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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.
 

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Music History Monday: September 9

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 9, 2013 11:30am | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: September 9, 1941 - R&B vocal icon Otis Redding (born Otis Ray Redding, Jr. in Dawson, GA). Happy Birthday to The Big "O" on what would have been his 72nd Birthday.
 


On this day in music history: September 9, 1967 - "Cold Sweat Pt. 1" by James Brown hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for three weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on August 26th. Written by Brown and Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis, it is the fifth R&B chart topper for the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. The song is originally written in 1962, but is re-recorded and given a dramatic re-arrangement after Brown hears "Funky Broadway," the recent hit single by Wilson Pickett. The track is recorded at King Studios in Cincinnati in May of 1967 and is the first session for engineer Ron Lenhoff who will become Brown's recording engineer for the next eight years, recording and mixing numerous hits for the Godfather of Soul. The extended workout runs over seven minutes in its entirety, but is edited and split into two parts for single release. "Cold Sweat" will mark a major turning point in the evolution of R&B music, being the first record to introduce the subgenre known as Funk. By putting more emphasis on the rhythmic aspects of the song, rather than the melody, it will be regarded as one of the most influential records ever released. Released as single in July, "Cold Sweat" will climb the R&B and pop charts quickly. Ironically, it will be replaced at the top of the R&B charts by Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway," the very song that inspired James Brown to create "Cold Sweat."
 

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John Lennon: Love Songs

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2013 10:20am | Post a Comment

John Lennon "Oh My Love"

When you think about it nearly every pop song is about love in some form or another. Most songs on the topic are either about celebrating being in love or alternately mourning falling out of love and wanting to get back there. Of the literally millions of songs on love I think John Lennon wrote and recorded some of the most touching and poignant ones - two of which I have included here on this Valentine's Day. Above is "Oh My Love" with Lennon on piano and George Harrison joining him on guitar. The song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and first appeared in 1971 on Lennon's album Imagine on which George Harrison contributed to several songs in addition to this one. "Oh My Love" can also be found on Wonsaponatime: Selections from Lennon Anthology 

Then below is the simple but powerful Lennon song "Love" (with lyrics in the video) that was first released on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. As anyone who has that album knows the piano part at the beginning (and end) is really quiet but builds in volume. So you will notice that the version below is the later remix of the song with the sound levels more equalized on these two parts. The posthumous version of "Love" below appeared a dozen years after the initial release on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and later appeared on such other collections as the John Lennon Anthology box set.

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Music History Monday: July 30

Posted by Jeff Harris, July 30, 2012 01:17pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: July 30, 1958 - Singer/Songwriter Kate Bush (born Catherine Bush in Bexleyheath, Kent, UK). Happy 54rd Birthday, Kate!!


On this day in music history: July 30, 1966 - "Wild Thing" by The Troggs hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Chip Taylor (real name James Wesley Voight, brother of Oscar winning actor Jon Voight), it is the biggest hit for the UK rock band. The Troggs will record the song at Olympic Studios in London in early 1966 in just two takes. The record will break in the bands' native UK first following an appearance on the television program Thank Your Lucky Stars. When "Wild Thing" is released as a single in the US, it will be the subject of a dispute over its distribution rights. It will be released simultaneously on both Atco and Fontana Records, making it the only #1 single in Billboard chart history to appear on the chart on two different labels at the same time.


On this day in music history: July 30, 1968 - The Beatles begin recording "Hey Jude" at Abbey Road Studios in London, in Studio 2. Written by Paul McCartney, he is inspired to write the song (originally titled "Hey Jules") while driving over to visit bandmate John Lennon's five-year-old son Julian and former wife Cynthia. Paul begins writing the song to console Julian after his parents have separated and are in the process of getting divorced. McCartney will later state another inspiration for the song will be his recent break up with long term girlfriend actress Jane Asher. John Lennon will also feel that Paul is speaking (indirectly) to him in the song as he has begun his relationship with Yoko Ono at this time. The master take of the song will be recorded at Trident Studios in Soho the next day. It will become the bands' biggest single, spending nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over four million copies.

Pat Thomas signs "LISTEN, WHITEY! Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975" at The Booksmith in SF, 4/10

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 15, 2012 04:46pm | Post a Comment
Listen Whitey Sounds of Black Power Pat Thomas Booksmith Amoeba San Francisco

On April 10, 2012 at 7:30pm, our friends at The Booksmith will host reissue producer/music scholar Pat Thomas for a signing of his new book LISTEN, WHITEY! Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975 and the companion album (out now on Light in the Attic Records), which is being called the definitive Black Power aural document!

Over a five year period, Pat Thomas befriended key leaders of the seminal Black Power Movement,Elaine Brown Huey P Newton Black Forum Motown Records dug through Huey Newton’s archives at Stanford University, spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on eBay, and talked to rank and file Black Panther Party members, uncovering dozens of obscure albums, singles, and stray tapes. Along the way, he began to piece together a time period (1967-1974) when revolutionaries like Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, and Stokely Carmichael were seen as pop culture icons and musicians like Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon were seen as revolutionaries.

LISTEN, WHITEY! chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records; from 1970 to 1973, Motown’sBlack Forum Motown Records Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby and Ossie Davis, and many others, and explores the musical connections between Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Graham Nash, the Partridge Family (!?!) and the Black Power movement. Obscure recordings produced by SNCC, Ron Karenga’s US, the Tribe and other African-American socio­political organizations of the late 1960s and early ’70s are examined along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Archie Shepp, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Clifford Thornton, Watts Prophets, The Last Poets, Gene McDaniels, Roland Black Forum Motown RecordsKirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against op­pression. Thomas further focuses on Black Consciousness poetry (from the likes of Jayne Cortez, wife of Ornette Coleman), inspired re­ligious recordings that infused god and Black Nationalism, and obscure regional and privately pressed Black Power 7-inch soul singles from across America. The text is ac­companied by over 200 large sized, full-color reproductions of album covers and 45 rpm sin­gles, most of which readers will have never seen before.

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