This Week’s Sales

1. Various "Now 23"

Sales this week: 336,666

Now who is this band "Various"?  Back in the day, our bands had a "the" in front of their name, so you weren’t caught off guard, so you knew it was a musical group you were bumping into.  I mean "Various" could be the extra parts that come in a model-building kit.  Or some of the extraneous parts in chitlins.  How do I know it’s a band?  And where have I been that this unknown act hits number 1?

Oh, he’s not 23?  This is his 23rd album?

Well, radio’s not doing a good job!

But these tracks were all over radio?

Do I need to get my hearing aid checked?

Oh, it’s sixteen VARIOUS acts?  The feuding Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson only a cut away?

I remember when there was only ONE act, with SIXTEEN songs.  Hell, sometimes there was one act and only ONE song.  Remember that Jethro Tull?  What was it, "Thick As A Stone"…  Or maybe "Slippery As A Stone"…  Or "I Just Got Stoned"…  I went to see them at the Spectrum and Johnnie Sugarman put his hand on my chest and I started to feel…


3. Keith Urban "Love Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing"

Sales this week:
Debut 267,227

You go to rehab BEFORE the album comes out?

I thought acts could still get on country radio, even CMT.  Are things so bad that "Us" and "InTouch" and are TV for shitkickers?

Oh, Keith Urban doesn’t kick any shit?

I thought that’s what country artists did.  They wore hats and cowboy boots and worked on their farms in Nashville…

He’s from AUSTRALIA?

Australia ain’t country.

And he’s married to a movie star?  And he plays the electric guitar?

Back in my day they called this rock and roll.

But rock and roll is illegal?  You can’t play that on Top Forty radio?

I still don’t get it.  Don’t you go into rehab AFTER the album comes out?  After you’ve been on the road.  And get out just before the awards show?

Well the awards show was BEFORE his drop date.

Can a country artist drop a record?  Doesn’t it just fall off his horse?  Out of his saddlebag or something?

You don’t get it.  You’re thinking of the OLD country.

No, Europe has nothing to do with this!

No, the old COUNTRY MUSIC!

Country is country.  How can country change?

Everything’s topsy-turvy.  Kind of reminds me of that old joke.  What happens when you play country music backwards?  You get your wife back, your pickup back and your dog comes home.  If Keith Urban goes to rehab BEFORE his album comes out, does that mean the record continues to sell fewer copies every week until it just fades away?  That it doesn’t build, doesn’t go to the top of the chart?

That’s how IT IS in music today, not just country.

Nevermind.  Then again, I wasn’t paying attention to country anyway.

5. Hannah Montana "Soundtrack"

Sales this week: 131,063
Cume: 616,365

A girl from Montana has her own soundtrack album?

What’s on it?  The howling wind of the prairie?

She’s not from Montana?

Then who’s her daddy?

He’s country, but not from Montana?  Boy, you guys sure do make this confusing.

So this must be a white rapper, right?  Didn’t you tell me this is the only kind of music you can get on the Top Forty, ship-shape music?

It’s from a TV show.

Oh, an R&B TV show!

No, they call it "urban music" now.

Like condos and Lexuses?

No, like Compton.

But Compton is low-lying buildings, it’s not urban.

But that’s where they make the urban music.

I thought that’s where they made the ship-shape music.

Urban IS ship-shape, er, hip-hop.

So, Ms. Montana is a rapper from Compton.  Good to see rap still dominates the chart.

No, Hannah is white.

Yes, but that candy boy, Mr. M&M, isn’t he the biggest rapper?  Isn’t he even bigger than that guy who’s half a dollar?  What a dumb name, there isn’t even a fifty cent COIN!

No, she doesn’t rap.

Then what does she do?

She acts.

Actors don’t have careers selling album.  Actors make novelty records.  They have a hit today, and they’re gone tomorrow.

EXACTLY!  Nobody has a career today.

But if there are no careers, how do the companies make money?  Isn’t it the superstars releasing multiplatinum albums who keep the business alive?

Oh, almost no one sells multiplatinum?  Then business must be terrible.

It is.

So you’ve got a white girl rapper with a TV show and she’s supposed to save the business?

You just don’t understand.  It’s about exposure, not music.

I guess I don’t.

13. Barry Manilow "Greatest Songs Of The Sixties"

Sales this week: 63,823
Cume: 266,045

This guy I know.  He sucks.  By time he hit nobody listened to Top Forty radio.  We were listening to rockers on FM.  We’d go to the stadium show.  I’d drink margaritas and I’d be in the outfield and it would be so hot I’d want to take my top off like they did in the "Woodstock" movie but I was afraid the pigs would arrest me.


You know, the police.

The police are now revered.  Second in stature only to those in the fire department.


Yes, the country likes to support men in uniform.

But I thought the game was to stay OUT of uniform.

Then again, back before everything fell, I remember that song, from that English band, "I love a man in uniform…"  Barry Manilow is wearing a UNIFORM?


Whew.  I didn’t think they took his type in the army.

So, he’s singing the greatest MOR songs of the sixties.  None of my music.

No, he sings a little Frank, but also the Association, and the Righteous Brothers…

Who’d buy this shit?

The hipsters from the old days.  You see the baby boomers who bought Clapton and Hendrix all got married, and they’ve got to put up appearances, and they’re so busy talking on their cell phones in their SUVs that they don’t listen to the radio and they don’t know what to buy, so Clive Davis sells them crap like this so they’ll have something to play at dinner parties.  Like Rod Stewart.

Oh, I love him.  I used to have a poster on the wall.  And when he started singing how Maggie wore it well I had a reason to believe that he was lying in bed next to me, touching me and…

Well, Rod Stewart’s a crooner now.

A what?  A fisherman?

No, Rod Stewart sings standards.

Like "Stairway To Heaven"?

No, the music your parents used to listen to.

But my father is dead.  And my mother…she’s afraid of record stores.

What, there are no more record stores?  They’re going out of business?

So who would buy a record of Rod Stewart singing crap?
Good question.

23. Cale/Clapton "Road To Escondido"

Sales this week: 43,050

Now you’re talking.  Thank god they save the big boys for the fourth quarter.  Clapton’s gonna save Warner’s year.  That was always Mo’s plan, to release the heavy hitters when the people were in the stores.  Brilliant marketing.

CDs are still too expensive, but thank god concert tickets are cheap.  I’m gonna see if I can get a ticket to this show, Clapton’s a superstar, I’d pay ten bucks to see him, maybe $12.50.  Since this record is gonna burn up the chart, I’d better buy my tickets soon, before everybody finds out, before it hits NUMBER ONE!

33. John Mayer "Continuum"

Sales this week: 32,853
Cume: 803,039

Now I know this guy.  But I’m confused.  Does he have a twin?  At least somebody with the same name?  Sometimes I hear a guy called this who’s just wailing on his guitar.  Other times there’s this wimpy music coming out of the speakers.  Singing about somebody’s kids or something.  Really, don’t they arrest people for this?  Singing about little girls and naming your record after their body parts?


You know, down there, that’s what they call it.

Call what?

Now you’ve been laid honey, right?  DOWN THERE!  Where the fish swim?  Where the one-eyed trouser snake comes to play?

What are you talking ABOUT?

This Johnny Mayer.  Poking that poor Simpson girl.  He’s a predator.  He named his album CUNT-INUUM, didn’t he?  I don’t think the guitar-playing John Mayer would do such a thing.  But the wimpy John Mayer, he’s dating that no-talent with the sister who’s had all the plastic surgery…

Oh, they’ve BOTH had plastic surgery?  Then what’s real?  Next you’re gonna tell me that it’s not really them singing on the record.  That they’ve got some newfangled machine that makes it so ANYBODY can sing.  That anybody beautiful can be a star.  That Roy Thomas Baker can make a hit record with ANYBODY!

35. Meat Loaf "Bat Out Of Hell III"

Sales this week: 30,212
Cume: 111,144

Oh, I can’t wait to hear Phil Rizzuto again.

Did I lose my virginity in the back of that Dodge Dart?

We used to smoke those funny cigarettes.  And ride to the outskirts.

No, not Atlantic City.  That’s where that guy who couldn’t stop singing about the city lived.  You know, the one writing about that magic rodent, under the Esso sign.

Atlantic City?

Yeah, somewhere in Jersey.  I hate Jersey.

You’re sure you don’t mean Asbury Park?  Bruce Springsteen?  The Boss?

I never could understand why he was the boss.  Don’t you become a musician so you DON’T have a boss?  Yes, that guy, always writing about New York City from the perspective of a suburbanite.  Why didn’t he just move to Manhattan and sing about something else.  Although he did write catchy songs.  Has he written anything good recently?  I’ve kind of lost touch.

Oh, he sings OTHER PEOPLE’S MATERIAL now?  God, that guy had so many words in every song, I guess he just plain ran out.  But the people I know who are big talkers, they talk until they die.  I mean we’re sitting at the bar, three sheets to the wind, and they’re just about to fall over and they’re still talking.

God, I thought Phil Rizzuto was dead.  He’s dead, right?

I don’t know.

God, never did see him play.  But we’d sit in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium and drink Rheingold…

What does this have to do with Meat Loaf?

They didn’t serve meat loaf at Yankee Stadium.  You could only buy hot dogs.

No, Meat Loaf the artist!

Oh, right.  Yeah, I listened to that album.  Have fond memories when I hear "Paradise" on the radio now and again.  But I’m talking about the Yankees here.  What’s up with Steinbrenner.

Don’t you care about Meat Loaf?

No, who’d care about Meat Loaf?  When was the last time HE went to the World Series.  Wasn’t that the SEVENTIES?

70. Beck "Information"

Sales this week: 15,415
Cume: 224,713

Now this is music.  This guy can make his guitar SING!  If only he and Rod the Mod had stayed together, if only Rod hadn’t become so wimpy, dating those actresses.

Amazing that three great players could come from the same band.  Too bad Keith Relf is dead, otherwise he could give us some perspective here.

But so great that each one of these cats is still making music.  Pagey hasn’t released anything recently, but I know he’s coming back with something soon.  Maybe he’s been in Kashmir, ha-ha.

But I’m sorry that Jeff can’t sell more records.  That’s why he and Rod should have stayed together.  They wouldn’t have this piss poor sales number.  They’re stars, they deserve better than this.  I know you told me people don’t sell like they used to, but  superstars not even going gold…

It’s not Jeff Beck?  Then who IS THIS??

Jeff Beck had his identity stolen?  I saw on "Dateline", or maybe it was "90 Minutes", there’s this problem with identity theft.  No wonder more records aren’t being sold.  Kind of like when that manager put that bogus Fleetwood Mac on the road.  No, I didn’t fall for that, I knew that drummer was a giant.  I always wondered, if he’s that tall…

Nobody stole Jeff Beck’s identity?  This is a tiny white boy who shucks and jives on stage like a black man?

Well, who would be interested in that.  No wonder he’s not a superstar.  Stealing somebody else’s name, and someone else’s act too.  Can’t he INNOVATE?

Oh, this guy is CONSIDERED an innovator?  Like Frank Zappa?

I loved Frank.  Some of my girlfriends didn’t get it, they don’t have the brain I do, they don’t have the sense of humor.

Well, if this guy gets into the underbelly, reflects America back upon itself, I can see why he’s struggling sales-wise, people are dumb, they’re not ready for that.  But thank god this little guitar player is keeping Zappa’s tradition alive, changing time signatures, even throwing in a bit of jazz.  Hey, Beefheart is still alive, right?  Has this little guy gotten the Captain to sing on his record?  THAT I’d be interested in.

76. Bob Dylan "Modern Times"

Sales this week: 14,349
Cume: 657,577

I didn’t really care for him.  But I guess with the political situation being what it is, that’s why he’s selling so well.  You know he never moved the units, but with the country in turmoil, they’ve got to hear what Mr. Tambourine Man has to say.  I mean his lyrics were always good.  But his VOICE!  But he probably sounds better these days.  People learn, get better with practice.  Imagine if his voice got worse, then NOBODY would care!

85. James Blunt "Back To Bedlam"

Sales this week: 13,377
Cume: 2,281,350

Drug references always sell.  People want to get high.  Blunts were after my time, I’ve switched to the hard stuff.


No, no, I’m not a needle girl.  You know, like…  Well, when it’s my birthday, some of the guys at the garage…did I tell you I work next door to a garage?  They fix my Nissan and if it’s Friday afternoon…  Well, let’s just say that for my birthday last year they bought me some Chivas.  Regal that is.  I always wondered if they had ulterior motives though.  I do remember being in the office with my dress above my head.

Yes, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s go to do.  You’ve got to get it, right?  It’s human nature.  You know I can’t have kids.  Yeah, before abortion was legal…  Yeah, I told you that story, but I’m past that now.  But the good thing is I can’t get pregnant…

You’re too old to have a baby!

No, look at all those actress chicks, on TV, they’re having babies in their fifties.  We took good care of ourselves, we can do things our parents couldn’t.

Like not age?

Who are you calling old.  I don’t inject that poison in my skin, but I can party…  Sounds like you’re too uptight to party, like your little thing has FALLEN OFF!

But you put something like this in the tape deck.  Yes, it might seem odd, but I LOVED the Clash, all the energy.  And you’d get all fired up with the music in you…

Yes, I know this is not the Clash, but this guy is English, right?  And that title’s a dead giveaway.  A reference to the last great era of English music.  Back to bedlam, like all those punk bands in the U.K., from the Sex Pistols on.  Maybe I should check this out.  I may be a chick, but I don’t like typical chick music.  My idea of heaven is when Duane bends a string…

93. Guns N’ Roses "Greatest Hits"

Sales this week: 12,642
Cume: 3,262956

Now this must include some of their later period work, right?  The stuff after "Appetite" and "Use Your Illusion".  I loved "Appetite", maybe the last great album before that boy who killed himself ruined music.  Granted, G N’ R was new, kind of edgy, but you could tell where the music CAME FROM, what inspired it.  And that Axel.  Oh, I have my memories of Mr. Carnation from MTV.  Yup, I used to watch, we all did, until they started having game shows and reality programs.  Maybe I should tune back in.  Since "The Real World" is probably long gone, they don’t keep shows around that long on MTV, it’s all what’s happening RIGHT NOW!  Based on what you’re telling me here, I need to get in touch with what’s happening right now, so maybe I should fire the station back up, watch for a couple of hours, see fifteen or twenty videos.

But like I was saying, Mr. Tulip, I heard he was crazy, but he was so SEXY!  Probably doesn’t look too good today. You know age takes a toll.  You get lines on your face, your hair falls out.  At least I’ve got my hair, what do you think?

But I lost touch with the band.  They must have put out some pretty good music since.  Otherwise why would so many people want this record?  Fifteen year old stuff, TWENTY YEAR OLD STUFF, you’d figure they’d be overrun by newbies.  Thank god, they’ve still got it, that they’re still making records that COUNT, unlike Mick and Keef.  I haven’t heard a new record from the Stones in eons.  Guess they realized they no longer had it.  Good to see they’ve passed the torch to someone who’s still got it, who can still get the kids riled up.

Yes, I knew if we stayed at this long enough it would all make sense.

It’s about career bands continuing to make great records.  Then multiplatinum is EASY!

Enough already.  Let’s fool around.

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