On this day in music history: August 21, 1967 – “Never My Love” by The Association is released. Written by Donald & Richard Addrisi, it is the third top 10 hit for the Los Angeles, CA based pop/rock band. Written by The Addrisi Brothers in 1966 (later recorded by them in 1977), the song is recorded by the band providing only the vocals, backed by members of the studio collective The Wrecking Crew. The track arranged by Ray Pohlman and recorded in the Spring of 1967. “Never My Love” is issued as the follow up to their second chart topper “Windy”, and is included on The Association’s third album “Insight Out”. Featuring vocalists Terry Kirkman and Larry Ramos on dual lead vocals, “Never My Love” peaks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 7, 1967 (behind The Box Tops “The Letter”), becoming their third million selling single. By 1999, “Never My Love” becomes the second most played record on radio and television during the 20th century, only behind “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”. Since The Association’s hit version, “Love” has been covered more than a hundred times, with versions by Johnny Mathis, The Four Tops, The Lettermen, and Barry Manilow. The song returns to the Billboard top ten, when it is covered by Blue Swede. Issued as the follow up to their number one single “Hooked On A Feeling”, their version of “Never My Love” peaks at #7 in October of 1974. “Never My Love” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 21, 1965 – “Out Of Our Heads”, the third album by The Rolling Stones hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 3 weeks. Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA, Chess Studios in Chicago, IL, Regent Sound Studios, and Olympic Studios in London from November 2, 1964 – May 12, 1965. The US version of the album differs from the UK release (issued on September 24, 1965) as it includes the recent and current singles “The Last Time” (#9 Pop), “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (#1 Pop), their respective B-sides, and different album cover artwork. Tracks not appearing on the US version of the album surfaces on the compilation “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)” in December of 1965. It is the first of nine chart topping albums for The Rolling Stones in the US. Both the US and UK versions of the album are remastered and reissued as hybrid SACD disc in digipak packaging. The SACD edition is discontinued by ABKCO, and is replaced by the standard redbook editions in jewel case packaging. The UK edition of the album is reissued on vinyl in 2003. It is remastered again, with both the UK and US editions being reissued as a 180 gram LP’s and CD’s in 2016 as part of “The Rolling Stones In Mono” box set. "Out Of Our Heads" is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 20, 1988 – “Loosey’s Rap” by Rick James Featuring Roxanne Shante hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week. Written and produced by Rick James, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the Buffalo, NY born singer, songwriter and musician. After nine albums and almost a decade with Motown Records, Rick James parts ways acrimoniously with his long time label in 1986. Not long after, James is approached by several record labels looking to sign him. Warner Bros Records chairman Mo Ostin hit it off with James on their initial meeting, offering a generous contract with the label giving the musician full creative control. Having been one of the first R&B artists to experiment with rap music when he records the track “P.I.M.P. The S.I.M.P.” with Grandmaster Flash on his 1983 album “Cold Blooded”. After signing with Warner Bros’ Reprise Records imprint, Rick is introduced to rapper Roxanne Shante (real name Lolita Gooden) by executives at his record company. Impressed by Shante and her lyrical skills, James invites Shante to The Joint, his recording studio in Buffalo, NY to add some rap verses to a track he has come up with. Shante steps behind the mic and lay down her raps in a couple of takes. Label mate, and fellow Juice Crew member Big Daddy Kane is also featured on stripped down alternate version of “Loosey’s Rap” (subtitled the “Raw Rap Version”) remixed by Marley Marl and included on the 12" single version. Issued as the first single from his tenth album “Wonderful” in June of 1988, it gives the veteran musician his biggest hit in five years. In spite of this, “Loosey’s Rap” does not chart on the Hot 100, marking the only time that one of his R&B chart toppers does not cross over to the pop chart.
On this day in music history: August 20, 1986 – “Fore!”, the fourth studio album by Huey Lewis And The News is released. Produced by Huey Lewis And The News, it is recorded at Studio D, The Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA and Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA from February – July 1986. Following the huge multi-Platinum success of their previous album “Sports” and chart topping single “Power Of Love” from the film “Back To The Future”, Huey Lewis And The News once again feel the pressure to match that success with their next full length release. Having toured almost non stop for nearly two years has left the band little time to write new material, and it proves not to be as easy as it had been the previous time around. Many of the songs are written in the six months spent in the studio recording the album, during the first half of 1986. The band augment their trademark sound with assistance from the Tower Of Power horn section (Stephen “Doc” Kupka, Emilio Castillo, Richard Elliott, Greg Adams, Lee Thornburg) who play on three tracks. Once released, the album is an immediate hit, spinning off five top ten singles including “Stuck With You” (#1 Pop, #1 AC), “Jacob’s Ladder” (#1 Pop, #17 AC), “Doing It All For My Baby” (#6 Pop, #2 AC), and “I Know What I Like” (#9 Pop, #30 AC). The second single “Hip To Be Square” (#3 Pop, #20 AC) also features background vocals from then San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Dwight Clark and Riki Ellison. Written as a tongue in cheek statement about 80’s excess and hedonism, the song is also memorable for its music video directed by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (Herbie Hancock, Duran Duran, The Police). The directors film the clip using an arthroscopic camera normally used for invasive surgery, allowing the band to be shot in extreme close up, and letting the camera travel into very tight spaces that a normal one would be unable to go. “Square” is also referred to in the horror novel “American Psycho”, and is featured in the film adaptation starring Christian Bale and Jared Leto. The song is originally featured on the released soundtrack album, which is pulled from record stores after it is determined that Koch Records had not secured the rights for the song to appear on the album. In 2013, “Hip To Be Square” appears in a short film on the comedy website “Funny Or Die” featuring Huey Lewis and “Weird Al” Yankovic. The video is a comic parody of “Psycho” that ends with Lewis hacking Yankovic to death with an axe, while the singer berates the comedy parody artist for having spoofed the bands hit “I Want A New Drug”. “Square” is also used to great comic effect on the animated series “American Dad!”, in the episode “The Kidney Stays In The Picture”. The song is also used on “Sesame Street” in an animated segment called “Hip To Be A Square”. “Fore!” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 20, 1983 – “Get It Right” by Aretha Franklin hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, peaking at #9 on the Club Play chart, and peaking at #61 on the Hot 100 on August 27, 1983. Written by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, it is the nineteenth R&B chart topper for “The Queen Of Soul”. Two years after signing with Arista Records, Aretha Franklin scores her biggest success in nearly seven years with the title track to her thirtieth studio album “Jump To It” in September of 1982. Singer, songwriter and producer Luther Vandross is invited back to produce the follow up album. Collaborating with bassist Marcus Miller, he and Luther writes the funky “Get It Right” in short order. However, the easy and affable atmosphere during the sessions for the “Jump To It” album does not carry over into the next album. When Aretha feels that Luther is pushing her too hard during the vocal tracking sessions, the two begin arguing. The disagreement becomes so heated that Franklin storms out of the studio and does not return until Arista Records chairman Clive Davis intervenes, and organizes a truce between the two sides. Eventually, both parties make up and the recording is finished. Once released, “Get It Right” quickly rises up the R&B chart, but fails to have the same pop crossover success as the previous record, with the album selling less than half of the Gold plus sales of “Jump To It”.
Born on this day: August 20, 1942 – R&B music icon Isaac Hayes (born Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. in Covington, TN). Happy Birthday to this Academy Award and Grammy winning composer, vocalist, producer and on what would have been his 76th Birthday.
On this day in music history: August 19, 1988 – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers is released. Written by Craig Reid and Charlie Reid, it is the fifth UK and first US single for the pop music duo from Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. Born on October 5, 1962 in the Scottish burgh of Leith, twin brothers Craig and Charile Reid play in several bands before forming The Proclaimers in 1983. In 1986, one of the duo’s fans sends their demo tape to The Housemartins, the UK band led by musician and DJ Norman Cook. Impressed by the brothers demo, The Housemartins invite them to be the opening act on a tour of the UK. The exposure they receive leads to them being signed to Chrysalis Records. In January of 1987, they’re booked on the music program “The Tube”. Their second single “Letter From America” becomes their breakthrough hit, peaking at #3 on the UK singles chart. While working on material for their second album, Craig is sitting at the piano and begins to play some chords. Feeling that he might have something that could be a hit, he writes virtually the entire song in 45 minutes. Showing it to his brother Charlie, they finish it off and record it. Titled “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, it is recorded at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire, UK in mid 1988. The song is selected as their first single from The Proclaimers’ second album “Sunshine On Leith” in August of 1988. Though the single stops at #11 on the UK chart, it’s even more successful internationally, hitting #1 in Australia, New Zealand and Iceland. The single and album are also released by Chrysalis in the US, but is ignored by American radio. “I’m Gonna Be” won’t become widely known to US music fans until five years later, when it is included in the film “Benny & Joon”, starring Johnny Dep, Mary Stuart Masterson and Aidan Quinn. The wide exposure the song receives, revives it like Lazarus from dead, leading to Chrysalis reissuing it. The label re-edits the music video to include footage from the film, which quickly hits heavy rotation on MTV. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on June 12, 1993, the song races up the chart, peaking at #3 ten weeks later on August 21, 1993. The belatedly success of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” also revives the “Sunshine On Leith” album, which peaks at #31 on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US. Though regarded as a “one hit wonder” in the US, The Proclaimers lone hit record has endured. The song has been widely played at sports events, and featured in commercials and other films including “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “Peter Rabbit”. The Proclaimers record a new version of the song in 2007 for the Comic Relief charity, with it also featuring actors Peter Kay and John Lucas. The re-recorded version hits #1 on the UK singles chart, nineteen years after the original version charted. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 19, 1985 – “The Family” by The Family is released. Produced by Prince & David Z. (credited to David Z. & The Family), it is recorded at The Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, MN and Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA from June – October 1984, and December 1984 – March 1985. In between the release of the soundtrack and film for “Purple Rain”, Prince begins work on yet another project for his massively prolific musical output. Having started sessions for his own next album “Around The World In A Day”, Prince creates the band The Family, centering around his then girlfriend singer Susannah Melvoin (the twin sister of Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin), former Time members keyboardist Paul Peterson, drummer “Jellybean” Johnson, Jerome Benton, and saxophonist Eric Leeds. Like many other Prince side projects, the songs are credited to the group members, but in actuality seven of the albums eight songs are written by Prince (”Yes” co-written with Leeds), with the exception of “River Run Dry” which is written by Revolution drummer Bobby Z. The basic tracks are cut almost in their entirety at the warehouse on Flying Cloud Drive, the location that was used for filming scenes for “Purple Rain” and acts as a rehearsal space. Recording only ceases when the “Purple Rain Tour” begins in November of 1984, with sessions wedged in between tour dates. Arranger Claire Fischer adds his string accompaniment in L.A. in late 1984/early 1985. The album is well received upon its release, spinning off two singles including “The Screams Of Passion” (#9 R&B, #10 Club Play, #63 Pop) and “High Fashion” (#34 R&B). The album also includes the first recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which becomes a fan favorite, and huge international hit in 1990 when it is covered by Irish singer Sinead O’Connor. Released on vinyl and cassette only in the US and throughout most of the world, the album is only released on CD in Europe and Japan on a very limited basis, making it one of the most sought after and valuable Prince related collectibles. The Family’s existence is brief, with the band coming apart after Prince and Susannah’s romantic relationship ends. The Family reunite in 2003 for a one off live performance, then again in 2009 under the name fDeluxe, recording three more studio albums and one live album since 2011. “The Family” peaks at number seventeen on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number sixty two on the Top 200.
On this day in music history: August 19, 1985 – “Scarecrow”, the eighth album by John (Cougar) Mellencamp is released. Produced by John Mellencamp (aka “Little Bastard”) and Don Gehman, it is recorded at the Belmont Mall in Belmont, IN from March 20 – April 29, 1985. Recorded at his newly built studio near his home in Bloomington, IN, Mellencamp takes a different approach than on previous albums. Wanting to incorporate more a 60’s rock and R&B feel into the material, he has his band learn how to play and rehearse nearly a hundred classic songs prior to recording, in order to achieve the sound and feel required for the new songs. Those influences resonate strongly through the material, with this “retro” feel even carrying over into the music video for the single “R.O.C.K. In The USA (A Salute To 60’s Rock)” (#2 Pop). In order to authentically capture the look and feel of the 1960’s, the clip is shot in black and white using a vintage kinescope camera. The album spins off five singles including “Lonely Ol’ Night” (#6 Pop), “Small Town” (#6 Pop), and “Rain On The Scarecrow (#21 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005 with an acoustic version of "Small Town” as a bonus track. Going out of print on vinyl in the early 90’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2012. For its thirtieth anniversary in 2015, it is reissued again as a limited edition pressing on gray marble vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day in November of 2015. A third vinyl reissue on standard black 180 gram vinyl is released in 2016. “Scarecrow” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.