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On this day in music history: June 30, 1973 - Fresh, the sixth album by Sly & The Family Stone is released. Produced by Sly Stone, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles and Sausalito circa 1972 - Spring 1973. After the release of There's A Riot Goin' On in late 1971, Sly & The Family Stone will see their first personnel changes with the departure of bassist Larry Graham and drummer Gregg Errico, both having left under acrimonious circumstances. Sessions for the band's next album will begin in early 1972. The new album will introduce new band members bassist Rusty Allen and drummer Andy Newmark to the fold, though many of the tracks feature Sly playing all of the instruments himself. During the nearly 18 months that he works on the album, Sly will constantly remix and re-record several of the songs, resulting in different versions of the material. The album will spin off two hits, including the band's last million-selling single "If You Want Me To Stay" (#3 R&B, #12 Pop). When the album is first released on CD in the early '90s, alternate masters using the wrong mixes will initially be released until it is withdrawn and replaced with the correct version. This version of the album will become a sought after collector's item among Sly fans. The album's cover photo is taken by famed photographer Richard Avedon (The Beatles). Fresh will spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number seven on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Born on this day: June 30, 1951 - Jazz bassist and composer Stanley Clarke (born in Philadelphia, PA). Happy 63rd Birthday to this ultra funky virtuoso genius musician.
On this day in music history: June 30, 1980 - The Game, the eighth studio album by Queen is released. Produced by Reinhold Mack and Queen, it is recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from June - July 1979 and February - May 1980. Having parted ways with longtime producer Roy Thomas Baker, Queen will begin working with German producer and engineer Reinhold Mack (credited as "Mack") on their next album. Also opting for a change of locale, the band will record on and off at Giorgio Moroder's Musicland Studios in Munich for the next eleven months. Sporting a more streamlined, pop-oriented sound than their previous album Jazz, it will become the band's biggest selling album in the US. It will spin off three singles including the chart-toppers "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Another One Bites The Dust." Original vinyl LP pressings will feature the album jacket printed with an aluminized "silver foil" finish that will be discontinued on later copies of the album in order to save on manufacturing costs. The original UK EMI CD will feature an alternate cover photo with drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May striking slightly different poses. As well as being a musical departure from their previous work, it will also see lead singer Freddie Mercury undergoing a dramatic image makeover during this period. Mercury will cut his once shoulder length hair (at times sporting a mustache) and eschewing his more flamboyant stage costumes for jeans, white T-shirts, and tank tops. The Game will spend five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 30, 1981 - Breakin' Away, the fifth studio album by Al Jarreau is released. Produced by Jay Graydon, it is recorded at Dawnbreaker Studios in San Fernando, Garden Rake Studios in Studio City, and Sunset Sound and Pasha Music in Hollywood in early 1981. After recording several acclaimed albums that will bring him a solid and loyal following, jazz vocal virtuoso Al Jarreau will set his sights on reaching a wider audience. Exploring the genres of R&B and pop, while maintaining his jazz and vocalese roots. Having worked with ace session guitarist and producer Jay Graydon (The Manhattan Transfer) on his previous album This Time, the pair will work together again. The album features instrumental support from top notch studio musicians such as Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro of Toto, George Duke, Steve Gadd, Dean Parks, and Jerry Hey. Breakin' Away will bring Jarreau his first taste of mainstream pop success, spinning off three singles including "We're In This Love Together" (#6 R&B, #15 Pop, #6 AC) and the title track (#25 R&B, #43 Pop, #30 AC). It will win two Grammy Awards including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Male Jazz Vocal Performance. Breakin' Away will spend two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, also topping the jazz album chart and peaking at number nine on the Top 200. It is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 30, 1984 - Sports, the third album by Huey Lewis And The News hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for one week. Produced by Huey Lewis And The News, it is recorded at Fantasy Studios, Studio C in Berkeley, The Plant Studios in Sausalito, and The Automatt in San Francisco from May - August 1983. After the success of their second album Picture This, Huey Lewis And The News will begin working on material for the crucial follow up. Looking to progress from their previous work, the band will merge their trademark rock and R&B hybrid sound by incorporating current technology like synthesizers and drum machines, setting the template for their best known work during the 80's. While Lewis and The News are working on the album, their record label Chrysalis is in a perilous condition financially. Having operated as an independent label for several years, the label is spending and losing money excessively. The band is so worried about handing the finished album in to the label (fearing it will go bankrupt and take the album with it) that Lewis and band manager Bob Brown will hide the multi-tracks and mixdown masters from them while it's a work in progress. The band will finally hand the album over once Chrysalis aligns itself with CBS Records for distribution in the US. It will be the band's most successful album, propelling them to worldwide pop stardom. Taking a slow and steady climb up the charts, it finally reaches the top of the chart nine months after its release. It will spin off four Top Ten singles including "Heart And Soul" (#8 Pop), "I Want A New Drug" (#6 Pop, #1 Club Play), and "The Heart Of Rock And Roll" (#6 Pop). The album's cover will feature a color tinted photo of the band taken at The Club in Mill Valley where the band giged at regularly in their pre-fame days. Sports is certified 7x Platinum by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 30, 1986 - True Blue, the third album by Madonna, is released. Produced by Madonna, Patrick Leonard, and Stephen Bray, it is recorded at Channel Recording in Los Angeles from December 1985 - April 1986. After the massive whirlwind success of Like A Virgin and The Virgin Tour, the pop superstar will not rest on her laurels and begins work on the crucial follow up at the end of 1985. Working with long-time collaborator Stephen Bray and new producer Patrick Leonard (Michael Jackson, Jody Watley), the album will be praised upon its release as her strongest effort to date and is widely regarded today as one of the best albums of her career. It will spin off five top five hits including "Live To Tell" (#1 Pop), "Papa Don't Preach" (#1 Pop), "Open Your Heart" (#1 Pop), and the title track (#3 Pop). True Blue will also mark the beginning Madonna's long association with famed fashion photographer Herb Ritts who shoots the LP's iconic cover photo. The original LP package will also include a poster of the album cover shot. Madonna will also support the album with the worldwide Who's That Girl Tour beginning in June of 1987. True Blue will spend five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 7x Platinum by the RIAA.