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Music History Monday: March 31

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 31, 2014 11:04am | Post a Comment

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

Born on this day: March 31, 1935 - Musician and co-founder of A&M Records, Herb Alpert (born Herbert Alpert in Los Angeles, CA). Happy 79th Birthday, Herb!
 


On this day in music history: March 31, 1949 - RCA Victor Records releases the first commercially available 45 RPM record available for domestic sale. That first single is "Tekarkana Baby" by country music legend Eddy Arnold. Written by Fred Rose, Arnold's version of the song will top the Billboard Best Selling Retail Folk Records chart (existing prior to the Country & Western chart) for one week. The label will press the initial run of the single on clear green vinyl. RCA will develop the new format in response to Columbia Records introducing the 33 1/3 RPM long playing LP the previous year. Pressed on vinyl (or styrene, which is developed by Columbia) rather than the fragile shellac discs that 78's were manufactured from, the 7" discs will grow in popularity, eventually overtaking the 78 in sales by the mid 1950's and becoming the dominant physical single format until the end of the 1980's. Happy 65th Birthday to the 45!
 


On this day in music history: March 31, 1958 - "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry is released. Written by Chuck Berry in 1955, the semi autobiographical song will be partially inspired by his longtime piano player Johnnie Johnson, though pianist Lafayette Leake will play on the single and not Johnson. "Goode's" opening riff will be lifted from R&B pioneer Louis Jordan's 1946 hit "Ain't That Just Like A Woman." The track is recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago on January 6, 1958 and features Berry backed by musicians Willie Dixon (bass), Lafayette Leake (piano), and Fred Below (drums). Chuck Berry's version will peak at #2 on the Billboard R&B Best Sellers chart and #8 on the Pop Best Sellers chart in June of 1958. Regarded as one of the quintessential rock & roll songs, it will be covered numerous times over the years by dozens of artists. Berry's original version is included on the Voyager Golden Record (a gold plated titanium disc with messages and music recorded on it) attached to the Voyager spacecraft in 1977 representing rock & roll music. The song will also be featured in the film Back To The Future in 1985, where in a humorous plot twist Berry's fictional cousin Marvin Berry overhears the song being performed by actor Michael J. Fox (actually sung by Mark Campbell of Jack Mack & The Heart Attack) who calls his cousin to tell him he's just heard the "new sound" he's been looking for. The original single of "Johnny B. Goode" is backed with the Berry-penned "Around And Around," which will also become a rock & roll standard that is also widely covered, most notably by The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, The Animals, and David Bowie. Chuck Berry's original recording of "Johnny B. Goode" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
 

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Music History Monday: January 6

Posted by Jeff Harris, January 6, 2014 09:50am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: January 6, 1957 - Elvis Presley will make his third and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Due to the previous controversy generated by his movement on stage, Presley will only be shot from the waist up. The singer will perform "Hound Dog," "Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don't Be Cruel," "Too Much," and "(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)." The appearance is a huge success and will be seen by over sixty million people, generating the single largest viewing audience in television history at that time. Only two days after this show airs, Presley will receive notice from the Memphis draft board that he is to be drafted into the United States Army.
 


On this day in music history: January 6, 1958 - The Gibson Guitar Company registers its design for flying vthe Flying V guitar with the US Patent Office. The unique instrument is designed by Gibson president Ted McCarty with the intention of adding a futuristic aspect to the companies image. During their original manufacturing run, the guitar's body and neck are constructed from African Korina wood and mahogany with either ebony or rosewood fretboards. Guitarists such as Albert King and Lonnie Mack will adapt to them immediately and will become closely associated with both artists. However, initial sales will be slow and they will be discontinued in 1959. When guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Dave Davies of The Kinks begin playing them, it will renew interest in the Flying V and Gibson will reintroduce the guitar in 1967. The instrument will become a favorite of hard rock and heavy metal musicians during the 1970s and '80s. Original Flying V's made in 1958 and 1959 today are valued at between $200,000 and $250,000. To this day, the Flying V remains one of Gibson's most popular guitars.

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Music History Monday: November 4

Posted by Jeff Harris, November 4, 2013 10:23am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: November 4, 1970The Man Who Sold The World, the third album by David Bowie is released. Produced by Tony Visconti, it is recorded at Trident Studios and Advision Studios in London from April 18 - May 22, 1970. Following his breakthrough success in the UK with the single and album Space Oddity in the Fall of 1969, David Bowie will return to the studio in the spring of 1970 to record the follow up. The album features musicians that form the nucleus of the Spiders From Mars Band, which include guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer Mick Woodmansey, and also marks the birth of the glam rock movement. The title track will become one of Bowie's best known and loved songs. It will be influential on numerous musicians including The Cure, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails, and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.Cobain will record a cover version on their MTV Unplugged in New York album in 1993. The Man Who Sold The Earth's original cover photo featuring Bowie wearing a dress will not be issued in the US, and is replaced with a cartoon drawing. The album will peak at #26 on the UK album chart and #105 on the Billboard Top 200.
 

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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: September 2

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 2, 2013 11:30am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: September 2, 1978 - George Harrison marries Olivia Trinidad Arias ingeorge harrison  olivia a civil ceremony at the Henley-On-Thames Register Office in South Oxfordshire, UK. It is the second marriage for the former Beatles guitarist, having been married previously to model and actress Pattie Boyd from 1966 to 1974. Harrison will meet Arias in 1974 while she is working as a secretary for his then label A&M Records. Shortly after, the two will become friends and begin dating. The couple will marry one month and a day after the birth of their only son Dhani (born on August 1, 1978). They will remain happily married for 23 years until Harrison's death in November of 2001.

On this day in music history: September 2, 1981 - "Controversy" by Prince is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the eighth single release for the Minneapolis-born musician. Issued as the first single and title track to his fourth album, the song is a bold statement from the normally reclusive and media shy artist. Normally very private about his personal life, the song's lyrics will address the media and fans obsession with his sexuality, and religious and political beliefs. The long album version of the track will feature Prince quoting The Lord's Prayer, but instead of ending the scripture with "amen," he will complete his recitation with the song's title. That it in itself will lead some to label the song blasphemous. "Controversy" will peak at #3 on the Billboard R&B singles chart, topping the Club Play chart for six weeks (from November 14 - December 19, 1981 c/w "Let's Work"), and peaking at #70 on the Hot 100 (on November 21, 1981). "Controversy" will be re-released in the UK (as a 2 CD EP set and 7" picture disc) in 1993 to promote the compilation album The Hits/The B-Sides.

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