biggest hit ever. Over in the UK the song became New Edition's third hit single by making it to #20 on the Singles chart. This successful new formation though didn't last long. During their 1996 tour, Bobby Brown's erratic behavior surfaced again and the singer had to quit the band for the second time, almost exactly 10 years after his first departure.

39.
Secrets-ETERNAL
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This was the fourth and final single taken from Eternal's sophomore album "Power Of A Woman". It promptly became the band's ninth UK Top 10 hit by peaking at #9 on the Singles chart but, despite the commercial success of their singles, the band seemed to miss something of the magic their debut had. Eternal's experiments with more Americanized sound in singles such as "Power Of A Woman", "Good Thing" or the Whitney Houston-copying ballad "I Am Blessed" sounded uninspired which is another reason why a song as simple as this one sounded like the best thing they released since their debut album. So the band was in desperate need for a change of direction before the Top 10 hits stop coming and that's exactly what they did a year later.

38.
If You Really Cared-GABRIELLE
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By 1996, Gabrielle had adopted a more classic soul sound for her sophomore self-titled album and that sound suited the singer well. "If You Really Cared" was the third single taken from that album and restored the injustice done with the previous one (the more pop "Forget About The World" which surprisingly missed the Top 20 despite being a fab song) by returning Gabrielle to the Top 20. The single peaked at #15 on the UK Singles chart, confirming Gabrielle's position as the UK's prime R&B lady of that time .

37.
Nobody Knows-TONY RICH PROJECT
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I am running the danger of putting everyone to sleep with a third ballad in a row but 1996 was a year when the R&B ballads were stronger than other years and the club songs were weaker. Tony Rich debuted big with this romantic song which combines R&B with acoustic guitar. As a result the song appealed on both sides of the Atlantic easily and went Top 5 almost everywhere. It peaked at #2 on the BB Hot 100 and at #4 on the UK Singles chart. Despite the ambitious inclusion of the word "project" as the official name of the act in question, Tony Rich just managed one more international hit before he disappeared from the music world for good.

36.
California Love-2PAC feat. DR. DRE
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Responding to the rap challenge coming from the East Coast, West Coast's biggest rap stars, i.e. Dr. Dre and 2Pac teamed in this California-praising club anthem which became one of the biggest hits of 1996 by spending two weeks on top of the BB Hot 100 and peaking at #6 on the UK Singles chart. Those chart positions mean of course that the song became the biggest ever hit for both acts involved. It was both acts' first ever #1 hit. 2Pac was scoring hits since 1993 and "California Love" became his fourth BB Hot 100 Top 40 hit and his second here in Europe. The irony is that 2Pac's popularity kept peaking throughout 1996 due to very successful singles but went through the roof later on that year thanks to a sad incident in September.

35.
Ready Or Not-THE FUGEES
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Jamaica was exporting a star per year during the '90s but their 1996 export proved different. Different because it was far bigger in terms of success than any of the Jamaican acts preceeding it and because (with the exception of a rather weak cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry") it was not a reggae but a hip-hop act. Why Europe ignored the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube the years before but became fixated with this act in 1996 remains a mystery to me but it might have something to do with timing as R&B/Hip-Hop was never as popular in the old continent as it was in 1996. The song spent 2 weeks on top of the UK Singles chart but failed to enter the upper portion of the BB Hot 100, perhaps due to better taste on the side of the Americans. The song's success didn't come without cost to the band since they had to settle out of court with new age diva Enya, whose song "Boadicea" the band sampled for this single without permission. The more obvious song "Ready Or Not" samples is the much much better "Ready Or Not Here I Come" by the Delfonics

34.
Who Do You Love-DEBORAH COX
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Not much to say about this single besides the fact that I remember clearly I was surprised when I first saw the video on MTV. I was surprised by Deborah's styling as I was used to see all R&B singers in ghetto looks with baggy trousers and/or sexy outfits by then. A girl singing in everyday clothes was a bit bizarre to me back then but it was yet another sign of R&B slowly taking a prominent place among music genres. The song became Deborah's second international hit by peaking at #17 on the BB Hot 100 and #31 on the UK Singles chart.

33.
Bow Down-WESTSIDE CONNECTION
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Another phenomenon which can be considered mostly a '90s one is the creation of supergroups, that is a number of already famous artists coming together for a limited amount of time to create a new group usually with the aim of resurrecting the careers of all involved due to their combined popularity. Westside Connection was comprised of Ice Cube, Mac 10 and WC. The experiment was successful since the supergroup's debut album sold over a million copies in the US alone, whereas this single became the biggest hit in the careers of all three rappers by making it to #2 on the BB Hot 100. The three rappers repeated the Westside Connection experiment seven years later with not as successful results.

32.
Ain't Nobody-MONICA feat. TREACH
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Monica spent most of 1996 releasing singles off her "Miss Thang" debut album. This was the fourth and final single taken from the album, albeit released as a double a-side along with "Why I Love You So Much". The single climbed as high as #9 on the BB Hot 100 becoming the 4th straight Top 10 for Monica, a sum much better than both her teenage contemporaries Brandy and Aaliyah.

31.
This Is For The Lover In You-BABYFACE feat. LL COOL J., HOWARD HEWETT, JODY WATLEY & JEFFREY DANIEL
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Babyface is far more well-known as the producer supremo responsible for much of the biggest R&B hits of the '90s and beyond including his work with everyone that matters in the genre. As a songwriter, Babyface has achieved no less than 30 R&B #1 hits with songs performed by Boyz II Men, T.L.C., Tevin Campbell, After 7, The Boyz, Bobby Brown, Damien Dame, Pebbles, Az Yet, Johnny Gill, Faith Evans, Mary J. Blige, The Whispers, The MacBand, Karyn White and Troop. He also composed and/or produced six Hot 100 #1 hits (Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road" and "I'll Make Love To You", Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "Exhale", Madonna's "Take A Bow" and Toni Braxton's "You're Making Me High"). Much lesser known though is that Babyface had a successful career as a performer too. The man had no less than 12 Hot 100 Top 40 hits (six of which went Top 10) and five UK hits. One of his biggest was this 1996 song which peaked at #6 on the BB Hot 100 and at #12 on the UK Singles chart. The song features a number of a-list stars. "This Is For The Lover In You" became the 8th Top 40 hit for LL Cool J. on both the BB Hot 100 and the UK Singles chart and the 8th BB Hot 100 Top 40 and 5th UK Top 40 hit for Jody Watley.
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Postby jio » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:58 pm

R&B 1996 Top 40 part 2

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1996 was a pivotal year in the history of R&B. For one thing, the genre had really truly arrived at the top of the charts and perhaps this accounts for the lack of extraordinarily good releases this year. Things seemed to be in a flux with few new names emerging and close to no new trends making themselves apparent in the genre during that year. As a result, 1996 was one of the weakest years of the '90s in R&B. However, historically speaking the R&B world was rocked by the murder of rapper 2Pac in September of 1996. That murder (and the possible implication of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in it), led to the realization by the masses that the gangsta life so many rappers were singing about, as well as the East Coast/West Coast rivalry were real and dangerous. It also confirmed the demise of the historical Death Row label (which was on its way out ever since Dr. Dre abandoned it) with the incarceration of its boss Surge Knight for criminal activities. So it was a flux in R&B combined with a completely changed legal and moral environment in hip-hop which would change everything the following years. This is R&B's best of 1996... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
30.
Been There Done That-DR. DRE
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In 1996, Dr. Dre's sophomore album (of sorts) called "The Aftermath" was released. The album found Dr. Dre a changed artist altogether. He had quit the Death Row label (which seemed to be slipping into irrelevance without him) and despite him being involved in several of the biggest gangsta-rap hits of the year such as "California Love", he proclaimed "Gangsta rap is dead", found his own label called also "Aftermath" and he released this peculiar album as the first release of his label. The album introduces several new artists signed on his label and spends half its duration focused on R&B rather than rap. Despite that, it does include several hip-hop tracks including this one (which proclaims that Dr. Dre is not interested on gangsta-rap because he's been there, done that). The song and album were more of a shock rather than a success, the single didn't do much on the charts and none of the new artists Dr. Dre presented through "The Aftermath" album managed to have a successful career. Looking back at it now, the album was no "Chronic" but it was quite good and it remains very underrated. Despite this flop, Dr. Dre's "Aftermath" label would become a tremendous success in the following years by signing up artists such as Eminem, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar.

29.
Fu-Gee-La-THE FUGEES
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This was the Fugees' breakthrough hit. It is based on a re-working of the chorus of Teena Marie's "Ooh La La La" and it became a midtable hit for The Fugees by peaking at #29 on the BB Hot 100 and #21 on the UK Singles chart. Still though, it was the first (and in my opinion best) single taken from the six-times platinum album "The Score" and it was the song that first brought Lauryn Hill into popular attention. Although in my opinion both Lauryn and The Fugees are two of the most overrated hip-hop/R&B acts ever, the magic of this song is unquestionable.

28.
You're The One-S.W.V.
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SWV had released one of the best R&B albums of all-time with their debut "It's About Time". So it was kind of weird that their sophomore album in 1996 was called "A New Beginning" as if they weren't interested in acknowledging their debut's legacy. In the end, it was really a new beginning for the girls as their second album was a major letdown in comparison to their debut. Gone were the major hooks, crazy beats and beautiful ballads of their debut, what we got instead was middle-of-the-road R&B tracks of the type every act of the genre and their brother did in 1996. As a result the girls' popularity reached its nadir. This single was the first one taken from the album and the only one which could be compared to any of the "It's About Time" singles in terms of quality. It became a hit by peaking at #5 on the BB Hot 100 and #13 on the UK Singles chart. It also became SWV's third (and final) R&B #1 hit .

27.
Renee-THE LOST BOYZ
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This was the only hit ever for the Lost Boyz, a hip-hop band which nevertheless managed four R&B Top 40 hits during 1996 and 1997. The song's lyrics, like the lyrics of most other songs on their debut album "Legal Drug Money", were describing true stories. The single peaked at #33 on the BB Hot 100. One of the band's members, Freaky Tah, was murdered in 1999 whereas another one, Spring Nice, was convicted to 37 years in prison for multiple bank robberies in 2004 .

26.
Count On Me-WHITNEY HOUSTON & CECE WINANS
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This inspirational soul ballad was the second Whitney Houston single to be taken from the soundtrack of the motion picture "Waiting To Exhale". It became Whitney's 19th BB Hot 100 Top 10 hit by peaking at #8 and her 20th UK Top 20 hit by peaking at #12. Cece Winans is her duet partner in this song, Cece is of course one half of the gospel act Bebe & Cece Winans which had achieved 20 Christian & Gospel Top 40 hits (including four genre #1s) in between 1984 and 2010. The act crossed over to the pop charts in 2009 when their 9th album "Still" made it to #12 on the BB 200 albums chart.

25.
This Is How It Works-T.L.C.
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The "Waiting To Exhale" soundtrack, besides being the vehicle for three brand new Whitney Houston songs, it was basically a Babyface album as the composer had composed and/or produced most songs on the album and the majority of those songs were brand new material by some of the biggest acts in the R&B world. This was a brand new song by TLC whose popularity had hit sky-high levels after the eleven-times platinum success of their sophomore album "CrazySexyCool". So, despite this never being released as a single, radio picked it up anyway and it managed to peak at #60 on R&B airplay, based on the strength of the names of TLC and Babyface, the popularity of the album and of course the quality of the song itself.

24.
Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)-MAXWELL
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Occupying a similar position as the neo-soul movement's supremo of the year, as D'Angelo did in 1995, Maxwell broke big on the R&B scene in 1996 with this mellow single. The single peaked at #36 on the BB Hot 100 and at #28 on the UK Singles chart and pushed Maxwell's debut album "Urban Hang Suite" to double-platinum territory in the US. The arrival of Maxwell was perhaps the most refreshing development in the R&B world during 1996 as it suggested renewed interest for a more classic R&B sound, which had become obsolete in R&B radio ever since the arrival of gangsta rap and new-jack swing.

23.
Doin' It-LL COOL J. feat. LESHAUN
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Although LL Cool J. had his more hard and even gangsta moments, his strength was always more apparent in soft songs about sex. So after four years with minimum chart success, LL returned in this type of commercial rap with his sixth studio album "Mr. Smith" and the crowd responded accordingly. The album went two times platinum (the first LL Cool J album to do so in five years) and this single became a transatlantic Top 20 hit by peaking at #9 on the BB Hot 100 and #15 on the UK Singles chart, becoming the second most successful LL Cool J single up to that time after "Hey Lover" also taken from the "Mr. Smith" album.

22.
Thank God It's Friday-R. KELLY
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Another act who was having great success during the mid-90s as both a performer and a composer was R.Kelly. The man had just composed an international #1 hit for perhaps the biggest name in pop ever (Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone"), was on his way for a five-times platinum album with his self-titled sophomore album and was also responsible for ex-girlfriend Aaliyah's double platinum debut "Age Ain't Nuthin' But A Number". In this single, the third taken from the "R. Kelly" album, he showed some variety by abandoning his usual ballads for a more funky retro sound. The song became R.Kelly's 8th UK hit by making it to #14 on the UK Singles chart.

21.
Return Of The Mack-MARK MORRISON
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As Eternal were cooling down, it was this male singer who appeared to fill the void as the poster child of the British R&B scene. Although Mark had already two minor UK hits from the previous year, this was the single that propelled him to superstardom. After spending two weeks on top of the UK Singles chart, the song crossed over to the States as well where it peaked at #2 on the BB Hot 100. Next up was a re-release of his previous single "Crazy" which became his second straight UK Top 10 hit and a debut album which sold over 3 million copies worldwide .
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Postby jio » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:31 pm

R&B 1996 Top 40 part 3

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1996 was a pivotal year in the history of R&B. For one thing, the genre had really truly arrived at the top of the charts and perhaps this accounts for the lack of extraordinarily good releases this year. Things seemed to be in a flux with few new names emerging and close to no new trends making themselves apparent in the genre during that year. As a result, 1996 was one of the weakest years of the '90s in R&B. However, historically speaking the R&B world was rocked by the murder of rapper 2Pac in September of 1996. That murder (and the possible implication of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in it), led to the realization by the masses that the gangsta life so many rappers were singing about, as well as the East Coast/West Coast rivalry were real and dangerous. It also confirmed the demise of the historical Death Row label (which was on its way out ever since Dr. Dre abandoned it) with the incarceration of its boss Surge Knight for criminal activities. So it was a flux in R&B combined with a completely changed legal and moral environment in hip-hop which would change everything the following years. This is R&B's best of 1996... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
20.
Dead Presidents-JAY-Z
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This 1996 release was one of the first in what is probably the most successful career in rap ever. Jay-Z has amassed 20 American hit albums with no less than thirteen (yes, thirteen) of them reaching the top of the albums chart. He has also accumulated 41 BB Hot 100 Top 40 entries as both lead and featured artist, four of which have reached the top. His success in the UK has been less but still pretty much spectacular too. 41 UK Top 40 hits, 4 #1s but just 1 chart-topping album. Despite that, even in the UK, Jay-Z has amassed eleven Top 40 albums which is no small feat. This was his second release ever and failed to become a hit. It samples Lonnie-Liston Smith's "Garden Of Piece" and it is considered such a pivotal song in Jay-Z's career that the rapper recorded another two versions of the song. Part II is basically the album version of the single and it contains altered lyrics whereas part III was recorded for his 2003 "Black Album" although it never really made the cut. The song is also responsible for beginning the infamous feud between Jay-Z and Nas, after the latter rapper refused to participate in the song.

19.
Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)-R. KELLY feat. THE ISLEY BROTHERS
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Promoted with what was arguably one of the most touching music videos of the year, "Down Low" became R. Kelly's biggest hit for the year by peaking at #4 on the BB Hot 100 and #21 on the UK Singles chart. The song's video is basically a ghetto remake of the 1946 film "Gilda". The song features legendary Isley Brothers, a band who had scored ten BB Hot 100 Top 40 hits between 1962 and 1980 and this was their first since. Still though, the Isleys were going through a period of rennaisance of their own at the time. The band had scored no less than 4 R&B Top 40 hits during 1996. This particular track reached #1 on R&B, it was the 5th R. Kelly and the 7th Isley Brothers' single to do so.

18.
All The Things (Your Man Won't Do)-JOE
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This ballad became Joe's breakthrough hit in the States, although it was his third hit in the UK. It peaked at #11 on the BB Hot 100 and #34 on the UK Singles chart. It was the first single taken from his sophomore album "All That I Am" and helped propel that album to platinum sales in the US. Joe's best career period was yet to come though, that came during the turn of the century with him scoring two BB Hot 100 #1 hits

17.
Let It Flow-TONI BRAXTON
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This fab song was Toni Braxton's participation in the all-star soundtrack of the Whitney Houston film "Waiting To Exhale". The song remains one of the most underrated in Toni's discography because, despite having its own video, it was only released as the lesser song in a double-a side single along with the club-ready "You're Making Me High". Still though, this is typical Toni Braxton and definitely one of the best R&B ballads of 1996.

16.
Twisted-KEITH SWEAT feat. KUT KLOSE & PRETTY RUSS
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Keith Sweat had not scored a hit in the States since 1991's "Keep It Coming". This R&B ballad changed that big time though as it became Keith Sweat's biggest hit ever by peaking at #2 on the BB Hot 100. It also became Keith's first hit in the UK in 8 years, although not his biggest, by making it to #39 on the UK Singles chart. This mini-revival of Keith's career lasted until the end of the decade with the singer scoring an additional four BB Hot 100 Top 20 hits in between 1996 and 1999.

15.
Stranger In Moscow-MICHAEL JACKSON
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And those 1996 R&B ballads keep on coming... This was the fifth and final single taken from Michael's "History" album and, like many other songs in that album, deals with loneliness and persecution from the media. Musically though, it's probably one of the most interesting Michael Jackson songs ever, as it combines modern beats with a sound reminiscent of both '80s R&B and new wave. The song wasn't a hit in the States but it promptly became Michael Jackson's 41st UK Top 10 hit by making it to #4 on the UK Singles chart.

14.
You're Making Me High-TONI BRAXTON
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Toni returned back to the charts during 1996 with a double a-side containing her "Waiting To Exhale" track "Let It Flow" and this funky track, showcasing the brand new red-hot Toni Braxton. The single became a massive success. It became Toni's first ever BB Hot 100 #1 hit and also became the singer's second UK Top 10 hit by peaking at #7 on the UK Singles chart. The "Secrets" album, from which this single came from, sold almost 15 million copies worldwide, turning Toni Braxton into one of the most successful music acts of 1996 and the decade as a whole.

13.
Horny-MARK MORRISON
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Mark kept scoring during 1996. This ultra-funky single became the singer's fourth straight UK Top 10 hit by peaking at #5 on the UK Singles chart. Not much I can say about this song, other than it is my favorite Mark Morrison song ever and one of my biggest memories of that year.

12.
Always Be My Baby-MARIAH CAREY
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This mellow R&B song became Mariah Carey's 11th BB Hot 100 #1 hit, thus tying Madonna and Whitney Houston for most American #1s ever among solo females. It took Mariah Carey just under seven years to amount 11 #1s, whereas it took 12 for Madonna and 11 for Whitney Houston. More impressively Mariah Carey's 11 American #1 hits had spent a combined 56 weeks on top of the charts, whereas Whitney's spent 31 weeks and Madonna's 28 weeks. That amazing success remained largely confined to the American charts though since the singer was still far behind both Whitney and Madonna in terms of success over in the UK. Still though, this single became the biggest UK hit from her international chart-topping "Daydream" album as well as her 12th (and 11th straight) UK Top 10 hit by peaking at #3 on the UK Singles chart.

11.
If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)-NAS feat. LAURYN HILL
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What is generally considered one of the best rap songs ever was the first hit single for both Nas and Fugees' member Lauryn Hill, who was just beginning her short-lived but ultra-successful solo career. The song is basically a remake of Kurtis Blow's song of the same name with much deeper lyrics but also samples the Delfonics' "Walk Right Up To The Sun" and Whodini's "Friends". The song peaked at #12 on the UK Singles chart and pushed its parent album to sales of over 2 million copies in the States alone. To date, Nas has led a remarkably successful career which includes five American #1 albums (including all three of his studio album releases since 2006).
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Postby jio » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:29 pm

R&B 1996 Top 40 part 4

Image

1996 was a pivotal year in the history of R&B. For one thing, the genre had really truly arrived at the top of the charts and perhaps this accounts for the lack of extraordinarily good releases this year. Things seemed to be in a flux with few new names emerging and close to no new trends making themselves apparent in the genre during that year. As a result, 1996 was one of the weakest years of the '90s in R&B. However, historically speaking the R&B world was rocked by the murder of rapper 2Pac in September of 1996. That murder (and the possible implication of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in it), led to the realization by the masses that the gangsta life so many rappers were singing about, as well as the East Coast/West Coast rivalry were real and dangerous. It also confirmed the demise of the historical Death Row label (which was on its way out ever since Dr. Dre abandoned it) with the incarceration of its boss Surge Knight for criminal activities. So it was a flux in R&B combined with a completely changed legal and moral environment in hip-hop which would change everything the following years. This is R&B's best of 1996... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
10.
Not Gon' Cry-MARY J. BLIGE
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This was Mary J.'s contribution to the soundtrack of the motion picture "Waiting To Exhale". Like all other singles from the soundtrack, Babyface composed this song but unlike most other Mary J.'s singles, the song was a complete original, not based on any sample. The song's lyrics were inspired by the movie itself and the song easily became both the movie's and Mary's own career's second biggest hit (and her biggest hit of the '90s) by peaking at #2 on the BB Hot 100 and #39 on the UK Singles chart. The song was included as a bonus track on Mary J.'s third studio album the following year and it probably marks the final song in Mary's first period of career (when her music was great instead of just good).

09.
Loungin' (Who Do Ya Love)-LL COOL J. feat. TOTAL
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Released in a remixed version featuring an additional sample of Bernard Wright's "Who Do You Love", this song was a surprise success for LL Cool J. as it peaked at #3 on the BB Hot 100 and #7 on the UK SIngles Chart, thus becoming his first ever international Top 10 hit. The song features R&B girl group Total, a band which scored six BB Hot 100 Top 40 hits in between 1994 and 1998. "Loungin'" was by far the biggest hit ever for Total as well.

08.
Un-Break My Heart-TONI BRAXTON
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This was the song that turned Toni from a sensation into a megastar. This is one of those ballads which remain forever part of our collective memory and signify a period in our lives. Once again, as with many of the biggest ballads of the '90s, the people responsible for "Unbreak My Heart" were no other than the pair of Dianne Warren and David Foster but, without Toni's distinctive voice this song wouldn't have been half as good. The single became Toni's biggest hit ever by spending a massive eleven weeks on top of the BB Hot 100 and peaking at #2 on the UK Singles Chart.

07.
If Your Girl Only Knew-AALIYAH
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And here is another song which turned its performer from a sensation into a superstar. Initially Aaliyah had become famous as one of the biggest R&B teenage sensations to emerge in the mid-90s but, shortly after, she became more famous for her scandalous annulled marriage with R. Kelly, the artist responsible for her debut album. So Aaliyah abandoned her artistic coupling with R. Kelly becoming instead the muse of upcoming (and far more talented) Timbaland. The first result of this pairing was this massive single which peaked at #11 on the BB Hot 100 and #21 on the UK Singles Chart. The collaboration between Aaliyah and Timbaland continued into Aaliyah's self-titled third studio album which remains one of the best R&B albums of modern times and Aaliyah's sad swan song.

06.
No Diggity-BLACKSTREET feat. DR. DRE, QUEEN PENN & TEDDEY RILEY
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Although Dr. Dre is responsible for some of the most classic rap albums and hits ever, both of his #1s as a performer came during 1996 and in both he was the featured artist. One of them was of course 2Pac's "California Love" and the other one was this little jam. This was the biggest of the two spending one month on top of the BB Hot 100 and peaking at #9 on the UK Singles Chart. This was also the career peak for Blackstreet who nevertheless managed a total of five BB Hot 100 Top 40 and 13 UK Top 40 hits. "No Diggity" became a hit in the UK for the second time this year (2013), when it climbed as high as #13 on the charts.

05.
They Don't Care About Us-MICHAEL JACKSON
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And just when Aaliyah and Toni Braxton were entering their artistic peak, Michael Jackson released what was arguably his last great song. "They Don't Care About Us" was the fourth (and most widely expected) single from his "Dangerous" album. Although it failed to repeat the #1 UK peaks of the two previous singles, it definitely remains far more memorable than either "Earth Song" or "You Are Not Alone". The initial video caused quite a controversy in Brazil, the country where the prisons it depicts are located, since the images portrayed were in contrast to the country's fast developing economy and to its Olympics hosting dreams. In the end Michael Jackson released a rather uninteresting new video for the song (in a move mimicked by Madonna in a far worse way with her "American Life" fiasco seven years later) and Brazil failed to win the Olympics. Still though, all that didn't stop the song becoming another massive hit for Jackson, at least here in Europe. "They Don't Care About Us" peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart and #30 on the BB Hot 100. Among the many artists inspired by Michael Jackson is also one of Greece's best-selling ones who released this awfully bad cover of "They Don't Care About Us" this year

04.
How Do U Want It-2PAC feat. K-CI & JOJO
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This was the biggest hit ever for rapper 2Pac and one of the most memorable rap songs of 1996. Released as a double a-side single with "California Love", the song spent 2 weeks on top of the BB Hot 100 and peaked at #7 on the UK Singles Chart. Featured on the single are K-Ci & JoJo, two thirds of R&B band Jodeci. As a duo, K-Ci & Jojo scored a total of seven Top 40 hits in both the UK Singles Chart and the BB Hot 100. "How Do You Want It/California Love" was 2Pac's career peak. Unfortunately just 3 months after the release of this single, 2Pac was shot dead, putting an abrupt end to one of the most promising rap careers of the time. Despite his death, 2Pac's legend kept on growing posthumously. 2Pac had only scored 2 American Top 10 albums while he was still alive (albeit both #1s) whereas he scored no less than 9 Top 10 albums after his death. In the UK, both of 2Pac's Top 20 albums were released posthumously. Over on the single charts, 2Pac scored five BB Hot 100 Top 40 hits while he was alive and six after his death. Over in the UK the difference was even bigger: four Top 40 hits while he was still alive but no less than 14 after his death. RIP

03.
Give Me A Little More Time-GABRIELLE
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Although Gabrielle had scored one of the biggest hits of 1993 with "Dreams", few people realised the lady was here to stay prior to the release of this single. This comeback song placed Gabrielle right to the top of UK's female R&B artists' list by combining modern and classic. It peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart pushing its parent self-titled album to platinum sales in the UK, a far better result than what her debut, "Find Your Way" had achieved.

02.
Don't Let Go (Love)-EN VOGUE
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In a year so filled up with mega-R&B-ballads, it was a veteran girl group which easily managed to have the best of the lot. Released as their comeback single, as well as the song from the soundtrack of the motion picture "Set It Off", this song showcased En Vogue's profound vocal harmonies in a brand new way benefiting from the maturity the band had as an act already in the game for seven years. En Vogue were pretty unlucky as, despite the many great singles they released all through the 90s, they never managed to achieve a #1 hit in either side of the Atlactic. However, three songs did manage to come pretty close. Those were "Hold On", "My Lovin'" and this gem too which peaked at #2 on the BB Hot 100 and #5 on the UK Singles Chart. This was the 6th Top 10 hit for the girls in the US and the 4th in the UK, albeit it was also their final Top 10 hit in both territories

01.
Pony-GINUWINE
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And the award for the most sexually explicit megahit of 1996 goes to... Ginuwine's debut single "Pony". It doesn't take much of a brain to understand what Ginuwine is talking about but that doesn't make the song any less of a gem. This single was a massive success peaking at #6 on the BB Hot 100 and #16 on the UK Singles Chart but it was just the beginning of a long career for the man. Ginuwine scored a total of 19 R&B Top 40 hits and seven BB 200 Top 40 albums in between 1996 and 2012

most mentions so far:
* features receive just half a point
Code: Select all
1. (1) Mary J. Blige   10.5
2. (3) T.L.C.     9
3. (4) Dr. Dre    8.5
4. (2) Soul II Soul   8
5. (6) En Vogue     7
6. (-) Michael Jackson   7
7. (8) Eternal     7
8. (5) Prince    6
9. (7) Janet Jackson    6         
10.(-) S.W.V.      6
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Postby Wardo » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:32 pm

Maybe the best bunch so far?

Love the songs by Michael, Mary J., Aaliyah and En Vogue. Toni is good too.

Now I'm listening to the amazing Pony :D
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Postby jio » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:53 pm

R&B 1997 Top 40 part 1

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1997 was rocked by the murder of yet another rapper. Notorious BIG was shot dead in March of that year while promoting his second studio album. Coming two years after the death of 2Pac (in which a feud with Notorious BIG was widely speculated to be involved), all eyes fell on 2Pac's former label, Death Row but the initial criminal investigation did not manage to prove it. However, the case was re-opened 14 years later, when it was proven that the LAPD officers charged to watch over the party Notorious BIG was heading when he was shot dead, were also working for Death Row's boss. Musically, the year was dominated by Puff Daddy's productions for both himself and other artists which commercialized hip-hop to the extreme, mainly by sampling well-known songs from the 80s. So this is R&B's best of 1997... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
40.
Hypnotize-NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
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One of the many hits in 1997 which Puff Daddy produced, "Hypnotized" was released late in 1996 as the first single taken from Notorious BIG's sophomore album "Life After Death". Sadly, the title of his album would prove prophetic as Notorious BIG was shot dead during promoting this single. After his death, the song shot to #1 on the BB Hot 100 where it remained for three weeks and peaked at #10 on the UK Singles chart. Like other Puff Daddy productions, the song is built around a sample of an '80s classic, in this case Herb Alpert's instrumental "Rise". Aided by the controversy of his murder, "Life After Death" sold over 10 million copies in the US alone.

39.
Never Ever-ALL SAINTS
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British girlband All Saints were initially received as the more talented answer to another hot British girlband of the moment, the super-successful Spice Girls. Although All Saints would move to a more electronic direction pretty soon, their debut album was well within the most popular genre of the time, R&B. This soulful ballad is both the biggest and most memorable hit single from their debut. Although it was released in late 1997, the song finally peaked in early 1998 when it topped the UK Singles Chart and even crossed over to the States, where it climbed as high as #4 on the BB Hot 100. It was the first of a total of five UK #1 hits and the second, biggest and last American hit single for the girls.

38.
Let It Flow-EN VOGUE
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It's really a shame that this funky track's single release was cancelled at the last moment, because "Let It Flow" remains a fantastic R&B club single. The song is sampling Slave's "Slide" and is the title track from En Vogue's third studio album "EV3". Despite never being released as a single, the girls didn't let "Let It Flow" become just another obscure album track. The band included the single in most of their many compilations released during the next decade, giving it the best possible status short of being an actual single.

37.
Crush-ZHANE
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Zhane's debut single "Hey Mr. DJ" remains one of the most classic R&B hits of the '90s and suggested a long career for the girls. Although a few more hits were achieved, the girls never really managed to sustain a long career, possibly due to most of their songs sounding as attempts to recreate "Hey Mr. DJ". One song which did not sound similar to that classic was "Crush", the third single taken from the girls' sophomore album "Saturday Night". Unfortunately, the failure of this single to become a hit made it also the last ever single release by Zhane as main artists.

36.
Who's The Mack-MARK MORRISON
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One year after Mark Morrison shot to superstardom by declaring "The Return Of The Mack", he attempted a major comeback by asking us "Who's The Mack". Despite the song being pretty ace and being typical Morrison, it became his first single to miss the Top 10 after five straight Top 10 hits, by peaking at #13 on the UK Singles Chart. The song remains the only single release from Mark's second studio album "Only God Can Judge Me", which has been subsequently downgraded to EP status due partly to its poor sales and partly to its bizarre contents (including not only songs but live recordings and interviews as well). The title of the EP refers to Mark Morrison's extradition from the Barbados and imprisonment in his native UK for escaping justice after failing to appear in court, where he was charged with possessing an illegal weapon. The imprisonment had a lot to do with the end of Mark's career as a successful recording artist. His second or third full-length studio album (depending on whether one considers "Only God Can Judge Me" as an EP or an album) came out nine years later, when everyone had forgotten all about Mark

35.
I Know Where It's At-ALL SAINTS
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This was All Saints' debut single and it became a major transatlantic hit by peaking at #4 on the UK Singles Chart and #36 on the BB Hot 100. All Saints seemed as the band destined to give the Spice Girls a run for their money, as they were an organically formed band (instead of a label-manufactured one), were composing their own songs, were funky instead of pop and had early transatlantic success. Indeed this single and "Never Ever" broke the band to fame in a major way with their debut self-titled album going platinum in the States and five-times platinum in their native UK.

34.
Just Cruisin'-WILL SMITH
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Ever since Will Smith shot to fame as one-half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Price way back in 1986 with "Girls Ain't Nuthin' But Trouble", he led a bizarre type of career. Being a multi-media star, the first half of his career (until 1994) involved his band releasing mediocre to good rap singles and starring in rather good TV sitcoms. After 1994, Will went solo and made also the transition from TV to the big screen. A number of major hit movies and singles followed, the vast majority of which being of questionable quality. Music-wise, Will Smith became the new equivalent of MC Hammer, a talented rapper with ridiculous super-commercial songs which were far closer to pop than to the street. Indeed his two BB Hot 100 #1s ("Men In Black" and "Wild Wild West") are two of the most forgettable R&B tunes of the '90s as a whole. That's not to say that Will was untalented. His true talent does shine in lesser hits such as this one, a single which peaked at #23 on the UK Singles chart. The song is probably the best solo single Will ever released and it's very reminiscent of his and Jazzy's 1991 classic "Summertime".

33.
Rain-S.W.V.
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After their disastrous 1996 comeback, SWV just couldn't afford another three year break between albums. So their third studio album "Release Some Tension" was released just a year after "A New Beginning" and attempted some major damage control by having the girls working with everyone hot at the moment from Puff Daddy to Foxy Brown, Redman, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim and Snoop Dogg. Still though, the girls sound far better when they are all on their own in songs such as this one. Despite its beauty, the ballad only reached #25 on the BB Hot 100 becoming the eighth (and final) American Top 40 hit for the girls.

32.
Request Line-ZHANE
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This was Zhane's 1997 comeback single and despite sounding pretty much like "Hey Mr. DJ" with altered lyrics, it is still an unquestionable R&B floor-filler. The song became the fifth American and third UK hit single for the girls (their final in both territories) by making it to #39 on the BB Hot 100 and #22 on the UK Singles chart. Zhane's sophomore album failed to become a hit, putting an end to one of the most short-lived careers of any '90s R&B girlgroup.

31.
5 Miles To Empty-BROWNSTONE
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Another '90s R&B girlband which failed to quite live up to expectations created by their debut was Brownstone. The band did achieve five UK hit singles but, in their native States this gospel ballad was their only Top 40 hit besides their breakthrough single "If You Love Me". The single peaked at #39 on the BB Hot 100 and at #21 on the UK Singles chart, suggesting that Brownstone were on the correct path. Sadly, shortly after the release of this single, the band called it a day (although rumor has it that Brownstone are reforming this year).
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Postby Dragon » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:26 pm

15. Stranger In Moscow-MICHAEL JACKSON
not one of my favorites, but I think this song is great: music and lyrics .. very interesting video, too, unusually dark and gothic for him.

08. Un-Break My Heart-TONI BRAXTON
good song. always loved, although I'm not a huge fan of weepy ballads.

04. How Do U Want It-2PAC feat. K-CI & JOJO
excellent track. 2PAC is a legend.

05. They Don't Care About Us-MICHAEL JACKSON
yes, one of my favorite ... but I never thought that this song refers to the R & B. :o
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Postby jio » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:20 pm

I expected objections for "Stranger In Moscow" and not for TDCAU. TDCAU was an R&B Top 10 hit so...
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Postby Dragon » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:07 pm

Dirty Diana was also in top 10 of Hot R&B Singles.
I think that given the enormous influence of MJ on the R&B music, almost all of his songs appeared in this chart.
Stranger In Moscow sounds like R&B/pop for me, but with the addition of other styles, very interesting song.

these were not objections. why there might be an objection if it's your chart and you know better what songs should include.
I'm not a great expert in the R&B music.
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Postby jio » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:18 pm

Oh I didn't mean to sound annoyed, Just I had actually spent a few moments considering whether I should have included "Stranger In Moscow" because it sounded borderline R&B to me. It's just funny that some songs I consider R&B, others wouldn't and the other way round:). Thanks for your comments by the way, I hope u enjoy the charts
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Postby Dragon » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:29 pm

yes, great chart.

I like your Prince's list too and it was a very surprising number 1 in his songs list :)
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Postby jio » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:42 pm

R&B 1997 Top 40 part 2

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1997 was rocked by the murder of yet another rapper. Notorious BIG was shot dead in March of that year while promoting his second studio album. Coming two years after the death of 2Pac (in which a feud with Notorious BIG was widely speculated to be involved), all eyes fell on 2Pac's former label, Death Row but the initial criminal investigation did not manage to prove it. However, the case was re-opened 14 years later, when it was proven that the LAPD officers charged to watch over the party Notorious BIG was heading when he was shot dead, were also working for Death Row's boss. Musically, the year was dominated by Puff Daddy's productions for both himself and other artists which commercialized hip-hop to the extreme, mainly by sampling well-known songs from the 80s. So this is R&B's best of 1997... according to me... You can view the videos by clicking on the sleeves. Enjoy...
30.
Lose My Cool-S.W.V. feat. REDMAN
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The 1997 attempt to rehabilitate SWV as a-list R&B stars was a failure. Their 1997 "Release Some Tension" album, despite its multiple guest stars, failed to cross the gold-level certification mark in the States and it was the last studio album for the girls (until their comeback last year) as SWV disbanded one year later. Which is a shame because, even though the album lacked in character thanks to all those features, it did include some ace jams, including this single. The world largely slept on "Lose My Cool" partly because it was released as the fourth and final single from the album, whereas far weaker tracks such as "Can We" and "Someone" managed to become (minor) hits by being released early. That at least means that the girls went out with an underrated masterpiece rather than underwhelming songs and, despite having effectively slipped into commercial irrelevancy, they did go out with a bang musically.

29.
Femininity-ERIC BENET
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Following on the footsteps of Maxwell and D'Angelo but with a slightly more commercial sensitivity to his sound, Eric Benet broke through in 1997 with this single which, although it failed to become a hit, it did break into the R&B Top 40 (unlike his two 1996 releases). Despite this somehow understated debut, Eric Benet became a major name in R&B during the following couple of years. The man has accumulated a total of nine R&B Top 40 hits to date, the last of which came only last year with "Real Love".

28.
You Make Me Wanna...-USHER
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Although Usher was scoring R&B hits since 1993, it was the release of this single that turned him into an international pop mega-star, a status he still holds. This single peaked at #2 on the BB Hot 100 and became Usher's first (out of four) UK #1 hit. The success of the single is based on its very commercial sound (which borders latin-pop) without sacrificing the R&B foundations of the song.It is also a song which gets better with time. I do remember hating it back in the day, but I do like it now and I think it is one of Usher's good (but definitely not finest) moments.

27.
The Good Life-PRINCE & THE NEW POWER GENERATION
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During most of the '90s Prince was far too preoccupied with his fight for getting out of his Warners' contract to care much about image or commercial strategies. That fight, besides providing the pop world some hilarious moments, resulted in Prince releasing a vast amount of albums during the first half of the '90s. Most of them were so called contractual obligations released solely with the purpose of fulfilling his Warners' contract fast. Others were "real music", "where his heart really was" and those were the ones that were released outside Warners. But since Warners had the right to Prince's own name, those records were released under The New Power Generation moniker. It is quite bizarre then that the Prince releases were far better than the New Power Generation ones throughout the decade. "The Good Life" was originally released back in 1995 when it peaked at #29 on the UK Singles chart. But by 1997 Prince was finally released from his Sony contract and the song was re-released peaking at #15 on the UK Singles chart. To be honest, the song sounds far more in tune with 1997's music scene than with 1995's one, partly because it has a retro feel to it that was well in demand in 1997 and partly because R&B was far bigger in Europe in 1997 than in 1995. In any case, this is a cute jam from Prince, not really credited to Prince, but being Prince in any way that matters.

26.
My Love Is The Shhh!-SOMETHIN' FOR THE PEOPLE
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"Girl 6" was a 1996 movie about phone sex. Madonna made a cameo and Prince's sex-themed songs were used throughout. A soundtrack was released exclusively featuring Prince songs as well. One year later, an R&B group called Somethin' For The People took inspiration from the film and released this single, whose video partly re-creates scenes from "Girl 6". Despite that similarity, musically the song is very much a product of its time and catchy as hell. The song remains the only hit ever for Somethin' For The People, peaking at #4 on the BB Hot 100. The band fared much better on R&B charts where they scored a total of five R&B Top 40 hits in between 1995 and 2000.

25.
Don't Wanna Be A Player-JOE
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This saucy ballad gave Joe his first ever UK Top 20 hit by making it to #16. It also became his second American hit single by climbing as high as #21 on the BB Hot 100. The song continued building Joe's career as the most romantic of the many streetwise R&B males of the time and helped propel his sophomore album "All That I Am" to platinum territory in the US. The song proved an inspiration to many artists including rapper Big Punisher who released his own Joe-featuring version of the song two years later. Surprisingly that new version repeated the success of the original by making it to #24 on the BB Hot 100 giving Joe the rare distinction of having scored twice with essentially the same song within the space of just two years.

24.
You're The One I Love-SHOLA AMA
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In the first half of the '90s British R&B acts remained precious few and almost all of them adopted the so-called UK soul sound, inspired in large part by Soul II Soul's early music. But by 1997, American-style R&B had become extremely popular in the UK too so many many British R&B stars emerged, most of them adopting the more universal American style of R&B. Shola Ama was the biggest name to emerge in 1997. Like Eternal before her, she came to attention by releasing a cover, but when this second (and first original) single was released, the world could see that Shola was perfectly capable for fantastic original music as well. The single peaked at #3 on the UK Singles chart and remains the biggest hit ever for Shola who nevertheless managed nine UK hit singles in between 1997 and 2004 .

23.
Too Gone, Too Long-EN VOGUE
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Despite this being essentially "Don't Let Go (Love)" with altered lyrics, I love it so much that I couldn't resist from including it this high. Taken from the soundtrack of the motion picture "Set It Off" and En Vogue's third studio album "EV3", the song became the girls' eleventh (and final) BB Hot 100 hit by making it to #33 and their ninth (out of 11) UK hit single by making it to #20. It's really inexplicable how En Vogue went from being on top of the world from 1990 through to 1997 all the way to total irrelevance with their fourth album three years later but the girls singing in this song will always remain one of the biggest musical memories of my youth.

22.
Pleasure Dome-SOUL II SOUL
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And from one swan song to another. During 1997 Soul II Soul attempted updating their sound by incorporating garage influences in their familiar melodies. The result was the most experimental (and perhaps best) album of their career. Unfortunately, Soul II Soul failed to regain their fanbase with "Time For Change" and as a result that gem of an album became their last ever after it spectacularly failed even in their native UK. This smash of a song, which would have been a sure-fire Top 5 hit had it been released when the band was still in their prime, was the second (and final) single taken from "Time For Change" and became the first Soul II Soul single to miss the UK Top 40 since they became famous with "Keep On Movin'" way back in 1989. But, as always, chart positions only say half the story. The song is as good as any in Soul II Soul's back-catalogue and it is definitely a big shame it just went unnoticed in the same year when Puff Daddy was scoring one Top 10 hit after another with some of the most uninteresting R&B songs of all-time.

21.
When You Talk About Love-PATTI LABELLE
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Patti's career began way back in 1962 and in these 35 years Patti had scored no less than 30 R&B Top 40 hits (both solo and with the LaBelles). For most of the '90s however, Patti pretty much stuck to her adult R&B sound rarely attempting to sound current (and even when she did the results were rather underwhelming to put it mildly). So it was a big surprise that this single managed to make Patti sound current again in such a refreshing way. The song became Patti's 22nd R&B Top 20 hit and also her biggest pop hit since "Oh People" way back in 1986 (although it didn't quite manage to bring Patti back into the BB Hot 100 Top 40 section). Big credit to the success of this song has to go to Janet Jackson's collaborators and former Prince proteges Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis who produced it and brought Patti back into relevancy, at least in R&B radio. Needless to say, none of the songs Patti released since then came even remotely close to the success of this song.
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Postby jio » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:44 pm

REMEMBERING PRINCE 1: 1978

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So I'd like to do this as a tribute to Prince... just go little by little back to his career and celebrate it for what it is. So let's start right from the start: 1978 and "For You". That is not the actual cover of the album but I just found that pic online and thought it was much better than the actual cover and I posted it. The album starts with the bizarre chant that was the title track before it gets into the disco jam "In Love". The song sounds cool and very raw and synthesizer-heavy. It's a good track but it pales in comparison to the disco jam which comes next: Prince's first-ever single "Soft And Wet". The song didn't do much in the charts but it did make #12 R&B (and #92 pop) and it provided an audience for Prince for the first time. The song is just gorgeous and is the obvious single in the album and a personal favorite of mine. But good songs continue. "Crazy You" is a sort of mellow acoustic ballad showcasing a more romantic side of the singer and then there is another great disco song "Just As Long As We're Together". This was Prince's second single and another worthy disco-workout song here. It made #92 on R&B and it has become something of a classic since then. "Baby" is a more traditional type of R&B ballad which Prince delivers with the upper reaches of his voice as he does throughout the album. "My Love Is Forever" is back to disco but in a more mid-tempo pace compared to the two singles and "In Love". It is still a very good song though and very 70s. "So Blue" is another ballad although this time we have a very beautiful more acoustic type of song. This is my favorite ballad from the album. The most surprising song on the album is the closing song "I'm Yours" which is less of a straightforward rock song and more of a disco song done with electric guitars. Prince showcases his love for and skills on electric guitar here. Definitely my favorite album track in "For You". Although this album is not nearly as impressive as what would come next, there is still not a single bad song in here and quite a few jams worthy of classic status (the two singles, I'm Yours). I think it sort of functions as a preview as all the ideas presented here would be perfected in his next offering. As Prince was still a newcomer there was no particular promotion for this album, no tour or video promoting it. The album made #163 on BB 200


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Postby jio » Sun May 01, 2016 3:49 pm

REMEMBERING PRINCE: 1979

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So 1979 was a year of firsts for Prince. First hit single, first hit album, first music video, first tour. Warner Bros was disappointed with the lack of success of the debut so asked Prince to release the follow-up quickly. Prince actually composed and recorded the "Prince" album in just a few weeks famously playing all instruments and doing all vocals. The release of the album was preceded by the release of the single "I Wanna Be Your Lover", a rather fabulous R&B/disco song (whose short single version makes it no justice at all) which was promoted with the release of a video showing Prince performing the song in a room... well actually there were two very similar videos, difference was that you could actually see the backing band in one of them and you couldn't in the other. The song became Prince's first-ever R&B #1 but perhaps more importantly was also a pop hit reaching #11 on BB Hot 100. It paved the way for the release of the "Prince" album which was also a hit reaching #22 on the BB 200. Although the album is musically far from the music that would make Prince famous in the 80s and it was more of a cousin to his debut, it's very much Prince's first classic album IMO as everything is great. Three more singles were taken from this album with "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad" (#13 R&B) being the only one with a video, a video very similar to Prince's first. That song was essentially an R&B song done with electric guitars, a bold move for a single but not something Prince hadn't done before. "Bambi" was the real rocker in the album and one of the most classic Prince songs ever. It wasn't just use of electric guitars in an otherwise R&B song but an all-out rocker which is perfect in every sense. However the label felt it was not commercial enough and was released only in Belgium with other territories getting it as a b-side to the much-inferior ballad "Still Waiting". Now that wasn't a bad song (not at all) just it was no "Bambi". It was a very R&B ballad, perhaps the most commercial of the 4 included in the album the other three being the far more melancholic "When We Are Dancing Close And Slow", "With You" and my personal favorite "It's Gonna Be Lonely". The remaining single was the disco jam "Sexy Dancer", a song which is more of a long instrumental with Prince whispering its few lyrics rather than singing verses and choruses but it's so much fun in a club or even at home. Other than the singles the album is mostly famous for the original version of "I Feel For You", a song that Chaka Khan covered and took to UK's #1 and USA's #3 five years later. I like Chaka's version but I have to say Prince's is so much superior (I think is just as good as the lead single), more mellow and more R&B. During this era Prince made his first TV appearance on "American Bandstand" where he stole the show with an incredibly awkward (due to his shyness) interview and also his first ever tour opening for funk legend Rick James' "Fire It Up tour" with a setlist including all his single releases to date besides "Bambi". That was the tour where Prince debuted his controversial early semi-naked porn look on stage and was the tour where he upstaged Rick James so much that there were notorious arguments throughout the tour complete with the two artists sabotaging each other by stealing instruments. Famously the two gods of late 70s and early 80s funk never spoke again after the end of this tour which is a shame really because musically they remained very similar.


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Postby NothingFails » Sun May 01, 2016 8:18 pm

Awesome!!! Hopefilly this will go all the way until the end.
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Postby trebor » Sun May 01, 2016 8:24 pm

Great work, @jio! :D
Listening to early Prince, now! 8-)
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Postby jio » Mon May 02, 2016 9:55 am

REMEMBERING PRINCE: 1980

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The previous era may have given Prince a hit single and a hit album but it is the "Dirty Mind" (#7 R&B, #45 pop) era really which debuted Prince as the superstar of the 80s in any meaningful way. The "Dirty Mind" era practically began during the "Fire It Up tour" when Prince debuted a song not included in his two released albums. The song was a perfect companion to his looks at the time and it was called "Head". Musically it was fantastic deep funk and lyrically it was about the art of... getting head. The song became an immediate sensation to whoever had the honor to watch those early concerts and even caused his female bassist to quit the tour, but there was much more to come. Previewing the release of his third solo album Prince released "Uptown" (#5 R&B), the best disco song Prince ever did. Although not nearly as explicit as "Head" the song had its fair share of tease in the lyrics which incorporate the word "gay" something pretty bold for 1980. Those two songs were a fair preview of the album but the album had so much more. There was plenty of more disco/funk in there and although "Uptown" and "Head" are clearly the two best tracks "Dirty Mind" comes really close. Here Prince imagines all the sex positions he could do with the object of his desire and he is even willing to pay her for that, even though he admits it's out of his character. Classic Prince lyrics all the way. The final single was "Do It All Night" another deeply funky song about sex. Other than the singles the album included a perfect piece of pop in "When You Were Mine" (famously covered by Cyndi Lauper a few years later although Prince's version remains the best one IMO) a new-wave song about incest called "Sister", a gorgeous ballad called "Gotta Broken Heart Again" and a funky closing song called "PartyUp". The album was a perfect slice of underground funk that remains classic to this day. To me this album is probably more classic than even "Purple Rain" in so many ways, it's the essence of early Prince all the way. The two songs which got music video treatment ("Uptown" and "Dirty Mind") brought Prince's live porn look to the small screen (although their video version was far more restrained than the actual tour performances. There Prince performed the two songs as a very memorable encore dressed just in underwear and stockings). Although the album was not a hit, it gave Prince enough credibility and hype to enable him to embark to his first solo tour. The "Dirty Mind tour" assembled a number of people who would all go on to achieve fame of their own as pioneers of the Minneapolis sound: Andre Cymone, Dr. Fink. Liza Coleman, Dez Dickerson... Unfortunately the tour won't be concluded without drama: this time is Prince's childhood friend Andre Cymone who would abandon the fold, accusing Prince of incorporating many of his own ideas to his music without crediting him. The tour is also notable for marking the debut of "Gotta Stop (Messin' About)", another deeply funky piece of music which would be released as a stand-alone single in 1981 despite not being included in any Prince album. It was the first indication of the prolific nature of Prince.


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