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Music History Monday: April 28

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 28, 2014 10:22am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: April 28, 1969Chicago Transit Authority, the debut album by the Chicago is released. Produced by James William Guercio, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City from January 27 - 30, 1969. Formed in 1967, the band are originally known as The Big Thing before changing their name to the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968. That same year, they will meet record producer James William Guericio who will also become their manager, helping them to secure a deal with Columbia Records. Relocating to Los Angeles, they will go through months of intensive rehearsals and writing sessions, before going to New York in early 1969 to record their first album. Recorded in just three days, they will have enough material for not only one, but two albums. CBS will initially balk at releasing a two record set on new band. Insistent on releasing the album as it was originally conceived, the band and Guericio will have to agree to take a cut in royalty payments as well as allow the label to price the album at a slightly lower rate than normal for a two LP set. Once released, the twelve track double album will initially get off to a slow start but will find success through heavy touring and support from FM underground radio. It will spin off four singles including "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" (#7 Pop) and "Beginnings" (#7 Pop). Chicago Transit Authority will peak at number seventeen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: April 21

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


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


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.
 

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Music History Monday: April 14

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 14, 2014 11:21am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: April 14, 1973 - "Masterpiece" by The Temptations hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on April 28, 1973. Written and produced by Norman Whitfield, it is the 11th R&B chart-topper for the veteran Motown vocal group. Songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield will give the song its title when he feels that all of the combined elements of the piece add up to a "masterpiece," though the word does not appear in the lyrics. Whitfield will write "Masterpiece" as a sequel to the Grammy-winning smash "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" (and the album All Directions), and features members of The Funk Brothers providing musical support and is arranged by Paul Riser. The single and album are recorded during a period where there is ever-mounting tension between the highly-strung producer and The Temptations, who are unhappy at having no say in the creative process and are being referred to by music critics as "the Norman Whitfield Choral Singers." "Masterpiece" will be edited down from its nearly 14 minute epic length down to under four and a half minutes for single release. Though the Tempts will top the R&B chart three more times with "Let Your Hair Down," "Happy People," and "Shakey Ground," in 1974 and 1975 respectively, "Masterpiece" will be will be the group's last top ten pop hit for 18 years. It returns to the upper reaches of the chart when they collaborate with Rod Stewart on "The Motown Song" peaking at #10 in September of 1991. "Masterpiece" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: April 7

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 7, 2014 10:35am | Post a Comment

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

Born this day: April 7, 1915 - Iconic jazz vocalist/songwriter Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Harris in Philadelphia, PA). Happy Birthday to "Lady Day" on what would have been her 99th Birthday.
 


On this day in music history: April 7, 1967 - FM Underground radio is launched at KMPX 106.9 in San kmpx san franciscoFrancisco. Having grown tired of the grind of AM Top 40 radio, broadcasting legend DJ Tom Donahue, who will pioneer the free-form album rock radio format that puts the focus on rock album cuts rather than the tight and often restrictive Top 40 pop formatting that plays strictly hit singles. KMPX will broadcast from a studio at 50 Green Street in San Francisco's North Beach district. The station will both change the face of commercial radio and be instrumental in breaking new artists like Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. However, Donahue's time at the station will last less than a year. Splitting his time between the San Francisco station and sister station KPPC in Pasadena, the strain of working both stations will cause the veteran DJ/Program Director's relationship with owner Leon Crosby to breakdown, leading to Donahue's ouster from the station. In a show of solidarity, the staff of KMPX will strike after Crosby replaces Donahue with Bob Prescott as PD. The strike will last for eight weeks, in which time Crosby will fire all of the original staff and replace them with DJ's mined from other stations around the country. Upset by what has transpired, a number of prominent rock musicians including The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones will ask KMPX to refrain from playing their music as a show of support for the deposed station workers. By May of 1968, Tom Donahue and several former KMPX staffers will be working at rival station KSAN (owned by Metromedia Broadcasting).

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Music History Monday: March 31

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 31, 2014 11:04am | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: March 31, 1935 - Musician and co-founder of A&M Records, Herb Alpert (born Herbert Alpert in Los Angeles, CA). Happy 79th Birthday, Herb!
 


On this day in music history: March 31, 1949 - RCA Victor Records releases the first commercially available 45 RPM record available for domestic sale. That first single is "Tekarkana Baby" by country music legend Eddy Arnold. Written by Fred Rose, Arnold's version of the song will top the Billboard Best Selling Retail Folk Records chart (existing prior to the Country & Western chart) for one week. The label will press the initial run of the single on clear green vinyl. RCA will develop the new format in response to Columbia Records introducing the 33 1/3 RPM long playing LP the previous year. Pressed on vinyl (or styrene, which is developed by Columbia) rather than the fragile shellac discs that 78's were manufactured from, the 7" discs will grow in popularity, eventually overtaking the 78 in sales by the mid 1950's and becoming the dominant physical single format until the end of the 1980's. Happy 65th Birthday to the 45!
 


On this day in music history: March 31, 1958 - "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry is released. Written by Chuck Berry in 1955, the semi autobiographical song will be partially inspired by his longtime piano player Johnnie Johnson, though pianist Lafayette Leake will play on the single and not Johnson. "Goode's" opening riff will be lifted from R&B pioneer Louis Jordan's 1946 hit "Ain't That Just Like A Woman." The track is recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago on January 6, 1958 and features Berry backed by musicians Willie Dixon (bass), Lafayette Leake (piano), and Fred Below (drums). Chuck Berry's version will peak at #2 on the Billboard R&B Best Sellers chart and #8 on the Pop Best Sellers chart in June of 1958. Regarded as one of the quintessential rock & roll songs, it will be covered numerous times over the years by dozens of artists. Berry's original version is included on the Voyager Golden Record (a gold plated titanium disc with messages and music recorded on it) attached to the Voyager spacecraft in 1977 representing rock & roll music. The song will also be featured in the film Back To The Future in 1985, where in a humorous plot twist Berry's fictional cousin Marvin Berry overhears the song being performed by actor Michael J. Fox (actually sung by Mark Campbell of Jack Mack & The Heart Attack) who calls his cousin to tell him he's just heard the "new sound" he's been looking for. The original single of "Johnny B. Goode" is backed with the Berry-penned "Around And Around," which will also become a rock & roll standard that is also widely covered, most notably by The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, The Animals, and David Bowie. Chuck Berry's original recording of "Johnny B. Goode" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
 

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