Category: bubblegum soul

On this day in music history: June 20, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: June 20, 1970 – “The Love You Save” by The Jackson 5 hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 6 weeks, also spending 2 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 on June 27, 1970. Written and produced by The Corporation (Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell and Berry Gordy), it is the third consecutive chart topping single for the family group from Gary, IN. Straying away somewhat from the formula that created the groups first two number one hits “I Want You Back” and “ABC”, Songwriters Richards, Perren and Mizell start off writing a song about watching out for traffic. Through the course of writing it, the concept evolves into a song about a young girl who is too fast for her age. They quickly record a demo, and cut the instrumental track at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA in March of 1970. Berry Gordy attends the initial tracking session, and after listening for fifteen minutes tells the team “they’ve got it” and leaves. “The Love You Save” is the second single released from the J5’s second album “ABC”. The group perform the song on their second and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show airing on May 10, 1970. Issued as a single on May 16, 1970, it rockets up the pop and R&B singles chart, topping both within a month of its release. The singles B-side “I Found That Girl”, featuring Jermaine on lead vocals also garners significant airplay, and is listed on the chart jointly with “The Love You Save” after it tops the chart. “The Love You Save” sells over two million copies in the US, becoming The Jackson 5’s third consecutive Platinum selling single.

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On this day in music history: May 14, 1983 – &…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1983 – “Candy Girl” by New Edition hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #46 on the Hot 100 on June 25, 1983. Written and produced by Maurice Starr, it is the first chart topping single for the Boston-based R&B vocal quintet. Songwriter and musician Maurice Starr, then a member of the electrofunk band The Jonzun Crew (“Pack Jam”, “Space Cowboy”), discover New Edition when he sees them perform at a talent contest in their hometown of Boston, MA. Impressed with their stage presence and convinced they have the potential to become a “modern day Jackson 5”, he immediately begins working with them. The producer secures the group a deal with New York based dance label Streetwise Records (formerly owned by dance music remixer/producer Arthur Baker). The Jackson 5 influenced single is also a huge hit internationally (licensed to London Records), going to number one on the UK singles chart. In spite of the success New Edition has under Starr’s tutelage, they part company with him in 1984 when they receive virtually no royalties from the sales of their first album or the major tour in support of it. Starr claims that the tour budget and other expenses (subtracted from the group’s earnings) have left no surplus monies to pay them. For their efforts, the group members receive only an advance of $500 each, a VCR and a “royalty check” totaling only $1.87 a piece. New Edition have to sue Maurice Starr and Streetwise Records to get out of their management and recording contracts.

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On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 – “A…

On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 – “ABC”, the second studio album by The Jackson 5 is released. Produced by The Corporation and Hal Davis, it is recorded at The Sound Factory and Hitsville USA West in Hollywood, CA from August 1969 – March 1970. Issued only five months after their debut album, it is a mixture of original songs written for the group as well as covers of songs originally recorded by Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Delfonics, and Funkadelic. It spins off two singles including “The Love You Save” and the title track (both #1 R&B and Pop). In time it is widely regarded as the groups best album, selling over five million copies worldwide. The albums iconic cover art (photographed by Paul Slaughter and Joseph Hernandez) features a shot of the group taken at the beach in Malibu, CA posing with oversized letters spelling out the album title. The final image airbrushes out the original background, placing it against a solid blue background. The back cover features a photo college of the group. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and issued in 1998. The vinyl LP, out of print for more than twenty years, it is reissued on 180 gram vinyl as part of Universal Music Group’s “Back To Black” vinyl series in Europe in 2009. “ABC” spend twelve weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart and peaking at number four on the Top 200.

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On this day in music history: April 9, 1973 – …

On this day in music history: April 9, 1973 – “Misdemeanor” by Foster Sylvers is released. Written by Leon Sylvers III, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the singer from Los Angeles, CA. The second youngest of ten siblings, Foster Sylvers is still in grade school when he makes his entrance into the music industry. With his eldest brother Leon III being the driving creative force behind the family singing group The Sylvers, he looks to diversify the group by writing and producing music for outside of the group. Only nineteen years old at the time, Leon writes the song “Misdemeanor”, in part basing the lyrical concept around The Jackson 5’s 1970 “The Love You Save”, using similiar metaphors about young relationships using clever word play to spell it out. “Misdemeanor” originally intended for The Sylvers to record with brother Edmund singing lead. Sixteen years old at the time and right in the middle of puberty, Edmund’s voice is changing and is unable to sing it in the key that it is written. Leon taps his his then eleven year old baby brother Foster to perform the vocals on “Misdemeanor”, backed by older sisters Angie and Pat. Recorded in early 1973, the track features Jerry Peters (keyboards), King Errison (percussion), Harvey Mason (drums) and is also rumored to feature Funk Brothers legend James Jamerson on bass (though recording information is incomplete on this song). With the prepubscent Foster sounding much like his more famous contemporary Michael Jackson, the song is an immediate hit when it is released as a single on MGM Records’ Pride imprint in April of 1973. “Misdemeanor” peaks at #7 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on July 21, 1973 and #22 on the Hot 100 on July 28, 1973. After releasing second album (featuring Angie and Pat) and a handful of lesser charting singles including a cover of Dee Clark’s “Hey Little Girl” (#63 R&B), Foster along with his sisters join their older brothers and sisters in The Sylvers in time to record their biggest hit “Boogie Fever” (#1 R&B and Pop). “Misdemeanor” returns to public prominence in a major way in 1989, when Dr. Dre uses it as the basis for The D.O.C.’s break out hit “It’s Funky Enough”. Foster Sylvers’ original version resurfaces once again, after remixes by DJ Danny Krivit made from the original multi-master surfaces as a bootleg 12" single in 2005.

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On this day in music history: April 4, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: April 4, 1970 – “ABC” by The Jackson 5 hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on April 25, 1970. Written and produced by The Corporation, it is the second consecutive chart topping single for the Gary, IN based family group fronted by lead singer Michael Jackson. The basic track for “ABC” is recorded in December 1969 at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA. When they begin formulating the follow up , the writers form the basis for “ABC” out of the chorus section of “I Want You Back”. Recorded with the same group of musicians (including Wilton Felder (bass), Gene Pello (drums), David T. Walker, Louie Shelton, and Don Peake (guitars) ), the track is cut live in a single take. The single sells over a million copies in under twelve days, eventually selling over 2.2 million copies. To commemorate this achievement, Motown Records re-services DJ’s with another promotional 45 pressing of “ABC” pressed on clear gold vinyl, and packaged in a title sleeve. These 45’s become highly sought after by collectors, and are among the rarest Jackson 5 promotional items. An alternate mix of the track (with a slightly longer running time and different vocals not included in the original mono and stereo mixes) appear on the Japanese quadraphonic stereo LP of the groups first “Greatest Hits” album released in 1975. “ABC” also makes Billboard chart history as one of the shortest song titles to top the charts. One of The Jackson 5’s most popular and beloved songs, “ABC” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2017, becoming the group’s third single (after “I Want You Back” and “I’ll Be There”) to receive that honor.

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On this day in music history: March 6, 1976 – …

On this day in music history: March 6, 1976 – “Boogie Fever” by The Sylvers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on May 15, 1976. Written by Keni St. Lewis and Freddie Perren, it is the biggest hit for the family group from Los Angeles, CA (by way of Memphis, TN). After recording three albums for MGM Records (and their subsidiary label Pride Records), the group are signed to Capitol Records in 1975 by exec Larkin Arnold who pairs them with producer and songwriter Freddie Perren, best known for his work with The Jackson 5 and The Miracles. Lyricist Keni St. Lewis comes up with the initial idea for “Boogie Fever”, when he suggests to Perren that they write something that uses the word “boogie” in it. The pair write the song quickly and immediately know they have written a hit. The six oldest members of The Sylvers, Olympia Ann, Leon III, Charmaine, James, Ricky and Edmund, are joined in the studio by their three younger siblings Angie, Pat and Foster. The track is recorded at Total Experience Studios in Hollywood, CA (owned by Gap Band producer Lonnie Simmons), in mid 1975. “Boogie Fever” also features legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson playing on the track. Released as the first single from their fourth album “Showcase” in November of 1975, it becomes a smash in discos and on radio. An instant classic, it quickly climbs the R&B singles chart and then crosses over to pop radio. “Boogie Fever” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: January 10, 1970…

On this day in music history: January 10, 1970 – “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on January 31, 1970. Written and produced by The Corporation, it is the first of four consecutive chart topping singles for the five brothers from Gary, IN. The track is recorded at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA in August 1969, and features Wilton Felder (bass), David T. Walker, Louie Shelton, and Don Peake (guitars), Gene Pello (drums), Joe Sample & Freddie Perren (keyboards) and Sandra Crouch (tambourine). After the records’ release in October of 1969, the group begin the task of promoting their debut single for Motown. Their first nationally televised appearance being on The Hollywood Palace" variety series the same month. Their second live television performance on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 14, 1969, plays a vital role in giving the record the final push needed to send it on its way to the top of the R&B and pop singles charts. In time, “I Want You Back” is regarded as a landmark release in the history of Motown, and one of the greatest pop singles of all time. Its enduring popularity and influence is further confirmed when it is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, The Jackson 5’s first record to receive that honor. “I Want You Back” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: January 7, 1971 …

On this day in music history: January 7, 1971 – “Mama’s Pearl” by The Jackson 5 is released. Written and produced by The Corporation, it is the fifth consecutive top five single for the five brothers from Gary, IN. Issued as the second single from their third LP “Third Album”, “Pearl” is originally intended to be the follow up to the Jackson 5’s third number one hit “The Love You Save”, but is initially passed over in favor of “I’ll Be There”. Written mostly by Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell of The Corporation, in its first draft the song has a much different concept. Originally titled “Guess Who’s Making Whoopie (With Your Girlfriend)”, some of the original lyrics include a refrain stating “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine”. Chief Corporation songwriter Deke Richards, knowing that it won’t work with The Jackson 5’s wholesome image, works with his songwriting partners to come up with an entirely new title and lyrics. Re-titled “Mama’s Pearl”, the songs’ narrative is about a boy who knows a girl he likes is mutually attracted to him, but is too shy to reveal her true feelings. He urges her to come out of her shell and become his girlfriend. Label chief Berry Gordy approves of the revamped song, and producers head for the studio to cut it. The track is recorded at Motown’s Hitsville West Studio in Los Angeles in July of 1970. Before it is released as a single, the group re-record the lead and background vocals, improving upon the first version released on the album. “Mama’s Pearl” peaks at #2 on both the Billboard R&B and Hot 100 on February 27, 1971. Ironically, it is held off the top of the pop charts by The Osmonds “One Bad Apple”, a song written for the Jacksons but is rejected by Motown as being “too juvenile”. A stereo mix of “Pearl” with the re-recorded vocals first appears on The Jackson 5’s “Greatest Hits” album released in December of 1971 as well as their 1976 “Anthology” compilation. This version also makes its CD debut on the “Jackson 5 Anthology” in 1986, and is included on “The Jacksons Story” compilation in 2004. The song is also featured in an episode of the group’s Saturday morning cartoon series “The Jackson 5ive”. The episode titled “A Rare Pearl” (originally airing on January 15, 1972) centers around the Jacksons pursuit of a beautiful flight attendant named Jacqueline Pearl, after meeting her on an airplane. To thwart the brothers, she has her football jock older brother pose as her mother to scare them into leaving her alone, after following her home. The rejected original version “Guess Who’s Making Whoopie” later surfaces on the compilation “Come And Get It: Rare Pearls” in 2012. The single’s B-side “Darling Dear”, another track from “Third Album”, featuring a virtuoso performance by Funk Brothers bassist James Jamerson, also becomes a favorite of Jackson 5 fans.

On this day in music history: December 20, 197…

On this day in music history: December 20, 1971 – “Greatest Hits” by The Jackson 5 is released. Produced by The Corporation, Hal Davis and Bobby Taylor, it is recorded at The Sound Factory, Hitsville USA West Studios in Hollywood, CA and Motown Studio A in Detroit, MI from July 1969 – October 1971. The eleven song LP is the first hits compilation of the groups’ work released on Motown Records from 1969 to 1971. It also features the newly recorded track “Sugar Daddy” (#3 R&B, #10 Pop) which becomes another million selling single for the superstar family group. Original LP pressings also contain a stereo mix of the single “Mama’s Pearl” featuring the re-recorded vocals used for the mono single version. However, at some point, this version is replaced by the original LP version from the “Third Album” on later re-pressings. The LP’s cover art features a portrait of the Jacksons with initial pressings featuring embossing on the portrait’s frame and is perforated so that it can be punched out of the cover and framed. “Greatest Hits” is also issued as a quadraphonic stereo LP in 1975 (in Japan only), featuring noticeably different mixes of the tracks. Highly sought after by collectors, copies of this very rare version can sell for up to $500 today. The compilation goes in and out of print over the years as more comprehensive collections of the groups’ hits are issued in its place. It is remastered and reissued on CD one final time in 1998 before being deleted again in the mid 2000’s. “Greatest Hits” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twelve on the Top 200, selling over four million copies in the US alone.

On this day in music history: December 18, 196…

On this day in music history: December 18, 1969 – “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5”, the debut album by The Jackson 5 is released. Produced by Bobby Taylor and The Corporation, it is recorded at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA and Motown Studio A and Studio B in Detroit, MI from May – August, and October 1969. The album’s title suggests that the group was discovered by Ross, when in truth they had been initially been brought to Motown Records attention by Bobby Taylor and Gladys Knight. Though Ross had presented them in their first national television appearance. After The Jackson 5 are officially signed to Motown in March of 1969, Taylor is the first to take the group into the studio and begin recording them. Initially, he has them recording covers of songs from the Motown catalog like “Who’s Lovin’ You?” and “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” to more recent material like versions of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Stand!” and The Delfonics’ “Can You Remember”. Feeling that the group needs some “original” material, Berry Gordy creates “The Corporation”, a team of songwriters  and producers headed up by Deke Richards, including Freddie Perren, and Fonce Mizell.  While Richards, Perren and Mizell do the majority of the writing, arranging and production work, Gordy himself acts as the fourth member of the team, acting as a sounding board, contributing lyrics and song concepts. Issued the week of The Jackson 5’s first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, the album is major success.  It spins off their debut smash “I Want You Back” (#1 R&B and Pop) and go on to sell over five million copies worldwide. Some early pressings of the LP, including the original UK release feature the track “Nobody” with alternate vocals. First released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued numerous times over the years, most recently in 2016. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2009. “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5” spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number five on the Top 200.