Category: music

Linda Ronstadt photographed by Henry Diltz, 19…

Linda Ronstadt photographed by Henry Diltz, 1968.

On this day in music history: August 22, 1992 …

On this day in music history: August 22, 1992 – “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men hits #1 on the R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 13 weeks on August 15, 1992. Written by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Daryl Simmons, it is the third R&B, and first pop chart topper for the vocal harmony quartet from Philadelphia, PA. After writing and producing hits for the likes of artists such as The Whispers, Pebbles, TLC, The Boys and Paula Abdul, Hollywood comes calling. Director and producers Reginald and Warrington Hudlin (“House Party”) ask L.A. and Babyface to contribute to the soundtrack for the romantic comedy “Boomerang” starring Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, and Halle Berry. Impressed by their debut album “Cooleyhighharmony”, L.A. and Face specifically ask to work with Boyz II Men on a song for the soundtrack. Written primarily by Babyface, he takes inspiration from scene he sees in a rough cut of the film, quickly recording his ideas as a rough demo. Reid and their frequent collaborator Daryl Simmons helps complete the lyrics. With Boyz II Men about to go on the road for another tour, the producers fly to the groups native Philadelphia to record their vocals. Working very quickly, they record all of the lead and background vocals in only three hours of studio time. Released as the first single from the “Boomerang” soundtrack on June 30, 1992, the song is a monster right out of the box. Rising up the R&B and pop charts simultaneously, “End Of The Road” top both charts within five weeks of entry. On the Hot 100, the single shatters the previous chart record set by Elvis Presley thirty six years earlier with “Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog”, which spent 11 weeks at number one. “Road” wins two Grammy Awards including Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group and Best R&B Song in 1993. Both the original English and Spanish language versions of “End Of The Road” are added to an expanded reissue of the “Cooleyhighharmony” album in 1993. “End Of The Road” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 22, 1987 …

On this day in music history: August 22, 1987 – “Casanova” by Levert hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 on October 31, 1987. Written by Reggie Calloway, it is the second R&B chart topper and biggest pop hit for the Canton, OH based R&B trio fronted by lead singer Gerald Levert. The group featuring Gerald and Sean Levert (the sons of legendary O’Jays vocalist Eddie Levert) and family friend Marc Gordon, first make an impact in 1986 with their second album (and major label debut) “Bloodline”, scoring three hit singles including their first R&B number one “(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind”. For their third album, Levert are paired with songwriter and producers Reggie and Vincent Calloway of the R&B/Funk band Midnight Star, by Atlantic A&R executive Sylvia Rhone. Reggie Calloway is inspired to write the song after hearing Club Nouveau’s arrangement of the Bill Withers classic “Lean On Me” which tops the Pop and R&B charts earlier in the year. The syncopated rhythm of “Casanova” is an early precursor to the New Jack Swing sound that dominates R&B music for the next several years, “Casanova” is an immediate smash on black radio and crosses over to top 40 pop stations on the heels of it topping the R&B chart. “Casanova” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 22, 1987 …

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.

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On this day in music history: August 22, 1975 …

On this day in music history: August 22, 1975 – “Man-Child”, the seventeenth album by Herbie Hancock is released. Produced by David Rubinson and Herbie Hancock, it is recorded at Village Recorders, Crystal Industries in Los Angeles, CA, Wally Heider Studios and Funky Features in San Francisco, CA from Late 1974 – Early 1975. Continuing to explore the Jazz/Funk fusion of his successful “Head Hunters” and “Thrust” albums, Hancock and the Headhunters Band (their final album with Hancock) are joined on “Man-Child” by Stevie Wonder, guitarists Dewayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight, “Wah Wah” Watson, David T. Walker, saxophonists Wayne Shorter and Ernie Watts, drummer James Gadson and bassist Louis Johnson. The albums breakout track “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” goes on to be sampled by a number of artists over the years including NWA, Lords Of The Underground, and Janet Jackson. The album is remastered and reissued in 2013 as part of the box set “The Complete Columbia Albums Collection 1972 – 1988”. Out of print on vinyl for nearly thirty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP, by Speaker’s Corner Records in 2013. “Man-Child” hits number one on the Billboard Jazz album chart, and number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: August 22, 1970 …

On this day in music history: August 22, 1970 – “Make It With You” by Bread hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #4 on the Easy Listening chart on the same date. Written and produced by David Gates, it is the biggest hit for the Los Angeles, CA based soft rock band. Bread form after Gates’ friend and fellow Oklahoma native Leon Russell introduces him to James Griffin and Robb Royer who are recording as a duo called Pleasure Faire. Russell recommends Gates as the producer for their debut album. When that project fails, the three join forces along with drummer Mike Botts, making the band a quartet. “Make It With You” is the first release from the bands’ second album “On The Waters”, and swiftly establishes the band as mainstays of the emerging soft rock singer/songwriter movement of the 70’s. Entering the Hot 100 at #96 on June 13, 1970, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. Considered one of the quintessential soft rock songs, “Make It With You” is covered by a number of artists across various musical genres, including versions by Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, The Whispers, Andy Williams, Lou Donaldson, and Teddy Pendergrass. “Make It With You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 22, 1969 …

On this day in music history: August 22, 1969 – The Beatles last official photo session takes place at Tittenhurst Park in Sunninghill, Ascot, Berkshire UK. One week after the bands last recording session for “Abbey Road” (recording overdubs for “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight”, “Something”, “Here Comes The Sun” and “The End”), The Beatles meet at John Lennon’s estate in the English countryside with photographer Ethan Russell (“Let It Be”) for one final photo session. Russell takes numerous photos of the band in front of the house and on the surrounding grounds. Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono are both present at the photo shoot along with Apple press officer Derek Taylor. Linda who is only six days away from giving birth to her and Paul’s first child Mary, also shoots 16mm film of the session. Pictures from this photo session are used on the cover of the compilation album “Hey Jude” (aka “The Beatles Again”) released in February of 1970. Many of the other exposures are used for publicity purposes though many have been unseen by the public at large.

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On this day in music history: August 22, 1964 …

On this day in music history: August 22, 1964 – “Where Did Our Love Go?” by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, it is the first chart topping single for the Detroit, MI based vocal trio. When Holland Dozier Holland write “Where Did Our Love Go?” in early 1964, the song is originally intended for and pitched to The Marvelettes who turn it down. The Supremes are initially not enamored of the song either, but record it anyway after string of failures which lead many around Motown to refer to the group as the “no hit Supremes”. Mary Wilson was to have sung it originally, but label founder has Diana Ross sing it instead. Initially, Ross is resistant to the idea, since she is asked to sing in a lower register than normal, but complies. The track is cut on April 8, 1964 in Motown’s Studio A in Detroit with The Funk Brothers providing musical support. Released on June 17, 1964, The Supremes along with numerous other acts tour the US as part of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand Caravan Of Stars Tour”. They are bottom of the bill when the tour begins, and are unaware of the growing success of their record while on tour. Though the girls notice that the audience reaction to their performances grows in enthusiasm as the tour progresses. By the end of the tour, The Supremes are the headlining act, just the record is making its final ascent to the top. Entering the chart at #77 on July 11, 1964, it swiftly climbs to the top of the chart six weeks later. It is the first of twelve number one pop singles for The Supremes, making them the most successful American vocal group of not only the 1960’s, but of all time. While the group are on a tour of Europe in 1965, they film a promotional clip for “Where Did Our Love Go?” in Paris. The clip shows the girls lip synching the song while skipping through busy afternoon traffic on the Champs-Élysées. The video captures a real moment, where The Supremes are forced off of the streets by a French police officer. Not having secured permission to film, the girls are nearly arrested in the incident. “Where Did Our Love Go” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. The single is also selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry of the Library Of Congress in 2016.

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On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 …

On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 – “Graffiti Bridge”, the twelfth album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA, Lake Minnetonka Home Studio in Minnetonka, MN, and Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, MN, circa 1983 – 1990. Issued as the soundtrack to Prince’s third film, the album features material written as far back as the “Controversy” recording sessions in 1981. Other tracks originate from various projects such as the abandoned “Dream Factory” album (which evolved into the “Sign O’ The Times” album), “Parade”, and “Crystal Ball”. Prince begins forming the concept for “Graffiti Bridge” in 1987, with the only songs written specifically for the film being “Thieves In The Temple”, “Round And Round” (recorded by Tevin Campbell), and “New Power Generation”. The completed album features songs performed by The Time, Mavis Staples and Tevin Campbell, along side Prince’s songs. The soundtrack album is much better received than the film which is widely panned upon its release, and is a box office disappointment. The album spins off five singles including “Thieves In The Temple” (#1 R&B, #6 Pop) and “Round And Round” (#3 R&B, #12 Pop). Also issued at the time as a limited double vinyl LP, the album quickly goes out of print in that format, and remains unavailable more than twenty five years later. “Graffiti Bridge” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 …

On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 – “Ritual De Lo Habitual”, the second studio album by Jane’s Addiction is released. Produced by Dave Jerden and Perry Ferrell, it is recorded at Track Record Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Mid 1989 – Mid 1990. After the acclaim they receive for their major label debut “Nothing’s Shocking”, Jane’s Addiction return to the studio to record the follow up. With the band already on unstable ground due to personality clashes and substance abuse, they make slow progress working on the album. In spite of the tension, Jane’s Addiction emerge from the studio with what many regard as their best album. It spins off four singles including “Stop!” (#1 Modern Rock) and “Been Caught Stealing” (#1 Modern Rock, #2 Mainstream Rock). Like their previous album, the cover artwork for “Ritual” sparks controversy also. The cover designed by lead singer Perry Ferrell shows a paper mache diorama of the singer lying in bed naked with two women and the figures genitalia semi exposed. As a result, several music retailers refuse to stock the album with the original artwork. A second cover for those stores is prepared featuring a stark white cover with the artist name, album title and Article 1 of First Amendment of the US Constitution stating the amendment of free speech. It also includes the additional text on the back cover,“Hitler’s syphilis-ridden dreams almost came true. How could it happen? By taking control of the media. An entire country was led by a lunatic… We must protect our First Amendment, before sick dreams become law. Nobody made fun of Hitler??!” To support the album, Jane’s Addiction tour heavily, embarking on the first Lollapalooza Tour across the US in mid 1991. The bands already deteriorating relationships finally implode at the end of the tour, leading to Jane’s Addiction disbanding and not playing together as a unit again until 1997, then recording a new album in 2003. Though in both cases it is without original bassist Eric Avery who declines to participate in the reunions. “Ritual De Lo Habitual” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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