Category: 80’s

On this day in music history: July 17, 1982 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1982 – “Screaming For Vengeance”, the eighth studio album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Ibiza Sound Studios in Ibiza, Spain in Early 1982. After having their commercial breakthrough in the US with the albums “British Steel” and “Point Of Entry”, Judas Priest return to the studio in early 1982 to record their eighth album. Once again, they record on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza (for tax purposes)The veteran heavy metal bands eighth release is their most successful to date in the US, spinning off two singles including “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” (#67 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock) and “Electric Eye” (#38 Mainstream Rock). The band also tour extensively in support of the album and other metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Krokus and Uriah Heep opening for them on the US leg. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, with two additional bonus tracks added. The expanded reissue is also released as a double vinyl LP by Back On Black Records in 2010, pressed on green, yellow, orange and standard black vinyl. “Screaming For Vengeance” peaks at number seventeen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 17, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1981 – “Escape” (aka E5C4P3), the seventh album by Journey is released. Produced by Mike Stone and Kevin Elson, it is recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA from April – June 1981. Starting off the 80’s with the successful “Departure”, Journey follows it with the live album “Captured”. In between, they also record “Dream, After Dream”, the soundtrack for the Japanese film “Yume, Yume No Ato”. Shortly afterward, founding member Gregg Rolie leaves to pursue a solo career. Rolie recommends former Babys keyboardist Jonathan Cain as his replacement. Besides his excellent musicianship, Cain proves to be a highly valuable asset to the band for his songwriting abilities, especially in tandem with lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon. Co-writing all ten of the songs on the album, Cain establishes himself as another element in Journey’s success. Sporting instantly memorable songs, it quickly becomes their most successful studio album. Though some critics react unfavorably, accusing the band of selling out their progressive rock roots, the public and radio could care less, enthusiastically embracing the album. It spins off a total of five singles including “Who’s Crying Now” (#4 Pop), “Open Arms” (#2 Pop) and “Still They Ride” (#19 Pop). The second single “Don’t Stop Believin’” (#9 Pop), is released in October of 1981 as the follow up to “Who’s Crying Now”. Though successful at the time, it’s overshadowed by the two singles released before (“Crying”) and after (“Open Arms”), which are bigger chart and airplay hits. However, “Don’t Stop Believin’” builds in popularity, becoming a highlight of Journey’s live concerts. It becomes a staple on rock radio over the next two decades, and a huge karaoke favorite. Its greatest success comes in 2007 when featured in the final episode of the “The Sopranos”. Following the initial broadcast seen by nearly twelve million people, “Believin’” immediately surges to the top of the Apple iTunes digital download chart. To date it has sold over 6.5 million digital downloads, making it one of the largest selling digital singles released in the pre-digital era. It also becomes an anthem at sporting events, being adapted as a rallying cry by fans of the San Francisco Giants during their World Series victories. The success of “Escape” inspires the video game “Journey Escape”, created by California based video game company Data Age for the Atari 2600 game console in 1982. The albums now iconic cover artwork of their trademark scarab crashing out of a glass orb, is painted by famed Bay Area based artist Stanley Mouse. One of the first titles released on CD by CBS Records in 1982, it is remastered and reissued in 2006 with four additional bonus tracks. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Friday Music in 2010. “Escape” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 9x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 16, 1988 – …

On this day in music history: July 16, 1988 – “Roses Are Red” by The Mac Band Featuring The McCampbell Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week. Written and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, it is the biggest hit for the R&B band from Flint, MI. Formed in the mid 80’s by brothers Ray, Derrick, Charles and Kelvin McCampbell, The Mac Band features band members Ray Flippin (bass), Rodney Frazier (keyboards), Mark Harper (guitar) and Slye Fuller (drums). The band comes together after the McCampbell Brothers relocate from their hometown of Flint, MI to Dallas, TX, where the meet the other four members. Signed to MCA Records in 1987, The Mac Band are paired with two pairs of top R&B songwriters and producers, David and Wayne Lewis of Atlantic Starr and L.A. Reid and Babyface of The Deele. L.A. and Face wind up writing and producing three of the nine tracks featured on the bands self titled debut album. Among those is the hooky and infectious “Roses Are Red”, which the duo base on the poem whose origin dates back to 16th century English poet Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”. The producers actually record the track themselves in Los Angeles, then take it to Dallas for the rest of the band to add their vocals. Released as a single in April of 1988, “Roses Are Red” quickly becomes a smash on the R&B chart. The song is also a hit overseas, cracking the top ten on the UK singles chart, peaking at #6. Shortly after the chart topping success of “Roses”, The Mac Band are featured in a television commercial for fast food chain McDonalds, with the band singing a version of “Roses Are Red” with re-written lyrics. In spite of receiving a major hand up from two of the hottest producers in the music business, The Mac Band are unable to maintain the career momentum of their chart topping debut. Subsequent follow up singles including “Stuck” (#25 R&B), “That’s The Way I Look At Love” (#70 R&B) and “Got To Get Over You” fail to make much of an impact. The bands second album “Love U 2 The Limit” released in 1990, and is largely self produced, also with contributions from R&B band Surface and producer Vassal Benford, it does not produce any hits, and the band are dropped by MCA Records. The Mac Band record and release one final album for local Dallas label Ultrax Records (run by former Vanilla Ice manager Tommy Quon) in 1991, which is not successful and the band split up. In later years, original lead singer Derrick “D-Mac” MacCampbell runs a basketball camp for kids in his local church in his home of McKinney, TX.

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On this day in music history: July 15, 1989 – …

On this day in music history: July 15, 1989 – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 6 weeks on June 24, 1989, also peaking at #38 on the R&B singles chart on July 8, 1989. Written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it is the second and final US chart topper for the Manchester, UK pop/soul band fronted by lead singer Mick Hucknall. The track is a cover of the Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes classic (#1 R&B, #3 Pop) originally recorded in 1972. Having included at least one cover per album since their debut, Simply Red decide to do a version of the Philly Soul classic for their new album, recording it at AIR Studios in Montserrat, W.I. in late 1988. Released as the first single from their third album “A New Flame, it becomes their second biggest single. Entering the Hot 100 at #81 on May 6, 1989, climbing to the top of the chart ten weeks later. Simply Red’s recording of the song wins songwriters Gamble & Huff a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song in 1990. "If You Don’t Know Me By Now” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 15, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: July 15, 1983 – “The Crossing”, the debut album by Big Country is released. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, it is recorded at The Manor in Oxfordshire, UK and RAK Studios in London in May 1983. Formed in 1981, Big Country goes through a number of personnel changes before before their classic line up is in place in 1982. For their debut album, the band are paired with producer Steve Lillywhite, best known for his work with U2 and Peter Gabriel. The first release by the rock band from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland firmly establishes them and their trademark sound, a solid rhythm section with twin lead guitars played by Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson. The album spins off two hit singles including “In A Big Country” (#17 Pop) and “Fields Of Fire” (#52 Pop), and is the most successful album for the Scottish band. The original LP release is issued with three different color variations for its sleeve artwork, coming red, blue and green. It is first remastered and reissued in 2002, with the “Wonderland” EP included as bonus tracks on the CD. It is remastered again in 2012 as a two CD deluxe edition to commemorate its 30th anniversary. The first disc features the original ten track album, plus seven bonus tracks. The second disc features demos and outtakes.  The expanded edition is also reissued as a double vinyl set, also in 2012. “The Crossing” peaks at number eighteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 14, 1980 – …

On this day in music history: July 14, 1980 – “Joy And Pain”, the fourth album by Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly is released. Produced by Maze, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA from Early – Mid 1980. Coming off their third consecutive Gold album “Inspiration”, Maze return to the studio in 1980 to begin work on the follow up. Prior to recording, drummer Ahaguna Sun and lead guitarist Wuane Thomas leave the band and are replaced by Billy (Shoes) Johnson and Ron Smith. Working from their San Francisco Bay Area home base, Maze record at the famed Record Plant Studios just across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito. As with the previous albums, all of the material is composed bandleader and front man Frankie Beverly. The end result is Maze’s strongest effort to date. Proceeded by the single “Southern Girl” (#9 R&B), the album is another immediate smash. The follow up “The Look In Your Eyes” (#29 R&B) also hits the top thirty on the R&B singles chart that Fall. Though it is not released as a single in the US, it is the album’s title track that makes the longest lasting impact. Running seven and a half minutes in length, “Joy And Pain” becomes an instant classic, and a centerpiece of the band’s live performances. Featuring relatively spare instrumentation using a drum machine, electric piano, synthesizer, guitar and bass, its popularity and influence on R&B music is long lasting. The song is covered numerous times, including versions by Avant, Donna Allen, and Kamal Brown. “Joy” is also sampled and interpolated in Hip-Hop with several artists borrowing from it, most notably Rob Base & DJ EZ-Rock, Kelly Price, and Coolio. As with previous albums, the striking cover artwork for “Joy And Pain” is painted by artist Shusei Nagaoka (Earth, Wind & Fire, Electric Light Orchestra), also responsible for creating Maze’s distinctive “hand” logo. First remastered and reissued on CD in 1995 by Razor And Tie Records, is remastered and reissued again by Capitol Records in 1999, as two-fer CD set with “Inspiration”. It is reissued a third time in 2004 as a stand alone CD on Capitol’s Right Stuff imprint. “Joy And Pain” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty one on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – “Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating)” by Loose Ends hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #43 on the Hot 100 on August 24, 1985. Written by Carl McIntosh, Jane Eugene and Steve Nichol, it is the first US chart topper for the London based R&B trio. The band record the track in the US at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. The single is produced by American R&B producer and remixer Nick Martinelli who had previously worked with Bootsy Collins, Yarbrough & Peoples, and Stephanie Mills. Carl “Macca” McIntosh plays the songs distinctive guitar hook, a mixture of lead and rhythm that proves very influential, as well as the tracks innovative use of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Originally released in the UK on Virgin’s 10 Records imprint in February of 1985, it is picked up for US release by MCA Records. First released in the UK on their second album “So Where Are You?”, “Hangin’ On A String” is added to the US edition of Loose Ends’ debut album “A Little Spice” in April of 1985, quickly becoming a hit on R&B radio and on the dance floor. The American success of “Hanging On A String” opens the door to a number of other British based R&B artists including Soul II Soul, 52nd Street (“Tell Me (How It Feels”) ) and Princess (“Say I’m Your Number 1”), in the 80’s and beyond. “Hangin’ On A String” is also sampled by rap group Digital Underground on their single “Oregano Flow” in 1996. It is also sampled by Wiz Khalifa on the track “The Kid Frankie” in 2010.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Duran Duran and John Barry, it is the second US chart topper for the Birmingham, UK based pop/rock band. The members of Duran Duran are invited to write the theme for the fourteenth James Bond film after bassist John Taylor meets Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli at a party. This encounter leads to the two sides talking seriously about composing the title song. Broccoli then introduces Duran Duran to score composer John Barry who co-writes and arranges the song with the band. Fresh off of working on The Power Station project, producer and musician Bernard Edwards of Chic produces the song. The track is recorded at CTS Studios and Maison Rouge in London, with Barry conducting a sixty-piece orchestra, augmenting Duran Duran’s instrumentation. The recording sessions become so contentious (particularly between Nick Rhodes and Andy Taylor), that the band members end up overdubbing their parts separately. Released in early May of 1985, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #43 on May 18, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “A View To A Kill” is the only Bond theme to top the US pop singles chart, and is the last Duran Duran single to feature all five original band members until they reunite in 2001. Prior to “Kill” reaching the summit, the two highest charting Bond themes are Wings’ “Live And Let Die” and Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” (from “The Spy Who Loved Me”), both peaking at #2 on the Hot 100. On the same day the single hits number one, Duran Duran perform it at Live Aid in Philadelphia. Lead singer Simon LeBon unintentionally hits a bad note during the song on the live telecast. This faux pas leads to it being excised from the band’s set on the Live Aid DVD box set, and has not been rebroadcast since. After the original track is cut, Duran Duran along with Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero create an extended remix of “Kill” with the intent of issuing it along side the original single version. For reasons unknown, this version is shelved and remained unheard by the public for nearly thirty years. Mysteriously, it surfaces online on the Soundcloud  and YouTube websites in November of 2014. Since then it has been widely circulated among Duran Duran fans. To date, no official release of the 12" remix has been officially sanctioned by the band.  "A View To A Kill" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – “Songs From The Big Chair” by Tears For Fears hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 5 weeks (non-consecutive). Produced by Chris Hughes, it is recorded at Wool Hall Studios in Beckington, Somerset, UK, and Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from Late 1983, February – November 1984. After releasing the stand alone single “The Way You Are” in the UK in late 1983, it performs under expectations after three consecutive top five singles in the UK charts (from their debut album “The Hurting”), stalling at #24. Deciding that a change in musical direction is necessary, Tears For Fears initially begin the recording sessions for their second album with producer Jeremy Green. The track “Mother’s Talk” is the first song recorded. When the band is unhappy the end results, Green is replaced with TFF’s original producer Chris Hughes (Adam & The Ants, Wang Chung), and the recording sessions begin again. The albums title is inspired by the novel and television film “Sybil”, about a young woman with thirteen different personalities who only feels safe in her psychiatrist’s chair. It is the duos most successful album, spinning off four hit singles including “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (#1 Pop), “Shout” (Pop #1), and “Head Over Heels” (#3 US Pop). In 2006, Universal Music Group reissues the album as a 2 CD Deluxe Edition featuring remixes, single edits, and B-sides. In 2014, a 4 CD + 2 DVD remastered Super Deluxe Box Set to commemorate the album’s 30th anniversary is released as well as a newly remastered vinyl LP edition. “Songs From The Big Chair” is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – The “Live Aid” concert is broadcast live via satellite worldwide. Organized by Bob Geldof, the two concerts held at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, consists of over 50 acts performing to over 172,000 fans (at the individual venues) and a TV viewing audience of 1.9 billion people. The event raises over $300 million for Ethiopian famine relief at the time of the original broadcast. An abridged edition of the historic concerts, featuring ten of the sixteen hours worth of performances originally broadcast, is released as a four disc DVD box set in November of 2004, eight months shy of the events 20th anniversary. The entire concert is not released due to video tapes of certain performances having gone missing over the years, with ABC (one the original US broadcast carriers) having erased their broadcast tapes of the event (at Bob Geldof’s request). However MTV did preserve their tapes as well as the BBC (though some performances were also lost). Other performers such as Led Zeppelin and Santana ask to have their performances omitted, feeling they are subpar. In lieu of their performances appearing on the box set, they donate money to the Band Aid Trust instead.

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