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Music History Monday: February 24

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 24, 2014 09:00am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: February 24, 1973 - "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, it is the second number one pop single for the North Carolina-born singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally recorded by singer Lori Leiberman, the song is inspired by a poem she writes after seeing singer Don McLean ("American Pie") perform at The Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood. She'll show the poem to her friend, lyricist Norman Gimbel, who will craft them into finished lyrics. Flack will see a picture of Leiberman in a magazine article about her and the song while flying from LA to New York. After hearing Leiberman's version, Flack will decide that she wants to record it herself. Her belief in the song's hit potential will be confirmed when she performs it live for the first time. In September of 1972 while appearing as Marvin Gaye's opening act at the Greek Theater, she'll perform "Killing Me Softly" during her encore and the crowd's reaction will be wildly enthusiastic. After her set, Gaye will tell her not to perform the song again live until she records it. Once in the studio, she'll spend nearly three months fine tuning the song before feeling that it's ready for release. Released as a single in January of 1973, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on January 27, 1973, it will rocket to the top of the chart four weeks later. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" will win three Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and her second consecutive win for Record Of The Year. Gimbel And Fox will also win the award for Song Of The Year. In 1996, The Fugees will revive "Killing Me Softly," reaching #2 (for three weeks) on the Billboard Airplay Chart on June 22, 1996, and winning two Grammy Awards for their album The Score. Flack's version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Music History Monday: August 5

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 5, 2013 11:30am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: August 5, 1957 - American Bandstand makes its national television debut on ABC. Hosted by former radio DJ and music entepreneur Dick Clark, the show is originally broadcast on local Philadelphia channel WFIL-TV Channel 6 in 1952 with original host Bob Horn (1952 - 1956), co-host Lee Stewart (1952 - 1955), and Tony Mammarella (1956 only). Clark will become the show's permanent host from 1956 to 1989 (returning briefly in 2002). The show will move from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 1964, beginning color broadcasts in September of 1967. 3,000 episodes of the show will be taped over its 50 year history (though only 883 survive).

On this day in music history: August 5, 1969 - The self-titled debut album by The Stooges is released. Produced by John Cale, it is recorded at Russ Gibb's Grande Ballroom in Detroit, MI from October 30 - 31, 1968. Recorded in just two days with The Velvet Underground's multi-instrumentalist John Cale, the original mix of the album will be rejected by Elektra (four of the rejected mixes will be released on a reissue of the album in 2005). The released version will be remixed by frontman Iggy Pop and label founder Jac Holzman. Featuring such proto-punk classics as "No Fun" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," it will become highly influential, providing the inspiration for the Punk Rock music genre in the '70s. Iggy Pop will be widely acknowledged as the godfather of the punk movement. The Stooges will peak at #106 on the Billboard Top 200.
 

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Music History Monday: May 6

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 6, 2013 11:52am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: May 6, 1972 - The eponymously titled duet album by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway is released. Produced by Joel Dorn and Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Altantic Recording Studios in New York City from March, August 12th to October 15, 1971. It is the first of three collaborations from the two friends and labelmates. The idea for the pairing will be suggested by Atlantic executive and producer Jerry Wexler, to heighten the profile of both artists. Months prior to the album's release, it will be proceeded by the release of two singles, including covers of James Taylor's then recent hit "You've Got A Friend" (#8 R&B, #29 Pop) and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" (#30 R&B, #71 Pop). The Spring 1972 release of the album will coincide with Flack's breakthrough smash "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which was still holding the #1 spot on the Hot 100 at the time. The album will also be issued simultaneously with the single "Where Is The Love" (1 R&B, #5 Pop), which will be a huge crossover hit, winning Flack and Hathaway a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1973. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway will peak at #2 on the Billboard R&B album chart, #3 on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Music History Monday: April 1

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 1, 2013 04:01pm | Post a Comment

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

Remembering "The Prince Of Motown," Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gaye, Jr. in Washington DC) - April 2, 1939 - April 1, 1984.
 


Born on this day: April 1, 1948 - Reggae music icon Jimmy Cliff (born James Chambers in Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica). Happy 65th Birthday, Jimmy!
 


Born on this day: April 1, 1949 - Singer/songwriter/author and poet Gil Scott-Heron (born Gilbert Scott-Heron in Chicago, IL). Happy Birthday to Gil on what would have been his 64th Birthday.

 


On this day in music history: April 1, 1978 - "The Closer I Get To You" by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on May 13th. Written by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, it is the second chart topper for the R&B vocal duo. Originally written as a solo for Roberta Flack, her manager David Franklin will suggest making the song a duo, calling on her old friend singer and musician Donny Hathaway to duet with her.  The song will be the first collaboration between Flack and Hathaway since their Grammy winning duet "Where Is The Love" nearly six years earlier. Hathaway is actually hospitalized at the time (being treated for severe depression and often unpredictable mood swings) and must receive special permission to leave the facility and record his vocals. Released as the second single from Flack's album Blue Lights In The Basement, it is an immediate smash on both the R&B and pop singles charts. "The Closer I Get To You" will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, also driving the accompanying album to Gold status. The song will be revived by Luther Vandross and Beyonce Knowles in 2003, being included on their albums' Dance With My Father and Dangerously In Love. Their version of the duet will win them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2004.
 

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