Category: live recording

On this day in music history: June 19, 1974 – …

On this day in music history: June 19, 1974 – “Marvin Gaye Live!”, the second live album (fifteenth release overall) by Marvin Gaye is released. Produced by Marvin Gaye, it is recorded at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA on January 4, 1974. Following the huge commercial and critical success of the “Let’s Get It On” album, Gaye embarks on a major US tour in support of it. Though he has to overcome often paralyzing stage fright that has kept him from performing in front of a live audience for several years. Appearing in front of a sold out crowd of over 14,000 cheering fans at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the electric atmosphere of the show is captured on the released album. The concerts centerpiece is his rendition of “Distant Lover”, which creates such a sensation on R&B radio stations that Motown release an edited version of the six minute plus song as a single (#15 R&B, #28 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1998, also being reissued as a limited edition SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2009, in a mini-LP sleeve replicating the original album package. “Marvin Gaye Live!” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number eight on the Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 12, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: June 12, 1981 – “Live In New Orleans”, the first live album (fifth overall) by Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly is released. Produced by Frankie Beverly, it is recorded at Saenger Theater in New Orleans, LA on November 14-15, 1980, and at The Automatt in San Francisco, CA from December 1980 – January 1981 (studio tracks). With their fourth album “Joy & Pain” hitting record store shelves in the Summer of 1980, Maze along with their leader and lead singer Frankie Beverly hit the road in support of that album. Just as sharp and polished on stage as they are in the studio, the band draw enthusiastic crowds, and in many cases playing sold out multi-night stands at large venues. Booked to play a sold out two night stand at the historic Saenger Theater in New Orleans, Maze decide to record the performances for a live album. Taking the stage like they own it, Frankie Beverly and Maze deliver soulful and engaging live versions of hits from their previous four albums. While mixing the live material, the band decide to record four new studio tracks to make up the double LP’s fourth side. Those songs include “Running Away” (#7 R&B), “We Need Love To Live” (#29 R&B) and “Reason”. The song that has the longest lasting impact is the second single “Before I Let Go” (#13 R&B). “Let Go” quickly becomes a stand out, even as the first single “Running Away” is climbing the charts. Released as the second single in August of 1981, the funky, uplifting vibe of “Before I Let Go”, turns it into big turntable hit on R&B radio, and becomes a staple of events and family gatherings in the African American community. It’s later co-opted in Hip Hop, being widely sampled and covered by various artists. The Funky Four + 1 are the first to borrow from it on their single “Do You Want To Rock” in 1982. Steady B. also samples it on “Use Me” in 1987, as will K-Solo on “Your Mom’s In My Business” in 1990, Keith Murray in 1996 on “The Rhyme”, and Eve on “Let Go (Hit The Dance Floor)” in 2003. Mary J. Blige covers the song in 2009 on a tribute album celebrating the music of Frankie Beverly and Maze. It’s also covered by Beyonce in 2019, for the film “Homecoming”. “Live In New Orleans” becomes one of their highest charting albums to date, and one of their biggest sellers. The performances are also video taped, and is originally released on laserdisc (in edited form) as “Happy Feelings – Live In New Orleans”. The home video release is remastered and reissued on DVD in 2001, with three additional music videos added. “Live In New Orleans” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty four on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 9, 1983 – &…

On this day in music history: June 9, 1983 – “Plays Live”, the first live album (fifth overall) by Peter Gabriel is released. Produced by Peter Gabriel and Peter Walsh, it is recorded circa Autumn 1982. The sixteen track double album features live performances recorded during Gabriel’s 1982 tour of the US and Canada in support of the “Peter Gabriel 4”(aka “Security”) album. The album also includes the studio recorded track “I Go Swimming” (#38 Mainstream Rock) which receives significant airplay. “I Don’t Remember” is also issued as a single in both the US and UK. When the album is originally issued on CD in 1985 it is in edited form (as “Plays Live – Highlights”) so that it fits on one disc. In 2002, it finally is released in its complete original form as a two CD set. “Plays Live” peaks at number eight on the UK album chart and number forty four on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 1, 1982 – &…

On this day in music history: June 1, 1982 – “Three Sides Live” by Genesis is released. Produced by Genesis, it is recorded at The Lyceum Ballroom in London on May 6, 1980, Savoy Theatre in New York on November 28, 1981, Nassau Coliseum in Nassau, L.I., NY on November 29, 1981, and National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, UK on December 23, 1981. The double LP is recorded live on the UK and US legs of their world tour in support of the “Abacab” album (The UK version includes two tracks dating back to tours in 1976 and 1978). The US and some European pressings of the album include new material recorded in the studio (initially released in the UK as the EP “3 x 3”), including the single “Paperlate” (#10 UK, #32 US Pop). Several shows on the tour are filmed for released for an accompanying concert video (taken mostly from the Nassau Coliseum shows) is released on VHS and laserdisc in late 1982 (reissued on DVD in 1991 and 2009). “Three Sides Live” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number ten 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 29, 1995 – &…

On this day in music history: May 29, 1995 – “Pulse” by Pink Floyd is released (US release is on June 6, 1995). Produced by James Guthrie and David Gilmour, it is recorded at Festa Nazionale dell’Unità in Modena, Italy, the Cinecittà in Rome, Italy, Niedersachsenstadion in Hannover, Germany and Earl’s Court in London from August 17, September 17, October 13 – 23, 1994. Recorded live during the UK and European legs of the “Division Bell” tour in 1994, the majority of the album is compiled from the band’s two week run of performances at Earl’s Court in London. The second disc of the album includes “The Dark Side Of The Moon” performed in its entirety as well as a performance of “Astronomy Domine”, which had not been performed live by the band since the early 70’s. The original CD release of the album comes with a flashing red LED light (powered by two AA batteries) in the spine. A limited edition four LP vinyl version of the album is also released (with “One Of These Days” included as a bonus track, also included on the cassette release). An accompanying home video release is issued in tandem with the album. Out of print since its original release in 1995, the vinyl LP box set is reissued on May 18, 2018, pressed on 180 gram vinyl and faithfully replicating the original packaging and booklet. “Pulse” enters the UK album chart and the Billboard Top 200 at number one, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 25, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 25, 1979 – “An Evening Of Magic… Live At The Hollywood Bowl”, the second live album by Chuck Mangione is released. Produced by Chuck Mangione, it is recorded at The Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA on July 16, 1978. Riding high off of the huge crossover success his smash album “Feels So Good”, musician Chuck Mangione and his band consisting of James “Jail Bait” Bradley (drums), Charles “Meat Man” Meeks (bass), “General” Grant Geissman (guitar) and Chris “Vadala” Vadala (flute, reeds) are booked to perform a one off concert at the landmark Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, July 16, 1978. The band play along side a seventy piece orchestra, with Mangione also using the occasion to publicly debut the parts of the score he has written for the film “Children Of Sanchez”. With little time to prepare for the concert with the LA Philharmonic, Mangione and the other musicians (also with concertmaster Gerry Vinci and musical coordinator Jeff Tkayzik), rehearse on the Chaplin Soundstage at A&M Studios, the day before. Unable to set up at the Bowl until the day of the performance, the musicians only have time for one final three hour rehearsal before the actual show that evening. This in itself proves to be a major challenge, with the temperature hovering near 100 degrees by midday, the short rehearsal time does not even give the band the opportunity to run through all of the music one complete time. In spite of concerns about how the show will go, it goes off flawlessly. Playing in front of a sold out crowd of over 18,000 fans, the performance is recorded and released as a fifteen track double live album, which captures the Chuck Mangione Quintet at their peak. Out of print for nearly ten years, the album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, by Universal Music Group’s Hip-O Records imprint. “An Evening Of Magic… Live At The Hollywood Bowl” peaks at number ten on the Billboard Jazz album chart, and number twenty seven on the Top 200.  

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On this day in music history: May 19, 1971 -…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1971 – “Aretha Live At The Fillmore West”, the second live album by Aretha Franklin (twentieth overall) is released. Produced by Jerry Wexler, it is recorded at the Fillmore West Auditorium in San Francisco, CA on March 5, 6 and 7, 1971. Seven months after the release of the “Spirit In The Dark” album, “The Queen Of Soul” plays a sold out three night stand at the famed San Francisco venue owned by concert promoter Bill Graham. The idea for the shows which are specifically recorded for a live album, is suggested by producer Jerry Wexler, connecting Franklin with the “hippie audience” in San Francisco. Along with her standard repertoire, she also performs covers of songs by The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Stephen Stills and Bread. For the concerts, Aretha is backed by many of the same musicians that have supported her on her studio recordings including Cornell Dupree (guitar), Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (drums), Jerry Jemmott (bass), King Curtis (saxophone, band leader), Truman Thomas (piano), The Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love) and The Sweethearts Of Soul (Brenda Bryant, Margaret Branch, Pat Smith) (background vocals). Musician Billy Preston (organ) also sits in with the band during the shows. The audience responds rapturously to the electrifying performances, which become a career highlight for Aretha Franklin. During the final night, she is joined on stage by Ray Charles who plays electric piano and duets on during the encore of “Spirit In The Dark”. The full performance of Aretha and Ray’s reprise of “Spirit” runs more than nineteen minutes, is pared down to eight and a half minutes when its included on the original album. The three nights of concerts are edited down to a ten track album. The public response to the album is swift and wildly enthusiastic, with many R&B radio stations playing large portions of it on the air. In 2005, an expanded version of the landmark album is released as a four CD box set titled “Don’t Fight The Feeling: The Complete Aretha Franklin & King Curtis Live At Fillmore West”. The box set limited to only 5,000 copies is released through the Rhino Handmade imprint. The following year, a two CD version is released, with the first disc featuring longer versions of the tracks which had been cut for time, on the original release. The second disc contains thirteen tracks and alternate performances from all three nights. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, the original 1971 version of the album is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by 4 Men With Beards Records. “Aretha Live At The Fillmore West” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number seven on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 16, 1970 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1970 – “Live At Leeds”, the first live album by The Who is released. Produced by Kit Lambert and The Who, it is recorded at Leeds University in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, UK on February 14, 1970. Following The Who’s extensive tour in support of the rock opera “Tommy”, they have accumulated over eighty hours of live recordings from the tour. Unwilling to take up the task of listening to and editing the hours and hours of tapes, they are destroyed (to prevent bootlegging). The band decide to start fresh, recording their performances at Leeds University and University Of Hull on February 14 and 15th, 1970. Technical problems with the Hull show recordings lead to them being shelved. The best parts of the Leeds show is compiled for the originally released LP, with the album package designed to look like a bootleg LP. The original vinyl LP comes in a pocketed gatefold sleeve with numerous inserts and a poster. The inserts include facsimiles of lyric sheets, copies of artist contracts, publicity photos and hand bills. The custom LP labels feature handwritten text with the legend “Crackling Noises O.K.. Do Not Correct!!”. Subsequent reissues of the album do away with the deluxe packaging, to save on manufacturing costs. Enthusiastically received upon its release, “Leeds” is not only regarded as one of The Who’s finest moments, but as one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. In 1995, the entire set (minus the “Tommy” performance) is released on CD for the first time, with a further reissue in 2001 when it is issued as a two CD Deluxe Edition also featuring “Tommy” (from the Hull University performance) played live in its entirety. Finally, a four CD set for “Leeds” 40th anniversary is released with both the complete Leeds and Hull shows. “Live At Leeds” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number four 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 11, 1970 – &…

On this day in music history: May 11, 1970 – “Woodstock: Music From The Original Soundtrack And More” is released. Produced by Eric Blackstead, it is recorded at Max Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, NY from August 15 – 18, 1969. The twenty one track three LP set serves as the soundtrack to historic three day concert and Oscar winning documentary film in which over a half a million people attend. Recorded by engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, KISS), the album features performances from Richie Havens, Canned Heat, The Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Santana, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Country Joe & The Fish, The Who, The Butterfield Blues Band, Sly & The Family Stone, John Sebastian, Arlo Guthrie, and Jimi Hendrix. The soundtrack is a huge success and spins off a sequel album the following year featuring more performances from the festival. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the festival in 1994, Atlantic reissues the albums as a four CD box set including previously released performances. A further expanded six CD box set issued in 2009 for Woodstock’s 40th anniversary that include more unreleased material. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the festival, a limited edition triple vinyl LP set, featuring the previously promo only mono version (sourced from soundboard recordings and the mono LP fold down mixes) of the landmark soundtrack is released on Record Store Day on April 13, 2019. “Woodstock” spends four weeks at number one 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 10, 1971 – &…

On this day in music history: May 10, 1971 – “11-17-70” (UK title 17-11-70), the fifth album by Elton John is released (UK release date is on April 9, 1971). Produced by Gus Dudgeon, it is recorded at A&R Recording Studios in New York City on November 17, 1970. With his career beginning to catch fire in the US in the Fall of 1970 after his triumphant shows at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA, Elton John performs a concert that is broadcast live over the radio. While in the midst of promoting the just released “Tumbleweed Connection” album, Elton accompanied by bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson, the trio perform in front of a small audience within the confines of A&R Studios in New York City. The eighty minute concert is broadcast live over the air by legendary New York radio station WABC. The show which includes material from the “Elton John” and “Tumbleweed” albums and a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women”, he also debuts material from the then as yet to be released soundtrack to the film “Friends” which debuts in April of 1971. Initially there is no intention for the radio broadcast to be released as an album, but fate has other plans when bootleg albums of the concert begin surfacing almost immediately. With John having three albums charting simultaneously by the Spring of 1971, his respective record labels (Uni in the US and DJM in the UK) say no to releasing a live album, fearing a glut of product in the marketplace. Producer Gus Dudgeon convinces them otherwise, paring the nearly hour and a half long concert down to a single forty eight minute long album containing only six of the thirteen songs performed. At the time, the album makes Elton John the first artist since The Beatles to place four albums in the Top 100 of the Billboard pop album chart. Nearly twenty five years goes by before any other material from the concert sees a legitimate commercial release. In 1995 when “11-17-70” is remastered and reissued on CD, “Amoreena” is added to the new reissue. On April 22, 2017, the complete concert is finally reissued as a limited edition double LP vinyl set for Record Store Day, restoring the other six songs. The set is remastered by Bob Ludwig and Clive Franks, with the LP lacquers being cut by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios in London. “11-17-70” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200.

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