Category: blue eyed soul

Born on this day: June 18, 1961 – Singer and s…

Born on this day: June 18, 1961 – Singer and songwriter Alison Moyet (born Geneviève Alison Jane Moyet in Billericay, Essex, UK). Happy 57th Birthday, “Alf”!!

On this day in music history: June 18, 1988 – …

On this day in music history: June 18, 1988 – “Together Forever” by Rick Astley hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on May 28, 1988. Written and produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman, it is the second US chart topper for the singer from Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, UK. Following the UK release and subsequent chart topping success of Rick Astley’s debut single “Never Gonna Give You Up”, the production and songwriting team of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman, conceive the idea of writing another song in a similar vein to “Give You Up”. Using much of the same song structure and chord changes as its predecessor, “Together Forever” comes together quickly. The track is recorded at Stock Aitken & Waterman’s PWL Studios in London in  the Summer of 1987, with Astley recording his vocals shortly after. In the UK, it is released as the third single from “Whenever You Need Somebody” in February of 1988. However, Rick narrowly missed the top of the UK singles chart, stopping at #2. Ironically, he is denied a second trip to the top by singer and actress Kylie  Minogue’s debut single “I Should Be So Lucky”, which is also written and produced by SAW. In the US, the timing proves to be just right, with “Together Forever” being issued as the follow up to “Never Gonna Give You Up” in early April of 1988. Entering the Hot 100 at #62 on April 16, 1988, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. Also a smash on club dance floors, “Forever” also reaches the top of the US club play chart.  The single helps drive the “Whenever You Need Somebody” album past the 2x Platinum mark in the US.

On this day in music history: June 17, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: June 17, 1983 – “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” by Culture Club is released. Written by Michael Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss and George O’Dowd, it is the fifth US single release for the pop band from London, UK. A fixture on London’s downtown club scene since his teens, George O’Dowd (aka “Boy George”) forms Culture Club in 1981, after an on again off again stint singing with the band Bow Wow Wow. Signed to Virgin Records in 1982 after being previously rejected by EMI Records, they begin recording their debut album in the Spring of that year. One song written after the initial demos recorded by the band, is the bouncy and upbeat “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”. As Culture Club’s main lyricist, George’s words were often cryptic and ambiguous on the surface, often masking a deeper hidden meaning. In the case of “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”, it speaks of the singer’s ambition for his band to be “the next big thing”, and doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal. And like many other Culture Club songs, the lyrics are also squarely aimed at drummer Jon Moss, whose often tumultuous relationship with Boy George often provided inspiration. Ironically or not so ironically, the songs’ musical arrangement is a play on Bow Wow Wow’s drums of Burundi percussion heavy sound. Included on the bands’ debut album “Kissing To Be Clever”, “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” is released in the US and Canada as the follow up to “Time (Clock Of The Heart)” by Epic Records. It is not released in the UK or the rest of Europe, with Virgin having issued “Church Of The Poison Mind” instead in April of 1983. To promote “Tumble”, Culture Club film a music video for the song directed by Zelda Barron. Band members Mikey Craig, Roy Hay and Jon Moss actually take tap dance lessons for a scene in the clip, but the idea is scrapped and another sequence is filmed in its place. The video also features a cameo appearance by future super model Naomi Campbell, then twelve years old at the time, as a part of a tap dancing chorus line. The video becomes an immediate fixture on MTV during the Summer of 1983, and is another hit for the band. Entering the Hot 100 at #64 on July 2, 1983, it peaks at #9 on August 27, 1983, eight weeks later. Their third consecutive top ten hit, Culture Club are the first band since The Beatles to pull three top ten hits from a debut album in the US. Along with the original single version, “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” is remixed by Jon Moss and producer Steve Levine. It is released as a 12" single shortly after the 45, becoming a sizable club hit, peaking at #14 on the Billboard Club Play chart. “Tumble” is spoofed by musician Frank Zappa on the song “Tinsel-Town Rebellion” on the live album and concert video “Does Humor Belong In Music?” released in 1986. “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” is also later featured in the Adam Sandler film “Billy Madison” in 1995.

On this day in music history: June 17, 1978 – …

On this day in music history: June 17, 1978 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also peaking at #11 on the R&B singles chart on July 15, 1978. Written by Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy Gibb, it is the third consecutive chart topper for the singer and songwriter from The Isle Of Man, UK. While his debut single “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” and the accompanying album “Flowing Rivers” are steadily climbing the charts in the US and abroad, singer Andy Gibb, with the assistance of his older brothers the Bee Gees begin work on his second album. All four brothers collaborate on “Shadow Dancing” while the Bee Gees are filming “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in L.A. in mid 1977. Recording begins at Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles, CA, with overdubs and final mixing completed at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL. Released as a single in April 1978, it becomes another smash for the youngest Gibb brother. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on April 15, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. At only twenty years old, Andy Gibb becomes the first solo artist in history to have his first three singles reach number one in the US, achieving this feat in just eleven months. The song is ranked the top single of 1978 by Billboard Magazine. "Shadow Dancing” is later used on the long running animated series “South Park”, in the episode “Tom’s Rhinoplasty” originally airing on February 11, 1998. The song humorously underscores a scene where the boys teacher Mr. Garrison is strutting down the street after having cosmetic surgery, that makes him look like actor David Hasselhoff. “Shadow Dancing” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: June 14, 1961 – Culture Club…

Born on this day: June 14, 1961 – Culture Club lead vocalist, songwriter and DJ Boy George (born George Alan O’Dowd in Bexley, Kent, UK). Happy 57th Birthday, George!!

On this day in music history: June 11, 1977 – …

On this day in music history: June 11, 1977 – “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC & The Sunshine Band hits # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on June 4, 1977. Written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, it is the fourth chart topping single for the R&B/Disco band from Hialeah, FL led by keyboardist and lead singer Harry Wayne “KC” Casey. Casey and Finch write the song as a tribute to a Miami radio DJ named Robert W. Walker who was instrumental in helping break the bands first chart topping single “Get Down Tonight”. On the LP, “Boogie” is paired together with “Keep It Comin’ Love” (#2 Pop, #1 R&B), with the two songs edited so that they segue into each and play as one long continuous song. “I’m Your Boogie Man” is issued as the second single from the bands fourth studio album “Part 3”. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on February 26, 1977, it climbs to the top of the chart fourteen weeks later. “I’m Your Boogie Man” is also covered by White Zombie in 1996 for the soundtrack to “The Crow – City Of Angels”. The original version is featured in the film “Scary Movie” and its sequels, the comedy “Superbad”, as well as the 2011 action adventure film “Watchmen”.

On this day in music history: June 10, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: June 10, 1985 – “Cupid And Psyche ‘85”, the second album by Scritti Politti is released. Produced by Scritti Politti and Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Minot Sound in White Plains, NY, The Power Station, Atlantic Studios in New York City, Eden Studios, Wessex Sound, Sarm West and Sarm East Studios in London from December 1983 – February 1985. Originally formed as a post-punk/new wave band in the late 70’s in their hometown of Leeds, Yorkshire, UK, Scritti Politti undergoes a dramatic change in their sound from their first album “Songs To Remember” released in 1982. With the previous line up of the group having disbanded in 1983, lead singer Green Gartside visits his parents, now living in Florida. While there, he is turned on by the sounds he hears on American R&B radio, specifically funk and dance artists like Zapp and The System. The music inspires Green to take Scritti Politti in a whole different musical direction after he leaves the UK and moves to New York. Signing with Virgin Records (in the UK and Warner Bros in the US), Green reforms the band with American keyboardist and programmer David Gamson and drummer Fred Maher. Scritti Politti work with veteran producer Arif Mardin on the new songs written by Green and Gamson. Mardin augments the band with top notch session players including former AWB drummer Steve Ferrone, keyboardists David Frank (of The System), Robbie Buchanan, Ned Ebn (of Ebn-Ozn), guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., and background vocalists Tawatha Agee, Fonzi Thornton, and B.J. Nelson. The first product of their work together is the single “Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)” (#10 UK, #91 US Pop). The songs lean, high tech R&B sound is an immediate hit in US club dance floors and in their native UK. Mardin also produces the track “Absolute” (#17 UK), before he has to leave the project to work with Chaka Khan on “I Feel For You”. Continuing on their own, Green, Gamson and Maher take almost a year to finish recording the album. A critical and commercial success upon its release, it also spin off two more singles including “Perfect Way” (#11 US Pop, #6 US Club Play, #48 UK), giving Scritti Politti their biggest hit in the US, and “The Word Girl” (#6 UK). Miles Davis covers “Perfect Way” on his 1986 album “Tutu”, leading to the jazz icon to collaborating with Scritti Politti on the song “Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry for Loverboy)” on their follow up album “Provision” in 1988. “Cupid And Psyche ’85” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number fifty on the Top 200.

On this day in music history: June 9, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: June 9, 1979 – “Love You Inside Out” by the Bee Gees hits #1

on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, peaking at #57 on the R&B singles chart on June 2, 1979, and #15 on the Adult Contemporary chart on June 16, 1979. Written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, it is the ninth and final chart topping single for the family group from The Isle Of Man, UK. Written during the sessions for the brothers fifteenth album “Spirits Having Flown”, the sensual, down tempo R&B flavored “Love You Inside Out” differs noticeably from the genre defining disco sound of their hits from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. Released as the third single from “Spirits” in April of 1979, it quickly becomes another smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #37 on April 21, 1979, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. “Love You” temporarily interrupts Donna Summer’s three week run at the top of the pop singles chart with “Hot Stuff”. The chart topping success of “Love You Inside Out” marks a major milestone in the Bee Gees career. It is their sixth consecutive number one single, tying them with The Beatles for having the most number ones in a row. Ironically, it is also their final single to reach the top of the US pop charts as artists. The band are caught up in the backlash against disco at the end of the 70’s which results in much of their music being blacklisted from radio airplay in the US. The brothers do not have another top ten record in the US under their own name until the release of “One” in July of 1989. “Love You” is sampled numerous times by Hip Hop and R&B artists including Jay-Z & R. Kelly, Snoop Dogg, Total Featuring 112, and The Game Featuring Floetry. “Love You Inside Out” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 9, 1967 – &…

On this day in music history: June 9, 1967 – “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison is released. Written by Van Morrison, it is the debut solo single for the singer and songwriter from Belfast, N. Ireland. Having first found success as the lead singer of the seminal garage rock band Them, Van Morrison leaves to embark on a solo career. During his time as a member of Them, the band records “Here Comes The Night” written by songwriter and producer Bert Berns, also responsible for penning classics such as “Twist And Shout”, “Tell Him” and “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”. Now running his own label Bang Records, Berns contacts Morrison and encourages to relocate from London to New York to sign with his label. Van takes him up on Berns’ offer and moves to the US in early 1967. Initially they plan to record eight songs to be released as the A and B sides of four singles. Among them is one titled “Brown Eyed Girl”, originally titled “Brown Skinned Girl”. There has been speculation over the years as being about an interracial relationship, and that the title had been changed to assure it would receive radio play, but has never been confirmed. The song is recorded on March 28, 1967 at A&R Studios in New York City during two days of sessions. “Brown Eyed Girl” features Morrison backed by musicians Eric Gale, Hugh McCracken, Al Gorgoni (guitars), Russ Savakis (bass), Paul Griffin (keyboards) and Gary Chester (drums). The master take is captured in twenty two takes. An instant classic upon its release, it doesn’t take long to hit the charts. The song is also issued to radio with an edit, excising the risque lyric “making love in the green grass”, splicing in the line “laughin’ and a runnin’” in its place. Entering the Hot 100 at #99 on July 15, 1967, it peaks at #10 on September 30, 1967, eleven weeks later. In spite of this initial success, things between Van Morrison and Bang Records turn sour very quickly. Instead of the original plan of releasing a handful of singles over time, Berns turns around and hastily releases a full album titled “Blowin’ Your Mind!” consisting of the other songs to capitalize off of “Girl”. Not only is it done without Van’s knowledge or consent, he is not paid any royalties from his hit record, having signed a abysmal contract with the label. Following Bert Berns sudden death on December 30, 1967, Morrison is eventually able to break free from Bang Records to sign with Warner Bros in mid 1968. Over time, “Brown Eyed Girl” becomes one of the iconic musician’s best loved and frequently covered songs, being recorded and performed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and U2. The original version has been featured in numerous films including “The Big Chill”, “Born On The Fourth Of July” and “Sleeping With The Enemy”. It also receives an award from BMI in 2007, for over eight million plays on US radio, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame the same year.

Born on this day: June 7, 1940 – Welsh pop voc…

Born on this day: June 7, 1940 – Welsh pop vocal legend Sir Tom Jones, OBE (born Thomas John Woodward in Treforest, Pontypridd, Wales, UK). Happy 78th Birthday, Sir Tom!!