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On this day in music history: July 15, 1967 - "I Was Made To Love Her" by Stevie Wonder hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for four weeks (non-consecutive), also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on July 29th. Written by Henry Cosby, Lula Mae Hardaway, Sylvia Moy, and Stevie Wonder, it is the third R&B chart topper for the then 17-year-old Motown star. Staff producer and songwriter Sylvia Moy will come up with the initial idea for the song, drawing upon her own family background while growing up in Arkansas. She will collaborate with producer/songwriter Henry "Hank" Cosby along with Stevie Wonder and his mother Lula who will also contribute lyrics and melody lines to the song. The track is cut at Motown Studio A in Detroit on March 11, 1967 with The Funk Brothers providing the instrumental backing. The strings (played by members of the Detroit Symphony) are added on March 21st, with Wonder recording his lead vocal on March 30th. The background vocals are recorded on March 31st. Released in May of 1967 after a number of mid-charting singles on the pop charts, it will fully restore Wonder to commercial prominence.
Born on this day: July 15, 1944 - Singer/songwriter Millie Jackson (born Mildred Jackson in Thomson, GA). Happy 69th Birthday this pioneering R&B vocalist! We ♥ you Millie for always keeping it real!
Born on this day: July 15, 1946 - Singer Linda Ronstadt (born Linda Maria Ronstadt in Tucson, AZ). Happy 67th Birthday, Linda!
On this day in music history: July 15, 1983 - The Crossing, the debut album by Big Country is released. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, it is recorded at The Manor in Oxfordshire, UK and RAK Studios in London in May 1983. Formed in 1981, Big Country will go through a number of personnel changes before their classic lineup is in place in 1982. For their debut album, the band are paired with producer Lillywhite, best known for his work with U2 and Peter Gabriel. The first release by the rock band from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland will firmly establish them and their trademark sound, a solid rhythm section with twin lead guitars played by Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson. The album will spin off two hit singles including "In A Big Country" (#17 Pop) and "Fields of Fire" (#52 Pop), and will be the most successful album for the Scottish band. The Crossing will peak at #18 on the Billboard Top 200, as is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: July 15, 1989 - "If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Simply Red hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, topping the Adult Contemporary chart for six weeks on June 24th, and also peaking at #38 on the R&B singles chart on July 8th. Written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it is the second and final US chart topper for the Manchester, UK pop/soul band fronted by lead singer Mick Hucknall. The track is a cover of the Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes classic (#1 R&B, #3 Pop) originally recorded in 1972. Having included at least one cover per album since their debut, Simply Red will decide to do a version of the Philly Soul classic for their new album, recording it at AIR Studios in Montserrat, W.I. in late 1988. Released as the first single from their third album A New Flame, it will become their second biggest single. Entering the Hot 100 at #81 on May 6, 1989, climbing to the top of the chart ten weeks later. Simply Red's recording of the song will win songwriters Gamble and Huff a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song in 1990. "If You Don't Know Me By Now" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.