Category: movie theme

On this day in music history: August 15, 1981 …

On this day in music history: August 15, 1981 – “Endless Love” by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 7 weeks on August 22, 1981, and the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on September 5, 1981. Written by Lionel Richie, it is the theme for the Brooke Shields film of the same name. The duet comes about when Richie is asked by director Franco Zeffirelli and producer Jon Peters to write an instrumental theme for their film. The two change their minds and request that the song have lyrics and make it a duet with a female artist. Motown executive Suzanne DePasse suggests Diana Ross, though at the time has just recently left Motown for RCA Records. Hearing Lionel’s song, Diana agrees to sing the duet. Both singers have to adjust their busy schedules in order to record together. Ross is in the middle of a concert engagement in Lake Tahoe at the time, and Richie is also busy recording “In The Pocket”, his final album with the Commodores. The two arrange to record their vocals at a small recording studio in Reno, NV, only fifty miles away from the casino where Ross is performing. The two begin recording their vocals at 3:30 in morning and within an hour and a half complete their work on the track. Though the film itself is not well received, the title song is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on July 11, 1981, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Endless Love” receives an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song, with Diana Ross and Lionel Richie performing the song on the live Oscar telecast in 1982. The song becomes a major hit once again when it is covered by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey in 1994 (#2 Pop, #7 R&B).“Endless Love” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 11, 1984 …

On this day in music history: August 11, 1984 – “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr. hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 2 weeks on August 25, 1984. Written and produced by Ray Parker, Jr., it is the biggest hit for the Detroit, MI born singer, songwriter and musician. In the Spring of 1984, musician Ray Parker, Jr. is approached by producer and director Ivan Reitman (“National Lampoon’s Animal House”, “Stripes”, “Meatballs”) to write a theme song for his film “Ghostbusters” starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Under an extremely tight deadline to make the film’s early June opening, Reitman gives Parker only a few days to write and record the song. The musician quickly gets to work, recording the track and playing all of the instruments himself at his Ameraycan Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA. The film becomes the highest grossing film of 1984 at the box office, with the song also becoming an instant across the board smash upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #68 on June 16, 1984, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The single wins Ray Parker, Jr. a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, as well as receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song in 1985. However, Parker loses the Oscar to his former boss Stevie Wonder, who wins for “I Just Called To Say I Love You”. Along with the huge success of “Ghostbusters”, there is controversy. Huey Lewis along with his manager Bob Brown file a copyright infringement lawsuit against Ray Parker, Jr. and Columbia Pictures, claiming that “Ghostbusters” is too close in structure to Huey Lewis And The News’ hit “I Want A New Drug”. It later comes to light that Reitman had been using “I Want A New Drug” as a temporary music track during the editing of the film. The matter is settled out of court, but Parker ends up countersuing Lewis when he makes mention of the lawsuit during an interview for the VH-1 series “Behind The Music”, violating the original settlements confidentiality agreement. In April of 2014, Sony/BMG’s Legacy reissue division issues a limited edition 10" glow in the dark reissue vinyl pressing of “Ghostbusters”, on Record Store Day", to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the film. A 12" white vinyl disc titled the “Stay Puft Edition” is released in October of 2014, with Parker’s original version on one side, and Run-DMC’s song (a different song than the original theme) recorded for “Ghostbusters II” in 1989. The 12" comes in a custom white “puffy” vinyl sleeve with still photos of Mr. Stay Puft from the original film, and is marshmallow scented. “Ghostbusters” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 4, 1973 -…

On this day in music history: August 4, 1973 – “The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Joel Hirschhorn and Al Kasha, it is the biggest hit for the singer and actress from Youngstown, OH. In March of 1972, producer Irwin Allen (“Lost In Space”, “The Towering Inferno”) asks songwriters Joel Hirschhorn and Al Kasha to write a love theme for the star studded action adventure disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure”, about an ocean liner that is capsized at sea. The songwriters accept the assignment, but with little time available before shooting is to start on the film, they are only given one day to write the song. Giving them a brief synopsis of the plot, Hirschhorn and Kasha write “Why Must There Be A The Morning After”. It is shortened to “The Morning After” to give it a more optimistic tone. The song is submitted to Allen on a Friday morning, and by Monday the track is recorded by studio singer Renee Armand. Actress Carol Lynley lip synchs Armand’s vocals in the completed film. Realizing they could have a potential hit on their hands, Irwin Allen suggests they get Barbra Streisand to record it. When she is not available, the songwriters approach Russ Regan, the head of 20th Century Records, who suggests Maureen McGovern, a then virtually unknown singer signed to the label’s roster. Though they are apprehensive at first, Hirschhorn and Kasha approves Regan’s choice. “The Poseidon Adventure” goes on to become the highest grossing film of 1973 and “The Morning After” wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song in April of 1973. Right on the heels of its Oscar win, 20th Century releases Maureen McGovern’s version as a single in May of 1973. Entering the Hot 100 at #99 on June 23, 1973, it races to the top of the chart six weeks later. The singer scores one more top 40 hit in 1979 with “Different Worlds” (#18 Pop, #1 AC), the theme from the short lived sitcom “Angie” starring Donna Pescow (“Saturday Night Fever”) and Robert Hays (“Airplane!”). McGovern herself has a memorable turn as a nun in the classic disaster spoof “Airplane!” in 1980. In 1999, “The Morning After” is brilliantly parodied on an episode of the animated series “South Park” titled “The Succubus”. “The Morning After” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 2, 1986 -…

On this day in music history: August 2, 1986 – “Glory Of Love (Theme From The Karate Kid Part II)” by Peter Cetera hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on July 19, 1986. Written by Peter Cetera, David Foster and Diane Nini, it is the first solo chart topper for the singer, songwriter and musician from Chicago, IL. After spending seventeen years as the bassist, vocalist and co-founding member of the legendary rock band Chicago, Peter Cetera leaves for a solo career. Cetera’s departure in the Summer of 1985 comes after tensions between the band members arise when the bassist becomes the visual and media focal point of the band. While working on his second solo album, the singer is approached by United Artists executives Jerry and Bob Greenberg who ask Cetera if he will do a song for “The Karate Kid II”, the sequel to the hit 1984 film starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. Cetera agrees, and after playing them one song that they aren’t interested in, he plays them part of an incomplete song. The Greenbergs love what they hear and ask Peter to finish it for the film. But when writer’s block keeps him from finishing the song, Cetera plays it for his then wife Diane, who thinks he’s singing “the glory of love” when first hearing it. She writes the rest of the lyrics, and Peter puts down his vocals in the studio. Released as the first single from the “Karate Kid II” soundtrack and Peter Cetera’s album “Solitude/Solitaire” in May of 1986, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #62 on June 7, 1986, it races to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Warner Bros Records also issues the US 45 with two variants of the picture sleeve. One features a color photo of Cetera (taken by famed fashion photographer Herb Ritts) with his name printed in a reddish orange tint on the front. A rarer variation is also issued with the same photo printed in black and white, with the graphics in a lime green tint. “Glory Of Love” is nominated for the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1987, and a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

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On this day in music history: August 1, 1987 -…

On this day in music history: August 1, 1987 – “Shakedown” by Bob Seger hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Album Rock Tracks chart for 4 weeks on June 6, 1987. Written by Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey and Bob Seger, it is the biggest hit for the singer, songwriter and musician from Dearborn, MI. Following the huge box office success of Eddie Murphy action comedy “Beverly Hills Cop” and its accompanying soundtrack album, Paramount Pictures makes plans for a sequel. Former Eagle Glenn Frey who has the biggest hit on the original soundtrack with the films theme “The Heat Is On” (#2 Pop), is invited back to record the theme for “Beverly Hills Cop II” with songwriter and producers Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey. But before Frey is scheduled to record, he comes down with laryngitis and is unable to sing for an extended period. With a deadline to meet for the songs inclusion in the film, Frey suggests to his manager Irving Azoff, also the then head of MCA Records to get his old friend and music business mentor Bob Seger to do the song. Seger accepts the invitation from Azoff and receives the demo of “Shakedown”. Other than the chorus, Seger does not like the other lyrics written by Faltermeyer and Forsey, and over the course of four days re-writes the verses. Seger’s vocals are recorded three days later. Issued as the first single from the “Beverly Hills Cop II” soundtrack in May of 1987, and quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #52 on May 23, 1987, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. During the singles run on the charts, MCA Records issues “Shakedown” with two different picture sleeves. One features Bob Seger on the front, and a mini of the soundtrack cover artwork featuring Eddie Murphy on the back. A second and less common variant is also issued, with Eddie Murphy on the front, and the same photo of Seger from the initially released sleeve on the back. “Shakedown” is nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1988, but in both cases loses to “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing”. Seger also receives a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo, but the prize goes to Bruce Springsteen for “Tunnel Of Love”.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Duran Duran and John Barry, it is the second US chart topper for the Birmingham, UK based pop/rock band. The members of Duran Duran are invited to write the theme for the fourteenth James Bond film after bassist John Taylor meets Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli at a party. This encounter leads to the two sides talking seriously about composing the title song. Broccoli then introduces Duran Duran to score composer John Barry who co-writes and arranges the song with the band. Fresh off of working on The Power Station project, producer and musician Bernard Edwards of Chic produces the song. The track is recorded at CTS Studios and Maison Rouge in London, with Barry conducting a sixty-piece orchestra, augmenting Duran Duran’s instrumentation. The recording sessions become so contentious (particularly between Nick Rhodes and Andy Taylor), that the band members end up overdubbing their parts separately. Released in early May of 1985, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #43 on May 18, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “A View To A Kill” is the only Bond theme to top the US pop singles chart, and is the last Duran Duran single to feature all five original band members until they reunite in 2001. Prior to “Kill” reaching the summit, the two highest charting Bond themes are Wings’ “Live And Let Die” and Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” (from “The Spy Who Loved Me”), both peaking at #2 on the Hot 100. On the same day the single hits number one, Duran Duran perform it at Live Aid in Philadelphia. Lead singer Simon LeBon unintentionally hits a bad note during the song on the live telecast. This faux pas leads to it being excised from the band’s set on the Live Aid DVD box set, and has not been rebroadcast since. After the original track is cut, Duran Duran along with Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero create an extended remix of “Kill” with the intent of issuing it along side the original single version. For reasons unknown, this version is shelved and remained unheard by the public for nearly thirty years. Mysteriously, it surfaces online on the Soundcloud  and YouTube websites in November of 2014. Since then it has been widely circulated among Duran Duran fans. To date, no official release of the 12" remix has been officially sanctioned by the band.  "A View To A Kill" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 2, 1977 – “…

On this day in music history: July 2, 1977 – “Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)” by Bill Conti hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Bill Conti, Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, it is the biggest hit for the film score composer from Providence, RI. Prior to the theme being written, a temporary track written by Stallone’s brother Frank is used while the film is being edited. Someone suggests to the films director John G. Avildsen to replace the song with something else. Avildsen asks score composer Bill Conti if he can come up with something. Conti collaborates with lyric writers Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, quickly completing the song. The final lyrics consist of only thirty words, but manages to perfectly capture the spirit and message conveyed in the film. Singers DeEtta Little (sister of actor Cleavon Little) and Nelson Pigford (co-writer of Barry White’s “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me”) are brought in to sing the song. The huge popularity of the film generates demand for it to be released as a single, and is issued in February 1977 prior to the Academy Awards. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on April 23, 1977, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. It is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (though it loses to Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams’ “Evergreen (Love Theme From "A Star Is Born”), the film itself wins Best Picture. The theme becomes a pop cultural touchstone, being featured in numerous other films and television programs outside of the “Rocky” film franchise. The popularity of “Gonna Fly Now” propels the soundtrack album featuring Bill Conti’s score to #4 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum. Conti goes on to score four more “Rocky” films over the years including the last in the series “Rocky Balboa” in 2006. “Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Mainstream Rock chart for 3 weeks on April 20, 1985. Written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, it is the biggest hit for the Anglo/Scottish rock band fronted by lead singer Jim Kerr. Written as the theme song to the John Hughes directed coming of age comedy/drama “The Breakfast Club”, Forsey initially approaches Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry and Cy Curnin (lead singer of The Fixx) to record the song, all of them decline. Simple Minds are also asked to do the song, and turn it down before being persuaded by their US label A&M Records to record it. The band create their own arrangement and record the track in about three hours. Released as a single on January 21, 1985, four weeks before the film arrives in theaters, it quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on February 23, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. The full unedited version of the track (running over six and a half minutes) is issued as a 12" single, along with the shorter 45 version (also featured on the soundtrack album). In the US, A&M Records issues the 7″ and 12″ singles in a title sleeve with Celtic themed crosses on the front and back.

The second and more common printing of the 7″ sleeve, adds a mini of “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack cover art work (adding info about the song’s inclusion on the soundtrack album), shortly after its release.

In time, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is regarded as an iconic song of the era, and remains one the most popular and frequently played 80′s records on radio today.

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On this day in music history: May 13, 1967 – “…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1967 – “The Happening” by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #12 on the R&B singles on May 20, 1967. Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland and Frank De Vol, it is the tenth chart topping pop single for the Motown superstar trio. Less than two years after scoring their first number one single with “Where Did Our Love Go?”, The Supremes are in the middle of an unprecedented string of hits, that include nine chart topping singles on the Hot 100, and three on the R&B singles chart. In late 1966, Holland Dozier Holland are asked to write the title song to the film “The Happening starring Anthony Quinn. HDH collaborate on the song with film score composer Frank De Vol (“The Brady Bunch”, “My Three Sons”). Unlike the majority of The Supremes’ hits, it is recorded in Los Angeles, CA rather than in Detroit. The basic track is cut on the Columbia Pictures sound stage on February 24, 1967 with members of the Funk Brothers augmented by an orchestra conducted by De Vol. The Supremes record their vocals the following day on February 25, 1967. Released on March 20, 1967, just as their previous chart topper "Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” falls from the top spot on the charts, “The Happening” is another instant hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #57 on April 8, 1967, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. “The Happening” is the last single to be released before the group changes their name to Diana Ross & The Supremes, and also the last Supremes chart topper to feature Florence Ballard as a member. Unhappy with Diana Ross being pushed further into the spotlight, while herself and Mary Wilson are regulated to the background. Ballard becomes depressed, frequently missing performances and drinking heavily. Eventually, Flo is fired from The Supremes in July of 1967 and replaced by former Patti LaBelle & The Blue Belles vocalist Cindy Birdsong.

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On this day in music history: May 3, 1978 – Th…

On this day in music history: May 3, 1978 – The comedy “FM” is released in US theaters. Released through Universal Pictures, it is the directorial debut of famed cinematographer John A. Alonzo (“Harold & Maude”, “Lady Sings The Blues”, “Wattstax”, “Chinatown”, “Norma Rae”, “Scarface”), and stars Alex Karras, Eileen Brennan, and Cleavon Little. The comedy about the inner workings of a major market radio station arrives in theaters with an enormous thud, tanking at the box office. However, the film soundtrack (released by MCA Records) is a huge hit, peaking at number five on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA. The two LP set features a number of major artists including Boston, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Foreigner, The Eagles, Joe Walsh, Boz Scaggs, Queen, and James Taylor. Steely Dan write and perform the film’s title song “FM (No Static At All)” (#22 Pop), winning a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording, Non Classical (for engineers Roger Nichols and Al Schmitt). It is the only time in Grammy history that the prize is awarded to a single, rather than to a full album. Along with the standard versions of “FM” included on the soundtrack and single releases, Steely Dan make a special edit of the song for AM radio stations. Cleverly splicing in the “A” from the song “Aja”, it is retooled as “AM” for those stations. This version has never been issued in commercial form.

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