Music History Monday: February 24

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 24, 2014 09:00am | Post a Comment

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On this day in music history: February 24, 1973 - "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, it is the second number one pop single for the North Carolina-born singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally recorded by singer Lori Leiberman, the song is inspired by a poem she writes after seeing singer Don McLean ("American Pie") perform at The Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood. She'll show the poem to her friend, lyricist Norman Gimbel, who will craft them into finished lyrics. Flack will see a picture of Leiberman in a magazine article about her and the song while flying from LA to New York. After hearing Leiberman's version, Flack will decide that she wants to record it herself. Her belief in the song's hit potential will be confirmed when she performs it live for the first time. In September of 1972 while appearing as Marvin Gaye's opening act at the Greek Theater, she'll perform "Killing Me Softly" during her encore and the crowd's reaction will be wildly enthusiastic. After her set, Gaye will tell her not to perform the song again live until she records it. Once in the studio, she'll spend nearly three months fine tuning the song before feeling that it's ready for release. Released as a single in January of 1973, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on January 27, 1973, it will rocket to the top of the chart four weeks later. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" will win three Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and her second consecutive win for Record Of The Year. Gimbel And Fox will also win the award for Song Of The Year. In 1996, The Fugees will revive "Killing Me Softly," reaching #2 (for three weeks) on the Billboard Airplay Chart on June 22, 1996, and winning two Grammy Awards for their album The Score. Flack's version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

On this day in music history: February 24, 1981Working Class Dog, the fifth album by Rick Springfield is released. Produced by Bill Drescher and Keith Olsen, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA from late 1979 - January 1981. Springfield will work on the album sporadically over a two year period before landing a role on the daytime soap opera General Hospital. Working mostly with producer and engineer Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Heart), much of the album is recorded when other artists booked to use the studio cancel, with the owner (also Springfield's manager) allowing them to use the idle time to record. It will be his long awaited breakthrough after years of recording with minimal success. The album will spin off three hit singles including "Jessie's Girl" (#1 Pop), which will win him a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male. The album's cover artwork features a photo of Springfield's bull terrier/great dane mix Ronnie (aka "Lethal Ron" Springthorpe -1979 - 1992) with a small photo of Rick pinned to the front of the shirt the dog is wearing. At first RCA is not happy that Springfield himself is not featured on the cover and wants him to change it. Eventually he win the argument and it is released as per his wishes. Ron will also appear on the cover of the follow up album Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet in 1982. Working Class Dog will peak at #7 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: February 24, 1992 - Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love marry on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, HI, a few days after Nirvana completes a tour of the Pacific Rim. The bride will wear a vintage satin and lace dress once owned by actress Frances Farmer, and the groom will wear green pajamas. At the time of the wedding, the couple is also expecting their first and only child, a girl named Frances Bean who will be born on August 18, 1992.

Kurt cobain courtney Love wedding

On this day in music history: February 24, 1992 - The US Postal Service will begin a voting poll to select a design for a commemorative stamp honoring rock & roll icon Elvis Presley. Initially, the post office will commission eight artists to design the image, which is narrowed down to two different versions of the stamp. The first one depicts the 50's era "Young Elvis" painted by artist Mark Stutzman, with the other being the 70's era "Mature Elvis" painted by artist John Berkey. The USPS will offer ballots to the public on which one they prefer. Voters will overwhelmingly choose the "Young Elvis" stamp by a margin of three to one when the results are revealed in the April 13, 1992 issue of People Magazine. The stamps will be officially issued on January 8, 1993 in a dedication ceremony at Graceland in Memphis on what would have been Elvis's 58th Birthday.

elvis stamp

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Music History Monday (83), Roberta Flack (4), Rick Springfield (3), Kurt Cobain (15), Courtney Love (15), Elvis Presley (29)