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, 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.
Born on this day: August 20, 1949 – Phil Lynott, lead singer and bassist of Thin Lizzy (born Philip Parris Lynott in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, UK). Happy Birthday to this rock legend on what would have been his 69th Birthday.
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.
On this day in music history: August 19, 1972 – “Chicago V”, the fifth album by Chicago hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 9 weeks. Produced by James William Guercio, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City from September 20 – 29, 1971. Recorded in just nine days, it is the bands first single LP release. Physically and creatively exhausted after a three year long cycle of having recorded three double album sets (plus a four LP live album box set), and touring extensively to support them, the band decides to take a more direct approach with their fifth album. Stepping away from the lengthy and elaborate music suites that dominated their previous LP’s, they put an emphasis on songs that are shorter in length and more radio friendly. Eight of the albums ten tracks are written by keyboard player and vocalist Robert Lamm including the hit singles “Saturday In The Park” (#3 Pop) and “Dialogue Pts. 1 & 2” (#24 Pop). “Chicago V” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 19, 1967 – “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the fourteenth US chart topper for “The Fab Four”. The Beatles are asked to represent England as part of the first worldwide satellite broadcast “Our World”. The only request that the organizers will make, is that the band come up with a song containing a simple message that the worldwide audience watching can understand. Having just released the landmark “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band” two weeks before, the band quickly begin work on the song. John Lennon comes up with and writes the majority of what becomes “All You Need Is Love”, with Paul McCartney helping him complete it. The basic track is recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London on June 14, 1967. The band performs the song on the live television broadcast from Studio One at Abbey Road Studios on June 25, 1967. Lennon sings his lead vocal live on the program, but also records it again following the broadcast. The program is seen by over 400 million people in twenty six countries. The song is rush released as a single on July 7, 1967. Entering the Hot 100 at #71 on July 22, 1967, it leaps to the top of the chart just four weeks later. “All You Need Is Love” and its B-side “Baby You’re A Rich Man” (#34 Pop), (recorded on May 11, 1967) are both included on the US LP release of “Magical Mystery Tour” when it is released in late November of 1967. The song is also included in the animated feature “Yellow Submarine” and on its soundtrack album. The Our World footage of The Beatles performing “All You Need Is Love”, originally transmitted in black and white, is restored and digitally colorized when it is included in “The Beatles Anthology” series in November of 1995. “All You Need Is Love” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 18, 1987 – “Permanent Vacation”, the ninth studio album by Aerosmith is released. Produced by Bruce Fairbairn, it is recorded at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, BC, Canada from March – May 1987. Following the failure of the bands 1985 album “Done With Mirrors”, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry’s collaboration with RUN DMC on the remake of Aerosmith’s classic “Walk This Way” set the wheels in motion for the second and most successful phase of their career. The band’s A&R man, John Kalodner is also instrumental in helping chart the course for Aerosmith’s return to commercial prominence. Kalodner suggests that that the band work with veteran producer Fairbairn (Bon Jovi, KISS, AC/DC) and collaborate with several different songwriters including Desmond Child, Holly Knight, and Jim Vallance, the album marks the beginning of a major comeback Aerosmith. It spins off three singles including “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” (#14 Pop), “Angel” (#3 Pop), and “Rag Doll” (#17 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2010, and is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2016. “Permanent Vacation” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 18, 1986 – “Slippery When Wet”, the third studio album by Bon Jovi is released. Produced by Bruce Fairbairn, it is recorded at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from January – July 1986. In spite of going Gold with their first two albums, Bon Jovi find themselves at a major career crossroads. After struggling for years, the band realize they need to change their approach to writing and recording to achieve the level of success they seek. At the suggestion of their record label, Bon Jovi hire songwriter Desmond Child who had previously worked with KISS, Cher and Bonnie Tyler. Co-writing four songs with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Child is able to blend his trademark radio friendly hooks with Bon Jovi and Sambora’s ideas. The band also choose a new producer, working with Bruce Fairbairn, previously best known for his work with Prism, Loverboy, Blue Öyster Cult and Honeymoon Suite. Bon Jovi spends over six months working on the album. During the recording, the band nearly drop one of albums biggest hits “Livin’ On A Prayer” (#1 Pop) from the albums final running order. Unhappy with the original version that is recorded, Sambora convinces the rest of the band of its potential and that they should try recording it again. Re-tooling the arrangement, Richie adds the crowning touch by using a talk box effect on his guitar, popularized by guitar Peter Frampton on his landmark live album “Frampton Comes Alive!”. Initially titled “Wanted Dead Or Alive” (#7 Pop) after the song, the album title is changed to “Slippery When Wet”. Completed by mid-Summer, Mercury Records schedules “Slippery” for a mid-August street date. Before it’s released, the original cover artwork, featuring a busty model in a strategically torn wet T-shirt with the title emblazoned on the front, is withdrawn before going to print in the US. Based on the problems Mercury had experienced with album covers by Bon Jovi label mates The Scorpions, the label fears that some major retailers will refuse to stock the album with such a provocative cover. The photo is used in some foreign territories and as the US 12" promo and international 7" picture sleeves for “You Give Love A Bad Name” (#1 Pop), a more innocuous image is used instead. The released cover features the title traced on to a wet garbage bag with the bands logo printed above it. “Slippery” is an enormous runaway success, spinning three top ten singles including their first two number ones, it catapults Bon Jovi into mainstream pop superstardom. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2010, with three live bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2016. “Slippery When Wet” spends eight weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 12x Platinum in the US, earning a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: August 18, 1978 – “Who Are You”, the eighth studio album by The Who is released. Produced by The Who, Jon Astley and Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Rampart Studios in Battersea, London, Olympic Studios, RAK Studios in St. John’s Wood, London, and Pete Townshend’s Home Studio in Going-on-Thames, London from October 1977 – April 1978. Issued three years after their last studio album “The Who By Numbers”, it is the final album to feature original drummer Keith Moon. Hampered by his decade long abuse of drugs and alcohol, Moon’s once rock solid playing suffers as he continues to struggle with his addictions. As a result, Keith’s confidence in his ability to deliver consistently in the studio is shaken, feeling that he is letting his band mates down. Sadly, he dies of an accidental drug overdose just three weeks after its release. Moon’s death is made even more tragic and ironic, when he overdoses on the medication he is prescribed to combat his alcoholism. It spins off two singles including “Trick Of The Light” and the title track (#14 Pop). In 1996, the album is remixed and remastered (by Jon Astley), with the reissue containing five bonus tracks. The title song becomes the theme of long running crime drama television series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” in 2000. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2015. “Who Are You” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, number six on the UK album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.