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.
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. “Hotter Than Hell” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 19, 1973 – “Quadrophenia”, the seventh album by The Who is released. Produced by The Who, Kit Lambert and Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London and Ramport Studios in Battersea, London w/ Ronnie Lane Mobile Studio from May 1972 – June 1973. The Who’s first studio album in over two years, it is the bands’ second rock opera, focusing on the central character “Jimmy” a young man with four distinct and different personalities, set against the background of mid 60’s London and Brighton, UK. It is a huge critical and commercial success upon its release, and is regarded as one of The Who’s finest works. The original double LP package includes a thick booklet containing song lyrics, written text of the storyline and photographs. The band also tours extensively in support of the record, which is their most successful to date. “Quadrophenia” also inspires a feature film released in 1979 that features three additional songs written by Pete Townshend. The album is remastered and reissued in 2011 on CD, with a Super Deluxe box set containing four CD’s/one DVD-A disc, with the original album on the first two discs, with the third and fourth including previously unreleased demos, with the fifth being a DVD-A disc with 5.1 surround remixes of eight songs. The box also includes a 7" vinyl replica of “5:15” b/w “Water” in a repro picture sleeve, a one hundred page hard bound book and additional inserts. The original double album is also reissued on 180 gram vinyl in 2015. “Quadrophenia” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 18, 1989 – “11”, the third album by The Smithereens is released. Produced by Ed Stasium, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles, CA in Early – Mid 1989. Scoring their first chart single “Only A Memory” (#92 Pop) and also landing on the charts with their second album “Green Thoughts”, The Smithereens return to the studio in early 1989 to begin work on their next release. Having previously worked with producer Don Dixon (R.E.M., Guadalcanal Diary) on the first two albums, the New Jersey based rock band work with engineer and producer Ed Stasium (Living Colour) on the new album. The third release features Belinda Carlisle, The Honeys and Maria Vidal providing background vocals on various tracks. It spins off four singles including their first top 40 hit “A Girl Like You” (#38 Pop, #3 Modern Rock, #2 Mainstream Rock). “A Girl Like You” was originally written for inclusion in the Cameron Crowe film “Say Anything”, but the producers end up passing on the song when they feel the lyrics reveal too much of the films’ storyline. The album cover art (designed by Mick Haggerty) is inspired by artist Saul Bass’ iconic movie poster designed for the film “Oceans Eleven”. “11” peaks at number forty one on the Billboard Top 200.
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.
On this day in music history: October 13, 1965 – “My Generation”, the third single by The Who is recorded. Written by Pete Townshend, it second UK hit single for the legendary rock band. Townshend take inspiration from singer Mose Allison’s song “Young Man Blues”. The songs crowning touch is provided by singer Roger Daltrey stuttering like a one of the bands mod fans on speed. Produced by Shel Talmy, the band records the song at IBC Studios in London. Recorded on three track tape, the final mono master features a second guitar part overdubbed by Townshend (direct to tape while being mixed) that features the songs trademark feedback. Released in the UK on November 5, 1965 (US release date is November 20, 1965), the song is an instant smash in their home country peaking at #2. Though it only peaks at #74 in the US, it goes on to be one of the most influential rock singles of all time. “My Generation” it is now part of the “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. In 2002, “My Generation” is remixed into true stereo for the first time from the original three track multi-track tape, which has been the possession of Shel Talmy, and appears on the Deluxe Edition of The Who’s “My Generation” album.
On this day in music history: October 10, 1995 – “Tragic Kingdom”, the third album by No Doubt is released. Produced by Matthew Wilder, it is recorded at Total Access Recording Studios in Redondo Beach, CA, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA, Santa Monica Sound Recorders, Mars Recording, 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, CA, NRG Studios, Clear Lake Audio in North Hollywood, CA, Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA, Grandmaster Recorders, North Vine Studios in Hollywood, CA and Red Zone Studios in Burbank, CA from March 1993 – October 1995. Following the commercial failure of their self-titled debut album released in early 1992, No Doubt take time to regroup and plan their next move. Eric Stefani (lead singer Gwen Stefani’s older brother, keyboardist and main songwriter) disillusioned with the indifference their first album is met with, remains a band member but begins to pursue other interests, going to work as an animator on the hit series “The Simpsons” before departing the band altogether in 1995. The bands label Interscope Records pairs them with producer Matthew Wilder (“Break My Stride”) to begin the process of recording their “make or break” album. During this time, Gwen and bassist Tony Kanal end their seven year relationship. Initially heartbroken over the split, it provides the singer with the inspiration for the lyrics of several songs that wind up on the finished album. No Doubt spends the better part of two and a half years working on and off on the album, finally finishing in the Fall of 1995. The title “Tragic Kingdom” is a wry word play on “The Magic Kingdom”, the other moniker for Disneyland in the bands home base of Anaheim, CA. Proceeded by the single “Just A Girl” (#23 Pop, #10 Modern Rock) featured prominently in the classic teen comedy “Clueless”, the album initially gets off to a slow start, not entering the chart until January of 1996. It’s only when the third single “Don’t Speak” is released to radio, that the album is propelled into orbit. “Speak” is not issued as a commercial single in the US, making it ineligible to chart on the Hot 100 (according to Billboard’s original chart criteria), but spends sixteen weeks at the top of the radio airplay chart. No Doubt tours exhaustively in support of the project, spending over two years on the road. The bands’ energetic live performances, led by Gwen Stefani’s charismatic and electric stage presence turn them into a top draw. They receive a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rock Album in 1997. “Don’t Speak” also receives Grammy nominations for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1998. “Tragic Kingdom” spends nine weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: October 2, 1964 – “The Kinks/You Really Got Me”, the debut album by The Kinks is released. Produced by Shel Talmy, it is recorded at Pye Studios 1 & 2, and IBC Studios in London from July – August 1964. The album features the bands breakthrough hit “You Really Got Me” (#1 UK, #7 US Pop). The US version of the album (re-titled after the current hit) will contain three fewer tracks than the UK release. It also feature another Ray Davies original, “Stop Your Sobbing” which is later covered by by Davies’ future girlfriend/ex-wife Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. The album is remastered and reissued several times over the years in 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2011. The 2011 edition features a second CD with more bonus tracks. “The Kinks/You Really Got Me” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, and number twenty nine on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: September 27, 1994 – “American Thighs”, the debut album by Veruca Salt is released. Produced by Brad Wood, it is recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago, IL from Early – Mid 1994. Formed in their hometown of Chicago, IL in 1992 by musicians Nina Gordon (guitar, vocals) and Louise Post (guitar, vocals), they name themselves after the ultra spoiled rich girl in Roald Dahl’s children’s book “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory”. The pair decide to form the band after being introduced to each other by actress Lili Taylor (“Say Anything”, “Mystic Pizza”, “Short Cuts”, “I Shot Andy Warhol)”, who is a mutual friend of both. Post and Gordon begin writing songs together, though the rest of the band does not come together another year and a half. They are then joined by Nina’s brother Jim Shapiro (drums) and Steve Lack (bass). Being fronted by two women, Veruca Salt stand out as much for their unique line up as much for their infectious, grunge laced power pop sound. Playing gigs in and around Chicago, the band are only together for a short time before Jim Powers of local indie label Minty Fresh Records (The Cardigans, Liz Phair) offers to sign them. They record their debut album “American Thighs” through 1994, with the title making reference to a lyric in AC/DC’s hard rock classic “You Shook Me All Night Long”. The infectious hard rocking “Seether” (#8 Modern Rock), quickly created a buzz around the band. They are soon picked up Geffen distributed DGC Records, the home of grunge and alternative rock pillars like Nirvana and Sonic Youth. The video for “Seether” quickly becomes a hit on MTV, and is picked up on modern rock radio. Veruca Salt also gain additional exposure as the opening act for label mates Hole, who are on their first major tour after the release of their album “Live Through This”. “American Thighs” spins off two other singles including “Number One Blind” and “Victrola”. The band follow it up with the EP “Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt”, working with engineer and producer Steve Albini. Veruca Salt finally follow up their debut album with the Bob Rock produced (Metallica, Motley Crue) “Eight Arms To Hold You” (the original working title of The Beatles’ film “Help!”) in 1997. Though it spins off a hit single with “Volcano”, it falls noticeably short of its predecessor, as musical tastes shift more toward the pure pop of groups like The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. Inner band drama between its members lead to Nina Gordon’s departure in 1998, to pursue a solo career. After being dropped by Geffen, the band release two more albums and two EP’s before taking an extended hiatus in 2007. The original line up of Veruca Salt reunite in 2012, and release their most recent album “Ghost Notes” in 2015. “American Thighs” peaks at number sixty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 21, 1979 – “Dream Police”, the fourth album by Cheap Trick is released. Produced by Tom Werman, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1978 – Early 1979. Issued as the follow up to their breakthrough album “Cheap Trick At Budokan”, its release is held back for several months by CBS Records when previously Japanese only “Budokan” album becomes a huge hit as an import, forcing the label to release it in the US in early 1979. “Police” features more complex songs with several tracks featuring orchestration, departing from the more stripped down power pop/rock sound of their previous efforts. It spins off two singles including the title track (#26 Pop) and Voices (#32 Pop). In 2010, Cheap Trick play the album in its entirety during a limited series of live shows, accompanied by the Rhythmic Noise Philharmonic Orchestra & Mind Choir. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2006 with four additional bonus tracks. It is reissued on vinyl in November 2013 as part of a part of a five LP box set released for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Dream Police” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.