Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013.
This week, we’re going to take a look at “The Good, The ‘Sad’ and The Ugly” of the music industry this past year. So that we finish on a positive note, let’s get the ugly out of the way right off the bat and finish up with the good.
The Ugly — Rap music in 2012 was just as ugly (and popular) as it ever has been since its birth in mainstream music about a quarter of a century ago. Almost one out of four songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which measures overall popularity, regardless of genre, was by a rap artist. Unfortunately, this means that about one-fourth of the music that’s being bought and listened to (mostly by young folks) in America today is filled with sexually explicit and profane language, has lyrics that glorify drugs and alcohol and/or demeans women or even the rap artist’s own ethnicity. Now, that’s just dang ugly.
The Sad — In 2012, we bade a final, sorrowful farewell to a number of well-known music artists.
Davy Jones (age 66) of the 1960s rock band The Monkees; R&B singer-actress Whitney Houston (age 48); Don Cornelius (age 75), creator, producer and host of the 1971-2006 musical variety show “Soul Train;” jazz singer Etta James (age 73); and the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer (age 63), were among the most notable artists who checked out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and checked into the Grand Ole Hall of Heaven. They will be missed.
The Good — A whole lot of really good things happened in the music field in 2012. At any one time on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last year, over one in five spots was occupied by a country music song, an increasing trend over the past couple years.
Even though contemporary country music is taking on an increasing pop flare, it’s basically still good old country music. Country songs still tell the tale of one crying in his (or her) beer in a honky tonk bar, pickup trucks, fishin’, hardship and sorrow — but always do so in a PG way. And that’s a real good thing. Plus, country music songwriters continue to be some of the best around.
A second good thing about music in 2012 was the introduction of three new top-notch pop-rock artists. Newcomer Belgian-Australian Wouter “Wally” De Backer (stage name Gotye) released his debut single “Somebody That I Used To Know;” Carly Rae Jepsen and her cute song “Call Me Maybe;” and the group fun. (fun period) and its “We Are Young.” Each song topped the Billboard chart for over a month.
Also, longtime favorite rock band, Maroon 5, had another chart-topping hit this past year with “One More Night,” as did singer-entertainer Bruno Mars, with “Locked Out Of Heaven.”
But perhaps the best good news of the year in music was the continued rise and success of crossover artist Taylor Swift. Now 23, the pop-country artist continues to appeal to a worldwide audience, selling out arenas around the globe and thrilling her primarily young teenage fans (and their moms) with musical stories of romance and love gone bad, through her squeaky clean songs that she herself writes.
In 2012, Taylor’s hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Again” was not only number one on the Hot 100 chart, but from October until December was, for nine straight weeks, the top song on Billboard’s country chart, a feat that has not been accomplished in the last 46 years — not since David Houston’s “Almost Persuaded” in 1966.
This week’s music trivia question is: Taylor Swift had two number one hits in 2012. One was “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Again.” What was the title of her other number one hit? Was it A) “Wanted,” B) “Keep Me In Mind,” C) “Ours” or D) “Over You”?
(If you find yourself stumped by this question, you may want to ask the 10-year-old girl next door for help.)
This week, if you’re the fifth caller and have the correct answer, you’ll win a CD of Taylor Swift’s 20 greatest hits. (A great gift for you, your daughter, granddaughter, or 10-year-old girl next door.)
Last week’s Music Trivia Question
This past week’s trivia question asked if you could name the lead singer of the 1960s group The Four Seasons. The choices were A) Frankie Valli, B) Frankie Laine, C) Frankie Lymon and D) Frankie Avalon.
The correct answer was Frankie Valli, who formed the group (initially known as the Variatones) in 1956, with twin brothers, Nick and Tommy, and friend Hank Majewski.
Chicago-born soloist Frankie Laine was one of the top singing stars of the late 1940s and early 1950s, with such hits as “That Lucky Old Star,” “Mule Train,” and “The Cry Of The Wild Goose.”
Frankie Lymon was the lead singer of the late 1950s Doo Wop group Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, most memorable for their 1956 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hit “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
Late 1950s-early 1960s teen idol and soloist Frankie Avalon may be best remembered for “Venus” and “Why” — his two number one hits.
Congratulations to last week’s music multiple-time trivia winner, Bob Chasse, of Payson. Bob said that this was an easy question for him, as he is a big fan of the Four Seasons and had seen the group in concert with Del Shannon and Bobby “Boris” Pickett in Maine, way back in early 1963.
DJ Craig • (928) 468-1482