Category: 70’s

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – “Dynasty”, the seventh studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Vini Poncia, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios and The Record Plant in New York City from January – February 1979. Following up the four solo albums released by the individual band members just nine months before, it is the KISS’ first studio effort since 1977’s “Love Gun”. Giorgio Moroder is originally slated to produce the album, but has to bow out due to scheduling conflicts (he is working with Donna Summer on the “Bad Girls” album at that time). Songwriter and producer Vini Poncia, who had worked on Peter Criss’ solo album is enlisted to helm the project. Ironically, Criss has little involvement in the recording sessions, being sidelined by drug problems and injuries sustained in a car accident, playing on only one track (“Dirty Livin’). Studio drummer Anton Fig is hired to fill in, playing on the remaining tracks. The album is also supported by the bands largest and most ambitious tour to date. Though the band sees a major shift in their audience, with much younger fans in attendance which has a polarizing effect on KISS’ fan base. The album spins off two singles including disco influenced "I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (#11 Pop) and “Sure Know Something” (#47 Pop). Remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014, making it available in that format for the first time in twenty five years. “Dynasty” peak at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – “The Boss”, the tenth studio album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios and Celebration Studio in New York City from January – March 1979. By the beginning of 1979, Motown superstar Diana Ross finds herself at another career crossroads. With the critical and box office performance of the big screen adaptation of “The Wiz” which Ross had starred in, as well as the mediocre sales of her two previous albums “Baby It’s Me” and “Ross”, she is in need of a career boost. Diana reunites with her old friends Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who had written and produced her first and third solo albums. The husband and wife duo who by this time have firmly established themselves as successful artists in their own right, pull out all the stops to craft a hit album for Ross. Writing and producing a full album of first rate material, Ashford & Simpson cut the tracks (with Val leading on piano) with many of the same musicians that have played on their recent albums including Anthony Jackson (bass),  Michael Brecker (saxophone), Ray Chew (keyboards), John Sussewell (drums), Eric Gale (guitar), Francisco Centeno (bass), Errol “Crusher” Bennett, Sammy Figueroa (percussion), Maxine Waters, Julia Waters and Stephanie Spruill (background vocals). Featuring a mixture of up and mid tempo R&B/Disco flavored cuts and sultry slow grooves, it is a perfect musical fit for the Motown diva. The title track “The Boss” (#12 R&B, #19 Pop, #1 Club Play, #41 AC) is an across the board hit for Diana Ross, placing her solidly back on the charts. It is followed by “It’s My House” (#27 R&B) and “No One Gets The Prize”. The album cut “I Ain’t Been Licked” also enjoys substantial club play and becomes another favorite among fans. “The Boss” becomes Ross’ best seller since her 1976 self-titled release, and is promoted further by an appearance on the HBO series “Standing Room Only” in June of 1979. Originally released on CD in 1988, it is remastered and reissued in 1999 with two bonus tracks, including the original 12" Disco Mix of the title track and a promo only extended 12" version “No One Gets The Prize”, both remixed by Jimmy Simpson. It is also reissued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan, with another by Culture Factory Records in 2013, packaged in a mini-LP sleeve and containing the same track listing as the 1999 CD release. Out of print on vinyl for over three decades, it is also reissued by Culture Factory Records in 2017, pressed on translucent red vinyl. “The Boss” peaks at number ten on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 23, 1975 -…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1975 – “Red Headed Stranger”, the eighteenth album by Willie Nelson is released. Produced by Willie Nelson, it is recorded at Autumn Sound Studios in Garland, TX in January 1975. Well established as a songwriter for penning classics like “Crazy”, “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls” and “The Party’s Over”, Willie Nelson’s midas touch as a writer does not transfer to him as a recording artist. He grows frustrated of trying conform to Nashville’s formulaic approach, and decides to retire from music in 1972. He returns home to Texas and settles in Austin. The city’s vibrant music scene inspires him anew. Revamping his musical persona, he becomes a pioneer of the “Outlaw” movement which includes contemporaries like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. Rooted firmly in honky tonk music and rockabilly, it is a reaction to the slick “Nashville Sound”. Forming a new band that he dubs “The Family”, Nelson signs with Atlantic Records and records the album “Shotgun Willie” in 1973. It helps establish his new sound as well as the follow up “Phases And Stages in 1974. The acclaim those albums receive lead to him signing Columbia Records who offer complete creative control. Willie decides record a "concept album” centering around a fugitive on the run from the law after killing his unfaithful wife and her lover. He titles it “Red Headed Stranger” making reference to “The Tale Of The Red Headed Stranger”, a song he used to perform during his days as a radio DJ. Looking to work without any outside interference, Willie records in a small studio in Garland, TX. Armed with his battered and road weary Martin classical guitar named “Trigger” and accompaniment from his band, it is recorded in only five days for under $25,000. When the finished record is handed in to CBS, the label is initially skeptical about its chances for success. That doubt is immediately quelled with the first single, a cover of “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” (#1 Country #21 Pop). “Stranger” finally establishes Willie Nelson as a country music superstar, winning him his first Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male in 1976. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2000, including four bonus tracks. It is also reissued on vinyl in 2008 Sony Legacy, by Music On Vinyl in 2009 and as a 180 gram pressing in 2011 by Impex Records. Regarded as an important and iconic country music album, it is selected for preservation by National Recording Registry of the Library Of Congress in 2010. “Red Headed Stranger” spends five weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Country album chart, peaking at number twenty eight on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 23, 1972 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1972 – “Lookin’ Through The Windows”, the fifth studio album by The Jackson 5 is released. Produced by The Corporation and Hal Davis, it is recorded at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA in February 1970, and Motown/Hitsville USA West in Hollywood, CA from October 1971 – April 1972. The groups fifth release sees them beginning to move away from the trademark “bubblegum soul” feel of their earlier Motown hits toward a more mature sound. This period also marks the beginning of the groups dissatisfaction with Motown’s control over their career, in which they are not allowed to have any say or creative input in their music. It spins off two singles (three in the UK) including “Little Bitty Pretty One” (#8 R&B, #15 Pop) “Doctor My Eyes” (#9 UK), and the title track (#5 R&B, #16 Pop, #9 UK). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, as a two-fer disc with the “Goin’ Back To Indiana” TV soundtrack. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in Europe in 2009, with a second stand alone CD release in 2010. “Lookin’ Through The Windows” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart and number seven on the Top 200.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 22, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1976 – “Silly Love Songs” by Wings hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks (non-consecutive), also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 1 week on May 29, 1976. Written and produced by Paul McCartney, it is the fifth solo chart topper for the former Beatle. McCartney writes the song in response to critics who often chide him, feeling that his solo work is “lightweight” in comparison to his Beatles era material. Released on April 1, 1976, it is issued as the first single from Wings’ fifth studio album “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”, becoming an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #58 on April 10, 1976, it leaps to the top of the singles chart just six weeks later. After one week on top, it is temporarily bumped from the top spot by Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” for two weeks on May 29, 1976. The single then rebounds and returns to the top for four more weeks on June 12, 1976. McCartney re-records “Silly Love Songs” in a dramatically revamped version for the film “Give My Regards To Broad Street” in 1984, that features Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson on bass. “Silly Love Songs” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 22, 1975 – “…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1975 – “Adventures In Paradise”, the third album by Minnie Riperton is released. Produced by Stewart Levine, Minnie Riperton and Richard Rudolph, it is recorded at Wally Heider 3 Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January – March 1975. Just as she is experiencing the breakthrough success of her second album “Perfect Angel” and the single “Lovin’ You” headed toward number one, Minnie Riperton begins working on the follow up album. With Stevie Wonder being pre-occupied with work on his magnum opus “Songs In The Key Of Life”, he is not able to co-produce with Riperton and her husband, musician Richard Rudolph. Instead, they work with Crusaders producer Stewart Levine on the new project. In between, Minnie meets singer and songwriter Leon Ware, while both are working on Quincy Jones’ “Mellow Madness” album. Hitting it off immediately, Ware, Riperton and Rudolph write three songs together for Minnie’s new album. Co-producer Levine assembles an outstanding team of first call musicians to play on the sessions including Crusaders keyboardist Joe Sample, saxophonist Tom Scott, Jim Gordon (drums), Dean Parks, Larry Carlton (guitar), Jim Horn (saxophone), and Dorothy Ashby (harp). Released right on the heels of “Perfect Angel”, the jazzy, soulful, and sensual album becomes a favorite of Riperton’s fans, though it is less commercially successful than its predecessor. It spins off two singles including the classic “Inside My Love” (#26 R&B, #76 Pop), which meets with resistance from numerous radio stations feeling that it is “too suggestive” for daytime radio play. “Paradise” becomes a cult classic and highly sought after album in later years when A Tribe Called Quest samples the track “Baby This Love I Have” as the basis of their iconic single “Check The Rhime” in 1991. Minnie’s original version of “Inside My Love” is featured on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s film “Jackie Brown” in 1997, while R&B singer Chante Moore covers the song for the “New York Undercover” soundtrack two years earlier in 1995. R&B vocalist Trina Broussard also covers “Inside” for the “Love Jones” soundtrack in 1997. Timbaland also samples “Baby This Love” for Aaliyah’s song “Heartbroken” in 1996. Shortly after the album is released, a TV spot recreating the cover shot is filmed. Using a different lion than the one used previously, it jumps on Riperton, but she is unhurt in the incident. “Adventures In Paradise” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number eighteen on the Top 200.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 21, 1977 – &…

On this day in music history: May 21, 1977 – “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on May 28, 1977. Written and produced by Stevie Wonder, it is fifth pop and thirteenth R&B chart topper for the twenty two time Grammy award winning singer, songwriter and musician. The song is written in tribute to legendary composer, arranger and bandleader Duke Ellington. Having been an influence on Wonder as a musician, he feels compelled to acknowledge Ellington who had passed away in May of 1974 at the age of 75. Stevie also name checks many other important jazz and swing music pioneers in the song including Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. The track features Wonder (keyboards) with members of his band Wonderlove including Nathan Watts (bass), Michael Sembello and Ben Bridges (lead and rhythm guitars), Hank Redd (alto sax), Trevor Laurence (tenor sax), Raymond Maldonado, Steve Madaio (trumpets) and Raymond Pounds (drums). Issued as the second single from the landmark “Songs In The Key of Life” album on March 22, 1977, “Sir Duke” follows its predecessor “I Wish” to the top of the pop and R&B singles charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #74 on April 2, 1977, it  climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The success of “Sir Duke” propels “Songs In The Key Of Life” to 10x Platinum status in the US.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 21, 1977 – “…

On this day in music history: May 21, 1977 – “Whodunit” by Tavares hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #22 on the Hot 100 on June 4, 1977. Written by Keni St. Lewis and Freddie Perren, it is the third and final R&B chart topper for the family vocal quintet from New Bedford, MA. Former Motown staff songwriter St. Lewis (also co-writer of “Boogie Fever” and “Farewell My Summer Love”), both fans of detective stories comes up with the concept for the song, name checking famous private eyes such as Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, Ironside and Ellery Queen to name a few. The track features such top flight studio musicians as James Gadson (drums), Scott Edwards (bass), Bob Bowles (guitar), John Barnes and Sonny Burke (keyboards) and Paulinho DaCosta (congas). Released as the first single from Tavares’ fifth album “Love Storm” in March of 1977, it quickly becomes an R&B smash. Though the group continues to have regular chart success on the R&B charts, “Whodunit” is one of the last three Top 40 pop hits Tavares has. They are only able place in the upper half of the Hot 100 with “More Than A Woman” (#32 Pop, #36 R&B) also included on the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack and “Penny For Your Thoughts” (#33 Pop, #16 R&B) after moving to RCA Records in 1982.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 21, 1971 – &…

On this day in music history: May 21, 1971 – “What’s Going On”, the eleventh studio album by Marvin Gaye is released. Produced by Marvin Gaye, it is recorded at Motown Studio A, Golden World Studios (Motown Studio B), United Sound Studios in Detroit, MI and the Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA from June 1970, March – May 1971. A concept album focusing on the subjects of poverty, drug abuse, and war, its messages immediately resonate with the public. Following the huge success of the title track as a single, Motown demands a full album to go with it ASAP. Recording with Motown’s studio band The Funk Brothers, the basic tracks and vocals for the album is recorded in only ten days of studio time. The initial version of the album, now known as the “Detroit Mix” is mixed by Motown engineers while Gaye is off in California filming a movie. After hearing the initial mix, Gaye orders them shelved and send for the tapes while in California. He adds additional overdubs to several tracks, and completely remixes and re-sequences the album with engineer Lawrence Miles. The album is immediately recognized by critics and the public as an important artistic musical statement upon its release, as well as being a major commercial success. It spins off three singles including “Mercy Mercy Me” (#1 R&B, #4 Pop), “Inner City Blues” (#1 R&B, #9 Pop) and the title track (#1 R&B, #2 Pop). Regarded as a landmark album of its era, is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998. Reissued numerous times since making its CD debut in 1986, it is released as a two disc Deluxe Edition in 2001. The first disc contains the original nine song album, as well as the initial but previously unreleased “Detroit Mix”, plus an instrumental mix of the title track. The second disc features a live concert recorded in Washington DC in January of 1972, with Gaye performing the album in its entirety live. It also contains the original mono single mixes of “What’s Going On”, and the B-sides “God Is Love”, “Sad Tomorrows” and an early demo recording of “Distant Lover”. This edition is also released as a four LP set in 2016, to commemorate the forty fifth anniversary of the albums’ release. Also a favorite of audiophiles, it is remastered and reissued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab twice. The first time as an SACD and as a half speed mastered LP (in 2008 and 2009), and as a One Step 45 RPM double LP set in 2019. “What’s Going On” spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number six on the Top 200, is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 20, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1978 – “With A Little Luck” by Wings hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Paul McCartney, it is the sixth solo chart topper for the former Beatle. In early 1977, Linda McCartney finds out that she is expecting her and Paul’s third child together (a son, named James Louis McCartney born on September 12, 1977). Inspired by the good news, McCartney writes “With A Little Luck” based on his feelings of happiness and optimism about the impending birth and their future. Deciding that a change of scenery is necessary when recording the follow up to their previous studio album “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”, the band take a working vacation, by living and recording on a yacht called the “Fair Carol” (equipped with a twenty-four track recording studio) moored off of the Virgin Islands in the Spring of 1977. Final overdubbing and mixing for the track is completed in London at Abbey Road and AIR Studios. Released as the first single from “London Town” (original working title “Water Wings”), it quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #70 on March 25, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Commercially sold copies of the 45 contain the full album version clocking in at 5:45, while promotional copies serviced to radio stations feature an edited version running 3:13. The short version is not issued on a commercial album, until the release of the compilation albums “All The Best!” in 1987 (US Version only) and “Wingspan” in 2001. “With A Little Luck” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228