Remembering Motown vocal legend Tammi Terrell (born Thomasina Winifred Montgomery in Philadelphia, PA) - April 29, 1945 - March 16, 1970.
On this day in music history: March 16, 1955 - "Unchained Melody" by Roy Hamilton is released. Written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, it is the second chart-topping for the R&B vocal legend from Leesburg, GA. Written by film score composer North (A Streetcar Named Desire, Spartacus) and lyricist Zaret ("One Meatball," "Why Does The Sun Shine?"), the song is originally composed as the theme for the film Unchained. It will quickly become a hit and is covered by numerous artists, including Al Hibbler and Les Baxter who will reach the top 10 with their versions. Hamilton's version (the third recording of the song) will spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues singles chart and number six on the Best Sellers chart. It is Hamilton's vocal style and arrangement that is the one will most directly influence and inspire The Righteous Brothers' 1965 recording, which will become the most famous rendition of the song.
On this day in music history: October 7, 1963 - Little Deuce Coupe, the fourth album by The Beach Boys, is released. Produced by Brian Wilson and Murry Wilson, it is recorded at Western Recorders in Hollywood in April 1962; January 31, 1963; June 12, 1963; and July 16, 1963. Following the release of the Capitol Records compilation album Shut Down, Coupe is produced as a companion piece, featuring more songs about hot rods and Southern California car culture. It is the first album by the band to be produced solely by Brian Wilson (except for two tracks) and marks the beginning of Wilson exerting more control over the production of their music. Regarded as one of the best of The Beach Boys' early albums, it is also the last to feature rhythm guitarist David Marks. Al Jardine will return to the band permanently (when he drops out of college) following Marks' departure after an argument with manager Murry Wilson. It will spin off several classics including "409" (#76 Pop), "Be True To Your School" (re-recorded for single release and mixed in mono) (#6 Pop), "Shut Down" (#23 Pop), and the title track (#15 Pop). Little Deuce Coupe will peak at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Born on this day: March 11, 1957 - R&B singer/songwriter Cheryl Lynn (born Lynda Cheryl Smith in Los Angeles, CA). Happy 56th Birthday, Cheryl!!
On this day in music history: March 11, 1960 - "Because They're Young" by Duane Eddy is recorded. Written by Don Costa, Wally Gold, Aaron Schroeder, and produced by Lee Hazlewood (Nancy Sinatra, Sanford Clark), it is the theme song to the film starring Dick Clark, Tuesday Weld, Doug McClure, and James Darren. The film is about a high school teacher (played by Clark), who tries to make a difference in the lives of his students. Eddy will also have a cameo role in the film. Released as a single in May, the song will become the guitarists' biggest hit in the US, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 4th. Co-star James Darren will later record a vocal version of the originally instrumental theme after Duane Eddy's version becomes a hit.
On this day in music history: March 11, 1967 - "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone" by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, also topping the R&B singles chart for two weeks on the same date. Written by Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, it is the ninth pop and fourth R&B chart topper for the superstar Motown vocal trio. Songwriter and co-producer Eddie Holland will come up with the basic idea for the song, writing the lyrics about a relationship in the throes of breaking up. Impressed by Diana Ross' emotive speaking voice, HDH will structure the song with passages where she'll deliver brief lines of dialogue before breaking into the songs' chorus. The basic track will be one of the Motown singles of the period not to be cut at the label's main studio (dubbed "Studio A") in Detroit. The producers will have members of The Funk Brothers fly out to Hollywood where they are working with film composer Frank DeVol (The Brady Bunch) on music for the film The Happening (starring Anthony Quinn). Recorded on the scoring stage at Columbia Studios on August 12, 1966, the Motown rhythm section is augmented with a full orchestra (arranged by Gene Page) featuring bassist James Jamerson playing upright bass. Jamerson will later overdub an electric bass part on the track in Detroit on September 22nd, with The Supremes adding their vocals on November 13th. Issued as the follow up to the groups' previous chart topper "You Keep Me Hangin' On" on January 11, 1967, it is the second single from The Supremes Sing "Holland - Dozier - Holland. Entering the Hot 100 at #47 on January 28th, it will shoot to the top six weeks later.
Born on this day: January 7, 1948 - Singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins (born Kenneth Clark Loggins in Everett, WA).
Happy 65th Birthday, Kenny!!
On this day in music history: January 7, 1967 - "Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for five weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 for one week on January 28th. Written by George Davis and Lee Diamond, it will be the biggest hit for the New Orleans-born vocalist. Recorded in 1965, Davis and Diamond will shop the track around to various record labels and are turned down by all of them. Over a year after that, they will start their own label, Par-Lo Records, and release it themselves. The record is an instant smash and will sell over a million copies within two months of its release However, Neville will see no real monetary reward from sales of the multi-million selling single. The owners of the Par-Lo record label will find themselves in dire financial straits when they find it nearly impossible to collect money from various independent distributors, leading them to file for bankruptcy. "Tell It Like It Is" will have enduring popularity over the years being covered by numerous artists including Otis Redding&Carla Thomas, Percy Sledge, Nina Simone, Andy Williams, and Heart whose version will return the song to the top 10 in early 1981, peaking at #8 on the Hot 100.
On this day in music history: October 15, 1957 - Elvis' Christmas Album by Elvis Presley is released. Produced by Steve Sholes, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios in Nashville and Radio Recorders in Hollywood from January - September 1957. Presley's first holiday album consists of eight Christmas songs and four gospel songs (the latter previously released as the EP Peace In The Valley). The LP's lavish original packaging is designed to look like a photo album and contains a photo booklet with publicity stills from Elvis' latest film Jailhouse Rock. Upon its release, the album will be the subject of some controversy when songwriter Irving Berlin, the composer of the classic "White Christmas," objects to Presley's recording of the song, going as far as requesting that radio stations ban it from airplay. Some others will feel that Elvis recording gospel songs is "sacrilegious." One disc jockey will actually be fired for playing the album on the air. In spite of all this, it will become a classic and a perennial holiday favorite over the years, being reissued every year. After its first year, the albums' artwork will be changed for the first of several times before the original album packaging is restored in 1985 as part of RCA's reissue program (some vinyl copies are pressed on red or green vinyl) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Presley's birth. Elvis' Christmas Album will spend four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.