Included on the band's self-titled second album, "25 Or 6 To 4" is one of the best examples of the band's distinctive jazz-rock fusion with horns and electric guitars. The song became Chicago's first top 5 pop hit single in the US and their first top 10 hit across the Atlantic in the UK.
This pop standard written in 1933 was first sung by Ethel Waters at the Cotton Club in Harlem. However, Lena Horne's version of the song was included in the 1943 movie Stormy Weather and is probably the best-known recording of this classic. The song is built around a classic weather metaphor used to describe emotion. This recording is included in the Grammy Awards Hall of Fame.
Although it is far from the Electric Light Orchestra's (ELO) biggest commercial success, "Mr. Blue Sky" is arguably the best example of all elements of group leader Jeff Lynne's pop approach coming together. Awash in strings with a pounding rock beat, "Mr. Blue Sky" expresses pure joy in a sunny day with a heavily electronically manipulated vocal. The song is the fourth and final song that makes up the "Concerto For a Rainy Day" on the double album Out Of the Blue.
The Canadian group The Band toured with and recorded The Basement Tapes with Bob Dylan before releasing their debut album Music From Big Pink. The song is performed in the style of a southern American folk song and had influence well beyond is mild chart success. Aretha Franklin's soul interpretation of the song was a top 20 hit in 1969.
Joni Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi" has become a touchstone for the environmental movement with the distinctive line, "They paved paradise to put up a parking lot." It was influenced by a trip Joni Mitchell took to Hawaii. "Big Yellow Taxi" did not become a significant pop hit until a live version of the song reached the top 25 in 1975.
"Mack the Knife" was originally composed and premiered onstage in German in Berlin in 1928. It was widely introduced to English-speaking audiences as part of an English version of The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. The song is a murder ballad detailing the crimes of the highwayman MacHeath. Pop singer Bobby Darin recorded a version of "Mack the Knife" that hit #1 on the US pop charts in 1959. It went on to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
"Escapade" represents an upbeat, joyful peak in Janet Jackson's pop career. It was one of seven top 5 pop hit single from the album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. "Escapade" went all the way to #1 on the pop singles chart and is accompanied by a celebratory Mardi Gras inspired music video.
Madonna worked with producer William Orbit to put together this dance classic. It became the top song played in dance clubs for the year 1998. The accompanying video was inspired by the time lapse photography in the film Koyanisqaatsi. "Ray of Light" was a top 10 smash hit in both the UK and the US. It was one of the first recordings where Madonna full embraced the techno and electronica dance music genres.
"Don't Speak" was written in the wake of the end of a seven year relationship between No Doubt's lead vocalist Gwen Stefani and bass player Tony Kanal. The emotional power of the song earned a Grammy Award nomination for Song Of the Year. "Don't Speak" topped pop radio airply charts for nearly four months.