Music History Monday: August 6

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 6, 2012 02:40pm | Post a Comment
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Remembering R&B/Funk legend Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson, Jr): February 1, 1948 - August 6, 2004.

On this day in music history: August 6, 1965Help!, the fifth UK and tenth US album by The Beatles is released in the UK (US release date is on August 13th). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from February - June 1965. Serving as the soundtrack to the bands' second film, the first side of the album features all seven songs included in the film, while the second side features seven additional songs including the classics "Yesterday," "It's Only Love," and "I've Just Seen a Face." The US version of the album will differ significantly from its British counterpart. Besides having different cover art, it contains only 12 tracks, which include the seven film songs and five tracks of orchestral score by composer Ken Thorne. The other songs will be parceled out on singles ("Yesterday" and "Act Naturally"), while the rest ("It's Only Love," "You Like Me Too Much," "Tell Me What You See," and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy") will turn up on the US compilation Beatles VI and the US version of Rubber Soul ("I've Just Seen A Face"). The album will spin off two singles including "Ticket To Ride" (#1 Pop) and the title track (#1 Pop). Help! will spend nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: August 6, 1975 - "(They Just Can't Stop It The) Games People Play" by The Spinners is released. Written by Joseph B. Jefferson, Bruce Hawes, and Charles Simmons, it is issued as the first single from the groups' sixth album Pick of The Litter, The single is initially titled just "Games People Play," but the title is amended to avoid confusion with the Joe South song of the same name. When arranging the song, producer Thom Bell will incorporate the sounds of Tin Pan Alley-era pop songs, and the vocal stylings of groups like The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots, putting them into a contemporary musical backdrop. This is most noticeable when Bell has bass singer Pervis Jackson singing counterpart to lead singer Bobbie Smith, during certain parts of the song. The track will also feature background vocalist Barbara Ingram. "Games People Play" will hit #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on October 18th (becoming their fourth R&B chart topper) and #5 on the Hot 100 on October 25th.

On this day in music history: August 6, 1977 - "Strawberry Letter 23" by The Brothers Johnson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week, also peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 on September 24th. Written by Shuggie Otis (son of bandleader Johnny Otis), the song is inspired by Otis' girlfriend who had sent him numerous letters scented with Strawberry perfume. After the couple exchange 22 letters between them, Otis will write the song as the 23rd letter to her. The song will originally appear on Shuggie Otis' 1971 album Freedom Flight, which George Johnson will hear after receiving a copy from one of Otis' cousins whom he is dating at the time. The brothers will cover the song on their second album Right On Time with producer Quincy Jones. George and Louis will record the track accompanied by Harvey Mason (drums), Ian Underwood and Dave Grusin (keyboards), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), and Lee Ritenour (guitar), who will play the songs' guitar solo. "Strawberry Letter 23" will become The Brothers Johnson's second million selling single and is certified Gold by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 6, 1980 - "Late In the Evening" by Paul Simon is released. Written by Simon, it is issued as the first single from the soundtrack to his first starring role in the film One Trick Pony. The song and soundtrack album features instrumental backing by the Jazz/Funk band Stuff. "Late In The Evening" will peak at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 27th and will also receive a Grammy Nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1981.

On this day in music history: August 6, 1980Crimes of Passion, the second album by Pat Benatar is released. Produced by Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Whitesnake), it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA in early and mid-1980. The album will firmly establish the singer as the preeminent female rock vocalist of the era and is widely regarded as one of her best. It will spin off three hit singles, including her first top 10 "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (#9 Pop). The album will win Benatar her first Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Crimes of Passion will peak at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA.

Relevant Tags

Rick James (9), The Beatles (62), The Spinners (5), The Brothers Johnson (1), Shuggie Otis (4), Paul Simon (8), Pat Benatar (2)