Category: 90’s

On this day in music history: July 8, 1995 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1995 – “Waterfalls” by TLC hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Marqueze Etheridge, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Organized Noize, it is the second pop chart topper for the Atlanta, GA based R&B vocal trio. Written specifically for TLC, the production team Organized Noize base the song on both personal experiences, and those of people in their inner circle of friends and family. It also touches on timely topics such as the consequences of the drug trade and promiscuity. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ rap is inspired by her difficult upbringing and personal struggles. She pens the lyrics on the way to the studio, having been released from police custody after unintentionally burning down the mansion of her then boyfriend, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison. The track also features background vocals by La’Face Records vocal mainstay Debra Killings and Cee-Lo Green, then a member of The Goodie Mob. Released as the third single from their second album “CrazySexyCool” on May 29, 1995, it becomes TLC’s biggest single. Entering the Hot 100 at #39 on June 10, 1995, it races to the top of the chart four weeks later. “Waterfalls” is supported by a memorable and cutting edge music video directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday”, “The Italian Job”, “Straight Outta Compton”). At a cost of over $1,000,000, the clip is shot over two days on June 8th and 9th, 1995, on the back lot of Universal Studios, featuring actors Ella Joyce (“Rock”), Bokeem Woodbine (“Jason’s Lyric”, “The Rock”) and rapper Shyheim. The video wins four MTV VMA awards, including Video Of The Year, making TLC the first African Americans artists to win the award. The single receives Grammy Nominations for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Record Of The Year in 1996. “Waterfalls” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 7, 1990 – &…

On this day in music history: July 7, 1990 – “You Can’t Deny It” by Lisa Stansfield hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #14 on the Hot 100 on July 28, 1990. Written by Lisa Stansfield, Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, it is the second chart topping single for the blue eyed soul/pop vocalist from Manchester, Lancashire, UK. Following the UK chart topping success of her breakthrough hit “All Around The World”, executives at Lisa Stansfield’s label Arista Records request a full album from her, to be delivered as quickly as possible. With no time to spare, Stansfield and her collaborators Ian Devaney and Andy Morris go through the numerous demos they have recorded to select material for the album. Among the songs they find is “You Can’t Deny It”, originally written while the trio were recording under the group name Blue Zone.  Having a similar flavor to its predecessor “All Around The World”, it is also recorded in the same fashion, with Lisa recording the vocals in the bathroom of the flat she shares with Devaney. Stansfield records her lead vocal on the song almost completely on the first take, with only a few minor punch ins to complete it.  Not released in the UK, when “What Did I Do To You?” is released in her home country instead, Arista Records in the US releases “You Can’t Deny It” on May 2, 1990. Like “All Around The World”, it is an immediate smash on R&B radio and in the clubs, racing to the top of the R&B singles chart within two months of its release. Lisa Stansfield becomes the first British female artist in history to score back to back number one singles on the US R&B chart. “You Can’t Deny It” helps propel the accompanying album “Affection” past the Platinum mark in the US, being certified by the RIAA on May 30, 1990.

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Brazilian jazz and bossa nova music icon Joã…

Brazilian jazz and bossa nova music icon João Gilberto (born João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira in Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil) – June 10, 1931 – July 6, 2019, RIP

On this day in music history: July 5, 1993 – &…

On this day in music history: July 5, 1993 – “Debut”, the debut solo album by Björk is released. Produced by Nellee Hooper and Björk, it is recorded at Wild Bunch Studios, Olympic Studios, The Town House, Livingston Studios, Matrix Studios, Swanyard Studios, The Workhouse Studios, Beats Recording Studio, and Summa Studios in London, UK from Early – Mid 1993. After five years and three albums as the lead singer of The Sugarcubes, Björk parts ways with the band in late 1992 following the release of “Stick Around For Joy”, and touring as the opening act for U2 on the first leg of their “Zoo TV World Tour”. This is the Icelandic artists first solo effort since recording her self-titled debut released in 1977 when she is only twelve years old. For her first adult solo album, Björk enlists the assistance of Massive Attack and Soul II Soul producer Nellee Hooper to co-produce the project. Björk writes or co-writes ten of the albums eleven songs, with many of them having been composed years before being recorded. Musically, it differs noticeably from her previous work with The Sugarcubes. Initially, she wants to record the songs with jazz musicians and arranged in that style, but changes her mind after discussing it with Hooper. 808 State keyboardist Graham Massey, who also works on the project and a major influence on the shifting musical direction of the album toward trip hop, drum and bass, and house music. As a result, Massey becomes an important and frequent collaborator with Björk on the album, and in the years to come. The resulting work is well received by the public, and is praised for its stylistic diversity and fearless experimentation. It spins off five singles including “Human Behaviour” (#2 Modern Rock, #2 Club Play), “Venus As A Boy” (#29 UK), and “Big Time Sensuality” (#5 Modern Rock, #1 Club Play). The album is reissued as a DualDisc in 2006, featuring the original stereo mix on the red book CD side. The DVD-A contains all five of the music videos for the singles, and 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS surround mixes of the original album. It is most recently reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2015. “Debut” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number sixty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 4, 1995 – &…

On this day in music history: July 4, 1995 – “Foo Fighters”, the debut album by Foo Fighters is released. Produced by Barrett Jones and Dave Grohl, it is recorded at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, WA from October 17 – 23, 1994. The album is mostly a solo effort by Dave Grohl who plays all of the instruments (except for the track “X-Static” that features Greg Dulli from The Afghan Whigs). Recorded in just eight days of studio time, Grohl deliberately mixes the album to sound like a lo-fi punk record, then gives cassette copies to friends which  quickly attracts record company interest. The musician starts his own label Roswell Records, and is signed to Capitol Records. Following the albums’ completion, Grohl puts together a full band (including bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith of Sunny Day Real Estate and former Nirvana and Germs guitarist Pat Smear) to play the songs live. The album becomes a staple on both Modern Rock and Mainstream rock radio, spinning off several airplay hits including “I’ll Stick Around” and “Big Me”. Originally released only on vinyl on a very limited press run in 1995, the album is reissued in that format twenty years later in 2015. “Foo Fighters” peaks at number twenty three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 4, 1992 – &…

On this day in music history: July 4, 1992 – “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, also peaking at #27 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written and produced by Sir Mix-a-Lot, it is the biggest hit for the Seattle, WA based rapper born Anthony Ray. Following two successful albums for the Seattle based independent label Nastymix Records, Sir Mix-a-Lot signs with Rick Rubin’s Def American Recordings (distributed through Warner Bros/Reprise at the time). Mix releases his major label debut album “Mack Daddy” in February of 1992. When the albums first single “One Time’s Got No Case” fails to make an impact, the label quickly shifts gears, issuing “Baby Got Back” as the follow up. The ode to shapely and full figured women immediately attracts controversy with its blatantly sexual lyrics about women and the female anatomy, as well for its music video which is briefly restricted from daytime airplay by MTV. The media attention the record receives quickly leads to it becoming the most added record at pop Top 40 radio within two weeks of its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #75 on April 11, 1992, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. The single wins Mix a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1993. “Baby Got Back” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Television and film actor Arte Johnson (born…

Television and film actor Arte Johnson (born Arthur Stanton Eric Johnson in Benton Harbor, MI) – January 20, 1929 – July 3, 2019, RIP

On this day in music history: July 2, 1991 – I…

On this day in music history: July 2, 1991 – Into The Great Wide Open, the eighth studio album by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is released. Produced by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders, Studio C, Canoga Park, CA and M.C. Studios from Late 1990 – Early 1991. Released over two years after Petty’s first solo album “Full Moon Fever”, it is the first new album by The Heartbreakers since “Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)”, released four years earlier in 1987. Having worked together on the Traveling Wilburys and “Full Moon Fever” projects, Petty invites Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) to co-produce the new album. It spins off three hit singles including “Learning To Fly” (#1 Mainstream Rock, #28 Pop), and the title track (#4 Mainstream Rock, #92 Pop). The memorable music video for “Into The Great Wide Open” (directed by Julien Temple), features actors Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway. It is The Heartbreakers last release on MCA Records before they sign with Warner Bros. Out of print since receiving only a very limited release on vinyl in 1991, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in June of 2017. “Into The Great Wide Open” peaks at number thirteen 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 1, 1997 – &…

On this day in music history: July 1, 1997 – “OK Computer”, the third studio album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Radiohead and Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, and St. Catherine’s Court in Bath, UK. Following their highly acclaimed sophomore release “The Bends”, the band shifts musical directions yet again, producing a much more experimental, layered piano based sound than their first two albums. Initially, Radiohead’s US record label Capitol has low expectations for the albums commercial potential as it strays far from the bands trademark “Britpop” rock sound. The album is launched in the US with an unusual promotional campaign. 1,000 cassette review copies are sent to the press and music industry tastemakers with the tape permanently glued inside the player. It receives universal acclaim upon its release, frequently drawing comparisons to Pink Floyd’s classic “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, though the band themselves disagree with the assessment. “Computer” becomes Radiohead’s best selling album worldwide, spinning off three singles including “Paranoid Android” (#3 UK) and “Karma Police” (#8 UK, #14 US Modern Rock). The album is nominated for three Grammy Awards in 1998 including Album Of The Year, winning for Best Alternative Music Performance. Originally given only a limited vinyl release in Europe, the album is reissued in the UK and makes its US debut in 2008. In 2009, “Computer” is reissued as a two CD collector’s edition. The first disc contains the original twelve song album, with the second disc featuring fifteen bonus tracks. The additional material includes live recordings, CD single B-sides and remixes. Also including a twenty four page booklet, the US edition comes packaged with a bonus DVD, featuring the music videos for all three singles, as well as live television performances from Later… With Jools Holland, broadcast on May 31, 1997. “OK Computer” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at its chart debut of number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200 on July 19, 1997, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 30, 1997 …

On this day in music history: June 30, 1997 – “The Fat Of The Land”, the third album by The Prodigy is released (US release is on July 1, 1997). Produced by Liam Howlett, it is recorded at Strongroom Studios, Shoreditch Studios in London and Earthbound Studios in Braintree, Essex, UK from Mid 1995 – Early 1997. Formed by Liam Howlett (keyboards) in 1990 and originally known as The Moog Prodigy, the band also includes Keith Flint (vocals), Maxim Reality (aka Keith Palmer) (vocals, rapper). naming themselves after the famed analog synthesizer created by Dr. Bob Moog, later shortening it to simply The Prodigy. Recording a ten song demo, Howlett plays the tracks for XL Recordings co-founder Nick Halkes who signs them. The Prodigy release a handful of singles during 1991 and 1992, establishing them on the thriving rave scene throughout Europe. Their first two releases “Experience” and “Music For The Jilted Generation” in 1992 and 1994, are regarded as seminal electronica albums, making The Prodigy pioneers of the “Big Beat” sub genre. In 1995, they are to Maverick Records in the US, co-owned by pop superstar Madonna. The first taste of Prodigy’s third album comes in March of 1996 with “Firestarter” (#1 UK). The feverishly tempoed track is accompanied by a striking video showing Keith Flint’s dramatically punk makeover turn it into a smash, breaking them internationally. Work on the album continues throughout 1996, with a number of guest musicians including Kula Shaker vocalist Crispian Mills, Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and Ultramagnetic MC’s rapper Kool Keith. It is another track featuring Kool Keith’s vocals that makes a huge impact. “Smack My Bitch Up” (#8 UK, #89 US Pop) includes sampled vocals from Ultra’s 1988 single “Give The Drummer Some” in a repeated refrain over the hard hitting and mesmerizing track. The controversial video directed by Swedish director Jonas Akerlund (Madonna, U2), is shot from a point of view perspective, following someone through a night of drunken sex and drug fueled excess. The clip reveals at the end that the protagonist is actually a woman. The video creates an immediate sensation as well as backlash from the National Organization Of Women (NOW), who feel that it is “misogynistic” and “encourages violence against women”. In spite of being pulled from rotation on MTV, “Smack” is nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards in 1998, winning two including Best Dance Video and Breakthrough Video. The album is a huge success, making history as the first electronica album to hit number one in the US on July 19, 1997. Their profile is further heightened, co-headlining the annual Lollapalooza Festival in the Summer of 1997. “The Fat Of The Land” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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