Category: self titled album

On this day in music history: October 17, 1990…

On this day in music history: October 17, 1990 – “The Geto Boys”, the third album by The Geto Boys is released. Produced by DJ Ready Red, Doug King, John Bido,  and Johnny C, it is recorded at Rap-A-Lot Recording Studios and Rivendell Recorders in Houston, TX from Mid 1988 – Mid 1990. Making their debut around the same time as N.W.A., The Geto Boys from the notoriously rough Fifth Ward in Houston, TX, the group quickly become underground gangsta rap icons thanks to their first two albums “Making Trouble” and “Grip It! On That Other Level” released in 1988. Featuring gritty and funky beats made on an E-mu SP-1200 sampler/drum machine, the rhymes of Scarface, Willie D. and Bushwick Bill contain often violent, profane, sexually explicit and misogynist imagery with elements of horror or gore. Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin is a fan of the group and offers to sign them to his label Def American, at the time being distributed by Geffen Records (then part of Warner Bros). Rubin along with engineer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots) remixes all twelve tracks from “Grip It!” (also re-recording the vocals on several songs) along with “Assassins” from their debut. When the finished album is turned in to Geffen, the sh*t literally hits the fan, with executives at the label being highly offended by its lyrical content, especially the tracks “Mind Of A Lunatic” and “Assassins”. Geffen’s CD manufacturer Sony DADC (Digital Audio Disc Corporation) also refuses to press CD’s of the album for the same reason. Rubin instead arranges for Warner Bros subsidiary label Giant Records to handle distribution and marketing of the album, with WEA Manufacturing pressing the CD and manufacturing cassettes. In addition the Parental Advisory sticker on the front cover, an additional disclaimer is added, baring the legend, “Def American Recordings is opposed to censorship. Our manufacturer and distributor, however, do not condone or endorse the content of this recording, which they find violent, sexist, racist, and indecent”. Though most mainstream critics react negatively to the content of the album, on the opposite side, many in the rap music community praise it for its inventive use of samples (considering the limitations of the technology used), and the authoritative vocals of the groups three principal members. Not long after the album is released, The Geto Boys run into a problem with musician Steve Miller, who objects to the use of his song “The Joker” on the track “Gangster Of Love”. The original pressing is deleted and reissued with the sample being replaced by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” in its place. This turns the original CD, cassette and rare vinyl pressings into expensive and sought after collector’s items. “The Geto Boys” peaks at number sixty seven on the Billboard R&B album chart and number one hundred seventy one on the Top 200.

On this day in music history: October 16, 1968…

On this day in music history: October 16, 1968 – “Three Dog Night”, the debut album by Three Dog Night is released. Produced by Gabriel Mekler, it is recorded at the American Recording Co. in Calabasas, CA from July – August 1968. Formed in 1967, Three Dog Night consists of lead singers Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, along with fellow band members Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboards), Joe Schermie (bass), Michael Allsup (guitar), and Floyd Sneed (drums). The band chose their unusual name from a magazine article about Australian Aborigines, and how they would often sleep huddled with a dog at night to keep warm. On unusually cold nights, they would sleep with two dogs, and if it were freezing, three dogs. Gigging around Los Angeles, Three Dog Night quickly build a following and are signed to ABC/Dunhill Records in early 1968 after being spotted performing at The Troubadour night club in West Hollywood. The band work with producer Gabriel Mekler, best known for his work with Steppenwolf (“Born To Be Wild”, “Magic Carpet Ride”). TDN record their debut album at the studio owned by recording engineer Richard Podolor, who becomes their producer in 1969, working with them until 1974. Not adept at writing their own material, the band show exquisite taste in choosing songs from some of the best up and coming songwriters of the day, including Randy Newman, Neil Young and Tim Hardin. Their first single release “Nobody” is local hit in L.A., but misses the mark on the national charts. stalling at #116 Bubbling Under the Hot 100. The second release, a cover of “Try A Little Tenderness” (#29 Pop), gives the band their first Top 40 hit. TDN’s breakout hit is the third single from their debut, a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “One” (#5 Pop), originally recorded for his album “Aerial Ballet”. Their hook laden arrangement quickly becomes a smash, and is the first of eleven top ten singles Three Dog Night has over the next five years.  Due to the success of the song, in later years the album is re-titled “One” outside the US and domestically when it is reissued on CD in the late 80’s. “Three Dog Night” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 15, 1978…

On this day in music history: October 15, 1978 – “Toto”, the debut album by Toto is released. Produced by Toto, it is recorded at Studio 55, Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, and Davlen Sound Studios in North Hollywood, CA from May – September 1978. Having previously established themselves as prominent LA studio musicians for the likes of Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Seals & Crofts and Sonny & Cher (to name a few), the band are signed to Columbia Records in early 1978. Rock critics react negatively to their first effort calling them “faceless” and “formulaic”, but does not affect public opinion, who love the record from the outset. It spins off three singles including their first top 10 hit “Hold The Line” (#5 Pop), with Toto also scoring a surprise reverse crossover hit with “Georgy Porgy” (#48 Pop, #18 R&B), when the single becomes an airplay favorite on black radio stations and in clubs due in part to it featuring background vocals by singer Cheryl Lynn (several members of Toto played on her debut album and was co-produced by David Paich). The album also earns Toto a Grammy Nomination for Best New Artist in 1979. In 1991, rapper MC Lyte samples the track for her hit single “Poor Georgie”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD by Culture Factory Records in 2014. It is also previously reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl in 2011, and by Friday Music in 2012. “Toto” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 13, 19…

On this day in music history: October 13, 1978 – “Cheryl Lynn”, the debut album by Cheryl Lynn is released. Produced by David Paich and Marty Paich, it is recorded at Studio 55, Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, Western Recorders in Los Angeles, CA and CBS Recording Studios in New York City from Late 1977 – Mid 1978. Born Lynda Cheryl Smith in Los Angeles, CA, Cheryl Lynn grows up singing in church. She gets her first major break in the national touring company of “The Wiz”. Eventually she is promoted to a starring role, portraying Evillene, The Wicked Witch Of The West. Also that year, Lynn appears on the amateur talent program “The Gong Show”. Singing “You Are So Beautiful”, Cheryl Lynn earns a perfect score and wins the top prize. Little does she realize that TV appearance will change her life. After the show airs, she begins receiving phone calls from record executives, including Ahmet Ertegun from Atlantic Records. When Ertegun is unable to meet with the singer, she instead meets with execs from Columbia Records. Lynn is quickly signed by veteran A&R man Bruce Lundvall, who pairs her with David Paich of the band Toto. Paich works on Cheryl’s debut with his famous father, arranger and bandleader Marty Paich. A virtual “A-Team” of musicians are assembled for the sessions, including Ray Parker, Jr., David T. Walker, Steve Lukather (guitar), David Shields, Chuck Rainey (bass), James Gadson, Bernard Purdie (drums), Bobbye Hall, Harvey Mason, Joe Porcaro (percussion), Dick Hyde, Chuck Findley, Ernie Watts, Pete Christlieb, Gary Grant and Steve Madaio (horns). The album is led by the instant classic “Got To Be Real” (#1 R&B, #12 Pop), quickly establishing Lynn as a force to be reckoned with. It spins off two more singles including “Star Love” (#16 R&B, #62 Pop) and “You Saved My Day”. “Star Love” is unique in the fact that it is recorded almost completely live in the studio. Though not a hit at the time, “You Saved My Day” becomes an underground club classic over the years, with Columbia issuing the full unedited version as a promotional only 12" in the US. Over time, the rare single becomes a highly prized and expensive collector’s item, among club DJ’s and fans. “Day” is released as a limited edition 12" for Record Store Day in April of 2018. Originally released on CD in 1987, it is given a long overdue remastering and reissue in 2014 by UK reissue label SoulMusic Records. Produced and annotated by veteran music historian and journalist David Nathan, it features four additional bonus tracks including the shorter initial single release of “Got To Be Real”, also featured on the first pressing of the album, but eventually replaced with the longer “Disco Mix”. It also features the 12" and single edits of “Star Love” and promo 12" mix of “You Saved My Day”. “Cheryl Lynn” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty three on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 7, 1978 …

On this day in music history: October 7, 1978 – “Dire Straits”, the debut album by Dire Straits is released. Produced by Muff Winwood, it is recorded at Basing Street Studios in London from February 13 – March 5, 1978. Formed in 1977 by brothers Mark and David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers, the band play clubs around in and around London before recording a five song demo tape. The band take their tape to DJ Charlie Gillett, the host of a BBC radio show to seek his advice on the material. Gillett likes the demo so much that he begins playing their early recording of “Sultans Of Swing” on the air. This attracts the attention of Phonogram subsidiary Vertigo Records, who sign Dire Straits two months after the demo is played on the radio. Paired with former Spencer Davis Group bassist turned label A&R man Muff Winwood (older brother of musician Steve Winwood), The band enter the recording studio to work on their first album. Recorded in just three weeks of studio time, the album initially attracts little attention until Dire Straits begins touring as the opening act for Talking Heads which leads to Warner Bros Records picking it up for US release. “Sultans Of Swing” (#4 Pop) is issued as a single and breaks on US radio stations, in the Spring of 1979. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 1996 and 2000. “Dire Straits” is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Simply Vinyl in 1999, and by Rhino Records in 2009. The album is also reissued as a SACD SHM-CD in Japan in “Dire Straits” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 6, 1982 …

On this day in music history: October 6, 1982 – “Lionel Richie”, the debut album by Lionel Richie is released. Produced by James Anthony Carmichael and Lionel Richie, it is recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from November 1981 – July 1982. Shortly after completing work on “In The Pocket”, his ninth and final studio album with The Commodores, and the duet single “Endless Love” with Diana Ross, Lionel Richie begins recording his debut solo album. Working with longtime Commodores co-producer James Anthony Carmichael, the album features a number of top notch studio and prominent guest musicians including Greg Phillinganes, Clarence McDonald (keyboards), John “J.R.” Robinson, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler (drums), Nathan Watts, Nathan East (bass), Joe Walsh, Richie Zito, Fred Tackett (guitars), Ernie Watts (saxophone), Kenny Rogers, Richard Marx and Jimmy Connors (background vocals). Throughout the recording of the album, Lionel uses the same studio piano used by Carole King on “Tapestry”. Richie’s first solo album is a huge commercial success, spinning off three top five singles including “Truly” (#1 Pop, #2 R&B, #1 AC), “You Are” (#4 Pop, #2 R&B, #1 AC), and “My Love” (#5 Pop, #6 R&B, #1 AC). Richie also wins his first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for “Truly” in 1983. The album is remastered and reissued in 2003, with two bonus tracks added, including Richie’s solo demo recording of “Endless Love”, and the instrumental version of “You Are”.  Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in December of 2017. The reissue replicates the gatefold sleeve design used on the original issue. “Lionel Richie” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, spending one week at number one on the R&B album chart, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 3, 1983 …

On this day in music history: October 3, 1983 – “Genesis”, the twelfth album by Genesis is released. Produced by Genesis and Hugh Padgham, it is recorded at The Farm in Chiddingfold, Surrey, UK from May – August 1983. Following the successful tour and subsequent live album “Three Sides Live”, the band return to the studio for the first time in two years to record the follow up to “Abacab”. For the first time, all three members co-write every song together, rather than bringing finished material into the studio to record. Hugh Padgham also moves into the role as co-producer, with the band following his initial work with Genesis as a recording engineer on “Abacab”, and on Phil Collins’ first two solo albums. The album is also referred to by fans as “The Mama Album”, which becomes the bands highest charting UK single, “Shapes” or “Yellow Shapes” because of the yellow Tupperware “Shape O Toy Ball” plastic shapes featured on the cover artwork. It becomes their most successful album to date, spinning off four singles including “That’s All” (#6 US Pop, #16 UK), and “Mama” (#4 UK, #73 US Pop).  In 2007, the album is remastered and reissued on CD, and features a bonus DVD with the music videos for all of the singles, with the audio remixed into 5.1 surround. The video also includes vintage footage of Genesis rehearsing for the “Mama Tour” mounted in support of the album. “Genesis” is also reissued on vinyl in Europe in November of 2013 to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its original release. “Genesis” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 27, 19…

On this day in music history: September 27, 1994 – “Brandy”, the debut album by Brandy is released. Produced by Keith Crouch, Kenneth Crouch, Arvel McClinton, Somethin’ For The People and Damon Thomas, it is recorded at Human Rhythm Studios, Aire L.A. Studios,  Swing Bopulous Studios in Los Angeles, CA, and Ameraycan Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Fall 1993 – Summer 1994. Singer Brandy Norwood works mostly with producer and songwriter Keith Crouch and R&B trio Somethin’ For The People on her debut release. A number of up and coming songwriters including former Kids Incorporated regular Rahsaan Patterson and a then unknown Robin Thicke also contribute songs to the project.  The album is a huge success for the then fifteen year old singer/actress. It spins off four hit singles including “I Wanna Be Down” (#1 R&B, #6 Pop), “Baby” (#1 R&B, #4 Pop), and “Brokenhearted” (#2 R&B, #9 Pop).

The popularity of “I Wanna Be Down” is bolstered by a remix version that features rappers Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo.

The album also earns Brandy two Grammy nominations including one for Best New Artist in 1995. “Brandy” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty on the Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1996 – “Sheryl Crow”, the second album by Sheryl Crow is released. Produced by Sheryl Crow, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders, Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, and Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA from Early – Mid 1996. Following up her multi-platinum, multiple Grammy winning debut “Tuesday Night Music Club”, Crow returns to the studio with producer Bill Bottrell. Bottrell abruptly leaves the project in a dispute over musical direction, with Crow taking over the production duties herself. The album features a number of guest musicians including Neil Finn (of Crowded House), Steve Berlin (of Los Lobos), Jim Keltner and Pete Thomas. It spins off three singles including “If It Makes You Happy” (#10 Pop) and “Everyday Is A Winding Road” (#11 Pop). The album is also the subject of a minor controversy over the lyrics to the song “Love Is A Good Thing” in which one line states, “Watch out sister, watch out brother, watch our children while they kill each other with a gun they bought at Wal-Mart discount stores”. This leads to the mass market retailer banning the album from being carried in their stores when Crow refuses to change the lyrics, or remove the song from the album. The album wins two Grammy Awards for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance (for “If It Makes You Happy”) and Best Rock Album in 1997. “Sheryl Crow” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 22, 19…

On this day in music history: September 22, 1969 – “The Band”, the second album by The Band is released. Produced by John Simon, it is recorded at 8841 Evanview Drive in West Hollywood, CA and The Hit Factory in New York City from Early – Mid 1969. Issued as the follow up to their acclaimed debut “Music From Big Pink”, The Band decide on a dramatic change of scenery to work on their next release. The album is recorded in a rented home in the Hollywood Hills owned by entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr.. The home’s pool cabana is converted into a recording studio for the duration of the sessions. It yields a number of classic songs including “Up On Cripple Creek” (#25 Pop), “Rag Mama Rag” (#57 Pop), and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. The LP cover features a sepia toned photo of the band by photographer Elliot Landy, becomes known as “The Brown Album” by fans for the brown colored border around the front and back of the album jacket. The original US vinyl pressing of the album cut by mastering engineer Bob Ludwig (indicated by the initials “RL” in the run out groove), is made using the first generation master tapes, is regarded as the best sounding pressing of the LP. Subsequent cuts use 1:1 safety copies including later reissues due to the original masters either being lost or not being accessible. “The Band” is first remastered and reissued in 2000 on CD with seven additional bonus tracks including alternate versions of several songs, and the non-LP B-side “Get Up Jake” in true stereo for the first time (originally issued as the B-side of “Ain’t Got No Home” in 1973, erroneously listed on the single as being from their live album “Rock Of Ages”). It is also reissued as a hybrid SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) and vinyl LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2013. The album is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and is selected for preservation by The National Recording Registry of The Library Of Congress in 2009, for its ongoing historic and cultural significance. “The Band” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.