Music History Monday: April 21

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 21, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: April 21, 1959 - Singer, songwriter and founder of The Cure, Robert Smith (born Robert James Smith in Blackpool, UK). Happy 55th Birthday, Robert!

On this day in music history: April 21, 1958 - "Twilight Time" by The Platters hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for one week, also topping the R&B Best Sellers chart for three weeks on April 28, 1958. Written by Buck Ram, Al Nevins, Morton Nevins, and Artie Dunn, it is the third pop and fourth R&B chart-topper for the Los Angeles-based vocal group. The song is originally recorded in 1944 by The Three Suns and by big band leader Les Brown. When The Platters record it in early 1958, it will initially be the B-side of "Out Of My Mind." American Bandstand host Dick Clark prefers "Twilight" and begins heavily plugging it on the show, making it the A-side by default. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #7 on April 14, 1958, it will leap to the top of the chart the following week. The single will sell over 1.5 million copies by the time it tops the charts,  The success of the record will be significant as more than 90% of its sales on the 7" 45 RPM format, leading The Platters label Mercury Records to phase out the manufacturing of the 10" 78 RPM record, the format that had dominated the music industry for the first half century of its existence. "Twilight Time" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: April 21, 1973 - "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando & Dawn hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown, it is the second chart-topping single for the pop vocal trio fronted by singer Tony Orlando (born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis). The song is based on a true story about a man who goes to prison for writing bad checks, and in a letter to his wife asks her to tie yellow ribbon around an oak tree in their hometown of White Oak, GA as a sign that she still loves him and is waiting for him when he returns. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on February 17, 1973, it will climb to the top of the chart nine weeks later. "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" will become the group's third million selling single and its huge success will lead the CBS television network to offer Orlando & Dawn their own variety series, which will run from 1974 to 1976. "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: April 21, 1975ABBA, the third studio album by ABBA is released. Produced by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, it is recorded at Glen, Metronome, and Ljudkopia Studios in Stockholm, Sweden from August 22, 1974 - March 16, 1975. It will be the Swedish pop quartet's first release following their chart breakthrough with "Waterloo," which also wins the top prize in the Eurovision Song Contest. The album will spin off three singles including "SOS" (#15 Pop), "I Do, I Do, I Do" (#15 Pop), and "Mamma Mia" (#32 Pop). The latter song will be the inspiration for a long-running stage musical featuring the music of ABBA, which is also adapted into a hit film in 2008. The album will make its CD debut in Japan in 1986 with an alternate mix of the track "Man In The Middle," that will be replaced after the initial pressing with the original mix. ABBA will peak at number 174 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: April 21, 1980Empty Glass, the debut solo album by Pete Townshend is released. Produced by Pete Townshend and Chris Thomas, it is recorded at Eel Pie Studios and AIR Studios in London from late 1978 - early 1980. The first solo release for the lead guitarist and chief songwriter of The Who will feature songs chronicling Townshend's personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, and his marriage. It will be a critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including "Let My Love Open The Door" (#9 Pop) and "Rough Boys" (#89 Pop). Empty Glass will peak at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: April 21, 1986Tinderbox, the seventh album by Siouxsie And The Banshees is released. Produced by Siouxsie And The Banshees, it is recorded at Hansa Studios (by the Wall) in Berlin, Germany and Matrix Studios in London in May 1985 and September 1985. The band's first album to feature new guitarist John Valentine Carruthers, replacing Robert Smith who had been doing double duty in Siouxsie And The Banshees and his own band The Cure, as well as participating the side project The Glove with bassist Steve Severin. Smith will bow out in 1984, citing exhaustion as his reason for leaving. Thanks to the album's lead single "Cities In Dust" (#21 UK, #17 US Club Play), it will be the band's first record to receive significant video and radio airplay in the US. It will spin off two singles including "Candyman" (#34 UK). Tinderbox will peak at number 13 on the UK album chart, and number 88 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: April 21, 1990 - "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Prince, it is the biggest hit for the Irish born pop/rock singer from Glenageary, County Dublin, Ireland. After the success of her Grammy nominated debut album The Lion And The Cobra, singer Sinead O'Connor will begin work on her sophomore release in 1989. It will be her manager Fachtna O'Ceallaigh that will recommend that O'Connor sing the Prince penned ballad. The song is originally recorded by the band The Family for their self-titled album released in 1985. Their original version is not released as a single, and will attract little notice, before Sinead O'Connor records the song for her second album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got in late 1989 with producer/arranger Nellee Hooper. Hooper will give the ballad a dramatic, but understated rearrangement. The song will be a huge worldwide hit, topping the charts in over a dozen countries. The song is bolstered by a memorable music video directed by John Maybury that captures an unplanned moment where O'Connor begins to shed tears (provoked by thinking of her manager, whom she had parted ways with two days before the video was filmed) while singing the song's chorus. Released in the US on February 11, 1990, the single will quickly become a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #63 on March 17, 1990, it will leap to the top of the chart five weeks later. "Nothing Compares 2 U" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: April 21, 1992Check Your Head,  the third album by the Beastie Boys is released. Produced by Mario Caldato, Jr., it is recorded at G-Son Studios in Atwater from mid-1991 - early 1992. After taking a three-year hiatus from the music business, the Beastie Boys will regroup and return with their third full-length release. Following the critically successful, but commercial disappointing reception afforded their previous release Paul's Boutique, the band's third album will see them returning to their punk rock roots, featuring more live instrumentation mixed with sample based tracks. The album is well received by critics and fans alike, will mark the beginning of a new peak in the Beasties popularity, and will see them broadening their audience with a new generation of fans. It will spin off five singles including "So What'cha Want" and "Pass The Mic." Check Your Head will peak at number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Relevant Tags

Pete Townshend (3), Abba (15), Tony Orlando & Dawn (1), The Platters (3), Robert Smith (5), The Cure (38), Music History Monday (82), Siouxsie And The Banshees (5), Sinead O'connor (6), Beastie Boys (23)