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Music History Monday: May 18

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 18, 2015 07:50am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: May 18, 1959 - "Kansas City" by Wilbert Harrison hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for seven weeks on May 11, 1959. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is the biggest hit for the Charlotte, NC-born R&B singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally titled "K.C. Lovin,'" the song is first recorded by Little Willie Littlefield in 1952. Harrison will perform the song as part of his live act for several years before recording it himself in March of 1959. Re-arranging the song to a shuffle tempo and adding the refrain "They got some crazy little women there, and I'm gonna get me one" to the chorus make it an instant classic. Issued on Bobby Robinson's Fury Records (he would later be the founder of seminal Hip Hop label Enjoy Records) in early April of 1959, the record will be an immediate hit on both the pop and R&B charts upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #100 on April 13, 1959, it will quickly streak to the top of the chart five weeks later, making it the first single in Billboard chart history to enter at the bottom of the chart and go all the way to number one. "Kansas City" will be covered by numerous artists over the years including The Beatles, Muddy Waters, and James Brown. Wilbert Harrison's version of "Kansas City" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001.
 

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Music History Monday: May 11

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 11, 2015 08:00am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: May 11, 1959 - "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Cortez and Ken Wood, it is the biggest hit for the songwriter and musician from Detroit. Born Dave Cortez Clowney, he will begin playing piano as a child with aspirations to become a professional musician after seeing Duke Ellington & His Orchestra in concert. Cortez will relocate to New York when he joins a group call The Pearls as a keyboard player. Eventually he will strike out on his own, working as a studio musician, when he is signed to independent label Clock Records (distributed by Ember Records). He and fellow songwriter Ken Wood write a song initially titled "The Dog And The Cat" that also features lyrics. When Cortez finds that the song doesn't work in its original form, he will make it over as an instrumental, recording it with a Hammond Organ instead of a piano. Clock will release the song as a single just as Cortez leaves town to go on tour with Little Anthony & The Imperials. Entering the Hot 100 at #68 on March 16, 1959, it will climb to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Cortez will follow the song with the similiar  "The Whistling Organ," which peaks at #61 in July of 1959. Clock Records will soon fold in 1961 and Cortez will sign a deal with Chess Records, scoring another major hit with the single "Rinky Dink" (#10 Pop, #9 R&B). Cortez will chart several more singles on the chart through 1966, then makes his last chart entry with "Someone Has Taken Your Place" (#45 R&B) on All Platinum Records in 1973. "The Happy Organ" will also be featured in theatrical trailers for the film Tommy Boy in 1995. Dave "Baby" Cortez will record a new album in 2011 with Lonnie Youngblood and His Bloodhounds, his first new release in 39 years.
 

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Music History Monday: May 4

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 4, 2015 07:25am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: May 4, 1956 - "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent And His Blue Caps is recorded. Written by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent, it is the debut release and biggest hit for the rock & roll band fronted by Vincent (born Vincent Eugene Craddock). The song is co-written by Vincent and his manager, radio DJ "Sheriff Tex" Davis, who will help the singer secure a record contract. Hollywood-based Capitol Records, in search of "the next Elvis Presley," will eagerly sign Vincent. His band The Blue Caps consists of Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), Jack Neal (upright bass), Dickie Harrell (drums), and Cliff Gallup (lead guitar). The band will record the track at famed country music producer Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut studio in Nashville, TN. Released a month later, "Be-Bop-A-Lula" will peak at #7 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart on July 28, 1956, #8 on the R&B chart, and #5 on the C&W chart, selling over two million copies. The band will also perform the song in classic rockfilm The Girl Can't Help It, released later in the year. The seminal recording will become one of the definitive examples of rockabilly music, and will go on to influence many musicians over the years including The Beatles, The Animals, and rockabilly revivalists Stray Cats. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
 

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Music History Monday: April 27

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 27, 2015 10:52am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: April 27, 1947 - Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Pete Ham (born Peter William Ham in Swansea, Wales, UK) of Badfinger. Happy Birthday to Pete on what would have been his 68th Birthday.
 


Born on this day: April 27, 1948 - Singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Kate Pierson (born Catherine Elizabeth Pierson in Weehawken, NJ) of The B-52's. Happy 67th Birthday, Kate!
 


Born on this day: April 27, 1959 - Singer Sheena Easton (born Sheena Shirley Orr in Bellshill, Scotland). Happy 56th Birthday, Sheena!
 


On this day in music history: April 27, 1968Dance To The Music, the second album by Sly & The Family Stone, is released. Produced by Sly Stone, it is recorded at CBS Studios in Los Angeles and New York City in September 1967. Issued just six months after their debut album, A Whole New Thing, the follow up will be less complex musically and more pop-oriented than its predecessor (at the insistence of then CBS Records head Clive Davis), it will establish the band as major and influential force in popular music. It will spin off a hit single with the title track, which becomes their first top 10 hit (#9 R&B, #8 Pop). Like their first album, Dance will be reissued in 1970 with different cover artwork and a new catalog number. The original cover will be restored when the album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1995. The album is remastered and reissued again in 2007 with six additional bonus tracks including the original mono 45 mixes of the title track and "Higher." Dance To The Music will peak number 11 on the Billboard R&B album chart and number 111 on the Top 200.
 

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Music History Monday: April 20

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 20, 2015 10:42am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: April 20, 1923 - Latin jazz and Salsa icon Tito Puente (born Ernesto Antonio Puente in New York, NY). Happy Birthday to this latin music icon on what would have been his 92nd Birthday. We love you, Tito!
 


Born on this day: April 20, 1951 - Legendary R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Luther Vandross (born Luther Ronzoni Vandross in New York, NY). Happy Birthday to this R&B music icon on what would have been his 64th Birthday.


Remembering the brilliant William "Benny" Benjamin (July 25, 1925 – April 20, 1969), drummer for the Motown Records' studio band The Funk Brothers

On this day in music history: April 20, 1970McCartney, the solo debut album by Paul McCartney, is released (UK release date is on April 17, 1970). Produced by Paul McCartney, it is recorded at 7 Cavendish Avenue and Abbey Road Studios in London, and Morgan Studios in Willesden, UK from late 1969 - March 1970. Following the recording of The Beatles' Abbey Road, Paul McCartney will work on his first solo release while The Beatles are in the process of breaking up. He books studio time under an assumed name and also records at home on a Studer 4-track recorder set up in his living room. The home recordings will be done without the benefit of a mixing board, with McCartney literally plugging microphones directly into the back of the tape machine Though no singles are issued from it, the album will be very successful with the track "Maybe I'm Amazed" becoming a major airplay hit. Eight days prior to the album's UK release, advance copies of the album will be received by the press. Inserted into the album is a short Q&A written by McCartney that in effect announces the break up of The Beatles publicly declares his departure from the band the next day on April 10, 1970. In June of 2011, a remastered version of the original album is reissued, including  a 2CD + 1 DVD archival boxed set, featuring previously unreleased material from the recording sessions. McCartney will spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the UK album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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