On this day in music history: August 25, 1988 – “…And Justice For All”, the fourth album by Metallica is released. Produced by Metallica and Flemming Rasmussen, it is recorded at One On One Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January 28 – May 1, 1988. When the bands regular producer Flemming Rasmussen isn’t available, Metallica begin the recording sessions with producer Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses). When things don’t work out with Clink, Rasmussen takes over co-production when his schedule frees up. The material Clink records with Metallica are issued as single B-sides and on the compilation album “Garage, Inc”. Many of the songs follow the themes of injustice in politics and the legal system (specifically in war, censorship, and the arms race), backed by some of the bands most musically complex arrangements to date. The album is first full length release to feature bassist Jason Newsted, and spins off four singles including the epic “One” which is based on the novel and film “Johnny Got His Gun” (starring Jason Robards. The songs video incorporates footage, as well as dialogue into the track. The album receives a Grammy Nomination for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1987, and infamously loses the award to Jethro Tull’s “Crest Of A Knave”. Reissued numerous times on CD and vinyl since its initial release, it is remastered and reissued as a double vinyl LP set in 2008, to commemorate its twentieth anniversary. It is also released as a limited edition four LP box set, mastered at 45 RPM. The box set is given another limited run in 2011, pressed on green vinyl, quickly selling out and turning into a sought after collector’s item. “…And Justice For All” peak at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 – “Ritual De Lo Habitual”, the second studio album by Jane’s Addiction is released. Produced by Dave Jerden and Perry Ferrell, it is recorded at Track Record Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Mid 1989 – Mid 1990. After the acclaim they receive for their major label debut “Nothing’s Shocking”, Jane’s Addiction return to the studio to record the follow up. With the band already on unstable ground due to personality clashes and substance abuse, they make slow progress working on the album. In spite of the tension, Jane’s Addiction emerge from the studio with what many regard as their best album. It spins off four singles including “Stop!” (#1 Modern Rock) and “Been Caught Stealing” (#1 Modern Rock, #2 Mainstream Rock). Like their previous album, the cover artwork for “Ritual” sparks controversy also. The cover designed by lead singer Perry Ferrell shows a paper mache diorama of the singer lying in bed naked with two women and the figures genitalia semi exposed. As a result, several music retailers refuse to stock the album with the original artwork. A second cover for those stores is prepared featuring a stark white cover with the artist name, album title and Article 1 of First Amendment of the US Constitution stating the amendment of free speech. It also includes the additional text on the back cover,“Hitler’s syphilis-ridden dreams almost came true. How could it happen? By taking control of the media. An entire country was led by a lunatic… We must protect our First Amendment, before sick dreams become law. Nobody made fun of Hitler??!” To support the album, Jane’s Addiction tour heavily, embarking on the first Lollapalooza Tour across the US in mid 1991. The bands already deteriorating relationships finally implode at the end of the tour, leading to Jane’s Addiction disbanding and not playing together as a unit again until 1997, then recording a new album in 2003. Though in both cases it is without original bassist Eric Avery who declines to participate in the reunions. “Ritual De Lo Habitual” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 – “Facelift”, the debut album by Alice In Chains is released. Produced by Dave Jerden, it is recorded at London Bridge Studio in Seatte, WA and Capitol Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA from December 1989 – April 1990. Having gone through number of different line ups and name changes prior to recording their first album, the Seattle, WA based grunge rock band attracts major label interest based on the strength of their demo tape “The Treehouse Tapes” which they have been selling at their live shows. Their managers send a copy to Sony A&R man Nick Terzo, who in turn plays it for his boss Don Ienner. Columbia Records quickly sign them and make them a top priority. Prior to the sessions, drummer Sean Kinney breaks his hand but record with the band in spite of the injury. It spins off four singles including “Man In The Box” (#18 Mainstream Rock), “Sea Of Sorrow” (#27 Mainstream Rock), and “We Die Young”. The album sells slowly at first, until the video for “Man” goes into heavy rotation on MTV, giving the band widespread exposure. This makes Alice In Chains the first of the Seattle grunge rock bands to breakthrough (ahead of contemporaries like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam) on a commercial basis. “Facelift” peaks at number forty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Born on this day: August 20, 1949 – Phil Lynott, lead singer and bassist of Thin Lizzy (born Philip Parris Lynott in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, UK). Happy Birthday to this rock legend on what would have been his 70th Birthday.
On this day in music history: August 18, 1987 – “Permanent Vacation”, the ninth studio album by Aerosmith is released. Produced by Bruce Fairbairn, it is recorded at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, BC, Canada from March – May 1987. Following the failure of the bands 1985 album “Done With Mirrors”, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry’s collaboration with RUN DMC on the remake of Aerosmith’s classic “Walk This Way” set the wheels in motion for the second and most successful phase of their career. The band’s A&R man, John Kalodner is also instrumental in helping chart the course for Aerosmith’s return to commercial prominence. Kalodner suggests that that the band work with veteran producer Fairbairn (Bon Jovi, KISS, AC/DC) and collaborate with several different songwriters including Desmond Child, Holly Knight, and Jim Vallance, the album marks the beginning of a major comeback Aerosmith. It spins off three singles including “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” (#14 Pop), “Angel” (#3 Pop), and “Rag Doll” (#17 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2010, and is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2016. “Permanent Vacation” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 15, 1979 – “In Through The Out Door”, the eighth studio album by Led Zeppelin is released. Produced by Jimmy Page, it is recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden in November – December 1978. Recorded at ABBA’s recording studio while the band are tax exiles from the UK, it features a stronger musical presence from lead singer Robert Plant and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones. At the time, guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham are having their own struggles with alcohol and substance abuse. This results in less group collaboration than on previous albums. Plant and Jones often work together on tracks during the day, while Page and Bonham overdub their parts at night. The album cover art (designed by Hipgnosis) is issued with six different variations, and inserted into a brown paper bag with the band name and title rubber stamped on the front, with no indication which cover you are purchasing. On the original press run, the album jackets are coated with a dark finish that can be wiped off with a damp cloth or sponge to reveal the full color image underneath. In July of 2015, the album is remastered and reissued on CD and vinyl, including a boxed Super Deluxe edition with previously unreleased rough mixes of the songs as works in progress. “In Through The Out Door” spends seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 12, 1991 – “Metallica”, the fifth album by Metallica is released. Produced by Bob Rock, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, it is recorded at One On One Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA and Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, B.C., Canada from October 6, 1990 – June 16, 1991. Impressed with his work on label mate Mötley Crüe’s “Dr. Feelgood” album, the veteran metal band hire producer Bob Rock to produce the follow up to their successful fourth album “…And Justice For All”. Musically, it differs from previous Metallica albums, with many of the songs having slower tempos than the band’s trademark high velocity “thrash metal” style. The recording sessions with Rock are often tense as he pushes the band members outside their normal comfort zone within the studio. The intense atmosphere spills over into their personal lives as well, with Hetfield, Ulrich and bassist Jason Newsted all winding up divorced from their spouses by the time recording is completed. In spite of all of the turmoil, the album is a huge critical and commercial success, launching Metallica into the mainstream on a worldwide basis. Nicknamed “The Black Album” by fans (for its stark black cover featuring the bands logo and a coiled snake in dark grey print), it spins off six singles including “Enter Sandman” (#16 Pop, #10 Mainstream Rock), “Sad But True” (#98 Pop, #15 Mainstream Rock), “The Unforgiven” (#35 Pop, #10 Mainstream Rock) and “Nothing Else Matters” (#34 Pop, #11 Mainstream Rock). The album wins a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1992. Available on vinyl only sporadically since its original limited run in the format in 1991, the album is issued equally limited pressings as a four LP set mastered at 45 RPM in 2008, and a two LP set by Simply Vinyl in 2000. It is remastered an reissued again as a double vinyl 180 gram LP set in 2015. “Metallica” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 16x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Ceritification.