Music History Monday: April 1

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 1, 2013 04:01pm | Post a Comment

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Remembering "The Prince Of Motown," Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gaye, Jr. in Washington DC) - April 2, 1939 - April 1, 1984.

Born on this day: April 1, 1948 - Reggae music icon Jimmy Cliff (born James Chambers in Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica). Happy 65th Birthday, Jimmy!

Born on this day: April 1, 1949 - Singer/songwriter/author and poet Gil Scott-Heron (born Gilbert Scott-Heron in Chicago, IL). Happy Birthday to Gil on what would have been his 64th Birthday.


On this day in music history: April 1, 1978 - "The Closer I Get To You" by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on May 13th. Written by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, it is the second chart topper for the R&B vocal duo. Originally written as a solo for Roberta Flack, her manager David Franklin will suggest making the song a duo, calling on her old friend singer and musician Donny Hathaway to duet with her.  The song will be the first collaboration between Flack and Hathaway since their Grammy winning duet "Where Is The Love" nearly six years earlier. Hathaway is actually hospitalized at the time (being treated for severe depression and often unpredictable mood swings) and must receive special permission to leave the facility and record his vocals. Released as the second single from Flack's album Blue Lights In The Basement, it is an immediate smash on both the R&B and pop singles charts. "The Closer I Get To You" will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, also driving the accompanying album to Gold status. The song will be revived by Luther Vandross and Beyonce Knowles in 2003, being included on their albums' Dance With My Father and Dangerously In Love. Their version of the duet will win them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2004.

On this day in music history: April 1, 1987Solitude Standing, the second album by Suzanne Vega is released. Produced by Steve Addabbo and Lenny Kaye, it is recorded at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY and RPM Studios in New York City from late 1986 - early 1987. After the release of her acclaimed self-titled debut album, Vega will once again work with former Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and Steve Addabbo on the follow up. It will be the breakthrough release for the California born/New York City raised singer and songwriter. The album will spin off two singles including the title track (#94 Pop) and "Luka" (#3 Pop). It also includes the original acappella version of the song "Tom's Diner" which will be remixed by UK producers DNA in 1990, becoming a huge hit (#5 US Pop, UK #2). Solitude Standing will peak at #11 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: April 1, 1989 - "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, and Susanna Hoffs, it is the second and final chart topping single for the Los Angeles rock band fronted by singer and guitarist Hoffs. She will come up with the initial idea for the song after a visit to Elvis Presley's home Graceland, seeing the eternal flame burning at his gravesite. Hoffs will collaborate on the song with songwriters Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg ("Like A Virgin," "I Touch Myself"), who will also co-write The Bangles previous hit "In Your Room" (#5 Pop) with Susanna. The song will be issued as the second single from the bands' third album Everything on January 20, 1989. "Eternal Flame" will enter the Hot 100 at #56 on February 4th, reaching the top of the chart eight weeks later, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. Not long after the song reaches the top, mounting tensions between the members of the band will come to a head with The Bangles calling it quits after eight years together. Eventually, The Bangles will settle their differences, reforming in 1998 and releasing the album Doll Revolution in 2003, their first in 14 years.


On this day in music history: April 1, 2003Elephant, the fourth album by The White Stripes is released. Produced by Jack White, it is recorded at Toe-Rag Studios in Hackney, London and BBC Maida Vale Studios in London in November 2002 and April 2002. Issued as the follow up to the Detroit-based Alt-rock duos' breakthrough album White Blood Cells, the bulk of the new album will be recorded in only two weeks worth of studio time in the Spring of 2002. It will be recorded on a vintage eight-track multi-track tape machine, using other vintage outboard gear and microphones, deliberately avoiding the use of any modern recording equipment during the sessions. Featuring the band's signature stripped down driving sound, the album will be very well received upon its release, cementing The White Stripes musical reputation and becoming their best-selling and highest-charting album to date. It will also be released with several variations of the albums' cover art (taken by photographer Patrick Pantano) for the US and UK CD and LP releases. It will spin off four singles including "Seven Nation Army" (#1 Modern Rock, #76 Pop, #12 Mainstream Rock), "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" (#25 Modern Rock), and "The Hardest Button To Button" (#8 Modern Rock). Elephant will peak at #6 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Relevant Tags

Suzanne Vega (4), Donny Hathaway (4), Roberta Flack (4), Gil Scott-heron (11), Jimmy Cliff (4), Marvin Gaye (13), The Bangles (5), The White Stripes (6)