Category: 80’s

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1988 – “It Takes Two”, the debut album by Rob Base & DJ EZ-Rock is released. Produced by DJ E-Z Rock, Rob Base, William Hamilton, David “DJ” Wynn, Donald “O” Bowden and Thomas Dean, it is recorded at Hillside Sound Studios in Englewood, NJ from Early – Mid 1988. Two friends hailing from Harlem, NY, MC Rob Base (Rob Ginyard) and DJ E-Z Rock (Rodney Bryce) record their first singles “DJ Interview” and “Make It Hot” for World To World Records in 1987. The latter song attracts the attention of Profile Records, who offer to sign them. When the label execs ask if they have any other new material, they reply “yes”, when in fact they do not. With no time to spare, the duo put together a new song overnight. They sample the break from James Brown protege Lyn Collins’ 70’s funk classic “Think (About It)” for the main body of the song, Titling it “It Takes Two” from a repeated vocal refrain the Collins song, it also samples The Galactic Space Band’s “Space Dust” (intro section) and Doug E. Fresh and MC Ricky D’s “La Di Da Di” (“hit it!” vocal sample). When Rob and E-Z Rock play the song for Profile, the label quickly rush releases it as a single out on August 2, 1988. To accompany it, they quickly film a low budget music video (costing only $5,000) on 16mm film. The records’ impact is felt immediately, becoming an instant classic on the street and on club dance floors around the world. “It Takes Two” (#17 R&B, #36 Pop, #3 Club Play), quickly turns Platinum. Its popularity and influence is so vast, that it is widely sampled on other rap, dance, rock and pop records over the next three decades. The album spins off two more singles, including “Get On The Dance Floor” (#6 Rap, #1 Club Play), and “Joy And Pain” (#5 Rap, #11 R&B, #9 Club Play, #58 Pop). In spite this major success, the duo’s time together is short lived. DJ EZ-Rock leaves, with Rob Base continuing as a solo act. Base charts once more on his own with the Gold certified follow up album “The Incredible Base” (#20 R&B, #50 Pop) and the single “Turn It Out (Go Base)” (#23 Club Play) in 1989. Reuniting in 1994, Base & EZ-Rock release the album “Break Of Dawn”, but is not successful and they part ways again. Still regarded as one of the greatest rap singles of all time, “It Takes Two” continues to permeate popular culture. The song has been used in numerous films and TV shows including “Iron Man 2”, “The Ant-Man And The Wasp” and “My Name Is Earl”. It is also prominently featured on the video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Out of print on vinyl since its initial release, the album is remastered and reissued to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary on April 21, 2018 for Record Store Day. Limited to only 2,000 copies, the LP is pressed on red vinyl. “It Takes Two” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty one on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1986 – “The Rain” by Oran “Juice” Jones hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on November 15, 1986. Written by Vincent Bell, it is the biggest hit for the Harlem, NY based R&B singer. Jones is the first R&B artist signed to the famed Def Jam record label. The song starts off as a conventional R&B track until Jones, feeling that the song is lacking something goes back into the studio and performs the now classic monologue verbally chastising his cheating girlfriend, which is recorded in a single take. At first, writer and co-producer Bell does not like the spoken monologue at the end of the song, but is overruled when co-producer and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons approves of it. Columbia Records R&B & Jazz VP Eddie Pugh plays an important role in the records’ success. Recognizing its hit potential, the executive leads the charge in the record receiving the promotional support necessary from CBS’ Black Music Division, to get it on the radio. Released in late June of 1986, it breaks quickly on R&B radio which leads to it crossing over on to the pop chart. “The Rain” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1986 – “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis & The News hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on the same date. Written by Chris Hayes and Huey Lewis, it is the second chart topping single for the pop/rock band from Marin, CA. Following the massive success of their breakthrough third album “Sports” and the chart topping “The Power Of Love” from the film “Back To The Future”, the pressure is on for Huey Lewis And The News to match their previous hit status. The band begin writing and recording material for their fourth studio album titled “Fore!” in late 1985. Exhausted from touring the world for much of the previous two years, they struggle to come up with new songs for the album, but manage to write several solid songs for the project. After about six months, the bands’ manager Bob Brown calls lead guitarist Chris Hayes, asking him to write another song, feeling that the album is lacking a sure fire hit single to lead off with. Hayes tells Brown that he’ll see what he can do. Going into the studio by himself, Hayes writes the music for what becomes “Stuck With You” in about three hours. Playing the instrumental demo for Huey, the singer begins penning lyrics for the track. At the time, Lewis is married to Sidney Conroy, who is their band manager’s secretary. They begin dating and are married in Hawaii in 1983. With their career taking off in a major way in the wake of the “Sports” album, all of the usual temptations of rock stardom come with it. Very much in love with his wife, Lewis writes the lyrics about resisting the urge to stray and remaining faithful. Once completed, all agree that the song is a smash, and “Stuck With You” is released as a single in July of 1986. Entering the Hot 100 at #42 on August 2, 1986, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The music video filmed on location in the Bahamas and directed by longtime collaborator Edd Griles, features Lewis with actress Keely Shaye Smith (the wife of actor Pierce Brosnan) as his love interest. In spite of the songs sentiment and having two children, Lewis and Conroy’s marriage ends in 1989 after only six years together.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1982 – “Love Over Gold”, the fourth album by Dire Straits is released. Produced by Mark Knopfler, it is recorded at The Power Station in New York City from March 8 – June 11, 1982. After releasing their first three albums in a relatively brief two and a half year period between 1978 and 1980, band leader and guitarist Mark Knopfler’s brother, keyboardist and second guitarist David Knopfler leaves Dire Straits over creative and personal differences, departing for a solo career. His place is taken by keyboardist Alan Clark and guitarist Hal Lindes who make their recording debut the band on their fourth release. Drummer Pick Withers also leaves the band two months after the sessions conclude, and he is replaced by Terry Williams. The style and sound of the material is more spacious and atmospheric, compared to the bands previous efforts which becomes the catalyst for Mark Knopfler’s later soundtrack composing work. The albums title comes from graffiti that Knopfler sees spray painted on a wall, across the street from his London council flat. It is also the bands first release, to be recorded and mixed entirely on digital recording equipment. The project marks the band’s first time working with engineer Neil Dorfsman, who becomes a trusted technical collaborator, and eventual co-producer of their next studio album “Brothers In Arms”. The song “Private Dancer” is written during the sessions, but is later given to Tina Turner to record when he feels the lyrics are more suited for a female singer. Originally released on CD in 1983, it is remastered and reissued in 2000 and also as a 180 gram vinyl LP by UK reissue label Simply Vinyl the same year. It is also reissued on 180 gram vinyl by Warner Bros in the US in 2010. “Love Over Gold” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1982 – “Nebraska”, the sixth album by Bruce Springsteen is released. Produced by Bruce Springsteen, it is recorded at Springsteen’s Bedroom in Colts Neck, NJ on January 3, 1982 and April 1982. Starting the 80’s with the huge success of “The River”, Bruce Springsteen then takes an unexpected turn. Writing dozens of new songs, they are influenced in part by Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States”, and by the punk band Suicide. He asks his guitar tech Mike Batalan to set up some recording gear for him. Bruce records the songs in his bedroom at home. The majority are cut in one session, using a four-track Tascam cassette Portastudio and a pair of Shure SM57 mics. Mixed down to a boom box with a Gibson Echoplex to add reverb, the end result is a cycle of intimate, but powerful and dark songs. The tape is intended to serve as a demo for the E Street Band to learn, but fate has other plans. They record full arrangements of the songs in March of 1982, but Bruce feels they lack the impact of the demo. Springsteen re-records them solo, but feel that the remakes also miss the mark. He wants to release the demo, but there are several technical issues. The cassette is recorded at only 3 ¾ IPS (inches per second), rather than higher quality grade recording tape running at 15 or 30 IPS. Phasing from improper azimuth alignment on the tape is also a problem. Springsteen asks engineer Toby Scott if it can be polished up enough to release. Transferring the cassette to ¼ two-track open reel tape and cleaning up the sound as much as possible, He takes the tape to several different mastering facilities to cut lacquers. Bob Ludwig, Stephen Marcussen, Dennis King and engineers at Sterling Sound and CBS all try, but initially can’t make an acceptable master. Using King’s mastering notes and with Ludwig using the EQ chain at his studio, the final lacquers are cut. At first, Columbia Records is not enthusiastic about the dark and spare album, but issue it as is at his behest. Though it’s only a modest seller, “Nebraska” receives major acclaim and is regarded as one of Bruce Springsteen’s most important works. No singles are issued in the US, but “Atlantic City” (#10 Mainstream Rock) and “Open All Night” (#22 Mainstream Rock) are released in Europe. Several of the songs on “Nebraska” are covered by other artists including Johnny Cash, and inspires the tribute album “Badlands – A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska”, featuring covers by Aimee Mann & Michael Penn, Son Volt, Los Lobos, and Hank Williams III. Originally issued on CD in 1985, it is remastered and reissued in 2014, also being reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP as part of the box set “Bruce Springsteen – The Album Collection Vol. 1”. The CD and LP are also issued as separately in 2015. “Nebraska” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1980 – “Blizzard Of Ozz”, the debut solo album by Ozzy Osbourne is released. Produced by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, and Lee Kerslake, it is recorded at Ridge Farm Studios in Capel, Dorking, Surrey, UK from March 22 – April 19, 1980. Recorded in less than thirty days during the Spring of 1980, the former lead singer of Black Sabbath embark on his solo career. It is the first two albums to feature lead guitarist Randy Rhoads. Before the album is released, Osborne and his wife/manager Sharon attend a luncheon meeting with marketing and promotion staffers at Epic Records offices in Los Angeles to play the newly completed album. Ozzy who is very drunk at the time releases a pair of doves from his coat pockets, and while sitting on the lap of one of the female employees, one of the birds lands on Ozzy’s knee. He responds by picking the bird and biting its head off. The shocked and sickened execs have The Osbournes ejected from the building. With one dove still in his pocket, Ozzy bites the other bird’s head off and throws it in the receptionists area on the way out. The incident becomes infamous in the music biz, but in spite of this, the label releases the album as scheduled. The tracks “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” though not successful as singles propel the album to multi-platinum sales. The song “Suicide Solution” also the subject of later controversy when parents of a nineteen year old fan sue Osbourne and CBS Records, when their son commits suicide while listening to the song. The case eventually is thrown out of court. When the album is reissued in 2002, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake’s bass and drum parts and background vocals are re-recorded and substituted, when a long standing lawsuit between them and the Osbournes over unpaid royalties are still pending. The suit is settled in 2003, and the original version of the album is restored on the thirtieth anniversary reissue in 2010. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2011. “Blizzard Of Ozz” peaks at number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1980 – “The Game”, the fifth album by Queen hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 5 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the R&B album chart on October 4, 1980. Produced by Queen and Reinhold Mack, it is recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from June – July 1979 and February – May 1980. Issued as the follow up to their previous album “Jazz”, it differs noticeably from their previous album sporting a more stripped down pop/rock sound. Recording in Germany at producer Giorgio Moroder’s Musicland Studios, as well as working with engineer/co-producer Mack contributes to the bands change in musical approach. Queen breaks with their “no synthesizers” credo when they utilize an Oberheim OB-X on the album. It is well received by fans and critics alike upon its release, and goes on to become their most successful album. It spins off three singles including “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (#1 Pop) and “Another One Bites The Dust” (#1 Pop, #2 R&B). Original vinyl pressings of the album feature the album cover art with an aluminized foil finish. The expensive printing process is discontinued after the initial press run of the LP, switching to a flat grey ink finish to save on manufacturing costs. “The Game” is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1980 – “Give Me The Night”, the nineteenth album by George Benson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B album chart for 4 weeks, also topping the Jazz Album Chart for 12 weeks on August 16, 1980, and peaking at #3 on the Top 200 on October 4, 1980. Produced by Quincy Jones, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA and Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, CA from October – December 1979. Still riding a huge wave of mainstream commercial success that began with the Grammy winning multi-platinum selling “Breezin’”, George Benson turns to one of the successful and talented producers in the music business to oversee his first album of the new decade. Having just produced Michael Jackson’s artistic and commercial triumph “Off The Wall”, Quincy Jones signs on to produce George Benson just as he completes work with Jackson. The album is the inaugural release on Jones’ newly established Qwest Records label imprint through Warner Bros Records. Jones assembles a class A team of musicians to back Benson including Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson, Rufus drummer John Robinson, Greg Phillinganes, George Duke, Michael Boddicker (keyboards) all of whom had played on Jackson’s album. Carlos Vega (drums), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion) and the Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams) are also featured. The producer also calls on songwriter Rod Temperton to write several songs, of which he contributes five of the albums ten songs. Singer Patti Austin also features prominently on “Give Me The Night”, acting as both a background vocal arranger, as well as singing background vocals and dueting with Benson on a cover of the jazz standard “Moody’s Mood”. Released on July 25, 1980 and led by the smash title track (#1 R&B, #4 Pop, #2 Club Play), the album spins off two other singles including “Love X Love” (#9 R&B, #61 Pop) and “Turn Out The Lamplight” (#33 R&B). It becomes the second largest selling studio album of George Benson’s career. It wins four Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (“Give Me The Night”), Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male (“Moody’s Mood”), and Best R&B Instrumental Performance (“Off Broadway”) for Benson, and Best Instrumental Arrangement (for “Dinorah, Dinorah” awarded to Quincy Jones and Jerry Hey) in 1981. The making of the album is documented on the PBS music series “From Jump Street”, hosted by jazz musician, author and playwright Oscar Brown, Jr.. “Give Me The Night” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 19, 19…

On this day in music history: September 19, 1989 – “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814”, the fourth album by Janet Jackson is released. Produced by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson, Jellybean Johnson and John McClain, it is recorded at Flyte Tyme Studios in Minneapolis, MN from September 1988 – May 1989. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Control” album, it is a concept album with many of the songs touching on the subject of social injustice. Taking a greater role in the creative process this time out, half of the albums twelve songs are either co-written or written by Janet herself. The numbers “14” and “18” in the album’s title, signify the letters “R” and “N” as the eighteenth and fourteenth letters in the alphabet. The ambitious project is supported with both an accompanying long form music video, directed by frequent collaborator Domenic Sena. Released on home video, it wins a Grammy Award for Best Longform Video in 1990. The album is extremely well received by fans and critics, and becomes the only album in history to spin off seven top five singles, including four number one pop (“Miss You Much”, “Escapade”, “Black Cat”, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”), and three number one R&B singles (“Miss You Much”, “Rhythm Nation”, “Escapade”). One additional track, “State Of The World” though not issued as a commercial single in the US (at the time of its original release in Australia and Japan only), is remixed and released to radio and as a double 12" set for club DJ’s. On the heels of the album’s success, Janet launches her first world tour in Pensacola, FL on February 27, 1990. The Rhythm Tour plays fifty seven dates in the US, Europe and Japan, running until November 16, 1990. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, three weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 19, 19…

On this day in music history: September 19, 1987 – “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” by Michael Jackson & Siedah Garrett hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on the same date.Written by Michael Jackson, it is the seventh number one solo single (eleventh, to date) for “The King Of Pop”. Issued as the first single from “Bad”, the song is initially pitched to Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston, who both have to pass on recording the song due to prior recording commitments. Siedah Garrett comes to the studio, initially believing she is there to add overdubs to the song “Man In The Mirror” which she has co-written with fellow songwriter Glen Ballard. To her great surprise, producer Quincy Jones asks her to sing the duet with Michael. Released seven weeks ahead of the album on July 20, 1987, the single is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #37 on August 8, 1987, it leaps to the top of the chart six weeks later. Jackson and Garrett also record a Spanish language version of the song (titled “Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu” translated by Ruben Blades) that is released as a limited edition 12" single by CBS International’s Latin Music division. In 2012 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of “Bad”, Wal-Mart reissues “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as an exclusive limited edition CD single (individually numbered) with the previously unreleased demo “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round”. A numbered limited edition replica of the original 7" single is also reissued along with a reproduction of the original picture sleeve artwork. “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.