Music History Monday: January 21

Posted by Jeff Harris, January 21, 2013 01:00pm | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: January 21, 1938 - Legendary DJ Wolfman Jack (born Robert Weston Smith in Brooklyn, NY). Happy Birthday to this radio and television icon on what would have been his 75th Birthday.

wolfman jack

Born on this day: January 21, 1965 - Hip Hop icon DJ Jam Master Jay (born Jason William Mizell in Brooklyn, NY). Happy Birthday to this pioneering DJ and producer on what would have been his 48th Birthday.

jam master jay

On this day in music history: January 21, 1978Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Soundtrack hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 24 weeks. The 17-track double album to the film starring John Travolta features six tracks by The Bee Gees as well as ones by Yvonne Elliman, Tavares, Kool & The Gang, KC & The Sunshine Band, David Shire, MFSB, Walter Murphy, Ralph MacDonald, and The Trammps. Like the film itself, the album’s success is unprecedented with demand for the record being so great that RSO Records distributor Polygram cannot keep up with the demand on its own and must contract pressing facilities from rival record labels in order to keep adequate stock in stores. It will spin off six hit singles (including four number one singles, in addition to three others that topped the chart prior to the albums' release), spending over 2 1/2 years on the charts, and winning three Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year.Saturday Night Fever will be certified 15x Platinum in the US by the RIAA and over 40 million worldwide.

On this day in music history: January 21, 1978 - “Our Love” by Natalie Cole hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #10 on the Hot 100 on April 15th. Written and produced by Chuck Jackson & Marvin Yancy, it is the fifth R&B chart topper in under three years for the daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole. Co-songwriter and producer Yancy will write the song shortly after marrying the singer. Released as the first single from Cole’s fourth album Thankful, it will quickly race up the R&B charts and crossover. On the pop charts it is her third top 10 and will be her last major hit for almost ten years when marital and drug problems derail Cole’s career. She will return to hit making prowess in 1987 with the album Everlasting and the singles “Jump Start,” “I Live For Your Love,” and “Pink Cadillac”.

On this day in music history: January 21, 1984 - "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, and Trevor Horn, it is the biggest hit for the British progressive rock band fronted by lead singer Anderson. The song originates with guitarist Rabin who demoes it with the intention of giving it to someone else to record. Producer Trevor Horn will hear the song while working on Yes's album. Feeling that the album still lacks a hit single, Horn will hear Rabin's demo and after more than six months, finally persuades Rabin to let Yes record it. The song will be re-worked with Horn, bassist Squire and vocalist Anderson re-writing the lyrics and part of the music. "Owner" is released the first single from the band's eleventh studio album 90125 in the Fall of 1983. The single will bring the veteran band a new generation of fans when MTV and pop radio embraces their new modernized sound. A remixed version of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" (titled the "Red And Blue Dance Mix") will also become a big hit on the dance floor peaking at #3 on the Billboard Club Play chart.

Relevant Tags

Wolfman Jack (1), Saturday Night Fever (2), The Bee Gees (7), Natalie Cole (1), Yes (6)