Category: 80’s

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

On this day in music history: July 12, 1986 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1986 – “Who’s Johnny” by El DeBarge hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on July 5, 1986. Written by Peter & Ina Wolf, it is the lone solo chart topper for the singer, songwriter and musician from Grand Rapids, MI. Undone by infighting and drug use among its members, the family vocal group DeBarge begins to implode during the making of their fourth album “Rhythm Of The Night”. Seeing the writing on the wall, their label Motown Records grooms lead singer El DeBarge for solo stardom. DeBarge works with producers Jay Graydon (Manhattan Transfer, Al Jarreau), and husband and wife songwriter/producers Peter and Ina Wolf (not the former J. Geils Band lead singer). While working on El’s album, the Wolfs are approached by film producers David Foster and Lawrence Turman, asking them if they will write a song for their comedy “Short Circuit”. The film starring Steve Guttenberg (“Police Academy”) and Ally Sheedy (“War Games” , “The Breakfast Club”), is about a military robot named Number 5 that is struck by lightning and develops a human like personality and intelligence. Seeing a rough cut of the film, the Wolfs accept the assignment and agree to write a song. The inspiration for “Who’s Johnny” comes from a scene where Number 5 expresses his dislike of being referred to by a number, and someone suggests “how about Johnny?”. When Peter and Ina present the song to El, initially he is not in favor of it, feeling that is it doesn’t really suit his musical style. When they tell him that it’s for a movie soundtrack and that it could potentially broaden his audience, he agrees to record it. Released as single in April of 1986, like the film “Short Circuit”, it quickly becomes a major success, racing to the top of the R&B singles chart, into the top five on the pop chart, propelling El DeBarge’s debut album to Gold status in the US.

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

On this day in music history: July 12, 1986 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1986 – “Holding Back The Years” by Simply Red hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #29 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Mick Hucknall and Neil Moss, it is the first US chart topper for the British pop/soul band from Manchester, UK. Lead singer Mick Hucknall initially begins writing what becomes “Holding Back The Years” when he is only seventeen years old, inspired by his mother leaving the family when he is three years old. Hucknall completes the song a few years later with band mate Neil Moss, while both are members of The Frantic Elevators. The band originally record “Holding Back The Years” in 1982, making only a minimal impact. After the Elevators break up, Hucknall forms Simply Red in 1985, re-recording the song for their debut album “Picture Book” with veteran producer Stewart Levine (The Crusaders, Hugh Masekela). When it is first released as the album’s third single in the UK, it stalls at #51 on the charts. Undaunted, WEA reissues it in the Spring of 1986 where it soars to #2. On the heels of its UK chart success, Elektra Records in the US releases it as a single. Entering the Hot 100 at #88 on April 5, 1986, it climbs to the top of the chart fourteen weeks later. The success of “Holding Back The Years” propels “Picture Book” to Platinum status in the US, also earning Simply Red two Grammy nominations including Best New Artist of 1986.

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

On this day in music history: July 12, 1986 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1986 – “Revenge”, the sixth album by Eurythmics is released. Produced by David A. Stewart, it is recorded at Conny’s Studio in Cologne, Germany and Studio Grand Armee in Paris, France in Early 1986. Following the success their previous album “Be Yourself Tonight”, Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox continue to move away from the synthesizer and drum machine based music of their previous work, towards a more band oriented pop/rock sound. The album features guest musicians such as drummer Clem Burke from Blondie, bassist Phil Chen (Rod Stewart) and arranger Michael Kamen. It spins off four singles including the first release “Missionary Man” (#14 Pop), which wins Eurythmics their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1987. The duo also undertake an extensive world tour to support it, also releasing a live concert video in 1987 titled “Eurythmics Live” (directed by Geoff Wonfor (“The Beatles Anthology”) filmed during the Australian leg of the tour. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005, with six additional bonus tracks added. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP on July 6, 2018. The reissue replicates the original LP packaging, and also includes an mp3 download card of the full album. “Revenge” peaks at number twelve 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 by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 11, 1987 – …

On this day in music history: July 11, 1987 – “Alone” by Heart hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, it is the second chart topping single for the rock band from Seattle, WA fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. Following the huge success of their self-titled eighth album which spins off five hit singles, Heart return to the studio with producer Ron Nevison to record the follow up. Again turning to outside songwriters to provide songs for the project, Nevison finds the power ballad “Alone” which is submitted to him by its writers Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. Best known for writing the chart topping classics “Like A Virgin” (Madonna) and “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper), “Alone” is first recorded by the duo under the name i-Ten. Embarrassed by their own rendition of the song, but still seeing its hit potential, they re-write part of it and record a new demo version to submit to Nevison. The producer agrees that it is a smash and gives it to Heart to record. Issued as the first single from their ninth album “Bad Animals” in May of 1987, it is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #53 on May 16, 1987, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The chart topping success of “Alone” propels  the “Bad Animals” album to 3x Platinum status in the US. The recording studio Steve Lawson Productions in Seattle, WA, a demo and voice over studio, is renamed Bad Animals Studio after the album. The name change occurs Wilson sisters form a partnership with owners Steve and Debbie Lawson, opening another recording and rehearsal facility called Studio X. Heart as well as other major artists including Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Neil Young and Johnny Cash all record at Bad Animals Studio over the years, before it is sold in 1999.

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

On this day in music history: July 11, 1980 – …

On this day in music history: July 11, 1980 – “Late In The Evening” by Paul Simon is released. Written by Paul Simon, it is the sixteenth solo single for the singer, songwriter and musician from Queens, NY. The Latin flavored “Late In The Evening”, is issued as the first single from the soundtrack to his first starring role in the film “One Trick Pony”. The plot (based on both true life experiences and dramatic fictionalization) centers around Simon, portraying a once popular musician on the down side of his career, looking to make a comeback. The song and soundtrack album features instrumental backing by the Jazz/Funk band Stuff. The film and the accompanying soundtrack album actually feature different versions of the same material. “Late In The Evening” features musicians Steve Gadd (drums), Eric Gale, Hiram Bullock (guitars), Tony Levin (bass), Richard Tee (keyboards), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Michael Brecker, David Sanborn (saxophones), Jon Faddis (flugelhorn), Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm (trumpets), Patti Austin and Lani Groves (background vocals). “Late In The Evening” peaks at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 27, 1980, and also receiving a Grammy Nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1981.

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