On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Mainstream Rock chart for 3 weeks on April 20, 1985. Written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, it is the biggest hit for the Anglo/Scottish rock band fronted by lead singer Jim Kerr. Written as the theme song to the John Hughes directed coming of age comedy/drama “The Breakfast Club”, Forsey initially approaches Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry and Cy Curnin (lead singer of The Fixx) to record the song, all of them decline. Simple Minds are also asked to do the song, and turn it down before being persuaded by their US label A&M Records to record it. The band create their own arrangement and record the track in about three hours. Released as a single on January 21, 1985, four weeks before the film arrives in theaters, it quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on February 23, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. The full unedited version of the track (running over six and a half minutes) is issued as a 12" single, along with the shorter 45 version (also featured on the soundtrack album). In the US, A&M Records issues the 7″ and 12″ singles in a title sleeve with Celtic themed crosses on the front and back.

The second and more common printing of the 7″ sleeve, adds a mini of “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack cover art work (adding info about the song’s inclusion on the soundtrack album), shortly after its release.

In time, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is regarded as an iconic song of the era, and remains one the most popular and frequently played 80′s records on radio today.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – “Fresh” by Kool & the Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on May 4, 1985, and peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on June 8, 1985. Written by James “J.T.” Taylor, Sandy Linzer and Kool & The Gang, it is the eighth chart topping single for the veteran R&B/Funk band from Jersey City, NJ. The original idea for what become “Fresh” comes from lead singer J.T Taylor who had written it prior to joining Kool & The Gang in 1978. Showing it to drummer George Brown, Brown changes the original groove to what it becomes on the finished recording. They invite songwriter Sandy Linzer (“A Lover’s Concerto”, “Native New Yorker”, “Let’s Hang On”, Working My Way Back To You") to help finish the song. Linzer come up with the title and write the lyrics. Released as the second single from Kool & The Gang’s eighteenth studio album “Emergency” in March of 1985, it quickly follows its predecessor “Misled” (#3 R&B, #10 Pop), into the top ten on the pop and R&B charts. The song becomes one of the bands most popular and frequently played songs, both on radio and live. “Fresh” is also supported by a pair of 12" dance mixes, one remixed by co-producer Jim Bonnefond, John Rollo and Kendall Stubbs, and another by Mark S. Berry, that become huge on club dance floors around the world. The song is supported by a music video that spoofs the fairy tale “Cinderella” and features actress and singer Telma Hopkins as “Cinderella” (with dance and acrobatic doubles also playing the female lead, in far away shots) and J.T. Taylor as the prince. “Fresh” unseats USA For Africa’s “We Are The World” from the top spot on the R&B singles chart in the Spring of 1985.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1981 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1981 – “Knights Of The Sound Table”, the seventh album by Cameo is released. Produced by Larry Blackmon, it is recorded at H&L Recording Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and The Power Station in New York City from December 1980 – January 1981. With their sixth album “Feel Me” in record stores only two months, Cameo continue their break neck pace of recording and touring, returning to the studio between tour dates to begin work on yet another. Like many of their previous releases, bandleader and drummer Larry Blackmon has a hand in co-writing all of the material. When the album is released in the Spring of 1981, barely seven months after the previous one, the funky horn driven first single “Freaky Dancin” (#3 R&B, #45 Club Play), gives Cameo another hit right out of the box. It is followed by the breezy funk of “I Like It” (#25 R&B). Though not released as a commercial single in the US (UK only), the track “Don’t Be So Cool” featuring singer Nona Hendryx as a boastful and haughty socialite, begins receiving play on radio and on club dance floors as an album cut. Well received by fans at the time of its release, it becomes their fourth consecutive Gold album. But like its predecessor, “Knights Of The Sound Table” is seen as a “transitional” album for the New York City based funk band. It is also the last Cameo album to feature the bands large self contained line up of ten members. That number is cut virtually in half with the release of the next album “Alligator Woman” in March of 1982. “Knights” makes its long awaited CD debut in Japan in 1992, and is remastered and reissued in the US in 1995. It is remastered and reissued in Japan in 2008, with UK reissue label Soul Brother Records re-releasing the title in 2013. Universal Japan reissues it a third time in 2015, as a limited edition SHM-CD as part of their Universal JB & Funk 1000 Best Collection series. “Knights Of The Sound Table” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty four on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1979 -…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1979 – “Street Life”, the twelfth studio album by The Crusaders (thirty-first overall) is released. Produced by Wilton Felder, “Stix” Hooper and Joe Sample, it is recorded at Hollywood Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA from February – March 1979. Highly successful throughout the 70’s, The Crusaders experience a major shake up in their solid line up, with the departure of co-founding member Wayne Henderson in 1976, to launch a successful career as a record producer and arranger. Missing their “brother” and friend, Wilton Felder, Nesbert “Stix” Hooper and Joe Sample soldier on. Their once inseparable dynamic begins to change, as all three record solo projects, with Joe Sample scoring successes with “Rainbow Seeker” and “Carmel”. As recording begins on a new Crusaders album, their label Blue Thumb folds as its parent label ABC is purchased by MCA. The band are supported in the studio with several R&B and jazz luminaries including Paul Jackson, Jr, Arthur Adams, Barry Finnerty, Roland Bautista (guitars), James Jamerson, Alphonso Johnson (bass), Oscar Brashear (trumpet), Jerome Richardson (saxophone), Garnett Brown (trombone) and Paulinho Da Costa (percussion). Though largely instrumental, the songs follow a loose “concept” that reflects L.A.’s vibrant night life. The song that becomes its centerpiece and title track, is at first inspired by something completely different. The initial idea for what becomes “Street Life” (#17 R&B, #36 Pop, #75 Club Play, #5 UK), comes to Sample while on a ski vacation. Learning how to ski at the Mammoth Mountain resort in California, the musician is standing on the beginner’s slope watching other skiers fall down and run into each other. He thinks to himself “It looks like a boulevard of madness. That’s what street life is”. Sample takes his idea to lyricist Will Jennings (“Higher Love”, “My Heart Will Go On”), who then paints a vivid picture of life along Hollywood Blvd. For “Street Life”, Sample asks jazz vocalist Randy Crawford, who he knows from having played on her first solo album, to sing the song. Crawford’s smoky and soulful vocals take the track to another level. It is an across the board hit, propelling the album to becoming their biggest seller. The song is later featured in the films “Sharky’s Machine” and “Jackie Brown”, also being sampled and interpolated by 2 Pac, Masta Ace, and fellow Houston natives The Geto Boys. Originally released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued in 1996. It’s reissued by Culture Factory Records in 2014, in a mini-LP album sleeve replicating the original vinyl LP package. “Street Life” spends twenty one weeks at number one on the Billboard Jazz album chart, peaking at number three on the R&B album chart, number eighteen on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1979 – “Lodger”, the thirteenth studio album by David Bowie is released. Produced by David Bowie and Tony Visconti, it is recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreaux, Switzerland and The Record Plant in New York City in September 1978 and March 1979 . The album is the third and final release in David Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy”, his collaborative efforts with producer/musician Brian Eno, named as such since the songs are composed while the two are living in East Germany (though recorded elsewhere). More pop oriented than its predecessors “Low” and “Heroes”, but with Bowie still maintaining an experimental edge. The albums two sides feature songs that follow specific themes. The first side include songs representing travel, while the second side feature songs commenting on Western society. The albums cover art (designed by Bowie and British pop artist Derek Boshier) features a photo (taken with a Polaroid SX-70 camera) of the singer posed as an accident victim with a broken nose sprawled out on his back. It spins off two singles including “DJ” (#7 UK) and “Boys Keep Swinging” (#29 UK). To help promote the album, Bowie makes a now famous appearance on Saturday Night Live on December 15, 1979, with performance artists Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias, where he performs “TVC 15” and “Boys Keep Swinging”, wearing a dress and as an anthropomorphic puppet respectively. Reissued numerous times since making its CD debut in 1984, it is most recently remastered and reissued in September of 2017. The album is reissued on CD and as a 180 gram vinyl LP, individually and as part of the box set “David Bowie: A New Career In A New Town”. “Lodger” peaks at number four on the UK album chart and number twenty on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1968 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1968 – “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell & The Drells hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 2 weeks on the same date. Written by Archie Bell and Billy Butler, it is the biggest hit for the Houston, TX based R&B vocal group. Archie Bell and Billy Butler originally write the beginnings of what becomes their biggest hit in 1964, and forget about it until nearly three years later. Bell receives notice that he has been drafted into the army, and is scheduled to be shipped off to Vietnam. Archie’s friend and band mate Billy Butler, notices his friend is depressed and tries to cheer him by doing a dance. Amused, Bell asks Butler what the dance is that he’s doing, and Billy responds “it’s called the Tighten Up”. Re-vamping their old demo with a new arrangement and lyrics, the group record the song at the Jones Town Studio in October of 1967. Bell’s spoken intro announcing that he and the group were from Houston, is inspired by a comment he hears a DJ make after JFK’s assassination in Dallas in 1963. The person in question states that “nothing good ever came out of Texas”. A proud Texas native, Archie Bell responds to the remark on “Tighten Up”, wanting people to know where his group was from, stating “we were from Texas and we were good”. Originally released on the small independent label Ovide Records, the song becomes a regional hit in Texas, before attracting the attention of Atlantic Records who pick up the single for national distribution, re-releasing it in February of 1968. Entering the Hot 100 at #81 on March 30, 1968, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. At the time, Bell is serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, is wounded and recovering in a hospital from his injuries. With the group unable to make personal appearances to promote the record, numerous fake groups claiming to be the real Archie Bell & The Drells begin surfacing to take advantage of the groups’ inactivity by using the groups name, including nine white men out of Nashville, TN!! “Tighten Up” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1963 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1963 – “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on June 1, 1963. Written by Frank Guida, Carmela Guida and Joseph Royster, it is the biggest hit for the Weldon, NC born R&B singer. Based on the calypso song “Ugly Woman”, it is originally recorded by Trinidadian singer Roaring Lion in 1933. Jimmy Soul’s version also includes a brief dialogue similar to Bo Diddley’s novelty hit “Say Man”. After the record is released, some stations actually ban it from airplay feeling that the line “ugly girl/woman” is offensive. In spite of this, the single quickly becomes a smash, and later appears in films such as “Mermaids” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding”. The song is also quoted by actor Ted Danson in a 1984 episode of “Cheers” titled “Sam Turns The Other Cheek”, when Danson’s character Sam Malone is confronted by the angry husband (armed with a gun) of a woman he’s been fooling around with. Sam manages to disarm the man, tucking the gun in his back pocket, which goes off accidentally, shooting himself in the behind. In spite of the huge success of “If You Wanna Be Happy”, Jimmy Soul does not have another chart hit (having only one other charted single with “Twistin’ Matilda” (#22 Pop) one year before in May of 1962). Soul passes away from a heart attack on June 25, 1988 at the age of 45.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1959 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1959 – “Kansas City” by Wilbert Harrison hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 7 weeks on May 11, 1959. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is the biggest hit for the Charlotte, NC born R&B singer, songwriter and musician. Originally titled “K.C. Lovin’”, the song is first recorded by Little Willie Littlefield in 1952. Harrison performs the song as part of his live act for several years before recording it himself in March of 1959. Re-arranging the song to a shuffle tempo and adding the refrain “They got some crazy little women there, and I’m gonna get me one” to the chorus make it an instant classic. Issued on Bobby Robinson’s (later the founder of seminal Hip Hop label Enjoy Records) Fury Records in early April of 1959, the record is an immediate hit on both the pop and R&B charts upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #100 on April 13, 1959, it quickly streaks to the top of the chart five weeks later, making it the first single in Billboard chart history to enter at the bottom of the chart, and going all the way to number one. “Kansas City” is covered by numerous artists over the years including The Beatles, Muddy Waters and James Brown. Wilbert Harrison’s version of the song is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. “Kansas City” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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twixnmix: Mae West and Raquel Welch in “Myra …

twixnmix:

Mae West and Raquel Welch in “Myra Breckinridge” (1970)

There were reports of conflicts between Raquel Welch and Mae West during filming.

Raquel Welch portrays a gay man who has a sex change and transforms into Myra Breckinridge.

Mae West

portrays

Leticia Van Allen, a casting agent. This was her first film role since 1943.

She was responsible for getting a then-unknown Tom Selleck cast as one of her studs in the film. 

Maureen O’Hara and her daughter Bronwyn Fitz…

Maureen O’Hara and her daughter Bronwyn FitzSimons in 1962.

Photos by Gene Trindl