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Punk was meant to be angry. But the so-called Angry Young Men of the late ’70s U.K. scene were secret sophisticates in punk clothing. They delivered withering lyrics and snarling attitude over melodies a pop fan could love. In so doing, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Graham Parker helped transform a slew of back-to-basic styles—pub-rock, power-pop, post-punk—into the catchall category New Wave. It would take over the charts at the turn of the ’80s. But the launch of the MTV era forced these sardonic troubadours to adjust their songwriting for a New Romantic age. Join Chris Molanphy as he chronicles the history of three men who wrote the book on alternative rock before it had a name. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Punk was meant to be angry. But the so-called Angry Young Men of the late ’70s U.K. scene were secret sophisticates in punk clothing. They delivered withering lyrics and snarling attitude over melodies a pop fan could love. In so doing, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Graham Parker helped transform a slew of back-to-basic styles—pub-rock, power-pop, post-punk—into the catchall category New Wave. It would take over the charts at the turn of the ’80s. But the launch of the MTV era forced these sardonic troubadours to adjust their songwriting for a New Romantic age. Join Chris Molanphy as he chronicles the history of three men who wrote the book on alternative rock before it had a name. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the ’70s, funk was pop—the cutting edge of Black music and the way listeners got their groove on, before disco and hip-hop. After James Brown taught a generation a new way to hear rhythm, and George Clinton tore the roof off with his P-Funk axis, nothing would be the same. Rising alongside blaxploitation at the movies, funk took many forms: Curtis Mayfield’s superfly storytelling. War’s low-riding grooves. Kool & the Gang’s jungle boogie. Earth, Wind and Fire’s jazzy crescendos. But when funk began fusing with rock and disco took over the charts, would these acts have to give up the funk? Join Chris Molanphy as he traces the history of funk’s first big decade. You’ll ride the mighty, mighty love rollercoaster and get down just for the funk of it. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the ’70s, funk was pop—the cutting edge of Black music and the way listeners got their groove on, before disco and hip-hop. After James Brown taught a generation a new way to hear rhythm, and George Clinton tore the roof off with his P-Funk axis, nothing would be the same. Rising alongside blaxploitation at the movies, funk took many forms: Curtis Mayfield’s superfly storytelling. War’s low-riding grooves. Kool & the Gang’s jungle boogie. Earth, Wind and Fire’s jazzy crescendos. But when funk began fusing with rock and disco took over the charts, would these acts have to give up the funk? Join Chris Molanphy as he traces the history of funk’s first big decade. You’ll ride the mighty, mighty love rollercoaster and get down just for the funk of it. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What do you call a song that bombed on the charts back in the day, that now booms out of radios and streaming apps nationwide? Chris Molanphy has a name for these songs: legacy hits. Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Etta James’s “At Last.” The Romantics’ “What I Like About You.” Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.”   Many catalysts can change a song’s trajectory, from movie scenes to stadium singalongs, wedding DJs to evolving tastes. Sometimes the hivemind just collectively decides that this Whitney Houston hit, not that one, is her song for the ages.   Join Chris as he explains how the charts sometimes get it wrong, and how legacy hits correct the record—and counts down 10 of his favorite flops-turned-classics.   Podcast production by Kevin Bendis and Merritt Jacob. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What do you call a song that bombed on the charts back in the day, that now booms out of radios and streaming apps nationwide? Chris Molanphy has a name for these songs: legacy hits. Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Etta James’s “At Last.” The Romantics’ “What I Like About You.” Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.”   Many catalysts can change a song’s trajectory, from movie scenes to stadium singalongs, wedding DJs to evolving tastes. Sometimes the hivemind just collectively decides that this Whitney Houston hit, not that one, is her song for the ages.   Join Chris as he explains how the charts sometimes get it wrong, and how legacy hits correct the record—and counts down 10 of his favorite flops-turned-classics.   Podcast production by Kevin Bendis and Merritt Jacob. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
So, sure—Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact, on all three of his No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, keyboards are not the primary instrument. The truth is, Joel isn’t the Piano Man, he’s the pastiche man. He has openly admitted to borrowing genre tropes, vocal styles, and even specific song hooks from his Baby Boom-era heroes, from Ray Charles to the Beatles to the Supremes. He’s been a jazzy crooner, a saloon balladeer, an anthem rocker, even a pseudo-punk. And on his most hit-packed album, he literally tried on a different song mode on every single—and was rewarded for it. This month, Hit Parade breaks down the uncanny success of pop magpie Billy Joel, the guy who would try anything for a hit: the next phase, new wave, dance craze, any ways. Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch and Kevin Bendis Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
So, sure—Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact, on all three of his No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, keyboards are not the primary instrument. The truth is, Joel isn’t the Piano Man, he’s the pastiche man. He has openly admitted to borrowing genre tropes, vocal styles, and even specific song hooks from his Baby Boom-era heroes, from Ray Charles to the Beatles to the Supremes. He’s been a jazzy crooner, a saloon balladeer, an anthem rocker, even a pseudo-punk. And on his most hit-packed album, he literally tried on a different song mode on every single—and was rewarded for it. This month, Hit Parade breaks down the uncanny success of pop magpie Billy Joel, the guy who would try anything for a hit: the next phase, new wave, dance craze, any ways. Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch and Kevin Bendis Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
After the so-called-but-not-really “death” of disco, dance music in the 1980s moved to its own beat. There was synthpop, electro, hi-NRG and house. But the scrappy genre that seemed to pull it all together was called freestyle—a breakbeat-tempo, Latin-flavored genre fortified with dizzying, proudly synthetic beats. Freestyle grew out of the clubs and streets of New York and Miami and briefly dominated ’80s dance-pop. Freestyle’s flagship artists were only medium-level stars: Shannon. Exposé. Lisa Lisa. Stevie B. Nu Shooz. Sweet Sensation. But these acts—most especially their yearning, floridly romantic, rhythmically hectic songs—punched above their weight on the charts and even affected the hits of superstars from Madonna to Duran Duran, Whitney Houston to Pet Shop Boys. Join Chris Molanphy as he defines the byways of this bespoke dance genre and traces how it bridged the disco era into the hiphop era. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Point of No Return Part 1

Point of No Return Part 1

2022-07-1601:02:252

After the so-called-but-not-really “death” of disco, dance music in the 1980s moved to its own beat. There was synthpop, electro, hi-NRG and house. But the scrappy genre that seemed to pull it all together was called freestyle—a breakbeat-tempo, Latin-flavored genre fortified with dizzying, proudly synthetic beats. Freestyle grew out of the clubs and streets of New York and Miami and briefly dominated ’80s dance-pop. Freestyle’s flagship artists were only medium-level stars: Shannon. Exposé. Lisa Lisa. Stevie B. Nu Shooz. Sweet Sensation. But these acts—most especially their yearning, floridly romantic, rhythmically hectic songs—punched above their weight on the charts and even affected the hits of superstars from Madonna to Duran Duran, Whitney Houston to Pet Shop Boys. Join Chris Molanphy as he defines the byways of this bespoke dance genre and traces how it bridged the disco era into the hiphop era. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For decades, British alt-pop goddess Kate Bush had never had a Top 10 hit in America. Now, in 2022, she finds herself in the Hot 100’s Top Five—and television got her there. Her classic “Running Up That Hill” is featured prominently in the latest season of Netflix’s hit ’80s horror fantasy show Stranger Things. This puts Bush in a long lineage of hits spawned or made bigger by TV, dating all the way back to Davy Crockett and Peter Gunn, through Hawaii Five-O and Happy Days, and peaking in the ’80s with Miami Vice and Family Ties. Join host Chris Molanphy as he walks through more than six decades of hits from the so-called boob tube and reveals why—thanks to our streaming age—Kate Bush’s hit might be the biggest TV tune of all. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For decades, British alt-pop goddess Kate Bush had never had a Top 10 hit in America. Now, in 2022, she finds herself in the Hot 100’s Top Five—and television got her there. Her classic “Running Up That Hill” is featured prominently in the latest season of Netflix’s hit ’80s horror fantasy show Stranger Things. This puts Bush in a long lineage of hits spawned or made bigger by TV, dating all the way back to Davy Crockett and Peter Gunn, through Hawaii Five-O and Happy Days, and peaking in the ’80s with Miami Vice and Family Ties. Join host Chris Molanphy as he walks through more than six decades of hits from the so-called boob tube and reveals why—thanks to our streaming age—Kate Bush’s hit might be the biggest TV tune of all. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What was in the water in Virginia Beach? Starting in the ’90s and peaking in the ’00s, Pharrell Williams, Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley and Missy Elliott—friends and family from the Tidewater Region—made nerdy pop normal on the charts. Their productions whirred, gurgled, pinged and rumbled—the handiwork of studio geeks—while their lyrics embraced the freaky: Missy demanding that you work it…Pharrell declaring he’s a hustler, baby…Timbaland bringing sexy back. Join host Chris Molanphy as he explains how these three supa-dupa fly Virginia Beach geniuses helped us get our freak on. For over two decades, they never left you without a dope beat to step to. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What was in the water in Virginia Beach? Starting in the ’90s and peaking in the ’00s, Pharrell Williams, Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley and Missy Elliott—friends and family from the Tidewater Region—made nerdy pop normal on the charts. Their productions whirred, gurgled, pinged and rumbled—the handiwork of studio geeks—while their lyrics embraced the freaky: Missy demanding that you work it…Pharrell declaring he’s a hustler, baby…Timbaland bringing sexy back. Join host Chris Molanphy as he explains how these three supa-dupa fly Virginia Beach geniuses helped us get our freak on. For over two decades, they never left you without a dope beat to step to. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the 1970s, a song about protesting truckers topped the music charts in multiple countries, and kicked off a pop culture craze for CB radios. In early 2022, that same song became an anthem for a new trucker-led protest movement in Canada and the US. How did C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” come to exist, and what had it been trying to say?  For this episode, which was inspired by a listener’s question, we’ve updated a story that originally aired in 2017, but that could not be more relevant today. Slate producer Evan Chung is going to take us through the history of this bizarre number-one smash, an artifact from a time when truckers were also at the center of the culture. It touches on advertising, hamburger buns, and speed limits but also global conflict, sky-rocketing gas prices, and aggrieved, protesting truck drivers.  Some of the voices you’ll hear in this episode include Bill Fries, advertising executive; Chip Davis, singer and songwriter; and Meg Jacobs, historian and author of Panic at the Pump. This episode of Decoder Ring was written and produced by Evan Chung and Willa Paskin with help from Elizabeth Nakano. Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com. If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
I Got Five on It Part 2

I Got Five on It Part 2

2022-04-2958:003

Five years ago this month, Hit Parade launched on the Slate podcast network. What have we learned in that half-decade? And what episodes did you love the most? We asked you to vote—and the results may surprise you. Sure, you enjoyed our shows about Madonna, Nirvana, Whitney, Mariah, Bruce, Stevie and Janet. But even more than that, you loved our nerdy deep dives about the producers behind “Le Freak”…the rules for One-Hit Wonders…the college-rockers from Athens, Ga.…the man behind Meat Loaf…the smooth players behind Yacht Rock…and that explainer about why you had to pay top dollar for CDs in the ’90s with only one good song. Join host Chris Molanphy as he shares his founding principles for Hit Parade, and counts down your 20 favorite shows. Happy fifth birthday to us! We’re finally old enough for kindergarten. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
I Got Five on It Part 1

I Got Five on It Part 1

2022-04-1652:522

Five years ago this month, Hit Parade launched on the Slate podcast network. What have we learned in that half-decade? And what episodes did you love the most? We asked you to vote—and the results may surprise you. Sure, you enjoyed our shows about Madonna, Nirvana, Whitney, Mariah, Bruce, Stevie and Janet. But even more than that, you loved our nerdy deep dives about the producers behind “Le Freak”…the rules for One-Hit Wonders…the college-rockers from Athens, Ga.…the man behind Meat Loaf…the smooth players behind Yacht Rock…and that explainer about why you had to pay top dollar for CDs in the ’90s with only one good song. Join host Chris Molanphy as he shares his founding principles for Hit Parade, and counts down your 20 favorite shows. Happy fifth birthday to us! We’re finally old enough for kindergarten. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Killing Me Softly Part 2

Killing Me Softly Part 2

2022-04-0101:01:041

The early ’70s was a great time for R&B queens on the charts: Roberta Flack. Dionne Warwick. Patti LaBelle. Chaka Khan. They had come through the ’60s—Dionne as a smooth pop-and-B star, Patti as a girl-group frontwoman, Roberta as a cabaret pianist—and found themselves in a new decade with limitless possibilities. Flack turned folk songs into chart-topping, Grammy-winning R&B. Warwick shifted from Brill Building pop to Philly soul. LaBelle threw her insane voice at rock, funk and glam. And a relative newcomer, Rufus frontwoman Chaka Khan, followed in their footsteps, commanding the band and converting to disco, then electro. By the ’80s, all four women were ready for a major chart victory lap. Join host Chris Molanphy as he traces four parallel careers that expanded the definition of soul from the ’60s through the ’80s and beyond. These soul sisters, flow sisters, bold sisters…killed us softly, walked on by and were, finally, every woman. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Host Chris Molanphy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Killing Me Softly Part 1

Killing Me Softly Part 1

2022-03-2601:19:012

The early ’70s was a great time for R&B queens on the charts: Roberta Flack. Dionne Warwick. Patti LaBelle. Chaka Khan. They had come through the ’60s—Dionne as a smooth pop-and-B star, Patti as a girl-group frontwoman, Roberta as a cabaret pianist—and found themselves in a new decade with limitless possibilities. Flack turned folk songs into chart-topping, Grammy-winning R&B. Warwick shifted from Brill Building pop to Philly soul. LaBelle threw her insane voice at rock, funk, and glam. And a relative newcomer, Rufus frontwoman Chaka Khan, followed in their footsteps, commanding the band and converting to disco, then electro. By the ’80s, all four women were ready for a major chart victory lap. Join host Chris Molanphy as he traces four parallel careers that expanded the definition of soul from the ’60s through the ’80s and beyond. These soul sisters, flow sisters, bold sisters…killed us softly, walked on by and were, finally, every woman. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Today on Hit Parade, we continue tracing the history of the remix. From Jennifer Lopez to Billie Eilish to Lil Nas X, the remix has become a ubiquitous part of contemporary pop chart battles. In part 2 we continue to story of how the remix became the defacto mode of reviving flagging singles, resulting in some of the most dominant pop songs of all time. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.    Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Comments (28)

Eric Raymond Igou

Born to Run peaked at #23. It just missed the inclusion criteria. But, in all honesty, is there a better legacy hit?

Oct 2nd
Reply

Eric Raymond Igou

I must admit, I have never heard of Biggy (but have recognized a song).

Oct 2nd
Reply

Al Bealing

Too many ads. Bye.

Feb 1st
Reply

Lucas Nasution

great podcasts!!

Sep 15th
Reply (1)

Rita J. Behm-Campos

I absolutely love ABBA. Just wished you would have done a whole segment on them.

May 12th
Reply

Danny Gette

Pandemic relief

Apr 4th
Reply

Fereshte Barzegar

thank u,that was amazing

Apr 1st
Reply

Mary Mildred

Excellent! Loved this!

Mar 11th
Reply

Adriana Lombardi

I kind of hoped they would also talk about former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips, who had his own string of successful progressive folk albums in the 70s as a solo artist.

Feb 7th
Reply

drora gibson

great episode , a must for you Brits admirers, good on you Chris! thanks

Dec 21st
Reply

Aaron Hartje

I've noticed a bit of verbal sleight of hand in other episodes, but to basically claim that the reason disco - an obvious music fad - died was because of a backlash against homosexuals, people of color and women is going a bit too far. It also kind of implies that women, homosexuals and people of color do not attend baseball games and did not participate in the occurrences that evening. I was around when this happened. As with other music fads, disco eventually became nothing but a parody and caricature of itself and it deserved the death it received. The good stuff survives, as is always the case.

Nov 8th
Reply

Jane Evangeline Antonia Feast

In the supermarket and guess what's on the radio?

Aug 17th
Reply

FRANCIS READER

That was a very interesting tale, the Stars On 45 part especially. One thing: Sparks are American, not British. Great podcast - please keep them coming.

Jul 26th
Reply

Tiffany Thornton

this episode is fantastic

Jun 25th
Reply

Sarah Cosgrove

Can u do a Queen trivia or the beatles trivia

Jun 23rd
Reply

Aaron Campbell

my wife and I look forward to every episode!

Dec 31st
Reply

Athena&TheOwl

and for all the predictions we voted for a no1 about Sausage Rolls!

Dec 23rd
Reply

Jeff Z

title = alt rock... spends a full third of the podcast talking about Mikey Cyrus. And then starts talking about hair metal. WTF?!?!?!?!

Nov 30th
Reply

One More Tune DJs

Absolutely fascinating. Every episode of this podcast is fantastic

Aug 16th
Reply

Tony Kearney

Love and Reccomend this 'Donna Summer' episode..

Jul 12th
Reply
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