Category: modern rock

On this day in music history: October 17, 1998 – “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Ed Robertson, it is the biggest hit for the rock band from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Formed in 1988, Barenaked Ladies begins a duo with Ed Robertson and Steven Page. The pair attend the same school, but do not become friends until meeting each other, following a Peter Gabriel concert. Both sharing an interest in music, Robertson and Page bond further, as counselors at a music camp. Their name comes about, while seeing Bob Dylan live, amusing themselves when they become bored during the show. In 1989, they begin writing songs, making their first recordings on a four track tape machine. The five song demo tape titled “Buck Naked”, is sold at early gigs. Barenaked Ladies send their demos out to record labels, but are rejected by all. They soon invite brothers Andy (percussion) and Jim Creeggan (bass), two friends from music camp to join them. This line up records another demo tape titled “Barenaked Lunch”, featuring “Be My Yoko Ono” and “If I Had A $1,000,000”. Andy Creeggan leaves in 1990, and is replaced by Tyler Stewart on drums. When Andy returns in 1991, it is primarily on keyboards. They then record their self-titled third indie tape release. Including a cover of Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” and “Brian Wilson”, it outsells their previous releases. The EP piques the interest of Sire Records, who sign them in 1992. Their first three albums, all perform well in Canada, also developing a following from college radio in the US. Kevin Hearn joins as their new keyboardist, when Andy Creeggan leaves for good in 1995. Feeling primed for mainstream success, they record their fourth album “Stunt” with former Prince recording engineers turned producers David Leonard and Susan Rogers. Full of the band’s uniquely quirky and humorous songs, one of the standouts is “One Week”. It features stream of consciousness rap like verses sung by Ed Robertson (the choruses sung by Steven Page). It’s framed around a couple having an argument, while name checking people and making pop cultural references. Those include LeAnn Rimes, Aquaman, Sting, Harrison Ford, and references to The X-Files, tantric sex, Snickers candy bars, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and Japanese director Akira Kurosawa to name a few. The song is accompanied by an equally frenetic and funny music video directed by McG (“Charlie’s Angels”). In one sequence, Ed Robertson and Steven Page are in a car chase, driving replicas of the General Lee from The Dukes Of Hazzard and the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch. Entering the Hot 100 at #3 on October 3, 1998, it leaps to the top of the chart two weeks later. Spending exactly “one week” on top, “One Week” propels the “Stunt” album to 4x Platinum status in the US.

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On this day in music history: October 10, 2007 – “In Rainbows”, the seventh album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, Tottenham House in Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK, Halswell House in Taunton, Somerset, UK and Hospital Studios in Covent Garden, Westminster, UK in from February 2005 – June 2007. Fulfilling their contract with EMI Records in 2003 with “Hail To The Thief”, Radiohead follow it with a world tour. The band then take an extended hiatus. Re-grouping in early 2005, it is without their long time producer Nigel Godrich who is busy at the time working with Beck. The band then hire producer Mark “Spike” Stent, best known for his work with U2 and Björk. After a year in the studio, the producer goes over the material, and bluntly tells them the songs “aren’t good enough”. They break ties with Stent, then embark on their first tour in over two years, also using the shows to test new material written during this time. In October of 2006, the band reconnect with Godrich and work resumes on their seventh album, quickly putting them back on the right path. Feeling that “Hail To The Thief” was over long, they pare the work in progress down to the best ten songs. When recording wraps in the late Spring of 2007, there comes the task of how to release their new album. Titled “In Rainbows”, Radiohead take the unprecedented step of issuing it as a “pay what your want” MP3 digital download for exactly two months prior to the physical release. Though receiving some criticism for the move, it is enthusiastically received by the public, selling over 1.2 million digital downloads. Along side the standard single CD and vinyl LP release, it’s made available as a mail order only limited box set that contains the standard ten song CD, a bonus CD with eight additional tracks, and enhanced content with artwork, photos and song lyrics. The lavish “discbox” package also includes a double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM. Issued in the UK through XL Recordings and in the US on TBD Records through Red Distribution in early December of 2007, It enters the UK and US album charts at #1, making it only the tenth indie distributed album to top the charts in the US. It receives seven Grammy nominations in 2009, winning two awards for Best Alternative Album and Best Special Limited Edition Package for the limited release. It makes history and proves to be a game changer, showing an album can be successfully marketed and promoted without major record label support. The Eagles also follow suit, issuing their album “Long Road Out Of Eden” through mass market retailer Wal-Mart, rather than through a major label with similar success. “In Rainbows” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 10, 1995 – “Tragic Kingdom”, the third album by No Doubt is released. Produced by Matthew Wilder, it is recorded at Total Access Recording Studios in Redondo Beach, CA, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA, Santa Monica Sound Recorders, Mars Recording, 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, CA, NRG Studios, Clear Lake Audio in North Hollywood, CA, Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA, Grandmaster Recorders, North Vine Studios in Hollywood, CA and Red Zone Studios in Burbank, CA from March 1993 – October 1995. Following the commercial failure of their self-titled debut album released in early 1992, No Doubt take time to regroup and plan their next move. Eric Stefani (lead singer Gwen Stefani’s older brother, keyboardist and main songwriter) disillusioned with the indifference their first album is met with, remains a band member but begins to pursue other interests, going to work as an animator on the hit series “The Simpsons” before departing the band altogether in 1995. The bands label Interscope Records pairs them with producer Matthew Wilder (“Break My Stride”) to begin the process of recording their “make or break” album. During this time, Gwen and bassist Tony Kanal end their seven year relationship. Initially heartbroken over the split, it provides the singer with the inspiration for the lyrics of several songs that wind up on the finished album. No Doubt spends the better part of two and a half years working on and off on the album, finally finishing in the Fall of 1995. The title “Tragic Kingdom” is a wry word play on “The Magic Kingdom”, the other moniker for Disneyland in the bands home base of Anaheim, CA. Proceeded by the single “Just A Girl” (#23 Pop, #10 Modern Rock) featured prominently in the classic teen comedy “Clueless”, the album initially gets off to a slow start, not entering the chart until January of 1996. It’s only when the third single “Don’t Speak” is released to radio, that the album is propelled into orbit. “Speak” is not issued as a commercial single in the US, making it ineligible to chart on the Hot 100 (according to Billboard’s original chart criteria), but spends sixteen weeks at the top of the radio airplay chart. No Doubt tours exhaustively in support of the project, spending over two years on the road. The bands’ energetic live performances, led by Gwen Stefani’s charismatic and electric stage presence turn them into a top draw. They receive a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rock Album in 1997. “Don’t Speak” also receives Grammy nominations for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1998. “Tragic Kingdom” spends nine weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: October 8, 1991 – “Badmotorfinger”, the third album by Soundgarden is released. Produced Soundgarden and Terry Date, it is recorded at Studio D in Sausalito, CA, Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, WA, and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from March – April 1991. The Seattle based bands second major label album is the first to feature new bassist Ben Shepherd, replacing Jason Everman (who leaves to join Mind Funk). it spins off three singles including “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The album becomes their most successful to date and helps break the grunge rock movement from its cult underground following into mainstream popularity. When Soundgarden lands a slot on the second Lollapalooza Tour in 1992, the album adds a limited edition five song EP titled “Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas” (or SOMMS) featuring covers of rock and new wave classics. The album also receives a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1992, with their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Into The Void (Sealth)” on the “SOMMS” EP receiving a nomination in the same category in 1993. To commemorate the twenty fifth anniversary of the albums’ release, it is remastered and reissued in November of 2016. It is reissued as a standard single CD, a two disc deluxe edition and as an elaborate limited Super Deluxe box set edition. The box contains three CD’s with the first two consisting of the original twelve song album and sixteen bonus tracks. The third disc features a full live performance recorded at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA on March 6, 1992. The full concert is also included on a DVD packaged with the set, and a second DVD featuring the “Motorvision” home video release from 1992, originally issued only on VHS tape. It also includes additional live performances, with the original music videos for “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The final disc is a Blu-ray disc including the full album in high resolution audio and remixed into 5.1 surround sound. The lavish box also comes with a fifty two page booklet, fully annotated with rare photos and new artwork. Other collectible artifacts come with the set, which is housed in a 14" x 14" box that comes emblazoned with the album cover logo which is battery powered and spins when switched on. The album is also reissued as a double 180 gram vinyl LP set. “Badmotorfinger” peaks at number thirty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: October 3, 1969 – No Doubt lead vocalist Gwen Stefani (born Gwen Renée Stefani in Fullerton, CA). Happy 50th Birthday, Gwen!!

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On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, the fifth album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is released. Produced by Rick Rubin, it is recorded at The Mansion in Los Angeles, CA from May – June 1991. Making the jump from their former long time label EMI-America, it is the bands first album for Warner Bros Records. Initially, the band were going to sign with Epic Records, but pull out of the deal at the last minute when negotiations with the label end up lasting several months. When lead singer Anthony Kiedis has a chance meeting with Warner Bros chairman Mo Ostin that is a major turning point in the bands decision not to sign with Sony Music. Working with Def Jam/Def American Records founder Rick Rubin, The Chili Peppers record the album in a mansion once owned by magician Harry Houdini. All of the band members live in the house for the during of the recording, except for drummer Chad Smith who refuses, when he believes that the house is haunted. The sessions are highly productive and set the stage for the bands long awaited mainstream breakthrough. It spins off four singles including “Give It Away” (#73 Pop, #1 Modern Rock) “Under The Bridge” (#2 Pop, #6 Modern Rock), “Suck My Kiss” (#15 Modern Rock), and  "Breaking The Girl" (#19 Modern Rock), becoming their most successful album. The recording sessions are also filmed and released as hour long documentary titled “Funky Monks” in 1991. US promo CD copies of the album are issued with a full four color silkscreen label, of different breeds of red roses on a solid white background. Stock copies are issued with two color silkscreen printing, of the artist name and title written in a circle around the perimeter of the disc. Originally issued on vinyl in the US as a promo only double LP and commercially in Europe, it is remastered and reissued as a limited edition LP vinyl set, pressed on red vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day in 2011. It is also issued on standard black vinyl in 2012. “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Nevermind”, the second album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Butch Vig, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA from April 1990, May – June 1991. Releasing their debut album “Bleach” on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop in 1989, Nirvana are disappointed when it sells only 40,000 copies initially. Deciding that the only way to reach a wider audience is to sign with a major label, the band are courted by several labels, but eventually sign with Geffen Records subsidiary DGC Records. Working previously with engineer and producer Butch Vig in 1990, he is chosen to produced their second album. With exception of the track “Polly” (recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI in April 1990), the bulk of Nirvana’s major label debut is recorded in Southern California during the Spring of 1991. When the album is originally mastered, engineer Howie Weinberg accidentally leaves off the final track “Endless, Nameless”, which was tacked on the end of the master tape, proceeded by ten minutes of blank leader tape in between. The mistake isn’t caught until after the first press run of CD’s and cassettes are manufactured. The first 20,000 copies of “Nevermind” exclude the hidden track, but is corrected on all future pressings. When it is released, initial expectations are low with only 46,251 copies being shipped. Thanks to the breakout success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6 Pop), the album reaches gold status in under thirty days, and platinum two weeks after that. It spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 on January 11, 1992. The massive and unexpected success of the album affects a major sea change in not only the music industry, but in popular culture with the rise of the grunge music phenomenon of the early to mid 90’s. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release in 2011, “Nevermind” is remastered and reissued as a four CD + DVD deluxe edition. Reissued on vinyl numerous times since its initial limited release in 1991, it is most recently remastered and released as a 180 gram LP in 2017. Another limited edition LP, pressed on grey vinyl is issued as an exclusive through big box retailer Target in 2019. “Nevermind” is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

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Born on this day: September 6, 1971 – Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries (born Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan in Limerick, Ireland). Happy Birthday to Dolores on what would have been her 48th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: September 5, 1988 – “Peepshow”, the ninth album by Siouxsie & The Banshees is released. Produced by Siouxsie And The Banshees and Mike Hedges, it is recorded at Marcus Recording Studios in London from January – March 1988. The pioneering British post punk/goth rock bands first album of all new material in over two years, it is the first to introduce new members keyboardist Martin McCarrick and guitarist Jon Klein who replace guitarist and keyboardist John Valentine Carruthers. It spins off three singles including “The Killing Jar” (#2 Modern Rock) and the innovative, backwards masking track “Peek-a-Boo” (#1 Modern Rock, #53 Pop) which is the first single to top the newly established Modern Rock chart in Billboard Magazine. The songs chorus quote from the 30’s Tin Pan Alley pop song “Jeepers Creepers” (written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer), resulting in the band giving the authors a co-writing credit to avoid legal action. “Peek-a-Boo” is also supported by a visually striking music video, becoming an MTV favorite, breaking out from the channels alternative rock program “120 Minutes” into heavier rotation. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2014, with three additional bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since its original release, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in December of 2018. “Peepshow” peaks at number sixty eight on the Billboard Top 200 becoming the bands second highest charting album in the US.

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On this day in music history: August 27, 1991 – “Ten”, the debut album by Pearl Jam is released. Produced by Rick Parashar and Pearl Jam, it is recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA from March 27 – April 26, 1991. Formed out of the ashes of bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossards’ former band Mother Love Bone, the new band record their first album in just one month, Initially, the album gets off to a very slow start, languishing in record stores for many months until they pick up support from college radio and from touring relentlessly in support of it. It eventually spins off a total of five singles including “Alive” (#16 Mainstream Rock), “Evenflow” (#3 Mainstream Rock) and “Jeremy” (#5 Mainstream Rock). The success of the album establishes them among the most high profile of the grunge rock movement spearheaded by bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. In 2009, “Ten” is reissued in four different editions including a remastered version of the original album, Deluxe, Vinyl and Super Deluxe edition with a bonus DVD of the band’s MTV Unplugged performance from 1992. It is remastered and reissued as a double vinyl LP set in 2014 (featuring the original and remixed versions of the album) on coke bottle green clear vinyl limited to 2,000 copies, as an exclusive through Pearl Jam’s fan club, and retailer Newbury Comics. “Ten” spends four weeks at number two (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

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