Category: hard rock

On this day in music history: May 20, 1980 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1980 – “Unmasked”, the eighth studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Vini Poncia, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City from January – March 1980. Following the Platinum selling “Dynasty” album and tour, KISS again collaborate with songwriter and producer Vini Poncia (Ringo Starr, Leo Sayer), who had produced and contributed material to their previous release. Ponicia is heavily involved in the project, also co-writing eight of the new albums eleven tracks. “Unmasked” is last studio album to feature the bands original line up, though drummer Peter Criss actually has no involvement in the recording of the album. His drum parts are played by session drummer Anton Fig (uncredited), who played on the majority of the previous album “Dynasty”. Criss’ only involvement in the project is when he appears in the music video for the first single “Shandi” (#47 Pop). The drummer is fired from the band for his erratic, drug fueled behavior. It is another fifteen years before he unites with the band at a Kiss Fan Convention on June 17, 1995. Unlike previous albums, KISS does not support the album with a tour in US, with the only live performance being a one off show at The Palladium in Hollywood, CA, with Peter Criss’ replacement, drummer Eric Carr. They mount an international tour, playing Australia, France, Italy, Germany, and the UK where the project fares much better commercially. The album spins off three singles including “Talk To Me”, and “Tomorrow”. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Unmasked” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 19, 1992 – “…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1992 – “Revenge”, the sixteenth studio album by KISS is released. Producer by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA, Track Records in North Hollywood, CA, Cornerstone Recorders in Chatsworth, CA, The Enterprise Studios in Burbank, CA, Acme Recording Studios in New York City, Ocean Way Recording and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from February 1991 – March 1992. Reuniting with veteran producer Bob Ezrin for the first time in ten years (since “Music From The Elder”), the first track KISS record with him is a cover of Argent’s “God Gave Rock & Roll To You” for the soundtrack of the film “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”. The album also introduces new drummer Eric Singer to the band, replacing Eric Carr who passes away in November of 1991. It spins off five rock radio hits including “Unholy” and “Domino”, becoming the bands’ first US top 10 album since “Dynasty” thirteen years before. Issued briefly on vinyl during its initial release in 1992, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Revenge” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 14, 1977 – “…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1977 – “Little Queen”, the second studio album by Heart is released. Produced by Mike Flicker, it is recorded at Kaye Smith Studios in Seattle, WA in Early 1977. It is the official follow up to the bands debut album “Dreamboat Annie” following their acrimonious split from their original label Mushroom Records, over royalty payments and after an advertisement (designed to look like a tabloid magazine) the label takes out in Rolling Stone magazine. Though the lawsuit with Mushroom drags on for over two years, the band are free to sign with the then newly formed CBS/Epic subsidiary Portrait Records. A month before the release of “Little Queen”, Mushroom releases an unauthorized and unfinished version of the album “Magazine”, which was to be Heart’s second album for the label. The band seek in injunction against the label, and have it recalled and removed from record stores. One of the cornerstones of “Little Queen", is inspired by an incident after a concert. Lead singer Ann Wilson has a run in with a record label promotion man that she encounters backstage. Having seen the Rolling Stone ad, he makes the vulgar and lascivious insinuation, that she and her sister (and band mate) Nancy are lovers. Angry at the outrageous claim, Wilson goes back to her hotel that night and writes the lyrics to “Barracuda” (#11 Pop) as a strong rebuke. The song becomes a rock radio mainstay, as well as an anthem to female empowerment, also being featured in numerous films including “Charlie’s Angels”, “You Again” and “I, Tonya”. It spins off three singles including “Kick It Out” (#79 Pop) and the title track (#62 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued in 2004 with two additional bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Friday Music in 2015. It is also released as a limited edition pressing on translucent gold vinyl in 2016. “Little Queen” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 14, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1976 – “High Voltage” by AC/DC is released. Produced by Harry Vanda and George Young, it is recorded at Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia from Late 1974 – Early 1975. The album is the bands’ first to be released outside of their native Australia, and contains tracks from their first two Australian albums “High Voltage” and “T.N.T.”. The original Australian-only release features a noticeably different track listing and different cover artwork to the internationally released version. The international release contains only two tracks from the original Australian version, with the other tracks being taken from the “T.N.T.” album. It include the hits “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”, and “T.N.T.”. Originally released in the US on Atlantic Records’ Atco imprint, “Voltage” only peaks at number one hundred forty six on the Billboard Top 200, but over time it become one of the bands most popular and best loved albums. The song is also prominently featured at the end of the comedy “School Of Rock”, when it is performed by the students and actor Jack Black. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1994, it is remastered again in 2003, also re-releasing the album on vinyl when AC/DC move their catalog from Atlantic to Sony Music’s Epic Records. “High Voltage” is cerified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 10, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: May 10, 1984 – “Stay Hungry”, the third studio album by Twisted Sister is released. Produced by Tom Werman, it is recorded at Cherokee Studios, Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA and The Record Plant in New York City from Late 1983 – Early 1984. Having played together with various line ups since 1972, Twisted Sister record and release their first album “Under The Blade” for indie label Secret Records in 1982. While promoting that release in the UK they make an appearance on the popular music show The Tube, which attracts the attention of Atlantic Records who sign them on the strength of that performance. They record their second full length “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” with producer Stuart Epps released in June of 1983. It performs well enough for the label to allow them to follow it up. Now paired with veteran rock producer Tom Werman (Blue Öyster Cult, Mötley Crüe, Cheap Trick), the end result is the most successful album of Twisted Sister’s career. It spins off three singles including “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (#21 Pop, #20 Mainstream Rock), and “I Wanna Rock” (#68 Pop, #35 Mainstream Rock). Those singles are supported by memorable and humorous music videos directed by Marty Callner (Aerosmith, Cher) featuring the band with actor Mark Metcalf (“Animal House”). In 2009, the album is remastered and reissued as a two CD deluxe edition to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its original release. The first disc contains the original nine song album, with disc two features eighteen additional tracks, including previously unreleased demos, outtakes, a radio spot recorded for Los Angeles station KMET, and one new track. It is also concurrently reissued as vinyl LP, pressed on bubblegum pink and translucent pink vinyl and packaged with a poster. A second limited edition vinyl reissue, pressed on multi splatter colored vinyl is released as  part of Rhino Records “Rocktober” series in October of 2016. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl, it also comes with a full sized poster of the band. “Stay Hungry” peaks at number fifteen on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 29, 1981 -…

On this day in music history: April 29, 1981 – “Fair Warning”, the fourth album by Van Halen is released. Produced by Ted Templeman, it is recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA from March – April 1981. After pushing their musical boundaries with their previous release, “Women And Children First”, guitarist and bandleader Eddie Van Halen resolves to continue moving in that direction. For the first time, it publicly reveals a real divide within Van Halen over what path they should follow. Sessions are tense when squabbling between lead singer David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen over the musical direction of the band lead to the guitarist nearly walking out. The end result is much darker, more intense and musically complex material than their previous three albums. At the time of its release, reaction to the finished result from critics and fans is mixed, becoming the lowest selling album in Van Halen’s catalog (in the Roth Era). In time fans gravitate to it, coming to regard it as one of their best. Originally released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued in 2000 with HDCD high definition encoding. It is remastered again in 2015, with it also being reissued on vinyl. Both the 2015 CD and vinyl reissues are remastered by Chris Bellman. “Fair Warning” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US in the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 14, 1982 -…

On this day in music history: April 14, 1982 – “Diver Down”, the fifth studio album by Van Halen is released. Produced by Ted Templeman, it is recorded at Sunset Sound and Warner Bros Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January – March 1982. The band had initially intended to take a year off, after the “Fair Warning” album and tour in 1981. Recording “Dancing In The Street” (#38 Pop) as a one off single, radio jumps on it immediately, prompting Warner Bros to demand an entire new album from the band, the bulk of which is recorded in just twelve days. Their cover of “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (#12 Pop) also becomes a hit. MTV bans the video for “(Oh) Pretty Woman” for “objectionable content” for a sequence that features two midgets molesting a woman (actually a male drag performer). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2000, with HDCD encoding. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as 180 gram LP in 2015. “Diver Down” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 14, 1980 -…

On this day in music history: April 14, 1980 – “British Steel”, the sixth album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Startling Studios in Ascot, UK from January – February 1980. After an extended world tour to promote their previous studio release “Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather” and the subsequent live album “Unleashed In The East”, Judas Priest return to the studio at the beginning of 1980 to work on their next full length LP. The band record the album on the English country estate (Tittenhurst Park) formerly owned by John Lennon (now owned by Ringo Starr). It is their first album to feature all original material written by the band, and the first to include new drummer Dave Holland (replacing Les Binks). The album is the British heavy metal bands breakthrough release in the US, and includes the classics “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”. “Law” is promoted with a music video directed by Julien Temple (“The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle”, “Absolute Beginners”), with the band holding up a bank (with guitars), breaking into the vault and robbing it of a gold record award for their own album. The video and song are later parodied on the MTV series “Beavis & Butthead”, and on an episode of “The Simpsons”. Judas Priest’s original version is also featured on the video game Guitar Hero Live. The album is remastered and reissued in 2010 as a CD/DVD 30th anniversary edition with the CD including two live bonus tracks. The DVD features live performances, and a documentary on the making of the album. It is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by UK label Simply Vinyl in 2001, with a later reissue from Sony Legacy in 2008. And in 2010. UK reissue label Back On Black releases various pressings of “Steel” on red, clear, blue and standard black vinyl, also as a limited edition picture disc. “British Steel” peaks at number four on the UK album chart, number thirty four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 10, 1989 -…

On this day in music history: April 10, 1989 – “Sonic Temple”, the fourth album by The Cult is released. Produced by Bob Rock, it is recorded at Little Mountain Studios in Vancouver, B.C., Canada from September – November 1988. Issued as the follow up to the critically acclaimed and commercially successful “Electric”, the band work with Bob Rock (Motley Crue, Bon Jovi), rather than Rick Rubin who at the time is working on several other projects and is unavailable. They also undergo a personnel change when drummer Les Warner leaves and is replaced by former Hall & Oates drummer Mickey Curry. The album spins off three singles including “Fire Woman” (#2 Modern Rock, #4 Mainstream Rock), and is the bands highest charting album in the US. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 1997. “Sonic Temple” peaks at number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 8, 1975 – …

On this day in music history: April 8, 1975 – “Toys In The Attic”, the third album by Aerosmith is released. Produced by Jack Douglas, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City from January – March 1975. After working with producer Jack Douglas (Cheap Trick, John Lennon) on their previous album “Get Your Wings”, they return to the studio with him in the Winter of 1975 to record the follow up. The end result is the Boston based rock bands commercial breakthrough (and highest selling studio album) in the US, spinning off three singles including “Sweet Emotion” (#36 Pop) and “Walk This Way” (#10 Pop). “Walk” is initially issued as a single in August 1975 and does not chart. It is re-released in November 1976 (following the successful “Rocks” album) and becomes their first top ten hit. “Walk This Way” also becomes a staple break beat in Hip Hop DJ culture, when its opening drum break becomes a favored beat by rappers. The song actually becomes the catalyst of Aerosmith’s mid 80′s career revival when Steven Tyler and Joe Perry remake the song with RUN DMC in 1986. Regarded as one of the landmark rock albums of the 70’s, the title track, “You See Me Crying” and “Big Ten Inch Record” also become fan favorites as well. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1993, the album is also released briefly as a single layer SACD in 2003. “Toys” is also reissued on vinyl 1997 by Simply Vinyl, and again in 2013 by Music On Vinyl and Sony Music. The US Sony copies are initially released in a numbered limited edition for Record Store Day in April of 2013, with present day copies not being stamped with an individual number. “Toys In The Attic” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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