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 24, 1991 – “The Low End Theory”, the second album by A Tribe Called Quest is released. Produced by A Tribe Called Quest, Skeff Anselm, and Pete Rock it is recorded at Battery Studios, Greene Street Studios, Soundtrack Studios and Jazzy Jay Studio in New York City from Late 1990 – Mid 1991. Issued as the follow up to the New York based rap group’s acclaimed debut “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”, the group make a conscious effort to surpass what they have done both musically and lyrically on their debut. Prior to its recording, original member Jarobi White leaves the group to pursue other interests. The groundbreaking Hip Hop album fuses jazz and R&B samples, creating a more stripped down and laid back sound, but maintaining a street oriented edge.The album also features guest appearances from jazz bassist Ron Carter, Busta Rhymes, Charlie Brown and Dinco D. of Leaders Of The New School, Lord Jamar and Sadat X from Brand Nubian, Diamond D, and vocalist Vinia Mojica. Universally praised within and outside the Hip Hop community upon its release, it goes on to become one of the most influential rap albums of all time. It spins off three singles including “Check The Rhime” (#1 Rap, #59 R&B), “Jazz (We Got)” (#19 Rap) and “Scenario” (#6 Rap, #42 R&B, #59 Pop). Originally given only a commercial release on vinyl in Europe on its initial release, “Theory” is only issued in edited form (deleting the tracks “Skypager” and “Vibes And Stuff” due to time constraints) as a very rare promo only single vinyl LP release in the US, along side the commercial CD and cassette. Due to popular demand, the full album is finally given a commercial release in the US on double vinyl in 1996, and remains in print to this day. “The Low End Theory” peaks at number thirteen on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifty eight on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Nevermind”, the second album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Butch Vig, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA from April 1990, May – June 1991. Releasing their debut album “Bleach” on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop in 1989, Nirvana are disappointed when it sells only 40,000 copies initially. Deciding that the only way to reach a wider audience is to sign with a major label, the band are courted by several labels, but eventually sign with Geffen Records subsidiary DGC Records. Working previously with engineer and producer Butch Vig in 1990, he is chosen to produced their second album. With exception of the track “Polly” (recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI in April 1990), the bulk of Nirvana’s major label debut is recorded in Southern California during the Spring of 1991. When the album is originally mastered, engineer Howie Weinberg accidentally leaves off the final track “Endless, Nameless”, which was tacked on the end of the master tape, proceeded by ten minutes of blank leader tape in between. The mistake isn’t caught until after the first press run of CD’s and cassettes are manufactured. The first 20,000 copies of “Nevermind” exclude the hidden track, but is corrected on all future pressings. When it is released, initial expectations are low with only 46,251 copies being shipped. Thanks to the breakout success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6 Pop), the album reaches gold status in under thirty days, and platinum two weeks after that. It spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 on January 11, 1992. The massive and unexpected success of the album affects a major sea change in not only the music industry, but in popular culture with the rise of the grunge music phenomenon of the early to mid 90’s. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release in 2011, “Nevermind” is remastered and reissued as a four CD + DVD deluxe edition. Disc one features the original thirteen track album, with nine additional bonus tracks. Disc two features the previously unreleased “Smart Studios Sessions” recordings, and two tracks from a BBC in-studio appearance on DJ John Peel’s radio show. Disc three contains the original unreleased Devonshire Studios mixes. Disc four features a complete live concert recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA on October 31, 1991. The DVD features the complete film of the concert, and all four original music videos from the album. The box set also comes in a slip case, with a ninety page hardbound book, and a double sided poster. Reissued on vinyl numerous times since its initial limited release in 1991, it is most recently remastered and released as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Nevermind” is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, the fifth album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is released. Produced by Rick Rubin, it is recorded at The Mansion in Los Angeles, CA from May – June 1991. Making the jump from their former long time label EMI-America, it is the bands first album for Warner Bros Records. Initially, the band were going to sign with Epic Records, but pull out of the deal at the last minute when negotiations with the label end up lasting several months. When lead singer Anthony Kiedis has a chance meeting with Warner Bros chairman Mo Ostin that is a major turning point in the bands decision not to sign with Sony Music. Working with Def Jam/Def American Records founder Rick Rubin, The Chili Peppers record the album in a mansion once owned by magician Harry Houdini. All of the band members live in the house for the during of the recording, except for drummer Chad Smith who refuses, when he believes that the house is haunted. The sessions are highly productive and set the stage for the bands long awaited mainstream breakthrough. It spins off four singles including “Give It Away” (#73 Pop, #1 Modern Rock) “Under The Bridge” (#2 Pop, #6 Modern Rock), “Suck My Kiss” (#15 Modern Rock), and "Breaking The Girl" (#19 Modern Rock), becoming their most successful album. The recording sessions are also filmed and released as hour long documentary titled “Funky Monks” in 1991. US promo CD copies of the album are issued with a full four color silkscreen label, of different breeds of red roses on a solid white background. Stock copies are issued with two color silkscreen print, of the artist name and title written in a circle around the perimeter of the disc. Originally issued on vinyl in the US as a promo only double LP and commercially in Europe, it is remastered and reissued as a limited edition LP vinyl set, pressed on red vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day in 2011. It is also issued on standard black vinyl in 2012. “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1988 – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, peaking at #11 on the R&B singles chart on October 22, 1988. Written by Bobby McFerrin, it is the biggest hit for the singer, songwriter and musician from New York City. Born in New York City, McFerrin grows up in a musical family, with both of his parents being opera singers. Initially intending to become a minister and an educator himself, Bobby finds various musical jobs during and after college. Influenced by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, he begins to develop his unique vocal style. Becoming a one man vocal orchestra, McFerrin sings the main parts of songs and the accompaniment, while tapping on his chest and using his mouth for percussive effects. He gets his big break in 1980, when he is hired to tour with vocalese pioneer Jon Hendricks. It leads to McFerrin being signed to Elektra Musician Records in 1982, releasing his debut album. By 1986, he moves to the legendary Blue Note label when it is revived by executives Michael Cuscuna and Bruce Lundvall. Recording his fifth album “Simple Pleasures” in 1988, its original concept was to be all covers of classics like The Beatles’ “Drive My Car”, and The Young Rascals’ version of “Good Lovin’”. While sitting at the piano, Bobby begins singing the words “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” to himself. The phrase comes from Indian spiritual master Meher Baba, whose teachings had influenced other musicians including The Who’s Pete Townshend and Melanie Safka. Performed entirely by McFerrin, the Caribbean influenced “Don’t Worry” is included on his album. Initially, it draws little attention, until Touchstone Pictures licenses it for the Tom Cruise blockbuster “Cocktail”. Also included on its soundtrack, the song quickly becomes a stand out. McFerrin’s label EMI-Manhattan responds issuing as a single in July of 1988. It is accompanied by a music video that also features comic actor friends Robin Williams and Bill Irwin. Entering the Hot 100 at #83 on July 30, 1988, it races to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The success of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy unexpectedly catapults the jazz vocalist into the pop spotlight. It wins three Grammy Awards in 1989, including Record and Song Of The Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. Its popularity is so great, that then Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush tries to co-opt it as his official campaign song. McFerrin doesn’t approve of it being used for political purposes, and asks Bush to stop using it, even dropping it from his live performances for many years. Over time, "Don’t Worry” becomes ensconced in popular culture, being name checked by Public Enemy in “Fight The Power” (“Don’t Worry, Be Happy was a number one jam…”), and in other films including “Flushed Away”, “WALL-E” and “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”. “Dont Worry, Be Happy” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1984 – “No More Lonely Nights” by Paul McCartney is released. Written by Paul McCartney, it is the thirty-first US Top 40 single for the former Beatle. The last song written and recorded for the film and soundtrack of “Give My Regards To Broadstreet” (released through 20th Century Fox), “No More Lonely Nights” is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London in mid 1984. The band on the song features McCartney (lead vocals, piano), Linda McCartney (backing vocals, keyboards), Eric Stewart (backing vocals), Herbie Flowers (bass), Anne Dudley (synthesizer) and Stuart Elliott (drums). Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is also featured playing the guitar solo on the track. Gilmour does not accept a session fee for playing on the song, instead asking McCartney to donate his fee to the charity of his choice. Two versions of the song are recorded, the original straight ahead “ballad” version is the A-side of the single, while the more uptempo “playout” version is placed on the B-side. An extended version remixed by Arthur Baker is also released as a standard 12" single and picture disc. The music video directed by Peter Webb is shot in London, featuring a full fireworks display over the Thames. The late night video shoot causes many local residents to call the police to complain about the noise from the exploding fireworks. Though the film opens to universally negative reviews and disastrous box office numbers, the soundtrack album and single are a hit. “No More Lonely Nights” peaks at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 8, 1984, driving “Give My Regards To Broadstreet” to Gold status in the US. A dance remix remixed by Arthur Baker, of the uptempo version is also issued as a 12" single at the same time.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1983 – “In A Special Way”, the third album by DeBarge is released. Produced by El DeBarge, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA and Westlake Audio in West Hollywood, CA from Late 1982 – Mid 1983. Buoyed by the success of their sophomore release “All This Love”, the family vocal group from Grand Rapids, MI are granted more creative freedom in the studio. Only twenty one years old at start of recording, lead singer El DeBarge oversees the sessions as the sole producer and bandleader, with brothers James and Mark and sister Bunny all writing songs that are included on the completed album. Aided by a group of seasoned studio veterans including Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Harvey Mason, Ricky Lawson, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler (drums) “Ready” Freddie Washington, James Jamerson, Jr., Nathan East (bass), Charles Fearing, Paul Jackson, Jr., Carlos Rios (guitars), and Paulinho DaCosta (percussion), the sessions are highly productive. Motown label mate Stevie Wonder (harmonica) also makes a guest appearance on the title track. The finished album is an artistic triumph and is widely regarded as the group’s best. It spins off two singles including “Time Will Reveal” (#1 R&B, #18 Pop) and “Love Me In A Special Way” (#11 R&B, #45 Pop). The album receives further belated attention more than a decade after its release when the album tracks “Stay With Me” and “A Dream” are widely sampled and interpolated by numerous Hip Hop and R&B artists during the 90’s including The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, and Ashanti. Originally released on CD in the early 90’s, it is remastered and reissued as part of the compilation package “Time Will Reveal: The Complete Motown Albums” in 2011. “In A Special Way” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, also peaking at number thirty six on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1983 – “Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 2 weeks on the same date. Written by Billy Joel, it is the second chart topping single for the singer, songwriter and musician from Hicksville, Long Island, NY. Wanting to put the experiences of the previous year behind him, by early 1983, Billy Joel looks back to his adolescence to create his next album. Having grown up during the 60’s, Joel becomes nostalgic for the music of his youth, rock & roll, doo wop and R&B. His muse is inspired when he begins dating again after splitting with his first wife and former manager, at first dating model Elle Macpherson and then Christie Brinkley, the latter of which he marries on March 23, 1985. The Motown influenced “Tell Her About It” is one of several songs that are written during a six week burst creativity from the musician. The song’s 60’s R&B feel extends to the songs memorable music video, featuring Joel performing the song on “The Ed Sullivan Show” with actor Will Jordan playing the legendary TV variety show host. Issued as the first single from “An Innocent Man” in July of 1983, it quickly become a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #38 on July 30, 1983, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “Tell Her About It” is also issued as a 12" single, remixed by John “Jellybean” Benitez.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1982 – “1999” by Prince is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the eleventh single release for the singer, songwriter, musician and producer from Minneapolis, MN. Written about “a party at the end of world”, the lyrics touch on widespread fears of the escalation of “The Cold War”, and the impending threat of global thermal nuclear war between the United States and the then Soviet Union (Russia). The song’s message encourages listeners to enjoy the time we do have, best expressed in the lyric “life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last”. The somewhat dark undercurrent present in the lyrics are masked by the exuberant, funky track, with its point being missed by many who only viewed it as a party song. One of the last songs recorded for the album, the basic tracks are recorded at Prince’s home studio on Kiowa Trail (“The Purple House”) in Chanhassen, MN in late July/early August of 1982. The song features Prince sharing lead vocals with band members Lisa Coleman, Jill Jones, and Dez Dickerson. Initially, he had planned for everyone to sing the entire song in unison, but during mixing of the single he hits upon the idea of having them sing lines on their own then all together on the chorus. The songs music video is directed by Bruce Gowers (Queen, Michael Jackson), and is shot at the Minneapolis Armory (with the full stage set up) during rehearsals for the “Triple Threat Tour”. It is one of three promotional clips filmed that week along with “Automatic” and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”. The single is backed with the non album B-side “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore”. Featuring Prince singing lead and background vocals to his own piano accompaniment, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA on April 26, 1982. “How Come” is included on the compilation “The Hits/B-sides” in 1993, and on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s film “Girl 6” in 1996. “1999” peaks at #4 on the Billboard R&B singles chart in December of 1982 also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on December 4, 1982, and initially peaking at number #44 on the Hot 100. After the top ten chart success of “Little Red Corvette”, Warner Bros re-promotes “1999” at US top 40 pop radio in the late Spring of 1983. It re-enters the Hot 100, and peak at #12 on July 23, 1983. Prince re-records “1999” in late 1998, releasing it on his NPG Records imprint (as a seven track EP) after Warner Bros reissues the original version. The original re-charts again, peaking at #40 on the Hot 100 on January 16, 1999, with the remake peaking at #58 on the R&B album chart, and #150 on the Top 200 on February 20, 1999.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1979 – “The Long Run”, the sixth album by the Eagles is released. Produced by Bill Szymczyk, it is recorded at Bayshore Recording Studios in Coconut Grove, FL, One Step Up Recording Studio, Love ‘N’ Comfort Recording Studio, Brittania Recording Studio and The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from March 1978 – September 1979. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Hotel California”, the album is recorded over an eighteen month period, and is the first to include new bassist and vocalist Timothy B. Schmit (replacing founding member Randy Meisner, also having replaced him in Poco). The album is originally planned to be a double album, but is pared back to a single LP when the band feels they don’t have enough suitable material. Many of the songs are developed in the studio as the years of constant writing and recording followed by extensive tours has left the band tapped out physically and creatively. When the Eagles enter the studio in March of 1978, they have no material ready to record. The band spend endless hours jamming, and developing song ideas in the studio. Under intense pressure from both their record label and fans, the long arduous recording sessions lasting a year and half take their toll. It eventually leads to the bands split in July 1980 following the tour to support the album. Though it receives somewhat mixed reviews upon its release, it is a huge commercial success, spinning off three Top 10 singles including “Heartache Tonight” (#1 Pop), the title track (#8 Pop), and “I Can’t Tell You Why” (#8 Pop, #22 R&B). The band win a Grammy Award for “Best Rock Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group” for “Heartache Tonight” in 1980. Originally released on CD in 1984, it is remastered and reissued in 1999. Unavailable on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2008 (and again in 2014) by Rhino UK. The reissue faithfully replicates the original gatefold LP sleeve, inner sleeve and custom LP labels. "The Long Run" spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.