To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1962 - Meet The Supremes, the debut album by The Supremes is released. Produced by Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Raynoma Liles, it is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit from October 1960 - September 1962. It features the first four singles released by the group during 1961 and 1962. All fared poorly on the charts in spite of the company's best writers and producers efforts to come up with a hit single for the group. In the wake of the group's breakthrough success with their second full-length Where Did Our Love Go?, the album will be reissued in early 1965 (originally issued in mono, it is remixed in true stereo with different cover artwork). Original copies of Meet The Supremes are among the rarest of the early Motown LPs and command up to $500 for a near mint copy today.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1966 - Fresh Cream, the debut album by Cream is released. Produced by Robert Stigwood, it is recorded at Rayrik Studios and Ryemuse Studios in London from July - October 1966. The first release by the British rock supergroup is also the first release on manager/producer Stigwood's newly formed Reaction Records in the UK, and will be released by Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco in the US. Featuring a mixture of covers and original material, it will include some of the band's signature songs including their first single "I Feel Free" and the blues standards "I'm So Glad," "Spoonful," and "Rollin' And Tumblin'." The original US LP pressings will feature a different track sequence than the UK version, exchanging "Spoonful" for "I Feel Free," which had been issued as a stand alone single in the UK. Fresh Cream will peak at #6 on the UK album chart, and #39 on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1966 - A Quick One, the second album by The Who is released (US release is in May 1967 and is retitled Happy Jack). Produced by Kit Lambert, it is recorded at IBC Studios and Pye Studios in London from September - November 1966. Issued one year and one week after their debut release My Generation, The Who's second full length will be an important turning point in the band's career, as it will mark Pete Townshend's first foray into composing a "rock opera" in the form of the title track. The nine-minute-long suite of songs at the end of the album's second side tells a story about a wife's infidelity while her husband is away. It will lead to Townshend's later works Tommy and Quadrophenia. The other three members of the band will also contribute songs to the album including John Entwistle's "Boris The Spider." A Quick One/Happy Jack will peak at #4 on the UK album chart and #67 on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1972 - Hot August Night, the tenth album by Neil Diamond is released. Produced by Tom Catalano, it is recorded at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on August 24, 1972. Diamond's second live album, the album will take its title from the opening lyric in the song "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show." The twenty-two track double LP set is taken from a single performance recorded on August 24, 1972 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in the middle of a run of ten sold-out shows at the famed outdoor venue. It will be a huge critical and commercial success for Diamond, and will establish his reputation for dynamic live performances captured on the album. It will will also be his final release for MCA Records before signing with Columbia. The album will spawn three sequels released in 1977 (Love At The Greek), 1987 (Hot August Night II) and 2009 (Hot August Night/NYC). In 2000, the original album will be remastered and reissued with three bonus tracks that were cut due to the time limitations of vinyl. A 40th anniversary reissue in 2012 will also add three more additional tracks, including introductions of the musicians by Diamond. Hot August Night will peak at #5 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1972 - "Me And Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for three weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for three weeks on December 16, 1972. Written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert, it is the biggest hit for the Philadelphia-born R&B/Jazz singer. Gamble and Huff will meet Paul at a local Philadelphia club in 1967 and begin working together shortly afterward. After several attempts to write a hit for the singer fail, they finally come up with a song that perfectly balances R&B and pop with Billy's jazz vocal style. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios with members of MFSB and arranged by Bobby Martin, it is the first single from Paul's album 360 Degrees Of Billy Paul. The song about an extramarital affair will be the third R&B chart topper, and first number pop single for the fledgling Philadelphia International label. The single will win Paul a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1973. "Me And Mrs. Jones" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1974 - Dark Horse, the sixth album by George Harrison is released. Produced by George Harrison, it is recorded at Friar Park Studios (FPSHOT) in Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK and A&M Studios in Hollywood in September 1973, and from April - July 1974 and September - October 1974. Harrison's third post-Beatles album is recorded at a particularly turbulent period, which will see him struggling in many aspects in his personal life. To complicate matters further, Harrison is suffering from laryngitis during the recording sessions, but must complete the album in time to begin a tour that he is already committed to perform. The project features a number of guest musicians including Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, Tom Scott, Gary Wright, Willie Weeks, and Ron Wood. Critics will dub the album "Dark Hoarse" due to Harrison's vocals, but in spite of this it will perform well, spinning off two singles including the title track (#15 Pop). Dark Horse will peak at #4 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1989 - "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Billy Joel, it is the third chart topping single for the singer, songwriter, and musician from Hicksville, Long Island, NY. Joel will be inspired to write the song after a conversation he has with a man in his 20s when they begin talking about past world events and people dating from 1949 (the year of Joel's birth) to the then present time (1989). Mick Jones of the band Foreigner co-produces and will be instrumental in changing the arrangement of the song from how it had been written, giving it a more driving "rock & roll" attitude. It will be released as the first single from Joel's eleventh studio album Storm Front and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #58 on October 14, 1989, it will climb to the top the chart eight weeks later. "Fire" will be nominated for a Grammy Award for Record Of The Year with Joel turning in a memorable live performance of the song at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards in 1990. "We Didn't Start The Fire" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.