Category: heavy metal

On this day in music history: August 21, 1987 …

On this day in music history: August 21, 1987 – “The $5.98 E.P. – Garage Days Re-Revisited” by Metallica is released. Produced by Metallica, it is recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA and Conway Studios in Los Angeles, CA in July 1987. Still reeling after the death of their friend and co-founding member Cliff Burton, the surviving members of Metallica find it difficult to work for several months. Even with Burton’s replacement Jason Newsted having proved his mettle and having survived an intense “hazing period” during his initial months as a band member, Metallica are still having a hard time writing new material for the follow up to “Master Of Puppets”. The pressure to come up with a new release nearly causes the band to implode. Things are further complicated when guitarist and lead vocalist James Hetfield breaks his wrist while skateboarding, forcing the band to take even a longer hiatus from the studio. We he recovers, they come up with a different plan to continue. In order to get back up and running, and break in their new bassist, Metallica decide to record an EP rather than a full album with original material. The five song vinyl EP (also issued on CD with the amended title “The $9.98 EP”) features covers of some of the bands favorite New Wave, British Heavy Metal and Hardcore Punk songs. Metallica includes the list price in the title to insure that fans are not overcharged for it by retailers. The EP goes out of print in the 90’s, and becomes a much sought after and high priced collectible among fans until it is reissued in 1998 in expanded form as “Garage, Inc.”. Out of print for nearly thirty years in its original form, the EP is reissued on limited edition 180 gram orange colored and standard black vinyl, cassette and CD on April 13, 2018. The vinyl reissue also comes with a mp3 download card of the full EP contents. The CD edition also comes packaged in a cardboard long box, like the original 1987 release, with the added feature of the box sporting a lenticular cover. “The $5.98 E.P. – Garage Days Re-Revisited” peaks at number twenty eight 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: August 12, 1991 …

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.

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On this day in music history: July 27, 1984 – …

On this day in music history: July 27, 1984 – “Ride The Lightning”, the second album by Metallica is released. Produced by Fleming Rasmussen and Metallica, it is recorded at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark from February 20 – March 14, 1984. After the underground success of their debut release “Kill ‘Em All” and the subsequent tour to support it, Metallica begin writing new material for the follow up, road testing many of the new songs before going into the studio. For their sophomore release, the band work with Danish recording engineer and producer Flemming Rasmussen, beginning a collaboration that lasts over the next four years. The band and Rasmussen work quickly, recording the new album in only three and a half weeks. Like their debut, “Lightning” is very well received by fans and critics, being praised as an “instant classic”, featuring several songs that become staples of Metallica’s live concerts, including “Fade To Black”, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Creeping Death”. Without mainstream radio play, the album is steady seller, moving more than a half million copies in short order, after the band signs with Elektra Records only seven weeks after its release by Megaforce. Elektra re-releases the album on November 19, 1984. “Ride The Lightning” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 25, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: July 25, 1983 – “Kill ‘Em All”, the debut album by Metallica is released. Produced by Paul Curcio, it is recorded at Music America Studios in Rochester, NY from May 10 – 27, 1983. The San Francisco, CA based thrash metal band temporarily relocates to the east coast to record their first album after being signed by indie metal label Megaforce Records. Prior to going into the studio, there is one major personnel change when original guitarist Dave Mustaine is fired (for drug and alcohol abuse) and is replaced by Kirk Hammett. Mustaine goes on to form Megadeth after leaving Metallica. The album’s original working title “Metal Up Your Ass” is changed when Megaforce refuses to release it under that title. Bassist Cliff Burton comes up with the new title “Kill ‘Em All” after Burton is quoted as saying “why don’t we just kill ’em all?” when record distributors are apprehensive to sell the record with its original title. Though only a modest success upon its initial release, the album will contain a number of songs that become staples of Metallica’s live performances, becoming fan favorites including “Seek & Destroy”, “No Remorse” and “Jump In The Fire”. “Kill ‘Em All” is reissued by Elektra Records in 1987 (followed by a second issue in 1988 with two additional tracks) after the band is signed to the label first peaking at number one hundred fifty five on the Billboard Top 200, eventually reaching a chart peak of number one hundred twenty in 1988. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 1995, with its original ten song track listing, with a double vinyl LP reissue released by Rhino Records, and mastered at 45 RPM in 2004. Another limited reissue of the double vinyl LP is released in 2010, pressed on translucent red vinyl. On April 16, 2016, a limited edition numbered deluxe boxed edition (3 LP’s, 5 CD’s + 1 DVD) of the album is released. The box includes the original LP, with the second LP including  a two LP live concert recorded at Live At Espace Balard in Paris, France on February 9th, 1984. The third disc is a three track 12" picture disc EP titled “Jump In The Fire”. The set also comes with five CD’s, featuring the original “Kill ‘Em All” album, interviews, radio station ID’s, rough mixes,  the “Whiplash EP”, and a live performance recorded at the Keystone Corner in Palo Alto, CA on Halloween night of 1983. The DVD features a live performance of Metallica at The Metro in Chicago, IL on August 12th, 1983.  Finally, the box also includes a 72 page book and a sew on embroidered patch. “Kill ‘Em All” is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 17, 1982 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1982 – “Screaming For Vengeance”, the eighth studio album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Ibiza Sound Studios in Ibiza, Spain in Early 1982. After having their commercial breakthrough in the US with the albums “British Steel” and “Point Of Entry”, Judas Priest return to the studio in early 1982 to record their eighth album. Once again, they record on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza (for tax purposes)The veteran heavy metal bands eighth release is their most successful to date in the US, spinning off two singles including “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” (#67 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock) and “Electric Eye” (#38 Mainstream Rock). The band also tour extensively in support of the album and other metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Krokus and Uriah Heep opening for them on the US leg. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, with two additional bonus tracks added. The expanded reissue is also released as a double vinyl LP by Back On Black Records in 2010, pressed on green, yellow, orange and standard black vinyl. “Screaming For Vengeance” peaks at number seventeen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 25, 1983 – &…

On this day in music history: May 25, 1983 – “Holy Diver”, the debut album by Dio is released. Produced by Ronnie James Dio, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA in Early 1983. The first album for the former Black Sabbath and Rainbow lead singer follows a central theme of the clash between good and evil forces. The album spins off two singles including “Rainbow In The Dark” (#14 Mainstream Rock) and the title track (#40 Mainstream Rock). Well received upon its release, in time it is regarded as Dio’s best album and one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. The albums cover artwork features a painting of a devil slaying a cleric, featuring the first appearance of the bands mascot “Murray” who is featured on several other albums by the band. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued by Vertigo/UMe in 2008, and a limited edition double LP set (on standard black and limited edition red vinyl) in 2010. It is reissued again in 2011 as a limited edition picture disc (Europe only) as part of UMe’s “Back To Black” vinyl reissue series. It is remastered and reissued in the US in January of 2018, as part of Rhino Records’ “Start Your Ear Of Right” series, pressed on red vinyl. “Holy Diver” peaks at number fifty six 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 10, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: May 10, 1984 – “Stay Hungry”, the third studio album by Twisted Sister is released. Produced by Tom Werman, it is recorded at Cherokee Studios, Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA and The Record Plant in New York City from Late 1983 – Early 1984. Having played together with various line ups since 1972, Twisted Sister record and release their first album “Under The Blade” for indie label Secret Records in 1982. While promoting that release in the UK they make an appearance on the popular music show The Tube, which attracts the attention of Atlantic Records who sign them on the strength of that performance. They record their second full length “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” with producer Stuart Epps released in June of 1983. It performs well enough for the label to allow them to follow it up. Now paired with veteran rock producer Tom Werman (Blue Öyster Cult, Mötley Crüe, Cheap Trick), the end result is the most successful album of Twisted Sister’s career. It spins off three singles including “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (#21 Pop, #20 Mainstream Rock), and “I Wanna Rock” (#68 Pop, #35 Mainstream Rock). Those singles are supported by memorable and humorous music videos directed by Marty Callner (Aerosmith, Cher) featuring the band with actor Mark Metcalf (“Animal House”). In 2009, the album is remastered and reissued as a two CD deluxe edition to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its original release. The first disc contains the original nine song album, with disc two features eighteen additional tracks, including previously unreleased demos, outtakes, a radio spot recorded for Los Angeles station KMET, and one new track. It is also concurrently reissued as vinyl LP, pressed on bubblegum pink and translucent pink vinyl and packaged with a poster. A second limited edition vinyl reissue, pressed on multi splatter colored vinyl is released as  part of Rhino Records “Rocktober” series in October of 2016. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl, it also comes with a full sized poster of the band. “Stay Hungry” peaks at number fifteen 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: April 14, 1980 -…

On this day in music history: April 14, 1980 – “British Steel”, the sixth album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Startling Studios in Ascot, UK from January – February 1980. After an extended world tour to promote their previous studio release “Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather” and the subsequent live album “Unleashed In The East”, Judas Priest return to the studio at the beginning of 1980 to work on their next full length LP. The band record the album on the English country estate (Tittenhurst Park) formerly owned by John Lennon (now owned by Ringo Starr). It is their first album to feature all original material written by the band, and the first to include new drummer Dave Holland (replacing Les Binks). The album is the British heavy metal bands breakthrough release in the US, and includes the classics “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”. “Law” is promoted with a music video directed by Julien Temple (“The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle”, “Absolute Beginners”), with the band holding up a bank (with guitars), breaking into the vault and robbing it of a gold record award for their own album. The video and song are later parodied on the MTV series “Beavis & Butthead”, and on an episode of “The Simpsons”. Judas Priest’s original version is also featured on the video game Guitar Hero Live. The album is remastered and reissued in 2010 as a CD/DVD 30th anniversary edition with the CD including two live bonus tracks. The DVD features live performances, and a documentary on the making of the album. It is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by UK label Simply Vinyl in 2001, with a later reissue from Sony Legacy in 2008. And in 2010. UK reissue label Back On Black releases various pressings of “Steel” on red, clear, blue and standard black vinyl, also as a limited edition picture disc. “British Steel” peaks at number four on the UK album chart, number thirty four 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: April 7, 1987 …

On this day in music history: April 7, 1987 – “Whitesnake”, the seventh album by Whitesnake is released. Produced by Mike Stone and Keith Olsen, it is recorded at Mountain Studios in Vancouver, BC, Canada and Goodnight LA Studios in Los Angeles, CA from September 1985 – November 1986. The band experience numerous setbacks before and after recording starts. Lead singer David Coverdale suffers a serious sinus infection that requires surgery (for a deviated septum) and significant recovery time. Drummer Cozy Powell and Coverdale’s working relationship also become strained, leading to Powell leaving band. He is replaced by veteran rock drummer Aynsley Dunbar (Journey, Jefferson Starship). Once recording gets underway again in August of 1986, there are more changes along the way. They bring in additional musicians including guitarist Adrian Vandenburg, who is eventually asked to join the band. The album becomes their most successful spinning off five singles including “Here I Go Again” (#1 Pop), “Is This Love” (#2 Pop) and “Still Of The Night” (#79 Pop), all of which are supported with videos featuring David Coverdale’s then girlfriend (later wife), actress Tawny Kitaen. The European and US releases of the album differ from the former featuring a different running order and two additional tracks (“Looking for Love” and “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”), not included on the US pressing. Also, the songs “Here I Go Again” and “Crying In The Rain” are newly recorded versions originally released on the bands 1982 album “Saints And Sinners”. Due to the album being eponymously titled, in some foreign territories, it is known as “1987” (or “Whitesnake 1987”). The re-titling is done, to avoid confusion with a solo album by Coverdale titled “White Snake”. The album is remastered and reissued in 2007 for its twentieth anniversary as a CD + DVD deluxe edition. The CD features the original eleven song album with four additional live bonus tracks. The DVD disc includes all four of the original music videos made for the singles, plus four live performances. It is also remastered and reissued on vinyl in 2012. “Whitesnake” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 29, 1982 -…

On this day in music history: March 29, 1982 – “The Number Of The Beast”, the third album by Iron Maiden is released. Produced by Martin Birch, it is recorded at Battery Studios in London from January – February 1982. Following the release and tour for their second album “Killers”, the band’s previous lead singer Paul Di’Anno is fired due to his ongoing alcohol and cocaine abuse. The follow up album is the first to feature new lead singer Bruce Dickinson who contributes heavily to the new material, but is unable to receive proper credit for legal reasons. Spinning off three singles including “Run To The Hills”, it is the bands most successful release to date, and is regarded as a landmark heavy metal album. Following the release of the album, a number of stories about its recording circulate in the music press and among fans about by several unexplained events that take place during the recording. Several times, the lights inside of Battery Studios switch on and off on their own, recording gear breaks down mysteriously, and producer Martin Birch is involved in a minor car accident running into a bus transporting a group of nuns. Reportedly, he receives a bill for damages amounting to £666. First issued on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued in 1998 as a double CD (Europe only) and single disc set. The import edition features two bonus tracks on the second CD (an enhanced CD)with the music videos for “Run To The Hills” and the title track. Out of print on vinyl for over two decades, it is reissued by UMe (Universal Music Enterprises) in 2012 as a limited edition picture disc. “The Number Of The Beast” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number thirty three on the Hot 100, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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