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On this day in music history: August 11, 1966 - John Lennon holds a press conference at the Astor Towers in Chicago to apologize for remarks he had made in an interview published five months earlier. The original interview with journalist Maureen Cleave is published in the British newspaper The Evening Standard on March 4th. During the interview, Lennon will comment on religion and what he feels is the decline of Christianity in modern times. The comments will make little to no impact in Great Britain. On the eve of the band's fourth American Tour, US fan magazine Datebook will reprint Lennon’s comments out of context causing a furor in the US bible belt with radio stations banning the band's music, burning their records, and The Beatles themselves receiving death threats. After Lennon’s public apology, the uproar will eventually blow over. Though it will mark the beginning of the end of The Beatles days as a touring band. They will quietly and permanently withdraw from the road when they play their final live date at the end of the month at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
On this day in music history: August 11, 1969 - Barabajagal, the seventh album by Donovan is released. Produced by Mickie Most, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London in May 1968 and American Recording Company in Los Angeles in November 1968 and May 1969. The album features musical backing by The Jeff Beck Group (on the title track) as well as background vocals from Graham Nash, Mike McGear (aka Michael McCartney), Rod Stewart, and Madeline Bell. It will spin off two singles including the double A-sided single "Atlantis/To Susan On The West Coast Waiting" (#7 Pop) and the title track (#36 Pop). The album will also mark the end of Donovan's long term collaboration with producer Mickie Most, with Most shifting his attention to his newly formed label RAK Records and signing artists such as Hot Chocolate, The Arrows, Smokie, and Suzi Quatro. Barabajagal will peak at number 23 on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: August 11, 1973 - 18 year old Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc (aka Clive Campbell) will throw a block party in the first floor rec room of his apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx in New York City. Advertised as a "Back To School Jam," flyers handwritten on 3x5 index cards will be distributed widely throughout the neighborhood. The event will be filled to capacity, attracting 300 people. Herc will set up his powerful sound system in the room, spinning a mixture of R&B, Funk, Latin, and Rock records. Using duplicate copies of the same record on two turntables, Herc would isolate and extend the breakdown of these songs to the delight of the crowd. The event will be a huge success and will lead to the DJ spinning at even larger events on the streets and in clubs in and around the Bronx. However, the first party will be regarded as a watershed event in history as the birth of the Hip Hop movement. Happy 41st Birthday, Hip Hop!
On this day in music history: August 11, 1982 - Vanity 6, the debut album by Vanity 6 is released. Produced by Prince (aka "The Starr Company"), it is recorded at Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen, MN and Sunset Sound in Hollywood from March - April 1982. The female vocal trio is created as an outlet for Prince's prolific songwriting output (though the songs will be credited to the individual group members on the record). Originally dubbed "The Hookers," Prince will pair his then girlfriend Denise Matthews (aka Vanity) together with his former girlfriend Susan Moonsie, and wardrobe mistress Brenda Bennett to form the group. Prince's personal assistant Jamie Shoop was initially to be the third member, but she is dropped from the group after he meets and begins a relationship with Matthews. Playing most of the instruments himself, Prince will also enlist assistance from bandmate Dez Dickerson and Time members Jesse Johnson and Terry Lewis who will co-write songs. The album's initial single, "He's So Dull," will fail to make an impact and is quickly followed up with "Nasty Girl." The sexually provocative and funky track will become an immediate smash on club dance floors, also becoming a solid hit on R&B radio. Original vinyl copies of the album will feature labels that read Side 1 and Side 6. It will spin off three singles including "Nasty Girl" (#7 R&B, #1 Club Play, #101 Pop) and "Drive Me Wild." Originally released on CD in 1988, the album has been out of print since the mid '90s, commanding a premium price on the collector's market due to its enduring popularity. Vanity 6 will peak at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number 45 on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 11, 1984 - "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr. hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for two weeks on August 25, 1984. Written and produced by Ray Parker, Jr., it is the biggest hit for the Detroit-born singer, songwriter, and musician. In the Spring of 1984, he will be approached by producer and director Ivan Reitman (National Lampoon's Animal House, Stripes, Meatballs) to write a theme song for his film Ghostbusters starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Under an extremely tight deadline to make the film's early June opening, Reitman will give Parker only a few days to write and record the song. The musician will quickly get to work, recording the track and playing all of the instruments himself at his Ameraycan Recording Studios in North Hollywood. The film will become the highest grossing film of 1984 at the box office, with the song also becoming an instant across-the-board smash upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #68 on June 16, 1984, it will climb to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The single will win Ray Parker, Jr. a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, as well as receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song in 1985. However, Parker will lose the Oscar to his former boss Stevie Wonder, who will win for "I Just Called To Say I Love You." Along with the huge success of "Ghostbusters," there will be controversy. Huey Lewis along with his manager Bob Brown will file a copyright infringement lawsuit against Ray Parker, Jr. and Columbia Pictures, claiming that "Ghostbusters" is too close in structure to Huey Lewis And The News hit "I Want A New Drug." It will later come to light that Reitman had been using "I Want A New Drug" as a temporary music track during the editing of the film. The matter will be settled out of court, but Parker will end up countersuing Lewis when he makes mention of the lawsuit during an interview for the VH-1 series "Behind The Music," violating the original settlement's confidentiality agreement. "Ghostbusters" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.