Music History Monday: September 3

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 3, 2012 02:11pm | Post a Comment
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On this day in music history: September 3, 1966 - "Sunshine Superman" by Donovan hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Donovan Leitch, it is the biggest US chart single for the Scottish-born singer/songwriter. The songs' UK release will be delayed by several months due to a contractual dispute with Pye Records. It also features future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones providing instrumental support. The record marks a major turning point in Donovan's career, which will see him moving away from his earlier folk oriented material that led the young singer/songwriter to be compared to Bob Dylan by the British press. The two will actually meet in 1965 during Dylan's now-legendary tour of the UK captured in the documentary film Don't Look Back and become friends.

On this day in music history: September 3, 1966 - "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also topping the Hot 100 on September 10th for two weeks. Written by Brian Holland, Eddie Holland, and Lamont Dozier, it is the Detroit-based girl groups' second R&B chart topper and their seventh to reach #1 on the pop charts in just over two years. Following a period when three of the groups' singles either fail to reach number one or miss the top ten (after having six chart topping singles, so far), Motown founder Berry Gordy issues an edict that they will not release anything but #1 hits on their most successful act. The Supremes' writing and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland immediately set about making that happen. HDH will take inspiration from one of their earlier Supremes hits when they begin writing. Initially they begin by playing around with the chord sequence from "Come See About Me," but it eventually evolves into something completely different. The basic track for "You Can't Hurry Love" is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit on June 11, 1966 with The Funk Brothers providing musical support. The Supremes will record their vocals on July 5th. Released on July 25th, it will quickly race up the pop and R&B charts, beginning the groups second consecutive streak of number one hits where their next four releases will all hit #1 on the Hot 100, three of them also topping the R&B singles chart.

On this day in music history: September 3, 1983 - "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by Eurythmics hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart, it is the biggest hit for the British/Scottish synthpop duo. The duos' second album Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) is recorded in a makeshift studio housed above a timber factory on an 8-Track analog tape machine. Because of the noise generated by saws cutting timber during the day, all vocals for the album have to be recorded at night. After their first release, the 1981 album In The Garden fails to make an impact in the US, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) is released 15 months later in January of 1983. The single will get off to a slow start, languishing until American audiences get their first view of the duo when the video begins receiving play on MTV. Captivated by Lennox's strikingly androgynous image and soulful voice, the buzz received from video play spreads to radio and "Sweet Dreams" will finally hit the charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on May 14th, it will begin its ascent up the charts reaching #1 16 weeks later, dislodging The Police's "Every Breath You Take" from the top spot after holding at #2 for four weeks.

On this day in music history: September 3, 1983 - "Cold Blooded" by Rick James hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for six weeks, also peaking at #40 on the Hot 100 on September 24th. Written and produced by Rick James, it is the third R&B chart topper for the "King of Punk Funk." The innovative, minimalist funk track (featuring James on all instruments and vocals) is inspired by James' then girlfriend, actress Linda Blair. Blair will actually be in the studio with James when he begins writing it, watching him work when she expresses a desire to learn how to play and write music. Putting his hands on a synthesizer, he begins improvising, coming up with the song's main synthesizer riff right on the spot. "Cold Blooded" will be distinctively different from his earlier material, which was mainly written on either guitar or bass. The track features mainly synthesizers and a Roland 808 drum machine (inspired in part by friend Marvin Gaye's recent hit "Sexual Healing"), augmented with electric bass. "Cold Blooded" will be James' last major hit for Motown before leaving the company in 1986.

Relevant Tags

Donovan (6), The Supremes (6), Eurythmics (7), Annie Lennox (3), Rick James (9), Linda Blair (5)