Category: motown

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On this day in music history: April 20, 1978 – “Come Get It!”, the debut album by Rick James is released. Produced by Rick James and Art Stewart, it is recorded at Crossed-Eyed Bear Studios in Clarence, NY and The Record Plant in New York City from Mid – Late 1977. The first album by James comes some twelve years after first recording for Motown as a member of The Mynah Birds, a band featuring James and future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer. In the years in between, travel around the world, before moving to California and start a series of bands that lasts for a brief period. At one point, he reconnects with Motown briefly as a staff writer for the label before parting ways again. Finally, he signs with Motown in 1977 after when staff producer Jeffrey Bowen hears a demo of several songs that Rick has written, playing them for label executive Suzanne DePasse. Shortly after this, he is signed to the label and is paired with co-producer and engineer Art Stewart (Marvin Gaye). James plays most of the instruments on the album himself before assembling The Stone City Band in 1979. It spins off two singles including “You And I” (#1 R&B, #13 Pop) and “Mary Jane” (#3 R&B, #41 Pop). “Come Get It!” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Marvin Gaye photographed by Ed Caraeff in Van Nuys, California on March 28, 1976.

Ed Caraeff: “Marvin was one of a very few I photographed that I was in awe of meeting. I was a big fan. He was not in a good mood, going thru a divorce, obligated to release an album by his father in law’s (Berry Gordy) record company. Motown hired me to ‘replicate a place in Jamaica that Marvin had just returned from.’ The photographs were never published. The cover used on Here, My Dear is a funky b & w illustration.”

[Correction: Berry Gordy was his brother in law, Marvin was married to his sister Anna Gordy]

twixnmix:

Marvin Gaye on Ready Steady Go! at Television House in London on November 20, 1964.

Albums Released In 1970

On this day in music history: April 7, 1981 – “Street Songs”, the fifth album by Rick James is released. Produced by Rick James, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA and Motown/Hitsville USA Studios in Hollywood, CA from December 1980 – January 1981. After the poorly received “Garden Of Love” album, Rick James regroups, returning to his hometown of Buffalo, NY writing songs chronicling his life experiences. The albums second single “Super Freak” (#3 R&B, #16 Pop) is a last minute addition, born out of a joke. When one of the members of The Stone City Band jokes that Rick “hasn’t written anything that white people can dance to”, James quickly comes up with funky, new wave flavored song. It receives airplay right out the box while the first single is climbing the charts. The unique synthesizer sound on “Super Freak” and other tracks on the album, are from an Oberheim OB-X synth actually belonging to R&B superstar Prince. Having toured with Rick, and engaged in a fierce rivalry, James has his road crew steal Prince’s keyboard off of the equipment truck at the end of the tour. Rick takes the keyboard to the studio in Sausalito, and uses it on the album. He eventually sends the instrument back to Prince with a “thank you note”. The end result is the biggest album of Rick James’ career, spinning off three singles including “Give It To Me Baby” (#1 R&B, #40 Pop) and “Ghetto Life” (#38 R&B). The track “Fire And Desire” (a duet with Teena Marie), though never officially released as a single A-side (an edited version appears as the B-side of “You Turn Me On” in 1984), becomes a huge airplay favorite on R&B and Quiet Storm radio, becoming nearly as popular as the album’s big hits. The album is remastered and reissued as double disc Deluxe Edition in 2001. The first disc includes the full original album plus the 12" mixes and instrumental versions of “Give It To Me Baby” and “Super Freak”. The second disc features a complete unreleased concert recorded at the Long Beach Arena on July 30, 1981, during the Street Songs Tour. It also features two tracks by Teena Marie who was James’ opening act. A single CD edition is issued in 2002 with the original eight song album, with the two 12" mixes of the first two singles included as bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2016, as part of Universal’s “Back To Black” reissue series. The vinyl edition, is also reissued in a limited red vinyl pressing in 2019. “Street Songs” spends twenty weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Albums Released In 1969

twixnmix:

The Four Tops playing basketball in New York City, 1965.

On this day in music history: March 27, 1965 – “Stop! In The Name Of Love” by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, it is the fourth consecutive chart topping single for the Motown vocal trio featuring Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” is inspired by an argument that Lamont Dozier has with his girlfriend, when he inadvertently blurts out the phrase in the middle of the squabble. The two laugh at what is said and stop arguing. Later, Dozier tells his writing partners about the incident and they write the song about a woman pleading with her man to remain faithful, and not to stray from their relationship. Recorded on January 5, 1965 at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit with The Funk Brothers providing the musical backing, The Supremes add their vocals on January 11, 1965. Shortly after the song is released on February 8, 1965, The Supremes along with several of Motown’s major acts travel to England for a major tour of the country as well as a make an appearance on the popular music series “Ready Steady Go!”. It is on that show that The Supremes debut the signature choreography for “Stop!” with one hand on their hip and the other hand outstretched in a “stop” gesture. Paul Williams and Melvin Franklin of The Temptations come up with the choreography and teach it to the girls prior to the programs taping. Meanwhile, back at home, the single becomes another instant smash for The Supremes. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on February 20, 1965, it streaks to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” alsos receive a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Rock & Roll Group Performance in 1966, but loses to The Statler Brothers’ “Flowers On The Wall”. Regarded as a career defining hit for The Supremes, the single is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. In 2000, a previously unreleased alternate version of “Stop!” is released on The Supremes’ eponymously titled box set. Running nearly three and half minutes, this other version features foot stomps on the intro and throughout the track like “Where Did Our Love” and “Baby Love”. It also features different lead and background vocals, with Diana Ross singing different lyrics from the officially released version in places. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228