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On this day in music history: July 22, 1966 - Blue Breakers With Eric Clapton by John Mayall & The Blues Breakers is released. Produced by Mike Vernon, it is recorded at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London in March of 1966. The album will initially be planned as a live recording, but the recordings are scrapped and the band will record in the studio instead. It will be released to great acclaim upon its release in the UK, further cementing Eric Clapton's reputation as a brilliant lead guitarist, and is regarded as one of the quintessential British blues recordings. Clapton will use his newly acquired (and now legendary) 1960 Les Paul during the sessions. The album's now famous cover photo features the band posed together looking at the camera, with Clapton eyes averted reading a "Beano" comic book. In 2006, Universal Music Group will release a 2 CD Deluxe Edition of the album featuring a remastered version of the original album with the original stereo and mono mixes, with the second disc featuring live recordings made for and originally broadcast on the BBC radio program Saturday Club Sessions as well as the stand alone single "Lonely Years" and its original B-side "Bernard Jenkins." Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton will peak at #6 on the UK album chart.
On this day in music history: July 22, 1974 - Fulfillingess' First Finale, the seventeenth studio album by Stevie Wonder is released. Produced by Stevie Wonder, Robert Margouleff, and Malcolm Cecil, it is recorded at The Record Plant and Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, and Media Sound Studios and Electric Lady Studios in New York City mid 1973 - early 1974. Issued as the follow up to the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Innervisions, it will be received in similar fashion for the depth and very personal tone of the songs' lyrics and innovative production style. It will spin off the hits "You Haven't Done Nothin'" (#1 R&B and Pop) and "Boogie On Reggae Woman" (#1 R&B, #3 Pop). Fulfillingess' First Finale will hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for two weeks and for five weeks on the R&B album chart, winning four Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year, making Wonder the only other artist in Grammy history besides Frank Sinatra to win the Album Of The Year prize in consecutive years.
On this day in music history: July 22, 1977 - My Aim Is True, the debut album by Elvis Costello is released (US release is in March of 1978). Produced by Nick Lowe it is recorded at Pathway Studios in London in late 1976 - early 1977. After six years of performing in pubs and clubs around his native Liverpool, Costello will receive his big break in 1976 when he submits demo recordings of several songs to Stiff Records in the hopes of being signed to the new label. Initially, the label is only interested in him as a staff songwriter (for musician Dave Edmunds), but will be persuaded to sign him as a recording artist. The album will be recorded in 24 hours of studio time (cut in six four hour sessions at a cost of £1,000) spread out over several weeks. Recording with members of the band Clover, Costello will often take time off (calling in sick) from his day job as a data entry clerk in order to rehearse and record the material. It will spin off the classics "Alison" and "(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes." My Aim Is True will peak at #32 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: July 22, 1978 - "You And I" by Rick James hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #13 on the Hot 100 on September 23rd. Written by Rick James, it is the chart-topping single for the singer songwriter and musician from Buffalo, NY. James had previously recorded for the label in 1966 as a member of The Mynah Birds, a band led by James and guitarist Neil Young. The recordings will be shelved when Motown finds out he is AWOL from the US Navy at the time. He will return to the label in 1977, signing with subsidiary label Gordy Records after playing his songs for Motown staff producer Jeffrey Bowen. Pairing him with engineer/producer Art Stewart (Marvin Gaye), the duo will complete the tracks James had begun recording at a small eight-track recording studio (Crossed-Eyed Bear Studios in Clarence, NY) near his hometown Buffalo, NY. James will write the song as an ode to his marriage with his then wife. Issued as a single in April of 1978, it is the first release from his debut album Come Get It!. will quickly become a fixture on R&B radio and the dance floor before crossing over to the pop chart. The success of "You And I" will drive sales of Come Get It! to Platinum status in the US.
On this day in music history: July 22, 1989 - "Turned Away" by Chuckii Booker hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week. Written by Chuckii Booker and Donnell Spencer, Jr., it will be the biggest hit for the former childhood keyboard prodigy, who is mentored in his early years by his godfather, musician Barry White. Booker will get his big break when he plays keyboards on saxophonist Gerald Albright's albums Just Between Us and Bermuda Nights. Albright's manager will hear demos that Booker has recorded during 1988, and will help him get signed to Atlantic Records. Upon hearing "Turned Away," it will be selected for single release by then Atlantic Records A&R exec Sylvia Rhone, unbeknownst to Booker who is initially skeptical about its commercial potential. The success of his solo debut album will land him a coveted spot as the musical director of Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour" in 1990, also later working with artists such as Troop, Vanessa Williams, Mary J. Blige, New Edition, TLC, and Keyshia Cole.