Born on this day: September 6, 1971 – Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries (born Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan in Limerick, Ireland). Happy Birthday to Dolores on what would have been her 48th Birthday.
On this day in music history: August 30, 1997 – “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy & Mase hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Christopher Wallace, Sean Combs, Mason Betha, Steve Jordan, Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is the second chart topping single for the Brooklyn, NY born rapper. Having made a major breakthrough with his classic debut album “Ready To Die” in 1994, with many of songs depicting his early years in the rap game, and his former life as a drug dealer, Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G. makes a resolution not to travel over the same ground lyrically or musically on his sophomore effort.Wanting to show a progression from the first album, the material on the follow up “Life After Death” continues to tell the rappers story, but showing greater maturity and where he wishes to go in the future. The idea for “Mo Money, Mo Problems” comes out a statement Biggie makes during an interview, saying how his then new status as one of the biggest artists in hip hop had changed the attitudes of people around him. How money and fame don’t solve all of your problems, but instead bring a whole other set of them to deal with. The track for “Mo Money” produced by Stevie J. of The Hitmen production team samples Diana Ross’ 1980 hit “I’m Coming Out” and features R&B singer Kelly Price singing the hook. Puff Daddy and Mase also contribute verses to the song, with Biggie bringing it all home. “Mo Money Mo Problems” is the second single issued after four months after B.I.G.’s death on July 15, 1997. It is supported by a slick and glossy video directed by Hype Williams, and features archival footage of the rapper along with newly filmed footage of Puffy and Mase. Entering the Hot 100 at #4 on August 2, 1997, it leaps to the top of the chart four weeks later, unseating Puffy Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You” (after holding at #2 for three weeks), the Bad Boy founders posthumous tribute to the fallen rapper. “Mo Money” also receives a Grammy nomination in 1998 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, but loses to “I’ll Be Missing You”. The 12" single release of “Mo Money” is reissued in the US and UK on Record Store Day in April of 2017, pressed on marbled money green vinyl and is limited to 6,000 copies worldwide. “Mo Money Mo Problems” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 30, 1994 – “II”, the third album by Boyz II Men is released. Produced by Dallas Austin, Boyz II Men, Tim & Bob, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The Characters, Brian McKnight and Tony Rich, it is recorded at Kajem Studios, Studio 4 in Philadelphia, PA, Doppler Studios, D.A.R.P. Studios, Studio LaCoCo in Atlanta, GA, The Enterprises, Encore Studios in Burbank, CA, Flyte Tyme Studios in Edina, MN, Larrabee Sound Studios, Skip Saylor Recording, Lighthouse Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Backroom Studios in Glendale, CA and Granny’s House Studios in Reno, NV from December 1993 – May 1994. Making a huge splash with “Cooleyhighharmony” in 1991, Boyz II Men follow it up with the mega smash “End Of The Road”, and the seasonal “Christmas Interpretations”. By late 1993, they begin work on the highly anticipated follow up. Much of it is produced by Dallas Austin associates Tim Robinson & Bob Kelley. Austin who had produced much of the group’s debut, only produces one track and part of another. His minimal involvement is due in part to scheduling conflicts, working with TLC. Also, he is owed over $3 million in royalties, then still being held in escrow by Motown Records. Though the issue is resolved, Austin does not work with the group again after this. They also nearly turn down a smash from Babyface. When they hear Face’s “I’ll Make Love To You” (#1 R&B, #1 Pop), the group nearly pass on it. Motown label boss Jheryl Busby literally tell them to “roll up their sleeves, and do the song”, knowing they’d be foolishly passing up an obvious smash. Babyface also contributes “Water Runs Dry” (#4 R&B, #2 Pop). Superstar producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis also put their special touch on the project, with “All Around The World” and “On Bended Knee” (#1 R&B, #1 Pop). In all, “II” spins off five singles including “Thank You” (#17 R&B, #15 Pop) and “Vibin’” (#27 R&B). The album wins Boyz II Men two more Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1995. It also spins off an alternate version titled “II – Yo Te Voy A Amar”, for the Latin American music market. “II” not only becomes the group’s most successful album, but the biggest seller in the history of Motown Records, racing past Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life” and Lionel Richie’s “Can’t Slow Down”. In 1997, “II” is remixed into 5.1 surround sound and issued as a DVD-A disc by DTS Entertainment. Originally given only a limited release on vinyl in 1994, the album is reissued as a double LP set in 2016. It is reissued again, pressed on opaque blue vinyl in 2018. “II” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, five weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Top 200, and is certified 12x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.
Born on this day: August 29, 1958 – Singer, songwriter and humanitarian Michael Jackson (born Michael Joseph Jackson in Gary, IN). Happy Birthday to “The King Of Pop” on what would have been his 61st Birthday.
On this day in music history: August 27, 1996 – “ATLiens”, the second album by OutKast is released. Produced by Organized Noize, OutKast/Earthtone Ideas, it is recorded at Bosstown Recording Studios, Doppler Recording Studios, PatchWerk Studios, Purple Dragon Studios, Studio LaCoCo in Atlanta, GA, Chung King Recording Studios and Sound On Sound Recording in New York City from Late 1995 – Mid 1996. Following the Platinum plus success of their debut “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”, OutKast (André 3000 and Big Boi, respectively) seize the opportunity to explore new musical territory, and undergo the first of many changes in their creative approach, lifestyles and public image. Given carte blanche by their record label LaFace Records, the duo take a more hands on approach in the creative processs, co-producing several of the tracks themselves along side the production team Organized Noize. The songs on “ATLiens” act as a bridge from where they started on the first album, talking about their lives growing up in Atlanta and what they saw around them, to looking inward and interest in extraterrestrial life inspired by funk pioneers Parliament/Funkadelic. The music itself reflects the new found confidence, otherworldly sound and laid back tone the duo takes, also incorporating elements of dub, reggae and gospel music into the mix. The recording sessions are highly productive, resulting in a total of thirty five songs being recorded before being pared down to the final fourteen included on the album. The prolific number of tracks produced are all the more impressive, as many are composed in the studio rather than ahead of time. The albums title morphs together the name of OutKast’s hometown of Atlanta also know by natives at “the ATL” and aliens, to reflect the loose concept of the songs. That concept is also incorporated into the cover artwork, which includes a 24 page comic book style foldout depicting OutKast as defenders of “positive music” against the villain Nosamulli". The album is an immediate critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including “Elevators (Me & You)” (#5 R&B, #12 Pop), “Jazzy Belle” (#25 R&B, #52 Pop) and the title track (#23 R&B, #35 Pop). Shortly after the albums release, LaFace runs a promotion in tandem with the Blockbuster Video and music store chain, giving contestants the chance to win a fully restored and tricked out vintage 70’s Cadillac. The vinyl release of the album is remastered and reissued a two LP set in 2016, pressed on green and blue vinyl, and also as a limited edition picture disc set, to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its original release. “ATLiens” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, debuting at its peak position of number two (for one week) on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 27, 1994 – “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 9 weeks on August 20, 1994, and the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks (non-consecutive) on December 24, 1994. Written and produced by Babyface, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocal group from Philadelphia, PA. Following the whirlwind success of their multi-Platinum debut album “Cooleyhighharmony” and the chart breaking success of the single “End Of The Road” from the film “Boomerang”, Boyz II Men will feel major pressure from the label Motown and the public to equal them. Recording and releasing the holiday album “Christmas Interpretations” in 1993, the group begin work on their official sophomore release at the end of that year. Among the writers and producers Boyz II Men work with includes Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, who is responsible for co-writing and producing “End Of The Road”. As one of the hottest songwriters and producers in the music business, Face comes up with the goods in grand style. The two songs Edmonds contributes are “Water Runs Dry” and “I’ll Make Love To You”. The latter is written specifically to pick up where “End Of The Road” left off. Wary of repeating themselves, the group is a bit apprehensive about doing the song, but their label assures them the song is a smash and they consent to record it. Once in they’re in the studio, Babyface and Boyz II Men work quickly, completing both songs in only two days. Issued as the first single from their second album “II” on July 26, 1994, “I’ll Make Love To You” is a massive hit from the outset. Entering the Hot 100 at #31 on August 13, 1994, it ascends with lightning speed, leaping from #31 to #2 to the top spot. Having broken the chart record previous set by Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” / “Hound Dog” with “End Of The Road”, Boyz II Men make history again with “I’ll Make Love To You” spending fourteen weeks in the top spot on the Hot 100. It ties the record with Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You” set in late 1992 and early 1993, which topped the chart just two weeks after the thirteen week run at the top by “End Of The Road”. “I’ll Make Love To You” not only propel’s “II” to the top of the Top 200 and R&B album charts, the single wins a total of three Grammy Awards in 1995 including Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, Best R&B Song (for Babyface), and earning Boyz II Men the first Grammy awarded for Best R&B album. The song is also nominated for Record Of The Year, but loses that prize to Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do”. “I’ll Make Love To You” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 27, 1991 – “I Need A Haircut”, the third album by Biz Markie is released. Produced by Biz Markie and Cutmaster Cool V., it is recorded at BMV Studios in Elizabeth, NJ from Late 1990 – Mid 1991. Landing major hits with “Just A Friend” and “The Biz Never Sleeps” album, the Harlem born rapper begins the task of following it up. With the assistance of engineer Ivan “Doc” Rodgriguez, Biz Markie installs a recording studio in his Elizabeth, NJ home. “I Need A Haircut”, features more of what has made Biz “The Clown Prince Of Hip Hop”. The first single “What Comes Around Goes Around” (#84 R&B), addresses the rapper’s new found fame. It’s directed at a girl who had dissed him on the way up, that now wants to be down with him. The track is given an additional brilliant hook, sampling The Emotions’ “A Feeling Is”. Biz runs into serious trouble with the track “Alone Again”, which samples Irish pop singer Gilbert O’Sullivan’s 70’s classic “Alone Again (Naturally)”. In past years, rap and dance artists had been able to freely sample music, without the fear of major provocation. However, that begins to change at the end of the 80’s, when De La Soul are sued by The Turtles for the unauthorized use of their song “You Showed Me” on the song “Transmitting Live From Mars”. Where as De La managed to settle their lawsuit out of court, Biz Markie is not as fortunate. O’Sullivan files suit against the rapper and his record company, resulting in the landmark Grand Upright Music, Ltd v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. court case. The lawsuit sets a new legal precedent in the use of pre-recorded music in other compositions. The outcome of the suit results in Cold Chillin’ Records’ distributor Warner Bros, pulling copies of the “I Need A Haircut” album out of record stores. Already struggling on the charts at the time, the albums’ abrupt disappearance from retail stops it dead in its tracks. Four years will pass before the album is re-released, and it is without the “Alone Again” track being included. In the future, all sampled material has to be properly cleared and licensed before it is released. Biz’s next album in 1993, is given the highly ironic title “All Samples Cleared!”. “Haircut” generates further notoriety with the single “T.S.R. (Toilet Stool Rap)”, which features a music video with the rapper sitting on a toilet naked. The video is immediately banned, and is never aired on television. As a promotional item to create awareness, Warner Bros sends out miniature novelty toilets (with the artist name and song title printed on them), that squirt water when the lid is lifted. Those later turn into sought after collector’s items by Biz’s fans. “I Need A Haircut” peaks at number forty four on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number one hundred thirteen on the Top 200.