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Born on this day: February 25, 1943 - The Beatles' lead guitarist, humanitarian, and philanthropist George Harrison (born at 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, UK). Happy Birthday to this rock music icon on what would have been his 70th Birthday. We love and miss you, George.
The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (LOVE Version)
On this day in music history: February 25, 1963 - Vee Jay Records in Chicago, IL will release "Please Please Me" by The Beatles in the US. Issued with the catalog number VJ 498, it is their first American release. It will be licensed to the label after EMI Records owned Capitol Records refuses to release it, telling producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein that the band "won't mean anything over here." The record will fare no better on Vee Jay initially, which is such a low priority that the initial pressings of the 45 misspell their name as "The Beattles." The original release of the single will sell just over 7,300 copies, mostly in the Chicago area where it receives airplay on WLS. Today those copies sell for over $3,500 in near mint condition.
On this day in music history: February 25, 1973 - Billion Dollar Babies, the sixth studio album by Alice Cooper is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at the Galecie Estate in Greenwich, CT, The Record Plant in New York City, and Morgan Studios in London, UK from August 1972 - January 1973. Revelling in the success of their previous album School's Out, the follow up will be influenced by what Alice and the band experience in period after their commercial breakthrough, along with the macabre "shock rock" that has brought them fame and notoriety. It will become their most successful album and is supported by an elaborately staged tour that will cement their reputation as a top draw live act. The album will spin off four singles including "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (#25 Pop). The original LP package is designed to look like an oversized snakeskin wallet (with embossing and textured to simulate real snakeskin) and comes with insert of a giant "billion dollar bill" that features a picture of the band on it. Billion Dollar Babies will spend 1 week at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Alice Cooper - No More Mr. Nice Guy
On this day in music history: February 25, 1973 - In The Right Place, the sixth album by Dr. John is released. Produced by Allen Toussaint, it is recorded at Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans, LA in late 1972. After recording several acclaimed, but moderate selling albums, the New Orleans born musician and songwriter will finally make his commercial breakthrough with his sixth release. Working with legendary songwriter and musician Allen Toussaint, the producer will surround John with a group of top notch musician that include The Meters, Ralph MacDonald, and David Spinozza. Sporting a more funk oriented sound than his previous albums, it will spin off two singles including "Right Place, Wrong Time" (#9 Pop, #19 R&B) which will become his most successful single. In The Right Place will peak at #24 on the Billboard Top 200.
Dr. John - Right Place Wrong Time
On this day in music history: February 25, 1977 - Peter Gabriel 1 (Car), the debut solo album by Peter Gabriel is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at The Soundstage in Toronto, Canada from July 1976 - January 1977. Following his departure from Genesis in 1975, Gabriel will take time off to spend with his family and write material for what will be his first solo effort. The album features Gabriel backed by a group musicians that include King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and bassist Tony Levin. The first single "Solsbury Hill" (#13 UK, #68 US Pop) is an autobiographical account of his feeling about leaving his former band Genesis. The album will be released without a title (the first of four that will be untitled), it will become known by fans as "Car" due to the LP's cover art that features a photograph of the back end of a car (taken by Peter Christopherson of Hipgnosis) with a photo of Gabriel superimposed in the back window. PG 1 (Car) will peak at #7 on the UK album chart and #38 on the Billboard Top 200.
Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill (1977)
On this day in music history: February 25, 1980 - Against The Wind, the 11th studio album by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band is released. Produced by Punch Andrews, Steve Melton, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Bob Seger, and Bill Szymczyk, it is recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL, Bayshore Studios in Coconut Grove, FL, and Muscle Shoals Studios in Sheffield, AL from Mid - Late 1979. Coming nearly two years after their last album, Stranger In Town, the Detroit based rock band will return with the biggest album of their career. The album features guest appearances by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit (of the Eagles), Dr. John and members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. It will spin off four singles including "Against The Wind" (#5 Pop), "Fire Lake" (#6 Pop), and "You'll Accomp'ny Me (#14 Pop). The album will win two Grammy Awards including Best Rock Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group. Against The Wind will spend 6 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.
Against The Wind - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
On this day in music history: February 25, 1984 - "Jump" by Van Halen hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks. Written by Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, and David Lee Roth, it is the biggest hit for the Pasadena, CA based rock band. Taking a major stylistic departure from their previous work, Eddie Van Halen will begin writing the band's biggest hit not on a guitar, but a keyboard. Classically trained as a pianist from childhood, Van Halen will begin composing the song on an Oberheim OB-Xa synthesizer he has at 5150, his home studio in Studio City, CA. While noodling around, he'll come up with the songs' signature riff. Later showing it to his other band mates, the keyboard driven track will initially cause some tension when Roth and producer Ted Templeman mention that they don't like the song at first. But Van Halen will disregard their opinion and soldier ahead, and Roth will eventually come around, writing the lyrics and melody for the song. Released on December 21, 1983 as the first single from their fifth album 1984, it will be an immediate smash upon its release. "Jump" will enter the Hot 100 at #47 on January 14, 1984, rocketing to the top just six weeks later. The single will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Van Halen - Jump 1984
On this day in music history: February 25, 1984 - "Encore" by Cheryl Lynn hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, peaking at #6 on the Club Play chart, also peaking at #69 on the Hot 100 on March 3rd. Written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, it is the second and final R&B chart topper for the Los Angeles, CA born singer and songwriter. Following their success with The S.O.S. Band, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis will be tapped to write and produce material for singer Cheryl Lynn's fifth album by CBS Records executive Larkin Arnold. Meeting with Lynn, the three get on instantly and begin working together. The song will be written while the producers are jamming at home in their apartment, playing off a rhythm that Jam programs on a Roland TR-808 drum machine. After the first single (the title track) "Preppie" stalls on the R&B chart at #85 in late 1983, "Encore" is issued as the second single from Lynn's fifth album, quickly becoming a smash black radio and on the dance floor. The success of the record will cement Jam & Lewis' reputation as a hit making entity, becoming their first chart topping single as writers and producers.
Cheryl Lynn - Encore
On this day in music history: February 25, 1985 - Songs From The Big Chair, the second album by Tears For Fears is released. Produced by Chris Hughes, it is recorded at Wool Hall Studios in North Road Bath, Sommerset, UK from Late 1983 - Mid 1984. Having broken through in their home country with their debut album, The Hurting, the Bath, UK rock duo will set their sights on success in the US and throughout the world with the follow up. Working once again with producer Chris Hughes (Adam & The Ants, Wang Chung) at his home studio, they will labor meticulously over the new material. They will spend nearly half of the eight months it takes to complete the album crafting the future hit singles "Shout" (#4 UK, #1 US Pop) and "Head Over Heels" (#12 UK, #3 US Pop). The album will take its title from the book and television film Sybil, about a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder who only feels safe while sitting in her therapists' "big chair." Chair will be the duo's breakthrough on a worldwide basis, spinning off four hit singles (five in the UK) including "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"(#2 UK, #1 US Pop) and "Mothers Talk" (#27 US Pop). Songs From The Big Chair will spend 5 weeks at #1 (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200 and will be certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA.
Tears For Fears - Shout
On this day in music history: February 25, 1990 - Blue Sky Mining, the seventh album by Midnight Oil is released. Produced by Warne Livesey and Midnight Oil, it is recorded at Rhinoceros Studios in Sydney, Australia from Mid - Late 1989. Issued as the follow up to their Platinum selling US breakthrough Diesel And Dust, the album will take on an even more political stance than previous efforts, with the title track addressing the plight of Australian miners exposed to asbestos in the Wittenoom mine in Western Australia. The album will spin off four singles including "Blue Sky Mine" (#1 Mainstream and Modern Rock) and "Forgotten Years." Initial copies of the LP will be pressed on clear blue vinyl as is the promotional 12" for "Blue Sky." Blue Sky Mining will hit #1 on the Australian album chart, #20 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.
Midnight Oil - Forgotten Years
On this day in music history: February 25, 1992 - Little Earthquakes, the solo debut album by Tori Amos is released. Produced by Tori Amos, Eric Rosse, Davitt Sigerson, and Ian Stanley, it is recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA, Stagg Street Studios in Van Nuys, CA, SquawkBox Studios, in Los Angeles, CA, and Strawberry Studios in Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK from Mid 1990 - Late 1991. A few years after an unsuccessful stint as the frontwoman for the synthpop band Y Tori Kant Read, Atlantic Records will give the songwriter and musician the opportunity to record her first solo project after hearing a 10 song demo she has recorded in the interim. The new album will be recorded in three phases, initial sessions take place with producer Davitt Sigerson (The Bangles), then at Rosse's home studio in Los Angeles, and final sessions with former Tears For Fears keyboardist Ian Stanley in London. Much of the material on the album is autobiographical, focusing on Amos religious upbringing, self discovery, sex, bad relationships, childhood and early adult traumas including the harrowing "Me And A Gun" which depicts her own experience of being sexually assaulted. Bolstered by the tracks "Silent All These Years" and "Crucify," it will be warmly received by Modern Rock radio. Little Earthquakes will peak at #54 on the Billboard Top 200 and be certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA.
Tori Amos - Silent All These Years
On this day in music history: February 25, 1995 - "Take A Bow" by Madonna hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also spending 9 weeks at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart on February 18th. Written and produced by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Madonna, it is the eleventh chart topping single for the pop music superstar. While working on her sixth album Bedtime Stories, Madonna will approach Babyface and ask him if he would be interested in working together. The producer and songwriter will accept the offer and they will get right to work. "Take A Bow" will be based on a piece of music Face has already written, completing it shortly after playing it for Madonna. The pair will write the lyrics and melody together. The track will be recorded with a full orchestra with the strings being arranged by Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul, Sinead O'Connor, Massive Attack). Issued as the follow up to the top five hit "Secret," "Take A Bow" will enter the Hot 100 at #45 on December 17, 1994, reaching the top of the chart ten weeks later. Certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, "Bow" will be Madonna's longest running chart topper on the pop singles chart.
Madonna - Take A Bow