On this day in music history: December 9, 1972 – “Hot August Night”, the tenth album by Neil Diamond is released. Produced by Tom Catalano, it is recorded at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA on August 24, 1972. It is Diamond’s second live album, the twenty two track double LP set is taken from a single performance recorded on August 24, 1972 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA, in the middle of a run of ten sold out shows at the famed outdoor venue. It is a huge critical and commercial success for Diamond, and establishes his reputation for dynamic live performances captured on the album. It also is his final release for MCA Records before signing a lucrative and long term contract with Columbia Records. The album spins off three sequels released in 1977 (“Love At The Greek”), 1987 (“Hot August Night II”) and 2009 (“Hot August Night/NYC”). The album is remastered and reissued as a two CD set in 2000, and again in 2012 for its fortieth anniversary with additional tracks that were cut due to the time constraints of vinyl. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, the original version is reissued by UMe in 2012, and reissued again in 2017. “Hot August Night” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 22, 1988 – “The Delicate Sound Of Thunder”, the fourteenth album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Pink Floyd, it is recorded at The Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I., NY from August 19 – 23, 1988. Recorded live during a five night stand on the US leg of Pink Floyd’s tour in support of their most recent studio album “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”, the fifteen track double live LP features in concert performances of several Floyd classics as well as newer material. The cassette and CD configurations includes the track “Us And Them”, which is cut of the vinyl release due to time constraints. There are also an additional seven songs played on the shows that are cut from the final track listing. The shows the live album is culled from are also filmed, providing a major part of the live concert footage for the home video release “Pink Floyd In Concert – Delicate Sound Of Thunder” (released on VHS and Laserdisc in June of 1989). The album is most recently remastered and reissued on CD in 2016, also reissued as a two LP 180 gram set in 2017. “The Delicate Sound Of Thunder” peaks at number eleven on both the UK album chart and Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 12, 1984 – “Arena”, the fourth album by Duran Duran is released. Produced by Duran Duran and Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at The Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA, The Forum in Los Angeles, CA, Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada and Wembley Arena in London from December 1983 – April 1984 (live tracks) and Maison Rouge Studios in London in July 1984 (studio track only). Recorded live during the bands’ “Sing Blue Silver” World Tour, the ten track album also includes the newly recorded studio track “The Wild Boys” (#2 Pop for 4 weeks) produced by Nile Rodgers. The video for the single is an elaborate short film directed by Russell Mulcahy based on the William Burroughs novel “The Wild Boys: A Book Of The Dead”. The clip is shot on the 007 Sound stage at Pinewood Studios in London at a cost of over one million dollars, making it one of the most expensive music videos made to that date. That track is followed by “Save A Prayer” (#12 Pop) in January of 1985. Though the live version is featured on the single release, it regulated to the B-side, with an edit of the original studio version from “Rio” garnering airplay instead from radio. The original LP is packaged in a gatefold sleeve (designed by Assorted Images) with a bonus photo booklet of the band in live performance. Duran Duran also releases a feature length documentary in December of 1984 titled “Sing Blue Silver”, featuring live and behind the scenes footage of the tour, and the live concert film “Arena (An Absurd Notion)” in March of 1985. Both are later reissued together on DVD in 2004 by EMI Home Video. The album is remastered and reissued in 2004 with two additional bonus tracks left off of the original release. “Arena” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 10, 1986 – “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live 1975-85” by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band is released. Produced by Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin and Bruce Springsteen, it is recorded in various locations from October 18, 1975 – September 30, 1985. The first career spanning album to document Springsteen’s legendary live performances, it is released as a forty song compilation issued on five LP’s, three CD’s and three cassettes. The box set is compiled from a decades’ worth of live performances, and in response to fans persistent requests for a high quality release of that material, in the place of bootlegs. Sequenced mostly in chronological order, it begins in 1975 when Bruce Springsteen makes his commercial breakthrough with “Born To Run”, and ending with the “Born In The USA” tour in 1985. “Live 1975-85” ships over 1.5 million copies, setting a sales record for a multi-album set. The album spins off two singles including “War” (#8 Pop), and “Fire” (#46 Pop).
The single release of “Fire” features the non-LP B-side “Incident On 57th Street”. Clocking in at 10:03, it is one of the longest tracks ever cut on to one side of a 7" single disc.
The live compilation enters the Billboard Top 200 at #1, making it the first album since Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life” achieved that feat in October of 1976. Originally released in a 12" x 12" box for all three configurations, the album is reissued on CD in 1997 in a 6" x 12" box with the booklet sized down in similar fashion, and in 2002 the packaging is reconfigured again with the three CD set being reduced to a jewel case sized box housed in an outer slip case. “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live 1975-85” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200, spending seven weeks at the top and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: November 8, 1994 – “Hell Freezes Over”, the eighth album by the Eagles is released. Produced by Stan Lynch, Elliot Scheiner, Carol Donovan and Rob Jacobs, it is recorded at Warner Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA (live tracks), The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, CA and Sound Interchange Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (studio tracks) from April – August 1994. It is the first new album from the Eagles in fourteen years. It takes its title from a statement made by Don Henley (commenting that the band would play together again “when hell freezes over”.) after the Eagles’ tumultuous parting of ways in July of 1980. thirteen of the fifteen songs on the album are taken from a live acoustic set taped over two nights for an MTV special in April 1994, and is augmented by four new studio recordings (“Get Over It”, “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, “The Girl From Yesterday”, “Learn To Be Still”). It is a huge critical and commercial success, and is also issued concurrently on home video which also becomes a best seller (certified 8x Platinum). The home video release also features a 5.1 surround mix in Dolby Digital and DTS, also issued as separate a DTS disc. The album is remastered and reissued on CD and as a double vinyl LP set, as part of the box set “Eagles Legacy” released on November 2, 2018. The vinyl release marks the first time “Hell Freezes Over” has been available in that format, since its original limited release in 1994. “Hell Freezes Over” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200, spending two weeks at the top, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 7, 1980 – “Eagles Live” by the Eagles is released. Produced by Bill Szymczyk, it is recorded at The Forum in Inglewood, CA, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, CA and Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, CA on October 20 – 22, 1976 and July 27 and 31, 1980. With the Eagles owing their label Asylum Records a live album as part of their contract, the fifteen track double LP set features material recorded live during the bands’ tour in support of “The Long Run” album as well as tracks recorded during their US tour in 1976 for the “One Of These Nights” album. It also includes a cover of country singer Steve Young’s “Seven Bridges Road” (#21 Pop) which is released as a single. The band calls it quits after a show at the Long Beach Arena in July of 1980, where rising tensions between Glenn Frey and Don Felder during their performance come to head after the show. With the band members not speaking to each other, except through their manager Irving Azoff and their attorneys, the live album features numerous post production overdubs recorded separately, by shipping the multi-tracks around by Federal Express. The recordings are post produced to the degree, that many feel that it is a live album in name only. The band had been offered an additional $2 million by Asylum to record two new songs for the set. The Eagles refuse the offer, due to their virtual burn out from the endless cycle of recording and touring, topped by the struggle of recording “The Long Run” album. The original LP package drops a highly symbolic and less than subtle hint of the bands volatile relationship with the LP’s custom labels. They reveal images of a bird’s nest with eggs and hand grenades in it. The four album sides also have messages etched into the run out grooves including: Side 1: Is it illegal to yell “movie!” in a firehouse?, Side 2: “Hello, Federal?…Ship it!”, Side 3: Not Tonight, Thanks…, and Side 4: …I’ve gotta rest up for my monster". Originally released on CD in 1989, it is remastered and reissued in 1999.“Eagles Live” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 25, 1969 – “Ummagumma”, the fourth album by Pink Floyd is released (US release is on November 10, 1969). Produced by Pink Floyd and Norman Smith, it is recorded at the Mothers Club in Birmingham, UK on April 27, 1969, Manchester College of Commerce in Manchester, UK on May 2, 1969 (live tracks), and Abbey Road Studios in London in June 1969. The nine track double album by the UK progressive rock band consists of four tracks from their then current live set list and five newly recorded tracks in the studio. The albums’ title comes from a Pink Floyd roadie who describes it as a euphemism for “sex”. Though the album is well received by fans and critics, though the band themselves later admit to not being fond of it, feeling it to be to be “excessive” and “a failed experiment”, especially the studio half. The original LP cover art features a photo of the band with a picture hanging on a wall of them in the same pose but with everyone in a different place. The photo is also notable as it shows a copy of the “Gigi” soundtrack album on the floor next to guitarist David Gilmour. The US and Canadian covers is airbrushed white on subsequent re-pressings (over copyright concerns). The cover art is eventually restored when it is reissued on CD. Reissued numerous times over the years, the album is most recently remastered and reissued on CD in 2011. It is also reissued as a double vinyl 180 gram LP set in 2016, replicating the original UK album packaging. “Ummagumma” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number seventy four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 24, 1962 – “Live At The Apollo” by James Brown & The Famous Flames is recorded. Produced by James Brown, it is recorded at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY on October 24, 1962 (midnight performance). Brown records his live show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, against the advice of King Records chief Syd Nathan who believes a live recording with no new material will not sell. Undaunted, Brown finances the recording himself, hiring a mobile recording unit (recorded completely live to three-track tape with no post production overdubs) to capture the performance. The results are undeniably electric, and upon its release in May of 1963 it creates an immediate sensation. The album exposes James Brown to a wider audience beyond his loyal R&B fan base, selling over a million copies in the US alone. In spite of its long standing popularity, the album is not released on CD until 1990. The original first generation stereo master tapes were lost for many years between the time when ownership of Brown’s masters are transferred from King to Polydor Records. The only accessible tapes before then, were second and third generation dubs deemed unsuitable for remastering. Jazz archivist Phil Schaap finds the missing tapes in the Polygram tape vault in Edison, NJ in early 1990, while doing research for another project. Following its 1990 CD debut, it is remastered and reissued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 1993, using the original 1962 “wide” stereo mix, rather than the stereo mixes used for the Polydor CD. The album is remastered and reissued in 2004 with four additional bonus, including the single versions of “Think”, “I’ll Go Crazy” and “Lost Someone”. Out on print on vinyl for decades, it is finally reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2008. “Live At The Apollo” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998, and in 2004, the album is added to the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress, as being regarded as culturally and historically important. “Live At The Apollo” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1976 – “The Song Remains The Same”, the eighth album by Led Zeppelin is released. Produced by Jimmy Page, it is recorded at Madison Square Garden in New York City from July 27 – 29, 1973. Issued as the soundtrack to the live concert film of the same name, the album is compiled from three sold out shows the band performs during their sold out North American tour in support of the “Houses Of The Holy” album. The original LP release and film differ from each other, with the film including six songs not on the initial release. The soundtrack album is reissued in 2007 in remixed and expanded form to more closely mirror the material included in the film version. In 2008, it is also reissued as a lavishly packaged four LP 180g vinyl boxed edition containing a twelve page color booklet with previously unpublished photos. The vinyl comes packaged in four individual jackets with unique artwork. The album is remastered and reissued again in 2018, featuring the expanded edition released in 2008. Besides the two CD release, and four LP box set, it is also issued as a high resolution Blu-ray audio disc. The Blu-ray disc contains the original stereo mix, as well as a 5.1 surround mix, remixed by Kevin Shirley. “The Song Remains The Same” spends three weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200 on November 13, 1976 (behind Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life”), and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 12, 1984 – “Stop Making Sense”, the seventh album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Gary Goetzman, it is recorded at The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA in December 1983. Recorded during the tour in support of the bands then current album “Speaking In Tongues”, the album is issued as the companion piece to the live concert film directed by Jonathan Demme (“The Silence Of The Lambs”, “Philadelphia”). Talking Heads main line up is augmented with additional musicians including Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Alex Weir (guitar), Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt (backing vocals). The original LP release contains only nine songs and is heavily edited in order to fit it on one album, and also comes wrapped in a full color picture book. A second variant of the LP package is released along with the standard release. The limited edition version is printed without the torso photo of David Byrne on front and instead is stark white, with the graphics in black print. It also comes with a twenty page booklet with photos and storyboard sketches by Byrne created for the staging of the concert. In 1999, a remastered and expanded edition of the album is released featuring the complete performance, matching the contents of the fifteenth anniversary theatrical re-release of the film. “Stop Making Sense” peaks at number forty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.