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Four Decades Later, KISS Still Rules

Posted by Billyjam, June 24, 2014 09:58am | Post a Comment
KISS on the streets of New York City: June 24th, 1976

Above is a classic KISS photo shot on the streets of New York City exactly 38 years ago to the day (June 24th, 1976) when the hard rock band were still in their relative infancy - having formed only three years earlier in January 1973 out of the ashes of the NYC group Wicked Lester that was co-founded by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Fast forward on four decades to just last night, June 23rd, 2014 (see video below shot by KISSonline's Keith Leroux) when KISS kicked off their 2014 summer, 40-date tour in Salt Lake City, Utah and performed, among other fan favorites, their amazing "King of the Night Time World" which opened their headlining set. The intense nine-week cross-country tour, on which Def Leppard are joining them as opening co-headliners, is already mostly sold out and proves that KISS - even four decades (technically 41 and a half years) later - still command a loyal large following. The SLC show reportedly delivered what KISS fans have come to expect from their cult heroes - loud rock'n'roll from the cartooned costumed KISS members with lots of stimulating grand scale visual effects accompanying such hits as "Shout It Out Loud" off their 1976 album Destroyer. The tour, which finishes in Texas on August 31st, will be rolling through California for several dates/locations in the beginning of July including July 3rd in Wheatland, July 5th at Irvine Meadows, July 6th at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, and July 8th at The Forum in LA.  In the meantime check out KISS' impressive five page, back-catalog online at the Amoeba store.

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Music History Monday: May 19

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 19, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: May 19, 1945 - Singer, songwriter and musician Pete Townshend (born Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend in Chiswick, London, UK. Happy 69th Birthday, Pete!
 


Born on this day: May 19, 1948 - Singer, songwriter, model, and actress Grace Jones (born in Spanish Town, Jamaica). Happy 66th Birthday, Grace!
 


Born on this day: May 19, 1951 - Ramones lead vocalist Joey Ramone (born Jeffry Ross Hyman in Forest Hills, NY). Happy Birthday to this punk rock icon on what would have been his 63rd Birthday.
 


On this day in music history: May 19, 1972Honky Chateau, the fifth studio album by Elton John is released. Produced by Gus Dudgeon, it is recorded at the Chateau d'Herouville in Herouville, France in January 1972. It will be the first full album to feature John recording with his road musicians bassist Dee Murray, drummer Nigel Olsson, and guitarist Davey Johnstone, setting the template for his most successful work during the 70's. The album will differ from his previous work as it is the first to not feature a string section since his debut release Empty Sky (though it will feature violin player Jean-Luc Ponty on two tracks). Chateau will also be the last Elton John album to be released on the Uni Records imprint in the US and Canada, as the label will be absorbed into MCA. It will spin off two singles including "Honky Cat" (#8 US Pop, #31 UK), and "Rocket Man" (#6 US Pop, #2 UK). Honky Château will spend five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number two on the UK album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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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: May 20

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 20, 2013 11:00am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: May 20, 1967 - "Groovin'" by The Young Rascals hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks (non-consecutive), also peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, it is the second chart topping single for the New York City-based blue eyed soul/pop rock quartet. For the band's sixth single release, they will venture into new musical territory. Taking an interest in Afro-Cuban music, keyboardist and lead vocalist Cavaliere along with percussionist Brigati will come up with a leisurely paced groove with that sound in mind, and begin crafting a song around it. Lyrically, it will be about how the only time the two busy musicians could spend with their respective girlfriends was on Sundays. When they get into the studio to cut the track, they will enlist the assistance of veteran studio bassist Chuck Rainey to play on the song. Once it's completed, the band will present the song to Atlantic Records, who at first are unsure of the song's commercial potential. Famed New York DJ Murray "The K" will convince the label to release song after he expresses his enthusiasm for it. Released on April 10, 1967, it is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on April 22, 1967, it will rocket to the top of the chart just four weeks later. "Groovin'" will prove to have major staying power once it reaches the summit. After two weeks at the top, it will be bumped from the #1 spot by Aretha Franklin's "Respect" for two weeks, then it will return to the top for an additional two weeks. "Groovin'" will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Music History Monday: February 18

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 18, 2013 10:45am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: February 18, 1956 - "Rock and Roll Waltz" by Kay Starr hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for one week. Written by Dick Ware and Shorty Allen, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios in New York City. The song will be the biggest hit for the Oklahoma pop vocalist born Katherine La Verne Starks. Starr will get her big break singing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1939 when she is only 17 years old. Recently signed to RCA Victor after several years with Capitol Records, the head of A&R at RCA will present the song to the singer. At first she does not like it, feeling that it is more like a novelty record than the type of material she was used to performing. But she will consent to record it, completing it during a round of sessions at the label's New York recording studio. To her surprise, the record will be an immediate hit. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #21 on January 7, 1956, it will leap to the top six weeks later. "Rock and Roll Waltz" will sell over a million copies earning a Gold disc for Kay Starr. Starr will also become the first female vocalist of the rock era to have a number one single (also RCA Victor's first chart topper of the rock era), and is the first song to have the term "rock and roll" mentioned in it.
 


On this day in music history: February 18, 1967 - "Kind of a Drag" by The Buckinghams hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written Jim Holvay and Gary Beisber, it is the biggest single for the Chicago based pop band. Formed in 1965, they are originally known as The Pulsations, becoming regulars on a local Chicago music show called the All Time Hits Show. When someone on the program suggests that they change their name, they will change it to The Buckinghams. Signed by local label USA Records, the track is recorded at Chess Studios. Released in late 1966, the record will take off quickly. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on December 31, 1966, it will shoot to the top of the chart seven weeks later. Shortly after the single tops the chart, the band will be quickly snatched up by Columbia Records and paired with producer James William Guercio (Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears). The Buckinghams will score four more top 20 hits while on Columbia including "Don't You Care" (#6 Pop), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#5 Pop), and "Susan" (#11 Pop), though "Kind of a Drag" will remain their most successful single.
 

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