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 11, 1981 – “The Jacksons Live!” by The Jacksons is released. Produced by The Jacksons, it is recorded at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, NY, Providence Civic Center in Providence, RI, The Omni in Atlanta, GA, and Madison Square Garden in New York City on August 16, July 22, August 2, and August 18, 19, 1981. Recorded during their “Triumph Tour” of North America in 1981, the album is compiled from tour stops in Buffalo, NY, Providence, RI, Atlanta, GA and New York City, NY. The fourteen track two LP set includes live versions of Jacksons, Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson solo material. The Jacksons are backed by a solid rhythm section that includes Jonathan Moffett (drums), David Williams (guitar), Mike McKinney (bass), Bill Wolfer (keyboards), Alan “Funt” Prater, Broderick “Mac” McMorris, Cloris Grimes and Wesley Phillips (horns). The show is choreographed by Michael, Marlon and Jackie, and features visual illusions created by magician and illusionist Doug Henning. Many of the shows on the tour are professionally filmed for future use, but to date have never been legitimately released. Though clips from various performances have circulated as bootlegs among fans for many years. The tracks “Things I Do For You” b/w “Working Day And Night” are issued as a commercial single in February of 1982. The Jackson 5 medley titled “ Medley: a. I Want You Back, b. ABC, c. The Love You Save” (b/w the live performance version of “Rock With You”), is serviced as a promotional single to radio, and becomes an airplay favorite on R&B stations. The original vinyl LP comes packaged in a gatefold sleeve, with full color inner sleeves featuring various live performance photos of the group. Later vinyl re-pressings omit these custom sleeves, and the regular domestic CD reissue re-print these images inside the booklet in black & white rather than in color. To date, the album has yet to be reissued in any form by Sony Legacy. In spite of the original master tapes being remastered by Joseph Palmaccio nearly a decade before now. “The Jacksons Live!” peaks at number ten on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 11, 1975 – “Gratitude”, the seventh album by Earth, Wind & Fire is released. Produced by Maurice White, Charles Stepney and Joe Wissert (live tracks), it is recorded in Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, St. Louis, MO, Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington DC from Late 1974 – Mid 1975 (live tracks) and Hollywood Sound, Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood, CA in June 1975 (studio tracks). Following their huge breakthrough success with “That’s The Way Of The World”, Columbia Records requests another album from the band for release in time for the 1975 Christmas holiday season. Not having enough time or new material written to record a brand new studio album, they begin recording their live shows. The finished album is a two LP set with three sides of live material and a fourth side with five new songs. It is also released with the lower list price of $7.98 ($8.98 cassette and 8-track) rather than the normal $11.98 or $12.98 price for a double album. It spins off the hits “Sing A Song” (#1 R&B, #5 Pop) and “Can’t Hide Love (#11 R&B, #39 Pop). "Gratitude” is regarded by many fans and critics as one of the best live recordings of all time. The album is remastered and reissued in 1999 on a standard redbook CD and single layer SACD. It is remastered again in 2011 for the box set “Earth, Wind & Fire – The Columbia Masters”, and in 2012 as a two disc high resolution Blu-Ray disc in Japan, replicating the original album packaging in mini-LP form. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued by Friday Music in 2015, as a limited edition pressed on blue vinyl. Another LP reissue pressed on standard black vinyl is released by Sony Music also in 2015. “Gratitude” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, six weeks (non-consecutive) at the top of the R&B album chart, and is certified 3x 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 in 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 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, 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: August 25, 1992 – “Unplugged”, the sixteenth album by Eric Clapton is released. Produced by Russ Titelman, it is recorded at Bray Studios in Windsor, UK on January 16, 1992. Issued as the audio counterpart of his MTV Unplugged special, it features the veteran rock guitarist performing an entirely acoustic set in front of a small audience. The band features such long time stalwarts such as guitarist Andy Fairweather-Low and percussionist Ray Cooper, as well as bassist Nathan East, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and drummer Steve Ferrone. The performance has special significance as it is the one of first live performances by Clapton following the death of his four year old son Conor the previous year. Both the television special and album is a huge critical and commercial success, winning Clapton three of the six Grammy Awards he receives in 1993, including one for Album Of The Year. The 1939 000-42 Martin acoustic guitar that Clapton plays throughout most of the television special is sold at auction in 2004 for $791,500, with the funds going to raise money for his Crossroads Centre in Antigua. Originally issued on vinyl as an import only in 1992, the album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram double LP set in 2011. The contents of the album are spread over four sides for dramatically improved fidelity over the original single vinyl pressing. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its original release, “Unplugged” is remastered and reissued as a two CD + DVD Deluxe Edition in October of 2013. The first disc contains the original fourteen song album, with disc two featuring previously unreleased outtakes from the show. The DVD contains the video of the program, plus rehearsal footage as an added bonus. “Unplugged” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.