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On this day in music history: August 26, 1964 - "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks is released. Written by Ray Davies, it is the first major hit for the North London based rock band. Having released two previous singles that fail to make an impact, The Kinks will be pressured by their UK label Pye Records to deliver a hit record or be dropped from the label. After Davies writes "You Really Got Me," he and the band will try the song with a number of different arrangements before finding the right one. The Kinks will record the track with American producer Shel Talmy at IBC Studios in London in July 1964. The single's trademark distorted guitar sound is achieved by lead guitarist Dave Davies slicing the speaker cone of his guitar amp with a razor blade. It will also be one of the first rock songs to feature power chords (perfect 5ths and octaves) rather than major or minor triads. This will lay the template for the hard rock and heavy metal music genres that will follow in the years to come. The song will hit #1 in the UK and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28th. One of the records that will help define the '60s "British Invasion" era, "You Really Got Me" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1967 - "Ode To Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Bobbie Gentry (birth name Roberta Lee Streeter), it will be the biggest hit for the Mississippi born singer/songwriter. The cryptic story song about a young man committing suicide for unknown reasons is an immediate smash. Recorded at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood on July 10, 1967, the track will be completed in less than an hour of studio time. Arranger Jimmie Haskell will add the song's crowning touch by overdubbing violins and cellos to the spare arrangement. The unedited version runs over seven minutes and it pared down to just over four minutes. Originally issued as the B-side to her debut single "Mississippi Delta," DJs will very quickly favor the flipside. "Ode To Billie Joe" will enter the Hot 100 at #71 on August 5, 1967 and it will rocket to the top of the chart just three weeks later. The song will also send Gentry's album (also titled Ode To Billie Joe) to #1 for five weeks (unseating The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), and winning her two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1968 - "Hey Jude" b/w "Revolution" by The Beatles is released. Written by Paul McCartney (credited to "Lennon - McCartney"), it is recorded during the sessions for the bands' self-titled ninth album (aka The White Album). Issued as the first single on the band's newly established label Apple Records, "Jude" is backed with the hard rocking "Revolution" (written by John Lennon, also credited to "Lennon - McCartney). At the time of its release, "Hey Jude" will make the highest chart debut in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, entering the chart at #10 on September 14th. Hitting the top of the charts just two weeks later, it will go on to be The Beatles' biggest record ever, spending nine weeks at #1 and selling over four million copies in the US alone. "Revolution" will peak at #12 on the Hot 100 on September 21st. At seven minutes and 11 seconds, "Hey Jude" is one of the longest singles to ever reach #1.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1972 - "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Eliot Lurie, it is the biggest hit for the New Jersey based band that is formed in 1969 while the members are students at Rutgers University. The song was originally titled "Randy" (about an old girlfriend).The band will initially cut the track with songwriter/producer Sandy Linzer ("A Lover's Concerto," "Native New Yorker," "Fresh"), but will scrap the original version when they are unsatisfied with the results. Working with Bob Liftin and Mike Gershman, they will re-record the track which be the one that is released. When Epic Records releases the single, it is as the as the B-side of the song "One By One." Harv Moore at WPGC in Washington DC prefers "Brandy" instead and within three weeks it will be the #1 single on the station. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #68 on June 17, 1972, it will climb to the top of the Hot 100 ten weeks later, temporarily interrupting Gilbert O'Sullivan's six week run at the top with "Alone Again (Naturally)." "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1978 - "Get Off" by Foxy hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on November 11th. Written by Ish Ledesma and Carl Driggs, it is the biggest hit for the Miami-based Cuban American R&B band led by singer/songwriter Ledesma (born Ismael Angel Ledesma). Originally formed in 1976, Foxy will become the house band for TK Records when the label's top act, KC & The Sunshine Band, become too popular and busy to remain at home in Florida. The song "Get Off" will be created out of an onstage improvisation while the band are playing at a club in Ocean City, Main. The song's trademark disco call annoys the club manager so much that he threatens to the throw the band and their equipment into the street. Not wanting to back down from such a threat, Ledesma and Driggs will go back to the motel where they're staying, and finish writing "Get Off." They play it at the club the next night and true to his word, the club manager fires the band and has them physically tossed out. They will return to Miami the next day, and upon their return play the song for their label boss Henry Stone at TK Records. Stone loves the song and tells them to cut it immediately. Sung by Ish and Carl, the single also features the female vocal group Wildflower on background vocals. Within just a few weeks of its release, the funky and risque single will become a smash in the clubs, quickly crossing over to the R&B and pop charts. "Get Off" will sell over a million copies in the US and is recognized today as one of the definitive records of the Disco Era.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1978 - "Grease" by Frankie Valli hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, also peaking at #40 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written and co-produced by Barry Gibb it is the second solo chart-topper for the legendary lead vocalist of The Four Seasons. In 1977, the Bee Gees manager will ask Barry Gibb if he will write the theme song for the film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Grease. Gibb will agree and quickly writes the song. Barry in turn will ask Frankie Valli to sing the theme and Valli will immediately agree to record the song upon hearing the demo. Released on May 6, 1978, it is the second single released from the soundtrack album. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on May 27, 1978, it will climb to the top the chart 13 weeks later. "Grease" will be Valli's second solo #1 (seventh overall) giving him a span of nearly 16 years since his first #1 with The Four Seasons in 1962. The success of the song will drive sales of the Grease soundtrack to over 8x Platinum in the US with worldwide sales of over 28 million copies. At the time of its domination of the charts, it will be the second largest selling soundtrack album of all time after Saturday Night Fever.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1985 - The Head On the Door, the sixth album by The Cure, is released. Produced by Robert Smith and Dave Allen, it is recorded at Angel Studios in London from early to mid-1985. The album is the first to introduce new members Boris Williams (drums) and Porl Thompson (guitar, keyboards) and marks the return of bassist Simon Gallup to the band. Smith will continue to evolve The Cure's sound, mixing the band's now trademark "goth-rock" sound with more accessible and pop oriented material. The album will be a pivotal release in the bands' career as it will be their first album to receive significant support in the US from both college radio and the burgeoning commercial Modern Rock radio format, as well as video outlets like MTV, which will grow the band's fanbase beyond its small but loyal cult following. It will spin off two hit singles including "In Between Days" (#99 US Pop, #15 UK) and "Close To Me" (#13 UK). In 2006, a two-CD Deluxe Edition of the album will be released featuring previously unreleased demos and live recordings. The Head On The Door will peak at #59 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA in 1991.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1989 - "It's No Crime" by Babyface hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on October 28th, and also peaking at #5 on the Club Play chart on August 26th. Written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio "L.A. Reid, and Daryl Simmons, it is the first R&B chart topper and first Top 10 pop hit for the Indianapolis-born singer, songwriter, producer, and musician. Face will begin writing the song around a keyboard preset he discovers on a synthesizer he's playing. The track features Babyface playing most of the instruments on the track as well as his former Deele bandmates Kayo on bass and synth bass, De'Rock on percussion, and L.A. Reid on drums and programming. The industrial sounding beat will even carry over into the concept for the song's music video, which is filmed on the grounds of a foundry. Released as the first single from Babyface's second solo album Tender Lover, the New Jack Swing flavored "Crime" will quickly climb the R&B charts, crossing over to the pop charts shortly after. "It's No Crime" will be Babyface's eleventh R&B chart topper (32 in his overall career to date) as a writer and/or producer in just two years.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1995 - "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 12 weeks. Written by Seal (born Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel in Paddington, London, UK), it is the biggest hit for the British born Nigerian/Afro-Brazilian singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally written for his second self-titled album released in 1994, "Kiss From A Rose" is almost left off of the album when Seal and his producer Trevor Horn feel initially that it sounds "too different" from the other songs on the album. A friend of Seal's will hear the song and insist that he include it. When a Warner Bros A&R exec hears "Kiss," he will play it for Gary LeMel, the president of music for Warner Bros movie division. LeMel will play the song for Batman Forever director Joel Schmacher who loves the song and asks to use it in the film. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on June 24, 1995, it will climb to the top of the chart nine weeks later. The song will drive sales of both Seal's album and the Batman Forever soundtrack to multi-platinum status, as well as win three Grammy Awards including Record and Song Of The Year for 1995. "Kiss From A Rose" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.