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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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Music History Monday: October 14

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 14, 2013 11:02am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: October 14, 1967 - "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for seven weeks, also peaking at #2 for three weeks on the Hot 100 on November 4, 1967. Written and produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, it will be the biggest hit for the R&B vocal duo. Songwriter and producer Isaac Hayes will come up with the initial idea for the song while watching television coverage of the riots in Detroit in July of 1967 between the police and African American citizens. Hayes will notice that residents had marked homes and businesses with the word "soul" to signify that they were African American owned and therefore not destroyed by rioters. Collaborating with longtime songwriting partner David Porter, the two will write the lyrics together. The track is recorded at Stax Studios in Memphis and features instrumental backing by Booker T. & The MG's. With its message of overcoming personal struggles and rising above adverse conditions, the song will also become an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. "Soul Man" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: October 14, 1972 - "Ben" by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, also peaking at #5 on the R&B singles chart. Written by Don Black and Walter Scharf, it is the first solo number one for the young Motown superstar. Written as the title song to the sequel of the 1971 film Willard, Walter Scharf (Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory) will be hired to write a theme song for the film. Scharf will call lyricist Don Black ("To Sir With Love," "Born Free") and ask him to write the lyrics. When the song is completed, singer Donny Osmond will be asked to sing the song, but due to scheduling conflicts he is unavailable to record it. Black will suggest Michael Jackson, and Jackson (a lover of animals, also owning several pet rats at the time) will enthusiatically agree to record the song. Entering the Hot 100 at #85 on August 5, 1972,  it will climb to the top of the chart ten weeks later. 14-years-old at the time, it will make Jackson the third youngest artist in history to reach #1 on the US singles chart. "Ben" will also be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
 

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(Wherein the author steers his fears and beers with queers.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 7, 2012 10:11am | Post a Comment


Um... eek.


This weekend, Los Angeles celebrates its main Gay Pride festival and I plan on being there. This may not seem like a stunning “news flash” to many of you, dear readers, but those who know me well know that I have a phobia of parades and balloons, I will not wait anything over 10 minutes for a table at any restaurant no matter how piquant their comestibles, nor will I eat standing up (and certainly not in a crowd!) and I’m allergic to most forms of fun – all of these are features of such events (or so I'm told).

But here’s another fact about me: I’ve never participated in any Pride activities in any city, any year, ever – and that strikes me as, well… queer. So this is the year I’m remedy it. I'm coming out! (...of my safe and cozy home.)

I need to go buy bottles of water and sun-block with an SPF of pi, but before I do, I wanted to get some mood music from our rich, LGBT heritage (see below). Beats make me braver!

And if you plan on coming to LA’s Pride, look for me. I’ll undoubtedly be cowering in some dark corner, terrified of everything, but doing it with a rad attitude.



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The Heart is Deceitful: My Favorite 80s Records

Posted by Charles Reece, April 22, 2011 11:53am | Post a Comment
Some pals were compiling top 10 lists of pop/rock albums from the 80s, so I figured why not post my list here. I promise no cultural or ideological significance, only the albums that continue to make me the most warm and fuzzy. Slayer's Reign in Blood just beat out Joy Division's Closer, but then I remembered Tom Waits, who knocked Slayer off. Otherwise, this list was already cemented in my subconscious. Ordered by the year of release:

talking heads remain in light

motley crue too fast for love

bruce springsteen nebraska

lords of the new church self-titled

hanoi rocks back to mystery city

cyndi lauper she's so unusual

the the infected

metallica ride the lightning

(Wherein Spring Fever breaks.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 4, 2011 01:12pm | Post a Comment
warning sign
beating heart

In my last blog I showcased some of the awful/wonderful synthpop I’ve been enjoying on the advent of this Spring season. Due to the thousands of letters I’ve gotten from my tremendous fan base, I’ve decided to include more.

Before I do, however, I would like to give a shout out to the website Heaven or Hell, which managed to steal a healthy chunk of my time today, which could have been spent cleaning my carpet, brushing the cats, aiding the Japanese, or giving people with terminal bone marrow cancer exfoliating foot baths and zrbts. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much time can be wasted on the World Wide Web? With that said, please enjoy these videos…

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