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On this day in music history: October 21, 1957 - "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for seven weeks, also topping the Country singles chart for one week on December 2, 1957 and peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is the eighth chart topper for Presley in under a year and a half. Recorded as the title song from his third film, the track recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on April 30, 1957. The song name checks a number of real people including musician Shifty Henry and the 1920's mobsters The Purple Gang. "Jailhouse Rock" is backed with the song "Treat Me Nice," which is also included in the film. It will peak at #18 on pop singles chart on October 28, 1957. The film will also open on the same date and top the box office charts simultaneously. Presley will also make history as being the only artist to ever dominate the top of the singles chart for 25 weeks during one calendar year. He will do it in both 1956 and 1957.
On this day in music history: October 21, 1967 - "To Sir With Love" by Lulu hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. Written by Don Black and Mark London, it is the biggest hit for the Scottish-born singer and actress (born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland). It is the theme song to the Sidney Poiter film about a teacher dealing with social and racial issues in a tough Secondary school in East London. Also co-starring in the film, Lulu will introduce her friend Mark London to the film's producers after they cannot find a suitable song for the main theme. London will write the music in just five minutes, with lyricist Don Black penning the lyrics the next day. When the single is released in the US, Epic Records will place "To Sir With Love" on B-side of "The Boat That I Row" (written by Neil Diamond). American radio DJ's will prefer the flipside and "Sir" will take off quickly. Entering the Hot 100 at #74 on September 9, 1967 it will race up the chart, hitting #1 six weeks later. Certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, "To Sir With Love" will be ranked the top single of 1967 as determined by Billboard Magazine.
On this day in music history: October 21, 1970 - New Morning, the twelfth studio album by Bob Dylan is released. Produced by Bob Johnston, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios, Studio B, Studio E in New York City from June - August 1970. Issued just four months after the controversial and poorly received Self Portrait, Dylan will emerge with a much more coherent and tightly produced album that will be attract raves from both critics and fans. Some will speculate that the album is rushed out in response to the negative backlash that Dylan receives following the release of Self Portrait, when most of New Morning had been recorded prior to the release of Portrait. It will produce the classic "If Not For You," which will also be covered by George Harrison on his solo debut All Things Must Pass and a version by Olivia Newton-John will be her first US hit in 1971. New Morning will peak at #7 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 21, 1972 - Superfly - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for four weeks, also topping the R&B album chart for six weeks on October 14, 1972. Produced by Curtis Mayfield, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Chicago and Bell Sound Studios in New York City from Late 1971 - Early 1972. Written as the score to the Gordon Parks, Jr. directed blaxploitation film about a drug dealer trying to get out of the dealing game, it provides an arresting counterpoint to the accompanying film. It will be the pinnacle of Mayfield's career both artistically and commercially. It will be his biggest selling album and is widely considered to be a landmark recording of the era. The album will be so successful, that it surpasses the film in terms of monetary profits. It will spin off two singles including "Freddie's Dead" (#2 R&B, #4 Pop) and the title track (#5 R&B, #8 Pop) both certified Gold. Superfly - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will be certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 21, 1977 - Bat Out Of Hell, the second album by Meat Loaf is released. Produced by Todd Rundgren, it is recorded at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY; Utopia Sound in Lake Hill, NY; The Hit Factory in New York City; and House Of Music in West Orange, NJ from late 1975 - late 1976. Featuring songs composed by songwriter Jim Steinman, it will have an immensely difficult time even being released, receiving rejections from just about every record label in the business including CBS Records. Musician Todd Rundgren impressed and amused at the "over the top" grandeur of the material will agree to produce the album. It will feature a number of guest musicians including E Street Band members Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg as well as Edgar Winter and former Yankees shortstop and sports announcer Phil Rizzuto. Even after it is released on Epic Records subsidiary Cleveland International, it will initially receive almost no promotional push from the company. Only after the music videos for "Bat Out Of Hell" are shown on UK and Australian TV will the record take off. The album will spin off four singles including "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" (#11 Pop), "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" (#39 Pop), and "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" (#39 Pop), ultimately selling over 43 million copies worldwide (to date). Bat Out Of Hell will peak at #14 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 14x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 21, 1985 - Once Upon A Time, the seventh album by Simple Minds is released. Produced by Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain, it is recorded at The Townhouse Studios in London from June - August 1985. It is the first album issued by the Scottish/UK band releases following their US breakthrough with the soundtrack single "Don't You (Forget About Me)". The album also features guest musicians such as guitarist Carlos Alomar, vocalist Robin Clark (Alomar's wife), and Michael Been of The Call (backing vocals). It will spin off three singles including "Alive And Kicking" (#7 UK, #3 US Pop), "Sanctify Yourself" (#10 UK, #13 US Pop), and "All The Things She Said" (#9 UK, #28 US Pop). On the albums' initial release, the there will be two variations in the cover artwork with the photo collages of the band are reversed with the back cover photos appearing on the front and the other way. Once Upon A Time will peak at #1 on the UK album chart, #10 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 21, 1986 - Polka Party!, the fourth album by "Weird Al" Yankovic is released. Produced by Rick Derringer, it is recorded at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood from April - September 1986. Like his previous albums, it will feature parody versions of recent pop hits including ones by James Brown, Robert Palmer, and the title track -- a medley of twelve songs strung together and compressed into just over three minutes. In spite of not being as well received as his previous releases (it is one of the few albums by Al not to be certified Gold or Platinum in the US), it will be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording. The original vinyl LP release will have the messages "Polka 'Til You Puke" etched into the runout groove of side A and "Where's My Liquid Paper?" etched in the runout of side B. Polka Party! will peak at #177 on the Billboard Top 200.