Category: pop

On this day in music history: March 23, 1985 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1985 – “Dream Into Action”, the second album by Howard Jones is released. Produced by Rupert Hine, it is recorded at Farmyard Studios in Cotswolds, UK from Late 1984 – Early 1985. Differing from his successful debut “Human’s Lib”, in which the British synth-pop musician had been a virtual “one man band”, his follow up features more outside musicians including the TKO Horns (Dave Pleurs, Alan Whetton, Jim Patterson, Brian Maurice), background vocalists Afrodiziak (featuring Claudia Fontaine, Naomi Thompson, and a pre-Soul II Soul Caron Wheeler), and The Effervescents. The album is the worldwide commercial breakthrough for Jones, spinning off three singles in the US including “Things Can Only Get Better” (#5 Pop), “Life In One Day” (#19 Pop), and “Like To Get To Know You Well” (#49 Pop). The albums’ success is such that it spins off a six track EP titled “Action Replay” featuring five remixed versions of songs from “Dream” along with a re-recorded version of the album cut “No One Is To Blame” (produced by Phil Collins). “Blame” is released as a single a year later in March of 1986, becoming his biggest US hit (#4 Pop). The tracks “Specialty” & “Why Look For The Key” on the UK release are pulled from the US edition, and are replaced with “Like To Get To Know You Well” and “Bounce Right Back”. “Why Look” is issued as the B-side of “Things Can Only Get Better”, while “Specialty” makes its US debut on the “Action Replay” EP. In 2010, “Dream” is remastered and reissued as an expanded edition CD (Europe only), with all of the tracks from the UK and US versions of the album. The album is remastered and reissued again in November of 2018 by Cherry Red Records, as a two CD + DVD deluxe edition. The first disc contains the original twelve song album (UK edition), plus five additional bonus tracks. The second disc features twelve bonus tracks, including 12" remixes and non-LP B-sides. The DVD portion includes rare television performances, and all of the original music videos for the singles. It is also reissued in “Super Deluxe” box set, containing all of the aforementioned contents, and a vinyl picture disc of the full album. The vinyl edition is also issued separately, pressed on translucent green vinyl. “Dream Into Action” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1985 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1985 – “Centerfield”, the third solo album by John Fogerty hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 1 week. Produced by John Fogerty, it is recorded The Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA from July – September 1984. Following acrimonious break up of Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1972, bandleader John Fogerty begins a solo career in earnest in 1973, recording under the name The Blue Ridge Rangers. Hindered by the stress of legal problems with his former label Fantasy Records, Fogerty’s musical output grinds to a halt by the mid 70’s. Eventually he cuts ties with Fantasy, and his contract with Asylum Records is transferred to Warner Bros Records in 1984. Finally over his writer’s block, legal problems, and able to create freely once again, Fogerty goes right back to work. Block booking himself into The Plant Recording Studios in Sausalito, Fogerty plays all of the instruments himself on the project. The album is praised as an artistic triumph among long time fans and critics, also winning the rock legend a new generation of fans. It spins off three singles including “The Old Man Down The Road” (#10 Pop) and “Rock & Roll Girls (#20 Pop). Original pressings of the album feature the track "Zanz Kant Danz”, a a swipe at his former label boss, Fantasy Records founder Saul Zaentz. When he threatens to sue over the song, Warner Bros affixes a sticker to the back cover of existing copies with the title being amended to “Vanz Kant Danz”. Subsequent repressings of the album carry the title change. However, Fogerty still finds himself in a protracted legal battle with his former label boss over “The Old Man Down The Road”. Zaentz claims the chorus of “The Old Man” has the same chord changes as the CCR hit “Run Through The Jungle” which Zaentz controls the song publishing to. Fogerty is fully exonerated in court when it is decided that the two compositions are different from each other. The album is remastered and reissued in 2001, with HDCD encoding. To commemorate its twenty fifth anniversary in 2010, “Centerfield is reissued with two additional bonus tracks. "Centerfield” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1983 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1983 – “Eliminator”, the eighth album by ZZ Top is released. Produced by Bill Ham, it is recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN from Mid – Late 1982. Starting on their previous album “El Loco”, the band expand their use of synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines into their trademark blues/rock sound. The result is the most successful album of their career. It spins off five singles including “Sharp Dressed Man” (#56 Pop) and “Legs” (#8 Pop). The promotion of the album is aided greatly by the music videos for “Gimme All Your Lovin’, “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs” which receive heavy rotation on MTV and other video outlets. The custom “spinning fur” Dean Z guitar and bass (covered in sheep’s wool on the body and tuners) seen in the video for “Legs” were on public display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas, TX for several years before the restaurant closed in 2009. First released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 2008 as a CD + DVD deluxe edition. The CD features the original eleven track album, with seven additional bonus tracks including the 7” and 12" single remixes of “Legs” and the single and live versions of five other tracks from the album. The DVD includes the original four music videos, and three performances from the band’s appearance on the UK music show “The Tube” on November 17, 1983. The album is reissued on vinyl in 2013 by Rhino Records, with a limited edition pressed on red vinyl issued in October of 2016. “Eliminator” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1982 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1982 – “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet”, the sixth album by Rick Springfield is released. Produced by Keith Olsen, it is recorded at Goodnight LA Studios in Van Nuys, CA from Mid 1981 – Early 1982. After ten years of struggle and setbacks, Rick Springfield begins to see his fortunes turn around when “Working Class Dog”, his first album for RCA Records takes off during the Spring and Summer of 1981. Deciding to strike while the iron is hot, he returns to the studio with former Sound City Studios engineer and producer Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Pat Benatar), recording at Olsen’s newly opened state of the art facility. Sessions take place during breaks in Springfield’s busy schedule while promoting “Working Class Dog”, and starring on the popular daytime soap opera “General Hospital”. The new album features various studio players including former Rufus member Dennis Belfield (bass), former Hall & Oates band member Michael Baird (drums), Alan Pasqua (keyboards), Chas Sandford (guitar), songwriter Tom Kelly (“Like A Virgin”, “True Colors”, “I Touch Myself”), and future Mr. Mister lead singer and bassist Richard Page (background vocals). “Success” follows its predecessor up the charts, spinning off three singles including “Don’t Talk To Strangers” (#2 Pop), “I Get Excited” (#32 Pop), and “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” (#21 Pop). Like the previous album, the cover art features a humorous photo of Springfield’s bull terrier/great dane mix Lethal Ron, this time posed in the back of a limousine with two female poodles (with Springfield posing as the limo driver). Originally released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 1995. “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” spends three weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1980 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1980 – “Departure”, the sixth album by Journey is released. Produced by Geoff Workman and Kevin Elson, it is recorded at The Automatt in San Francisco, CA in November 1979. After the back to back success of the Platinum sellers “Infinity” and “Evolution”, the San Francisco based rock band try a different approach for the album by recording the majority of it live in the studio with few overdubs. The band have nineteen songs written for the sessions, eventually pairing them down to the final twelve that are included on the finished album. “Departure” is the final release with founding member Gregg Rolie, who leaves Journey to form his own band. It spins off three singles including “Anyway You Want It” (#23 Pop). “Anyway You Want It” is also featured in the comedy classic “Caddyshack” later in the year. The album’s striking cover artwork is designed by graphic artist Jim Welch, who designs the packaging for several other Journey albums over the years. Initially released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and  reissued in 1996, using Sony’s “Super Bit Mapping” transfer process of the analog master to digital. A second CD remaster is issued in 2006 with two additional bonus tracks (“Natural Thing”, first issued as the non LP B-side of “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Little Girl” from the “Dream After Dream” soundtrack), in both standard jewel case and limited digi-pak packaging. “Departure” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: March 23, 1953 – R&B voc…

Born on this day: March 23, 1953 – R&B vocal icon and songwriter Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens in Chicago, IL). Happy 66th Birthday, Chaka!!

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1978 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1978 – “…And Then There Were Three…”, the ninth studio album by Genesis is released in the US (UK release is on April 7, 1978). Produced by David Hentschel and Genesis, it is recorded from September – October 1977 at Relight Studios in Hilvarenbeek, NL. The albums’ title refers to the departure of guitar Steve Hackett who quits prior to the recording sessions, reducing Genesis to a trio of drummer and lead vocalist Phil Collins, guitarist and bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks. The album also sees them bridging the gap between their earlier progressive rock roots, moving toward more tightly structured pop songs. It is their most successful release to date, spinning off two singles including their first US hit “Follow You, Follow Me” (#23 Pop). “ First released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued in 1994, and again in 2007, with the latter release also being issued as a hybrid SACD + DVD. The SACD contains a high definition remaster of the stereo mix, while the DVD features a 5.1 surround remix of the album. The DVD also includes original music videos, new interviews with the members of Genesis, a vintage documentary from the band’s 1978 tour, and still photos from the era. …And Then There Were Three” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number fourteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1963 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1963 – “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby & The Romantics hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 2 weeks on the same date. Written by Bill Hilliard and Mort Garson, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocal quintet fronted by lead singer Ruby Nash. Hilliard and Garson submit their song to Kapp Records with the hopes of either Jack Jones or Julie London recording it. Label A&R man/producer Allen Stanton chooses Ruby & The Romantics, an R&B vocal group from Akron, OH to record it as their first release. Recorded in December of 1962, the track features legendary guitarists Kenny Burrell, and Vinnie Bell (inventor of the Coral Electric Sitar), Al Gorgoni (The Monkees, Carole King, The Four Seasons), bassist Russ Savaukus (Bob Dylan, Van Morrison), and drummer Gary Chester (The Shirelles, The Drifters, Dionne Warwick). Two versions of the song are cut, one with a straight pop arrangement and one with a bossa nova arrangement. The latter is chosen for release and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on February 9, 1963, it streaks to the top of the chart just six weeks later. “Our Day Will Come” is covered a number of times after Ruby & The Romantics success with the song, also being recorded by Frankie Valli, Cher, Fontella Bass, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Nancy Wilson, The Supremes, Isaac Hayes and Amy Winehouse.

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On this day in music history: March 23, 1956 -…

On this day in music history: March 23, 1956 – “Elvis Presley”, the debut album by Elvis Presley is released. Produced by Steve Sholes and Sam Phillips, it is recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, TN from July 5 – September 10, 1954 and at RCA Victor Studios in New York City from January 10 – 11, 30 – 31, 1956. Released just two months after the release of “Heartbreak Hotel”,  Presley’s first album for RCA includes covers of rhythm & blues and rockabilly songs that includes a cover of Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes” (#20 Pop). This seminal release is the first rock & roll album to sell over a million copies in the US. Its cover art proves to be equally influential, with numerous artists including The Clash, Tom Waits, Big Audio Dynamite, and k.d. lang, all paying tribute by emulating its distinctive layout and graphics. The cover photo is taken photographer William V. “Red” Robertson, at a performance at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, FL on July 31, 1955. The image had been erroneously credited to Popsie Randolph for years before being corrected. The UK release differs from the US LP, with the track order being changed, and replacing the songs “I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’)”,  "Just Because", “I Love You Just Because”, “Tutti Frutti” and “Blue Moon” with “That’s All Right”, “Mystery Train”,  "I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone", “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Shake, Rattle And Roll”. The album originally released in mono only, makes its CD debut in 1984, in re-channeled fake stereo. The original release is withdrawn and replaced by the mono mix in 1985, and used on all subsequent reissues.  It is remastered and reissued in 1999 in an expanded edition, adding the tracks “Heartbreak Hotel”, “I Was The One”, “My Baby Left Me” and “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You”. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its release, the Follow That Dream Records imprint issues a two CD deluxe edition in Europe, containing previously unreleased studio outtakes, and a brief interview with Presley. And in 2011, RCA/Sony Legacy releases another two CD deluxe edition featuring thirty six tracks, including other singles by Elvis released in 1956. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Simply Vinyl in 2000. It is also reissued again in 2008, and in 2009 by Music On Vinyl on standard black, and limited edition pink vinyl. Boston based Newbury Comics releases an exclusive LP pressed on green and pink vinyl in 2014, and is limited to 1,000 copies. The most recent vinyl reissue is released by Friday Music in 2017, and is pressed on translucent blue vinyl. “Elvis Presley” spends ten weeks at number one on the Billboard Pop Album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 22, 1986 -…

On this day in music history: March 22, 1986 – “These Dreams” by Heart hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 1 week on March 15, 1986. Written by Martin Page and Bernie Taupin, it is first chart topping single for the Seattle, WA based rock band fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. Making his breakthrough as a songwriter in the early 80’s after co-writing Earth, Wind & Fire’s R&B top ten hit “Magnetic”, Martin Page continues to make the rounds in the music business, when he meets another songwriting legend. Page meets lyricist Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s long time collaborator when Taupin looking for another music writing partner asks Page to work with him. Among the first songs the pair write together are “We Built This City” and “These Dreams”. The former is given to Starship who have a number one single with it. Taupin and Page’s publisher also look to have “These Dreams” recorded by a name artist. The song is originally submitted to Stevie Nicks for consideration. When she passes on recording it, the writing duos song publisher places it with Heart. Featuring Nancy Wilson on lead vocals rather than regular lead vocalist Ann Wilson, Nancy initially records her lead vocals while she’s ill with a cold, giving her vocals a slight raspiness. Though she goes back and re-record parts of her vocal after she’s well, producer Ron Nevison keeps much of the original vocals for the final version. Issued as the third single from their self titled eighth studio album in early January of 1986, it quickly becomes a pop and AC radio smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on January 18, 1986, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. “These Dreams” is the third of four US top ten singles spun off of the album “Heart” during 1985 and 1986.

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