Category: 70’s

Unknown post type

On this day in music history: April 27, 1970 – “Spill The Wine” by Eric Burdon & War is released. Written by Charles Miller, Howard E. Scott, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Harold Brown, Thomas “Papa Dee” Allen and Lee Oskar, it is the debut single release for the R&B/Funk band from Long Beach, CA. In 1962, friends Howard Scott (guitar, vocals) and Harold Brown (drums, vocals) form The Creators, with Charles Miller (saxophone, vocals), Morris “B.B.” Dickerson (bass, vocals) and Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan (keyboards, vocals). Backing singer Little Johnny Hamilton, the band record for Dore Records. By 1968, their line up also includes Thomas “Papa Dee” Allen (percussion, vocals). Changing their name to Nite Shift in 1969, they’re hired to back L.A. Rams Defensive End Deacon Jones, who is pursuing a singing career. Playing at a club in North Hollywood, Nite Shift are seen by former Animals lead singer Eric Burdon, producer Jerry Goldstein (The Strangeloves) and Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar. Looking for new musicians, Burdon and Goldstein approach the band about working together. Adding Oskar to the line up, they change their name to War. Steve Gold, an executive from MGM Records is interested in recording them. With Burdon living in San Francisco, Gold books them into Wally Heider Studios (now Hyde Street Studios) in January of 1970. During one session, Lonnie Jordan comes into the control room, where the others are sharing a bottle of wine. He knocks over the bottle, spilling it right into the mixing desk. With that studio out of commission, they go into the other studio and jam. Improvising a Latin groove on the spot, Eric comes up with the phrase “Spill The Wine”, to acknowledge the incident, and writing the lyrics to “celebrate women”. Laying it down on tape, they go back and lay down passages of Burdon’s then girlfriend, talking in Spanish. Recording the rest of their first album “Eric Burdon Declares War” in just three days, MGM releases “Spill The Wine” as a single. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #99 on May 23, 1970, it peaks at #3 thirteen weeks later on August 22, 1970. After recording a second album (“The Black-Man’s Burdon”) later in 1970, Burdon leaves and they continue without him. Regarded as one of the great “Summer songs” of all time, “Spill The Wine” establishes War as a innovative musical force, throughout the 70’s and into the early 80’s. “Wine” is covered by The Isley Brothers, A Lighter Shade Of Brown and Michael Hutchence. The original version is featured in the films Boogie Nights, Remember The Titans, and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. “Magic Mountain”, the non-LP B-side of Burdon & War’s hit, is sampled twice by De La Soul on “Potholes In My Lawn” and “Pass The Plugs”. UK trip hop band Portishead also samples it on the track “Wandering Star”. “Spill The Wine” is certified Gold in the US the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: April 20, 1978 – “Come Get It!”, the debut album by Rick James is released. Produced by Rick James and Art Stewart, it is recorded at Crossed-Eyed Bear Studios in Clarence, NY and The Record Plant in New York City from Mid – Late 1977. The first album by James comes some twelve years after first recording for Motown as a member of The Mynah Birds, a band featuring James and future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer. In the years in between, travel around the world, before moving to California and start a series of bands that lasts for a brief period. At one point, he reconnects with Motown briefly as a staff writer for the label before parting ways again. Finally, he signs with Motown in 1977 after when staff producer Jeffrey Bowen hears a demo of several songs that Rick has written, playing them for label executive Suzanne DePasse. Shortly after this, he is signed to the label and is paired with co-producer and engineer Art Stewart (Marvin Gaye). James plays most of the instruments on the album himself before assembling The Stone City Band in 1979. It spins off two singles including “You And I” (#1 R&B, #13 Pop) and “Mary Jane” (#3 R&B, #41 Pop). “Come Get It!” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: March 30, 1970 – “Bitches Brew”, the thirty third album by Miles Davis is released. Produced by Teo Macero, it is recorded at Columbia Studio B in New York City from August 19-21, 1969. Ushering in his “Electric Period” with the release of the groundbreaking “In A Silent Way” in July of 1969, Miles Davis continues to move further into that musical territory. Maintaining Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), John McLaughlin (guitar), Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul (electric piano, organ), and Dave Holland (bass), Davis brings several new musicians into the fold. They include Jack DeJohnette, Lenny White (drums), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Harvey Brooks (bass), Larry Young (electric piano), Airto Moreira, Don Alias and Juma Santos (percussion), Davis begins rehearsals, bringing in “sketches” of new material. Miles tells the musicians to “play anything that they like”, as long as they follow the chords and tempo he lays down. Entering Columbia Records’ Studio B on August 19, 1969, the first session begins at 10 am. Giving the band only minimal instructions, Miles allows them to improvise while following his often audible cues. He uses multiple bassists, keyboard players, drummers and percussionists on the tracks. Davis’ own playing differs from anything he’s done before, often playing in an upper register in contrasting fast runs and short explosive bursts of his horn. Producer Teo Macero then extensively edits and reconstructs the songs, adding effects, and creating tape loops that repeat certain sections. On November 14, 1969, Macero sends a memo to CBS Records, with the now famous statement, “Miles just called and said he wants this album to be titled "BITCHES BREW”. Please advise. Teo". Artist Mati Klarwein is commissioned to create the now iconic surreal cover artwork. With its unique combination of jazz, funk and rock, “Bitches Brew” receives glowing reviews from many music critics (with liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason), greatly expanding Miles Davis’ audience. Though it also has its detractors, with jazz purists unable to grasp its sprawling and experimental nature. In spite of this, it becomes Davis’ biggest selling and highest charting album to date. It wins the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance – Large Group Or Soloist With Large Group in 1971. Regarded as one of the most influential jazz albums of all time, “Bitches Brew” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. In 1998, it’s reissued as the 4 CD box set “The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions”. It is also reissued on vinyl numerous times, most recently by Sony Music’s Legacy division in 2020. “Bitches Brew” spends twelve weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Jazz album chart, number four on the R&B album chart, number thirty five on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: March 29, 1975 – “Lady Marmalade” by LaBelle hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on February 22, 1975. Written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocal trio featuring Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash. The song is originally recorded by The Eleventh Hour, a studio group fronted by singer and songwriter Kenny Nolan (“I Like Dreamin’), co-written with Four Seasons songwriter and producer Bob Crewe earlier in 1974. Producer Allen Toussaint hears the original version, and records the song with LaBelle for their first Epic Records album "Nightbirds”. Featuring The Meters providing musical support, it is released as the first single from the album on November 5, 1974. Becoming a dance floor smash in discos, the electrifying track soon makes its way on to R&B and pop radio. Entering the Hot 100 at #98 on January 4, 1975, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. The song is re-recorded in by Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil’ Kim, Mya, & Missy Elliott for the Baz Lurhmann film “Moulin Rouge”. They take the song to number one (for 5 weeks) again in June of 2001, winning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals in 2002. Regarded as a 70’s classic, LaBelle’s version is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2003. “Lady Marmalade” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: December 9, 1974 – “Dark Horse”, the sixth album by George Harrison is released. Produced by George Harrison, it is recorded at Friar Park Studios (FPSHOT) in Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from September 1973, April – July 1974, September – October 1974. Harrison’s third post Beatles album is recorded at a particularly turbulent period which sees him struggling in many aspects in his personal life. To complicate matters further, Harrison is suffering from laryngitis during the recording sessions, but must complete the album in time to begin a tour that he is already committed to perform. The project features a number of guest musicians including Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, Tom Scott, Gary Wright, Willie Weeks, and Ron Wood. Critics dub the album “Dark Hoarse” due to Harrison’s vocals, but in spite of this it performs well commercially, spinning off two singles including the title track (#15 Pop) and “Ding Dong, Ding Dong” (#36 Pop). The latter song is inspired by engravings on the grounds of Harrison’s sprawling estate Friar Park, written by its former owner Sir Frank Crisp. A promotional video for the song is filmed at Friar Park, with George donning his famous collarless Beatles suit and Sgt. Pepper uniform. Inspired by Phil Spector’s “Wall Of Sound”, the song written as a “New Year’s Eve sing-a-long”, but becomes associated with the Christmas holiday over the years. The album is remastered and reissued in September of 2014 with the non LP B-side “I Don’t Care Anymore” (flip side of “Dark Horse”) and an early outtake of the title track added as bonus tracks. It is also remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP, as a stand alone release and as part of the box set “George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection” in 2017. “Dark Horse” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: December 9, 1972 – “Hot August Night”, the tenth album by Neil Diamond is released. Produced by Tom Catalano, it is recorded at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA on August 24, 1972. It is Diamond’s second live album, the twenty two track double LP set is taken from a single performance recorded on August 24, 1972 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA, in the middle of a run of ten sold out shows at the famed outdoor venue. It is a huge critical and commercial success for Diamond, and establishes his reputation for dynamic live performances captured on the album. It also is his final release for MCA Records before signing a lucrative and long term contract with Columbia Records. The album spins off three sequels released in 1977 (“Love At The Greek”), 1987 (“Hot August Night II”) and 2009 (“Hot August Night/NYC”). The album is remastered and reissued as a two CD set in 2000, and again in 2012 for its fortieth anniversary with additional tracks that were cut due to the time constraints of vinyl. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, the original version is reissued by UMe in 2012, and reissued again in 2017. “Hot August Night” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

Born on this day: December 9, 1957 – Singer and actor Donny Osmond (born Donald Clark Osmond in Ogden, UT). Happy 62nd Birthday, Donny!!

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: December 9, 1972 – “Me And Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 3 weeks on December 16, 1972. Written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert, it is the biggest hit for the Philadelphia, PA born R&B/Jazz singer. Gamble and Huff meet Paul at a local Philadelphia club in 1967 and begin working together shortly afterward. After several attempts to write a hit for the singer fail, they finally come up with a song that perfectly balances R&B and pop with Billy’s jazz vocal style. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios with members of MFSB and arranged by Bobby Martin, it is the first single from Paul’s album “360 Degrees Of Billy Paul” on September 13, 1972. The song about an extramarital affair is the third R&B chart topper, and first number pop single for the fledgling Philadelphia International label. The single wins Paul a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1973. Songwriters Gamble, Huff and Gilbert also later collaborate on “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, originally writing it for Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes in 1975. A cover version by Thelma Houston becomes a worldwide hit, topping the pop and R&B singles charts in 1977. It is also covered by The Dramatics and by Michael Buble. In 2000, Billy Paul’s original recording is used in a television commercial for Nike sportswear featuring track star Marion Jones. At the time, Paul had not received any royalty payments on the song in twenty seven years. He files a lawsuit against Gamble & Huff, their publishing company Assorted Music, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment for back royalties. He wins the lawsuit and receives a sizable settlement and future royalties generated by his version of the song. Regarded as not only one of the greatest “Philly Soul” records of all time, but one of the best singles of the 70’s, “Me And Mrs. Jones” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2018. “Me And Mrs. Jones” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: December 9, 1972 – “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton, it is the first US chart topper for the Australian born singer. After struggling and suffering numerous setbacks since arriving in the US in 1966, Helen Reddy lands her first chart hit with a cover of “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” (#13 Pop) from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” in June of 1971. Her first album also features a song titled “I Am Woman” co-written with fellow Australian musician Ray Burton. The original version receives little notice, but Reddy is asked to re-record the song for the film “Stand Up and Be Counted” starring Jacqueline Bisset, Steve Lawrence, and Loretta Swit. The new version features members of The Wrecking Crew playing on the track including Mike Deasy (guitar), Jim Gordon (drums), Michael Melvoin (piano), future James Taylor and Phil Collins side man Leland Sklar (bass) and background vocalists Clydie King, Vanetta Fields and Shirlie Matthews. Released as a single in May of 1972, “Woman” stalls at #97 on the Hot 100 on July 8, 1972 before falling off the chart. Undaunted, Reddy’s husband and manager Jeff Wald uses his considerable promotional skills to book his wife on various television variety and talk shows to re-promote the single. Positive response from female viewers to the song spreads to radio stations who are flooded with calls to play the record. Re-entering the Hot 100 at #87 on September 16, 1972, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. “I Am Woman” becomes an anthem and rallying cry for the women’s equal rights movement as a result of its huge popularity. Reddy wins a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1973, and in her memorable acceptance speech, she thanks her husband and “God, because she makes everything possible.” “I Am Woman” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228