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Music History Monday: May 11

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 11, 2015 08:00am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: May 11, 1959 - "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Cortez and Ken Wood, it is the biggest hit for the songwriter and musician from Detroit. Born Dave Cortez Clowney, he will begin playing piano as a child with aspirations to become a professional musician after seeing Duke Ellington & His Orchestra in concert. Cortez will relocate to New York when he joins a group call The Pearls as a keyboard player. Eventually he will strike out on his own, working as a studio musician, when he is signed to independent label Clock Records (distributed by Ember Records). He and fellow songwriter Ken Wood write a song initially titled "The Dog And The Cat" that also features lyrics. When Cortez finds that the song doesn't work in its original form, he will make it over as an instrumental, recording it with a Hammond Organ instead of a piano. Clock will release the song as a single just as Cortez leaves town to go on tour with Little Anthony & The Imperials. Entering the Hot 100 at #68 on March 16, 1959, it will climb to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Cortez will follow the song with the similiar  "The Whistling Organ," which peaks at #61 in July of 1959. Clock Records will soon fold in 1961 and Cortez will sign a deal with Chess Records, scoring another major hit with the single "Rinky Dink" (#10 Pop, #9 R&B). Cortez will chart several more singles on the chart through 1966, then makes his last chart entry with "Someone Has Taken Your Place" (#45 R&B) on All Platinum Records in 1973. "The Happy Organ" will also be featured in theatrical trailers for the film Tommy Boy in 1995. Dave "Baby" Cortez will record a new album in 2011 with Lonnie Youngblood and His Bloodhounds, his first new release in 39 years.
 

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Music History Monday: January 5

Posted by Jeff Harris, January 5, 2015 10:44am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: January 5, 1969Bayou Country, the second album by Creedence Clearwater Revival, is released. Produced by John Fogerty, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood in Late 1968. Sharp and fine tuned from heavy touring in support of their self-titled debut album, CCR will re-enter the studio in the Fall of 1968 to record their second LP. It will mark the start of an impressive run of hits for the El Cerrito-based band, spinning off the hit single "Proud Mary" (#2 Pop for 3 weeks), as well as the rock radio staple "Born On The Bayou" (the B-side of "Proud Mary"). The album is remastered on CD for its 40th anniversary in 2008, featuring four bonus tracks. Bayou Country will peak at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, number 41 on the R&B album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


 

On this day in music history: January 5, 1974The Singles 1969-1973 by The Carpenters hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for one week. Produced by Jack Daughtery and Richard & Karen Carpenter, it is recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood from January 1969 - April 1973. Their first greatest hits album, the 12-track compilation features hit singles from The Carpenters first four years on A&M Records. The album's unique sequencing includes musical introductions and segues between the tracks. Original vinyl LP pressings were packaged in a gatefold sleeve with a 12-page booklet featuring photos and song lyrics. It will become the brother and sister duos' biggest-selling album worldwide (also topping the UK album chart for 17 weeks). The Singles 1969-1973 is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: December 22

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 22, 2014 10:45am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: December 22, 1958 - "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" by The Chipmunks & David Seville hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Following the chart topping success of the single "Witch Doctor" in April of 1958, David Seville (birth name: Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.), will follow it up with his most popular and enduring creation. Seville's youngest son Adam will provide the inspiration for what will become "The Chipmunk Song". The idea for the song will come about when the young boy asks his father in September "if it's Christmas yet?" Seville take the idea and run with it. He will create the characters Alvin, Simon, & Theodore, three cartoon chipmunks who are named after Liberty Records executives Al Bennett and Si Waronker, and recording engineer Ted Keep. Employing the same tape varispeed technique used on "Witch Doctor," the vocals on the song will be sung by Seville by recording his voice with the tape running at 1/3 normal speed, producing the high pitched "chipmunk like" vocals upon playback. Released right before Thankgiving in November of 1958, the single is an instant and massive success. Entering the Hot 100 at #62 on December 1, 1958, it will pole vault to the top of the chart three weeks later. At the time of its release, "The Chipmunk Song" will become one of the fastest selling singles of all time, when it sells over 4.5 million copies in seven weeks. At the first Grammy Awards it will win three awards including Best Comedy Recording, Best Engineered Recording, and Best Children's Recording. The record will re-chart on the Hot 100 three more times between 1959 and 1962, peaking at #41, #45, and #39 respectively. When interest is revived in The Chipmunks in December 2007 with the release of the film Alvin And The Chipmunks, the original recording of "The Chipmunk Song" will re-enter the Hot 100, peaking at #66. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: November 17

Posted by Jeff Harris, November 17, 2014 10:14am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: November 17, 1962 - "Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for three weeks on the same date. Written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, it is the second consecutive chart-topping single for the New Jersey-based quartet fronted by singer Frankie Valli. The song's title is inspired by a line in the 1955 western Tennessee's Partner in which the actor John Payne slaps actress Rhonda Fleming in the face, and she replies, "Big girls don't cry." Like its predecessor "Sherry," it will storm the charts quickly. Entering the Hot 100 at #66 on October 20, 1962, it will zoom to the top of the chart just four weeks later. Twenty five years after its original release, the song will also be heard in the film and featured on the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. "Big Girls Don't Cry" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: November 17, 1971 - Live-Evil, the 38th album by Miles Davis, is released. Produced by Teo Macero, it is recorded at The Cellar Door in Washington DC on December 19, 1970, and at Columbia Studio B from February - June 1970. The half live/half in-studio recorded double LP set consists of eight extended electric based jams featuring Davis supported by musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Michael Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Airto Moreira, and Keith Jarrett. Originally conceived as a continuation of the landmark Bitches Brew, it will differ greatly from its predecessor by incorporating more rock and funk elements. It will be well received upon its release and is considered a pioneering jazz/funk recording, as well as one of the cornerstones of Davis's "Electric Period." The album's distinctive cover art was created by artist Mati Klarwein, best known for cover art on Bitches Brew and Santana's Abraxas. Davis will tell Klarwein that he wants something representing "life" on the front cover, and something representing "evil" on the back. The front will feature a painting of a pregnant African woman, while the back features a grotesque looking amphibian like creature in a powered wig clutching its belly. The latter painting is inspired by a picture that the artist sees of infamous FBI director J. Edgar Hoover on the cover of Time Magazine. "Live-Evil" will peak at number 125 on the Billboard Top 200 and number four on the Jazz chart.
 

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Music History Monday: June 30

Posted by Jeff Harris, June 30, 2014 07:11am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: June 30, 1973Fresh, the sixth album by Sly & The Family Stone is released. Produced by Sly Stone, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles and Sausalito circa 1972 - Spring 1973. After the release of There's A Riot Goin' On in late 1971, Sly & The Family Stone will see their first personnel changes with the departure of bassist Larry Graham and drummer Gregg Errico, both having left under acrimonious circumstances. Sessions for the band's next album will begin in early 1972. The new album will introduce new band members bassist Rusty Allen and drummer Andy Newmark to the fold, though many of the tracks feature Sly playing all of the instruments himself. During the nearly 18 months that he works on the album, Sly will constantly remix and re-record several of the songs, resulting in different versions of the material. The album will spin off two hits, including the band's last million-selling single "If You Want Me To Stay" (#3 R&B, #12 Pop). When the album is first released on CD in the early '90s, alternate masters using the wrong mixes will initially be released until it is withdrawn and replaced with the correct version. This version of the album will become a sought after collector's item among Sly fans. The album's cover photo is taken by famed photographer Richard Avedon (The Beatles). Fresh will spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number seven on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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