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On this day in music history: October 22, 1969 - Led Zeppelin II, the second album by Led Zeppelin is released. Produced by Jimmy Page, it is recorded at Olympic Studios and Morgan Studios in London; A&M Studios, Quantum Studios, Sunset Sound, Mirror Sound, and Mystic Studios in Los Angeles; A&R Studios, Juggy Sound, Groove Studios, and Mayfair Studios in New York City; "The Hut" in Vancouver, BC, Canada; and Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN from January - August 1969. Quickly following the success of their self-titled debut, the album is written on the road and recorded in numerous studios in the US and UK on days off between tour dates. Led Zeppelin II will quickly surpass their debut in sales, cementing the bands' musical reputation as well as establishing a template in which countless hard rock and heavy metal bands will follow. It will spin off several classics that become rock radio staples including "Heartbreaker," Ramble On," and "Whole Lotta Love" (#4 Pop), the latter of which is issued as a single. The initial US pressing of the LP mastered by Bob Ludwig will be problematic for some as loud and dynamic passages on the record will cause it to skip on cheaper turntables of the day, initiating sizeable returns. Atlantic will be forced to remaster the album (this time by George Marino), with the bass and high end significantly rolled off. These original "loud cut" pressings of II will become sought after by collectors over the years. Led Zeppelin II will spend 7 weeks at #1 (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 12x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1974 - Hotter Than Hell, the second album by KISS is released. Produced by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, it is recorded at The Village Recorder Studios in Los Angeles in August 1974. The New York based band will relocate to Los Angeles to record the follow up to their first album with producers Kerner and Wise (The Stories, Blue Oyster Cult, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts) who also produced their self-titled debut. The album will yield several songs that become mainstays of the bands' live shows including "Got To Choose," "Parasite," and "Goin' Blind." In spite of a heavy tour schedule in support of the album, it will sell poorly due to it being released just as Casablanca's distribution deal with Warner Bros is ending. The albums' distinctive Japanese influenced artwork is designed by graphic artist John Van Hamersveld (The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street, Blondie's Eat To The Beat), and the cover photo is taken by famed photographer Norman Seeff. Hotter Than Hell will peak at #100 on the Billboard Top 200, and will be certified Gold by the RIAA in June 1977.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1976 - Blue Moves, the eleventh album by Elton John is released. Produced by Gus Dudgeon, it is recorded at Eastern Sound in Toronto, ON, Canada in March 1976. The 18 song two-LP set is released just as John announces his "retirement" from live performance and recording during a concert at the Wembley Arena. Many of the songs have a darker and more serious tone than on previous albums, but will be very well received by fans and critics alike, and is regarded as one of his finest works. The album is also the last that John will work on with longtime producer Gus Dudgeon for almost 10 years (the two will reunite in 1985 for the Ice On Fire album). It will spin off two singles including "Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)" (#28 Pop) and "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (#6 Pop). When the album is originally released on CD in the mid 80's, it will cut four songs in order to fit it on one CD. When it is remastered in the late 90's, it will be reissued as a 2CD set with the deleted tracks restored to the track listing. Blue Moves will peak at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1983 - Colour By Numbers, the second album by Culture Club is released. Produced by Steve Levine, it is recorded at Red Bus Studios and CBS Studios in London from Early - Mid 1983. Issued as the follow up to their Platinum selling debut Kissing To Be Clever, the album will be another huge worldwide success for the UK pop band fronted by lead singer Boy George. It also features vocalist Helen Terry (an unofficial fifth member of the band) singing background vocals on several tracks and American born singer/dancer Jermaine Stewart on the single "Miss Me Blind" (#5 US Pop). It will spin off four hit singles including "Church Of The Poison Mind" (#2 UK, #10 US Pop) and "Karma Chameleon" (#1 UK and US Pop), and is widely regarded as the bands' best album. When the album is remastered on CD in 2003, it will also include five bonus tracks (originally released as the non-LP B-sides of the albums singles). Colour By Numbers will hit #1 on the UK album chart and spend 6 weeks at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 (behind Michael Jackson's Thriller), and to date has been certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1991 - Girlfriend, the third album by Matthew Sweet is released. Produced by Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet, it is recorded at Axis Studios in New York City in 1990. The material on the talented singer/songwriters' third release will be written during a very low point in his personal life, during which he will be dropped from his previous record label (A&M Records) and go through a divorce. The album will draw raves from critics and fans (though its initial sales will be modest) and is regarded as one of the great power pop albums of all time. It also features guest appearances by Robert Quine, Lloyd Cole and Richard Lloyd. The album will spin off two singles including "Divine Intervention" (#23 Modern Rock) and the title track (#4 Mainstream Rock). The cover features a photo of actress Tuesday Weld. The album will be reissued in expanded form in 2006 with three bonus tracks added to the original track listing and a second disc with live versions and acoustic renditions of several songs. Girlfriend will peak at #100 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.