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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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Music History Monday: October 22

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 22, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment

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

Music History MondayOn this day in music history: October 22, 1969Led Zeppelin II, the second album by Led Zeppelin is released. Produced by Jimmy Page, it is recorded at Olympic Studios and Morgan Studios in London; A&M Studios, Quantum Studios, Sunset Sound, Mirror Sound, and Mystic Studios in Los Angeles; A&R Studios, Juggy Sound, Groove Studios, and Mayfair Studios in New York City; "The Hut" in Vancouver, BC, Canada; and Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN from January - August 1969. Quickly following the success of their self-titled debut, the album is written on the road and recorded in numerous studios in the US and UK on days off between tour dates. Led Zeppelin II will quickly surpass their debut in sales, cementing the bands' musical reputation as well as establishing a template in which countless hard rock and heavy metal bands will follow. It will spin off several classics that become rock radio staples including "Heartbreaker," Ramble On," and "Whole Lotta Love" (#4 Pop), the latter of which is issued as a single. The initial US pressing of the LP mastered by Bob Ludwig will be problematic for some as loud and dynamic passages on the record will cause it to skip on cheaper turntables of the day, initiating sizeable returns. Atlantic will be forced to remaster the album (this time by George Marino), with the bass and high end significantly rolled off. These original "loud cut" pressings of II will become sought after by collectors over the years. Led Zeppelin II will spend 7 weeks at #1 (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 12x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: September 10

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 10, 2012 02:59pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: September 10, 1898 - Civil engineer, chemist, and inventor Waldo Semon (born Waldo SemonWaldo Lonsbury Semon in Demopolis, AL). In 1926, while working in the research department at The BF Goodrich Corporation, he developed a material called Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) originally for use as an adhesive to bond rubber to metal. Beginning in the late 1940's, PVC would be used in the manufacture of long playing LP and 45 RPM records.

Record collectors worldwide salute  Dr. Semon!!







Born on this day: September 10, 1945
- Grammy award winning singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitarist José Feliciano (born José Montserrate Feliciano García in Lares, Puerto Rico). Happy 67th Birthday, José!!


On this day in music history: September 10, 1966Revolver, the seventh album by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for six weeks. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from April 6 - June 21, 1966. The album marks the beginning a new phase in the bands' career musically and artistically, and will be praised as one of their greatest works. Standing in stark contrast to their previous release, the largely acoustic based Rubber Soul, Revolver will see The Beatles exploring new musical and sonic territory, with most of the songs being electric guitar based, though others touch on the use of orchestral instruments ("Eleanor Rigby"), Indian music ("Love You To"), and psychedelia ("She Said, She Said," "I'm Only Sleeping," "Tomorrow Never Knows"). The album will spin off the double A-sided single "Yellow Submarine" (#2 Pop) and "Eleanor Rigby" (#11 Pop). Artist Klaus Voorman will receive a Grammy Award for the albums' cover art.

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