On this day in music history: July 18, 1960 – …

On this day in music history: July 18, 1960 – “Sketches Of Spain”, the thirty-fourth studio album by Miles Davis is released. Produced by Teo Macero and Irving Townsend, it is recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studios in New York City on November 20, 1959 and March 10, 1960. Barely three months after the release of the landmark “Kind Of Blue”, Miles Davis returns to the studio to begin recording the follow up release. Having previously worked with arranger Gil Evans on “Miles Ahead” and “Porgy And Bess”, Davis once again calls on the Canadian born musician to collaborate once again. Initially the project is started without a central concept or theme, at first recording the piece “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Spanish composer  Joaquin Rodrigo. A composition originally written for guitar, Evans and Davis transform it into an epic orchestral jazz masterpiece. It features Miles accompanied by his core band of musicians including Jimmy Cobb (drums), Paul Chambers (bass) and Elvin Jones (percussion), backed by brass and woodwind instruments. The nearly side long recording becomes the centerpiece of the new album, with Gil Evans writing the Spanish tinged “Saeta” and “Solea” as well as the band recording early 20th century composer Manuel de Falla’s “Will O’ The Wisp” from the ballet “El Amor Brujo”. In spite of the challenging nature of the material, compositionally as well as technically, it sees Davis and Evans both at the peak of their creative powers. Miles’ control and command of his instrument is apparent from the first note to the last, displaying extraordinary degrees of sublitity and nuance. Released in the Summer of 1960, “Sketches Of Spain” receives unanimous acclaim from fans and critics alike, recognizing that Miles Davis and Gil Evans have again raised the bar for jazz music. In time, it is regarded as one of the most important albums of the 20th century. It wins Davis and Evans their first Grammy Awards for Best Original Jazz Composition in 1961. Originally released on CD in 1983, it is remastered and reissued in 1997 with three additional bonus tracks. It is remastered again in 2009 by Sony Legacy as an expanded two CD edition, featuring more outtakes and alternate recordings from the sessions. Reissued numerous times on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is most recently reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2011, with the long out of print mono mix being released in 2012. “Sketches” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1997. “Sketches Of Spain” peaks at number thirteen on the Billboard Jazz Album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 18, 1960 – …

On this day in music history: July 18, 1960 – “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Ronnie Self and Dub Albritton, it is the first chart topping single for teen aged country/pop singer from Atlanta, GA born Brenda Mae Tarpley. Produced by legendary country music producer Owen Bradley (Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn), the song is recorded during the last five minutes of a session. The single is groundbreaking as it is one of the first country records to use strings, becoming one of the trademark elements of the “Nashville Sound”. Initially, Lee’s record label Decca is hesitant to release it as a single, feeling that the songs lyrics about unrequited love are too mature for the then fifteen year old vocalist. It is issued as the B-side of the uptempo “That’s All You Gotta Do”. Both sides chart successfully with “That’s All” peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on July 4, 1960, though “I’m Sorry” quickly overtakes it in popularity, becoming a huge smash and Lee’s signature song. It not only tops the pop singles chart, but also reaches the top five on the R&B chart, peaking at #4. Entering the Hot 100 at #76 on May 30, 1960, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. “I’m Sorry” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 18, 1953 – …

On this day in music history: July 18, 1953 – An eighteen year old truck driver named Elvis Presley makes his first recordings at the Memphis Recording Service (aka Sun Records). The 78 acetate disc contains the songs “My Happiness” and  "That’s When Your Heartaches Begin". The disc is recorded as a birthday gift for his mother Gladys. The receptionist Marion Keisker asks Presley what type of singer he is, which he replies “I sing all kinds”. Then after asking him what he sounds like , Elvis states “I don’t sound like nobody”. After the brief session, Keisker plays the recordings for her boss Sam Phillips, who calls Presley back to make more recordings in the following months. Phillips pairs Presley up with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, and the trio begin working together. The original acetate (the only surviving copy, since the tape was erased following the session) with Elvis’ first two recordings are officially released ten years after Presley’s death in 1987. For many years, the record has been in the possession of Presley’s high school friend Ed Leek. After numerous attempts to sell disc, it is finally purchased by rock musician Jack White in 2015 for $300,000. White then issues it on a limited basis on Record Store Day in April of 2015, as a 10 inch 78 RPM disc, even replicating the original typewritten labels on the original acetate.

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twixnmix: Clark Gable and Loretta Young in…

twixnmix:

Clark Gable and Loretta Young in The Call of the Wild (1935)

During filming Clark and Loretta had an affair resulting in the birth of their daughter, Judy Lewis on November 6, 1935. Loretta, a single

devout

Catholic concealed her pregnancy and placed her daughter in an orphanage at eight months. She brought her into public view at 19 months, saying she was her adopted child. Judy didn’t discover the truth about her biological parents until was 31 years old, by then Clark had died. The truth was kept a secret for nearly 60 years until Judy confirmed that the rumors were true in her 1994 memoir Uncommon Knowledge

Opera singer Margaret Tynes photographed b…

Opera singer Margaret Tynes photographed by Carl Van Vechten on September 29, 1959.

Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel B…

Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat at Warhol’s studio at 860 Broadway in New York City on April 23, 1984.

On this day in music history: July 17, 1982 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1982 – “Screaming For Vengeance”, the eighth studio album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Ibiza Sound Studios in Ibiza, Spain in Early 1982. After having their commercial breakthrough in the US with the albums “British Steel” and “Point Of Entry”, Judas Priest return to the studio in early 1982 to record their eighth album. Once again, they record on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza (for tax purposes)The veteran heavy metal bands eighth release is their most successful to date in the US, spinning off two singles including “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” (#67 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock) and “Electric Eye” (#38 Mainstream Rock). The band also tour extensively in support of the album and other metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Krokus and Uriah Heep opening for them on the US leg. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, with two additional bonus tracks added. The expanded reissue is also released as a double vinyl LP by Back On Black Records in 2010, pressed on green, yellow, orange and standard black vinyl. “Screaming For Vengeance” peaks at number seventeen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 17, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1981 – “Escape” (aka E5C4P3), the seventh album by Journey is released. Produced by Mike Stone and Kevin Elson, it is recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA from April – June 1981. Starting off the 80’s with the successful “Departure”, Journey follows it with the live album “Captured”. In between, they also record “Dream, After Dream”, the soundtrack for the Japanese film “Yume, Yume No Ato”. Shortly afterward, founding member Gregg Rolie leaves to pursue a solo career. Rolie recommends former Babys keyboardist Jonathan Cain as his replacement. Besides his excellent musicianship, Cain proves to be a highly valuable asset to the band for his songwriting abilities, especially in tandem with lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon. Co-writing all ten of the songs on the album, Cain establishes himself as another element in Journey’s success. Sporting instantly memorable songs, it quickly becomes their most successful studio album. Though some critics react unfavorably, accusing the band of selling out their progressive rock roots, the public and radio could care less, enthusiastically embracing the album. It spins off a total of five singles including “Who’s Crying Now” (#4 Pop), “Open Arms” (#2 Pop) and “Still They Ride” (#19 Pop). The second single “Don’t Stop Believin’” (#9 Pop), is released in October of 1981 as the follow up to “Who’s Crying Now”. Though successful at the time, it’s overshadowed by the two singles released before (“Crying”) and after (“Open Arms”), which are bigger chart and airplay hits. However, “Don’t Stop Believin’” builds in popularity, becoming a highlight of Journey’s live concerts. It becomes a staple on rock radio over the next two decades, and a huge karaoke favorite. Its greatest success comes in 2007 when featured in the final episode of the “The Sopranos”. Following the initial broadcast seen by nearly twelve million people, “Believin’” immediately surges to the top of the Apple iTunes digital download chart. To date it has sold over 6.5 million digital downloads, making it one of the largest selling digital singles released in the pre-digital era. It also becomes an anthem at sporting events, being adapted as a rallying cry by fans of the San Francisco Giants during their World Series victories. The success of “Escape” inspires the video game “Journey Escape”, created by California based video game company Data Age for the Atari 2600 game console in 1982. The albums now iconic cover artwork of their trademark scarab crashing out of a glass orb, is painted by famed Bay Area based artist Stanley Mouse. One of the first titles released on CD by CBS Records in 1982, it is remastered and reissued in 2006 with four additional bonus tracks. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Friday Music in 2010. “Escape” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 9x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: July 17, 1961 – Hip Hop icon…

Born on this day: July 17, 1961 – Hip Hop icon Guru of Gang Starr (born Keith Edward Elam in Roxbury, MA). Happy Birthday to this great MC and lyricist on what would have been his 57th Birthday.

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Born on this day: July 17, 1950 – Singer, song…

Born on this day: July 17, 1950 – Singer, songwriter and musician Phoebe Snow (born Phoebe Ann Laub in New York, NY). Happy Birthday to this wonderfully talented lady on what would have been her 69th Birthday.

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