On this day in music history: December 4, 1990…

On this day in music history: December 4, 1990 – “The Simpsons Sing The Blues”, the debut album by The Simpsons is released. Produced by John Boylan, Jeff “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes and Bryan Loren, it is recorded at Lion Share Recording Studios, Record One Studios in Los Angeles, CA, The Warehouse in Philadelphia, PA, Right Track Recording Studios in New York City and Metropolis Audio in Melbourne, Victoria Australia in September 1990. An immediate success since its network television debut on the Fox Network on December 17, 1989, “The Simpsons” make the leap from the small screen to the record store. Record label executive David Geffen approaches the series creators, with the idea of making an album based on The Simpsons, in time for release in time for the 1990 Christmas holiday season. Series creator Matt Groening and producers James L. Brooks, Al Jean and Sam Simon agree to do the record, but with work on the series on a very tight time line, it leaves little time to spare in producing the spin off album. Featuring the voices of actors Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Matt Groening (Maggie), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Smithers), and Ron Taylor (“Bleeding Gums” Murphy). The ten song album is a mix of original songs co-written by the series writers, covers, and participation from some noted musicians. Among those making cameo appearances on the album include B.B. King, Dr. John, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Marcy Levy (aka Marcella Detroit of Shakespear’s Sister). Released just three weeks before Christmas, the album is an instant smash, and the first television related album since the “Miami Vice” soundtrack to reach the US top ten. The first single “Do The Bartman” is written and produced by Bryan Loren, and though is denied at the time, features background vocals by Michael Jackson. Though not released as a commercial single in the US, the song is launched with an animated music video, that debuts on December 6, 1990. As part of the promotion for the single at US radio, the promo CD single comes packaged with an animated flip book of Bart doing the Bartman dance. The record rockets to the top of the UK singles chart, also hitting #1 in Ireland, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. It spins off one more single with the DJ Jazzy Jeff produced “Deep Deep Trouble” (with “School Day” being issued in Spain and Argentina only). The huge success of The Simpsons album, inspires other albums based on animated TV shows, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Mario Bros, Dinosaurs, and Little Mermaid character Sebastian The Crab. The Simpsons album is later followed up with “Songs In The Key Of Springfield” and “The Yellow Album”, though both are much less successful the first release. “The Simpsons Sings The Blues” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.