Music History Monday: May 6

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 6, 2013 11:52am | Post a Comment

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On this day in music history: May 6, 1972 - The eponymously titled duet album by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway is released. Produced by Joel Dorn and Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Altantic Recording Studios in New York City from March, August 12th to October 15, 1971. It is the first of three collaborations from the two friends and labelmates. The idea for the pairing will be suggested by Atlantic executive and producer Jerry Wexler, to heighten the profile of both artists. Months prior to the album's release, it will be proceeded by the release of two singles, including covers of James Taylor's then recent hit "You've Got A Friend" (#8 R&B, #29 Pop) and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" (#30 R&B, #71 Pop). The Spring 1972 release of the album will coincide with Flack's breakthrough smash "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which was still holding the #1 spot on the Hot 100 at the time. The album will also be issued simultaneously with the single "Where Is The Love" (1 R&B, #5 Pop), which will be a huge crossover hit, winning Flack and Hathaway a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1973. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway will peak at #2 on the Billboard R&B album chart, #3 on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 6, 1972 - "I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for four weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for one week on June 3rd. Written and produced by Alvertis "Al" Bell, it will be the biggest hit for the family group from Chicago. Bell, the president of Stax Records will be inspired to write the song after attending the funeral of his younger brother. The track is cut with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section at Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama in late 1971. Issued as the follow up to "Respect Yourself" (#2 R&B, #12 Pop) in February of 1972, the single will become an immediate hit on the R&B chart, quickly crossing over pop. "I'll Take You There" will be covered by a number of different artists over the years including SWV, Kelly Price, General Public, and Robert Randolph & The Family Band. The Staple Singers original version of "I'll Take You There" will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

On this day in music history: May 6, 1986Standing On A Beach/Staring At The Sea by The Cure is released. Produced by Robert Smith, Chris Parry, Mike Hedges, Steve Nye, Phil Thornalley, and David M. Allen, it is recorded at Morgan Studios in Willesden, UK; and RAK Studios, Genetic Studios, Garden Studios, Trident Studios, and Angel Studios in London from November 1978 - July 1985. The album is the bands’ second singles compilation, containing material from the British goth/alternative rock band's first six studio albums. The different configurations of the album that are released will feature varying track listings, as well as different titles. The original vinyl LP version (titled Standing On A Beach) includes 13 tracks, with the CD and cassette version (titled Staring At The Sea) containing 17 tracks on the CD, adding four additional tracks. The cassette edition will contain a total of 25 tracks, including 13 additional non-LP single B-sides. The LP version takes its title from a lyric in the bands’ first single “Killing An Arab,” which will lead to the band putting a disclaimer sticker on the album when it is misconstrued as being anti-Arab. The cover artwork will feature a photo of a retired fisherman named John Button on the front, who is also featured in the music video for "Killing An Arab." The album will also be accompanied by the release of a music video compilation titled Staring At The Sea - The Images (released on VHS and Laserdisc), which will have the track listing as the CD release. The compilation will be promoted by a re-release of The Cure's 1979 single "Boys Don't Cry" that features a newly recorded lead vocal by Robert Smith, and is noticeably remixed from the original version. Though ironically, this version is only issued commercially as a single in the UK (promo only in the US), and is not included on the album (which contains the original version). Standing On A Beach/Staring At The Sea will peak at #4 on the UK album chart, #48 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Relevant Tags

Roberta Flack (4), Donny Hathaway (4), The Staple Singers (3), The Cure (38)