Category: disco

Born on this day: September 19, 1952 – Songwri…

Born on this day: September 19, 1952 – Songwriter, producer and rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Nile Rodgers of Chic (born Nile Gregory Rodgers in New York City, NY). Happy 66th Birthday, Nile!!!

On this day in music history: September 18, 19…

On this day in music history: September 18, 1976 – “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on September 4, 1976. Written by Robert Parrisi, it is the biggest hit for the funk/rock band from Steubenville, OH. The song is inspired when the band are playing a gig at the 2001 Club in Pittsburgh, PA when someone in the crowd shouts, “play some funky music, white boy” at the band. When Wild Cherry first record “Play That Funky Music”, it is not originally intended to be an A-side. Around the same time, they record a cover version of the Commodores hit “I Feel Sanctified”, thinking that it is the most likely to be a hit. The head of their label Sweet City Records disagrees, feeling that “Funky Music” is the stronger of the two.The label signs a distribution deal with Epic Records on the strength of that songs hit potential. Released as a single in March of 1976, the track first becomes a hit in US discos before crossing over to radio. By mid-Summer it is on its way to becoming a worldwide hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #96 on June 19, 1976, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. “Play That Funky Music” becomes only the third single in history to be officially certified platinum when it racks up sales of over 2.5 million copies in the US alone. The band also have the distinction of being one of only a small handful white artists to top the Billboard R&B singles chart during the last four decades (Daryl Hall & John Oates, George Michael, Lisa Stansfield, and Robin Thicke among them). The single also earns Wild Cherry two Grammy nominations including Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best New Artist. In 1991, Rob Parrisi wins a lawsuit against rapper Vanilla Ice when he samples “Play That Funky Music” without permission. Parrisi is awarded $500,000 in the suit. “Play That Funky Music” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: September 12, 1944 – Singer,…

Born on this day: September 12, 1944 – Singer, songwriter, producer and R&B music icon Barry White (born Barry Eugene Carter in Galveston, TX). Happy Birthday to “The Maestro” on what would have been his 74th Birthday. We love you, Barry!!

On this day in music history: September 8, 197…

On this day in music history: September 8, 1979 – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on October 13, 1979. Written by Michael Jackson, it is the second solo R&B and pop chart topper for the “King Of Pop”. Jackson writes “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” in late 1978 while walking around the grounds of the Jackson family home in Encino, CA. Enlisting the help of his younger siblings Randy and Janet, Michael records a demo of the song in the family’s home studio. The demo recording shows the basic structure largely completed including the melody, and sketches of the lyrics which are completed later. When Jackson and producer Quincy Jones begin work on “Off The Wall” in December of 1978, “Don’t Stop” is one of the first tracks recorded. The track features a number of top notch L.A. studio musicians including keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson, Rufus drummer John Robinson, guitarists David Williams and Marlo Henderson, and The Seawind Horns. Issued as the first single from “Off The Wall” on July 28, 1979, it is an immediate smash both on the dance floor and on radio.The song helps re-invent Jackson’s career, setting the stage for his adult megastar status. The single wins Jackson his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1980. “Don’t Stop Til you Get Enough” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 4, 197…

On this day in music history: September 4, 1976 – “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #4 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, it is the third US chart topper for the trio of brothers from the Isle Of Man, UK. Issued as the first single from the bands fourteenth album “Children Of The World”, the single and album mark a major turning point in the Bee Gees career. Having previously worked successfully with producer Arif Mardin on their comeback release “Main Course”, Mardin is not able to work with the group on the follow up, when the Bee Gees label RSO Records changes distribution from Atlantic Records to Polydor in 1976. Mardin is an Atlantic staff producer exclusively at the time and isn’t permitted to work with artists not on the label. Having gained experience from all they have learned about producing records from their mentor, the Bee Gees take over the production duties themselves with assistance from engineers Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson who become their co-producers. “You Should Be Dancing” is recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL in early 1976 with the Bee Gees band including Alan Kendall (lead guitar), Blue Weaver (keyboards), Dennis Bryon (drums), Joe Lala (percussion) along with Barry Gibb (rhythm guitar) and Maurice Gibb (bass). Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash happens to recording his album “Illegal Stills” in adjoining studio, also sits in on a session playing percussion. Entering the Hot 100 at #67 on July 4, 1976, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. A little more than a year after its release, “You Should Be Dancing” is featured prominently in the film “Saturday Night Fever” when it is used in an electrifying dance sequence featuring John Travolta, that is one of the films highlights. At the time of the singles original release, a slightly longer version of “Dancing” is issued as a promotional 12" single. Also featured on another promo 12" single issued to promote the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack in 1977, this mix finally sees its first commercial release in 1990 on the box set “Tales From The Brothers Gibb – A History In Song – 1967 – 1990”. The extended mix is also reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day in April of 2015, on a limited edition 12" single titled  "Bee Gees: Extended EP".  "You Should Be Dancing" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 31, 1978 …

On this day in music history: August 31, 1978 – “Live And More”, the seventh album by Donna Summer is released. Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, it is recorded the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, CA (live tracks), Rusk Sound Studios, and Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA (studio tracks) in early 1978. Her second double album, the first three sides are taken from a live concert (during the “Once Upon A Time Tour”) recorded at the Universal Amphitheater in early 1978. The fourth side of the album contains the “MacArthur Park Suite”, a seventeen minute plus long medley of three songs (“MacArthur Park”, “One Of A Kind”, and “Heaven Knows”). The album further demonstrates Summer’s musical versatility beyond her “disco diva” image by covering jazz standards in her set, including “The Man I Love” and “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good”, as well as the pop ballad “The Way We Were”. It spins off two singles including a cover of the Jimmy Webb penned pop classic “MacArthur Park” (#1 Pop, #8 R&B) (originally sung by actor Richard Harris in 1968 (#2 Pop) ), and “Heaven Knows (w/ Brooklyn Dreams) (#4 Pop, #10 R&B). Originally released on CD in 1986 (W. German European, domestic pressing in 1990), it is remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2012. "Live And More” hits number one on the Billboard Top 200, number four on the R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 28, 1976 …

On this day in music history: August 28, 1976 – “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” by KC & The Sunshine Band hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on September 11, 1976. Written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, it is the third chart topping single for the Florida based R&B band. Issued as the first single from the bands “Part 3” album in June of 1976, it is one of three top five singles (“Keep It Comin’ Love” and “I’m Your Boogie Man”) to be released from it. The original single release of “Shake Your Booty” is backed with the track “Boogie Shoes” from KC & The Sunshine Band’s self-titled second album.  "Shoes" becomes a dance floor favorite and hit in its own right (#29 R&B, #35 Pop), when it is included on the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack in 1977. When TK reissues “Boogie Shoes” as an A-side in January of 1978, it is sped up slightly from its originally recorded speed, as it is on the soundtrack album.  It wins the band along with all of the other artists featured on the album a Grammy Award for Album Of The Year in 1979. “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” becoming KC & The Sunshine Band’s third million selling single one year to the week after their first chart topper “Get Down Tonight”.

On this day in music history: August 27, 1975 …

On this day in music history: August 27, 1975 – “Love To Love You Baby”, the second album by Donna Summer is released. Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, it is recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from May – June 1975. Summer comes up with the initial idea for the title track having written the lyrics and melody. Moroder and Bellotte suggests that Summer sing it in a more sultry and sexual manner, which at first she is hesitant to do. She agrees when she thinks the recording will be a demo for another singer. Before tape rolls on the song, Summer asks that the lights in the studio be turned off while she records her vocals. Moroder likes the finished recording so much that he insists that it be released. Titled “Love To Love You”, it is first released in Europe to modest success. After Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart hears the initial shorter single version of the song (#2 Pop, #3 R&B), he suggests that a longer version of the song be cut, which clocks in at nearly seventeen minutes, taking up one whole side of the album. It immediately creates a sensation in dance clubs (#1 Billboard Club Play) and begins to receive radio play. When some stations ban it, feeling it is too blatantly sexual, it only heightens its allure and popularity. Released on CD in 1992, it is remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2012. Out of print on vinyl for more than thirty years, it is remastered and reissued by Universal/UMe in 2015 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of its original release. “Love To Love You Baby” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, number six on the R&B album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: August 26, 1946 – Singer, so…

Born on this day: August 26, 1946 – Singer, songwriter and musician Valerie Simpson (born in The Bronx, NY). Happy 72nd Birthday, Val!!

On this day in music history: August 26, 1978 …

On this day in music history: August 26, 1978 – “Grease” by Frankie Valli hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #40 on the R&B singles chart on September 16, 1978. Written by Barry Gibb, it is the second solo chart topper for legendary lead vocalist of The Four Seasons born Francesco Castelluccio. Following the Bee Gees work on the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever” and as the group are wrapping up filming on the Robert Stigwood helmed “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Barry Gibb is asked by Stigwood to write the theme song  for film adaptation of the long running hit musical “Grease”. Gibb quickly writes the song on his own,  cutting the track at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL in April of 1978. Guitarist Peter Frampton, Gibb’s co-star in “Sgt. Pepper” plays guitar on the track. Barry Gibb is also instrumental in bringing in Frankie Valli to sing the title song to the film. Released as the second single from the “Grease” soundtrack on May 6, 1978, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on May 27, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. “Grease” is Valli’s second solo number one (seventh overall) giving him a span of nearly sixteen years since his first number with The Four Seasons in 1962. The success of the song drives sales of the “Grease” soundtrack to over 8x Platinum in the US, and worldwide sales of over twenty eight million copies. At the time of its domination of the charts, it is the second largest selling soundtrack album of all time after “Saturday Night Fever” (eventually displaced to second and third place by “The Bodyguard” Soundtrack). “Grease” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.