Category: 90’s

On this day in music history: May 12, 1992 -…

On this day in music history: May 12, 1992 – “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion”, the second album by The Black Crowes is released. Produced by George Drakoulias, it is recorded at Southern Tracks Studios in Atlanta, GA and Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA in January 1992. Following the huge success of their debut “Shake Your Money Maker” selling more than five million copies in the US alone, The Black Crowes are adamant about beating the sophomore jinx, but are not content with repeating themselves musically. The band write new material and rehearse it extensively before entering the studio. Before they do, guitarist Jeff Cease is fired and replaced by Marc Ford, formerly of the blues-rock band Burning Tree. The band once again work with producer George Drakoulias with Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots) engineering and mixing. The title “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion” is taken from a songbook of hymns compiled by William Walker and published in 1835. Unlike their debut, the new album is recorded almost completely live with few additional overdubs in only eight days. The fast pace is all the more impressive considering the often volatile relationship between brothers Chris and Rich Robinson. When the band deliver the album to their label American Recordings/Warner Bros, they tell them that they don’t hear a hit on it, and to record another cover like their version of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle”. The Crowes refuse and the label puts out the record as is. To launch the album, the label prepares a lavish package that is limited to only 100 individually numbered copies, and sent only to select radio and press people. The set comes with a book featuring the song lyrics, notation and guitar tabs, along with digi-pak versions of the full album and a promo CD single. The contents come housed in a black 12" x 12" box with gold hinges, emblazoned with The Black Crowes logo. Led by the funky, syncopated rocker “Remedy” (#1 Mainstream Rock, #48 Pop) which spends eleven weeks at the top of the Billboard Album Rock chart, “Southern Harmony” is a hit right out of the box. The tracks “Sting Me” (#1 Mainstream Rock), “Thorn In My Pride” (#1 Mainstream Rock) and “Sometimes Salvation” (#7 Mainstream Rock) also become favorites. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2007 with two additional bonus tracks. Originally released on vinyl on a limited basis, it is remastered and issued as a 180 gram LP in 2009 by Plain Recordings. It is reissued again in 2015, as a double vinyl 180 gram LP set as part of UMe’s “Back To Black” series. “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200, spending one week at the top, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Actress, model and singer Peggy Lipton (born…

Actress, model and singer Peggy Lipton (born Margaret Ann Lipton in Los Angeles, CA) – August 30, 1946 – May 11, 2019, RIP

On this day in music history: May 10, 1994 – &…

On this day in music history: May 10, 1994 – “Weezer” (aka “The Blue Album”), the debut album by Weezer is released. Produced by Ric Ocasek, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City from August – September 1993. Formed in 1992 by lead guitarist and vocalist Rivers Cuomo, drummer Patrick Wilson, bassist Matt Sharp and rhythm guitarist Jason Cropper, Weezer are playing live gigs only months afterward. Continuing to rehearse and write songs, within a year, the band begin drawing major label attention and are signed to Geffen subsidiary DGC Records in 1993. The band are paired with Cars co-founder and lead singer Ric Ocasek who signs on to produce their debut album. During the recording, Jason Cropper quits the band and he is replaced by Brian Bell. Weezer’s unique musical sensibility which combines punk and metal attitude with strong power pop guitar riffs and hooks, are counterbalanced by the band’s own shy and nerdy demeanor. The first single “Undone – The Sweater Song”, is supported with a quirky and innovative low budget video directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”, “Adaptation”), that becomes an immediate hit on MTV. Jonze also directs the video for the follow up single “Buddy Holly” (#2 Modern Rock, #18 Hot 100 Airplay), in which the band are digitally morphed into clips from the classic sitcom “Happy Days”, playing on stage in Arnold’s Drive-In. Using the same green screen techniques employed by Industrial Light & Magic on the film “Forrest Gump”, Weezer’s performance footage is seamlessly blended in with the film clips from the series. Also featuring a cameo appearance by actor Al Molinaro, the video is another huge MTV favorite, winning four MTV VMA awards in 1995 including Best Alternative Video and Breakthrough Video. The album spins off a third and final single with “Say It Ain’t So” (#7 Modern Rock, #51 Hot 100 Airplay). In time, Weezer’s debut album will come to be regarded as one of the best albums of the 90’s. In 2004, it is remastered and reissued as a two disc Deluxe Edition. The first disc features the original ten track album, with disc two containing fourteen tracks, including B-sides, unreleased track, live acoustic recordings and alternate mixes. Originally released on vinyl in very limited quantities in 1994, it is reissued briefly in 2002 by Geffen Records. In 2012, it is released as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, pressed on blue marbled vinyl, and by Back To Black (UK & Europe on standard black vinyl). A hybrid SACD is also issued by the label in 2014. Another vinyl reissue released by Geffen/UMe with Direct Metal Mastering, and includes a poster is released in 2016. “Weezer” peaks at number sixteen 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: May 8, 1999 – “L…

On this day in music history: May 8, 1999 – “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks. Written by Desmond Child and Draco “Robi” Rosa, it is the biggest US hit single for the Puerto Rican born Latin Pop star/actor. Having found his initial stardom as a member of the teen pop vocal group Menudo in the 80’s, Ricky Martin continues his career as an actor when he lands a role on the long running soap opera “General Hospital” beginning in 1994. During the same period, Martin has also maintained as successful career as a singer, scoring numerous hits in Latin America in the first half of the 90’s. By the late 90’s, Ricky sets his sights on breaking through in the US and the rest of the world. Martin turns to his former Menudo band mate Robi Rosa, who also penned Ricky’s international hit “La Copa De La Vida”. Rosa writes “Livin’ La Vida Loca” with veteran songwriter Desmond Child, best known for his work with Bon Jovi, KISS and Aerosmith. The duos demo recording of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” ends up being used as the master for the finished recording. After hearing the finished song, Martin is certain it will be the one that will take him to the next level of success. “Loca” is the first single released from Martin’s self-titled first English language album. Issued on March 23, 1999, just four weeks after his show stopping performance of “La Copa De La Vida” at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, the single is an instant and massive hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on April 17, 1999, it leaps to the top of the chart three weeks later. The song is also noteworthy for helping to kick off the Latin Pop phenomenon in the US, and is the first number one pop single to be recorded on the Pro Tools recording system, rather than on analog or digital recording tape. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 8, 1990 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 8, 1990 – “The Revival”, the second album by Tony! Toni! Toné! is released. Produced by Tony! Toni! Toné!, Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, it is recorded at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA, Live Oak Studios in Berkeley, CA, J-Jam Studio in Oakland, CA, Can-Am Recorders in Tarzana, CA, Eve-Jim Studio and Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1989 – Early 1990. Following the success of their Gold plus debut album “Who?”, Tony! Toni! Toné! turn their attention into recording their sophomore release. Unlike their first album which was produced entirely by former Club Nouveau members Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster, The Tonies, brothers D’Wayne and Raphael Wiggins, their cousin Timothy Christian Riley take more control over the production their second outing, writing and producing the majority of it themselves. In creating the material, the band pull from their musical influences which including 60’s and 70’s R&B and funk, as well as incorporating current sounds like New Jack Swing and Hip Hop into the mix, all while putting their own soulful, funky and humorous stamp on the songs. Released in the Spring of 1990, the album is proceeded by the horn driven first single “The Blues” (#1 R&B, #46 Pop) in March. The song which marries the Memphis soul flavor of Al Green to a down tempo stepper’s rhythm, is also accompanied by a 12" single with a remix featuring a spoken rap by R&B singer Tyler Collins (“Girls Nite Out”, “What Cha Gonna Do?”), dissing her would be suitors over not being able to provide her with the life style she’s accustomed to. It is followed by the equally funky and infectious “Feels Good” (#1 R&B, #9 Pop), which gives Tony! Toni! Toné! their third R&B chart topper, first top ten pop hit and their first Gold single. The album spins off two other singles including “Whatever You Want” (#1 R&B, #48 Pop) and “It Never Rains (In Southern California)” (#1 R&B, #34 Pop). The track “Oakland Stroke” which features label mate Vanessa Williams is issued as a single outside the US. With four more R&B chart toppers under their belts, “The Revival” spends more than a year on the charts, also further opens the door for the band with the mainstream pop audience. The Tonies second album takes them to the next level of success in their career, establishing them as one of the top R&B acts in an era, when fully self contained bands are rare commodity in a predominantly singer and producer driven music industry. “The Revival” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 7, 1991 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 7, 1991 – “Star Time” by James Brown is released. Compilation produced by Harry Weinger, Cliff White, Oscar A. Yong and Bill Levenson. The seventy one track, four CD box set is the first major compilation to feature Brown’s seminal King and Polydor Records catalog. Spanning the years 1956 to 1984, the set is packaged in a 6 x 12 box, covered in red and gold foil, features a sixty four page booklet with a detailed album and singles discography, and recording and personnel information. It also includes essays from music historian Nelson George, former tour manager Alan Leeds, compilation producers White and Weinger, as well an introduction from James Brown himself. It receives great critical acclaim upon its release, and is regarded as one of the best ever collections of a single artist’s work. The box also receives high marks for its excellent sound quality throughout, having been remastered from the best source materials available. The set wins a Grammy Award for Best Album Notes in 1992. “Star Time” peaks at number eighty nine on the Billboard R&B album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 6, 1997 – “S…

On this day in music history: May 6, 1997 – “Still Waters”, the twenty-first studio album by the Bee Gees is released (UK release date is on March 10, 1997). Produced by Russ Titelman, David Foster, Hugh Padgham, Arif Mardin, Raphael Saadiq and the Bee Gees, it is recorded at Middle Ear Studios in Miami Beach, FL from October 1995 – August 1996. The band initially record an earlier version of the album that is rejected by Polydor Records, but regroup and rework the material with various producers. Among the producers working on the album include their old friend and mentor Arif Mardin, marking the first time they have worked with him since the “E.S.P” album in 1987. It is Mardin who had helped the band re-invent their sound in 70’s, guiding them into their second and most successful era of pop stardom. The result is their most successful album in twenty years, coinciding with the band being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and being honored by the BRIT Awards for their Outstanding Contribution To Music. It spins off three singles including “Alone” (#5 UK, #20 US Pop). “Still Waters” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number eleven 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: May 5, 1997 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 5, 1997 – “Flaming Pie”, the tenth solo album by Paul McCartney is released (US release is on May 20, 1997). Produced by Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne and George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, Steve Miller’s Home Studio in Sun Valley, ID, and The Mill Studios in Peasmarsh, East Sussex, UK from September 3, 1992, February 22, 1995 – February 14, 1997. His first proper studio album since “Off The Ground” in 1993, McCartney actually begins writing the songs that become the “Flaming Pie” album as early as 1991. Two tracks (the acoustic based “Calico Skies” and “Great Day”) are recorded first in 1992 (pre-dating the release of “Off The Ground”), with the bulk of the recording being completed over a two year period between 1995 and 1997, working with producer Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra). The album title originates from a story told by John Lennon, on the origins of The Beatles name to the Liverpool music paper Mersey Beat in 1961. Released following the huge success of The Beatles “Anthology” project, it is Paul McCartney’s best selling and critically acclaimed album in many years. An accompanying home video documenting the making of the album titled “Paul McCartney In The World Tonight” is also released. The album receives a Grammy nomination for Album Of The Year in 1998. “Flaming Pie” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 5, 1992 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 5, 1992 – “Jump Around” by House of Pain is released. Written by Everlast, it is the debut single for the Hip Hop group from Los Angeles, CA. Formed in 1991 by Everlast (Erik Schrody) and Danny Boy (Danny O’Connor), the group comes together shortly after Everlast records an unsuccessful solo album for Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate imprint in 1990. Recruiting DJ Lethal (Leor Dimant), they take the name House Of Pain, after a line in the HG Wells novel “The Island Of Dr. Moreau”. Friends with Cypress Hill co-founder DJ Muggs, while hanging out with Everlast, Muggs plays him a beat intended for Cypress’ next album. The track features samples of Chubby Checker’s “Popeye (The Hitchhiker)” (main loop), and Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle” (intro). Liking what he hears, Everlast quickly pens lyrics for the track in Muggs’ driveway. Initially taking inspiration from dancehall DJ’s like Shabba Ranks, with the lyric originally being “Jump around, if you love freedom. Jump around, if you love culture.”. Muggs tells him to “Get rid of the reggae part". As Everlast is still writing lyrics, Muggs finds another sample. Taking a short horn blast from Jr. Walker’s 1965 track “Shoot Your Shot”, both instantly recognize that final element is the crowning touch. House Of Pain records a demo, then sends tapes out to labels. Before sending more tapes, Danny Boy creates the now famed House Of Pain “Fine Malt Lyrics” logo to place on the cassette covers. One of the tapes reaches Tommy Boy Records president Monica Lynch who upon seeing the logo replies “what the f*ck is this?”. Playing the demo, Lynch is immediately taken with it. Also being Irish American, she also comments “This sounds like my brothers… They go to bars and get into fights.”. She quickly signs House Of Pain, and the group go into the studio the cut the final version. The group then film a music video for “Jump Around” in New York City. Choosing to film it during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, the clip is shot in just one day. An immediate hit on college radio when it is leaked to key DJ’s, it breaks into the mainstream when MTV begins airing the music video. Entering the Hot 100 at #98 on June 27, 1992, it makes a slow and steady climb up the chart, peaking fifteen weeks later at #3 on October 10, 1992. Also peaking at #14 on the R&B singles chart, #5 on the Rap chart and #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, the single sells over a million copies in the US alone. It also propels their self titled debut album past the Platinum mark. “Jump Around” is later featured in numerous films including “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Happy Gilmore”, “Rush Hour” and “Jack Reacher” to name a few. The song also becomes a staple of sporting events over the years. “Jump Around” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 4, 1993 – “R…

On this day in music history: May 4, 1993 – “Rid Of Me”, the second studio album by PJ Harvey is released. Produced by Steve Albini, it is recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN in December 1992. Following up her critically acclaimed debut album “Dry” from the year before, British musician Polly Jean Harvey and her band come to the US to work with famed indie rock producer Steve Albini (Pixies, The Jesus Lizard, Nirvana) on their second album. The album is recorded over a two week period, with the bulk of the recording being done in only three days. Its hard edged “claustrophobic sound” combined with Harvey’s highly personal lyrics and wildly dynamic vocals, makes an immediate impact. Upon its release, “Rid” draws major acclaim and praise from both the underground and mainstream rock press as well as fans. In time, it is regarded as one of the best alternative rock albums of the 90’s. The album’s now iconic cover shot (taken by photographer Maria Mochnacz in her bathroom) features a photo of Harvey posed topless (cropped at the upper chest) swinging her wet hair upward. The photo is taken in total darkness with the camera flash providing the only illumination for the final image. “Rid Of Me” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, and one hundred fifty eight on the Billboard Top 200.

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