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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."