Category: disco

On this day in music history: October 13, 19…

On this day in music history: October 13, 1978 – “Cheryl Lynn”, the debut album by Cheryl Lynn is released. Produced by David Paich and Marty Paich, it is recorded at Studio 55, Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, Western Recorders in Los Angeles, CA and CBS Recording Studios in New York City from Late 1977 – Mid 1978. Born Lynda Cheryl Smith in Los Angeles, CA, Cheryl Lynn grows up singing in church. She gets her first major break in the national touring company of “The Wiz”. Eventually she is promoted to a starring role, portraying Evillene, The Wicked Witch Of The West. Also that year, Lynn appears on the amateur talent program “The Gong Show”. Singing “You Are So Beautiful”, Cheryl Lynn earns a perfect score and wins the top prize. Little does she realize that TV appearance will change her life. After the show airs, she begins receiving phone calls from record executives, including Ahmet Ertegun from Atlantic Records. When Ertegun is unable to meet with the singer, she instead meets with execs from Columbia Records. Lynn is quickly signed by veteran A&R man Bruce Lundvall, who pairs her with David Paich of the band Toto. Paich works on Cheryl’s debut with his famous father, arranger and bandleader Marty Paich. A virtual “A-Team” of musicians are assembled for the sessions, including Ray Parker, Jr., David T. Walker, Steve Lukather (guitar), David Shields, Chuck Rainey (bass), James Gadson, Bernard Purdie (drums), Bobbye Hall, Harvey Mason, Joe Porcaro (percussion), Dick Hyde, Chuck Findley, Ernie Watts, Pete Christlieb, Gary Grant and Steve Madaio (horns). The album is led by the instant classic “Got To Be Real” (#1 R&B, #12 Pop), quickly establishing Lynn as a force to be reckoned with. It spins off two more singles including “Star Love” (#16 R&B, #62 Pop) and “You Saved My Day”. “Star Love” is unique in the fact that it is recorded almost completely live in the studio. Though not a hit at the time, “You Saved My Day” becomes an underground club classic over the years, with Columbia issuing the full unedited version as a promotional only 12" in the US. Over time, the rare single becomes a highly prized and expensive collector’s item, among club DJ’s and fans. “Day” is released as a limited edition 12" for Record Store Day in April of 2018. Originally released on CD in 1987, it is given a long overdue remastering and reissue in 2014 by UK reissue label SoulMusic Records. Produced and annotated by veteran music historian and journalist David Nathan, it features four additional bonus tracks including the shorter initial single release of “Got To Be Real”, also featured on the first pressing of the album, but eventually replaced with the longer “Disco Mix”. It also features the 12" and single edits of “Star Love” and promo 12" mix of “You Saved My Day”. “Cheryl Lynn” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty three on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 9, 1976 …

On this day in music history: October 9, 1976 – “A Fifth Of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #10 on the R&B singles chart on October 16, 1976, and peaking at #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart on July 10, 1976. Written and produced by Walter Murphy, it is the biggest hit for the New York City born and raised musician and arranger. Inspired by studio band Apollo 100’s rearrangement of Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” (released as “Joy” in 1972 #6 Pop), Murphy creates a disco arrangement of the first movement of the composers famous Fifth Symphony. After being turned down by several labels, the record is picked up by Private Stock Records. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on May 29, 1976, it makes a long, slow climb up the chart, reaching the top nineteen weeks later. A year after its chart topping success, the song is prominently featured in the film and on the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”, which wins the Grammy Award for Album Of The Year in 1979. Murphy has continued to have success as a composer and conductor, recording under the name Uncle Louie for TK Records offshoot Marlin Records in the late 70’s (“Full Tilt Boogie”, “I Like Funky Music”), and writing the music for the Emmy award winning animated series “Family Guy” since its debut in 1999, as well as “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad”. “A Fifth Of Beethoven” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 …

On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 – “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me” by Barry White hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on November 12, 1977. Written by Nelson Pigford and Ekundayo Paris, it is the fifth and final chart topping single for the R&B music icon also known as “The Maestro. Previously best known for singing on Bill Conti’s Oscar nominated "Gonna Fly Now”, the theme from the film “Rocky”, session singer Nelson Pigford collaborates with songwriter Ekundayo Paris (The Grass Roots’ “Sooner Or Later”) on some songs, hoping to get them recorded by someone. The “someone” in particular that their demo lands in the hands of is none other than Barry White.  One of the songs on the tape, simply titled “Ecstasy” piques his interest, though after hearing it, he also instinctively knows that it needs some work for it to realize its full potential. White will give it a dramatic rearrangement which bares almost no resemblance to the original composition. Now re-titled “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me”, the track is cut at Whitney Studios in Glendale, CA in the Spring of 1977. Even before the vocals are recorded, it is obvious to all involved that the song will be a smash. Released as the first single from White’s seventh album “Barry White Sings For Someone You Love” in mid July of 1977, it races up the R&B chart and pop singles charts. “It’s Ecstasy” also becomes a hit again in sample form as the basis of Mary J. Blige’s “You Bring Me Joy” in 1994, and Robbie Williams’ “Rock DJ” in 2000. “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 …

On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 – “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” by Meco hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the R&B singles chart on October 22, 1977. Written by John Williams, it is the biggest hit for the classically trained musician from Johnsonburg, PA. Musician and record producer Domenico “Meco” Monardo, impressed with composer/conductor Williams’ score for the blockbuster film “Star Wars”, re-arranges the entire score and condenses it into a fifteen minute long disco suite that is released on the album “Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk” (issued on Casablanca subsidiary Millennium Records). The track features a group of seventy five musicians including a number of first call studio players such as Steve Gadd, Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Neil Jason, David Spinozza, John Tropea, Alan Rubin, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Suzanne Ciani, and Gene Orloff. The main theme and “Cantina Band” are extracted from the extended track and edited down under three and a half minutes for the 45 release. It is also released as a promotional only 12" single featuring an edit running 7:35. The track is the first project to be mixed at the newly opened Power Station recording studios in New York City, a former Con Edison substation in Hell’s Kitchen converted into a state of the art recording facility. Released in July of 1977, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #71 on August 6, 1977, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. It’s also a big hit internationally, peaking at #7 on the UK singles chart. Out of print for many years following the demise of Casablanca Records, the promo 12" edit of the “Stars Wars Theme/Cantina Band” is reissued on “The Casablanca Records Story” box set in 1994. The album “Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk” is remastered and makes its CD debut in 1999, featuring contents of the original LP along with the promo 12" and 45 edits by Hip-O Records. It is also reissued on vinyl by UMe in 2015. “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1977 – “Keep It Comin’ Love” by KC & The Sunshine Band hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on October 1, 1977. Written by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the R&B Disco/Funk band from Hialeah, FL. With the back to back chart topping singles “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way (I Like It)” under their belts, KC & The Sunshine band continue their hit streak into 1976 when they release their fourth studio album titled “Part 3”. The lead single “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” released ahead of the album in May quickly become the bands third number one pop and R&B hit. Two more singles “I Like To Do It” (#4 R&B, #37 Pop) and their fourth chart topper “I’m Your Boogie Man” (#1 Pop & R&B) follow. Employing a similar writing technique used on “That’s The Way (I Like It)”, KC and bassist Richard Finch use the title “keep it comin’ love” along with the refrain “don’t stop it now, don’t stop it no, don’t stop it now, don’t stop”  as repetitive hooks to sear it in the listeners memory. The song is the final track on the album, directly segueing out of “I’m Your Boogie Man”. With many club DJ’s playing both cuts back to back, it is a natural for a future single release. After “Boogie Man” peaks,  KC & The Sunshine Band’s label TK Records issues “Keep It Comin’ Love” nine months after the initial release of “Part 3” in July of 1977. It quickly follows its predecessor up the charts, becoming the bands fourth million selling single, with the album also crossing the million mark in sales. It stops short of the top on the Hot 100, holding at #2 for three weeks when it is unable to unseat either Meco’s “Star Wars/Cantina Band” and  Debby’s Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”.

Born on this day: September 19, 1952 – Songwri…

Born on this day: September 19, 1952 – Songwriter, producer and rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Nile Rodgers of Chic (born Nile Gregory Rodgers in New York City, NY). Happy 66th Birthday, Nile!!!

On this day in music history: September 18, 19…

On this day in music history: September 18, 1976 – “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on September 4, 1976. Written by Robert Parrisi, it is the biggest hit for the funk/rock band from Steubenville, OH. The song is inspired when the band are playing a gig at the 2001 Club in Pittsburgh, PA when someone in the crowd shouts, “play some funky music, white boy” at the band. When Wild Cherry first record “Play That Funky Music”, it is not originally intended to be an A-side. Around the same time, they record a cover version of the Commodores hit “I Feel Sanctified”, thinking that it is the most likely to be a hit. The head of their label Sweet City Records disagrees, feeling that “Funky Music” is the stronger of the two.The label signs a distribution deal with Epic Records on the strength of that songs hit potential. Released as a single in March of 1976, the track first becomes a hit in US discos before crossing over to radio. By mid-Summer it is on its way to becoming a worldwide hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #96 on June 19, 1976, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. “Play That Funky Music” becomes only the third single in history to be officially certified platinum when it racks up sales of over 2.5 million copies in the US alone. The band also have the distinction of being one of only a small handful white artists to top the Billboard R&B singles chart during the last four decades (Daryl Hall & John Oates, George Michael, Lisa Stansfield, and Robin Thicke among them). The single also earns Wild Cherry two Grammy nominations including Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best New Artist. In 1991, Rob Parrisi wins a lawsuit against rapper Vanilla Ice when he samples “Play That Funky Music” without permission. Parrisi is awarded $500,000 in the suit. “Play That Funky Music” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: September 12, 1944 – Singer,…

Born on this day: September 12, 1944 – Singer, songwriter, producer and R&B music icon Barry White (born Barry Eugene Carter in Galveston, TX). Happy Birthday to “The Maestro” on what would have been his 74th Birthday. We love you, Barry!!

On this day in music history: September 8, 197…

On this day in music history: September 8, 1979 – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on October 13, 1979. Written by Michael Jackson, it is the second solo R&B and pop chart topper for the “King Of Pop”. Jackson writes “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” in late 1978 while walking around the grounds of the Jackson family home in Encino, CA. Enlisting the help of his younger siblings Randy and Janet, Michael records a demo of the song in the family’s home studio. The demo recording shows the basic structure largely completed including the melody, and sketches of the lyrics which are completed later. When Jackson and producer Quincy Jones begin work on “Off The Wall” in December of 1978, “Don’t Stop” is one of the first tracks recorded. The track features a number of top notch L.A. studio musicians including keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson, Rufus drummer John Robinson, guitarists David Williams and Marlo Henderson, and The Seawind Horns. Issued as the first single from “Off The Wall” on July 28, 1979, it is an immediate smash both on the dance floor and on radio.The song helps re-invent Jackson’s career, setting the stage for his adult megastar status. The single wins Jackson his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1980. “Don’t Stop Til you Get Enough” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 4, 197…

On this day in music history: September 4, 1976 – “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #4 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, it is the third US chart topper for the trio of brothers from the Isle Of Man, UK. Issued as the first single from the bands fourteenth album “Children Of The World”, the single and album mark a major turning point in the Bee Gees career. Having previously worked successfully with producer Arif Mardin on their comeback release “Main Course”, Mardin is not able to work with the group on the follow up, when the Bee Gees label RSO Records changes distribution from Atlantic Records to Polydor in 1976. Mardin is an Atlantic staff producer exclusively at the time and isn’t permitted to work with artists not on the label. Having gained experience from all they have learned about producing records from their mentor, the Bee Gees take over the production duties themselves with assistance from engineers Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson who become their co-producers. “You Should Be Dancing” is recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL in early 1976 with the Bee Gees band including Alan Kendall (lead guitar), Blue Weaver (keyboards), Dennis Bryon (drums), Joe Lala (percussion) along with Barry Gibb (rhythm guitar) and Maurice Gibb (bass). Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash happens to recording his album “Illegal Stills” in adjoining studio, also sits in on a session playing percussion. Entering the Hot 100 at #67 on July 4, 1976, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. A little more than a year after its release, “You Should Be Dancing” is featured prominently in the film “Saturday Night Fever” when it is used in an electrifying dance sequence featuring John Travolta, that is one of the films highlights. At the time of the singles original release, a slightly longer version of “Dancing” is issued as a promotional 12" single. Also featured on another promo 12" single issued to promote the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack in 1977, this mix finally sees its first commercial release in 1990 on the box set “Tales From The Brothers Gibb – A History In Song – 1967 – 1990”. The extended mix is also reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day in April of 2015, on a limited edition 12" single titled  "Bee Gees: Extended EP".  "You Should Be Dancing" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.