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Music History Monday: April 14

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 14, 2014 11:21am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: April 14, 1973 - "Masterpiece" by The Temptations hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on April 28, 1973. Written and produced by Norman Whitfield, it is the 11th R&B chart-topper for the veteran Motown vocal group. Songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield will give the song its title when he feels that all of the combined elements of the piece add up to a "masterpiece," though the word does not appear in the lyrics. Whitfield will write "Masterpiece" as a sequel to the Grammy-winning smash "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" (and the album All Directions), and features members of The Funk Brothers providing musical support and is arranged by Paul Riser. The single and album are recorded during a period where there is ever-mounting tension between the highly-strung producer and The Temptations, who are unhappy at having no say in the creative process and are being referred to by music critics as "the Norman Whitfield Choral Singers." "Masterpiece" will be edited down from its nearly 14 minute epic length down to under four and a half minutes for single release. Though the Tempts will top the R&B chart three more times with "Let Your Hair Down," "Happy People," and "Shakey Ground," in 1974 and 1975 respectively, "Masterpiece" will be will be the group's last top ten pop hit for 18 years. It returns to the upper reaches of the chart when they collaborate with Rod Stewart on "The Motown Song" peaking at #10 in September of 1991. "Masterpiece" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: September 17

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 17, 2012 02:15pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: September 17, 1967 - The Who appear on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on the CBS television network, performing "I Can See For Miles" and "My Generation" (taped on September 15th). It is the band's first US television appearance following their star-making performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June. Prior to the taping, drummer Keith Moon will pack one of his bass drums with an explosive charge to set off at the end of "My Generation." He fails to tell anyone that he has used several times the normal amount of explosives. When Moon detonates the charge, there will be a massive explosion that engulfs the stage in smoke, causing one of his drum cymbals to shatter, cutting him on his arm and leg when he is hit by the flying shrapnel. Guitarist Pete Townshend is closest to the blast when it goes off, singeing his hair and causing him significant hearing loss. Actress Bette Davis, one of the other guests on the show that night will pass out from shock backstage into actor Mickey Rooney's arms (also appearing on the show), after seeing how Keith Moon is injured in the blast.


On this day in music history: September 17, 1967 - The Doors make their first and only on The Ed Sullivan Show performing their recent #1 hit "Light My Fire." Executives from CBS' Standards & Practices (i.e. network censors) will ask the band to change the line "girl we couldn't get much higher" to "girl we couldn't get much better," feeling the original line might be offense to some parts of the viewing audience. Lead singer Jim Morrison will agree to sing the altered line but when the band performs the song on the live broadcast, Morrison will sing the line as it was originally written, even emphasising it the second time he sings it. This will infuriate Sullivan and the network who had planned to have The Doors make another six appearances on the show, are immediately cancelled. When a show producer tells them they'll never appear on the show again, Morrison reportedly tells him, "Hey man. We just did the Sullivan Show.