Category: new wave

Born on this day: June 26, 1961 – Singer and a…

Born on this day: June 26, 1961 – Singer and actress Terri Nunn of Berlin (born Terri Kathleen Nunn in Baldwin Hills, CA). Happy 58th Birthday, Terri!!

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On this day in music history: June 24, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: June 24, 1983 – “Tour De France” by Kraftwerk is released. Written by Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Karl Bartos and Maxime Schmitt, it is the twelfth (ninth US) single release for the electronic synth pop band from Dusseldorf, Germany. Following the release of their eighth album “Computer World”, the electronic music innovators begin work on the follow up. In 1982, Kraftwerk start writing and recording an album titled “Technicolor”. The band discover that they are unable to use the name, due to its trademarked status. Changing its title to “Technopop” (aka “Electric Cafe”), work continues on the project. Becoming obsessed with cycling and vegetarianism, Ralf Hütter encourages his band mates to embrace a similar healthy lifestyle. Out of this, comes the first song to emerge from the recording sessions. “Tour De France” marks a dramatic departure from the technological themes of their past work. It features the sounds of sampled breathing, and bicycle gears in motion used as secondary percussion, against the up tempo electronic rhythm track. The lyrics trace the route of the twenty three day long 2,200 mile race, painting a vivid aural picture of the cyclist’s experience. Hütter pushes for it to be the center of a concept album about cycling, but the idea is abandoned. Instead, “Tour De France” is released as a stand alone single, just weeks before the 80th anniversary of the race. The single sleeve features an illustration of the four band members riding in a pace line formation, superimposed against an angled background of France’s national flag colors. It is a sizable hit across Europe, peaking at #22 on the UK singles chart. “France” is not released in North America by Warner Bros. Records, until November of 1983. First issued as a 12" only, it includes the original mix, and a remix by veteran club DJ and producer Francois Kevorkian. The latter is the one favored by DJ’s and club goers, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Club Play chart on February 18, 1984. Its popularity is such, that it inspires a cover by one off studio group 10 Speed. Also favored by breakdancers, poppers and lockers, “Tour De France” is featured in hit film “Breakin’” (aka “Breakdance”). The song is used in an electrifying dance sequence with actor and dancer Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers. With the track playing in the background, Chambers dances while sweeping out in front of a corner store. At times he appears to make the broom levitate and float through the air. The remixed single is released in Europe, re-charting at #24 on the UK singles chart. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France, Kraftwerk expands it into a full album titled “Tour De France Soundtracks”, released in August of 2003. Surprisingly, it is Kraftwerk’s only chart topping album in their home country.

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On this day in music history: June 23, 1984 – …

On this day in music history: June 23, 1984 – “The Reflex” by Duran Duran hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Duran Duran, it is the first US chart topper for the pop/rock band from Birmingham, UK. The members of Duran Duran write “The Reflex” while recording their third album “Seven And The Ragged Tiger” at AIR Studios, on the island of Montserrat in the Spring of 1983. The songs distinctive steel drum percussion breaks are not performed on real steel drums, but are played by keyboardist Nick Rhodes on a Roland Jupiter 8 synthesizer. Big fans of and heavily influenced by the American R&B band Chic, Duran Duran contacts guitarist Nile Rodgers, asking him to remix “The Reflex” for single release. Rodgers goes into the studio and gives the song a dramatic makeover, giving it a more forceful and pronounced dance oriented groove. Rodgers uses a Synclavier to sample and play back parts of the track, including Simon LeBon’s lead vocal and the background vocals, to give the track its distinctive “stutter” effects throughout. Upon hearing the remix, Duran Duran’s record label (Parlophone/EMI in the UK and Capitol Records in the US) initially refuses to the release it, feeling that it sounds “too black”. The band  have to fight with their record company for its release, with the label eventually relenting. Capitol Records in the US packages some copies of the single in a picture sleeve that folds out into a poster, with EMI and Capitol also issuing a 12" single along with a limited edition picture disc (with different artwork for the US and UK releases). Released as the third single from “Tiger” on April 6, 1984 (Worldwide release on April 16, 1984), it is an immediate smash, becoming Duran Duran’s biggest selling single. Entering the Hot 100 at #46 on April 21, 1984, it leaps to the top of the chart nine weeks later. The music video directed by Russell Mulcahy, features performance footage of the band during the “Seven And The Ragged Tiger Tour”. Shot at the Maple Leaf Gardens Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on March 5, 1984, close ups of Duran Duran are filmed prior to a sound check, with the other footage being taken from that night’s performance of the song. “The Reflex” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 23, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: June 23, 1981 – “Tom Tom Club”, the debut album by Tom Tom Club is released in the UK (US release is in November 1981). Produced by Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Steven Stanley, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas from November 1980 – April 1981. The album is a side project by Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz and bassist/wife Tina Weymouth, following the recording of Talking Heads’ “Remain In Light” album. When the band decide not to tour in support of the album, keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison records and releases his own solo album “ The Red and the Black”, while lead vocalist David Byrne completes “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” with collaborator Brian Eno. The group take their name from a dancehall in the Bahamas that they visited during their previous visit to the islands. Expanding on the Funk and African rhythms used on “Remain in Light”, Frantz and Weymouth are also influenced by the underground Hip Hop culture in New York incorporating it into their project. “Tom Tom Club” also features King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew and Weymouth’s sisters and brother on backing vocals. Frantz and Weymouth’s US label Sire Records initially passes on releasing the album. Taken aback by its decidedly pronounced R&B/dance vibe, they are unsure how to market it, feeling that it will alienate Talking Heads largely white fan base. The album is initially released in the UK through Island Records. Club DJ’s in the US discover the second single “Genius Of Love” (released in September of 1981). Name checking musical greats including Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, James Brown and Hamilton Bohannon in its lyrics, the highly infectious song quickly becomes it a sensation on club dance floors. It’s only after “Genius” sells over 100,000 copies as an import single, that Sire finally schedules it for release later in the year. It spins off two singles including “Wordy Rappinghood” (#1 Club Play, #7 UK) and “Genius Of Love” (#2 R&B, #1 Club Play, #31 Pop). The albums innovative and distinctive cover art as well as the animated music videos for both singles are designed by famed pop artist James Rizzi (directed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, and animated by Cucumber Studios in London). “Genius” only grows in popularity over the years as it is repeatedly sampled and interpolated into other songs, including forming the basis of Mariah Carey’s chart topping single “Fantasy” in 1995. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009 as a two CD deluxe edition (UK & Europe only). It is also remastered and reissued as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl LP on pink (Newbury Comics exclusive) and translucent green vinyl, by Real Gone Music in 2016. “Tom Tom Club” peaks at number twenty three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: June 22, 1953 – Singer and s…

Born on this day: June 22, 1953 – Singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper (born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper in Woodhaven, Queens, NY). Happy 66th Birthday, Cyndi!!!

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On this day in music history: June 22, 1982 – …

On this day in music history: June 22, 1982 – “Nothing To Fear”, the second album by Oingo Boingo is released. Produced by Joe Chiccarelli and Oingo Boingo, it is recorded at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, CA from November 1981 – January 1982. After releasing their debut album “Only A Lad” and playing live extensively in support of it, Oingo Boingo return to the studio in late 1981 to begin work on their sophomore release. Continuing to evolve their sound, “Nothing To Fear” demonstrates a noticeable difference from their first album. Sporting a more guitar driven and in your face sound than its predecessor, bandleader Danny Elfman and the rest of the band begin incorporating more eclectic and unusual instrumentation into the mix, including xylophones, electric bells and synthesizers. After working with Pete Solley (The Romantics, Motörhead, Jo Jo Zep) on their previous album, Oingo Boingo collaborate with co-producer and engineer Joe Chiccarelli (Stan Ridgway, Tori Amos, My Morning Jacket, Frank Zappa). Featuring songs written entirely by Elfman, they are full of his sharp, wryly humorous and sometimes dark sensibility, combined with energetic and manic rhythms. The album features a number of tracks that become standards in the bands’ canon, including “Grey Matter”, “Private Life” and the title track “Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself)”. The song “Wild Sex (In The Working Class)” is prominently featured in the classic teen comedy “Sixteen Candles” in 1984. Initial pressings of “Fear” include a longer version of “Private Life”, that is replaced with the shorter single remix featuring the xylophone and bass more upfront in the mix. The band support the album by touring extensively in support of it as the opening act for L.A. punk icons Fear and The Police. With strong radio support from pioneering modern rock radio station KROQ in Los Angeles, KQAK (The Quake) in the San Francisco Bay Area and various others around the country, “Nothing To Fear” becomes Oingo Boingo’s best selling album to date. In time, it is regarded as a genre defining new wave rock album. In spite of this, the album is currently out of print, having had its last CD pressing in 2005. “Nothing To Fear” peaks at number one hundred forty eight on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 21, 1982 – …

On this day in music history: June 21, 1982 – “Night And Day”, the fifth album by Joe Jackson is released. Produced by Joe Jackson and David Kershenbaum, it is recorded at Blue Rock Studio in Soho, New York City from January – February 1982. Never one to stay one spot for very long musically, Joe Jackson follows his muse, changing his musical course consistently over his first four albums. In search of other musical inspiration, Jackson leaves the UK and moves to New York, to fuel his creativity. Intrigued by both Latin music and rhythms as well as the songs of great American composers like Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin, he takes all of these influences and incorporates them into his own songwriting. At this time, Jackson also dismisses nearly all of his original band with the exception of bassist Graham Maby, also retaining drummer Larry Tolfree. He also adds Sue Hadjopoulos (percussion, flute, backing vocals), Ricardo Torres (percussion), Ed Rynesdal (violin), Al Weisman and Grace Millan (backing vocals). Looking to add more “colors” to his own arsenal, Jackson incorporates synthesizers and other keyboards like the Yamaha electric baby grand piano, Rhodes electric piano and the Hammond B-3 organ throughout. The sessions with co-producer David Kershenbaum move very quickly, recording and mixing the entire album in just a few weeks. Split into two thematic album sides (the “Night Side” and the “Day Side”), the songs flow seamlessly into each other, taking the listener on journey that perfectly captures the time and place in which it was created. It spins off three singles including “Steppin’ Out” (#6 Pop), “Breaking Us In Two” (#18 Pop) and “Another World”. Though it isn’t issued as a single in the US, “Real Men” also attracts attention for its subject matter about sexuality, gender identity, and challenging the stereotypes of traditional male masculinity. It is accompanied by a music video directed by Steve Barron, perfectly underscoring the lyrics. Upon its release, “Night And Day” is a major critical and commercial success, becoming Joe Jackson’s best selling album. “Steppin’ Out” earns Jackson two Grammy nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Record Of The Year in 1983. The album is later remastered and reissued as a two CD deluxe edition in 2003. The first disc contains the original nine song album, with the second disc consisting of demo recordings, and five tracks each from Jackson’s film soundtrack to “Mike’s Murder” and the live album “Joe Jackson Live 1980-86”. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued by Music On Vinyl in 2011. It is remastered and reissued again as a 180 gram LP by Intervention Records in 2016. “Night And Day” peaks at number four 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: June 17, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: June 17, 1985 – “Crush”, the sixth studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark is released. Produced by Stephen Hague and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, it is recorded at Amazon Studios in Liverpool, UK from Late 1984 – Spring 1985. Following the release their previous album “Junk Culture” and the singles “Tesla Girls” and “Locomotion”, OMD continue to move forward and evolve musically. The band ignore criticism from British music critics from New Musical Express and Melody Maker, after they blatantly thrash it. The follow up “Crush” marks the beginning of a new musical direction for the Liverpudlian synth pop band. They consciously move away from their experimental electronic dance music of their previous work, towards a more accessible mainstream pop sound. It is the bands’ first album to be co-produced by Stephen Hague (The Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Erasure), and is aimed primarily at the US record market. It significantly increases their previously underground fan base in the US, giving them their first taste of mainstream success. The album spins off two singles including “Secret” (#63 Pop) and their first US top 40 hit “So In Love” (#26 Pop). “Crush” peaks at number thirteen on the UK album chart and number thirty eight on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 17, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: June 17, 1983 – “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” by Culture Club is released. Written by Michael Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss and George O’Dowd, it is the fifth US single release for the pop band from London, UK. A fixture on London’s downtown club scene since his teens, George O’Dowd (aka “Boy George”) forms Culture Club in 1981, after an on again off again stint singing with the band Bow Wow Wow. Signed to Virgin Records in 1982 after being previously rejected by EMI Records, they begin recording their debut album in the Spring of that year. One song written after the initial demos recorded by the band, is the bouncy and upbeat “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”. As Culture Club’s main lyricist, George’s words were often cryptic and ambiguous on the surface, often masking a deeper hidden meaning. In the case of “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”, it speaks of the singer’s ambition for his band to be “the next big thing”, and doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal. And like many other Culture Club songs, the lyrics are also squarely aimed at drummer Jon Moss, whose often tumultuous relationship with Boy George often provided inspiration. Ironically or not so ironically, the songs’ musical arrangement is a play on Bow Wow Wow’s drums of Burundi percussion heavy sound. Included on the bands’ debut album “Kissing To Be Clever”, “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” is released in the US and Canada as the follow up to “Time (Clock Of The Heart)” by Epic Records. It is not released in the UK or the rest of Europe, with Virgin having issued “Church Of The Poison Mind” instead in April of 1983. To promote “Tumble”, Culture Club film a music video for the song directed by Zelda Barron. Band members Mikey Craig, Roy Hay and Jon Moss actually take tap dance lessons for a scene in the clip, but the idea is scrapped and another sequence is filmed in its place. The video also features a cameo appearance by future super model Naomi Campbell, then twelve years old at the time, as a part of a tap dancing chorus line. The video becomes an immediate fixture on MTV during the Summer of 1983, and is another hit for the band. Entering the Hot 100 at #64 on July 2, 1983, it peaks at #9 on August 27, 1983, eight weeks later. Their third consecutive top ten hit, Culture Club are the first band since The Beatles to pull three top ten hits from a debut album in the US. Along with the original single version, “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” is remixed by Jon Moss and producer Steve Levine. It is released as a 12" single shortly after the 45, becoming a sizable club hit, peaking at #14 on the Billboard Club Play chart. “Tumble” is spoofed by musician Frank Zappa on the song “Tinsel-Town Rebellion” on the live album and concert video “Does Humor Belong In Music?” released in 1986. “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” is also later featured in the Adam Sandler film “Billy Madison” in 1995.

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On this day in music history: June 16, 1986 – …

On this day in music history: June 16, 1986 – “The Queen Is Dead”, the third studio album by The Smiths is released. Produced by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, it is recorded at Jacobs Studios in Farnham, Surrey, UK, RAK Studios in London and Clear Recordings in Manchester, UK from July – December 1985. Morrissey and Marr write the majority of the songs for their third album during and between tours of Great Britain in 1985. Recording begins in the Summer with the song “Bigmouth Strikes Again” at Johnny Marr’s home studio. Originally intended to be just a demo, the band like the original version so much that it is released as single in advance of the album in May 1986. The rest of the album is completed later in the year in London and Surrey. When it debuts in the late Spring of 1986, it receives universal praise from the press and fans alike upon its release, and is regarded by many as The Smiths best album. Out of print on vinyl since the early 90’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Rhino Records in 2009, also including card for an mp3 download of the album. It is also remastered and reissued on CD in 2011 for its twenty fifth anniversary, with a limited numbered edition (to 2,000 copies) pressed a 10" LP (Europe only) for Record Store Day in April of 2011. The album is also reissued as a five LP deluxe box set in 2017, including the original ten song album, demos, single B-sides, and a full unreleased live concert recorded at Great Woods in Boston, MA on August 5, 1986. “The Queen Is Dead” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number seventy on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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