Music History Monday: May 26

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 26, 2014 08:16am | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: May 26, 1926 - Trumpeter and jazz music icon Miles Davis (Born Miles Dewey Davis III in Alton, IL). Happy Birthday to one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th century on what would have been his 88th birthday. We love you, Miles!

On this day in music history: May 26, 1973 - "Frankenstein" by The Edgar Winter Group hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Edgar Winter, it is the biggest hit for the blues/rock band fronted by Texas born Winter. The song originates as an extended in studio jam. The rock instrumental derives its title from an in joke between band members, due to the number of splices made in the final master version of the song, and also to describe the song's heavy, lumbering beat. It is the last track recorded for Winter's They Only Come Out At Night album, and is initially released as the B-side to "Hangin' Around." After DJ's begin playing the flipside and due to enthusiastic public response, Epic Records will re-issue the single with the sides reversed. Entering the Hot 100 at #98 on March 10, 1973, it will climb to the top of the chart eleven weeks later. "Frankenstein" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Music History Monday: April 21

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 21, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

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Born on this day: April 21, 1959 - Singer, songwriter and founder of The Cure, Robert Smith (born Robert James Smith in Blackpool, UK). Happy 55th Birthday, Robert!

On this day in music history: April 21, 1958 - "Twilight Time" by The Platters hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for one week, also topping the R&B Best Sellers chart for three weeks on April 28, 1958. Written by Buck Ram, Al Nevins, Morton Nevins, and Artie Dunn, it is the third pop and fourth R&B chart-topper for the Los Angeles-based vocal group. The song is originally recorded in 1944 by The Three Suns and by big band leader Les Brown. When The Platters record it in early 1958, it will initially be the B-side of "Out Of My Mind." American Bandstand host Dick Clark prefers "Twilight" and begins heavily plugging it on the show, making it the A-side by default. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #7 on April 14, 1958, it will leap to the top of the chart the following week. The single will sell over 1.5 million copies by the time it tops the charts,  The success of the record will be significant as more than 90% of its sales on the 7" 45 RPM format, leading The Platters label Mercury Records to phase out the manufacturing of the 10" 78 RPM record, the format that had dominated the music industry for the first half century of its existence. "Twilight Time" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Music History Monday: August 26

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 26, 2013 02:13pm | Post a Comment

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On this day in music history: August 26, 1964 - "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks is released. Written by Ray Davies, it is the first major hit for the North London based rock band. Having released two previous singles that fail to make an impact, The Kinks will be pressured by their UK label Pye Records to deliver a hit record or be dropped from the label. After Davies writes "You Really Got Me," he and the band will try the song with a number of different arrangements before finding the right one. The Kinks will record the track with American producer Shel Talmy at IBC Studios in London in July 1964. The single's trademark distorted guitar sound is achieved by lead guitarist Dave Davies slicing the speaker cone of his guitar amp with a razor blade. It will also be one of the first rock songs to feature power chords (perfect 5ths and octaves) rather than major or minor triads. This will lay the template for the hard rock and heavy metal music genres that will follow in the years to come. The song will hit #1 in the UK and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28th. One of the records that will help define the '60s "British Invasion" era, "You Really Got Me" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

On this day in music history: August 26, 1967 - "Ode To Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Bobbie Gentry (birth name Roberta Lee Streeter), it will be the biggest hit for the Mississippi born singer/songwriter. The cryptic story song about a young man committing suicide for unknown reasons is an immediate smash. Recorded at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood on July 10, 1967, the track will be completed in less than an hour of studio time. Arranger Jimmie Haskell will add the song's crowning touch by overdubbing violins and cellos to the spare arrangement. The unedited version runs over seven minutes and it pared down to just over four minutes. Originally issued as the B-side to her debut single "Mississippi Delta," DJs will very quickly favor the flipside. "Ode To Billie Joe" will enter the Hot 100 at #71 on August 5, 1967 and it will rocket to the top of the chart just three weeks later. The song will also send Gentry's album (also titled Ode To Billie Joe) to #1 for five weeks (unseating The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), and winning her two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

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Music History Monday: May 6

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

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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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Record Store Day is Coming...And We've Been Saving Some Juicy Stuff for April 20

Posted by Amoebite, April 13, 2013 12:45pm | Post a Comment

 April 20 is almost here and you know what that means... RECORD STORE DAY!!! Our favorite holiday, celebrating the glorious musical community of independent record stores! Real record stores are where music lives and thrives, and anyone who works or shops at a neighborhood record store deserves their very own day of glory.

For Amoeba it's one of our best days of the year, when we throw open our doors and welcome one of the biggest communities of music lovers ever assembled under one roof. YOU ARE Record Store Day!

Of course there are hundreds of exclusive RSD releases, and folks line up hours in advance to grab the rarest of the rare. This year features the biggest lineup of exclusive releases yet, featuring records by everyone from The Cure to the Grateful Dead to Notorious B.I.G.. As always, line up early to snag those exquisite jams! The Coffee Bean is providing coffee for the early birds at Amoeba Hollywood, so they'll keep you nice and caffeinated that morning.

But it's more than just the RSD releases. We've been saving up treats and collections and goodies and rare stuff for months, and it's all hitting the floor on April 20th. It'll be a bonanza you won't want to miss! Our pricers and our warehouse staff have been prepping tons of rare records, posters, DVDs, books, 45s, toys and collectables, and piling it high in the warehouse in preparation for the big day. We're putting out bins and bins of fresh CDs in every department. Boxes and boxes of fresh 45s. It's like a whole holiday shopping season in one day and you're a part of it!

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