Music History Monday: April 28

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

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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: March 24

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 24, 2014 07:30am | Post a Comment

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On this day in music history: March 24, 1975Chicago VIII, the eighth album by Chicago is released. Produced by James William Guercio, it is recorded at the Caribou Ranch in Nederland, CO from August - September 1974. The band's eighth album in just six years, compounded by non-stop exhaustive touring will find them short of new material. Many of the new album's songs will be written in the studio during the sessions for VIII. The album will also be first to feature percussionist Laudir de Oliviera. It will spin off two singles including "Old Days" (#5 Pop) and "Harry Truman" (#13 Pop). The original LP package will come with an iron on decal of the album cover art and a poster. In 2002, the album will be remastered and feature two previously unreleased tracks recorded during the original sessions but were left off of the original release. Chicago VIII will spend two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: March 24, 1979 - "Tragedy" by The Bee Gees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, it is the eighth US chart-topper for the three brothers from the Isle of Man. Recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami in the Spring of 1978, the song is written during a particularly prolific period for the brothers Gibb. "Tragedy" is written in mid-1977 while The Bee Gees are filming Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. During this time they also write "Too Much Heaven" and "Shadow Dancing." The song's climactic explosion sound effects are created by the engineer recording several overdubs of Barry Gibb cupping his hands over the microphone while making the explosion sound with his mouth, combined with keyboardist Blue Weaver playing random notes on the bottom end of the piano with the sounds being heavy processed in the mix. Issued as a single in late January of 1979,  prior to the release of their first post-Saturday Night Fever album Spirits Having Flown, it is another immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #29 on February 10, 1979, it will streak to the top of the chart six weeks later. "Tragedy" is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA. 

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Music History Monday: August 19

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 19, 2013 10:30am | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: August 19, 1940 - Singer and songwriter Johnny Nash (born John Lester Nash, Jr. in Houston, TX). Happy 73rd Birthday, Johnny!!

Born on this day: August 19, 1943 - Singer Billy J. Kramer (born William Howard Ashton in Bootle, Lancashire, UK) of Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas. Happy 70th Birthday, Billy!!

On this day in music history: August 19, 1967 - "All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written primarily by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the fourteenth US chart topper for "The Fab Four. The Beatles will be asked to represent England as part of the first worldwide satellite broadcast "Our World." The only request that the organizers will make, is that the band come up with a song containing a simple message that the worldwide audience watching can understand. Having just released the landmark "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band" two weeks before, the band will quickly begin work on the song. John Lennon will come up with and write the majority of what will become "All You Need Is Love," with Paul McCartney helping him complete it. The basic track is recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London on June 14th. The band performs the song on the live television broadcast from Studio One at Abbey Road Studios on June 25th. Lennon will sing his lead vocal live on the program, but will also record it again following the broadcast. The program will be seen by over 400 million people in 26 countries. Rush released as a single on July 7th, it will enter the Hot 100 at #71 on July 22nd, leaping to #1 just four weeks later. "All You Need Is Love" and its B-side "Baby You're A Rich Man" (recorded on May 11, 1967) will both be included on the US LP release of Magical Mystery Tour when it is released in late November of 1967. "All You Need Is Love" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Music History Monday: March 11

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 11, 2013 11:30am | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: March 11, 1957 - R&B singer/songwriter Cheryl Lynn (born Lynda Cheryl Smith in Los Angeles, CA). Happy 56th Birthday, Cheryl!!

On this day in music history: March 11, 1960 - "Because They're Young" by Duane Eddy is recorded. Written by Don Costa, Wally Gold, Aaron Schroeder, and produced by Lee Hazlewood (Nancy Sinatra, Sanford Clark), it is the theme song to the film starring Dick Clark, Tuesday Weld, Doug McClure, and James Darren. The film is about a high school teacher (played by Clark), who tries to make a difference in the lives of his students. Eddy will also have a cameo role in the film. Released as a single in May, the song will become the guitarists' biggest hit in the US, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 4th. Co-star James Darren will later record a vocal version of the originally instrumental theme after Duane Eddy's version becomes a hit.

On this day in music history: March 11, 1967 - "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone" by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, also topping the R&B singles chart for two weeks on the same date. Written by Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, it is the ninth pop and fourth R&B chart topper for the superstar Motown vocal trio. Songwriter and co-producer Eddie Holland will come up with the basic idea for the song, writing the lyrics about a relationship in the throes of breaking up. Impressed by Diana Ross' emotive speaking voice, HDH will structure the song with passages where she'll deliver brief lines of dialogue before breaking into the songs' chorus. The basic track will be one of the Motown singles of the period not to be cut at the label's main studio (dubbed "Studio A") in Detroit. The producers will have members of The Funk Brothers fly out to Hollywood where they are working with film composer Frank DeVol (The Brady Bunch) on music for the film The Happening (starring Anthony Quinn). Recorded on the scoring stage at Columbia Studios on August 12, 1966, the Motown rhythm section is augmented with a full orchestra (arranged by Gene Page) featuring bassist James Jamerson playing upright bass. Jamerson will later overdub an electric bass part on the track in Detroit on September 22nd, with The Supremes adding their vocals on November 13th. Issued as the follow up to the groups' previous chart topper "You Keep Me Hangin' On" on January 11, 1967, it is the second single from The Supremes Sing "Holland - Dozier - Holland. Entering the Hot 100 at #47 on January 28th, it will shoot to the top six weeks later.

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Music History Monday: August 13

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 13, 2012 02:42pm | Post a Comment
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On this day in music history: August 13, 1952 - The original version of "Hound Dog" by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton is recorded. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. The single will be biggest hit for the Alabama-born Rhythm & Blues singer. The track features legendary R&B bandleader Johnny Otis (featured on drums) along with members of his band. Otis will co-produce the record with Leiber and Stoller. Released on the Houston, Texas-based Peacock Records in March of 1953, the single is an instant smash spending seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B Best Sellers chart, selling nearly two million copies. Four years and one week to the day that the original version is recorded, Elvis Presley's cover version of the song will hit #1 on the Pop chart. In time, "Hound Dog" will be regarded as one of the most important and influential songs music history.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1966 - "Summer In The City" by The Lovin' Spoonful hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. Written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, and Steve Boone, it is the biggest single for the New York-based band. The song originates as a poem written by Mark. Sebastian and bassist Boone will put the words to music. The band will hire a sound effects expert who will add the trademark "sounds of the city" effects to the records' break from acetates he has in his sound library. The single is engineered by Roy Halee (Simon & Garfunkel) who will also play a vital role in the overall sound of the finished record, particularly its explosive drum sound. "Summer In The City" will be certified Gold by the RIAA, becoming their first million selling single.

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