Music History Monday: May 13

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 13, 2013 10:30am | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: May 13, 1950 - Singer,songwriter, producer, and musician Stevie Wonder (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, MI). Happy 63rd Birthday, Stevie! We love you!

On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 - “I Remember Yesterday,” the fifth studio album by Donna Summer is released. Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Belotte, it is recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany in early 1977. It is a concept album comprised of popular music throughout the decades (from the 1940s to the 1970s) with Moroder and Belotte’s electronic dance rhythms intermingling with music from the past, present, and future. The initial single from the album is the ballad “Can’t We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over?),” but club DJ’s will discover the track “I Feel Love” on the B-side. The last track on the LP, “I Feel Love” conceptually represents the “future” of music. The groundbreaking song will quickly become a smash in discos around the world, crossing over to radio and hitting #1 in the UK, #6 on the Hot 100 and spend three weeks at #1 the Billboard Club Play chart. “I Remember Yesterday” will peak at #18 on the Billboard Top 200, #11 on the R&B album chart, #3 on the UK album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.


On this day in music history: May 13, 1978 - "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, it is the biggest hit for the Hawaiian-born singer and actress. The song is actually the first that the brothers complete when writing material for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Initially, Elliman is to record the ballad "How Deep Is Your Love" for the film, but when executive producer/Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood hears the Bee Gees' demo version, he will insist that they record it themselves, giving "If I Can't Have You" to Elliman. The bands' own version of "If I Can't Have You" will be issued as the non-LP B-side to "Stayin' Alive" in late 1977. Elliman will cut her version with producer Freddie Perren (The Jackson 5, The Sylvers, Peaches & Herb) at The Mom & Pops Company Store Studios in Studio City, CA in mid 1977. Issued as the fourth single from Saturday Night Fever in January 1978, it will enter the Hot 100 at #89 on January 28, 1978, reaching the top of the chart 15 weeks later. "If I Can't Have You" will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 13, 1978 - "Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1" by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks. Written by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Chris Jasper, Rudolph Isley, O'Kelly Isley, and Ronald Isley, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the Teaneck, NJ based family band. The main body of the song will be written by the three younger members of the band while recording at Bearsville Studios in upstate New York. They will cut two different versions of the song before settling on the final released version. Issued as the first single from their sixteenth studio album Showdown, "Take Me" surprisingly will not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, though its success on the R&B chart will help drive sales of  Showdown to Platinum status, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and spending three weeks at #1 on the R&B album chart.

On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 - Low-Life, the third studio album by New Order is released. Produced by New Order, it is recorded at Jam and Brittania Row Studios in London from mid to late 1984. Continuing the musical evolution begun on their previous album Power, Corruption And Lies, New Order will incorporate more synthesizers, sequencers, and samplers into their traditionally instrument based post-punk sound. With these changes they will break new ground in the dance music genre, setting the course for their greatest successes throughout the rest of the decade. Upon its release, it is regarded as one of their best albums, spinning off two singles including "The Perfect Kiss" (#46 UK, #5 US Club Play)  with video directed by Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme and "Sub-culture" (#63 UK, #35 US Club Play). The original UK pressing of the LP features a transparent paper outer sleeve with the band name printed on it and on the jacket is individual photos of the band members. Drummer Stephen Morris is featured on the front, though the photos may be interchanged to show any of the other three through the transparency. It is the only New Order album to feature pictures of the band. Low-Life will peak at #7 on the UK album chart and #94 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 - Brothers In Arms, the fifth studio album by Dire Straits is released. Produced by Mark Knopfler and Neil Dorfsman, it is recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat and London, and The Power Station in New York City from November 1984 - March 1985. It will be the most successful album for the veteran UK rock band, combining bluesy and folk influenced songs with modern, high tech production. Brothers is one of the first major albums to be recorded and mixed on digital recording equipment (on a Sony DASH 3324 tape machine), with it being more geared toward the then increasingly more popular CD format. With the CD version clocking in at over 55 minutes, the vinyl LP version will include edited down versions of several songs in order to maintain high sound quality in that format. The album will spin off five singles including "Money For Nothing" (#1 Pop), "Walk Of Life" (#7 Pop), and "So Far Away" (#19 Pop). Winning two Grammy Awards including Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (it will win a third Grammy in 2006 for the 5.1 surround SACD reissue for Best Surround Sound Album), it will also make history as the first album in the US to sell over 1 million copies on CD in the 1980's. Brothers In Arms will spend nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 9x Platinum by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 13, 1989 - "Start Of A Romance" by Skyy hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks. Written by Tommy McConnell and Joe Williams, it is the second R&B chart topper for the Brooklyn-based R&B/Funk octet. The record will be a major comeback for the group who are at the time newly signed to Atlantic Records after a brief association with Capitol Records, following their departure from longtime label Salsoul Records. Having disbanded for nearly two years, the band will reform and begin working on new material. Drummer McConnell will work on the song with friend/keyboardist Joe Williams. Issued as the first single and title track to their first Atlantic album, it will become their first #1 R&B single since "Call Me" in 1982. Though surprisingly, "Start Of A Romance" will not chart of the Billboard Hot 100.