Travie McCoy has the best of both worlds, it seems. When he’s in a collaborative mood, he gets to work with his best buddies as part of Gym Class Heroes, but when he’s got a creative itch that he has to scratch, he can pivot and go solo, too. The latter strategy worked very well for him when he teamed up with Bruno Mars on “Billionaire” a few years ago, and now he’s partnered with Jason Mraz on a new track called “Rough Water.”
Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t. After taking a deep-dive into this year’s VH1.com streaming data, we’ve come up with a list of the Top 40 Most-Watched Videos of 2012. All you favorites are below, and there are even some underdog surprises that we didn’t expect to rank so favorably. So yeah, consider this an early New Year’s gift, and start re-living all the music video glory that took place in this incredible year of the apocalypse.
40. Gavin DeGraw “Sweeter”
39. The Fray “Heartbeat”
38. Gym Class Heroes “The Fighter featuring Ryan Tedder”
37. Bruno Mars “Grenade”
36. Adam Lambert “Never Close Our Eyes”
35. Daughtry “Crawling Back To You”
34. Tamia “Beautiful Surprise”
33. Adele “Rolling in the Deep”
32. Ellie Goulding “Lights”
31. David Guetta “Titanium (Ft. Sia)”
Are you on a mobile device? Click here to watch Behind The Song: Gym Class Heroes, “Cupid’s Chokehold.”
Last Sunday, VH1’s Behind The Music put a spotlight on alternative/hip hop group Gym Class Heroes and their rapid rise to fame, their troubles with drugs and Travie McCoy‘s relationship with pop superstar Katy Perry all included; if you missed it, the full episode is now streaming here. For those of you who (like us!) who can’t get enough GCH in your lives, check out Behind The Song: “Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast In America,” the song that began the group on their ascent.
Gym Class Heroes’ breakout hit was inspired by a sample of 1979 Supertramp classic “Breakfast in America,” which was written by Roger Hodgson at the tender age of 18 as he dreamt of the California coast while living in his native home, England. As drummer Matt McGinley remembers it, “We were listening to ‘Breakfast in America’ and just sort of playing along to the chorus, and then when the chorus would finish, we would just jam. And that’s where we wrote our own verses.” Then, wanting to make sure it was good, Travie McCoy took the demo into the tattoo shop where he was working at the time and played it for the girls that came in. “I wanted to be that song that, upon first listen, every girl that hears it goes, ‘Aww, I wish my boyfriend would have done something like this for me.'” Needless to say, it worked. They called Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump in to re-record the hook, and then they sat back and watched as the song — and then their career — took off.
It’s probably only natural that a song about stripping down be stripped down. This VH1 Unplugged cover of the As Cruel as School Children cut finds the Gym Class Heroes getting “Clothes Off!” and having as good a time as ever. Travis McCoy goes hard into Travie mode as he raps his verses over the dancing strings, and Patrick Stump’s wailing at the chorus has us up out of our seats. When we spoke to Patrick Stump ahead of the tapping, he told us that “Clothes Off” is his favorite Heroes song because “it just happened” and that “when art happens by accident and you were just along for the ride? It’s way more fun.” We couldn’t agree more.
You can watch VH1 Unplugged: Gym Class Heroes in full online here now! You’ll be able to catch it on VH1 tonight at 12 a.m. ET/PT.
Performing in front of glowing climbing nets, the Gym Class Heroes looked and sounded great at their VH1 Unplugged taping here in New York City a few weeks back. Stripped down to acoustic guitars and a brush sticks, they got us going with a set that included new favorites like “The Fighter,” old favorites like “Clothes Off,” and special guests like the beautiful Neon Hitch and Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump (with whom we spoke to exclusively before the show). The Heroes, Stump and Hitch go way back, and so in addition to the unplugging, there was also lots of catching up and goofing off. Our photographer Brendan Tobin was there to catch all. The warm up, the big show, the cool down — check his pictures out below!
VH1 Unplugged: Gym Class Heroes will make its online premiere tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. You’ll be able to catch it on VH1 that night at 12 a.m. ET/PT.
Earlier this afternoon we shared a sneak preview from Gym Class Heroes‘ VH1 Unplugged taping, where they were joined by their longtime collaborator and Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump for a stripped down version of their smash hit “Stereo Hearts.” Stump, although filling in on the song, felt right at home. “Gym Class is a band I am more directly involved with than any other band except for Fall Out Boy,” he told us before the show, laughing that “the shortest call in the world” was all it took to get him there.
As Stump tells it, Gym Class Heroes first caught his attention with a shout out on an early demo of the 2004 time-capsule “Taxi Driver.” “We were super tickled by it,” he explains. “Unfortunately, it is very rare that something makes you sit up and be like, ‘Wow, this is great!’ And I was in the van and I was like, Pete [Wentz], listen to this, this is really good. And so he took it and ran with it, and before we knew it they were singed.”
The honor, though, he insists is mutual. “You have no idea how much they made themselves and how awesome it is to watch them,” he told us, making sure to point out that this will be his first Unplugged appearance with be with them and not his own Fall Out Boy. “I get to be a fan that has the best seat in the house.”
Before the tapping, we caught up with Stump to get the scoop on his work with Gym Class Heroes, his impressions (musical and otherwise), and what comes next:
“I’ve actually been dying for this day,” Travie McCoy admitted before the Gym Class Heroes‘ Unplugged taping in New York City last month. “It gives us a chance to breathe new life into these songs as we strip them down, it’s very cool.” So down to acoustic guitars and brush sticks and strings they stripped for a catalog spanning set. And for their boombox-as-love anthem, “Stereo Hearts,” they stripped also Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, replacing his smooth crooning with — surprise! — Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump‘s singular, sweet wail. Read more…
There’s no slowing the Gym Class Heroes. Their collaboration with Neon Hitch, “Ass Back Home,” is currently sitting in the #3 position on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, but Travie and the boys have no intention to rest on the laurels. They debuted their new single, “The Fighter,” on the Tonight Show last night, featuring Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic singing the anthemic chorus.
It’s an inspirational track, one that’s very reminiscent of last summer’s big hit for Eminem, Royce da 5’9″ and Bruno Mars, “Lighters.” Both songs feature a simple piano loop sitting on top of a thumping backbeat, lyrics about overcoming adversity, and a soaring vocal hook that is impossible to resist singing along with. “The Fighter” seems well-positioned to do well on this year’s Song Of The Summer charts, and seems like a no-brainer to be prominently featured during musical montages during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Elsewhere in late night…
It’s Friday, and more than any other week, we’re extra excited about the weekend — it’s the Super Bowl! While we’re looking forward to Kelly Clarkson singing the national anthem for us, and Madonna’s hyped half time show, we threw a little party of our own to get in the mood. In anticipation of this weeks Super Bowl, VH1 and Pepsi put on the annual Fan Jam concert last night, and it really was a night to remember! Gym Class Heroes and rising star Neon Hitch played their hit single “Ass Back Home,” to a roaring reception from the audience. Neon Hitch looked sexy in a sparkling gold leotard and flame red hair and she danced around the stage, while Travie McCoy was his usual laid back self. We can’t get the tune out of our heads, and feel that it’s pertinent for Sunday — get your ass back home in time to watch the big game! Check out our gallery of images from the performance after the jump.
What a year, right? As we get ready to put the finishing touches on the year that was, it’s time to look back at the music videos that define the year 2011. Tonight, we’ll be airing a supersized edition of the VH1 Top 20 Music Video Countdown that takes a look back at the Top 40 music videos of the year. Be sure to tune-in to VH1 tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT to see your favorite videos of the year in all of their widescreen, HD glory, but we couldn’t resist giving you guys a sneak peek at the list here on VH1 Tuner this morning.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top 40 Videos of 2011…
40. Daughtry – “Crawling Back To You”
39. Jessie J – “Domino”
38. The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”
37. Demi Lovato – “Skyscraper”
36. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Paris (Ooh La La)”
35. Britney Spears – “Criminal”
34. Nickelback – “When We Stand Together”
33. Colbie Caillat – “Brighter Than The Sun”
32. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
31. David Guetta featuring Usher – “Without You”
Continue along for the Top 30 videos of 2011!