Category: 70’s

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

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.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1977 – “Keep It Comin’ Love” by KC & The Sunshine Band hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on October 1, 1977. Written by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the R&B Disco/Funk band from Hialeah, FL. With the back to back chart topping singles “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way (I Like It)” under their belts, KC & The Sunshine band continue their hit streak into 1976 when they release their fourth studio album titled “Part 3”. The lead single “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” released ahead of the album in May quickly become the bands third number one pop and R&B hit. Two more singles “I Like To Do It” (#4 R&B, #37 Pop) and their fourth chart topper “I’m Your Boogie Man” (#1 Pop & R&B) follow. Employing a similar writing technique used on “That’s The Way (I Like It)”, KC and bassist Richard Finch use the title “keep it comin’ love” along with the refrain “don’t stop it now, don’t stop it no, don’t stop it now, don’t stop”  as repetitive hooks to sear it in the listeners memory. The song is the final track on the album, directly segueing out of “I’m Your Boogie Man”. With many club DJ’s playing both cuts back to back, it is a natural for a future single release. After “Boogie Man” peaks,  KC & The Sunshine Band’s label TK Records issues “Keep It Comin’ Love” nine months after the initial release of “Part 3” in July of 1977. It quickly follows its predecessor up the charts, becoming the bands fourth million selling single, with the album also crossing the million mark in sales. It stops short of the top on the Hot 100, holding at #2 for three weeks when it is unable to unseat either Meco’s “Star Wars/Cantina Band” and  Debby’s Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”.

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1978 – “Got To Get You Into My Life” by Earth, Wind & Fire hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on September 16, 1978. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the fourth chart topping single for the legendary R&B/Funk band led by musician, singer, songwriter and producer Maurice White. In 1977, Earth, Wind & Fire are asked by film director Michael Schultz (“Car Wash”, “Which Way Is Up?”) and producer Robert Stigwood to be part of an ambitious musical film adaptation of The Beatles music. The film in question is “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton leading an all star cast of actors and musicians. After agreeing to record a song and appear in the film, Earth, Wind & Fire are given a choice of two songs. They choose “Got To Get You Into My Life”, from the 1966 album “Revolver”. The Beatles version is belatedly released as a single in 1976, ten years after “Revolver”, to promote the compilation album “Rock ‘N’ Roll Music”. It becomes a surprise hit, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on July 24, 1976. Featuring one of the first uses of brass instruments on a Beatles record, the song is a natural for EWF to do, possessing one of the greatest horn sections around in The Phenix Horns (Don Myrick, Louis Sattterfield, Rahmlee Michael Davis, Michael Harris). Not content to do just a straight ahead cover version, bandleader Maurice White and the other members of Earth, Wind & Fire proceed to put their own distinctive and unique musical stamp on The Fab Four’s R&B flavored classic. Just as the band are completing work in their next studio album “All ‘N’ All”, “Got To Get You Into My Life” is recorded at Northstar Studios in Boulder, CO in October of 1977. Following the sessions to cut the song, the band film their performance for “Sgt. Pepper’s”, before embarking on another tour. Chosen as the first single from soundtrack album in July of 1978, it is an immediate smash. However, the film does not fare nearly as well, going down in history as an epic cinematic disaster. Though Earth, Wind & Fire emerge from the carnage completely unscathed, in fact receiving praise for their spirited appearance in the film. The success of EWF’s cover gives them their fourth R&B chart topper, helping the “Sgt. Pepper’s” soundtrack cross the 3x Platinum mark in the US. That album is ironically also regarded as a failure due to RSO Records pressing and shipping over eight million copies, two thirds of which are returned to distributor Polygram within weeks of its release. “Got To Get You Into My Life” is also included on “The Best Of Earth, Wind & Fire Volume 1” in November of 1978, which to date has sold over six million copies in the US alone. “Got To Get You Into My Life” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1977 – “Feels So Good”, the thirteenth album by Chuck Mangione is released. Produced by Chuck Mangione, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA from May – July 1977. Coming off the successful “Main Squeeze” album the previous year, musician Chuck Mangione returns to the studio in the Spring of 1977 to record his fourth album for A&M Records. Having worked with an ever changing line up of musicians throughout his career, Mangione assembles a new group of players for his next album. He recruits jazz guitarist “General” Grant Geissman (a former side man with big band legends Stan Kenton, Gerald Wilson and Louie Bellson), after the guitarist backs Mangione at a live gig in late 1976. Also coming on board is James “Jail-Bait” Bradley, Jr., an L.A. session drummer and former child prodigy that has been playing since the age of four, and is just barely out of high school when he joins the band. Saxophonist and fluteist Chris “Vadala” Vadala and bassist Charles “Meat-Man” Meeks (having previously backed Patrice Rushen, Earl Klugh, Sonny Rollins, Alphonse Mouzon and Lee Ritenour to name a few) complete the line up. The new group clicks instantly in the studio and recording goes smoothly and quickly. Initially released without a single, the album sells well out of the box until A&M decides to issue the breezy title track as a single in January of 1978. A&M takes the nine and a half minute plus “Feels So Good” (#4 Pop, #1 AC, #68 R&B), and drastically edits it down to under three and a half minutes. With 1978 being the pinnacle of the disco era, and the Bee Gees leading the charge, no one is able to predict the impact the jazz/pop instrumental will have. Radio programmers looking for an alternative to what else is happening at the time, begin adding it to their playlists. It catches on with listeners and becomes a surprise smash in multiple radio formats. By the Spring of 1978, sales of the album are exploding, as it rapidly moves toward the top of the jazz and pop album charts. Its massive success makes Mangione a huge star in the US and internationally. The albums cover photo of the musician embracing his trademark flugelhorn (taken by photographer Benno Friedman), becomes a 70’s icon. The single also receives a Grammy nomination for Record Of The Year in 1979. In later years, “Feels So Good” becomes the subject of a long running gag on the animated TV series “King Of The Hill” with Chuck Mangione appearing as himself, playing snippets of the song in various scenarios. Mangione’s signature brown felt hat worn on the album cover, is donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 2009, along with the original handwritten sheet music for the title track. “Feels So Good” spends two weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, spending seven weeks at number one on the Jazz album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1977 – “Aja”, the sixth album by Steely Dan is released. Produced by Gary Katz, it is recorded at Village Recorders in West Los Angeles, CA, Producer’s Workshop, ABC Recording Studios, Sound Labs in Hollywood, CA, Warner Bros Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA, and A&R Studios in New York City from January – July 1977. Following the critically and commercially successful “The Royal Scam”, Steely Dan record what becomes the most musically ambitious and biggest selling album of their career. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen work with a team of top notch studio musicians on project including Chuck Rainey (bass), Bernard Purdie, Jim Keltner, Steve Gadd, Paul Humphrey, Rick Marotta (drums), Joe Sample, Victor Feldman, Paul Griffin, Michael Omartian (keyboards), Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, Denny Dias, Jay Graydon, Steve Khan (guitars), Tom Scott, Wayne Shorter (saxophones), Venetta Fields, Shirlie Matthews, Clydie King, Rebecca Louis, and Michael McDonald (background vocals). The albums title comes from the name of a Korean woman married to the brother of one of Donald Fagen’s high school friends. The elegant and enigmatic cover photo (taken by photographer Hideki Fujii) is of Japanese fashion model Sayoko Yamaguchi. The albums’ seamless blend of jazz and R&B influenced pop resonates with the public and critics alike. It spins off three singles including “Peg” (#11 Pop), “Deacon Blues” (#19 Pop) and “Josie” (#26 Pop). A favorite of audiophiles for many years for its meticulous production and outstanding sonics, the album is remastered and reissued numerous times on vinyl and CD by specialty labels like Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Cisco Music and MCA Records. In the late 90’s, plans to re-release “Aja” with new a 5.1 surround mix as had been done previously for “Gaucho”, have to be scrapped when it is discovered that the 24-track multi-track masters for “Black Cow” and the title track are missing from Universal Music’s tape archive. To date, the masters have not been found. The album is most recently remastered and reissued as a high resolution DSD UHQCD by Universal Japan in June of 2018. In 2011, “Aja” is added to the United States National Recording Registry of The Library Of Congress, as being deemed culturally, historically and aesthetically important. “Aja” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 21, 19…

On this day in music history: September 21, 1979 – “Dream Police”, the fourth album by Cheap Trick is released. Produced by Tom Werman, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1978 – Early 1979. Issued as the follow up to their breakthrough album “Cheap Trick At Budokan”, its release is held back for several months by CBS Records when previously Japanese only “Budokan” album becomes a huge hit as an import, forcing the label to release it in the US in early 1979. “Police” features more complex songs with several tracks featuring orchestration, departing from the more stripped down power pop/rock sound of their previous efforts. It spins off two singles including the title track (#26 Pop) and Voices (#32 Pop). In 2010, Cheap Trick play the album in its entirety during a limited series of live shows, accompanied by the Rhythmic Noise Philharmonic Orchestra & Mind Choir. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2006 with four additional bonus tracks. It is reissued on vinyl in November 2013 as part of a part of a five LP box set released for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Dream Police” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Redd Foxx at home with his wife Betty Jean H…

Redd Foxx at home with his wife Betty Jean Harris in 1973.

Photos by Gene Trindl

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1975 – “Fame” by David Bowie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks (non-consecutive). also peaking at #21 on the R&B singles chart on October 18, 1975. Written by David Bowie, Carlos Alomar, and John Lennon, it is the first US chart topper for the British rock superstar born David Robert Jones. The song comes about after Bowie meets John Lennon in New York during the sessions for the “Young Americans” album. While most of the album is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with Tony Visconti producing, “Fame” is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village with producer Harry Maslin, with the initial riff coming from Bowie’s guitarist Carlos Alomar. Lennon comes up with title (also playing guitar and singing background vocals), with Bowie writing the lyrics. Released in June of 1975 as the albums second single, it quickly finds favor on both pop and R&B radio stations. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on June 28, 1975, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. After one week on top, the single is bumped from the number one spot on September 27, 1975, yielding to John Denver’s double A-sided hit “Calypso/I’m Sorry” for one week, “Fame” rebounds and regains the number one position for one more week on October 4, 1975. New remixes of the classic song titled “Fame 90” are remixed by engineer Jon Gass (Babyface), Arthur Baker, and D.J. Mark “The 45 King. The 45 King mix features rap verses by Queen Latifah. The remixes are released as a 12” single, and “The Gass Mix” is also included on the soundtrack of the film “Pretty Woman”, and the hits compilation “Changesbowie”. “Fame” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1975 – “Between The Lines”, the seventh album by Janis Ian hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 1 week. Produced by Brooks Arthur, it is recorded at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY from Mid – Late 1974. Anchored by the hit single “At Seventeen” (#3 Pop), the album is a huge critical and commercial success for the New York born singer, songwriter and musician. “Seventeen” is inspired by a newspaper article she reads about a young woman who is a former teenage debutante. The woman declares in the article on how being popular in high school didn’t solve her problems, lingering below the surface. Ian juxtaposes this with her own personal experiences, coming to terms with her own low self esteem and self worth at that age. Initially the song almost does not make the album, when Ian feels that it’s “too personal” and revealing. She eventually changes her mind, and the single and album become the biggest hits of her career. Ian performs the song on “The Tonight Show”, which gives her major national exposure that spreads to radio. The singer also performs “At Seventeen” on the debut episode of “Saturday Night Live” on October 11, 1975. The single also wins Ian a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1976, and the album also wins for Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical for engineers Brooks Arthur, Larry Alexander and Russ Payne. The single release of “At Seventeen” is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2008. “Between The Lines” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1974 – “Eldorado: A Symphony By the Electric Light Orchestra”, the fourth album by the Electric Light Orchestra is released. Produced by Jeff Lynne, it is recorded at De Lane Lea Studios in London from February – August 1974. Continuing to evolve musically after releasing three albums in just over two years, ELO leader Jeff Lynne begins to conceive the band’s most ambitious work to date. Before any music is written for the project, Lynne comes up with a concept centering around a “Walter Mitty-like character” who looks to escape into “fantasy worlds”  through daydreaming to get away from the reality of his every day life. Even the album title “Eldorado”, named for the mythical, gilded king of a golden kingdom, figures into this concept. Having used strings on previous albums, Jeff Lynne uses a full orchestra for the first time on “Eldorado”, heavily influenced by The Beatles use of orchestral accompaniment during their psychedelic period. Early in the sessions for the album, original bassist Mike de Albuquerque leaves the band, unhappy with the grind of touring and wanting to spend more time with his family. Lynne ends up playing most of the bass parts, with de Albuquerque’s replacement Kelly Groucutt joining ELO in time for the tour to support the album. The now iconic cover for “Eldorado” features a still photo from “The Wizard Of Oz”, during the sequence in the film where the Wicked Witch Of The West attempts to remove Dorothy’s ruby slippers, literally sending sparks flying. The cover art fitting into the concept of the album being based on “dreams”, as well as Dorothy’s adventure in Oz having been a dream also. “Eldorado” becomes ELO’s breakthrough release in the US, bolstered by the first single “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” (#9 Pop). Surprisingly, the album is not a success in the UK where it and the released singles including the follow up “Boy Blue” fail to make the charts. In spite of this, the album sets the template for the Electric Light Orchestra’s best work and takes them to their commercial zenith on a worldwide basis as the 70’s progress. Originally released on CD in 1987, the album which is also an audiophile favorite is remastered and reissued again in 2001 by Epic/Sony Legacy, with two additional bonus tracks. It’s also remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl in 2012, and as as limited edition pressing on clear vinyl in 2015. “Eldorado: A Symphony By the Electric Light Orchestra” peaks at number sixteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.