On this day in music history: October 18, 1989 – “11”, the third album by The Smithereens is released. Produced by Ed Stasium, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles, CA in Early – Mid 1989. Scoring their first chart single “Only A Memory” (#92 Pop) and also landing on the charts with their second album “Green Thoughts”, The Smithereens return to the studio in early 1989 to begin work on their next release. Having previously worked with producer Don Dixon (R.E.M., Guadalcanal Diary) on the first two albums, the New Jersey based rock band work with engineer and producer Ed Stasium (Living Colour) on the new album. The third release features Belinda Carlisle, The Honeys and Maria Vidal providing background vocals on various tracks. It spins off four singles including their first top 40 hit “A Girl Like You” (#38 Pop, #3 Modern Rock, #2 Mainstream Rock). “A Girl Like You” was originally written for inclusion in the Cameron Crowe film “Say Anything”, but the producers end up passing on the song when they feel the lyrics reveal too much of the films’ storyline. The album cover art (designed by Mick Haggerty) is inspired by artist Saul Bass’ iconic movie poster designed for the film “Oceans Eleven”. “11” peaks at number forty one on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1988 – “Everything”, the third album by The Bangles is released. Produced by Davitt Sigerson, Walker Ingleheart, John Philip Shenale and Phillip White, it is recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA and Studio 55 in Hollywood, CA from Late 1987 – Mid 1988. Issued as the follow up to their breakthrough release “Different Light”, it is another successful project for the L.A. based female rock quartet, but it ends up being their last album of new material for fifteen years. Internal band friction that began during the recording of the previous album intensifies during the recording of “Everything”. With CBS Records placing more and more emphasis and media focus on Susanna Hoffs rather than on the band as a whole, leads to the demise of The Bangles in 1990. It spins off three singles including “In Your Room” (#5 Pop) and “Eternal Flame” (#1 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2007, including the extended 12" mix of “In Your Room” as an added bonus track. “Everything” peaks at number fifteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1988 – “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1”, the debut album by The Traveling Wilburys is released. Produced by Otis Wilbury and Nelson Wilbury, it is recorded at FPSHOT in Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK, Lucky Studios and Dave Stewart Studios in Los Angeles, CA from April – May 1988. In early 1988, George Harrison is enjoying the success of his album “Cloud Nine”. Appearing on the radio show Rockline, he is asked about unreleased material. George says, “What I’d really like to do next is… to do an album with me and some of my mates… a few tunes, you know”. “It’s this new group I got: it’s called the Traveling Wilburys”. Planning to issue “This Is Love” as a single, he decides to record a new song for the B-side. This and a private in-joke results in one of the most successful and acclaimed albums of the year. While working with former ELO leader Jeff Lynne, Harrison coins the name “Wilbury”, joking that “we’ll bury ‘em in the mix”, to cover any mistakes. At the time Lynne is working with rock legend Roy Orbison, and they all meet for dinner one evening. Orbison, who Harrison has known since 1963, is invited to participate in the session George is planning. Needing a studio, George calls Bob Dylan to ask if they can use his. Dylan agrees and is added to the fold. Having lent a guitar to friend Tom Petty, Harrison goes to retrieve it and tells him about planning to record with Dylan, Orbison and Lynne, then also invites Petty. Meeting at Dylan’s studio in early April of 1988, the five musicians joined by drummer Jim Keltner write and record “Handle With Care” (#45 Pop). When George plays it for his label Warner Bros Records, they tell him it’s too good for a B-side, and request a full album to go with it. Enjoying the initial session, they quickly write and record more songs. Adapting the name Traveling Wilburys and referring to themselves as “half-brothers” and the sons of “Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr.”, they take the names “Nelson” (Harrison), “Otis” (Lynne), “Charlie T., Jr.” (Petty), “Lucky” (Dylan) and “Lefty” (Orbison). The resulting album is a huge success. Sadly, Roy Orbison dies less than two months after its release. His band mates pay tribute to him in the video for the second single “End Of The Line” (#63 Pop), showing a framed picture of him, and his guitar sitting in a rocking chair. “Volume 1” wins a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1989. It spins off a sequel titled “Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3” in 1990, but is less successful than its predecessor. Falling out of print, the albums are remastered and reissued as a limited edition box set (on CD and vinyl) in 2007, six years after George Harrison’s death. The first album pressed on 180 gram vinyl, is issued as a stand alone release in 2016. “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1983 – “Rock ‘N Soul Part 1”, the fourteenth album by Daryl Hall & John Oates is released. Produced by Daryl Hall, John Oates, Bob Clearmountain, Christopher Bond, Neil Kernon and Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Recording Studios, Advantage Sound Studios, The Hit Factory, Electric Lady Studios in New York City, Larrabee Sound Studios in West Hollywood, CA, and Western Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA from March 1973 – September 1983. The duos’ first greatest hits album, the twelve track compilation covers material recorded between 1973 and 1983, including two newly recorded songs (“Say It Isn’t So” #2 Pop, #45 R&B, and “Adult Education” #8 Pop), plus a live recording of “Wait For Me”. The original cover art features a caricature of the duo and comes in three different color variations along with a calendar/poster. Two music videos are shot for “Say It Isn’t So”. The first is a “concept” clip featuring the original LP/45 mix is only aired once on MTV at the time of the song’s release. That first video is later posted on YouTube. The video that is widely seen is a performance clip shot on the roof of a building in New York City, and uses an edit of John “Jellybean” Benitez’s 12" dance remix. The second clip is released on the video compilation “Video Collection – 7 Big Ones” in 1984. On a limited basis, some record stores give away a free 7" of their newly recorded version of the holiday classic “Jingle Bell Rock” (pressed on either red or green vinyl and packaged in a picture sleeve) with purchase of the LP. Initial printings of the LP sleeve do not mention the two new songs by name, and instead state “Plus Two New Songs (Recorded In September 1983)” in large block print. Subsequent pressings also add "Say It Isn’t So” and “Adult Education” in large print, with the original blurb reduced in size. When the album is originally issued on CD in the 80’s, the illustrated cover artwork is replaced with a still photograph of Hall & Oates (taken from the “One On One” music video shoot) also used for the US picture sleeve for “Say It Isn’t So”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2006, restoring the original cover artwork (red, yellow and black cover), reproducing the calendar/poster (as a fold out in the CD booklet), with “Family Man” and ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling" added as bonus tracks. It is also reissued as a hybrid SACD and 180 gram vinyl LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2015. It is also reissued on vinyl by RCA Sony/Legacy in 2017. It also contains all of the original vinyl packaging, including the hype sticker found on the first release, and comes with an mp3 download card of the full LP. “Rock ‘N Soul Part 1” peaks at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1977 – “Emotion” by Samantha Sang is released. Written by Barry and Robin Gibb, is the biggest hit for the pop vocalist from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Born Cheryl Lau Sang in August of 1951, she is born into a musical family, making her professional debut singing on the radio at eight years old. By the time she’s fifteen, Sang is recording for EMI’s HMV Records, releasing a handful of singles under the name Cheryl Gray (the professional surname of her musician father Reg) that fail to make any real commercial impact. Realizing her prospects for success are limited if she remains in Australia, Cheryl visits England in 1969. While there, she meets Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees who is impressed with her voice, and urges the bands manager Robert Stigwood to take her on as a client. Stigwood changes her name to “Samantha Sang” and Barry writes material for her to record. Sang has couple of minor hits in Europe, before visa problems force her to go back to Australia. She also has to break ties with Stigwood, but remains in touch with the Bee Gees over the years. Sang meets up with the group again in March of 1977 while they are in France at the Château d’Hérouville recording their songs for the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. With Sang having signed a new record deal with New York based Private Stock Records, she asks Barry if he can write something for her. Initially, he offers “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away”, which she immediately loves and agrees to record. Instead, Gibb ends up giving “Don’t Throw It All Away” to his younger brother Andy. Barry and Robin write a new song for Sang titled “Emotion”. The track is cut at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL with musicians George Terry, Joey Murcia (guitars), George Blitzer (keyboards), Harold Cowart (bass) and Ron “Tubby” Ziegler (drums). Barry sings background vocals, with Samantha adding her lead vocals. Like everything else with the Bee Gees magic touch, “Emotion” becomes a worldwide hit. At the time it is on the charts, a rumor starts that Samantha Sang is not a real person, but are actually the Bee Gees themselves with the vocals sped up. The rumor is squashed once a promotional film made for the song is shown, and she begins making television and personal appearances to promote the record. “Emotion” peaks at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 18, 1978, #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart on January 28, 1978 and #42 on the R&B singles chart on March 11, 1978, while the groups singles “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive” hold down the #1 and #2 spots on the chart. Samantha Sang is unable to match the success of “Emotion” on subsequent singles like the follow up “You Keep Me Dancing” (#56 Pop). The popularity of “Emotion” has endured over the years, continuing to be played on radio today, and covered by Destiny’s Child in 2001. “Emotion” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1977 – “Goin’ Places”, the eleventh album by The Jacksons is released. Produced by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, Gene McFadden, John Whitehead, Victor Carstarphen, Dexter Wansel and The Jacksons, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA from December 1976 – August 1977. The groups second album on Epic Records like the first is produced by Gamble & Huff and several other Philadelphia International staff writers and producers. It lacks a major hit single, becoming one of the groups poorest selling albums, barely selling 300,000 copies in the US (next to “2300 Jackson Street” in 1989). Though it is the first release in which The Jacksons begin writing their own material (contributing two songs). This opportunity for greater expression comes to full fruition on their next album, when The Jacksons are finally allowed the creative freedom they have long desired. Along with the original vinyl LP, it is also issued as a limited edition picture disc that becomes a collector’s item. It spins off three singles including “Find Me A Girl” (#38 R&B) and the title track (#8 R&B, #52 Pop). The tracks “Different Kind Of Lady”, “Jump for Joy” and “Music’s Takin’ Over” become break outs hit in discos, continuing the succession of underground club classics their albums have generated since the part of their tenure at Motown. Originally issued on CD in the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in Japan in 2009, packaged in a mini cardboard sleeve. It is subsequently remastered and reissued again in 2010, and as a Blu-Spec CD in 2016. Out of print on vinyl for over three decades, it is remastered and reissued by Sony/Legacy in 2018. “Goin’ Places” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number sixty three on the Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1969 – “I Can’t Get Next To You” by The Temptations hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 5 weeks on October 4, 1969. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, it is the ninth R&B chart topper and second pop number one for the Motown vocal quintet. On a roll after changing lead vocalists and going in a bold new musical direction in 1968, The Temptations continue their hot streak into 1969. Much like their groundbreaking single “Cloud Nine”, the groups hit from earlier in the year, producer Norman Whitfield arranges the song so that all five members of the Tempts rotate singing lead through the course of the song, borrowing the template from Sly & The Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music”. The basic track is recorded at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit on June 23, 1969 with members of The Funk Brothers playing on it. Further overdubs are recorded on June 24, 27, 30, and July 2, 1969. The Temptations add their vocals on July 3, 1969. Released on July 30, 1969, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on August 16, 1969, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. An instrumental mix of the song is featured on the Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack for “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown” in 2002. “I Can’t Get Next To You” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1969 – The Jackson 5 make their national television debut on the variety show “The Hollywood Palace” on the ABC television network. The show is hosted that week by Diana Ross and Sammy Davis, Jr.. The group perform four songs including their debut single “I Want You Back”, “Sing A Simple Song”, and “Can You Remember”. The performance is also recreated in the television mini series “The Jacksons: An American Dream” in 1992.
Born on this day: October 18, 1926 – Rock & Roll pioneer Chuck Berry (born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in St. Louis, MO). Happy Birthday to this musical icon on what would have been his 92nd Birthday.
On this day in music history: October 17, 1990 – “The Geto Boys”, the third album by The Geto Boys is released. Produced by DJ Ready Red, Doug King, John Bido, and Johnny C, it is recorded at Rap-A-Lot Recording Studios and Rivendell Recorders in Houston, TX from Mid 1988 – Mid 1990. Making their debut around the same time as N.W.A., The Geto Boys from the notoriously rough Fifth Ward in Houston, TX, the group quickly become underground gangsta rap icons thanks to their first two albums “Making Trouble” and “Grip It! On That Other Level” released in 1988. Featuring gritty and funky beats made on an E-mu SP-1200 sampler/drum machine, the rhymes of Scarface, Willie D. and Bushwick Bill contain often violent, profane, sexually explicit and misogynist imagery with elements of horror or gore. Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin is a fan of the group and offers to sign them to his label Def American, at the time being distributed by Geffen Records (then part of Warner Bros). Rubin along with engineer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots) remixes all twelve tracks from “Grip It!” (also re-recording the vocals on several songs) along with “Assassins” from their debut. When the finished album is turned in to Geffen, the sh*t literally hits the fan, with executives at the label being highly offended by its lyrical content, especially the tracks “Mind Of A Lunatic” and “Assassins”. Geffen’s CD manufacturer Sony DADC (Digital Audio Disc Corporation) also refuses to press CD’s of the album for the same reason. Rubin instead arranges for Warner Bros subsidiary label Giant Records to handle distribution and marketing of the album, with WEA Manufacturing pressing the CD and manufacturing cassettes. In addition the Parental Advisory sticker on the front cover, an additional disclaimer is added, baring the legend, “Def American Recordings is opposed to censorship. Our manufacturer and distributor, however, do not condone or endorse the content of this recording, which they find violent, sexist, racist, and indecent”. Though most mainstream critics react negatively to the content of the album, on the opposite side, many in the rap music community praise it for its inventive use of samples (considering the limitations of the technology used), and the authoritative vocals of the groups three principal members. Not long after the album is released, The Geto Boys run into a problem with musician Steve Miller, who objects to the use of his song “The Joker” on the track “Gangster Of Love”. The original pressing is deleted and reissued with the sample being replaced by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” in its place. This turns the original CD, cassette and rare vinyl pressings into expensive and sought after collector’s items. “The Geto Boys” peaks at number sixty seven on the Billboard R&B album chart and number one hundred seventy one on the Top 200.