Music History Monday: August 13

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 13, 2012 02:42pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to

On this day in music history: August 13, 1952 - The original version of "Hound Dog" by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton is recorded. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. The single will be biggest hit for the Alabama-born Rhythm & Blues singer. The track features legendary R&B bandleader Johnny Otis (featured on drums) along with members of his band. Otis will co-produce the record with Leiber and Stoller. Released on the Houston, Texas-based Peacock Records in March of 1953, the single is an instant smash spending seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B Best Sellers chart, selling nearly two million copies. Four years and one week to the day that the original version is recorded, Elvis Presley's cover version of the song will hit #1 on the Pop chart. In time, "Hound Dog" will be regarded as one of the most important and influential songs music history.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1966 - "Summer In The City" by The Lovin' Spoonful hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. Written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, and Steve Boone, it is the biggest single for the New York-based band. The song originates as a poem written by Mark. Sebastian and bassist Boone will put the words to music. The band will hire a sound effects expert who will add the trademark "sounds of the city" effects to the records' break from acetates he has in his sound library. The single is engineered by Roy Halee (Simon & Garfunkel) who will also play a vital role in the overall sound of the finished record, particularly its explosive drum sound. "Summer In The City" will be certified Gold by the RIAA, becoming their first million selling single.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1977 - "Float On" by The Floaters hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for six weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on September 17th. Written by Arnold Ingram, James Mitchell, and Marvin Willis, it is the biggest hit for the Detroit-based R&B vocal quintet. Recorded at Pac 3 Studios in Detroit, the track features several prominent local musicians including former Funk Brothers' Dennis Coffey (guitar) and Jack Brokensha (vibes). The nearly 12 minute long track will be edited down to four minutes for single release, becoming not only a huge R&B hit but also a huge crossover smash on both sides of the Atlantic, hitting #1 on the UK singles chart.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1979Chicago 13, the thirteenth album by Chicago is released. Produced by Phil Ramone and Chicago, it is recorded at Le Studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and A&M Studios in Hollywood from May - June of 1979. It is the veteran bands' second album following the death of lead guitarist Terry Kath, and features guest appearances by trumpeter/bandleader Maynard Ferguson, Rufus' keyboardist David "Hawk" Wolinski, and Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira. It will not be well-received by fans and critics alike who are especially distainful of the disco flavored "Street Player." The backlash it causes against the band at the time is so great, that when Chicago regains the rights to their Columbia Records catalog years later, Chicago 13 will be the last of their original albums to be reissued when it finally makes its CD debut in 2003. Years later, the song will re-emerge in sampled form when DJ Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez appropriates part of "Street Player" for the huge club and radio hit "The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)" under the name The Bucketheads in 1995. Its popularity will turn Chicago's original version (at that point long out of print) into a much sought-after and high-priced collector's item among DJ's, especially the 12" single version. Chicago 13 will peak at #21 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Gold by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1982I Can't Stand Still, the debut solo album by Don Henley is released. Produced by Henley and Greg Ladanyi, it is recorded at Record One Studios in Sherman Oaks, CA from late 1981 through early 1982.  It is the first solo effort from the former drummer and lead vocalist of the Eagles. Co-writing many of the songs with longtime collaborator and guitarist Danny Kortchmar, the album will feature instrumental and vocal support from former Eagles bandmate Timothy B. Schmit, Garth Hudson (of The Band), and Bill Withers. It will spin off two singles including "Johnny Can't Read" (#42 Pop), expressing concern for the the growing illiteracy problem in America, and his biggest solo hit "Dirty Laundry" (#3 Pop), a strong rebuke of network news coverage and the tabloid media. I Can't Stand Still will peak at #24 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1991 - The self titled debut album by Cypress Hill is released. Produced by DJ Muggs, it is recorded at Image Recording Studio in Los Angeles and Studio 4 Recording in Philadelphia from late 1990 through early 1991.  The first album by the L.A.-based rap group will breakdown and change the sound of Hip Hop with its unique mixture of murky Funk, R&B, and Jazz-based samples. Their lyrics about growing up in the Southgate district of Los Angeles and the starkly contrasting vocals of rappers B-Real and Sen Dog will strike a nerve in the Hip Hop community. With solid support from underground college radio, the groundbreaking album will spin off seven singles, and win the group a large and loyal fanbase. Cypress Hill will peak at #4 on the Billboard R&B album chart and #31 on the Top 200. To date, it has sold more than two-million copies in the US.

Relevant Tags

Chicago (15), The Floaters (1), The Lovin' Spoonful (1), Elvis Presley (28), Big Mama Thornton (4), Don Henley (3), Cypress Hill (5), Lovin Spoonful (2)