Category: pop

On this day in music history: May 20, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1985 – “Youthquake”, the second album by Dead Or Alive is released. Produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, it is recorded at PWL Studios in London from September 1984 – March 1985. Following the departure of founding member and guitarist Wayne Hussey to join the goth-rock band Sisters Of Mercy in mid-1984, Dead Or Alive continue on as a quartet. The Liverpool, UK based band completely abandon their early goth/post-punk sound which they had begun moving away from on their debut album “Sophisticated Boom Boom”. Dead Or Alive work with the fledgling production team of Mike Stock, Matt Aikten and Pete Waterman (aka Stock, Aitken and Waterman. The first product of the bands fully revamped Eurodisco/Hi-NRG sound is the single “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” (#1 UK Pop, #11 US Pop), which Epic Records has such disdain for it initially, that they refuse to fund its recording. Lead singer Pete Burns believes so deeply in the songs hit potential that he takes out a loan to record it independently of the label. After the song is recorded, Epic releases it, but again refuses to provide a budget to shoot a music video. The self financed clip directed by Vaughan Arnell and Anthea Benton (George Michael’s “Fastlove”, The Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There”) begins to receive play on UK television and in clubs, helping the record move on to the charts in December of 1984. The song moves slowly up the charts until Dead Or Alive appears on Top Of The Pops in February of 1985. That lone television appearance helps propel the single to #1 on the UK singles chart in March, prompting its US release. The album meets with similar success as it spins off three additional singles including “Lover Come Back To Me” (#11 UK Pop, #75 US Pop), “In Too Deep” (#14 UK Pop), and “My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor)” (#23 UK Pop). The albums striking cover artwork is designed by British graphic design firm Satori (Def Leppard, Thompson Twins), and features an enigmatic photograph of the flamboyant Burns on the front, taken by famed fashion photographer Mario Testino. The original European CD and cassette versions of the album include the Performance Mix of “You Spin Me Round” and the extended dance mix of “Lover Come Back”, as well as the remastered release in 1994. The US and Japanese CD’s contain the original vinyl LP track listing. Out of print on vinyl since its original release, it is remastered and reissued by Music On Vinyl in 2018. The LP comes pressed on standard black or limited edition purple vinyl (1,500 numbered copies). “Youthquake” peaks at number nine on the UK album chart, number thirty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

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.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 20, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1978 – “With A Little Luck” by Wings hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Paul McCartney, it is the sixth solo chart topper for the former Beatle. In early 1977, Linda McCartney finds out that she is expecting her and Paul’s third child together (a son, named James Louis McCartney born on September 12, 1977). Inspired by the good news, McCartney writes “With A Little Luck” based on his feelings of happiness and optimism about the impending birth and their future. Deciding that a change of scenery is necessary when recording the follow up to their previous studio album “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”, the band take a working vacation, by living and recording on a yacht called the “Fair Carol” (equipped with a twenty-four track recording studio) moored off of the Virgin Islands in the Spring of 1977. Final overdubbing and mixing for the track is completed in London at Abbey Road and AIR Studios. Released as the first single from “London Town” (original working title “Water Wings”), it quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #70 on March 25, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Commercially sold copies of the 45 contain the full album version clocking in at 5:45, while promotional copies serviced to radio stations feature an edited version running 3:13. The short version is not issued on a commercial album, until the release of the compilation albums “All The Best!” in 1987 (US Version only) and “Wingspan” in 2001. “With A Little Luck” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 20, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1976 – “Changesonebowie”, the eleventh album by David Bowie is released. It is the first compilation of Bowie’s hits on RCA Records from 1969 to 1976. The album also marks the first appearance of the track “John I’m Only Dancing” on an album. The song had been previously issued as a stand alone single in September of 1972. The first 1,000 copies of the UK LP have the “sax version” of the song, a re-recorded version cut in January of 1973. It issued as a single in the UK in April of 1973, using the same catalog number as the first pressing. The compilation subsequently switches out the “sax version” with the original release on future pressings. “Ziggy Stardust” is also issued as a single A-side in tandem with the compilations release to help promote it. “Changesone” is also briefly reissued on CD in 1985 by RCA, but is quickly withdrawn after Bowie acquires the rights to his master recordings. The album also spawns a sequel compilation titled “Changestwobowie” released in November of 1981. After both titles are deleted, another Bowie hits album titled “Changesbowie” featuring tracks from both albums with songs from the “Let’s Dance” and “Tonight” albums (originally released on EMI-America Records) is released in 1990, while Bowie’s catalog is distributed by Rykodisc. It too is deleted when the Bowie’s catalog is licensed to EMI Records worldwide. On May 20, 2016, the album is reissued on vinyl for the first time in over two decades, to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of its original release. Parlophone/WMG presses the new reissue on black and limited edition clear 180 gram vinyl. “Changesonebowie” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

Born on this day: May 20, 1946 – Pop music ico…

Born on this day: May 20, 1946 – Pop music icon and Academy Award winning actress Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkasian La Pierre in El Centro, CA). Happy 73rd Birthday, Cher!!

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 20, 1974 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1974 – “Rags To Rufus”, the second album by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan is released. Produced by Bob Monaco, it is recorded at Quantum Recording Studios in Torrance, CA from December 1973 – February 1974. Originally known as Ask Rufus when they form in 1971, the band originally consists of former American Breed (“Bend Me, Shape Me”) members Kevin Murphy (keyboards), Chuck Colbert Jr., Willie Weeks (bass), Lee Graziano (drums), Al Ciner (guitar), James Stella and Paulette McWilliams (vocals). They’re signed to Epic Records and record an album, which is shelved and they are dropped. Manager and producer Bob Monaco helps them to land another contract, this time with ABC/Dunhill Records. Before it’s recorded, Weeks is replaced by Dennis Belfield, Stella is replaced by Ron Stockert, and Graziano by Andre Fischer. During this time McWilliams becomes close friends with a young Chicago based singer named Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens), who initially joins as a background singer. Paulette eventually decides to leave, grooming Khan to replace her. Shortening their name to Rufus, they release their debut album in July of 1973 (#44 R&B, #174 Pop), then quickly beginning work on the follow up. In spite of being very pregnant with her first child Indira Milini (born December 21, 1973), Chaka delivers powerful vocals throughout. During the sessions, Rufus receive a visit in the studio by R&B and pop superstar Stevie Wonder, who had become aware of them through their cover of his song “Maybe Your Baby” on their first album. Wonder offers to write the band a song for them, initially coming up with one titled “Come and Get This Stuff”. Chaka tells Stevie bluntly that she doesn’t like it. Stunned at the rejection, Wonder asks Khan what her birth sign is, to which she replies “Aries-Pisces”. Stevie comes back with another song titled “Tell Me Something Good” (#3 R&B and Pop). It also features future members Tony Maiden (talk box, guitar), and Nate Morgan (keyboards), though both are uncredited. Putting her unique vocal stamp on the unusually structured but ultra funky song, “Tell Me” becomes a crossover smash. The single wins Rufus and Chaka Khan their first Grammy Award For Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1975. It is followed by the equally funky “You Got The Love” (#1 R&B, #14 Pop), co-written by Khan and former Stevie Wonder guitarist Ray Parker, Jr., pushing the album past the million mark in sales. First released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued by Geffen/Universal Japan in 2004, packaged in a mini-LP sleeve. “Rags To Rufus” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart and Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 20, 1967 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1967 – “Respect” by Aretha Franklin hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 8 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on June 3, 1967. Written by Otis Redding, it is the second consecutive R&B chart topper for “The Queen Of Soul”. Written and originally recorded by R&B legend Otis Redding in 1965, Aretha Franklin’s version of “Respect” features members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. It is one of the tracks cut during the week long sessions that produce Franklin’s debut album for Atlantic. Aretha’s version receives a dramatic rearrangement when it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City on February 14, 1967. One of the significant changes made on Franklin’s version is in the songs instrumental break. Saxophonist King Curtis plays the solo using the chord changes from Sam & Dave’s hit “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”. Aretha, along with her sisters Erma and Carolyn (also singing background vocals) come up with the signature “sock it to me” line as well as the refrain of “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and the lines that follow including “take care, T-C-B” (street slang for “taking care of business”). Upon hearing Aretha’s version, Otis Redding is quoted as jokingly saying “That little girl done stole my song!”, recognizing that she had just recorded the definitive version of his song. The response to “Respect” is immediate when it begins receiving radio play as soon as the album “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You” is released on March 10, 1967. With the title track holding down the top spot on the R&B singles chart for eight weeks and reaching the top 10 on the pop chart, Atlantic holds off just long enough for the other single to have its moment to unleash the follow up. Entering the Billboard R&B singles chart at #19 on May 6, 1967, it pole vaults up the chart to #5 then #1, just narrowly succeeding herself in the top spot by one week. “Respect” takes a similar ascent up the Hot 100, entering the chart at #50 on April 29, 1967, it rockets to the top five weeks later. Its upward chart movement is so strong, that it temporarily bumps The Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” from the number one spot for two weeks. “Respect” earns Aretha Franklin the first Grammy Award given for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female in 1968. It is the first of eleven times Franklin wins the award over the years, receiving it eight years in a row consecutively, making her the undisputed champ in that category. In the wake of the records huge success, it not only is adapted as a feminist anthem, but also as a rallying cry for the Civil Rights Movement. Regarded as Franklin’s signature song, it is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998. “Respect” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 20, 1967 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1967 – “Groovin’” by The Young Rascals hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks (non-consecutive), also peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, it is the second chart topping single for the New York City based blue eyed soul/pop rock quartet. For the bands sixth single release, they venture into new musical territory. Taking an interest in Afro-Cuban music, keyboardist and lead vocalist Felix Cavaliere along with percussionist Eddie Brigati come up with a leisurely paced groove with that sound in mind, and begin crafting a song around it. Lyrically, it is about how the only time the two busy musicians could spend with their respective girlfriends were on Sundays. When they get into the studio to cut the track, they enlist the assistance of veteran studio bassist Chuck Rainey to play on the song. Once it’s completed, the band present the song to Atlantic Records, who at first are unsure of the songs commercial potential. Famed New York DJ Murray “The K”, convinces the label to release song after he expresses his enthusiasm for it. Released on April 10, 1967, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on April 22, 1967, it rockets to the top of the chart just four weeks later. “Groovin’” proves to have major staying power once it reaches the summit. After two weeks at the top, it is bumped from the number one spot by Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” for two weeks, then it returns to the top for an additional two weeks. The B-side of “Groovin” titled “Sueño”, is later sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, on the intro of their single ‘I Left My Wallet In El Segundo" in 1990. “Groovin’” is also sampled and interpolated by A Lighter Shade Of Brown on their single “On A Sunday Afternoon” in 1991. “Groovin’” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day music history: May 19, 1990 – &ldq…

On this day music history: May 19, 1990 – “Rub You The Right Way” by Johnny Gill hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on August 4, 1990. Written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, it is the first chart topping single for the singer from Washington, D.C. Known primarily as a romantic balladeer from the time he begins his recording career as a teenager, Johnny Gill finds himself pigeonholed in that category. When Gill is paired with superstar producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, they make a consorted effort to expand the singer’s musical horizons. The duo use one of the singer’s childhood musical heroes as the template to make that happening. Noting how producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff would also write strong up tempo material for Teddy Pendergrass to sing, Jam and Lewis take a similar approach with Johnny. Noting the aggressive up tempo grooves like “Only You”, “You Can’t Hide From Yourself” and “Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose” by Pendergrass, Jimmy and Terry pen “Rub You The Right Way”. When Gill hears the track the producers have come up with, he’s all in. More adept as a live performer and never totally comfortable in the studio, it takes the singer a long time to perfect his vocals on the song. But once it’s completed, all agree that the song is a smash. The public will agree also, when “Rub You The Right Way” is issued as the first single from Johnny Gill’s third solo album on March 13, 1990. The single quickly races up the R&B chart, before crossing over and hitting the top five on the pop in late Summer. “Rub You” is also a solid hit on club dance floors, thanks to a hot dance remix by The Untouchables (DJ Pete Rock, DJ Eddie F. and Nevelle Hodge). The remix version also features additional rap verses by CL Smooth, which also receives significant radio and mix show play. “Rub You The Right Way” quickly propels the “Johnny Gill” album past the Platinum mark in the US, with the single moving more than a half million copies. The remix version is issued on a Japanese only CD compilation titled “Johnny The Remix”, released in 1991. “Rub You The Right Way” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 19, 1990 -…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1990 – “Vogue” by Madonna hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on the same date. Written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone, it is the eighth chart topping single for the pop music superstar born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. Collaborating with club DJ, remixer, and producer Shep Pettibone, Madonna decide to come up with a non-album B-side for the “Like A Prayer” albums’ fifth single “Keep It Together”. The singer is inspired by dancers she sees at the New York City club The Sound Factory doing a stylized dance called “voguing”. Originating in New York’s black and latino underground gay clubs and drag balls as early as the 1960’s, the dance takes its name from the fashion magazine “Vogue”. It is a series of “angular, rigid hand, arm, leg and body movements” designed to look like the person is posing like a model while they are moving. When Madonna lets Warner Bros. know of her original intent to the use the song as a B-side, their great enthusiasm for the track persuade her to release it an A-side instead. “Vogue” is also added to the album “I’m Breathless” which includes songs from the film “Dick Tracy” in which she plays the character Breathless Mahoney. The songs popularity is further heightened by a memorable and striking black and white video directed by David Fincher (“Fight Club”, “Se7en”), featuring several of the dancers Madonna originally sees performing the dance, becoming dancers on the “Blonde Ambition Tour” in 1990. Entering the Hot 100 at #39 on April 14, 1990, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. In 2010, “Vogue” is featured in “The Power Of Madonna” episode of the television show “Glee”, when the song is used in a spoof of the music video performed by actress Jane Lynch. The same year, Madonna and co-writer/producer Shep Pettibone are sued by Salsoul Records, claiming that “Vogue” samples a portion of The Salsoul Orchestra’s disco classic “Love Break”. The court eventually settles the lawsuit in Madonna’s favor. As a result of the suit, Warner Bros stops publishing royalty payments to Pettibone, who sues WB Music and Warner/Chappell Music in April of 2017. The suit claims that he is owed more than $500,000 in back royalties. Finally in April of 2019, one month shy of twenty nine years after the song tops the pop chart, Shep Pettibone wins his lawsuit (on appeal) against Warner Music Group and its music publishing company Warner/Chappell. “Vogue” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228