Amoeblog

Music History Monday: November 11

Posted by Jeff Harris, November 11, 2013 12:14pm | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: November 11, 1968 Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is released (UK release date is on November 29, 1968). Produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, it is recorded at Kenwood Sun Room (John Lennon home studio) in Weybridge, Surrey, UK on May 19, 1968. The avant garde recording is the result of an all-night recording session consisting of tape loops combined with minimal instrumentation, sound effects, and ad-libbed dialogue between Lennon and Ono. The album will become infamous for its cover art which feature photos of the couple naked on both the front and back of the LP. This will stir up such great controversy that Apple Records' US distributor Capitol Records and UK distributor EMI will refuse to handle the album. Tetragrammaton Records will distribute it in the US, while Track Records will distribute it in the UK (limited to only 5,000 copies). Retailers outraged by the nudity on the cover will only agree to sell it if it is packaged in a brown paper bag. Though in one instance, 30,000 copies of the album are seized from a distributor in New Jersey. Treated more as a curiosity by fans, the album will be officially reissued in the US by Rykodisc in 1997. Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins will peak at #124 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: November 11, 1975Gratitude, the seventh album by Earth, Wind & Fire is released. Produced by Maurice White, Charles Stepney, and Joe Wissert (live tracks), it is recorded in Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC from late 1974 - mid 1975 (live tracks) and Hollywood Sound and Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood in June of 1975 (studio tracks). Following their huge breakthrough success with "That's The Way Of The World," Columbia Records will request another album from the band to be released in time for the 1975 Christmas holiday season. Not having enough time or new material written to record a brand new studio album, they begin recording their live shows. The finished album will be a two-LP set with three sides of live material and a fourth side with five new songs. It will spin off the hits "Sing A Song" (#1 R&B, #5 Pop) and "Can't Hide Love (#11 R&B, #39 Pop). The album will be regarded by many fans and critics as one of the best live recordings of all time. "Gratitude" will spend three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, six weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Paloma Faith

Posted by Amoebite, July 10, 2013 11:53am | Post a Comment

Paloma

The amamazingly talented Paloma Faith recently visited Amoeba Hollywood to do a little shopping. Faith is known for her polished soulful vocal style and her outlandish stage show. Her exuberant personality and elegant aesthetic has led her to be cast in many film and TV roles. She sings, she performs and she acts! An all around talent who has great taste in music. While shopping at Amoeba, Paloma dug up some of her most favorite influences. She picked up the classic At Last! album by Etta James on vinyl, along with Nina Simone's Pastel Blues, also on vinyl. From '70s Chaka Khan to '80s Prince, Paloma Faith only digs for vinyl. She's a bonafide movie buff with eccentric tastes in directors. She took home Blue Velvet by David Lynch on DVD along with a copy of 2046 by director Won Kar-Wai.

She tells an awesome story about spending a weekend with Prince and performing on stage with Chaka Khan! Paloma also reveals that she owns the exact same record player as seen in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. She is serious about her vinyl! Watch this very entertaining episode of  What's In My Bag? with Paloma Faith.

Continue reading...

Music History Monday: October 15

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 15, 2012 08:30am | Post a Comment

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

Music History MondayOn this day in music history: October 15, 1957Elvis' Christmas Album by Elvis Presley is released. Produced by Steve Sholes, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios in Nashville and Radio Recorders in Hollywood from January - September 1957.  Presley's first holiday album consists of eight Christmas songs and four gospel songs (the latter previously released as the EP Peace In The Valley). The LP's lavish original packaging is designed to look like a photo album and contains a photo booklet with publicity stills from Elvis' latest film Jailhouse Rock. Upon its release, the album will be the subject of some controversy when songwriter Irving Berlin, the composer of the classic "White Christmas," objects to Presley's recording of the song, going as far as requesting that radio stations ban it from airplay. Some others will feel that Elvis recording gospel songs is "sacrilegious." One disc jockey will actually be fired for playing the album on the air. In spite of all this, it will become a classic and a perennial holiday favorite over the years, being reissued every year. After its first year, the albums' artwork will be changed for the first of several times before the original album packaging is restored in 1985 as part of RCA's reissue program (some vinyl copies are pressed on red or green vinyl) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Presley's birth. Elvis' Christmas Album will spend four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Continue reading...

Music History Monday: October 1

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 1, 2012 02:10pm | Post a Comment
On this day in music history: October 1, 1961Blue Hawaii, the 14th album by Elvis Presley is released. Produced by Steve Sholes, it is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood from March 21 - 23, 1961. Issued as the soundtrack to Presley's eighth film, the album is an enormous success. The songs will underscore its story and tropical Hawaiian locale, also including cover versions of traditional "Aloha 'Oe" and "The Hawaiian Wedding Song." The soundtrack will spin off the classic "Can't Help Falling In Love" (#2 Pop), which will become one of Presley's signature songs and a live performance staple as the closing song of his shows during the '70's. Blue Hawaii will spend 20 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and a total of 39 weeks in the Top 10, making it the second most successful movie soundtrack of the 1960's behind West Side Story. To date, the soundtrack has been certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 - "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" by Meco hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by John Williams, it will be the biggest hit for the classically trained musician from Johnsonburg, PA.  Musician and record producer Domenico "Meco" Monardo, impressed with composer/conductor Williams' score for the blockbuster film Star Wars, will re-arrange the entire score into a 15 minute long disco suite that is released on the album Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk (issued on Casablanca subsidiary Millennium Records). The track features a group of 75 musicians, including a number of first call studio players such as Steve Gadd, Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Neil Jason, David Spinozza, John Tropea, Alan Rubin, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Suzanne Ciani, and Gene Orloff. The main theme and "Cantina Band" are extracted from the extended track and edited down to 45 length. "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" will be certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA for sales of over two million copies.

Amoeba Bloggers Answer: What Was Your First Album?

Posted by Billy Gil, March 6, 2012 07:09pm | Post a Comment
I recently was at Amoeba Hollywood and overheard a customer telling an employee Davy Jones had died. I hadn’t heard the news yet. She brought it up because she was buying Katy Perry records for her daughter. She said her daughter didn’t even have a record player — she just wanted every bit of Katy Perry merchandise she could get her hands on.
 
The only artist I can ever remember being that obsessive about was The Smashing Pumpkins, but that was in high school. But it got me thinking about those first tapes, records, singles etc. that everyone got as a kid.
 
ace of base the signFor me, the first album I ever bought on my own was Ace of Base’s The Sign on cassette. I had always liked music, but at 11, I had just started to pay attention to what songs were on the radio. A friend made me a tape from the radio and “The Sign” was on it. I loved it. In the coming weeks and months, albums by Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, and my beloved Pumpkins would follow, but really it all started with Ace of Base for me. Though if I’m being technical, I had a cassette single of Paula Abdul’s “Promise of a New Day” that I listened to constantly when I was like 9, but I didn’t buy that — I won it at a cousin’s music-themed birthday party, at which my dad dressed himself and me as Simon & Garfunkel. I had no idea who they were. I think I was Paul Simon.
 
While I’m embarrassing myself, I thought I’d extend the question to the other Amoeba bloggers: What was your first album? Not kids’ music, but not just the cool stuff, either — the tapes we once listened to repeatedly and then put away in a drawer somewhere once we realized how lame they were, though I’m still on the hunt for The Sign on vinyl. Here are their answers:
 
Eric Brightwell
the cure kiss me kiss me kiss meMy first record was Luciano Pavarotti's My Own Story, a compilation of “musical highlights of his spectacular career.” They used to heavily advertise it on TV when I got home from school, and I was hooked. My first cassette was Peter Gabriel's So. I'd liked the singles from it, but when “Big Time” came out, I was obsessed. My first CD was The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. I was introduced to it by a German exchange student named Ina. Before she left I rode my bike into town to a Wal-Mart to get a blank cassette to dub it. I loved it so much, I thought it warranted being purchased on CD.