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Music History Monday: June 9

Posted by Jeff Harris, June 9, 2014 11:15am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: June 9, 1958 - "The Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for six weeks. Written by Wooley, the novelty song will be the biggest hit for the Oklahoma born singer/actor. Wooley will audition for the head of MGM Records in early 1958, singing mostly ballads. At the auditions' conclusion, he will sing "The Purple People Eater" when the label president asks if he has any other material. Sensing its hit potential, he will sign the singer and rush him into the studio with producer/A&R man Neely Plumb (father of actress Eve Plumb, Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch). The song is quickly cut and released, becoming an immediate smash. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #7 on June 2, 1958, it will leap to the top of the chart the following week. "The Purple People Eater" will sell over two million copies. Following the success of the record, Sheb Wooley will star on then new TV series Rawhide with an up and coming new actor named Clint Eastwood. "The Purple People Eater" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: June 9, 1972 - Bruce Springsteen officially signs with Columbia Records. Having performed in bars and clubs in his native New Jersey for several years, the young bruce springsteensinger/songwriter will audition for legendary A&R man John Hammond whose previous discoveries include Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, George Benson, Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin. Now under contract to Columbia, the label will put Springsteen in the studio in July to begin work on his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. The first album will initially sell only 25,000 copies, with the follow up The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle not performing much better. Eventually, Springsteen's recording career will take off with his breakthrough album Born To Run in 1975. Over his four decade career, Bruce Springsteen will come to be regarded as one of the preeminent singer and songwriters of all time, selling over 120 million records worldwide, winning 20 Grammy Awards (to date), two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award.

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May Day 2014: Songs That Celebrate and Defend The Rights of Workers Everywhere

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment
        Common a month ago doing a free show in support of workers at the Nissan car
        plant in Canton, Miss. who are pushing for a vote to organize as part of the UAW


In light of the ever increasing war being waged against unions and in turn the stripping of the basic rights of the working class in this country and elsewhere, this year's May Day (the internationally recognized day to celebrate and to defend the rights of workers everywhere from Modesto to Moscow) seems extra significant on this May 1st, 2014; perhaps even as significant as that very first mass US May Day protest back in 1886 when hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers across the US, in a fight for an 8 hour work day, walked off their jobs in protest. Hence for this May Day I have assembled a selection of songs/videos that reflect the plight of struggling workers in a time when the gap between the rich controlling class and the rest of us gets wider and wider. 

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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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10 Releases to Look for in 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 20, 2013 07:12pm | Post a Comment

The year is just about up, but new music is headed our way. You can already preorder some albums due in 2014 on Amoeba.com. Here are 10 to check out. [WARNING: NSFW pic of Sky Ferreira's infamous nip-slip album cover below].

Banks London EP

banks london ep amoebaDue Jan. 7

Preorder on CD

I wrote about this one in my top EPs of the year list. It’s out physically next month, and if you like sultry electro-soul a la Kelela, Rhye and Jessie Ware, this should be right up your alley.

 

 

Stephen Malkamus & the Jicks Wig Out at Jagbags

stephen malkamus the jicks wig out at jagbags cd amoebaDue Jan. 7

Preorder on CD or LP

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Music History Monday: September 23

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 23, 2013 12:35pm | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: September 23, 1926 - Jazz music icon John Coltrane (born John William Coltrane in Hamlet, NC). Happy Birthday to this jazz giant on what would have been his 87th Birthday.
 


Born on this day: September 23, 1930 - "The Genius" Ray Charles (born Ray Charles Robinson in Albany, GA). Happy Birthday to this musical icon on what would have been his 83rd Birthday.
 


Born on this day: September 23, 1949 - Rock music icon Bruce Springsteen (born Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen in Long Branch, NJ). Happy 64th Birthday to the Boss!
 


On this day in music history: September 23, 1967 - “The Letter” by The Box Tops hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Wayne Carson Thompson, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the Memphis quintet fronted by lead singer Alex Chilton. Songwriter Thompson ("Always On My Mind") will be inspired to write "The Letter" when his father comes up with the lyric "give me a ticket for an aeroplane." Thompson will quickly write the rest of the lyrics and melody around that line. Once the song is complete, Thompson will take it to his friend, producer Chips Moman who also owns American Recording Studios in Memphis. Moman in turn will tell his songwriting partner Dan Penn about the song. Penn is working with a young rock band featuring a sixteen-year-old lead vocalist Alex Chilton. Penn will hear the song and decide that it is perfect for his young charges first release. Recorded in the spring of 1967, the band (with songwriter Thompson also playing guitar on the session) will cut the track in about eight hours, recording 30 takes to come up with the final master. For the final touch, Penn will overdub the sound of a airplane flying over toward the end of the song. When Moman objects to the addition, Penn will threaten to cut up the tape with a razor blade rather than remove the sound effect. Moman will allow it to remain on the finished record. At the time the band records the single, they do not have a name. One of the members will jokingly suggest that people “send in 50 cents and a box top” with their possible group name. From that, the band will be dubbed "The Box Tops." Released in July of 1967 on Bell Records' Mala imprint, “The Letter” will enter the Hot 100 at #85 on August 12, 1967, leaping to the top of the chart six weeks later. The song will be covered by a number of artists including The Arbors, The Ventures, and Don Fardon. Joe Cocker will have the second most successful recording of the song when his version hits #7 on the Hot 100 in June of 1970. The Box Tops' version of "The Letter" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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