On this day in music history: October 10, 1966 – “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers is released. Written by Tom Springfield and Jim Dale, it is the biggest hit for the Australian folk quartet. Formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1962, The Seekers consisting of lead singer Judith Durham, Keith Potger (guitar, banjo, vocals), Bruce Woodley (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) and Athol Guy (double bass, vocals), become one of the first Australian groups to achieve major success outside of their native continent when they score a worldwide hit in 1965 with “I’ll Never Find Another You” (#3 Pop, #1 UK and Australia). During this time, Woodley also collaborates with Paul Simon, co-writing the hit song “Red Rubber Ball” (#2 Pop), covered by American pop band The Cyrkle in 1966. The song “Georgy Girl” is written by folk musician Tom Springfield (brother of blue eyed soul and pop singer Dusty Springfield) and musician, stage and film actor Jim Dale (“Pete’s Dragon”, “Hot Lead And Cold Feet”, “Barnum”) as the title song for the British romantic comedy/drama starring Lynn Redgrave, James Mason, Alan Bates and Charlotte Rampling. The Seekers are tapped to perform the song and is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, with Tom Springfield producing. Like the film itself, the instantly catchy title song is an immediate hit, giving the group their biggest selling single, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 4, 1967 (behind The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”). “Georgy Girl” is also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1967, but loses to “Born Free”. The popularity of “Georgy Girl” endures over the years, being featured in an ad campaign by Mattel for Barbie and on the TV shows “The Simpsons” and “Get A Life”. “Georgy Girl” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 4, 1965 – “Help!” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the ninth chart topping single in the US for the legendary rock band from Liverpool, UK. The song is the theme for the bands second film and soundtrack of the same name. The song is primarily written by John, with the lyrics reveal his feelings of insecurity and depression in The Beatles rise to fame. The films working title is “Eight Arms To Hold You” but is changed after the song is recorded. The band record the track in the number two studio at Abbey Road Studios on April 13, 1965, completing it in twelve takes. The vocals are re-recorded at CTS Studios in London six weeks later on May 24, 1965. The new vocal overdubs are mixed down into mono and used for the films opening title sequence. With these overdubs existing only on this mix, results in noticeable differences in the mono single and stereo LP mixes of the song. The single release of “Help!” is issued with the non-LP B-side “I’m Down”. Written primarily by Paul McCartney, the uptempo rocker is recorded at Abbey Road Studios on June 14, 1965. “Down” is recorded during the same session as the ballads “Yesterday” and “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, standing in stark contrast to that raucous rave up. Though “I’m Down” does not chart on the US singles charts (oddly being one of the few Beatles B-sides that does not during this period), it is performed on The Beatles final Ed Sullivan Show appearance in September of 1965, and on their last two world tours in 1965 and 1966. Released on July 19, 1965 (UK release date is on July 23, 1965), it follows up the bands previous chart topper “Ticket To Ride”, also featured in the film. Entering the Hot 100 at #41 on August 7, 1965, it rockets to the top just four weeks later. “Help!” also receives a Grammy nomination in 1966 for Best Performance By Vocal Group. Infamously, The Beatles lose the award to the Anita Kerr Singers bland, middle of the road country pop album “We Dig Mancini”. Their win causes an uproar, due in part to Kerr being a charter member of the Grammy voting committee. It instigates a drive by NARAS to bring “younger and hipper” Grammy members into the voting pool to better reflect current tastes in popular music. In 2011, a replica of the original US 45 and picture sleeve is reissued in a limited edition box set (w/ a T-shirt), through the Target retail chain. “Help!” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 29, 1987 – “La Bamba” by Los Lobos hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Ritchie Valens, it is the biggest hit for the East Los Angeles, CA based band. Recorded as the theme song to the biopic of Mexican American rock & roll icon Ritchie Valens, the traditional Mexican folk song is based on the Son Jarocho style of music native to the state of Veracruz, and is often played at weddings. Valens rock & roll version (#22 Pop) is recorded in 1958 and is issued as the B-side of his biggest single “Donna” (#2 Pop). When Los Lobos records their version for the film (who also make a cameo appearance), they use Valens’ arrangement of the song, adding a reprise at the end of the traditional folk arrangement. Released six weeks ahead of the film in early June of 1987, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on June 27, 1987, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. The accompanying soundtrack album also hits number one on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks (on September 12, 1987), and to date has been certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1978 – “Grease” by Frankie Valli hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #40 on the R&B singles chart on September 16, 1978. Written by Barry Gibb, it is the second solo chart topper for legendary lead vocalist of The Four Seasons born Francesco Castelluccio. Following the Bee Gees work on the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever” and as the group are wrapping up filming on the Robert Stigwood helmed “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Barry Gibb is asked by Stigwood to write the theme song for film adaptation of the long running hit musical “Grease”. Gibb quickly writes the song on his own, cutting the track at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL in April of 1978. Guitarist Peter Frampton, Gibb’s co-star in “Sgt. Pepper” plays guitar on the track. Barry Gibb is also instrumental in bringing in Frankie Valli to sing the title song to the film. Released as the second single from the “Grease” soundtrack on May 6, 1978, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on May 27, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. “Grease” is Valli’s second solo number one (seventh overall) giving him a span of nearly sixteen years since his first number with The Four Seasons in 1962. The success of the song drives sales of the “Grease” soundtrack to over 8x Platinum in the US, and worldwide sales of over twenty eight million copies. At the time of its domination of the charts, it is the second largest selling soundtrack album of all time after “Saturday Night Fever” (eventually displaced to second and third place by “The Bodyguard” Soundtrack). “Grease” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 22, 1987 – “Who’s That Girl” by Madonna hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, it is the sixth chart topping single for the pop music superstar. Director James Foley (“At Close Range”) asks Madonna to record some new songs for the films soundtrack. Madonna in turn calls upon her collaborators Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray to write “some uptempo material” that might work in the film. Madonna later writes the melody and lyrics for the songs they have written. Inspired by her own recent top five hit “La Isla Bonita”, she writes based on the Latin feel of that song. Recorded as the theme song to her third film (originally titled “Slammer”), the films title is changed before its release to “Who’s That Girl”. Issued as the first single from the soundtrack on June 30, 1987, it quickly becomes another smash for Madonna. Entering the Hot 100 at #43 on July 11, 1987, it rockets to the top of the chart six weeks later. Though the film opens to bad reviews and disappointing box office, the success of “Who’s That Girl”, and its follow up single “Causing A Commotion” propel the soundtrack album to 2x Platinum status in the US.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.