Category: 90’s

Born on this day: July 17, 1961 – Hip Hop icon…

Born on this day: July 17, 1961 – Hip Hop icon Guru of Gang Starr (born Keith Edward Elam in Roxbury, MA). Happy Birthday to this great MC and lyricist on what would have been his 57th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: July 15, 1997 – …

On this day in music history: July 15, 1997 – “Supa Dupa Fly”, the debut album by Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott" is released. Produced by Timbaland, it is recorded at Master Sound Studios in Virginia Beach, VA from Mid 1996 – Mid 1997. Born in Portsmouth, VA, Melissa Arnette “Missy” Elliott grows up singing, with music at the center of her life. It becomes even more of a refuge when her parents volatile marriage ends, after she and her mother escape from her physically abusive father. During this time, Missy forms a singing group with three friends, naming themselves Fayze. With childhood friend Timothy “Timbaland” Moseley, they write songs and record demos. The group meet DeVante Swing of Jodeci, who offers to work with them. Signing his Elektra distributed Swing Mob Records, they’re re-named Sista. In spite of nearly four years of hard work, their debut album is shelved by Elektra, with only one song being released on the soundtrack to “Dangerous Minds” in 1995. Though Sista breaks up, Missy makes in roads as a songwriter and backing vocalist, singing and rapping on the remix of Gina Thompson’s “The Things That You Do”, and writing songs with Timbaland for Jodeci, Tony Thompson, SWV, 702 and Aaliyah. It is with Aaliyah that the pair cement their rep as serious hit makers, when they write and produce most of the singer’s second album “One In A Million” in 1996. Its Double Platinum success, leads to Elliott being signed to Atlantic subsidiary East West Records, to record as a solo artist. Masterfully blending R&B, funk and Hip Hop with Missy’s distinctive vocals as both a singer and rapper, “Supa Dupa Fly” announces her arrival. It features guest appearances by Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, Aaliyah, 702, Ginuwine, Da Brat, and Magoo. Led by an innovative reconstruction of Ann Peebles soul classic “I Can’t Stand The Rain”, re-titled “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (#4 R&B), it breaks the album wide open. The song is also aided by innovative visuals, courtesy of director Hype Williams (LL Cool J, Aaliyah, Puff Daddy). One of the most striking features of the video is Missy herself, dancing, wearing oversized wrap around shades, and giant trash bag suit inflated with compressed air. Featuring sequences shot with a fish eye lens, and Williams’ signature techique of removing film frames, to make the subjects to make odd and jerky movements, it instantly grabs the public’s imagination. The album is a huge critical and commercial success, spinning off three more singles including “Sock It 2 Me” (Featuring Da Brat) (#3 R&B, #12 Pop) and “Beep Me 911” (Featuring 702 and Magoo) (#13 R&B Airplay). In time, “Supa Dupa Fly” is regarded as one of the best and most influential albums of the 90’s, taking R&B in a new and exciting direction. “Supa Dupa Fly” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 14, 1998 – …

On this day in music history: July 14, 1998 – “Hello Nasty”, the fifth album by the Beastie Boys is released. Produced by the Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato, Jr., it is recorded at G-Son Studios in Atwater, CA, The Dungeon, Ted Diamond’s House Of Hits, RPM Studios, Soho Music Studios, and Dessau Studios in New York City from Early 1997 – Mid 1998. The group’s first new album in over four years, it marks the Beasties return to the more sample driven roots of their first two albums. The title is inspired by the groups publicity firm “Nasty Little Man”. The firms receptionist was known for greeting callers with the phrase “Hello Nasty”. The album also introduce new DJ Mixmaster Mike (Invisibl Skratch Piklz) to the group. It spins off four singles including “Intergalactic” (#28 Pop, #4 Modern Rock) and “Body Movin’” (#15 Modern Rock). “Nasty” also has a limited number (7,500 copies) that are pressed on clear gold vinyl. Production issues with the LP jackets being manufactured incorrectly results in many of the colored vinyl copies becoming warped during shipping, with the majority being recalled as defective. Rapturously received by fans and critics upon its release, the album sells nearly 700,000 copies in its first week. It also wins two Grammy Awards including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for the single “Intergalactic” in 1999. The album is remastered on CD in 2009 in a two disc edition. The first disc contains the original twenty two song album. Disc two features twenty one bonus tracks including various non-album B-sides and remixes. It is also reissued as a double vinyl 180 gram LP, and as a limited edition four LP set (limited to 1,500 copies), with the latter containing all of the bonus material from the second CD. “Hello Nasty” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200 spending three weeks at the top, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 14, 1990 – …

On this day in music history: July 14, 1990 – “My, My, My” by Johnny Gill hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #10 on the Hot 100 on September 29, 1990. Written by Babyface and Daryl Simmons, it is the third chart topping single for the R&B vocalist from Washington D.C.. After joining New Edition in 1988, and making a solid impression with group, Johnny Gill resumes his solo career in late 1989. With MCA Records Black Music executive Jheryl Busby having been promoted to the President and CEO of Motown Records, Busby is assigned with the daunting task of re-building the iconic R&B label after years of decline. Originally believing that his solo album will handled by MCA, Gill is initially disappointed when he finds that his solo contract has been transferred to Motown. Busby reassures the singer that not only will he be a major priority, but an essential cornerstone in the new regime at Motown. The executive makes good his promise, pairing Johnny Gill up with two of the hottest songwriting and production teams in the music business. Gill works with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, whom he had previously worked with on New Edition’s “Heart Break” album, and with L.A. and Babyface. For Gill’s album, Babyface and L.A. produce four songs for the project including “Fairweather Friend”, “Feels So Much Better” and “My, My, My”. The latter of those is co-written by Face with Daryl “De’Rock” Simmons, who had been one of L.A. and Babyface’s collaborators while both were still members of The Deele. The pair write the silky and romantic ballad “My, My, My”. Recorded at the producers’ home base of Elumba Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA in late 1989, the track features Babyface on all keyboards, L.A. Reid on drum programming, former Deele bassist Kayo, with the background vocals being sung by Gill and the members of After 7. For the crowning touch, Babyface invites saxophonist Kenny G. to play the songs signature soprano sax solos on the track. Released as the second single from Johnny Gill’s self-titled third album on May 16, 1990, “My, My, My” quickly follows its predecessor “Rub You The Right Way” (#1 R&B, #3 Pop) right to the top of the R&B chart. Acknowledged as a contemporary R&B and Quiet Storm classic, “My, My, My” becomes one of Gill’s signature songs. The success of the song helps propel “Johnny Gill” past the 3x Platinum mark in the US.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1996 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1996 – “How Do U Want It” by 2Pac hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, with the B-side “California Love” peaking at #6 on June 22. 1996, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on July 6, 1996. Written by Johnny J. and Tupac Shakur, it is the biggest hit for the prolific rap artist. Featuring K-Ci & JoJo Hailey of Jodeci on background vocals, it is the second single from Tupac’s fourth album “All Eyez On Me”. Co-written and produced by Johnny J (aka Johnny Lee Jackson), the track is based around samples of Quincy Jones’ classic “Body Heat” and Brian McKnight’s “Up Around My Way”. The single release of “How Do U Want It” also includes the original hit version of “California Love” featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman (of Zapp). When the album is released in February of 1996, it features a remixed version of the track. Entering the Hot 100 at #4 on June 29, 1996, it leaps to the top of the chart two weeks later. The single earns Tupac a posthumous Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1997. “How Do U Want It” also appears in the rapper and actor’s last film (though not the soundtrack album) “Gang Related”, released thirteen months after his death in October of 1997. “How Do U Want It” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1993 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1993 – “Toni Braxton”, the debut album by Toni Braxton is released. Produced by Babyface, L.A. Reid, Daryl Simmons, Vassal Benford, Bo & McArthur, Toni Braxton, Vincent Herbert,  Ernesto Phillips and Tim & Ted, it is recorded at Studio LaCoCo, Doppler Studios, Bosstown Recording Studios in Atlanta, GA, Elumba Studios in Hollywood, CA, Encore Studios in Burbank, CA, Summa Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Central Studios in Bladensburg, MD and Newark Sound Studios in Newark, NJ from May 1992 – May 1993. Raised in a large strict religious family in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Toni Braxton grows up singing her local church choir, but aspires to sing secular music. Blessed with a distinctive, rich and sensual contralto voice, it won’t take long for the young singer to be noticed. The course of her future changes when she is overheard singing to herself while pumping gas at a station in Servern, MD. Bill Pettaway, Jr., the man who hears Toni singing, is a member of a band called Numarx (“Girl You Know It’s True”) and has ties to the music business. Through Pettaway, Toni and her sisters are signed to Arista in 1989, releasing the single “Good Love” in 1990. The single is a failure, but is heard by L.A. Reid and Babyface who are interested in signing Toni as a solo artist to their Arista distributed label LaFace Records. Initially hesitant to leave her sisters behind, they give her their blessing when they realize this is their older sisters’ opportunity to become successful. L.A. and Babyface first have Toni record “Love Should Have Brought You Home” (#2 R&B, #33 Pop) and “Give U My Heart” (duet with Babyface) (#2 R&B, #29 Pop) for the soundtrack of the Eddie Murphy comedy “Boomrang”. Both songs are major hits, thrusting Braxton into the spotlight and generating buzz for her first solo album. Spending an entire year in the studio with L.A. and Face and a number of other producers, Toni Braxton’s debut album is an immediate smash. Led by the single “Another Sad Love Song” (2 R&B, #7 Pop), it spins off a total of six singles also including “Breathe Again” (#4 R&B, #3 Pop) and “You Mean The World To Me” (#3 R&B, #7 Pop). The huge success of her debut quickly establishes Toni as one of the top female vocalists of the decade, selling over ten million copies worldwide. The album is nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning three including Best New Artist in 1994, and Best R&B Female Vocal Performance in both 1994 and 1995. “Toni Braxton” spends three weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, two weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 11, 1995 – …

On this day in music history: July 11, 1995 – “311” (aka “The Blue Album”), the fifth album by 311​ is released. Produced by Ron Saint Germain, it is recorded at NRG Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Early – Mid 1995. Formed in 1988 in their native Omaha, NE, 311 (Three Eleven) originally consists of band members Nick Hexum (vocals, guitar), Jim Watson (lead guitar) (replaced by Tim Mahoney in 1991), Chad Sexton (drums) and Aaron “P-Nut” Willis (bass). The band record an EP and two albums independently,over three years. In 1992, the band are signed to Capricorn Records, the legendary label co-formed by Phil Walden, the former manager of R&B icon Otis Redding. 311 are part of the relaunch of the Capricorn in the early 90’s, reinventing itself as a center for the 90’s alt-rock movement. Prior to this, they add second vocalist and DJ SA Martinez (born Douglas Vincent Martinez), cementing their line up. Relocating to L.A., they record “Music” and “Grassroots” in 1993 and 1994. Previously produced by Eddy Offord (Yes), they hire Ron Saint Germain for their next album, best known for his work as a mix engineer, and for producing the Bad Brains, Sonic Youth, and Living Colour. He proves to be an ally and asset to 311, offering his expertise both technically and giving moral support. Unlike previous releases which had been painstakingly tracked and overdubbed, the band record their new album almost entirely live. Having worked out the material in advance, they cut more than twenty five songs in six weeks, paring them down to the final fourteen that make the finished album. Following in the tradition of bands that the members grew up admiring like Led Zeppelin, the Ramones and The Stooges, they decide to self-title their album. Also known by fans as “The Blue Album” due to its blue background, emblazoned with the 311 band logo. Initially released through independent distributor RED (Relativity Entertainment Distribution), it gets off to a slow start. Mercury Records president Danny Goldberg then picks up Capricorn Records for national distribution. With the marketing and promotional muscle of Polygram Group Distribution behind it, “311” takes flight. With the release of “Down” (#1 Modern Rock, #14 Mainstream Rock) and the album’s seamless blend of rock, rap, reggae and funk metal, it becomes a huge commercial success. The music video for “Down” and its follow up “All Mixed Up” (#4 Modern Rock, #34 Mainstream Rock), both become mainstays on MTV, and “The Blue Album” becomes 311’s breakthrough. Originally issued on a limited basis as a vinyl LP in 1995, the album is remastered and reissued as a numbered double 180 gram vinyl set for Record Store Day in April of 2014. A second non-numbered edition is released shortly after, and currently remains in print. “311” (aka “The Blue Album”) peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 11, 1994 – …

On this day in music history: July 11, 1994 – “Voodoo Lounge” the twentieth UK and twenty-second US album by The Rolling Stones is released (US release is on July 12, 1994). Produced by Don Was and The Glimmer Twins, it is recorded at Sandymount House (Ron Wood Home Recording Studio) in Clane, County Kildare, Ireland, Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from September, November 3 – December 11, 1993, January 15 – April 23, 1994. Following the highly successful year long Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle world tour, The Rolling Stones take another extended hiatus, to rest from the road, and for Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to work on outside solo projects. By the Fall of 1993, the band reconvene to record a new album, but this time it is without original bassist and co-founding member Bill Wyman. Then 54 years old and the eldest member of The Stones, its officially announced that Wyman has retired from the band. His replacement is bassist Darryl Jones, formerly a sideman for Miles Davis and Sting. Selected by Jagger and Charlie Watts, Jones fills the position vacated by Wyman, but as a hired hand and is not an official member. With their contract with Sony Music ending in 1991, they sign with Virgin/EMI worldwide. Looking to shake things up, they work with producer Don Was, fresh off his recent successes with Bonnie Raitt and The B-52’s. Sessions begin at guitarist Ron Wood’s home studio in County Kildare, Ireland, before moving to Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, then A&M Studios in Hollywood in early 1994. Under Was’ guidance, The Stones revisit the sound of their late 60’s and early 70’s work, but cast in a contemporary context. The end result is one of the strongest albums by The Stones in recent years. It spins off three singles including “Love Is Strong” (#2 Mainstream Rock, #91 Pop) and “Out Of Tears” (#14 Mainstream Rock, #60 Pop). The first single “Love Is Strong” is supported by a memorable black & white video directed by David Fincher (“The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”, “Se7en”), featuring The Rolling Stones as giants making their way around New York City. The clip wins the band their first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video, winning another Grammy for Best Rock Album in 1995. Surprisingly, they are the first actual Grammy wins of the bands career, having previously only received a Lifetime Achievement Award from NARAS in 1986. The Stones support the album with the “Voodoo Lounge World Tour” from August 1994 – August 1995. Issued on a limited basis on vinyl in 1994, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2018. Currently, the new vinyl reissue is only available as part of “The Rolling Stones – Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016” box set. “Voodoo Lounge” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Film and television actor Rip Torn (born Elm…

Film and television actor Rip Torn (born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in Temple, TX) – February 6, 1931 – July 9, 2019, RIP

On this day in music history: July 9, 1991 – &…

On this day in music history: July 9, 1991 – “We Can’t Be Stopped” the third album by Geto Boys is released. Produced by Bushwick Bill, James Smith, John Bido, Johnny C., Roland, Scarface, Simon and Willie D, it is recorded at Rap-A-Lot Studio in Houston, TX in Mid 1991. Having sparked a virtual firestorm of controversy over their self-titled 1990 album, The Geto Boys’ label Rap-A-Lot Records returns to being an independently distributed entity. The group return to the studio, quickly writing and recording a new album in just a few short weeks. After it’s completed, founding member DJ Ready Red leaves the group. The DJ departs the Geto Boys, amidst tension with the other group members as well as feeling uncomfortable with the graphic and misogynistic nature of their music. Before the completed album is released, one of the other members nearly meets his maker. Stuggling with alcohol and substance abuse as well as depression, rapper Bushwick Bill asks his girlfriend to kill him with his own gun. Extremely inebriated on the potent liquor Everclear, orders her to take his life. Refusing to do so, Bill’s girlfriend attempts to take the gun away from him. In the tussle to get the weapon away from him, the gun goes off, hitting the rapper in his right eye. Rushed to the hospital, the injury from the gun shot wound makes it necessary for his eye to be removed. The bullet is lodged in his brain and cannot be removed, in order to avoid further injury or death. Scarface, Willie D. and their management team, rush to the hospital to see about Bill. Their managers take Bill out of his hospital room on a gurney, and ask the other two take a picture with him. Having him remove his eyepatch and intravenous drip from his injured eye, results in the graphic cover shots used for the Geto Boys new album. The group later express regret over the pictures, feeling it was exploiting a tragic event in order to sell records. However, album proves to be strong enough on its own merits. The first single “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” (#10 R&B, #23 Pop, #1 Rap) becomes an instant classic. Featuring a sample of Isaac Hayes’ “Hung Up On My Baby” (from the “Tough Guys” soundtrack), the song represents a major departure from the Geto Boys previous work. The song was originally intended for Scarface’s first solo album, but is kept for the group instead. The lyrics mediate on images of fear and paranoia, in part being inspired by Scarface’s own struggles with mental illness, and wanting to escape the streets. The single is accompanied by a music video that also propels it up the charts. Receiving major play on MTV, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” earn the group crossover radio play, and give them their biggest hit. Regarded as one of the best singles of the 90’s, “Mind” propels “We Can’t Be Stopped” pass the Platinum mark in sales in the US, with the single itself selling nearly a million copies. The song is later featured on the video game “Grand Theft Auto V”, and on the Netflix series “Maniac”. The album spins off one further single with “I Ain’t With Being Broke” in early 1992. “We Can’t Be Stopped” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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