Music History Monday: July 2

Posted by Jeff Harris, July 2, 2012 02:31pm | Post a Comment
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On this day in music history: July 2, 1966 - "Strangers In The Night" by Frank Sinatra hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Bert Kaempfert, Charlie Singleton, and Eddie Snyder,  it is the fifth solo chart topper for the veteran singer. The song is originally composed as an instrumental for the film A Man Could Get Killed by german composer/arranger Kaempfert. Sinatra's producer Jimmy Bowen will hear the instrumental through the songs' publisher, then tells them that Sinatra would record it if lyrics could be written. The lyrics for the song are then written by Singleton and Snyder. Shortly after they're written, both Bobby Darin and Jack Jones have cut versions of the song. Wanting to beat both artists to the punch, Bowen will quickly arrange a session with Sinatra. The singer will record his vocals live with the orchestra in under an hour. Within 24 hours, Reprise Records has acetates of the single rush released to radio and is on the air across the country. "Strangers" is an immediate smash and will temporarily unseat The Beatles' "Paperback Writer" from the top spot on the Hot 100. "Strangers In The Night" will win three Grammy Awards, including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year.

On this day in music history: July 2, 1977 - "Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)" by Bill Conti hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Conti, Carol Connors, and Ayn Robbins, it is the theme to the Academy Award winning film Rocky, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. Prior to the theme being written, a temporary track written by Stallone's brother Frank is used while the film is being edited. Someone will suggest to the films' director John G. Avildsen to replace the song with something else. Avildsen will ask Conti if he can come up with something. Conti will collaborate with lyric writers Connors and Robbins, quickly completing the song. The finished lyrics consist of only 30 words, but it manages to capture the spirit and message conveyed in the film. Singers DeEtta Little (sister of actor Cleavon Little) and Nelson Pigford (writer of Barry White's "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me") are brought in to sing the song. The huge popularity of the film will generate demand for it to be released as a single (issued in February of 1977, prior to the Academy Awards). "Gonna Fly Now" will be nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song and will become a pop cultural touchstone, even being featured in other films and television programs outside of the Rocky film franchise.

On this day in music history: July 2, 19814 (aka Foreigner 4) by Foreigner is released. Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Mick Jones, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City from February - May of 1981. Originally titled Silent Partners, the title will be changed before the albums' release. The album also features guest musicians such as keyboardist Thomas Dolby ("She Blinded Me With Science") and saxophonist Jr. Walker ("Shotgun", "What Does It Take To Win Your Love"). It will spin off four singles including "Urgent" (#4 Pop), "Waiting For A Girl Like You" (#2 Pop for 10 weeks), and "Juke Box Hero" (#26 Pop). 4 will hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for ten weeks (non-consecutive) and is certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA, becoming the bands' second biggest-selling album.

On this day in music history: July 2, 1984Ice Cream Castle, the third album by The Time is released. Produced and arranged by Prince (aka "The Starr Company"), it is recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, First Avenue in Minneapolis, and The Warehouse in Chanhassen, MN from March 26, 1983 – January 1984. The album will spin off three hit singles including "Jungle Love"(#6 R&B, #20 Pop) and "The Bird"(#33 R&B, #36 Pop), which are featured in the film Purple Rain. Ice Cream Castle will peak at #2 on the Billboard R&B album chart and #24 on the Top 200.

On this day in music history: July 2, 1988 - "Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, also peaking at #8 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Issued as the fifth single from Jackson's seventh solo album, Bad, it will also be the fifth consecutive chart-topping single from the album, setting a record for the most #1 singles from a single album. This record will not be matched until 2011. The downtempo rock track about a groupie chasing after the singer features guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol's lead guitarist). "Dirty Diana" will become a staple of Jackson's live performances on the Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory tours.

On this day in music history: July 2, 1991Into The Great Wide Open, the eighth studio album by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is released. Produced by Petty and Jeff Lynne, it is recorded at  Rumbo Recorders, Studio C, Canoga Park, CA and M.C. Studios during 1990 - 1991. Released after Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever, it is the first new album by The Heartbreakers since Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), four years earlier. The album will spin off three hit singles including "Learning To Fly" and the title track. It will be the bands' last release on MCA Records before they sign with Warner Bros. Into The Great Wide Open will peak at #13 on the Billboard Top 200. The video for the title song would star Johnny Depp, Gabrielle Anwar, Faye Dunaway, and Matt LeBlanc.

Relevant Tags

Johnny Depp (9), Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (2), Tom Petty (8), Michael Jackson (66), Purple Rain (7), Prince (60), The Time (4), Foreigner (2), Rocky (4), Bill Conti (1), Frank Sinatra (17), Gabrielle Anwar (1), Faye Dunaway (2), Matt Leblanc (1)