Category: blue eyed soul

On this day in music history: April 27, 1970 – “Spill The Wine” by Eric Burdon & War is released. Written by Charles Miller, Howard E. Scott, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Harold Brown, Thomas “Papa Dee” Allen and Lee Oskar, it is the debut single release for the R&B/Funk band from Long Beach, CA. In 1962, friends Howard Scott (guitar, vocals) and Harold Brown (drums, vocals) form The Creators, with Charles Miller (saxophone, vocals), Morris “B.B.” Dickerson (bass, vocals) and Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan (keyboards, vocals). Backing singer Little Johnny Hamilton, the band record for Dore Records. By 1968, their line up also includes Thomas “Papa Dee” Allen (percussion, vocals). Changing their name to Nite Shift in 1969, they’re hired to back L.A. Rams Defensive End Deacon Jones, who is pursuing a singing career. Playing at a club in North Hollywood, Nite Shift are seen by former Animals lead singer Eric Burdon, producer Jerry Goldstein (The Strangeloves) and Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar. Looking for new musicians, Burdon and Goldstein approach the band about working together. Adding Oskar to the line up, they change their name to War. Steve Gold, an executive from MGM Records is interested in recording them. With Burdon living in San Francisco, Gold books them into Wally Heider Studios (now Hyde Street Studios) in January of 1970. During one session, Lonnie Jordan comes into the control room, where the others are sharing a bottle of wine. He knocks over the bottle, spilling it right into the mixing desk. With that studio out of commission, they go into the other studio and jam. Improvising a Latin groove on the spot, Eric comes up with the phrase “Spill The Wine”, to acknowledge the incident, and writing the lyrics to “celebrate women”. Laying it down on tape, they go back and lay down passages of Burdon’s then girlfriend, talking in Spanish. Recording the rest of their first album “Eric Burdon Declares War” in just three days, MGM releases “Spill The Wine” as a single. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #99 on May 23, 1970, it peaks at #3 thirteen weeks later on August 22, 1970. After recording a second album (“The Black-Man’s Burdon”) later in 1970, Burdon leaves and they continue without him. Regarded as one of the great “Summer songs” of all time, “Spill The Wine” establishes War as a innovative musical force, throughout the 70’s and into the early 80’s. “Wine” is covered by The Isley Brothers, A Lighter Shade Of Brown and Michael Hutchence. The original version is featured in the films Boogie Nights, Remember The Titans, and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. “Magic Mountain”, the non-LP B-side of Burdon & War’s hit, is sampled twice by De La Soul on “Potholes In My Lawn” and “Pass The Plugs”. UK trip hop band Portishead also samples it on the track “Wandering Star”. “Spill The Wine” is certified Gold in the US the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 25, 1966 – “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield is released. Written by Pino Donaggio, Vito Pallavicini, Vicki Wickham and Simon Napier-Bell, it is the ninth single release and biggest hit for the pop vocalist from London, UK. Since making her solo debut in late 1963, Dusty Springfield places one hit after another. In January of 1965, she appears at the Italian Song Festival in San Remo, performing “Tu Che Ne Sai?” (English: “What Do You Know?”). Though not qualifying for the final competition, Springfield hears “Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)” (English: “I, Who Can’t Live (Without You)”, sung by Pino Donaggio and US singer Jody Miller. Though Dusty doesn’t understand the Italian lyrics, it moves her to tears. Acquiring an acetate copy of demo, Springfield waits more than year to record it. In the meantime, Donaggio records “Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)” for the film Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa. His version hits #1 in Italy in March of 1965. In early 1966, Dusty decides it’s time to record the song. On March 9, 1966, the track produced by Johnny Franz and arranged by Ivor Raymonde, is recorded at Philips Records’ Studios in London. Needing English lyrics, Springfield turns to her friend Vicki Wickham, the producer of the music series Ready Steady Go!, and her manager Simon Napier-Bell (The Yardbirds, Wham!) for help. While having dinner together, the pair agree to pen the lyrics. They come up with a chorus and first verse lyric, riding in the back a taxi. Wickham and Bell later go back to the her flat to finish it. But with neither understanding the original Italian lyrics, they devise a concept on their own. They set out to write an “anti-love song” originally titled “I Don’t Love You”. They change it to “You Don’t Love Me”, then to “You Don’t Have to Love Me”. It’s finally adjusted to “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, to fit the melody. Springfield records her vocal the next day on March 10, 1966. Unhappy with the acoustics in the vocal booth, she sings in the outer stairwell. Ever the perfectionist, Dusty records forty seven takes before she’s finally satisfied. Released in the UK on March 25, 1966, “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” leaps to number one on April 28, 1966, becoming her lone chart topper in her home country. Issued by Philips Records in the US after its UK release, it becomes a smash. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #76 on May 21, 1966, it peaks at #4 eight weeks later on July 16, 1966, becoming her highest charting single in the US. Becoming a pop standard, “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” is covered by Elvis Presley, Robert Goulet, Vic Damone, Lynn Anderson, Cher, Tom Jones, Luis Miguel, Taylor Dayne, and Clay Aiken to name a few. Though Dusty Springfield’s recording is still regarded as the definitive version of the song.

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twixnmix:

The Righteous Brothers photographed by

Gene Trindl, Febuary 1965.

On this day in music history: April 2, 1985 – “Go West”, the debut album by Go West is released. Produced by Gary Stevenson, it is recorded at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire, Rooster Studios, and Sarm West Studios in London from Late 1984 – Early 1985. The British pop music duo consisting of lead vocalist Peter Cox and guitarist Richard Drummie begin writing songs for their first album in 1982 demoing them on a Tascam 4-track Portastudio. Those demos secure them a record deal with Chrysalis Records. The album features the duo supported by a number top British musicians including King Crimson and Alan Parsons Project saxophonist Mel Collins, bassist Pino Palladino (Paul Young), guitarist Alan Murphy (Kate Bush, Mike + The Mechanics, Level 42), and drummer Graham Broad (Roger Waters, Jeff Beck, Tina Turner). A success across Europe and their native UK, it spins off five singles in the UK (three in the US) including “We Close Our Eyes” (#5 UK, #41 US Pop) and “Call Me” (#12 UK, #54 US Pop). In spite of only modest promotional support from Chrysalis Records in the US, the videos for the singles receive significant airplay, marking the beginnings of a loyal fan base in the US, which lead to them reaching the peak their success in the early 90’s. “Go West” peaks at number eight on the UK album chart, and number sixty on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: December 8, 1984 – “Out Of Touch” by Daryl Hall & John Oates hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the Club Play Chart for 2 weeks on November 17, 1984, peaking at #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #24 on the R&B singles chart on December 1, 1984. Written by Daryl Hall and John Oates, it is the sixth and final chart topping pop single for the Philadelphia, PA based duo. For the follow up to the critically and commercially successful “H2O” album, they decide to shake up their successful hit making formula by enlisting the assistance of Arthur Baker whose acclaimed work as a producer and remixer co-produces the track (as well as the rest of the album w/ H&O and engineer Bob Clearmountain), giving it a harder dance influenced edge. Working together at Electric Lady Studios in the Summer of 1984, they emerge from the studio with another highly successful album. Issued as the first single from their twelfth album “Big Bam Boom” in September of 1984, it is an immediate smash. The song is accompanied by a tongue in cheek music video directed by Jeff Stein (“The Who – The Kids Are Alright”, The Cars’ “You Might Think”, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “Don’t Come Around Here No More”). Entering the Hot 100 at #48 on September 29, 1984, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The chart topping success of “Out Of Touch” helps drive sales of the accompanying album to 2x Platinum status in the US. The edited version of the 12" dance mix (featuring edits by The Latin Rascals) used for the music video, which also incorporates a excerpt of “Dance On Your Knees”, is first issued on a 12" single in the UK only. It is finally issued in the US on the CD compilation “Playlist : The Very Best Of Daryl Hall & John Oates” in 2008.

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On this day in music history: December 5, 1984 – “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton is released. Written by Alexander Nevermind (aka Prince), it is the thirteenth US (sixteenth UK) single release for the pop vocalist from Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Making a conscious effort to shed her “sweet and innocent good girl” image, Sheena Easton looks to shake things up with her sixth album “A Private Heaven”. While working on the album with her producer Greg Mathieson, Easton receives an unexpected message from Prince. At the time, he’s putting the final touches on the “Purple Rain” soundtrack and film. On January 20, 1984, Prince records the basic track for a new song he has written titled “Sugar Walls” at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA. The track is originally intended for singer Jill Jones, but the musician changes his mind when he sees Sheena that same night on television, performing on The Tonight Show. Impressed by her performance, the musician will say to himself, “Ya, I gotta write something for that girl”. The next day, Prince contacts Easton through recording engineer David Leonard, whom both are working with at the time. Sheena likes the track immediately, and agrees to work with Prince on the song. Easton records her vocals at Sunset Sound’s sister studio The Sound Factory on January 22, 1984. Getting on well immediately, Easton and Prince finish recording the vocals in one session. Following up the sexy first single “Strut” (#7 Pop), the even more provocative “Sugar Walls” is issued next. Poppy and undeniably funky, laced with Sheena’s equally sexy vocals, it draws immediate attention from fans and radio. Credited to the pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind”, it doesn’t take long for the public to realize that Prince, is the one behind this sexy musical confection. It also doesn’t take long for listeners to figure out the title is a euphemism for a woman’s privates. However, this doesn’t stop it from becoming an across the board smash on pop and R&B radio, as well on club dance floors. “Sugar Walls” enters the Billboard Hot 100 at #60 on December 22, 1984, peaking ten weeks later at #9 on March 2, 1985. It’s an even bigger hit on R&B stations, peaking at #3 on the R&B chart on March 9, 1985, and topping the Club Play chart for one week on February 23, 1985. After it peaks on the charts, “Sugar Walls” is the subject of further controversy and infamy, when it is singled out by the PMRC (Parents Music Research Center), as one of its “Filthy Fifteen” along side Prince’s “Darling Nikki”. The success of the collaboration between Sheena Easton and Prince leads to future musical collaborations. Easton later appears on the hit “U Got The Look” (#2 Pop, #11 R&B), co-writing the “Sign ‘O’ The Times” B-side “La, La, La, He, He, Hee”, and “The Arms Of Orion” on the “Batman Soundtrack”.

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On this day in music history: December 3, 1984 – “Last Christmas” by Wham! is released. Written and produced by George Michael, it is the seventh UK single release for the pop music duo from Bushey, Hertsfordshire, UK. In Fall of 1984, George Michael announces that Wham! are to release a new single for Christmas. Having already had an incredible year with three consecutive UK number ones including “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Careless Whisper” and “Freedom”, they set their sights on the coveted number one spot during the holidays. For the occasion, Michael pens “Last Christmas”. In spite of its melancholy lyric, the track and George’s excellent vocal make it another sure fire hit. It is also supported by a music video directed by Andy Morahan. The clip’s narrative depicts Michael’s girlfriend (played by model Kathy Hill) leaving him and taking up with Andrew Ridgeley, who is seen wearing the brooch that George had given her. At the time, the British press play up the rivalry between Wham! and Frankie Goes To Hollywood who is also competition with “The Power Of Love”. Both are bested by Band Aid’s unstoppable “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. “Last Christmas” is issued as a double A-side with “Everything She Wants”, peaking at number two. The initial pressing is packaged in a picture sleeve featuring George dressed like Santa Claus, and Andrew as Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. The holiday themed art is replaced by a second sleeve on December 27, 1984. Wham! donate their royalties to the Band Aid Trust. It sells over 1.8 million copies, setting a record for the largest selling UK single to not top the chart. It is not issued in the US, to avoid direct competition with the just released “Careless Whisper”, though Columbia Records releases it as a promo only 7" to US radio stations in 1986. It is reissued in 1985 with a new picture sleeve and with the live version of “Blue (Armed With Love)” recorded in China on the B-side. It charts again, peaking at number six on the UK singles chart. It is issued a third time in 1986, also with a new sleeve, and with “Where Did Your Heart Go” on the B-side. The extended version, subtitled the “Pudding Mix” also appears on “The Final” and “Music From The Edge Of Heaven” in 1986. “Last Christmas” becomes a perennial holiday favorite, re-charting nine more times between 2007 and 2015. It is also covered by Jimmy Eat World, Taylor Swift, Whigfield, Billie Piper, Crazy Frog, Alcazar, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ashley Tisdale, and Ariana Grande. Wham’s original is issued in the US as a 12" single on Black Friday Record Store Day on November 28, 2014, pressed on red and green colored vinyl limited to 3,000 copies, using the first issue UK cover artwork, including a previously unreleased instrumental mix. In 2019, the song becomes the theme and title of a romantic comedy film, directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

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On this day in music history: December 1, 1978 – “Minute By Minute”, the eighth album by The Doobie Brothers is released. Produced by Ted Templeman, it is recorded at Warner Brothers Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Mid – Late 1978. Following the modestly successful “Livin’ On The Fault Line”, the Bay Area based band realize that they are at a career crossroads. Concerned that they may lose support from their label Warner Bros Records, The Doobie Brothers concentrate their efforts to make a more commercial album with their next release. Even so, with their confidence somewhat shaken by the previous record’s disappointing performance, they begin second guessing themselves. Soldiering on, they complete the album within a few months. Playing the finished album for executives at Warner Bros., initially they are less than enthusiastic about the final results, with some predicting that it will bomb upon release. Marking a decided change from the initial sound that made The Doobies successful, the tracks are smoother and more R&B based, largely due to Michael McDonald’s influence. However, no one predicts at the time what the public’s reaction will be. Instead of being a flop, they rebound with what becomes their most successful album, also broadening their audience. Besides becoming a pop smash, “Minute By Minute” receives unexpected support from American R&B radio who embrace McDonald’s blue eyed soul sound. It spins off three hit singles including “What A Fool Believes” (#1 Pop, #72 R&B). “Depending On You” (#25 Pop), and the title track (#14 Pop, #74 R&B).“What A Fool” is written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, originally recorded by Loggins on his album “Nightwatch” released earlier in the year. The Doobies version wins Grammy Awards for Record and Song Of The Year, taking home two additional awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocals and Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chrous in 1980. The album’s opening track “Here To Love You” is belatedly issued as a single in January of 1982, when it is added to the greatest hits compilation “The Best Of The Doobies Vol. II”. “Minute” is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Friday Music in 2008. Warner Music Japan also remasters and reissues the title as an SHM-CD in 2009, packaged in a mini-LP sleeve. It is remastered again and reissued as a hybrid SACD by Warner Music Japan in 2017. “Minute By Minute” spends five weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 25, 1970 – “Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat”, the fourth album by Laura Nyro is released. Produced by Felix Cavaliere and Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City in May 1970. Following her highly acclaimed third release “New York Tendaberry”, singer, songwriter and musician Laura Nyro returns to the studio in the Spring of 1970 to work on her next release with Rascals keyboardist and vocalist Felix Cavaliere and arranger and producer Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Chaka Khan) handling the production duties. It is the final part of the musical trilogy begun with Nyro’s second and third albums “Eli And The Thirteenth Confession” and New York Tendaberry". In spite of its title, it is not a traditional holiday album, containing no covers of actual Christmas songs. The material however captures the joyful spirit present during that time of year. It also features guest appearances by Duane Allman (on the title track) and Alice Coltrane. The album yields Nyro’s only chart single, a cover of The Drifters hit “Up On The Roof” (#92 Pop). It makes its domestic CD debut in 1990, and is remastered and reissued by Sony Japan in 2008. Out of print on vinyl for more than thirty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat” peaks at number fifty one on the Billboard Top 200.

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Born on this day: November 21, 1940 – Singer, songwriter and musician Dr. John (born Malcolm John Rebennack in New Orleans, LA. Happy Birthday to this musical great, on what would have been his 79th birthday.

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