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Music History Monday: February 17

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 17, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: February 17, 1962 - "Duke Of Earl" by Gene Chandler (Born Eugene Dixon) hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for five weeks on the same date. Written by Bernice Williams, Eugene Dixon, and Earl Edwards, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocalist. The song will originate as a vocal warm up exercise in the doo wop group The Dukays, in which Chandler and Edwards were both members. Entering the Hot 100 at #93 on January 13, 1962, it will leap to the top of the chart five weeks later. "Duke Of Earl" will become the first million selling single for Chicago-based independent label Vee-Jay Records. When Chandler performs the song live, he will often appear dressed in a black waist coat and tails with topped off with a matching black cape and top hat. The song will be covered numerous times over the years and will be sampled as the basis of Cypress Hill's "Hand On The Pump" in 1991. "Duke Of Earl" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: February 17, 1966 - The Beach Boys will begin recording the single "Good Vibrations" at United/Western Recorders in Hollywood. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, inspiration for the song will have its origins in a conversation that Brian Wilson has with his mother Audree as a child, who will tell him that dogs will bark at some people and not at others because of the "vibrations" they sense coming from them. the initial recording session will have Wilson working with members of The Wrecking Crew cutting 26 takes of the instrumental track. Seventeen more sessions at three other recording studios will take place over the next six months as the song is refined. The end product will be generate over 90 hours of tape and cost an unprecedented $50,000. At the time of its October 1966 release, it will be the most expensive single ever recorded. First issued as a stand alone single, it is intended to be the cornerstone of the album Smile, which is originally scheduled for release in early 1967. However, Wilson's fragile emotional state, exacerbated by drug use and inner band conflict over the direction of the project will lead to the album being shelved until 2011. The Smile Sessions box set will include an alternate stereo mix of "Good Vibrations."
 

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Music History Monday: December 2

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 2, 2013 09:30am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: December 2, 1967 - "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by John Stewart, it is the third (and final) #1 single for The Monkees. Though it is recorded during sessions for the band's fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd., it will be released initially as a stand alone single. It will be included on their next full-length release The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. Singer and songwriter John Stewart ("Gold") will write the song while he is still a member of the folk music band The Kingston Trio. The song will be brought to The Monkees by their producer Chip Douglas, assigning it to Davy Jones to sing. Initially Davy isn't fond of the song, unsure that it will be a hit. Any doubt about its hit potential will be quickly erased as soon as it's released. Entering the Hot 100 at #33 on November 18, 1967, it will shoot to the top of the chart only three weeks later. "Daydream Believer" will become a hit again in early 1980 when country/pop singer Anne Murray's version tops the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as peaking at #3 on the country chart and #12 on the Hot 100. The Monkees version of "Daydream Believer" is certified Gold 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: October 14

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 14, 2013 11:02am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: October 14, 1967 - "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for seven weeks, also peaking at #2 for three weeks on the Hot 100 on November 4, 1967. Written and produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, it will be the biggest hit for the R&B vocal duo. Songwriter and producer Isaac Hayes will come up with the initial idea for the song while watching television coverage of the riots in Detroit in July of 1967 between the police and African American citizens. Hayes will notice that residents had marked homes and businesses with the word "soul" to signify that they were African American owned and therefore not destroyed by rioters. Collaborating with longtime songwriting partner David Porter, the two will write the lyrics together. The track is recorded at Stax Studios in Memphis and features instrumental backing by Booker T. & The MG's. With its message of overcoming personal struggles and rising above adverse conditions, the song will also become an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. "Soul Man" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: October 14, 1972 - "Ben" by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, also peaking at #5 on the R&B singles chart. Written by Don Black and Walter Scharf, it is the first solo number one for the young Motown superstar. Written as the title song to the sequel of the 1971 film Willard, Walter Scharf (Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory) will be hired to write a theme song for the film. Scharf will call lyricist Don Black ("To Sir With Love," "Born Free") and ask him to write the lyrics. When the song is completed, singer Donny Osmond will be asked to sing the song, but due to scheduling conflicts he is unavailable to record it. Black will suggest Michael Jackson, and Jackson (a lover of animals, also owning several pet rats at the time) will enthusiatically agree to record the song. Entering the Hot 100 at #85 on August 5, 1972,  it will climb to the top of the chart ten weeks later. 14-years-old at the time, it will make Jackson the third youngest artist in history to reach #1 on the US singles chart. "Ben" will also be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
 

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Music History Monday: October 7

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 7, 2013 11:14am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: October 7, 1963Little Deuce Coupe, the fourth album by The Beach The Beach BoysBoys, is released. Produced by Brian Wilson and Murry Wilson, it is recorded at Western Recorders in Hollywood in April 1962; January 31, 1963; June 12, 1963; and July 16, 1963. Following the release of the Capitol Records compilation album Shut Down, Coupe is produced as a companion piece, featuring more songs about hot rods and Southern California car culture. It is the first album by the band to be produced solely by Brian Wilson (except for two tracks) and marks the beginning of Wilson exerting more control over the production of their music. Regarded as one of the best of The Beach Boys' early albums, it is also the last to feature rhythm guitarist David Marks. Al Jardine will return to the band permanently (when he drops out of college) following Marks' departure after an argument with manager Murry Wilson. It will spin off several classics including "409" (#76 Pop), "Be True To Your School" (re-recorded for single release and mixed in mono) (#6 Pop), "Shut Down" (#23 Pop), and the title track (#15 Pop). Little Deuce Coupe will peak at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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