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On this day in music history: October 15, 1957 - Elvis' Christmas Album by Elvis Presley is released. Produced by Steve Sholes, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios in Nashville and Radio Recorders in Hollywood from January - September 1957. Presley's first holiday album consists of eight Christmas songs and four gospel songs (the latter previously released as the EP Peace In The Valley). The LP's lavish original packaging is designed to look like a photo album and contains a photo booklet with publicity stills from Elvis' latest film Jailhouse Rock. Upon its release, the album will be the subject of some controversy when songwriter Irving Berlin, the composer of the classic "White Christmas," objects to Presley's recording of the song, going as far as requesting that radio stations ban it from airplay. Some others will feel that Elvis recording gospel songs is "sacrilegious." One disc jockey will actually be fired for playing the album on the air. In spite of all this, it will become a classic and a perennial holiday favorite over the years, being reissued every year. After its first year, the albums' artwork will be changed for the first of several times before the original album packaging is restored in 1985 as part of RCA's reissue program (some vinyl copies are pressed on red or green vinyl) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Presley's birth. Elvis' Christmas Album will spend four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1966 - "Reach Out I'll Be There" by The Four Tops hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for two weeks on October 29th. Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland (produced by Holland and Dozier), it is the second pop and R&B chart topper for the Detroit-based vocal quartet. Recorded at Motown's Studio A in mid 1966, the group will record the song originally believing it to not be anything more than an album cut. Label founder Berry Gordy, Jr. will call the group into his office and tell them they are about to have the biggest hit of their career. When he tells them that it is "Reach Out," The Four Tops will still be skeptical about the songs' chances after the meeting. Motown will release it as a single on August 18, 1966, and within two weeks the record will be on nearly every major radio station in the US. Entering the Hot 100 at #82 on September 3rd, it will ascend to the top of the chart just seven weeks later. "Reach Out I'll Be There" will also be a major smash overseas, topping the UK singles chart for three weeks beginning on October 27th.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1970 - Jackson 5 Christmas Album by The Jackson 5 is released. Produced by The Corporation, it is recorded at The Sound Factory and Hitsville USA West Studios in Hollywood from July - September 1970. The groups' first and only holiday album, it will be their third LP release of the year. The collection will quickly become a perennial favorite during the Christmas holiday season with their versions of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" being among the most requested Christmas songs played on radio. The Jackson 5 Christmas Album will spend four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Christmas Albums chart, going Platinum in the US, and selling over 3.5 million copies worldwide.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1978 - The eponymously titled debut album by Toto is released. Produced by Toto, it is recorded at Studio 55 and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, and Davlen Sound Studios in North Hollywood from May - September 1978. Having previously established themselves as prominent LA studio musicians, the band will be signed to Columbia Records. Critics will react negatively to their first effort, calling them "faceless" and "formulaic," but the public loves the record from the start. It will spin off three singles including their first top 10 hit "Hold The Line" (#5 Pop), with the band also scoring a surprise reverse crossover hit with "Georgy Porgy" (#48 Pop, #18 R&B) when the single becomes an airplay favorite on black radio stations and in clubs due in part to it featuring background vocals by singer Cheryl Lynn (several members of Toto played on her debut album). In 1991, rapper MC Lyte will sample the track for her hit single "Poor Georgie." The album also earns them a Grammy Nomination for Best New Artist. Toto will peak at #9 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1979 - On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 by Donna Summer is released. Produced by Giorgio Moroder, Pete Belotte, and Gary Klein, it is recorded at Rusk Sound Studios in Hollywood and The Village Recorder in Los Angeles from July - August 1979 (new tracks only). The 16 track greatest hits compilation is Summers' fourth consecutive 2 LP set (and third #1 album in a row) and features hits and prominent album tracks from 1975 to 1979. Including two new tracks, the duet "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (with Barbra Streisand) (#1 Pop, #20 R&B) and the title track (#5 Pop, #9 R&B), it will also be Summer's final album before leaving Casablanca for Geffen Records. The albums' unique configuration has tracks remixed and edited for continuous play on each side. The original LP release will also come packaged with a poster of the cover artwork. Months later, Casablanca will also repackage the album as two separate LP's. On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 will spend one week at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1983 - "Ain't Nobody" by Rufus & Chaka Khan hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week, also peaking at #22 on the Hot 100 on December 3rd. Written by David "Hawk" Wolinski, it is the fifth and final chart topper for the veteran R&B band. Wolinski will come up with the initial idea for the song when working with musician Michael Sembello. The song had been considered for inclusion on Michael Jackson's Thriller album when the songwriter offers it to Jackson's producer Quincy Jones, but Rufus' producer Russ Titelman will convince Wolinski to hold on to it. Rufus will record it with Chaka as one of four new studio recordings on their final album Stompin' At The Savoy. Another unique characteristic of the record is its drum pattern, played both by drummer John Robinson (live drums) and by keyboardist Wolinski on a Linn LM-1 drum machine. Not wanting to play it with a straight 4/4 time signature, the two will come up with the songs' distinctive syncopated rhythm. "Ain't Nobody" will earn Rufus their second Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1984 - Stop Making Sense, the seventh album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Gary Goetzman, it is recorded at The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood in December 1983. Recorded during the tour in support of the bands' then current album Speaking In Tongues, the album is issued as the companion piece to the live concert film directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence Of The Lambs, Philadelphia). The original LP release will contain only nine songs and is heavily edited in order to fit it on one album. It will also come wrapped in a full color picture book. In 1999, an expanded edition of the album is released featuring the complete performance and matches the contents of the 15th anniversary theatrical re-release of the film. Stop Making Sense will peak at #41 on the Billboard Top 200, and to date has been certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.