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Music History Monday: May 4

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 4, 2015 07:25am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: May 4, 1956 - "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent And His Blue Caps is recorded. Written by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent, it is the debut release and biggest hit for the rock & roll band fronted by Vincent (born Vincent Eugene Craddock). The song is co-written by Vincent and his manager, radio DJ "Sheriff Tex" Davis, who will help the singer secure a record contract. Hollywood-based Capitol Records, in search of "the next Elvis Presley," will eagerly sign Vincent. His band The Blue Caps consists of Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), Jack Neal (upright bass), Dickie Harrell (drums), and Cliff Gallup (lead guitar). The band will record the track at famed country music producer Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut studio in Nashville, TN. Released a month later, "Be-Bop-A-Lula" will peak at #7 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart on July 28, 1956, #8 on the R&B chart, and #5 on the C&W chart, selling over two million copies. The band will also perform the song in classic rockfilm The Girl Can't Help It, released later in the year. The seminal recording will become one of the definitive examples of rockabilly music, and will go on to influence many musicians over the years including The Beatles, The Animals, and rockabilly revivalists Stray Cats. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
 

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Music History Monday: December 29

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 29, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: December 29, 1966 - The Beatles begin recording "Penny Lane" in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios in London. Written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney), the song is inspired by a street and district near the town center in Liverpool. The first recording session will begin with McCartney laying down several different piano parts (processed in multiple ways) as part of the basic track. These parts will be bounced down and combined into a single track as more overdubs are recorded. After the band has been working on the song for a couple weeks, McCartney mentions to producer George Martin that he had heard this "high pitched trumpet" while watching a performance of Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto" the night before. They will hire David Mason from the LSO to play piccolo trumpet and add the crowning touch to the song, which is completed on January 17, 1967. Originally intended to be part of the next Beatles albuSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, it will instead be paired with "Strawberry Fields Forever" and released as a stand alone single on February 13, 1967 in the US and on February 17, 1967 in the UK. It is added to the US LP release of Magical Mystery Tour in November of 1967.
 

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Essential Records: Stevie Wonder's 'Songs In The Key of Life'

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2014 02:22pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records

Songs In The Key Of Life is hailed by many as one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Music industry icons like Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Mariah Carey all sing its praises. By the time Stevie Wonder gifted the world his magnum opus - at just 25 years old - he had already released 21 albums under the famed Motown label. Amazing!  

Stevie Wonder Where I'm Coming FromOne month before his 21st birthday in 1971, Stevie Wonder released Where I'm Coming From, a definitive production that gave way to a new aesthetic, style, and sound not aligned with the polished, clean, stand up image Motown championed for its artists. In essence, Wonder was shedding his "Little Stevie Wonder" persona and declaring his musical independence. Armed with a new recording contract giving him artistic control, Wonder co-wrote the album with then girlfriend and former Motown secretary, Syreeta Wright. Together the two penned songs that showcased a new, funkier style Wonder was developing outside the confines of Motown. Digging deeper to perfect his new sound, Stevie followed with Music Of My Mind in 1972, the precursor to what became his unrivaled golden era of output. Music Of My Mind was entirely written, produced, and performed by Wonder (with the exception of a single part in two songs) masterfully utilizing Arp synthesizers, Moog keyboards, and live instrumentation. This was Wonder's first truly cohesive effort realized all on his own. The transformation from "Little Stevie Wonder" to bonafide one man production powerhouse was complete.

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Music History Monday: October 13

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 13, 2014 10:33am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: October 13, 1965 - "My Generation", the third single by The Who, is recorded. Written by Pete Townshend, he will take inspration from singer Mose Allison's song "Young Man Blues." The song's crowning touch will be provided by singer Roger Daltrey stuttering like a one of the band's mod fans on speed. Produced by Shel Talmy, the band will record the song at IBC Studios in London. Recorded on three track tape, the final mono master will feature a second guitar part overdubbed by Townshend (direct to tape while being mixed) that features the song's trademark feedback. Released in the UK on November 5, 1965 (US release date is November 20, 1965), the song is an instant smash in their home country peaking at #2. Though it will only peak at #74 in the US, it will go on to be one to be one of most influential rock singles of all time. "My Generation" is now part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. In 2002, "My Generation" will be mixed into true stereo for the first time from the original multi-track tape (though it is missing the additional guitar overdub from the mono mix), which has been in the possession of Shel Talmy, and appears on the Deluxe Edition of My Generation.
 

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Music History Monday: September 29

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 29, 2014 11:10am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: September 29, 1958 - "It's In The Game" by Tommy Edwards hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, also topping the Rhythm & Blues chart for three weeks (non-consecutive) on the same date.  Written by Charles Dawes and Carl Sigman, it is the biggest hit for the pop vocalist from Richmond, VA. "It's All In The Game" is originally written in 1911 as an instrumental titled "Melody in A Major" by Charles Dawes who would later serve as Vice President of the United States under President Calvin Coolidge. Songwriter Carl Sigman will write lyrics for the song in 1951 when Tommy Edwards first records it. Edwards original version will peak at #18 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart in the Fall of 1951. By 1958, Edwards has been without a major hits for nearly four years and his label MGM Records is on the verge of dropping him, but he has one final session to go on his contract. Edwards will re-record "It's All In The Game" with a new arrangement and in stereo, making it one of the first stereo 45's released by MGM Records. The new version is released in early August of 1958 and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #40 on August 25, 1958, it will race to the top of the chart five weeks later. "It's All In The Game" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: September 29, 1973 - "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on October 13, 1973. Written and produced by Stevie Wonder, it is the seventh R&B chart topper for the prolific musician and songwriter. Issued as the first single from his landmark Innervisions album, the song is on the charts while Wonder is recovering from a devastating car accident, which will leave him in a coma for four days. While still in a coma, Stevie's road manager Ira Tucker, Jr. will lean down and sing the melody to "Higher Ground" in his ear and Stevie will respond by moving fingers in time with song. Recorded at Mediasound Studios in New York City, "Higher Ground" will be a virtual "one man show" with Wonder playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocals on the track, with co-producers Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil programming the synthesizers. Red Hot Chili Peppers will score a hit with their cover version of "Higher Ground" when they record it for their 1989 album Mother's Milk, even name checking Stevie Wonder in their version.

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