Music History Monday: June 4

Posted by Jeff Harris, June 4, 2012 04:50pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to

On this day in music history: June 4, 1942 - Capitol Records is established in Hollywood. Founded byCapitol Records songwriting legend Johnny Mercer ("You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "Autumn Leaves," "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," "Hooray for Hollywood"), songwriter/film producer Buddy De Sylva, and music store owner Glenn Wallichs (Wallichs Music City), Mercer will propose the idea of starting a record label the year before to his friend Wallichs. A few months later, Mercer will propose the same idea to De Sylva who is an executive producer at Paramount Pictures. With the third partner aboard, the three get to work organizing their first releases and opening their first offices in a building south of Sunset Blvd. By July 1st, the label will release its first nine singles. The label will innovate new techniques in promoting the sales of records, including being the first to distribute free records to disc jockeys for promotional purposes. Capitol will quickly build up an impressive roster of artists that includes Les Baxter, Les Paul, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, Les Brown, and Nat King Cole. Over the years, that list of artists will grow to also include Frank Sinatra, Stan Kenton, Judy Garland, Stan Freberg, Gene Vincent, Dean Martin, The Four Freshmen, Al Martino, The Kingston Trio, Nancy Wilson, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Linda Ronstadt, The Band, Steve Miller Band, Bob Seger, Natalie Cole, Tina Turner, George Clinton, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Queen, Heart, MC Hammer, Garth Brooks, Radiohead, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, and Katy Perry. Happy 70th Anniversary, Capitol Records!!!
On this day in music history: June 4, 1962 - The single "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys is released. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it is the bands' debut release on Capitol Records. The released single is actually the second version of the song recorded, with the band previously cutting a version with engineer Hite Morgan at World Pacific Studios on February 8, 1962. The first recording also features guitarist Al Jardine who is replaced shortly afterward by David Marks (when Jardine drops out of the band for a year), and is not released until January of 1970. The second (and released) version is recorded at United/Western Recorders in Hollywood on April 19th with band manager and Wilson brothers father Murry Wilson credited as producer. Also recorded on the same session is the B-side "409," which will also chart (#76 Pop). "Surfin' Safari" will peak at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 13, 1962.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1966 - "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown & The Famous Flames hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on the same date. Written by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome, the song is initially written in 1963 under the title "I Cried" and recorded by Brown protege Tammy Montgomery (aka Tammi Terrell). Changes will again be made to the song and Brown will record it as "It's A Man's World" in 1964. The final released version is recorded at Talent Masters Studios in New York City on February 16, 1966. Using outside studio musicians including drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Brown will include arranger Sammy Lowe on the session to write the horn and string charts as well as conduct the string section.  "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" will become James Brown's third R&B chart topper and third top 10 pop hit, selling over a million copies.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1969Johnny Cash At San Quentin by Johnny Cash is released. Produced by Bob Johnston, it is recorded at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, CA on February 24, 1969.  Following the success of his live album, At Folsom Prison, the year before, Cash will record another live album before an audience of prison inmates. Recorded live at the infamous San Quentin maximum security prison north of San Francisco, the show is also filmed by UK network Granda Television. The country music star and his band are raputurously received by the inmates as evidenced on the recording. Anchored by the Shel Silverstein penned  "A Boy Named Sue" (#2 Pop, #1 Country), the album will become a huge and unexpected success on the country and pop charts. Cash will also win a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "Sue," and is nominated for Album Of The Year. Johnny Cash At San Quentin will spend 20 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country album chart (on August 2nd) and will also hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for four weeks (on August 23rd). Expanded editions of San Quentin featuring performances not included on the original album will be issued in 2000 and 2006.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1979 - "Good Times" by Chic is released. Written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, the track is recorded at The Power Station in New York City in March of 1979. Edwards and Rodgers will develop the concept of the song from 1930's Depression era pop songs such as "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "About A Quarter To Nine," juxtaposing them with then current state of the economy in America along with the celebratory hedonism of the Disco Era in the late '70s.  Issued as the first single from the bands' third album Risque, it is an instant smash, quickly racing up the charts, hitting #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for six weeks on July 28th and #1 on the Hot 100 for one week on August 18th. The songs' popularity and influence will spread even further when it becomes the basis of The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," giving rise to the rap music phenomenon. "Good Times" will become one of the most important and influential songs of the late 20th century and beyond.

On this in music history: June 4, 1983 - "Juicy Fruit" by Mtume hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for eight weeks. Written and produced by James Mtume, the track is written largely in the studio. It will be the biggest hit for the band led by former Miles Davis percussionist Mtume. The bands' label Epic Records will initially be hesitant to release song, feeling that radio wouldn't play it due to the provocative double entendres in the lyrics.  Within a week and a half of its release the single will be the most added record on R&B stations across the country, immediately connecting with the public. It will quickly sell over a million copies in the US without crossing over to the top 40 on the pop charts peaking at #45 (on August 6th). "Juicy Fruit" will gain enduring popularity over the years when it is sampled or interpolated by numberous rap and R&B artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Warren G, and Keyshia Cole.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1984Born in the USA, the seventh studio album by Bruce Springsteen is released. Produced by Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, and Steve Van Zandt, it is recorded at The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City from January 1982 - March 1984.  Following the stark and spare Nebraska, Springsteen will record the most successful album of his career. A major contrast from the previous album, the songs will maintain the rock superstars' trademark introspective lyrical tone combined with more radio friendly, pop oriented sounds. The resulting album will spin off seven top 10 singles in the US (tieing with Michael Jackson's Thriller and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814) including "Dancing In The Dark" (#2 Pop), "Glory Days" (#5 Pop), and the title track (#9 Pop). Springsteen and the E Street Band will support the album with a massive worldwide tour running from June 29, 1984 until October 2, 1985. Born In The USA will also be the first compact disc to be manufactured in the US by CBS Records' Terre Haute, IN pressing plant. Born In The USA will spend seven weeks (non-consecutive) at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 14x Platinum by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1984 The Glamorous Life, the debut album by Sheila E. is released. Produced by Sheila and The Starr Company (aka Prince), it is recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood in Early 1984. The first album by the Oakland-born and raised singer/percussionist will come about after Prince (who has known Escovedo since 1978) asks if she's interested in making an album. She will agree, first collaborating on the song "Erotic City" with the artist (released as the B-side of "Let's Go Crazy") before work on her album begins. The song "The Glamorous Life" (written by Prince, but credited to Sheila E.) was originally intended for Apollonia 6, but is given to Sheila instead. The album will spin off two singles including the title track (#7 Pop, #9 R&B) and "The Belle Of St. Mark" (#34 Pop, #68 R&B). The Glamorous Life will peak at #7 on the Billboard R&B album chart,  #28 on the Top 200, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1988Stronger Than Pride, the third studio album by Sade is released (UK release is on May 14th). Produced by Sade, Ben Rogan, and Mike Pela, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau (The Bahamas), Studio Marcadet in Paris, and Studio Miraval in Le Val, Var, France from Mid 1987 - Early 1988. Coming two and a half years after the multi-platinum success of Promise, it features more of the bands' trademark smooth jazz/R&B sound. After releasing their first two albums just a year apart (10 months in the US), it will also mark the beginning of the band taking longer and longer hiatuses between albums. Stronger Than Pride will spin off four hit singles including  "Paradise" (#1 R&B, #16 Pop), "Nothing Can Come Between Us" (#3 R&B), and "Turn My Back On You" (#12 R&B). Stronger Than Pride will peak at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 and #3 on the R&B album chart. To date, it has sold more than three million copies in the US.

Relevant Tags

Capitol Records (5), The Beach Boys (13), Brian Wilson (11), James Brown (29), Johnny Cash (22), Shel Silverstein (2), Chic (5), Mtume (1), Bruce Springsteen (25), Sheila E. (1), Prince (60), Sade (10)