CNN Archive

During my last semester of college, I had the incredible opportunity of interning at CNN’s morning news programs Early Start and Starting Point. One of my many duties was to write a daily blog post about the music that was featured on SPOccasionally, when I had an extra cup of coffee or four (this is morning television– my shift started at 2 A.M.!) I would interview the guests, asking them a few quick questions about their music picks. Sadly, Starting Point was recently cancelled by CNN. I thought that it would be a good idea to archive my articles here. It’s nothing special, but it is pretty cool that I got to write a daily blog for CNN for a while. 🙂 All of the links should still be live. They’ll bring you to a page where you can download the songs. Enjoy! Oh, and there are a few non-playlist articles, as well as photos I took on set thrown in there too!
Randy Jackson, Will Cain, Abby Huntsman, Morgan Spurlock, & Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien", 4/3/12

Randy Jackson, Will Cain, Abby Huntsman, Morgan Spurlock, & Soledad O’Brien on “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien”, 4/3/12

Ashleigh Banfield checks up on a story during a commercial break. 4/23/12

Ashleigh Banfield checks up on a story during a commercial break. 4/23/12

These pictures were featured in a post on called “Behing the scenes of today’s Early Start”:






Criminologist Casey Jordan was on set today, and she kicked off our playlist withFiona Apple’s “Criminal.” The Grammy and VMA-winning song is the biggest hit of Apple’s career, and has been included in VH1 and Blender‘s “Best-Of” lists.

Margaret Hoover was back on our panel today and, as always, picked a couple of great songs for the playlist. Today they were Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You,” his only U.S. Top 40 hit, and Arcade Fire’s recent rock hit “Rebellion (Lies).”

Hoover was joined on the panel by Marc Lamont Hill, Ph.D., the Columbia University professor and journalist. First up from Marc’s playlist was Erykah Badu’s “Honey.” The 2008 hit included a 30-year old sample of jazz singer Nancy Wilson.

Marc also picked Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do,” a track from his 1980 album Hotter than July. Wonder is one of the most successful artists in the history of popular music, both as a singer and as a songwriter.

Kanye West made our playlist for the second day in a row, this time with“Amazing,” a pick from Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien. The song is from his best-selling 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. Soledad also picked Beyonce’s “Video Phone.”

Will Cain rounded out the panel with a couple of acclaimed songs: Bob Seger’s 1978 hit “Hollywood Nights,” and Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” whichRolling Stone included in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Charlie Foley, who created the buzzworthy documentary Mermaids: The Body Found, stopped by today’s Starting Point and brought along a fitting song for our playlist: “This Is the Sea,” a song from the 1985 album of the same name by The Waterboys.

Finally, Christine Romans contributed a song today: “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” the early eighties hit from the Georgia Satellites.

Democratic strategist Christine Pelosi dismisses ‘ridiculous’ Trump, shifts focus to real issues

Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee yesterday after his Texas primary win helped him reach the magic number of 1,144 delegates. You would think that Romney clinching would be the top political story of the day, but instead, a Romney surrogate and fundraiser is making headlines of his own.

Businessman and entertainment figure Donald Trump is in the news yet again for claiming that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Democratic strategist Christine Pelosi stopped by today’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien” to discuss how Trump stumping for Romney many or may not affect the campaign.

“Donald Trump is only saying loudly what a lot of Republicans have been dog whistling for months…it’s ridiculous and it has to stop,” Pelosi said.

“I’m glad Governor Sununu [refuted Donald Trump earlier on Starting Point] but I’d also like to hear that from Governor Romney.”

Pelosi noted that it is important that people focus on real issues such as jobs, the economy and the empowerment of working families, but got into a debate with panelist Margaret Hoover as to whether or not President Obama is a job creator.

“No doubt, we need to do better,” Pelosi said, but noted that President Obama has indeed improved upon his predecessor.

Pelosi is the daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who during her time as Speaker of the House, was the highest ranking woman in the history of the United States. She is the author of two politically-themed books and writes frequently for The Huffington Post.

Starting Point playlist for Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” kicked off our Starting Point playlist this morning, a pick from panelist Margaret Hoover. The 2011 Top 20 hit features vocals from a wide variety of artists ranging from Elton John to Fergie.

Margaret also picked Joe Cocker’s 1969 cover of “Feelin’ Alright” and Lifehouse’s 2007 hit “First Time.”

Ron Brownstein of the National Journal was a panelist today and brought two rock gems with him. First up was “Pride and Joy” by the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan, followed by “Keep the Car Running,” Arcade Fire’s critically acclaimed 2007 hit.

Will Cain picked a soft-rock classic for his first playlist pick this morning: Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” The 1989 hit was Petty’s first release without his frequent band The Heartbreakers. Will also picked James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” The 1966 single was a Top 10 hit for the Godfather of Soul.

Of course, Will also went a little country, picking “Time Marches On,” the mid-nineties hit by Tracy Lawrence.

SP host Soledad O’Brien picked a couple of songs herself for today’s playlist. Soledad picked “Shine” by Ledisi and Chaka Khan’s classic “Tell Me Something Good.” The song, a Top 5 hit in 1974, was written by Stevie Wonder.

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Today’s Starting Point playlist kicked off with a pick from panelist “HuffPost Live” host Alicia Menendez: “Feels So Good” by Mase. The song was  a top five hit in 1997, and was produced by hip hop mogul Diddy, then known as Sean “Puffy” Combs. Alicia also picked Seal’s first single “Krazy,”  the first of his many soulful hits.

CNN Contributor Margaret Hoover was also on our panel this morning, and brought along a couple of rap classics. Up first was The Gourds’ cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” followed by the smash hit “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. “I love Jay-Z,” Hoover said. “His New York anthem makes all New Yorkers (and all wannabe New Yorkers) proud.”

Will Cain’s playlist pick today was “Swingin'” by John Anderson. Will remembers listening to the song with a friend as kids and laughing to the “funny song.”

Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien contributed a song today as well: the Stevie Wonder classic “Superstition.” Believe it or not, the number one hit will be forty years old this October.

Also heard on today’s show were Steve Go0dman’s “Go Cubs Go” and Oingo Boingo’s “Weird Science.”

Starting Point playlist for Monday, May 28, 2012


Inspiring four year old Anthony Smith was on the show today and picked “Boston” by Augustana for our playlist. The 2005 hit peaked at number 34  on the Billboard Hot 100 and cracked the top 10 on the Adult Pop Songs chart. The track has been featured in TV shows ranging from Scrubs to One Tree Hill

“Got” by Mos Def made John Fugelsang’s playlist today. The song is from Mos Def’s debut album Black on Both Sides, which went Gold after its release in 1999.

Wilco’s “Jesus, Etc.” was New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza’s playlist pick today. The track can be heard on the group’s album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is one of the newest albums included in Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Will Cain’s playlist pick this morning was “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones. The classic rock song was a number one hit for the Stones in 1971.

Another number one hit– separated by 37 years– was Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” which hit the top of the Billb0ard Hot 100 in 2008.

Starting Point playlist for Friday, May 25, 2012


Today’s Starting Point playlist kicked off with a pick from one of our panelists, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. Ryan picked “Blue Orchid” by The White Stripes. Former Stripes frontman Jack White recently scored his first number one album with his debut solo release Blunderbuss.

Lizza also picked “Wrecking Ball,” a song by country great Emmylou Harris. The song, originally written by Neil Young, was chosen as the title track to Harris’ 1995 rock album.

Christine Romans filled in for Soledad O’Brien in the anchor seat today, and picked a few songs for today’s playlist as well. Up first was “No Brakes,” a track from The Bravery’s self-titled debut album.  Christine also picked “Make Some Noise” by the Beastie Boys and the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero.”

Alicia Menendez stopped by our panel this morning and brought along a pretty diverse bunch of tunes. Alicia’s first pick was Salt N Pepa’s 1993 smash “None of Your Business,” followed by the late, great Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”

“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” from Michael Jackson’s legendary album Thrilleralso made Alicia’s playlist today, as well as the current hit “International Love” by Pitbull ft. Chris Brown.

Will Cain also contributed a song to our playlist this morning: “It’s Alright” by Big Head Todd & the Monsters. The track is off of the band’s platinum 1993 albumSister Sweetly.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, May 24, 2012


Today’s Starting Point playlist kicked off with “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire, a pick from panelist Margaret Hoover. The song was highly acclaimed, and is the band’s most successful release to date in the UK, charting in the Top 20.

Margaret also picked Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” and Lyle Lovett’s “I’ve Been To Memphis.” The song is from Lovett’s 1992 album Joshua Judges Ruth, which skyrocketed to popularity after Lovett began dating actress Julia Roberts.

The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza was an SP panelist this morning and brought along a couple of greats: “Bye, Bye Baby” by Janis Joplin and Sonic Youth’s “Silver Rocket,” which Rolling Stone included in their list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.

Joel Stein, TIME columnist and the author of the new book Man Made: A Stupid Quest For Masculinity stopped by our show this morning and picked a couple of songs for our playlist: Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” and “Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living)” by Eels, who are likely best known for their 1997 Modern Rock hit “Novocaine for the Soul.”

Per usual, panelist Will Cain picked a bunch of classics for our SP playlist. Up first was Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”,
which was Petty’s first hit without his frequent band The Heartbreakers. Will also picked Stone Larue’s “Look At Me Fly” and “Honky Tonk Woman” by The Rolling Stones.

Christine Romans picked “Blister in the Sun,” a track from the Violent Femmes’ debut album, which has been heard in many films and TV shows. “I love Midwest bands,” Christine said of the Femmes, who hail from Wisconsin. “This song always reminds me of when I was a kid.”

Economist Grover Norquist appeared via satellite from Washington, D.C. and picked “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MG’s. The R&B band will celebrate fifty years together this summer.

Also heard on today’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien: “Fidelity,” singer Regina Spektor’s biggest hit to date.

Starting Point playlist for Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Sen. Ron Johnson kicked off today’s Starting Point playlist with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” George Harrison’s classic Beatles song. The track is widely considered to be one of Harrison’s finest compositions, and was ranked among the greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone.

Political commentator Margaret Hoover was one of our panelists this morning, and brought along a diverse couple of songs for the playlist. Up first was “Eva” by Latin funk group Ozomatli. The track is off of the band’s self titled 1998 debut album. Hoover also picked “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, which has been recorded over a thousand times by artists ranging from The Grateful Dead to Motorhead.

Will Cain’s first playlist pick today was The Black Crowes’ “Jealous Again.” The song was the band’s first single, released in 1990. Will also picked Everclear’s1997 hit “Father of Mine.”

Men in Black III star Alice Eve stopped by the Starting Point set today, and brought along Pitbull’s “Back in Time.” The song can be found on the soundtrack to the new film, which hits theaters this Friday.

Panelist Roland Martin picked a couple of throwbacks today. Up first was “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. The song was the first of many number ones for Michael Jackson, who has reached the top of the charts in six decades, including the current one with “Hollywood Tonight,” which topped the Hot Dance Chart last year. Martin also picked the Parliament classic “Flashlight.”

Do you have a suggestion for our playlist? Post your pick in the comment box below or send us a tweet at @StartingPtCNN!

Starting Point playlist for Monday, May 7, 2012


We kicked off today’s Starting Point playlist with a pick from panelist Jay Thomas, an Emmy Award-winning actor. Jay picked “Love in America” by JTX, whose debut album From Detroit With Love is now available online. He also picked Doc Watson’s “Tennessee Stud.”

Reddit founder Alexis Ohanihan stopped by the show today and brought Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” featuring Mr. Hudson along with him. When the 2010 hit cracked the Billboard top ten, it tied Jay-Z with Ludacris for the most rap songs to make the top ten.

“The Good Life” by Kanye West was CNN’s education contributor Dr. Steve Perry’s music pick this morning. The song was a hit for the rapper in 2007, and sampled parts of Michael Jackson’s classic “(P.Y.T.) Pretty Young Thing.”

British band Coldplay made Christine Romans’ playlist today with “Hurts Like Heaven.” The track is from the group’s most recent album Mylo Xyloto, which was their fifth straight album to hit number one in their native U.K. Christine also played “Too Many Rappers” by The Beastie Boys ft. Nas, in honor of founding Beastie Adam Yauch, who passed away Friday after a battle with cancer.

WSJ writer Chris Farley was on our show today to discuss the box office success of The Avengers, and he also picked a song for today’s playlist: Peter Tosh’s “Wanted Dread and Alive.” The late reggae legend spent many years performing with Bob Marley and The Wailers.

The Carter and Wipf families have been making headlines for their innovative ideas, and they made an appearance on today’s Starting Point, bringing alongPete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door.” The song was the biggest hit of The Who guitarist’s solo career.

Graceland’s Director of Communications was a guest on SP today and, of course,picked an Elvis song to add to our playlist: “It’s Now or Never.” The song was just one of The King’s’ 17 number one hits.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, May 3, 2012


Today’s Starting Point playlist kicked off with some wishful thinking from Christine Romans: Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.” The song is the biggest hit of Rock’s career; it topped the charts in several countries and has become a staple of rock radio for the past few summers.

SP panelist Abby Huntsman was in a Maroon 5 mood this morning. First up was the band’s current single “Payphone,” the hit collab with Wiz Khalifa which the band debuted on The Voice and currently sits at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Up next was the group’s ’07 Grammy-nominated hit “Won’t Go Home Without You,” and “Stutter,” a cut from their latest album Hands All Over. Abby also strayed a bit from Adam Levine and co., playing “Bruises” by Train ft. Ashley Monroe.

Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill was on our panel today and brought a couple of classics with him: MC Lyte’s groundbreaking 1988 song “Paper Thin,” and “What’s the 411?,” the title track from Mary J. Blige’s debut album, and “The Glow of Love” by Change.

Will Cain, as usual, gave us a country vibe this morning, with The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Heard It in a Love Song” and Bob Schneider’s “Big Blue Sea.”

Former Celebrity Apprentice star Dayana Mendoza made an appearance on today’s show, and contributed a couple of picks for our playlist: “Lovumba” by Daddy Yankee and The Wanted’s smash hit “Glad You Came.”

Finally, Mel McDaniel’s “Louisiana Saturday Night” was heard on today’sStarting Point, courtesy of Louisiana’s current governor Bobby Jindal.

(A quick note on our links to buy the songs: Kid Rock’s music can only be purchased as part of a full album.)

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Today’s Starting Point playlist kicked off with a pick from The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza: “Marry Me” by St. Vincent, a track off of the indie singer from Oklahoma’s debut album. Ryan also picked Rufus Wainwright’s “Out of the Game” and “Dig Me Out” by Sleater-Kinney.

Christine Romans, who guest anchored Early Start this morning, contributed a couple of songs to our playlist. Up first was “Notorious” by Duran Duran. It was just announced that the band will be part of the celebrations at the Olympics this summer. Christine’s next pick was The Bravery’s “Slow Poison.”’s Will Cain contributed a few songs to today’s playlist as well, starting with “Hi’ilawe” by John Cruz, which can be found on the soundtrack to the new Hawaii Five-0. Will also picked Merle Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” which was a number one country hit for the legendary singer.

Tom Waits made political comedian John Fugelsang’s playlist this morning, with “Jockey Full of Bourbon.” Last fall, after a career spanning four decades, Waits scored his first top ten album with Bad as Me. John also picked the Siouxsie and the Banshees version of “Dear Prudence,” the 1968 Beatles classic. This particular cover reached number three on the UK pop chart in 1983.

Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. appeared on today’s Starting Point, and he brought a few soulful classics with him: Barry White’s “Theme From Together Brothers,” “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”

Other music from today’s show included the waltz from Faust (author David Frum’s pick), Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer,” a pick by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta,  and Nelly’s “Just a Dream.”

Do you have a favorite song that you would like to hear on SP? Give us a suggestion in the comments box below, and you might hear your pick on a future episode of Starting Point! Plus follow us on Twitter at @StartingPtCNN!

Starting Point playlist for Monday, April 29, 2012


Gordon Chang of kicked off today’s playlist with “Gimme Shelter,” the Rolling Stones classic that Rolling Stone (the magazine, not the band) called the 38th greatest song of all time.

“With or Without You” by U2 made Christine Romans’ playlist this morning. The 1987 number one hit also made the Rolling Stone best-of list, and is one of U2’s most recognizable songs. Christine also picked Coldplay’s “In My Place,” a Grammy-winning 2002 hit for the band.

Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” from the duo’s 2011 collaboration Watch the Throne was Steve Perry’s playlist pick today. The album from the two rap giants was one of the most successful releases of last year.

Will Cain’s first pick today was Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars, Cadillacs,” a track from the country singer’s debut album. Yoakam is reportedly readying a new album for release later this year, his first in seven years. Will also picked “Feelin’ Good Again” by Robert Earl Keen, Jr.

Author Richard Miniter stopped by the Starting Point set today and brought alongRod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” The song achieved huge chart success upon its release it 1971: it topped the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic at the same time its parent album Every Picture Tells a Story topped the album charts.

Roy Orbison’s “Workin’ For The Man” made author Ronald Kessler’s playlist this morning. Orbison, who had a hit with the song in 1962, had a career resurgence in the late eighties thanks in part to his work with the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.

CNN Sr. Political Analyst Ron Brownstein was a panelist on today’s SP and contributed a couple of song’s for the playlist: “Girls Talk” by Dave Edmundsand Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.” The latter song was written by Springsteen in response to the September 11th attacks, and takes on a new meaning today as the new One World Trade Center rises above the Empire State Building to become the tallest building in New York City.

Actor and director  Bobcat Goldthwait was a guest on today’s Starting Point and he contributed a couple of songs for our playlist: Billy Bragg’s “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward” and “Celluloid Heroes” by The Kinks.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, April 26, 2012


Today’s Starting Point with guest anchor Christine Romans began with a pick from Jose Antonio Vargas’ playlist: “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys. The song was a number one hit for the duo in 2009, and prompted Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg to release their west coast response song “California Gurls.”

Kelly Clarkson’s smash hit “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”  made Abby Huntsman’s playlist this morning. The song has topped practically every chart around, including the Hot 100, Hot Pop Songs and Hot Dance Club Songs. Abby also picked Eric Church’s top-ten country hit “Springsteen” and the Allman Brothers classic “Rambin’ Man.”

Kevin Powell’s playlist pick today was John Mayer’s Grammy-winning hit“Waiting on the World to Change.” Mayer’s new album Born and Raised is set to be released on May 22nd.

“Threadbare Gypsy Soul” by Pat Green made Will Cain’s playlist this morning. Green also has a new album on the horizon: Songs We Wish We Written II, a followup to his 2001 covers album, is due May 8th.

Captain Fraser Hall and First Mate Peter Hammarstedt of Animal Planet’s Whale Wars stopped by Starting Point today and brought along “Soul Meets Boy,” a song by Death Cab For Cutie. The track, off of their 2005 album Plans, was their first song to chart in the U.S., peaking just outside of the Top 40.

Legendary actress and singer Lynda Carter visited Starting Point today. In honor of the one and only Wonder Woman, we played a few tracks off of Lynda’s most recent album, 2011’s Crazy Little Things. Up first was “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” along with “C’est La Vie” and “Jessie’s Song,” which she wrote for her daughter.

“Lover Come Back To Me” by Dinah Washington was John Fugelsang’s pick today. We also played John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” and One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.”

For more information on our playlists and guests, follow Starting Point on Twitter: @StartingPtCNN

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Today’s Starting Point playlist began with a pick from Cmdr. Kirk Lippold:“Human” by The Killers, track from the group’s 2008 album Day & Age. Cmdr.Lippold also picked “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Coldplay’s recent Grammy-nominated hit “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.”

Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics visited our show today and brought along “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. The song is credited with popularizing hip hop in contemporary music.  

Frequent SP panelist and political comedian John Fugelsang’s first pick today was “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” by The Pogues. The Irish band has had surprising digital success in recent years with their Christmas-themed song “Fairytale of New York,” which has re-charted in the UK every year since 2005.

The Blaze’s Will Cain’s first song choice this morning was “All The Rage In Paris” by The Derailers. The Texas-based country group was featured in the 2006 Stephen King short story Willa. Cain also picked The Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” which is widely considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time.

Speaking of legends, NFL great Dan Marino stopped by the show this morning, and contributed a song to our playlist: Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You.” The track is from the group’s 1994 album Cracked Rear View, which is one of the best selling albums of all time.

Christine Romans picked a couple of songs for today’s playlist. Up first was Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue,” and Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around With Him.”

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also made an appearance on today’sStarting Point, and her playlist pick was OneRepublic’s smash hit “Good Life.”

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta contributed a song as well: Robert Palmer’s “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor).”

Other songs on today’s playlist include Lady Gaga’s number one hit “Poker Face,” Louis Armstrong’s “When The Saints Go Marching In,” and the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Starting Point playlist for Monday, April 23, 2012


We kicked off today’s Starting Point playlist with a pick from political comedian John Fugelsang: M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” her biggest hit to date. The singer recently came under fire after she made an offensive gesture during the Super Bowl halftime show. Fugelsang also picked the classic jazz song “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck.

CNN contributor and The Blaze columnist Will Cain’s playlist pick today was “Up Against the Wall, Red Neck” by Jerry Jeff Walker. The seventy-year old country singer has been making music for over forty-five years.

Rep. Ted Poe (R, TX) was a guest panelist on today’s SP and he brought along Toby Keith’s 2003 number one country hit “Beer For My Horses.” The song was adapted into a feature length film in 2008, and starred Keith alongside Willie Nelson and Ted Nugent.

Early Start anchor Zoraida Sambolin did the news hits for Starting Point today, and she also contributed a song to our playlist: “Rabiosa” by Shakira feat. Pitbull. The song was a worldwide smash, reaching number one on both sides of the Atlantic.

Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey picked The Alan Parsons Project’s “Eye in the Sky.” Parsons has also been involved in music production, and was an engineer on the legendary Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon.

We also featured a few songs today that had to do with the day’s top stories. Author James Gleick was here to promote his new book on information overload, “The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood.” Fittingly, we played “Information Overload” by Living Colour.

The theme from Jaws by John Williams made perfect sense after a boy in a kayak caught a shark, as did Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” as the debate for longer school days heats up. And, if you are experiencing this spring nor’easter, you’ll understand why we picked Bing Crosby’s “Snow.”

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, April 19, 2012


Soledad O’Brien picked a few classics for today’s Starting Point playlist. Up first was “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry. Rolling Stone magazine recently called the track the best guitar song of all time. Soledad also picked The Everly Brothers’“All I Have to Do Is Dream,” James Brown’s “Living in America” and“Bandstand Boogie,” the theme song of the long-running classic TV showAmerican Bandstand, which was hosted by Dick Clark, who passed away yesterday at 82.

One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” was Abby Huntsman’s first pick this morning. The smash hit is currently charting at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The number one spot right now is held by Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” and another Gotye song made Abby’s playlist today: “Eyes Wide Open.” Both songs can be found on his latest album Making Mirrors.

Abby also picked a couple of throwback favorites today: Kenny Chesney’s 2006 country number one “Summertime” and Gwen Stefani’s massive 2005 hit“Hollaback Girl,” which was the first song to sell over a million downloads.

The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza’s song choices today were Radiohead’s “Creep,”“Simple Song” by The Shins, and The Band’s “The Weight.” Former Band singer Levon Helm announced this week that he was in the final stages in his battle with cancer.

The 1977 Waylon Jennings classic “Lukenbach, Texas” was Will Cain’s first pick this morning. He also picked Cory Morrow’s “Nashville Blues” and “Some Girls,” the title track from The Rolling Stones’ 1978 hit album.

Our own Christine Romans selected a couple of rock songs for today’s playlist: the Kings of Leon’s “Radioactive” and Paul McCartney’s Wings classic “Live and Let Die.”

Finally, Shaun King of the new website contributed a couple of picks to today’s show: Jonny Lang’s “Don’t Stop (For Anything)” and Kanye West’s “Through the Wire.”

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, April 17, 2012


We kicked off today’s Starting Point with a song picked by Panelist Will Cain: “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers who were among the musical acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last weekend. The Peppers are one of a select group of artists who are still active and successful at the time of their induction– their song “Look Around” is a current top twenty hit on the Rock and Alternative charts. Cain also picked “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” by Waylon Jennings.

“Mama, I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne made John Zarrella’s playlist today. Believe it or not, this song is Ozzy’s only top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, despite a career spanning over four decades.

John Fugelsang’s first song pick today was Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything.” The track is off of Hill’s 1998 debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which is one of the most successful albums ever. It has sold over seven million copies and was nominated for a record ten Grammys. Fugelsang also picked“Jockey Full of Bourbon” by Tom Waits.

The Cuban hip-hop group the Orishas made Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill’s playlist this morning with “Represent.” The song can be found on the soundtrack to the 2004 film Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

“Shattered” from The Rolling Stones’ 1978 album Some Girls was Soledad O’Brien’s first playlist pick today. Soledad also picked “Mr. Telephone Man” by New Edition. The original members of the group recently reunited and are currently touring the U.S.

Early Start anchor Zoraida Sambolin contributed a couple of songs to today’s playlist. First up was “La Tortura” by Shakira and Alejandro Sanz. The 2005 hit is the best selling Spanish language single of the past ten years. Zoraida also picked Marc Anthony’s “I Need to Know.” Like Shakira, Anthony has achieved bilingual success– this song was one of his most successful English tracks.

U2’s 2004 smash “Vertigo” was Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s playlist pick today. The song won three Grammys for the band, who have a total of 22, more than any other band in history.

Marc Lamont Hill’s second pick today was “They Reminisce Over You” by Pete Rock and CL Smooth. The track is a tribute to a friend of the group who passed away, Troy “Trouble T Roy” Dixon. Hill also picked “Tears Dry on Their Own” by Amy Winehouse. The late singer recently won a posthumous Grammy along with Tony Bennett for their duet “Boy and Soul.”

Tupac Shakur’s “Untouchable” was featured on today’s SP. Tupac has been back in the headlines recently after a hologram of the late rapper performed at last weekend’s Coachella Music Festival.

The Bill Withers classic “Lean on Me” was Rep. Elijah Cummings’ song selection this morning. The song topped the charts in 1972, and returned to the top fifteen years later as covered by R&B group Club Nouveau.

Soledad’s next pick was Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama,” the title track from Blige’s 2001 hit album. Blige has won nine Grammy awards, ranging from Best Rap Album to Best Gospel Performance.

Drake’s “Take Care” made an appearance on today’s show, as did Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home,” another of Fugelsang’s picks. Former baseball start Jim Abbott also contributed a couple of picks: Ray LaMontagne’s “Three More Days”and “Racing in the Street” by Bruce Springsteen. 

Starting Point playlist for Monday, April 16, 2012


Boyz II Men, the number one R&B group of all time, made an appearance on today’s Starting Point, and Soledad picked a few of their biggest hits, as well as some tracks from their new album Twenty for today’s playlist.

“Motownphilly” was our first pick today, and it was likewise the Boyz’s first single in 1991, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Up next was“All Around the World,” a track from their second album II which was their first number one album.

Their second single, which peaked at number two, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” also made our playlist, as well as “On Bended Knee.”The latter song, a 1994 smash, solidified the groups place in history: they replaced themselves atop the Hot 100 with that song, being the first artist to do so since The Beatles did it thirty years earlier.

Switching gears, Abby Huntsman’s contribution today was Good Charlotte’s hit “The Anthem.” Huntsman contributed to a diverse bunch of songs chosen by today’s panel.  John Fugelsang’s pick was “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” a track from Bob Dylan’s most recent album Together Through Life. Pat Green’s “Me and Billy the Kid” and “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty rounded out the panel picks, coming from Will Cain’s playlist.

We also featured Level 42’s “Something About You,” a pick from Gary Bernsten, the Dolly Parton classic “9 to 5,” Micheal Weakley’s pick, “Good Times Roll,”Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s pick by The Cars, Steve Perry’s The Roots track “What You Want” and “Into the Fire,” Lisa Belkin’s pick by The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

Do you have a song selection that you would like to hear on Starting Point? Leave your suggestion in the comment section and you might hear your pick on an upcoming episode!

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, April 12, 2012


We started today’s playlist with a pick from Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien:“Feet First” by G.W. Toye and the Blues All-Stars. On the band’s website, they describe themselves as “genuine house rockin’ blues to deep, down Tin Pan Alley blues.” For more information on the group, check out their MySpace page.

Continuing the rock and roll theme, John Fugelsang’s first pick today was “Weapon of Choice” by San Fransisco-based rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Group. The song is from their 2007 album Baby 81, their highest charting album to date.

Presidential campaign adviser Brett O’Donnell picked Bonnie Raitt’s 2005 track “I Will Not Be Broken.” Raitt’s first album in seven years is set to be released this month and is already garnering rave reviews. O’Donnell also picked Rascal Flatts’ number one country single “My Wish,” one of a massive eleven number one hits for the band.

Texas country singer Robert Earl Keen made Will Cain’s playlist today with “Gringo Honeymoon” from the 1994 album of the same name. The album was Keen’s last release for bluegrass label Sugar Hill Records. He signed with Arista records and began seeing chart success starting with 1997’s Picnic.

Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith of the Tumblr blog “Texts From Hillary” appeared on today’s Starting Point and brought a couple of songs with them. First up was “Two Weeks” by indie rock group Grizzly Bear. The song was included in Pitchfork Media’s list of the 500 best songs of the 2000s. Up next from Lambe and Smith was Foster the People’s 2011 smash “Pumped up Kicks.”

Frequent SP panelist Roland Martin’s playlist pick today was “Baby I’m a Star” by Prince.” The song was featured on Prince’s classic albumPurpleRain, as well as in the film of the same name.

Mayer Hawthorne’s 2011 hit “The Walk” was CNN’s Ron Browstein’s playlist pick this morning. Also today, we featured the discoverers of Botox, Drs. Alastair and Jean Carruthers. They picked The Rolling Stones’ classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” for the SP playlist. Rolling Stone magazine called the track the second best song of all time in 2004.

Also featured on today’s show was Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole’s famous cover of “Over The Rainbow.” The song is originally from the classic film The Wizard of Oz, which was released almost 73 years ago.

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We kicked off today’s Starting Point playlist with “Cheer Down” by George Harrison, a pick from panelist John Fugelsang. The single was part of Harrison’s late-eighties comeback that included the hit album Cloud Nine and the number one smash “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You.”

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” by Oasis was Christine Romans’ first playlist pick this morning. The song is from the group’s 1994 debut Definitely Maybe, which set the bar for success for the band: it, and every studio album that came after it, peaked at number one on the U.K. charts. Christine also picked “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins. The group is expected to release a new album in June, their first major release in five years.

David Bowie’s “Modern Love” was picked by Newt Gingrich’s Communication Director Joe DeSantis for today’s SP playlist. The song was a huge hit for Bowie in 1983, and was part of his set list at the charity concert Live Aid two years later.

John Mellencamp’s 1984 top ten “Pink Houses” was Will Cain’s musical selection today. The song has been frequently been used for political purposes, although Mellencamp himself occasionally objects to its use.

“You” was a number one country hit for Chris Young earlier this year, and today it made Roland Martin’s Starting Point playlist. The song was Young’s fifth consecutive chart topper.

Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-winning song “Wonderful” was Daryl Parks’ playlist pick this morning. Franklin was ranked number one on Rolling Stone‘s list of the greatest singers of all time.

Rashad Robinson’s contribution to our playlist today was Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster.” The reggae-influenced song was one of Wonder’s first hits of the 1980s, his third decade of phenomenal success.

“I Need To Know,” one of Marc Anthony’s biggest English-language hits, wasEarly Start anchor Zoraida Sambolin’s playlist pick today. Check out a preview of Zoraida’s one-on-one with NBA great Magic Johnson.

Other songs on today’s Starting Point include “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney, the Grateful Dead’ s “Money Money,” “Magic” by The Cars, and“Orinoco Flow” by Enya.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, April 5, 2012


We kicked off today’s Starting Point playlist with a pick from guest panelist Stedman Graham: “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees. The 1977 classic was recently included in Billboard’s list of the 100 biggest hits of the last 50 years, ranking 20th. Graham also picked Smokey Robinson’s sixties hit “More Love”, the Grammy-winning Luther Vandross song “Here and Now,” and Marvin Gaye’s“What’s Going On,” which Rolling Stone called the fourth greatest song of all time in 2004.

“Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman and The Miracles was political comedian and frequent Starting Point panelist John Fugelsang’s first playlist pick today. The song has received high praise, and was also included in the 2004 Rolling Stone“greatest” list. Fugelsang also picked The Rolling Stones classic “She’s a Rainbow.” After the song was released in 1967, rumors surfaced that The Beatles were featured on the track. Although these rumors turned out to be false, the song does have a link to another rock monster– a year before Led Zeppelin formed, bassist John Paul Jones arranged the strings for the song.

Jeffrey Toobin’s playlist pick this morning was Elvis Costello’s “Mystery Dance.”The track is from Costello’s debut album My Aim Is True. Costello has always been a very prolific artist; he released at least an album a year from 1977-1985, ’93-’99, and ’01-’10.

Will Cain picked a couple of classic hits today: Joe Cocker’s version of “Unchain My Heart” and “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp, which was a number one hit for Mellancamp thirty years ago when he went by the stage name John Cougar.

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta made an in-studio appearance on today’s Starting Pointand brought a few songs with him. First up was Coldplay’s 2005 hit “Fix You.”Gupta also picked Robert Palmer’s “Bad Case of Loving You” and Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.”

We also featured James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess,” a pick from Marc Morial’s playlist, as well as “Fight the Power” by The Isley Brothers and “Mr. Hurricane” by Beast, two of Roland Martin’s song choices, as well as the campy classic “Barbie Girl” by European dance group Aqua.

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Acclaimed filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was one of our Starting Point panelists this morning, and picked three very different songs for his playlist. He picked“Testimony” by The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Matt & Kim’s “AM/FM Sound,” and “White Knuckles” by OK Go.

The current top ten hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye was conservative commentator Abby Huntsman’s first playlist selection today.  She also picked Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” and Chris Brown’s “Turn Up The Music,”which made headlines for its remix featuring Brown’s ex Rihanna.

Our own Christine Romans contributed a couple of older songs to today’s Starting Point: Frank Sinatra’s version of “Ol’ Macdonald” and “On Broadway” by George Benson. Changing gears a bit, Christine also picked “Make Some Noise,” a track from The Beastie Boys’ latest album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.

Starting Point guest Randy Jackson’s contribution to today’s playlist was his 2008 collaboration with Paula Abdul, “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.”

Other songs featured today include “Ice Cream Man” by Van Halen, “Queen of the Night” by the late Whitney Houston, Will Cain’s George Strait pick “Blue Clear Sky,” and Five For Fighting’s “Chances,” a song from the soundtrack toThe Blind Side, which was based on SP guest Leigh Anne Tuohy’s life.

Starting Point playlist for Monday, April 2, 2012


Nikka Costa’s “Around The World” kicked off our playlist today. The song, from Celeste Headlee’s playlist, is from a more recent part of Costa’s career; she has been performing for 30 of her 39 years.

Christine Romans picked the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” for her playlist today. The song is considered to be one of the Foos’ best, and has been included in many “greatest of all time” lists.

Paul Simon’s 1986 hit “You Can Call Me Al” was Peter Beinart’s playlist pick today. The song is from Simon’s classic album Graceland, which was included inRolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Will Cain’s first pick today was “Barefoot & Crazy” by country artist Jack Ingram. While Ingrahm was promoting the song in 2009, he gave so many interviews in one day that he actually set a Guiness World Record.

Stevie Wonder’s classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” was Hogan Gidley’s pick this morning. Stevie Wonder was recently in the spotlight againwhen he performed at Whitney Houston’s funeral. Both Huston and Wonder are among the most successful artists in contemporary music.

David Bowie, born David Jones, had to change his name to avoid confusion with the recently departed Davy Jones, who was at the time in one of the biggest bands in the world. Needless to say, the name change paid off, and Bowie has become a legend in his own right. His 1975 hit “Golden Years” made Celeste Headlee’s playlist today.

Will Cain’s next pick today was Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing.” Although the group split nearly twenty years ago, many of the former members continue to make music. Former lead singer Mark Knopfler and keyboardist Guy Fletcher are reportedly working on a new album together.

Modest Mouse’s Grammy-nominated hit “Float On” made Christine Romans’ playlist this morning. Christine also picked another Stevie Wonder classic, “Sir Duke,” a number one hit from his legendary album Songs in the Key of Life.

“Misunderstanding” by Genesis was Headlee’s next pick today. Drummer Phil Collins may have recently retired from the music industry, but he passed the torch along: his daughter is actress Lily Collins, who stars in the new Snow White movie Mirror Mirror alongside Julia Roberts.

Elvis Costello’s biggest hit in the United States was 1989’s “Veronica,” which is Peter Beinart’s second playlist pick of the day. The song was co-written by Costello’s friend Paul McCartney.

Alt rock band Wilco’s 1999 song “A Shot in the Arm” was Headlee’s final playlist pick this morning. The group’s most recent album The Whole Love was nominated for a Grammy in 2011.

Finally, we closed out today’s show with “Railroad Lady” by Willie Nelson. The legendary singer has enjoyed a very long career both in music and activism. His first album, And Then I Wrote, was released fifty years ago this year.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, March 29, 2012


Marc Anthony’s “I Need To Know” was Soledad O’Brien’s first playlist pick this morning. The song was one of the biggest English-language hits of Anthony’s career, reaching number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and winning a Grammy in 2000.

OneRepublic’s “Good Life” made Christine Romans’ playlist today. The song, a top ten hit for the band, has been everywhere lately: it has aappeared in commercials, films, and multiple music videos.

Willie Nelson’s 1993 country hit “Graceland” made John Fugelsang’s playlist today. The American legend has released music in each of the past six decades and shows no signs of slowing down; he continues to make music and campaign for a variety of causes.

Prolific country artist Guy Clark’s “L.A. Freeway” made Will Cain’s playlist today. Clark has released nearly two dozen albums in his long career, most recently Songs and Stories in 2011.

“Free Your Mind,” the Grammy-nominated top ten hit by En Vogue, made Roland Martin’s playlist this morning. The female R&B group are currently prepping a new single, “I’ll Cry Later,” their first in several years.

Damian Marley’s 2006 song “All Night” was Fugelsang’s next pick today. Marley, the youngest song of music legend Bob Marley, has recently collaborated with artists ranging from Mick Jagger to Skrillex.

Soledad’s next pick today was Chris Brown’s 2008 hit “Forever.” Brown has had much chart success in his brief career; he has had nine top ten singles since 2007.

German house musicians Milk and Sugar’s song Let The Love (Take Over)made Roland Martin’s playlist this morning. The song reached the top of the U.K. dance chart in 2010.

“American Boy,” Estelle’s 2008 collaboration with Kanye West, is the biggest hit of her career so far. Soledad’s next playlist pick today reached the top ten in the U.S. and hit number one in her native U.K.

Roland Martin’s next pick was singer Dwele’s debut song “Find a Way.” The singer, born Andwele Gardner, also collaborated with Kanye West and was featured on his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Country singer Chris Knight’s “It Ain’t Easy Being Me” was Will Cain’s pick for today’s show. The song was featured on Knight’s self-titled 1998 debut album.

“Everlasting Light,” the lead track from The Black Keys’ 2010 album Brotherswas Fugelsang’s next pick today. The song was included inRolling Stone  magazine’s list of the best songs of the year.

Finally, we closed out the show today with the eighties classic “I Think We’re Alone Now” by pop star Tiffany. The song was originally recoded by Tommy James and the Shondells in 1967, but it’s Tiffany’s number one smash from 1987 that is engrained into pop culture.

Starting Point Playlist for Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Soledad O’Brien’s first playlist pick today was “Without You” by David Guettafeaturing Usher. The song has been a smash hit over the last few months: it reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100, and a cover version by theGlee cast also charted in the top 40.

“Raise Your Glass” by P!nk also made Soledad’s playlist this morning. The song, one of two new songs recorded for P!nk’s compilation album Greatest Hits… So Far!!!, was a surprise hit, topping the charts in late 2010.

Political comedian and Starting Point panelist John Fugelsang picked “The World Should Revolve Around Me,” the debut single of American R&B due Little Jackie. While the song did not chart stateside, it was a top 40 hit on the UK and Irish charts in 2008.

Fleetwood Mac’s early eighties hit “Gypsy” made Contributing Editor Kelo Goff’s playlist today. The legendary band is reportedly considering touring this year, which marks 45 years since the original band’s inception.

Marc Anthony’s “I Need To Know” was Early Start anchor Zoraida Sambolin’s pick this morning. The song was one of the biggest English-language hits of Anthony’s career, reaching number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and winning a Grammy in 2000.

Mumford & Sons have sold over a million downloads of their song “The Cave,” and received four Grammy nominations for the hit. Today, it made Soledad O’Brien’s Starting Point playlist.

When New Edition went on hiatus in 1990, Bobby Brown wasn’t the only member to find success outside of the group. Three former Edition singers formed Bell Biv DeVoe, and they had a top five hit in 1990 with “Poison,” Keli Goff’s next pick today.

John Fugelsang’s next pick today was “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” by Bruce Springsteen, a track from his 2007 album Magic. The Boss just released a new album, Wrecking Ball, which debuted at number one last month.

Starting Point playlist for Monday, March 26, 2012


We kicked off today’s Starting Point playlist with “Little Red Corvette,” a Prince song off of Soledad O’Brien’s playlist. The song was Prince’s first top ten hit, and has since joined many Best-of lists, including Rolling Stone‘s, where it was ranked 108th of all time.

Curtis Mayfield’s classic song “Move On Up” was Columbia University professor and SP panelist Dorian Warren’s first playlist pick this morning. While the song was not a big hit at the time of it’s release, a cover version by the disco group Destination was a number one dance hit in 1979.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s music selection today was “Jackson,” a song best remembered for the version released in 1967 by Johnny and June Cash. In 2003, June and Johnny died within four months of each other; less than a year later, Walk The Line was released, and Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for her portrayal of June.

Political humorist and CNN contributor John Fugelsang’s first pick today was The Psychedelic Furs’ 1982 hit “Love My Way.” Although the Furs have not released a new album in over twenty years, they continue to tour, playing many of their late-eighties and early-nineties hits.

Lenny Curry of the Florida Republican Party picked Will Smith’s 1998 hit “Just the Two of Us” from his playlist for today’s Starting Point. Smith has laid low for the past few years, focusing on the  growing careers of his children Jayden and Willow. He’s sure to be back in the public eye, however, with the upcoming blockbuster Men in Black 3, set for release this May.

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears was Soledad’s next playlist pick today. The song continues to have an impact in the music industry; it has been covered by artists ranging from Gloria Gaynor to Patti Smith, and was sampled by Outkast in 2001.

Country singer Chris Knight’s 2002 song “Oil Patch Town” made Will Cain’s playlist today. Hailing from Kentucky, Knight has made a name for himself both as a singer and a songwriter.

Lenny Curry chose “Run This Town” by Jay-Z, featuring Rihanna and Kanye West. The apocalyptic video was shot in Queens, NY at Fort Totten. The historic park is a former U.S. Army base and, with a Civil War era fort, a popular tourist spot. When Jay-Z took over the park for the video, it was transformed with fires, overturned cars and about 80 extras dressed in black.

John Fugelsang’s next pick was Sting’s debut single as a solo artist “If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free.” On his first musical venture without the Police, Sting said, “Basically, the whole project was designed to create a new kind of hybrid that was neither rock’n’roll nor jazz, but was hopefully another country.”

“The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E. was on Soledad’s playlist today. The 1985 hit was written by Prince, who took Sheila under his wing during the Purple Rainera. The song reached #7 on the Hot 100.

John Fugelsang chose “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. As John pointed out on the show, the song was inspired by Bob Dylan. Cooke was shocked that a white boy wrote a song like that, and he penned what would become an anthem of the civil rights movement.

Will Cain kept up with his country music playlist with “Always the Love Song” by Eli Young Band. The song was the bands first top 15 hit, reaching #11. The band’s lead singer, Mike Eli, caused some controversy in 2010 when he forgot the words to the “Star-Spangled Banner” before a football game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Soledad closed the show with Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down On It.” The Jersey City band released the song on their 1981 album Something Special, and it reached #10 on the Billboard charts in 1982.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, March 22, 2012


Kicking off today’s Starting Point playlist is “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey. The 1995 song was Carey’s ninth number one single. She currently sits at second place on a all time list, behind only The Beatles.

Scottish group Camera Obscura made their Starting Point debut today with “The Sweetest Thing.” The song, from The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza’s playlist, can be found on their 2009 album My Maudlin Career.

The Dropkick Muphys’ “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” was Will Cain’s first pick today. The song is often associated with Boston sports teams, especially after the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins all won championships in the past decade.

John Fugelsang’s first pick today was “He Got Game” by rap group Public Enemy.The song was part of the soundtrack to the Spike Lee film of the same name, which starred Denzel Washington and, speaking of the Celtics, their current shooting guard Ray Allen.

One of our guests today was actor/singer/model Tyrese Gibson, who brought along a few of his own hits for our playlist. “Sweet Lady,” a hit from 1999, reached number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. He also picked “I Like Them Girls,” another big hit from 2000, as well as “Nothing on You,” his most recent single.

Soledad’s next pick this morning was “Rock wit U,” a huge hit for Ashanti in 2003. She also picked “Pressure” by Billy Joel, which he recorded exactly thirty years ago this spring.

Lizza’s next pick was “Lit Up” by The National. The song can be found on theirwell-received 2005 album Alligator.

My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” was Will Cain’s next song choice today. The 2006 hit is the band’s most successful release to date. It cracked the top ten in the U.S. and hit number one in the U.K.

Starting Point guest Michelle Rhee picked “Chasing Pavements” by Adele for this morning’s show. The song is from Adele’s first album 19, and it won a Grammy Award for Best Female pop Vocal in 2009.

Eddie Money’s “Take My Home Tonight” rounds out Soldead’s playlist today. The song was a big hit in the mid-eighties, reaching number four of the Hot 100.

“I Can Love You Better” by the Dixie Chicks was Will Cain’s next pick today. The single, released in 1997, was the band’s first song with current lead singer Natalie Maines.

Finally, Soledad’s last pick today was Blue Öyster Cult’s classic rock song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” The song is widely considered a classic, and was included in Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Gospel singer Marvin Sapp’s song “Magnify” kicked off today’s Starting Pointplaylist. The song, from Soledad O’Brien’s playlist, can be found on Sapp’s 2007 album Thirsty, his most successful album to date.

CNN Contributor Roland Martin’s first playlist pick today was “I Like It,” a song from English jazz fusion group The Brand New Heavies. Martin also picked “I’ve Got to Move” by Calvin Richardson, as well as “Home Alone” by R. Kelly featuring Keith Murray. R. Kelly was in the spotlight recently, as he performed atWhitney Houston’s funeral. Kelly sang the song “I Look to You,” which he wrote for Houston to sing on what would end up being her final album.

Beyoncé’s 2009 hit “Sweet Dreams” was Soledad’s next playlist pick this morning. Beyoncé holds the distinction of being one of very few artists to have all of their albums reach number one on the Billboard 200.

“Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance was a hit for the band in 2007, and made Will Cain’s playlist on Starting Point today. The song was very well received by music critics, and made Rolling Stone‘s Best of 2007 list.

Eighties rock band Loverboy’s hit “Turn Me Loose” was Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s music choice today. The song has experienced long-term success: it has been featured in several films, and has been covered by artists ranging from Australian girl group Young Divas to rapper Eminem.

LCD Soundsystem’s “Tribulations,” from their 2005 self-titled Grammy-winning debut, made political comedian John Fugelsang’s playlist today. The dance-punk group disbanded last year after a ten years together.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was Jackson Raymond’s song selection this morning. The song and its parent album were massively successful. The album became the best selling album of all time, and the song’s music video was a milestone in the genre. After the King of Pop’s death in 2009, the song re-entered the charts, peaking at second place on the Billboard Hot Digital Tracks chart.

Starting Point guest Jeff Stier’s playlist pick today was “When Love Comes to Town” by BB King and U2. The song, which hit number one in Ireland, is a collaboration of two very esteemed musical acts. King was called the third greatest guitar player of all time by Rolling Stone, and U2 has won more Grammys than any other band in history.

“Let Me Blow Ya Mind” by Eve was Soledad’s next pick today. In addition to a successful music career, Eve is also an actress, and has appeared on the hit TV show Glee. Check out Early Start‘s story from this morning about a real life champion glee club.

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Jay-Z and Kanye West made Jamal Anderson’s playlist today. The song, from the duo’s smash album Watch the Throne, takes its name from the Guns N’ Roses classic, which was released twenty-five years ago this month.

U2 makes another appearance on our playlist today with “One,” Melanie Bloom’s selection. The song was recently named the second best song of the nineties by VH1,  as well as the 36th best song of all time by Rolling Stonemagazine.

Finally, Will Cain’s second pick today was “Three Days” by country artist Pat Green. Green has had fifteen hits on the country charts in the last decade and is sure to have more with the release of his next album, which is due out later this spring.

Starting Point playlist for 3/19/12

Kicking off today’s Starting Point playlist was a pick from Soledad O’Brien’s own collection: “Wake Up” by Alicia Keys. The track is from Keys’ second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, which was released in late 2003. Keys has had four number one hits, including “Empire State of Mind,” her huge hit with rapper Jay-Z.

“Sympathy for the Devil” made guest commentator Jim Burkhard’s playlist this morning. The song, by The Rolling Stones, was called one of the greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone. The Stones recently said that they would not tour in honor of their fiftieth anniversary this year, but did not rule out celebrating the occasion in the future.

Chrystia Roland, the editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, picked Dolly Parton’s 1973 classic “Jolene.” She song is about a wife’s fear that a woman named Jolene is going to steal away her husband. Luckily, Parton has nothing to worry about– she has been married to husband Carl Dean for over 45 years.

CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst Jeff Toobin picked “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps. The song has seen success in many incarnations. First released in 1976, it didn’t become a big hit until it was featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever a few years later. It experienced further success from covers by Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper, whose version was nominated for a Grammy in 1999. editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman picked Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” from her playlist today. The song was a surprise hit for the alternative pop/rock group; it reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of the biggest hits of 2011.

The Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” made Will Cain’s playlistthis morning. The song, which features lyrics by Woody Guthrie, has become synonymous with the Boston Red Sox. The baseball team played the song frequently during their 2007 championship run. Cain also picked Bob Segar’s 1978 hit “Hollywood Nights.”

We also featured today k.d. land’s “Miss Chatelaine,” Chrystia Freeland’s next playlist pick. The song was a hit for the activist and artist, and was nominated for a Grammy in 1994.

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, March 8, 2012


Carlos Diaz’s first playlist pick today was “Livin’ la Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin.The song was a number one hit for Martin in 1999, and helped kick off his career. The song reached an even larger audience in 2004, when it was sung at the end of the movie Shrek 2, which grossed nearly a billion dollars, making it the highest-grossing animated film ever at the time.

Continuing the Latin theme, our next song was “Hips Don’t Lie” from Soledad O’Brien’s playlist. The song, by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean, was a massive worldwide hit in 2006. It reached number one on dozens of charts all over the world, and became one of the most successful songs of the decade.

James Brown’s “Living in America” made NY1 host and CNN contributor Errol Louis’s playlist. The song was a big hit for the Godfather of Soul, and has become synonymous with the 1985 movie Rocky IV, in which it is prominently featured.

Sirius/XM radio host Jay Thomas’s playlist pick this morning was “Smile” by Uncle Kracker. Kracker’s biggest success came in the early 2000s when he had a pair of top ten hits with “Follow Me” and his cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.”

Diaz’s second song choice today was “Stronger” by Britney Spears, a track from her 2000 album “Oops!… I Did It Again.” The album is one of the fastest and best selling albums of all time; it sold more than half a million copies on its first day of release, and its current sales figure sits at around 20 million.

Up-and-coming artist JTX’s “Love in America” was the second song picked today by Jay Thomas. Coincidentally, JTX has cited Uncle Kracker, another of our playlist artists today, as a major influence.

Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls)” was Soledad’s second playlist pick today. The song was the first single off of her latest album 4Beyoncé is one of very few artists to have all of their albums reach number one on the Billboard 200.

Errol Louis’s next pick today was “All and All,” the debut single from singer Joyce Sims. He also selected “Walk of Life,” one of the biggest hits from British rock band Dire Straits.

Jay’s next pick today was Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere With You.” The song was a big hit for Chesney, reaching number one of the country chart and selling over a million copies.

Christine Romans picked “Bones” by The Killers for her playlist pick today. The rock group, fronted by Brandon Flowers, recently ended a brief hiatus and are expected to release a new album this year.

“Play That Funky Music” was a number one hit for Wild Cherry in 1976, and today it made the playlist of Amy Holmes. She also picked Frank Sinatra’s version of the Broadway classic “I Get A Kick Out Of You.”

Finally, Carlos Diaz also picked Boyz II Men’s version of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” The vocal group had a streak of enormous success in the ’90s. Their song “End of the Road” broke the decades-old record for most week at number one. They later extended the record with “I’ll Make Love To You” and again with “One Sweet Day,” their collaboration with Mariah Carey, which still holds the record today.

Starting Point Playlist – Wednesday, March 7, 2012


We kicked off Starting Point today with a song from Soledad’s own playlist, “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. The song, a number two hit in 1981, is one of the band’s most enduring hits. It was one of three songs performed at the group’s 2006 Super Bowl halftime show.

Nelly’s 2010 hit “Just a Dream” made Brett O’Donnell’s playlist today. The song continued Nelly’s success into the 2010s after being called the third best selling artist of the 2000s by Billboard magazine.

Bruce Springsteen made a couple of appearances on today’s playlist. Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey picked The Boss’s classic ’80s hit “Glory Days” while Ron Brownstein selected “Land of Hopes and Dreams,” a track from Springsteen’s new album Wrecking Ball. The latter song features some of saxophonist Clarence Clemons’s final work. Clemons died last year from stroke-related complications only a few weeks after performing “The Edge of Glory,” his hit song with Lady Gaga, on American Idol.

O’Donnell’s next pick today was “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys. The song, released in 1999, is one of the most successful and widely acclaimed pop songs ever. It’s accompanying music video was equally successful; on the final broadcast of TRL, it was voted as the third most iconic video in the history of the program.

Carlos Diaz’s playlist pick today was “Sure Shot” from the Beastie Boys’ 1994 album Ill Communication. The Boys are set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year along with Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Brett O’Donnell and Christine Romans had their playlists overlap, both picking Billy Joel’s 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” In the number one hit, Joel lists dozens of important events that had occurred during the first forty years of his life.

Mayor Booker’s second pick today was Adele’s massive 2011 hit “Rolling in the Deep.” The song is one of the most successful songs of all time. It was number one for seven weeks in the U.S., won three Grammy awards, and is currently the second most downloaded song of all time.

Ron’s next pick was Bob Seger’s “Night Moves.” The rock song, which cracked the top five in 1976, was the first major hit of Seger’s career.

Soledad O’Brien’s next pick this morning was “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars. An artist who crosses into many musical genres, Mars was the best selling digital artist of 2011.

Finally, Ron Brownstein’s last playlist pick today was Eminem’s 2002 hit “Lost Yourself.” The song was one of the biggest hits of Eminem’s career, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song- the first rap song ever to do so.

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, March 6th


Kicking off our Starting Point playlist today is, fittingly, “Hello Soledad” by Rolando La Serie, from our Soledad’s playlist. La Serie was a popular Cuban musician, who spent his later years in exile from his native land. Throughout his career he worked with many other talented artists, regardless of which country he called home at the time.

Journalist and political analyst Farai Chideya’s playlist pick this morning was “Lights” by up-and-coming English singer Ellie Goulding. The song first appeared on her 2012 debut album of the same name, and was later released as a single from a deluxe version called Bright Lights.

“Sherry Darling” by Bruce Springsteen made economist and journalist Stephen Moore’s playlist today.The track comes from The Boss’s fifth album, The River. Three decades later, Springsteen’s newest release Wrecking Ball came out today and is already getting rave reviews. Pop superstar Lady Gaga recently tweeted about the album, calling it “so genius its hard to even believe.”

Rep. Allen West, (R-FL)’s playlist today included the Pink Floyd classic “Comfortably Numb.” The song was originally heard on the band’s classic 1979 album The Wall. It is also notable as the final song that the group ever played together, as it concluded their reunion set that was part of the charity concert Live 8 in 2005.

Brett O’Donnell picked Billy Joel’s 1984 hit “The Longest Time.” To achieve the song’s unique oldies doo-wop feel, Joel reportedly sang over a dozen different backing vocals and mixed them together.

Rihanna’s “We Found Love” was Chiedeya’s next pick. The song was Rihanna’s eleventh number one hit, tying her with Whitney Houston on the all time list.

Journey’s “Separate Ways” was O’Donnell’s next pick. The song was recently featured in the movie Tron Legacy.

Another of O’Donnell’s selections was Van Halen’s 1986 hit “Dreams.” The song, one of their biggest hits with replacement lead singer Sammy Hagar, was prominently featured in the hit ’90s movie Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie. Van Halen recently released Different Kind of Truth, their first album with original singer David Lee Roth in nearly 30 years.

From Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s playlist today comes “Jackson,” the classic country song best remembered for the Grammy-winning version Johnny Cash released in 1967 with his wife June Carter Cash.

Finally, we closed out the show today with Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” which was a big comeback hit for the band in 2009. It was their first top ten hit in nearly a decade, but the wait paid off: it is one of the best selling singles ever.

Starting Point playlist: Monday, March 5th


Wall Street Journal reporter and Starting Point panelist Naftali Bendavid’s firstplaylist pick today was “Crashin'” by Jack’s Mannequin.The alt rock song is off of the group’s 2008 album The Glass Passenger, which was their most successful release to date, charting in the top ten on the Billboard 200.

From Soledad’s own playlist today comes Anita Baker’s “I Apologize.” The song, a top ten R&B hit in 1994, was just one of many hits for Baker. Her eight Grammy wins rank her tenth all-time among female artists.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (D-CA), another guest panelist today, picked Flo Rida’s recent hit “Good Feeling.” The song prominently samples a fifty year-old Etta James song, “Something’s Got a Hold On Me.” When James passed away this January, the song was a top five hit, a reminder of her enduring musical legacy.

Another of Soledad’s picks today was AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” After the death of original lead singer Bon Scott in 1980, the band needed a song to show the world they were “back” with their new lineup. They released this song as part of the album of the same name, which went onto be one of the three best selling albums of all time. As old-school as they come, AC/DC has notoriously kept their music off of the digital market, which is why we don’t have a link to purchase this song.

Jamaican musician Sean Paul’s song “Got 2 Luv U” made the playlist of Abby Livingston, one of former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s daughters. While the song was not hugely successful in the U.S., it was a big hit worldwide, hitting number one in Switzerland in 2011.

Bendavid’s next playlist pick today was “How to Save a Life,” the 2006 hit by The Fray. The song was an all around success; it was nominated for a Grammy, spent 58 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, and is currently one of the thirty most downloaded songs ever on iTunes. It has also been featured in many TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs.

Rep. Sanchez’s second pick this morning was “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine. When the song cracked the top ten last summer, “Moves Like Jagger” by Levine’s band Maroon 5 was already number one, making Levine the first artist to have a solo number one and be part of another top ten in the same week.

Sanchez also picked Jason Derulo’s “It Girl,” a top twenty hit from last year. Derulo has garnered attention for frequently singing his own name in many of his songs. Reaction has ranged from those who find it annoying to those who consider it to be a clever marketing device.

Fastball’s “The Way” was Bendavid’s next song choice today. The song, released in 1998, was recently ranked as one of the best songs of the ’90s by VH1. He also picked “Everlong,” the 1997 Foo Fighters hit. The Foos hit a high note with their most recent release, 2011’s Wasting Light. The album won five Grammys and after nearly twenty years together, was their first album to hit number one.

Finally, Soledad’s playlist today included three songs from Luther Vandross’ legendary catalog: “Never Too Much,” his first single from 1981, his massive hit “Here and Now” from 1989, and his final top forty hit, 2003’s “Dance With My Father.” Vandross is one of Soledad’s all-time favorite artists. Although he is gone too soon, his legacy lives on in his timeless music.

Starting Point Primary Sources for Thursday, March 1st.

Here are three primary sources that were referenced in today’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien” –

* Our top story was the devastation caused by tornadoes in the Midwest. Tornado strength can be measured on the “F-scale,” which is named after T. Theodore Fujita. For more information on the F-scale, visit this website from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

* Christine Romans interviewed The Edge, U2’s longtime guitar player. The Edge is taking part in a new MTV documentary that addresses the issue of homeless young people. “The Break” is hosted by Anne Mahlum, who founded the non-profit Back on My Feet program, which also assists the homeless. For more information about The Break, including the trailer, visit MTV’s webpage for the show.

* Nada Bakri, the widow of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid who died last month while on assignment in Syria, talked with Soledad live this morning about her husband’s legacy. If you want to learn more about the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, check out one of his recent articles from The Times. Also, this YouTube video may be Shadid’s last interview before he died.

Starting Point Playlist – Tuesday, February 28, 2012


From Soledad’s playlist today comes Nicki Minaj’s current single “Starships.” The singer’s recent Grammy performance raised some eyebrows but it paid off: “Starships” debuted in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100.

CNN correspondent Jennifer Rogers played Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” the title song to her hit 1980 movie. Parton has received much media attention lately after the death of Whitney Houston as she originally wrote and released “I Will Always Love You,” which Houston later covered with massive success.

Television commentator and Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill’s pick this morning was Luther Vandross’s 1981 classic “Never Too Much.” The song can be recognized for its notable media appearances, including WKRP In Cincinnati and the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

“To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” CNN Contributor Will Cain’s playlist pick, was a big country hit for Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias in 1984. The song is credited with helping Iglesias break into the English-speaking market, where he has paved the way for dozens of Latino artists, including his son, Enrique.

Usher’s 2010 smash “OMG” was Soledad’s second playlist pick today. The song was a milestone in Usher’s career as it brought him into a very exclusive club: having had a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper in three different decades. The only other artists to have accomplished this feat are Britney Spears (like Usher, in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s), Janet Jackson & Madonna (’80s, ’90s and ’00s) and Stevie Wonder (’60s, ’70s and ’80s).

A few additional artists have accomplished having three number ones in three decades under different names. Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison all had number one hits together as The Beatles in the ’60s and in their individual solo careers in the ’70s and ’80s. Following that same pattern, Diana Ross hit number one as both a member of The Supremes and solo. Likewise, Cher hit number one as part of Sonny and Cher in the ’60s, and had solo chart toppers in the ’70s and ’90s.

“Where the Green Grass Grows” by Tim McGraw was Will Cain’s next playlist pick this morning. McGraw has been omnipresent in media over the last twenty years. He is married to fellow county superstar Faith Hill, has acted in films such as the Academy Award-winning hit The Blind Side, and has even been the topic of other artists’ hits, such as Taylor Swift’s debut single, “Tim McGraw”.

Will Cain also picked Whitesnake’s 1982 smash hit “Here I Go Again.” The song, written by Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale, was just one phase in his long career. He had previously played with Deep Purple (known for hits such as “Smoke On The Water”) and has had success both as a solo artist and in collaborations with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

Paolo Nutini, the young Scottish singer-songwriter, also made Cain’s playlistwith “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty.” Nutini was one of the final artists signed to Atlantic Records during legendary founder Ahmet Ertegun’s lifetime. Nutini later performed at the 2007 tribute concert to Ertegun, which was headlined by a reunited Led Zeppelin.

Finally, another pick from Soledad’s playlist today was Bruno Mars’ recent hit “Runaway Baby.” Mars has experienced success as a singer and also as a songwriter, writing and co-writing hits for other artists such as “Right Round” by Flo Rida featuring Ke$ha and “Forget You” by CeeLo.

Starting Point Playlist 2/27/12


CNN Contributor Hilary Rosen playlist’s includes “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. The song, a Top 5 hit in 1974, was originally written by Stevie Wonder and has been covered by a wide array of artists including Pink and Matthew Morrison on Glee.

Journalist and author Michelle Goldberg’s pick today was “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby” by The Smiths.  Although the alternative English rock band was only active for a few years in the ’80s, they remain highly influential, and lead singer Morrissey is still an important figure in music.

“Come as You Are” by Nirvana was Simon Constable’s playlist pick today. The song’s title, off of the band’s seminal 1991 album Nevermind, is written on a sign welcoming people to Aberdeen, Washington, the hometown of Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic.

“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits comes from CNN contributor Will Cain’s playlist. The song, which was co-written by Sting, was a Number 1 hit in 1985. It’s music video was an early staple on MTV.

Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz picked the Ray Charles classic “Unchain My Heart.” The song was a hit for Charles in 1961, and was used as a working title for his biographical film Ray, which went on to win multiple Academy Awards.

Howard Schultz also picked “Everyday Is a Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow.  The song was one of Crow’s biggest hits. It was nominated for a Grammy, cracked the Top 20, and has been featured in movies and commercials.

Cannonball Adderley’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” comes from  Senator Dick Durbin’s (D- Illinois) playlist. The jazz song was a crossover hit for Adderley, who collaborated with legends such as Miles Davis during his career.

From Soledad’s own playlist comes “Smooth Operator,” a single from Sade’s 1984 debut album. The smooth jazz group has won a Grammy in each of the last four decades.

Starting Point Playlist 2/24/12


“Party in the U.S.A.” was Miley Cyrus‘ biggest hit to date. Off of her 2009 albumThe Time of Our Lives, the track was co-written by Jessie J, two years before she broke out as a singer herself.

Chandra Witt’s playlist pick today was “The Politics of Dancing,” the one big hit of the short-lived eighties band Re-Flex.

“Minnie the Moocher” was first recorded by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra in 1931.  The scat jazz song has since become a standard.

“Welcome Back” (Theme from “Welcome Back, Kotter) was chosen by Bruce Williams. The song was written and performed by John Sebastian, a former member of The Lovin’ Spoonful (“Summer in the City,” Do You Believe In Magic”). Released at the peak of the John Travolta-starring show’s popularity, the song became a Number 1 hit in 1976.

“They Say Vision” by indie artist Res was a big underground hit in the early 2000’s. It hit Number 1 on the Billboard Dance chart, and propelled Res’ album How I Do to the Billboard 200.

Muse’s recent hit “Uprising,” chosen by Robert Farfan, was a Number 1 hit on the Alternative chart for 17 weeks. It also holds the distinction of being the last UK chart topper of the 2000s and the first of the 2010s.

From Zoraida’s playlist is “La Tortura,” a Spanish-language track from Shakira. Her success is worldwide. The YouTube video for “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)” has over 450 million views.

Ashleigh’s playlist pick today is “Bamboleo” by the Gipsy Kings, and Danny Figueora’s is “Models/Dancers” by Harper Flynn

Starting Point Music List for Wednesday, Feb 22


From Soledad’s playlist, Citizen Cope’s “Hurricane Waters” played on Starting Point today. Along with performing for his dedicated fan base, Citizen Cope, born Clarence Greenwood,  has written music for Santana and Dido, among other artists.

Author and journalist Farai Chideya’s playlist pick today was “Pumped Up Kicks” by indie pop/rock group Foster the People. The track was an unlikely hit, peaking at Number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Romney adviser Brett O’Donnell’s playlist included the Van Halen classic “Right Now“, a 1991 track from their days with Sammy Hagar. The  group just put out A Different Kind of Truth, their first album with original singer David Lee Roth in nearly thirty years.

Another track from Soledad’s playlist today was “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” by salsa singer Celia Cruz. She was an extremely prolific artist– this song was from her 59th album, which was released in 2001 and was nominated for several Latin Grammys.

Another of Fairai Chideya’s picks today was Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep“, a huge hit over the past year which recently won several Grammy awards including both Song and Record of the Year.

Radio host and politician J. D.Hayworth picked “Someday, Someway,” which was a big hit for Marshall Crenshaw in 1981 off of his eponymous debut album.

The Huntsman Girls, the three oldest daughters of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, picked “Shake it Out,” a popular track from Florence + the Machine’s new album, Ceremonials.

Up and coming artist Romeo Santos showed off a couple of his own songs:“Promise” (featuring Usher), and “You.” Both songs have hit Number One on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.

Fairai Chideya’s next pick was “We Found Love” by Rihanna. The song was Rihanna’s eleventh song to top the Hot 100– tying her with Whitney Houston for seventh place all time.

Brett O’Donnell also picked “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, which was one of the biggest radio hits ever, topping the airplay charts for eighteen weeks in 1998.

Finally, the Huntsman Girls round out the list with “Otis” from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s recent collaboration album Watch the Throne. The song features vocals from Otis Redding, who died more than forty years ago.



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