Category: 90’s

On this day in music history: November 11, 1997 – “BBC Sessions”, the second live album (fifteenth overall) by Led Zeppelin is released. Produced by Jimmy Page, it is recorded at The Playhouse Theatre, Maida Vale Studio 4, BBC Aeolian Hall, and The Paris Theatre in London from March 3, 19 and June 16, 24, and 27, 1969, and April 1, 1971. The twenty four track double CD compilation features in studio and live concert performances by the band performed for radio broadcast on the BBC in 1969 and 1971. It is the first official release of these recordings (and the first new Zeppelin release in fifteen years), having been widely circulated among fans on bootlegs for years. Though there is some criticism at the decision to edit and exclude some material, it is warmly received by most fans. At the time of its original release, the album is also issued as a limited edition four LP box set, released jointly between Atlantic Records and audiophile label Classic Records. The vinyl edition is subsequently re-pressed in 2005, but remains in print for only a short period before it is deleted. The “BBC Sessions” is remastered and reissued in expanded form in September of 2016, including previously unreleased material not on the original release. “The Complete BBC Sessions” is released as a three CD or five LP box set. “BBC Sessions” peaks at number twelve 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: November 9, 1996 – “No Diggity” by Blackstreet Featuring Dr. Dre & Queen Pen hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 4 weeks on October 19, 1996. Written by Andre Young, Chauncey Hannibal, Teddy Riley, William Stewart and Larry Walters, it is the biggest hit for the New York City based R&B group led by producer and songwriter Teddy Riley. Issued as the first single from their second album “Another Level”, the song originates from an earlier Blackstreet track called “I Like The Way You Work” from their self-titled debut. Based around a sample of Bill Withers’ 1971 single “Grandma’s Hands”, Dr. Dre originally intends the track to be for 2 Pac, but gives the it to Blackstreet after he leaves Death Row Records. Dre also contributes a rap verse to the song, as well as rapper Queen Pen. Entering the Hot 100 at #48 on October 12, 1996, it streaks to the top of the chart only four weeks later. The single wins the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals in 1998. “No Diggity” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 9, 1993 – “Midnight Marauders”, the third album by A Tribe Called Quest is released. Produced by A Tribe Called Quest, Large Professor and Skeff Anselm, it is recorded at Battery Studios, Platinum Island/Mastermix Studios, Sorcerer Sound in New York City from November 1992 – September 1993. Following the critical and commercial success of their sophomore album “The Low End Theory”, A Tribe Called Quest return to the studio in late 1992 to begin work on their third album. Like before, they produce much of the album themselves, but work with Large Professor of Main Source, and previous co-producer Skeff Anselm. Picking up both musically and lyrically where they left off, the group spend almost an entire year working on the album before finally handing it in to their record label. Many of the tracks are linked together by the voice of a woman speaking in a robotic voice (performed by Laurel Dann), describing the meaning and concept of the album’s title and the songs. The album is a major critical and commercial success upon its release, becoming Tribe’s fastest selling release to date, and is regarded as one of the best rap albums of the era. It spins off three singles including “Award Tour” (#7 Rap, #27 R&B, #47 Pop), “Oh My God” (#15 Rap, #69 R&B), and “Electric Relaxation” (#13 Rap, #38 R&B, #65 Pop). The cover artwork (presented in three different color variations) features a series of head shots (seventy one in all) of numerous influential and iconic hip hop artists and DJ’s (most wearing headphones) including Chuck D., The Beastie Boys, Heavy D., Kid Capri, MC Lyte, Large Professor, Grandmaster Flash, Dr. Dre, and Too Short. Released on vinyl on a limited basis in 1993, it is reissued in 2004, and again in 2014 on split red and green vinyl as an exclusive through Newbury Comics (limited to 1,000 individually numbered copies). “Midnight Marauders” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number eight on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 9, 1993 – “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”, the debut album by the Wu-Tang Clan is released. Produced by RZA, it is recorded at Firehouse Studios in New York City from Late 1992 – Mid 1993. Formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island in 1992, the group is put together by RZA (birth name Robert Diggs) and GZA (birth name Gary Grice), after both have recorded unsuccessful solo efforts (as Prince Rakeem and The Genius respectively) for Tommy Boy and Cold Chillin’ Records. The nine member group also features Method Man (Clifford Smith), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Russell Jones), Raekwon (Corey Woods), Ghostface Killah (Dennis Coles), Inspectah Deck (Jason Hunter), U-God (Lamont Hawkins), and Masta Killa (born Elgin Turner name changed to Jamal Arief). The group record and release the single “Protect Ya Neck” on their own Wu-Tang Records label before signing with Steve Rifkind’s Loud Records (distributed by RCA/BMG). United by their mutual love of martial arts movies, their debut album’s title is inspired by the title of the kung fu film “The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin”, and that the nine members “each having four chambers of the heart”, equaling (9 x 4 = ) 36. The finished album is unlike anything that has come before it, marking the resurgence of East Coast Rap in popularity and influence, after West Coast Rap has dominated the genre for much of the past several years. Though raw and underground in its sound, it breaks through to a mainstream audience to become a commercial success. It spins off four singles including “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” (#8 Rap, #32 R&B, #60 Pop), “Method Man” (#17 Rap, #40 R&B, #69 Pop), and “Can It All Be So Simple” (#24 Rap, #82 R&B, #116 Pop Bubbling Under). Issued on vinyl on a limited basis in 1993, it is reissued in 2000 by both Loud Records and Music On Vinyl. A limited edition pressing on yellow and black swirled vinyl is issued as an exclusive through Newbury Comics in 2014. The album is also released as a limited edition box set, pressed on six 7" vinyl discs with a 56 page book by Get On Down Records in 2016. The set also comes with a bonus 7" featuring a remix of “Protect Ya Neck”. “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” peaks at number eight on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty one on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 9, 1991 – “Cream” by Prince & The New Power Generation hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Prince, it is the fifth US number one pop single for the Minneapolis born artist. Issued as the second single from “Diamonds And Pearls” in early September of 1991, Prince later claims he wrote the song while standing in front of a mirror. The track is recorded at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, MN circa late 1990 – early 1991 with New Power Generation members Michael B. (drums), Sonny T. (bass), Levi Seacer, Jr. (rhythm guitar), Tommy Barbarella (keyboards), and Rosie Gaines (vocals and keyboards). Interestingly enough, the single does not chart on the R&B singles chart as black radio is serviced with the track “Insatiable” instead. “Cream” is backed with the non LP B-side “Horny Pony”, which was originally slated to be on the album but is instead replaced by “Gett Off”. Entering the Hot 100 at #46 on September 28, 1991, it quickly rises to the top of the chart just seven weeks later. “Cream” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 8, 1994 – “Hell Freezes Over”, the eighth album by the Eagles is released. Produced by Stan Lynch, Elliot Scheiner, Carol Donovan and Rob Jacobs, it is recorded at Warner Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA (live tracks), The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, CA and Sound Interchange Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (studio tracks) from April – August 1994. It is the first new album from the Eagles in fourteen years. It takes its title from a statement made by Don Henley (commenting that the band would play together again “when hell freezes over”.) after the Eagles’ tumultuous parting of ways in July of 1980. thirteen of the fifteen songs on the album are taken from a live acoustic set taped over two nights for an MTV special in April 1994, and is augmented by four new studio recordings (“Get Over It”, “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, “The Girl From Yesterday”, “Learn To Be Still”). It is a huge critical and commercial success, and is also issued concurrently on home video which also becomes a best seller (certified 8x Platinum). The home video release also features a 5.1 surround mix in Dolby Digital and DTS, also issued as separate a DTS disc. The album is remastered and reissued on CD and as a double vinyl LP set, as part of the box set “Eagles Legacy” released on November 2, 2018. The vinyl release marks the first time “Hell Freezes Over” has been available in that format, since its original limited release in 1994. “Hell Freezes Over” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200, spending two weeks at the top, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 3, 1992 – “Love Deluxe”, the fourth album by Sade is released (UK release date is on October 26, 1992). Produced by Sade and Mike Pela, it is recorded at Studio Condulmer in Venice, Italy, Ridge Farm Studios in Capel, Surrey, UK, The Hit Factory in London and Image Recording in Los Angeles, CA from May – August 1992. Returning from a more than three year long hiatus after the release of their previous album “Stronger Than Pride”, Sade begin work on their fourth release in the Spring of 1992. Working on a very tight timeline, the band write and record the album in a relatively brief and intense four months. Most of “Love Deluxe” is recorded in Venice during the Spring and Summer, moving to London and Surrey, with the final recording taking place in Los Angeles. During the sessions, Sade herself often writes her lyrics while listening to the already completed tracks, then recording vocals singing into a Shure SM 57 microphone in either a vocal booth in the studio control room. Lyrically many of the songs focus on themes of “unreciprocated love”, with the intensely private singer giving listeners a glimpse into her tumultuous marriage to Spanish film director Carlos Pliego. Along with meditations on relationships (or the lack thereof), one of the emotional centerpieces of “Love Deluxe” is the powerful ballad “Pearls”. The songs’ narrative follows the struggle of a Somalian woman foraging for food by the road side to feed her daughter, and rejoicing at the few meager grains she scrapes from the dirt. The song is later given a deep house remix, which is rejected by the band for commercial release. However, the remix slips out as a bootleg and becomes a big underground club hit. Led by the mesmerizing first single “No Ordinary Love” (#28 Pop, #9 R&B, #14 AC), it wins Sade their second Grammy Award in 1994 for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, and is also prominently featured in the film “Indecent Proposal”. The elegant and understated cover art work features a striking sepia toned photo of Sade covered in bronze body paint, taken by famed fashion photographer Albert Watson. The album spins off three other singles including “Kiss Of Life” (#78 Pop, #10 R&B, #20 AC), “Cherish The Day” (#116 Pop, #45 R&B) and “Feel The Pain” (#59 R&B). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2000, and is reissued on vinyl by Music On Vinyl in 2010. “Love Deluxe” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the R&B album chart, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 27, 1990 – “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #10 on the R&B singles chart on November 3, 1990. Written by Janet Jackson, it is the fourth chart topping pop single for the youngest member of the Jackson family. Issued as the sixth single from “Rhythm Nation 1814”, the song is also released with numerous remixes that feature guitarists Vernon Reid of Living Colour and Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme (solo on the “Video Mix”). The main riff and solo on the LP version are played by Dave Berry and Jellybean Johnson (of The Time and The Family). It is also accompanied by a live performance clip shot during first leg of the “Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour” in Minneapolis, MN on April 5th and 6th, 1990, and is directed by Wayne Isham (Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Metallica). Entering the Hot 100 at #37 on September 15, 1990, it streaks to the top of the chart six weeks later. One of the highlights of Janet’s “Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour”, the initial live shows where the song is performed featured the singer walking out on stage with a panther on a leash. However, the cat is dropped after the first few concerts due to it being spooked by the large cheering crowds, and repeatedly urinating on the stage. “Black Cat” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 27, 1990 – “So You Like What You See” by Samuelle hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster (Club Nouveau, En Vogue), it is the debut solo single and biggest hit for the former vocalist from the group Club Nouveau. The song is a last minute addition to Samuelle Prater’s debut album “Living In Black Paradise”, and had originally been intended for MC Lyte (first titled “Dr. Love”) for inclusion on a compilation album titled “FM2” that Foster/McElroy had been producing. Prater was only to have sung the word “delight” throughout the song. But when the producers liked how Prater sang the hook, they re-wrote the lyrics for Samuelle and re-titled the song. “So You Like What You See” also becomes a big hit on the Dance chart via 12” remixes produced by Teddy Riley.

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On this day in music history: October 25, 1994 – “Bedtime Stories”, the sixth album by Madonna is released. Produced by Madonna, Dallas Austin, Babyface, Dave “Jam” Hall and Nellee Hooper, it is recorded at DARP Studios in Atlanta, GA, Warner/Chappell Studios in Los Angeles, CA, The Enterprise in Burbank, CA, Tea Room Studio, Wild Bunch Studios in London, UK, Music Grinder Studios in Hollywood, CA, Axis Studios, The Hit Factory and Soundworks in New York City from February – August 1994. Following the backlash against the “Erotica” album, the graphic picture book “Sex”, The Girlie Show World Tour and the film “Body Of Evidence”, Madonna decides to “soften her image”. Scrapping initial sessions with Shep Pettibone, she reaches out to new collaborators including Babyface, Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul), Dallas Austin (TLC, Boyz II Men), and Dave “Jam” Hall (Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige). Though still exploring themes of sex and romance, they’re are handled with a much gentler touch. The producers various styles, result in a more pop and R&B feel, balanced with electronic and European club music sounds. The first single is the acoustic guitar based “Secret” (#3 Pop, #1 Club Play, #2 AC). The song is given dramatically different dance remixes by Junior Vasquez, abandoning the original’s laid back feel for a more amped up club vibe. It’s followed by the ballad “Take A Bow” (#1 Pop, #40 R&B, #1 AC), given a subtly lush back drop of strings arranged by Nellee Hooper. The third single and title track “Bedtime Story” (#42 Pop, #1 Club Play) co-written by Björk, is another club smash, but is Madonna’s first single since “Burning Up” to miss the US top forty. The singer pushes more buttons with “Human Nature” (#46 Pop, #2 Club Play, #57 R&B). The track samples Main Source’s “What You Need”, accompanied by a visually striking video directed by Jean Baptiste-Mondino. Madonna and several dancers are dressed in leather and bondage gear. The song appears to be a retort to those put off by the sexual aggressiveness of “Erotica”, with the refrain “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself”, “Did I say something wrong?”, and “Oops, I didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex…”. “Bedtime Stories” is well received, outselling its predecessor. Along with standard CD, the album is also issued in a limited edition promo only digi-pak, covered in powder blue velvet. Released commercially on vinyl only in Europe and some other foreign territories, it receives a promo only release in the US. The two LP set is pressed on double pink vinyl with individually numbered sleeves. It becomes one of the most sought after collector’s items by Madonna fans. The vinyl edition (180 gram LP’s) is remastered and reissued worldwide in 2016. “Bedtime Stories” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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