On this day in music history: October 10, 2007 – “In Rainbows”, the seventh album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, Tottenham House in Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK, Halswell House in Taunton, Somerset, UK and Hospital Studios in Covent Garden, Westminster, UK in from February 2005 – June 2007. Fulfilling their contract with EMI Records in 2003 with “Hail To The Thief”, Radiohead follow it with a world tour. The band then take an extended hiatus to rest and tend to their growing families. Re-grouping in early 2005, it is without their long time producer Nigel Godrich who is busy at the time working with Beck. The band then hire producer Mark “Spike” Stent, best known for his work with U2 and Björk. After a year in the studio, the producer goes over the material, and bluntly tells them the songs “aren’t good enough”. The band break ties with Stent and work on the project stops. They then embark on their first tour in over two years, also using the shows to test new material written during this time. In October of 2006, the band reconnect with Godrich and work resumes on their seventh album, quickly putting them back on the right path. Feeling that “Hail To The Thief” was over long, they pare the work in progress down to the best ten songs for the main release. When recording wraps in the late Spring of 2007, there comes the task of how to release their new album. Titled “In Rainbows”, Radiohead take the unprecedented step of issuing it as a “pay what your want” MP3 digital download for exactly two months prior to the physical release. Though receiving some criticism for the move, it is enthusiastically received by the public, selling over 1.2 million digital downloads. Along side the standard single CD and vinyl LP release, the album is made available as a mail order only limited box set that contains the standard ten song CD, a bonus CD with eight additional tracks, and enhanced content with artwork, photos and song lyrics. The lavish “discbox” package also includes a double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM. Issued in the UK through XL Recordings and in the US on TBD Records through Red Distribution in early December of 2007, It enters the UK and US album charts at #1, making it only the tenth indie distributed album to top the charts in the US. It receives seven Grammy nominations in 2009, winning two awards for Best Alternative Album and Best Special Limited Edition Package for the limited release. It makes history and proves to be a game changer, showing an album can be successfully marketed and promoted without major record label support. The Eagles also follow suit, issuing their album “Long Road Out Of Eden” through mass market retailer Wal-Mart, rather than through a major label with similar success. “In Rainbows” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Born on this day: September 27, 1936 – Soul Train creator, host, producer and DJ Don Cornelius (born Donald Cortez Cornelius in Brownsville, Chicago, IL). Happy Birthday to this music entertainment icon on what would have been his 82nd Birthday.
On this day in music history: September 23, 2003 – “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”, the fifth album by Outkast is released. Produced by André 3000, Big Boi, Carl Mo, Mr. DJ, Cutmaster Swiff and Dojo5, it is recorded at Stankonia Studios in Atlanta, GA and Larrabee Studios in Los Angeles, CA from September 2001 – September 2003. Following the huge critical and commercial success of their previous album “Stankonia” released in 2000, the Atlanta based rap duo take a year long hiatus before reconvening to work on their fifth release. Recorded over a two year period, the 2 CD/4 LP set is technically two separate albums by Big Boi and André 3000 packaged together under the Outkast name. Musically diverse and eclectic throughout, it features a number of guest artists including Jay-Z, Cee-Lo Green, Norah Jones, Sleepy Brown, Kelis, The Goodie Mob, Li’l Jon, Ludacris, and Rosario Dawson. The album is launched using the unique marketing approach of promoting not one, but two singles simultaneously. The tracks “Hey Ya” and “The Way You Move” are promoted as a double A-sided single. It receives major critical and commercial acclaim upon its release, spinning off five singles including “Hey Ya!” (#1 Pop, #9 R&B) and “The Way You Move” (#1 Pop, #2 R&B) and “Roses” (#9 Pop, #12 R&B). The album also wins the duo three Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year (becoming only the second rap album in history to do so), and Best Rap Album in 2004. “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” spends five weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, one week at number one on the R&B album chart, and is certified 11x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: September 11, 2001 – “Glitter”, the eighth album by Mariah Carey is released. Produced by Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, James “Big Jim” Wright, DJ Clue, Duro, Clark Kent, Damizza, Rick James and Walter Afanasieff, it is recorded at Various Studios from Late 2000 – Mid 2001. The eighth release by the superstar singer also serves as the soundtrack to her first starring film role. The album is also her first after leaving longtime label Columbia Records for a highly lucrative five album contract with Virgin Records reported to be worth over $100 million. The record features Carey collaborating with number of artists and producers which include Da Brat, DJ Clue, Rick James, Cameo, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and singer Eric Benet. While doing promotion for the soundtrack and film prior to their release, Carey is suffering from physical and mental exhaustion which results in a bizarre incident on MTV’s “TRL” with host Carson Daly where Carey appears wearing an oversized T-shirt, pushing an ice cream cart and handing out ice cream bars to the crowd. She tops the appearance off by doing a striptease right on live television. Other strange incidents occur in the following days at an autograph signing at a New York City Tower Records, and when she posts odd messages on her official website which are quickly taken down. Shortly after this, the release date for the album is changed from its original date of August 21, 2001 to September 11, 2001. During the interim period, Carey is checked into a hospital for a nervous breakdown. When they are finally released, both the film and soundtrack are met with mixed to highly negative reviews from critics and fans, compounded by ill timed release of the album on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Spinning off two singles including “Loverboy” (featuring Cameo) (#2 Pop) and “Never Too Far” (non-charting), the soundtrack sells 116,000 copies in its first week (her last Columbia album “Rainbow” sold 323,000 copies in its first week), making it the poorest first week sales of her career to that date. The poor performance of the soundtrack, the film and all of the negative publicity generated by Carey breakdown causes the singer and Virgin Records to part ways. The label pays the singer $28 million to end her contract with the company. “Glitter” peaks in its debut chart position of number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.