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Music History Monday: March 3

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 3, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: March 3, 1972Music of My Mind, the fourteenth studio album by Stevie Wonder is released. Produced by Stevie Wonder, Bob Margouleff, and Malcolm Cecil, it is recorded Media Sound Studios and Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Crystal Industries in Los Angeles from mid 1971 - early 1972. After recording for Motown since the age of 12, Stevie Wonder's contract with the label expires when he turns 21 years old on May 13, 1971. In spite of millions in record sales and earnings generated, he will find that there is only $1 million held in trust for him. Instead of renewing his contract with Motown, he'll move to New York and begin working with Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil of Tonto's Expanding Head Band who will assist him in taking his music to the next level. Experimenting with synthesizers, Wonder will block book studio time and record for several months before re-emerging with a new sound and career direction. Having fielded several offers from rival record companies, he will re-sign with Motown Records but strictly on his own terms. He will negotiate a deal that gives him complete artistic control, his own music publishing company, and one of the highest royalty rates in the music business. Released as the first album under his new deal, Music of My Mind will be a major turning point for Stevie Wonder, beginning an era that will produce some of his most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work. Spinning off two singles including "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)" (#13 R&B, #33 Pop), and "Keep On Running" (#36 R&B, #90 Pop), Music Of My Mind will peak at #6 on the Billboard R&B album chart and #21 on the Top 200.
 

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Music History Monday: February 24

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 24, 2014 09:00am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: February 24, 1973 - "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, it is the second number one pop single for the North Carolina-born singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally recorded by singer Lori Leiberman, the song is inspired by a poem she writes after seeing singer Don McLean ("American Pie") perform at The Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood. She'll show the poem to her friend, lyricist Norman Gimbel, who will craft them into finished lyrics. Flack will see a picture of Leiberman in a magazine article about her and the song while flying from LA to New York. After hearing Leiberman's version, Flack will decide that she wants to record it herself. Her belief in the song's hit potential will be confirmed when she performs it live for the first time. In September of 1972 while appearing as Marvin Gaye's opening act at the Greek Theater, she'll perform "Killing Me Softly" during her encore and the crowd's reaction will be wildly enthusiastic. After her set, Gaye will tell her not to perform the song again live until she records it. Once in the studio, she'll spend nearly three months fine tuning the song before feeling that it's ready for release. Released as a single in January of 1973, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on January 27, 1973, it will rocket to the top of the chart four weeks later. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" will win three Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and her second consecutive win for Record Of The Year. Gimbel And Fox will also win the award for Song Of The Year. In 1996, The Fugees will revive "Killing Me Softly," reaching #2 (for three weeks) on the Billboard Airplay Chart on June 22, 1996, and winning two Grammy Awards for their album The Score. Flack's version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Music History Monday: February 17

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 17, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: February 17, 1962 - "Duke Of Earl" by Gene Chandler (Born Eugene Dixon) hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for five weeks on the same date. Written by Bernice Williams, Eugene Dixon, and Earl Edwards, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocalist. The song will originate as a vocal warm up exercise in the doo wop group The Dukays, in which Chandler and Edwards were both members. Entering the Hot 100 at #93 on January 13, 1962, it will leap to the top of the chart five weeks later. "Duke Of Earl" will become the first million selling single for Chicago-based independent label Vee-Jay Records. When Chandler performs the song live, he will often appear dressed in a black waist coat and tails with topped off with a matching black cape and top hat. The song will be covered numerous times over the years and will be sampled as the basis of Cypress Hill's "Hand On The Pump" in 1991. "Duke Of Earl" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: February 17, 1966 - The Beach Boys will begin recording the single "Good Vibrations" at United/Western Recorders in Hollywood. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, inspiration for the song will have its origins in a conversation that Brian Wilson has with his mother Audree as a child, who will tell him that dogs will bark at some people and not at others because of the "vibrations" they sense coming from them. the initial recording session will have Wilson working with members of The Wrecking Crew cutting 26 takes of the instrumental track. Seventeen more sessions at three other recording studios will take place over the next six months as the song is refined. The end product will be generate over 90 hours of tape and cost an unprecedented $50,000. At the time of its October 1966 release, it will be the most expensive single ever recorded. First issued as a stand alone single, it is intended to be the cornerstone of the album Smile, which is originally scheduled for release in early 1967. However, Wilson's fragile emotional state, exacerbated by drug use and inner band conflict over the direction of the project will lead to the album being shelved until 2011. The Smile Sessions box set will include an alternate stereo mix of "Good Vibrations."
 

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Music History Monday: February 10

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 10, 2014 10:47am | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: February 10, 1937 - Legendary singer, songwriter, and musician Roberta Flack (born in Black Mountain, NC). Happy 77th Birthday, Roberta!
 


On this day in music history: February 10, 1956 - "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard is recorded. Written by Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enortis Johnson, and Richard Penniman, it is the first R&B chart-topper for the singer and musician from Macon, GA. Recorded at the J&M Studio in New Orleans, it is issued as Richard's second single on Specialty Records (b/w "Slippin' And Slidin'"), and will become his first R&B number one and first top ten pop hit peaking at #6. It will out-chart a competing version by Pat Boone, which will peak at #12. Richard's breakneck vocal phrasing is designed specifically to make it difficult for Boone to sing after he covers "Tutti Frutti" and scores a bigger pop hit with it. "Long Tall Sally" will become a rock & roll standard and among the most covered of Little Richard's songs.
 

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Music History Monday: February 3

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 3, 2014 10:28am | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: February 3, 1935 - R&B/blues singer and guitarist Johnny "Guitar" Watson (born John Watson, Jr. in Houston, TX). Happy Birthday to Johnny on what would have been his 79th Birthday.
 

Born on this day: February 3, 1943 - Former Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards (born in Birmingham, AL). Happy 71st Birthday, Dennis!
 


On this day in music history: February 3, 1959 - Musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper (JP Richardson) and pilot Roger Petersen are killed when their chartered plane crashes fifteen miles northwest of Mason City, IA. They had been in route to Fargo, ND. Holly initially charters the plane for himself and his band members after traveling on a tour bus that constantly breaks down and whose heating system rarely works. Richardson and Valens (the latter of the two wins his seat on the plane via a coin toss with Holly's guitarist Tommy Allsup) join him. An investigation by the CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board) determines the cause of the crash to be pilot error and inclement weather. Petersen who is not qualified to fly an aircraft with navigational instruments, will misread the plane's gyroscope, believing that the plane is gaining altitude, when it was in fact going in the opposite direction. The single engine Beechcraft Bonanza will crash on the property of farmer Albert Juhl, where the bodies of all four passengers and the wreckage will be discovered nearly ten hours after the accident. The tragic event will be known as "The Day the Music Died."
 

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