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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.

Amoeba Bloggers Answer: What Was Your First Album?

Posted by Billy Gil, March 6, 2012 07:09pm | Post a Comment
I recently was at Amoeba Hollywood and overheard a customer telling an employee Davy Jones had died. I hadn’t heard the news yet. She brought it up because she was buying Katy Perry records for her daughter. She said her daughter didn’t even have a record player — she just wanted every bit of Katy Perry merchandise she could get her hands on.
 
The only artist I can ever remember being that obsessive about was The Smashing Pumpkins, but that was in high school. But it got me thinking about those first tapes, records, singles etc. that everyone got as a kid.
 
ace of base the signFor me, the first album I ever bought on my own was Ace of Base’s The Sign on cassette. I had always liked music, but at 11, I had just started to pay attention to what songs were on the radio. A friend made me a tape from the radio and “The Sign” was on it. I loved it. In the coming weeks and months, albums by Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, and my beloved Pumpkins would follow, but really it all started with Ace of Base for me. Though if I’m being technical, I had a cassette single of Paula Abdul’s “Promise of a New Day” that I listened to constantly when I was like 9, but I didn’t buy that — I won it at a cousin’s music-themed birthday party, at which my dad dressed himself and me as Simon & Garfunkel. I had no idea who they were. I think I was Paul Simon.
 
While I’m embarrassing myself, I thought I’d extend the question to the other Amoeba bloggers: What was your first album? Not kids’ music, but not just the cool stuff, either — the tapes we once listened to repeatedly and then put away in a drawer somewhere once we realized how lame they were, though I’m still on the hunt for The Sign on vinyl. Here are their answers:
 
Eric Brightwell
the cure kiss me kiss me kiss meMy first record was Luciano Pavarotti's My Own Story, a compilation of “musical highlights of his spectacular career.” They used to heavily advertise it on TV when I got home from school, and I was hooked. My first cassette was Peter Gabriel's So. I'd liked the singles from it, but when “Big Time” came out, I was obsessed. My first CD was The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. I was introduced to it by a German exchange student named Ina. Before she left I rode my bike into town to a Wal-Mart to get a blank cassette to dub it. I loved it so much, I thought it warranted being purchased on CD. 
 


New "What's In My Bag?" Video with Zola Jesus

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 15, 2012 12:30pm | Post a Comment
Zola JesusOur latest episode of What's In My Bag? features experimental, electronic goth artist Zola Jesus. Her most recent album, Conatus (Sacred Bones), has been on many Amoebites' year end Best Of and Music We Like lists.

Sharing her influences and interests, she picks up music from experimental electronic pioneer Daphne Oram, minimalist modern classical from Luigi Nono, and music from Hermann Nitsch's "Aktions," among other things (like a Gene Simmons KISS doll - wait for it after the credits roll).

If you want more Zola Jesus, she's performing in Los Angeles at the Natural History Museum on Friday, March 2 as part of their First Fridays series, along with another "What's In My Bag?" alum, EMA. That will be one hell of a powerful show! Advanced tickets are already sold out, but you should still be able to line up on the day of the event when they release a few more tickets.

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