Category: power pop

On this day in music history: April 26, 1985 – “Nervous Night”, the second album by The Hooters is released. Produced by Rick Chertoff, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City and Studio 4 in Philadelphia, PA from Mid 1984 – Early 1985. Following the success of band members Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian work on Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual”, they team up with her producer and former band mate Chertoff to record their second full length release (and major label debut). The band take their name from the melodica, a harmonica/keyboard hybrid (made by Hohner) that is nicknamed “the hooter” by the band members. The instrument played by keyboardist and vocalist Rob Hyman, also becomes a key element of their sound. The album initially gets off to a slow start until they receive major exposure by opening the US portion of “Live Aid” at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. It spins off four singles including “And We Danced” (#21 Pop) and “Day By Day” (#18 Pop). “Nervous Night” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: December 9, 1966 – “A Quick One”, the second album by The Who is released (US release is in May 1967 under the title “Happy Jack”). Produced by Kit Lambert, it is recorded at IBC Studios and Pye Studios in London from September – November 1966. Issued one year and one week after their debut release “My Generation”, The Who’s second full length is an important turning point in the band’s career, as it marks Pete Townshend’s first foray into composing a “rock opera” in the form of the title track. The nine minute long suite of songs at the end of the album’s second side tells a story about a wife’s infidelity while her husband is away. “A Quick One While He’s Away” is also semi autobiographical, as it is the first time that Pete Townshend writes about the periods of separation from his parents as a young boy (in the opening movement “Her Man’s Been Gone”), living with his maternal grandmother, and the sexual abuse he suffers at the hands of one of her male friends (“Ivor The Engine Driver”). The mini opera is the genesis for Townshend’s later works “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”. The other three members of the band also contribute songs to the album including John Entwistle’s “Boris The Spider”. The band’s US label Decca Records retitles the album “Happy Jack”, after their then current single (#24 Pop) which is added to the track listing. The cover artwork is illustrated by British pop artist Alan Aldridge (The Beatles, Elton John). Released on CD in 1988 with its original mono mix, the US CD release is issued in stereo with five tracks in re-channeled stereo. It is remastered and reissued in 2005, with some tracks newly remixed into stereo. The track “Whiskey Man” is still in fake stereo with the majority of the remaining tracks in mono. The mono version of the album is reissued as 150 and 200 gram vinyl pressings by Classic Records in 2005, with another reissue in 2015. “A Quick One/Happy Jack” peaks at number four on the UK album chart and number sixty seven on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: December 9, 1964 – “All Day And All Of The Night” by The Kinks is released. Written by Ray Davies, it is the third single release for the rock band from London, UK. With the chart topping success of their breakthrough single “You Really Got Me”, The Kinks’ UK label Pye Records pressure them to follow it up with a similar sound-a-like. Feeling that they’re in no position to argue, they do just that. Bandleader Ray Davies takes the original riff from “You Really Got Me”, flips it over sideways, and creates another hard rocking power pop gem. The lyrics on the other hand, are something different. Titled “All Day And All Of The Night”, it borders on the songs’ male protagonist being completely obsessed (and borderline neurotic) over his girl, not wanting to be away from her for even a moment. The track matches the lyrics in intensity, powered by another crunchy main riff, played by guitarist Dave Davies. To achieve that signature guitar sound, Dave plays an Epiphone Casino through a pair of Peavey Mace amplifiers. Working again with producer Shel Talmy, “All Day” is recorded at Pye Studios (Studio No. 2) in London on September 23, 1964. Initially, Pye Records are not enamored of the song, rejecting it on the grounds of being “too blue-collar, too working-class”, and that the guitar riff sounded like “a dog’s bark”. In spite of this opinion, “All Day And All Of The Night” is  released in the UK exactly one month later on October 23, 1964. Any doubts about its hit potential are quickly squashed, when the single is an instant smash, peaking at #2 for two weeks on the UK singles chart behind The Supremes’ “Baby Love”. The Kinks’ american label follows suit immediately, releasing “All Day And All Of The Night” just two weeks after “You Really Got Me” peaks at #7 on the pop chart late November. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on December 26, 1964, it peaks at #7 six weeks later on February 6, 1965 (holding for three consecutive weeks), matching the chart position of its predecessor. Becoming one of The Kinks’ most popular and enduring songs, “All Day And All Of The Night” inspires other musicians as well. The Doors’ second number one single “Hello, I Love You” bares similarities to The Kinks’s song, to the point where the band’s song publisher wanted to sue The Doors. However, Ray Davies steadfastly refuses to take any legal action. Ironically, Davies borrows from himself again, when he recycles the riff of “All Day” in the song “Destroyer” in 1981. Acknowledged as a rock classic, “All Day And All Of The Night” has been covered many times over, including versions by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Remains, The Stranglers, and Quiet Riot.

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On this day in music history: December 3, 1965 – “My Generation”, the debut album by The Who is released. Produced by Shel Talmy, it is recorded at IBC Studios in London from April, October 11 – 14, 1965. The majority of the of Who’s first album is recorded in just four days of studio time and includes covers of the band’s favorite R&B numbers as well as originals by Pete Townshend. The title track is their biggest hit in the UK peaking at #2. It spins off three more singles including “The Kids Are Alright” and “A Legal Matter”. The US version of the album re-titled “The Who Sing My Generation”, is released on April 25, 1966. The American release features a different cover photo and a slightly altered track listing. The shifted the track sequence drops the song “I’m A Man”, and replaces it with “Instant Party (Circles)”.  The original UK mono version of “My Generation” is reissued by Virgin Records in 1979, to coincide with the theatrical release of the film “Quadrophenia”. Reissue remains in print for only a brief time, before being deleted in 1980. In 2002, the album is mixed into true stereo for the first time by the original producer Shel Talmy, who has been in possession of the original three track session tapes since the recording sessions nearly fifty years before. The stereo version is released as part of a two CD deluxe edition. In December of 2014, the album is reissued as a digital download (on iTunes and HD Tracks) with the original mono and stereo remix versions, along with additional bonus tracks. In December of 2016, “Generation” is reissued as a five CD “Super Deluxe” box set. Featuring newly remastered versions of the original mono and the remixed stereo versions, it also contains three additional CD’s with fifty five bonus tracks including alternate takes, instrumentals and new mixes. It is to be followed by a three LP set in February of 2017, featuring the mono mixes, bonus mono tracks and demo recordings. A two LP set featuring the stereo mixes and more bonus tracks is to be issued along side the mono version. “My Generation” peaks at number five on the UK album chart.

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On this day in music history: November 6, 1964 – “Any Way You Want It” by The Dave Clark Five is released. Written by Dave Clark, it is the tenth US single release for the pop/rock band from Tottenham, London, UK. As 1964 draws to a close, the British Invasion of the American record charts is in full swing. With The Beatles leading the charge, the Liverpool band has hit the top forty on the US singles chart a remarkable sixteen times between January and September of that year. At the time, The Beatles nearest competition is not The Rolling Stones, who then have only scored two top forty singles, and are on the verse of hitting the US top ten with “Time Is On My Side” in the Fall of 1964. It is The Dave Clark Five who are The Fab Four’s nearest chart rivals, with six top forty hits during the same time frame. Best known for energetic, up tempo ravers like “Glad All Over”, “Bits And Pieces” and “Can’t You See That She’s Mine”, The DC5 change things up dramatically with their next two US singles, the tender ballad “Because” (#3 Pop) and the swinging mid tempo “Everybody Knows (I Still Love You)” (#15 Pop). The band then return to their main bread and butter with the raucous “Any Way You Want It”. The track is recorded at Lansdowne Studios in London in mid 1964 with engineer Adrian Kerridge (sometimes credited as “Adrian Clark”). A four on the floor blast of a record, lasting all of two and a half minutes, it is another prime example of the “Tottenham Sound” that the North London band have crafted. The aggressive drop of “Any Way You Want It” is accented with its unique use of echo, reverb and compression, to give it an “in your face” presence from start to finish. The track uses an Echoplex tape delay unit, that uses magnetic recording tape inside of it, allowing the speed  and depth of the echo effect to be varied, by turning oscillator knobs on the unit. Released in the UK first in October of 1964, it peaks at #25 on the UK singles chart. Issued in the US a couple of weeks later, it performs significantly better. Entering the Hot 100 at #78 on November 14, 1964, it peaks at #14 eight weeks later on January 9, 1965. In time, “Any Way You Want It” becomes a power pop and garage rock staple. The song is covered by KISS in 1977 on the “Alive II” album, and by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on “The Live Anthology”. It’s also the last song the Ramones perform together on stage (with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam) in 1996, included on the live album “We’re Outta Here”. Joey Ramone also records a studio version of it with band mate C.J. Ramone, appearing as a bonus track on “Greatest Hits Live”.

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On this day in this in music history: October 26, 1970 – “No Matter What” by Badfinger is released. Written by Pete Ham, it is the third single release for the Welsh/British rock band. The song is originally composed with a mambo rhythm on Ham’s original demo. Produced by former Beatles road manager Mal Evans, the track is recorded twice. The first time is in March of 1970, when the band cut the song with a heavier rock arrangement. The final released version is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London during April of 1970, with additional recording and overdubs completed at Abbey Road on May 13, 1970, and at Trident Studios on May 20, 1970. The song is initially shelved for a time until it is heard by Allan Steckler, the head of US operations for Apple Records. His enthusiasm for “No Matter What” results in it being included on Badfinger’s next album “No Dice” in November 1970. Issued as the first (and only) single from the album, it enters the Hot 100 at #79 on October 31, 1970, peaking at #8 on December 5, 1970, also peaking at #5 on the UK singles chart in January 1971.

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On this day in music history: October 22, 1991 – “Girlfriend”, the third album by Matthew Sweet is released. Produced by Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet, it is recorded at Axis Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1990. Inspired by the break up of Sweet’s marriage, the album features the musician with a number of guest musicians including guitarists Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd (Television), and The Indigo Girls. Released on RCA’s Zoo Records imprint, its sales are only modest, but receives significant support from college radio and commercial AAA format and Modern Rock stations. The album draws raves from critics and fans, and is regarded as one of the great power pop albums of all time. The album spins off two singles including the title track (#4 Mainstream Rock). The cover artwork features a photo of actress Tuesday Weld. The album is remastered and reissued in 2006, with live recordings, demos and acoustic versions of several songs included as bonus tracks. Initially released on only CD and cassette, the album is reissued on vinyl in 2014. The first LP release is a limited edition 180 gram vinyl pressing from audiophile label Classic Records in 1995,that quickly goes out of print, and becomes a pricey collectors item. The vinyl release is reissued again in 2017 by Music On Vinyl. An expanded edition of “Girlfriend"is released as a double 180 gram LP set, and as a hybrid SACD (to follow in December of 2018) by Intervention Records in September of 2018. "Girlfriend” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: October 22, 1974 – “Hotter Than Hell”, the second album by KISS is released. Produced by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, it is recorded at The Village Recorder in West Los Angeles, CA in August 1974. Just six months after releasing their self-titled debut album,  KISS relocates to Los Angeles to record the follow up to their debut with producers Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise. Though the band power through the sessions in a few short weeks, they do not find L.A. to their liking, with Paul Stanley having his guitar stolen on the first day in town. They are also unhappy with the dark and murky sound of the albums’ final mix. “Hotter Than Hell” yields several songs that become staples of the band’s live act including “Got To Choose”, “Parasite” and “Goin’ Blind”, though initially it sells poorly due to it being released as Casablanca’s distribution deal with Warner Bros is ending. The album’s memorable and striking cover photo is taken by legendary photographer Norman Seeff (Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, The Jacksons), and designed graphic artist John Van Hamersveld (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, with it being reissued on vinyl in 2014. “Hottter Than Hell” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 18, 1988 – “Everything”, the third album by The Bangles is released. Produced by Davitt Sigerson, Walker Ingleheart, John Philip Shenale and Phillip White, it is recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA and Studio 55 in Hollywood, CA from Late 1987 – Mid 1988. Issued as the follow up to their breakthrough release “Different Light”, it is another successful project for the L.A. based female rock quartet, but it ends up being their last album of new material for fifteen years. Internal band friction that began during the recording of the previous album intensifies during the recording of “Everything”. With CBS Records placing more and more emphasis and media focus on Susanna Hoffs rather than on the band as a whole, leads to the demise of The Bangles in 1990. It spins off three singles including “In Your Room” (#5 Pop) and “Eternal Flame” (#1 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2007, including the extended 12" mix of “In Your Room” as an added bonus track. “Everything” peaks at number fifteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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