Category: behind the grooves

On this day in music history: May 23, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1984 – “All Over The Place”, the debut album by The Bangles is released. Produced by David Kahne, it is recorded at Crystal Sound Studios, Soundcastle Studios in Hollywood, CA and Skyline Recording Studios in Topanga, CA from Late 1983 – Early 1984. Formed in Los Angeles, CA in 1981, the band originally consist of Susanna Hoffs (lead vocals, guitar), sisters Vicki Peterson (lead guitar, vocals) and Debbi Peterson (drums, vocals). Influenced by bands including The Beatles and The Byrds, they initially call themselves The Bangs. Their first single “Getting Out Of Hand” is released on their own label Downkiddie Records. In 1982, Annette Zilinskas (bass, vocals) is added to the line up. They’re signed to Faulty Products, a sub label of I.R.S. Records run by Police manager Miles Copeland. They’re then paired with legendary punk producer Craig Leon (The Ramones), to record a five song EP. They discover there is another band called The Bangs, and are forced to change their name. After writing down various substitutes including the self effacing “Bang-less”, it’s amended to The Bangles. They follow it up with a 12" single titled “The Real World”, but end up back at square one when their label folds. Shortly after, Zilinskas leaves to start her own band Blood On The Saddle. She’s replaced by former Runaways vocalist and bassist Michael Steele. Having remixed “The Real World” 12", David Kahne is also an A&R man for Columbia Records, signing The Bangles to the label in 1983. The band’s organic sound stands out from the slick, overproduced pop music of the 80’s. Their debut album features nearly all original material written by Susanna and Vicki, including the first single “Hero Takes A Fall”. Though it doesn’t chart, “Hero” receives significant play on MTV. It’s seen by music superstar Prince, who quickly becomes a fan of the band, especially Hoffs. He later reaches out to them, to offer up a song titled “Manic Monday”, that changes the course of their lives and career. The follow up is “Going Down To Liverpool”, written by former Soft Boys and Katrina And The Waves guitarist Kimberly Rew. Sung by Debbi Peterson, it too receives attention for its video, which is directed by Hoffs’ mother Tamar Simon Hoffs. The clip features actor Leonard Nimoy playing the band’s chauffeur. Heavy college radio play, and touring with Huey Lewis & The News and Cyndi Lauper, also give The Bangles crucial exposure. It helps propel their debut album on to the US album chart, where it charts for thirty weeks. Originally released on CD in 1986, “All Over The Place” is reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2008, and again by Cherry Pop Records in 2010. Both CD releases contain one bonus track each. “All Over The Place” peaks at number eighty on the Billboard Top 200.

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 23, 1969 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1969 – “Tommy”, the fourth studio album by The Who is released. Produced by Kit Lambert, it is recorded at IBC Studios in London from September 19, 1968 – March 7, 1969. The twenty four track double album is a rock opera composed by Pete Townshend (with contributions from John Entwistle and Keith Moon) about a deaf, blind and mute boy who becomes the leader of a messianic movement, whose followers eventually turn on him in the end. Townshend takes inspiration from the teachings of Indian mystic Meher Baba, and the spiritual enlightenment he has found as he begins composing the songs. Musically, it is more sophisticated and complex than anything that The Who has previously attempted. Recording sessions begin in the Fall of 1968, though they are constantly interrupted as the bands then perilous financial state forces them to go on the road. The original LP release is packaged in a tri-fold jacket with cover artwork by pop artist Mike McInnerney, also being packaged with a booklet containing the song lyrics. In the US, “Tommy” performs decently during its initial release. The band mounts a tour in support of the album, performing the work in its entirety, including a now legendary performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. It is during and after that tour that the album really takes off stateside. Following the concert at The Met, the buzz created by the performance, renews interest in the album, and drives it back up the charts to a new peak in the Summer and Fall of 1970. As a result, “Tommy” sells more than triple its initial US sales. It is regarded as a watershed moment in the bands history, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time. It spins off three singles including “Pinball Wizard” (#4 UK, #19 US Pop), “I’m Free” (#37 US Pop) and “See Me, Feel Me” (#12 US Pop). First released on CD in 1989, it is remastered and reissued in 1996 and again in 2003 as a two disc Deluxe Edition Hybrid SACD. The first disc contains the full album with the original stereo mix and a new 5.1 surround mix. The second disc contains outtakes and demos. In 2013, it is reissued as a three CD + Blu-ray disc Super Deluxe Edition. The CD’s are newly remastered with more outtakes, an entire disc featuring the album performed live in its entirety. The Blu-ray features stereo and 5.1 surround mixes. The US release featuring two discs, containing the stereo album and the live bootleg album. Long out of print on vinyl, it is reissued in Europe in 2013 and in the US in 2014. It is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998. “Tommy” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number four on the Billboard 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, 1960 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1960 – “Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on June 13, 1960. Written by Don Everly and Phil Everly, it is the third and final US chart topper for the pioneering rock & roll duo from Brownie, KY. After a string of successful and memorable hits for Archie Bleyer’s Cadence Records, they are signed by Warner Bros. Records to a long term contract worth over $1 million (an unprecedented sum at the time). Phil comes up with the initial idea for “Cathy’s Clown” after they record other eight songs, with none of which is deemed suitable for their first release. Don helps his brother finish off the tune before going into RCA Victor Studio A in Nashville, TN to record it. Released in April of 1960, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #94 on April 18, 1960, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Cathy’s Clown” is a big hit internationally also, topping the UK singles chart for seven weeks in May and June of 1960. The Everlys have a successful string of hits on Warner Bros through 1962. In late 1961, The Everly Brothers enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves, to avoid being drafted into the Army for active duty.  The duos hit streak is also hindered when they have a falling out with Welsey Rose, the head of the powerful Nashville music publisher Acuff-Rose Music, whom Phil and Don’s own songs are also published by. This ends up cutting the brothers off from many of the songwriters that have written their past hits. As a result, The Everlys are only able to score one more US top 40 hit single, over the next four and a half years. “Cathy’s Clown” 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, 1981 – &…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1981 – “It Must Be Magic”, the fourth album by Teena Marie is released. Produced by Teena Marie, it is recorded at Motown Hitsville U.S.A. Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA and Wanderland Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1980 – Early 1981. With her previous album “Irons In The Fire” still on the charts, Teena Marie begins work on her fourth release. She utilizes the members of her touring band including Allen McGrier (bass), Paul Hines (drums), James S. Stewart (keyboard), Jill Jones and Mickey Hearn (backing vocals). Marie is also supported in the studio by Patrice Rushen (keyboards), Gerald Albright (saxophone), Bill Wolfer (synthesizer), Temptations members Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Stone City Band Members Oscar Alston (bass), Tom McDermott (guitar), Daniel LeMelle (saxophone), and Marie’s friend and mentor Rick James (vocals). The first single “Square Biz” (#3 R&B, #12 Club Play, #50 Pop) co-written with McGrier is an immediate smash becoming Teena’s biggest single to date. It is also unique in that it is one of the first R&B songs to feature rap verses, at a time when rap is still considered by many to be a novelty. The title track “It Must Be Magic” (#30 R&B), features The Temptations’ Melvin Franklin reprising his spoken vocal from The Marvelettes’ 1967 single “My Baby Must Be A Magician”. The third single “Portuguese Love” (#54 R&B) becomes a Quiet Storm radio classic and a fan favorite. The album ascends to the runner up spot on the R&B chart, ironically behind Rick James’ “Street Songs”. In spite of the success, it also marks the beginning of the end of her relationship with Motown Records. The singer has issues with the label over her contract and royalty payments. Hiring attorney Don Engel to represent her, Teena looks to be released from her contract. The ensuing legal battle between both sides results in “The Brockert Initiative”, a precedent setting piece of legal legislation. It makes it illegal for a record label, to hold an artist under contract without releasing new material, or allowing that artist to leave and sign with another label. Eventually she is released from Motown, and signs with Epic Records in 1983. First released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 2002, with liner notes by A Scott Galloway. The 12" mix of “Square Biz” replaces the slightly shorter LP version, and includes three additional bonus tracks including the instrumental mix of “Biz” and two live tracks recorded at the Long Beach Arena on July 30, 1981. The original nine track album is remastered and reissued in Japan in 2013 as an SHM-CD, packaged in a mini-LP sleeve. “It Must Be Magic” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty three 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 22, 1980 – “…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1980 – “diana”, the eleventh studio album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at The Power Station, Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Motown/Hitsville USA Studios in Hollywood, CA from November 1979 – April 1980. Motown superstar Diana Ross approaches Edwards and Rodgers about producing her, after her children take her to see Chic at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Never having worked with a major artist before, the producers agree to do the project. Sessions are arduous, as they clash with the singer over their working methods. The situation comes to a head during one vocal session, when Edwards tells Ross she’s singing flat. She storms out of the studio, and goes the south of France for several weeks. After the sessions resume, she expresses her unhappiness with the way the album is initially mixed. The producers make some slight alterations and then tell her that if she still isn’t happy, she can remix them herself. With veteran Motown mix engineer Russ Terrana, Ross remixes the entire album, which creates more friction between both sides. So much so, that Edwards and Rodgers nearly ask to have their names removed from the credits. Fortunately cooler heads prevail, and producers credit remains intact, though they insist that Ross and Terrana be credited for the remixes. In spite of all of the behind the scenes drama, the album is ecstatically received by the public, becoming the Motown superstar’s most successful release ever. Fans and critics are further taken aback by the striking black and white cover photo, taken by legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo (Seventeen, Cosmopolitan). Instead of the normally high glamour look Ross is known for, she is shown on the front cover with her natural length hair, wet and swept back, wearing a white top and blue jeans (borrowed from model Gia Carangi). The albums stark cover photo is contrasted, with a casual, glossy inner gatefold photo taken by famed photographer Douglas Kirkland (Look, Life Magazine). It spins off the hits “Upside Down” (#1 Pop & R&B), I’m Coming Out" (#5 Pop, #6 R&B), and a third in the UK (“My Old Piano” #5 UK). It is remastered and reissued in 2003 as a two CD Deluxe Edition with the original “Chic Mix” being released for the first time. The second disc features rare and unreleased remixes of several Diana Ross dance floor classics. The CD booklet also features annotation by former Record World and Billboard dance music columnist Brian Chin. In April of 2017, the “Chic Mix” is issued as a double vinyl LP set, pressed on translucent pink vinyl. “diana” spends eight weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x 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 22, 1976 – “…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1976 – “Kiss And Say Goodbye” by The Manhattans hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on July 24, 1976. Written by Winfred “Blue” Lovett, it is the biggest hit for the Jersey City, NJ based R&B vocal quintet. The group actually record two versions of the song. The first version, cut with the groups backing band Little Harlem catches the attention of producer/arranger Bobby Martin (L.T.D., Tavares), who re-records the song with the group at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with members of the band MFSB. An immediate smash on black radio, the single crosses over top pop radio, hitting the top of the Hot 100. “Kiss And Say Goodbye” becomes the second single in music history to hit the Platinum mark in sales (for sales of over two million copies), following Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady”, which is the first to be officially certified for that sales plateau. An alternate version of “Kiss And Say Goodbye” is recorded that features a risque spoken intro that is excised from commercial copies of the single and album, and is mixed into mono only. This version is distributed on an extremely limited basis to select radio stations in the US. “Kiss And Say Goodbye” 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