Category: 70’s

Born on this day: July 17, 1950 – Singer, song…

Born on this day: July 17, 1950 – Singer, songwriter and musician Phoebe Snow (born Phoebe Ann Laub in New York, NY). Happy Birthday to this wonderfully talented lady on what would have been her 69th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: July 16, 1977 – …

On this day in music history: July 16, 1977 – “Easy” by The Commodores hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on August 27, 1977. Written by Lionel Richie, it is the third R&B chart topper for the band from Tuskegee, AL. Born and raised in Alabama, songwriter and musician Lionel Richie grows up influenced by many different genres of music including R&B, pop and country music. All three musical styles come together when Richie writes the song “Easy”, about a man coming to terms with the end of a relationship. “Easy” is released on March 18, 1977 in advance of The Commodores self-titled fifth album. The pop/soul ballad becomes a multi-format smash, becoming their third number one R&B hit and their biggest pop single to date. The million selling “Easy” takes The Commodores to the next level of success in their career, helping drive sales of the “Commodores” album to 2x Platinum status. Over the years it is covered numerous times by pop, rock and country artists including Clarence Carter, Faith No More and Boyz II Men. Lionel Richie himself covers “Easy” in 2012 with country music icon Willie Nelson, on the duets album “Tuskegee”.

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Born on this day: July 15, 1946 – Singer Linda…

Born on this day: July 15, 1946 – Singer Linda Ronstadt (born Linda Maria Ronstadt in Tucson, AZ). Happy 73rd Birthday, Linda!!

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Born on this day: July 15, 1944 – Singer and s…

Born on this day: July 15, 1944 – Singer and songwriter Millie Jackson (born Mildred Jackson in Thomson, GA). Happy 75th Birthday, Millie!  

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On this day in music history: July 14, 1979 – …

On this day in music history: July 14, 1979 – “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on July 21, 1979. Written by Donna Summer, Eddie Hokenson, Bruce Sudano and Joe Esposito, it is the third pop chart topper and biggest hit for the Boston, MA born singer and songwriter. Summer is inspired to write the song (collaborating with the group Brooklyn Dreams) when her personal assistant is mistaken as being a street prostitute by a police officer, while walking down Sunset Blvd near Casablanca’s offices. Upon hearing her demo recording, Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart suggests that Donna give the song to Cher. Summer refuses to give the song away, and files the tape away until engineer Steve Smith discovers the demo during recording sessions for the “Bad Girls” album in early 1979. His enthusiasm for the song encourages Donna to record it herself. Due to intense public demand, Casablanca Records rush releases “Bad Girls” as a single on May 14, 1979, just one month after the first single “Hot Stuff”. The two singles are released so closely together, that both reside in the top five on the pop chart for six consecutive weeks. Entering the Hot 100 at #55 on May 26, 1979, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The success of the single helps drive sales of the album to over 3x Platinum status in the US. The huge success of the singles and album, lead the ABC television network to offering Summer the opportunity to host her own television special. “The Donna Summer Special” directed by Don Mischer (The Academy Awards) airs on January 27, 1980. “Bad Girls” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: July 12, 1943 – Singer, song…

Born on this day: July 12, 1943 – Singer, songwriter, and musician Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac (born Anne Christine Perfect in Bouth, Lancashire, UK). Happy 76th Birthday, Christine!!

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On this day in music history: July 12, 1979 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1979 – WLUP radio DJ’s Steve Dahl and Gerry Meier stage a “Disco Demolition” rally at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The event takes place during a White Sox/Detroit Tigers doubleheader blowing up a bin with thousands of disco records, and it quickly spirals out of control. 50,000 plus fans attend the event which degenerates into a full scale riot, with people storming the field, setting bonfires to the debris littering the field and vandalizing the ball park. Chicago Cubs public announcer Harry Caray attempts to bring calm to the crowd by singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”, but it does not quell the mayhem as the mob goes unabated. Thirty nine people are arrested, and the second ball game are forfeited. The event goes down in infamy, and signals beginning of the end of the Disco Era in popular music.

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Remembering Pop and R&B vocal legend Minni…

Remembering Pop and R&B vocal legend Minnie Riperton (born Minnie Julia Riperton in Chicago, IL) – November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979

On this day in music history: July 12, 1976 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1976 – “Still The One” by Orleans is released. Written by John and Johanna Hall, it is the sixth single release for the pop/rock band from Woodstock, NY. Formed in 1972 by John Hall (guitar, vocals), Wells Kelly (drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals), and brothers Lance (bass, vocal) and Larry Hoppen (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), the band are signed to ABC Records in 1973 after playing the club and college circuit. Their first two albums released (“Orleans” and “Orleans II”) fail to produce any hits, and are dropped. Their luck changes when they meet producer and engineer Chuck Plotkin (Bruce Springsteen) in late 1974, after playing at Max’s Kansas City. Then the head of A&R for Asylum Records, Plotkin signs Orleans to the label and produce them. Their third album “Let There Be Music” released in March 1975, features a re-recorded version of the song “Dance With Me” (#6 Pop), becoming their first major hit. For the follow up, they are joined by second drummer Jerry Marotta. While writing material for the bands fourth album, guitarist and songwriter John Hall along with his then wife Johanna write “Still The One”. The initial idea comes to Johanna while doing the couples laundry, meditating on the ups and downs of long term relationships, while emphasizing a strong and loving bond. Quickly grabbing the nearest piece of paper, she writes the lyrics on the back on an envelope. Later showing what she’s written to John, he writes chords for the song in only fifteen minutes. “Still” is recorded in the Spring of 1976 at the Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA (engineered by Val Garay and Greg Ladanyi). Released as the first single from “Waking And Dreaming”, it is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on July 31, 1976, it peaks at #5 on October 23, 1976, becoming Orleans biggest hit. After its run on the charts, the song receives another boost when ABC uses the song extensively in ads to promote their programming line ups in 1977 and 1979. With the departure of John Hall from Orleans in 1977, the band continue on, and manage to score one more top 40 single with “Love Takes Time” (#11 Pop) in 1979. In later years, the album cover of “Waking And Dreaming” taken by photographer Gary Heery (Frank Zappa, Eddie Money), is lampooned and frequently mentioned on “worst album covers of all time” lists. The image features the band posed shirtless and appearing to be totally nude (though the photo is cropped above the waist) with their arms around each other. Originally intended to symbolize the bands friendship and solidarity, it appears to many as unintentionally homoerotic and humorous. Becoming a US Congressman in the late 2000’s, John Hall publicly expresses his disapproval to George W. Bush and John McCain when both use “Still The One” during their Presidential campaigns without permission. “Still The One” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 12, 1975 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1975 – “The Hustle” by Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Hot 100 on July 26, 1975 for 1 week. Written by Van McCoy, it is the biggest hit for the Washington D.C. born and raised producer, arranger and composer. McCoy composes the instrumental after seeing couple do the dance in a New York disco. Working with famed producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore (Sam Cooke, The Stylistics), the track is recorded at Media Sound Studios in New York City. The sessions feature a number of top notch studio musicians performing on the track including Steve Gadd and Rick Marotta (drums), Eric Gale and John Tropea (guitars), Richard Tee (electric piano), Gordon Edwards (bass), and piccolo player Philip Bodner playing the song’s signature melody line. The strings are arranged by famed New York concertmaster Gene Orloff. Released on Hugo & Luigi’s (co-owned with film producer Joseph E. Levine) Avco Records in March of 1975, the song quickly becomes a smash on the dance floor, making its way on to pop and R&B radio. The single wins Van McCoy a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1976. “The Hustle” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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