On this day in music history: November 30, 1986 – “In Your Face”, the full length debut album by Fishbone is released. Produced by David Kahne, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA, Ocean Way Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from June – September 1986. Having found success with their self-titled EP released in September of 1985, Columbia Records options a full album from Fishbone. Working once again with producer David Kahne, the L.A. based band write all of the material on their full length debut, drawing on all of their musical influences from funk and R&B, to ska and punk rock. Fishbone’s musical versatility along with their over the top energy and wry sense of humor produce another solid set. However, with CBS Records unsure of how to properly market the band, and with radio’s propensity to segregate artists based on color and musical style, the album largely falls through the cracks and fails to reach a wide audience. In spite of this, Fishbone continue to build a loyal following in part by landing a spot as the opening act for then label mates the Beastie Boys in early 1987, who are touring in support of their hugely successful album “Licensed To Ill”. “Face” spins off two singles including “It’s A Wonderful Life (Gonna Have A Good Time)” and “When Problems Arise”. The latter is accompanied by a memorable music video by Saturday Night Live short film director Gary Weis and choreographer Toni Basil. The video of “It’s A Wonderful Life” features performance footage of the band, inter cut with scenes from the classic holiday film of the same name, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The album’s cover artwork features close up photos of the band on the front and back (taken by photographer John Scarpati). The original LP release features the artist, title graphics, track listing and a UPC barcode on both sides, making it difficult for fans and record store retailers to tell which side is the front and which is the back. Though it does include a “Parental Advisory” sticker on the outer shrinkwrap of the sleeve, indicating it is the front side. “In Your Face” does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 27, 1977 – “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols”, the debut album by The Sex Pistols is released. Produced by Chris Thomas and Bill Price, it is recorded at Wessex Sound Studios in London from March – June 1977. The Pistols begin recording their only album, after being dropped by A&M Records. New bassist Sid Vicious is added after Glen Matlock departs, but can barely play. Guitarist Steve Jones ends up doing double duty, playing bass as well. Still without a record deal while recording, manager Malcolm McLaren negotiates with Virgin Records who release “God Save The Queen” (#2 UK), after A&M cancels its release and sign the band. The album creates an immediate sensation in the UK, entering the charts at #1, in spite of some record stores and distributors refusing to handle it. Warner Bros. Records picks it up for release in the US. The album is also the subject of an obscenity case when a Virgin Record store manager in Nottingham is arrested for displaying the album cover in a shop window, citing that the word “bollocks” is obscene. The case is heard in court on November 24, 1977, and is thrown out when it’s determined that the word is not obscene. In time, the album is regarded as one the greatest and most influential punk records of all time. Initially released with eleven songs, it omits “Sub-Mission”. The running order is shifted, adding it back into the track listing, and are in UK record stores by early November. As a result of the late addition, the first two pressings do not feature a track listing on the back of the LP sleeve. There is similar confusion in the US when Warner Bros releases it, with “Sub-Mission” not listed on the sleeve back. The label hastily prints a sticker with the song title which is affixed to the back. Only scraping the bottom half of the US album chart when first released, it finally goes Gold in 1987, turning Platinum almost five years later. It is remastered and reissued in the UK for its 30th anniversary in 2007, as a three CD box set + DVD and bonus 7". It is also issued separately as a 180 gram LP with a poster and a different bonus 7". Another limited edition double LP set is issued on color vinyl (one yellow and one pink). The second LP features a live concert recorded in Stockholm, Sweden in July of 1977, with the Pistols performing “Bollocks” in its entirety. It is also reissued in the US on 180 gram vinyl by Rhino Records in 2008, even replicating the first issue with the “Sub-Mission” sticker on the back. “Never Mind The Bollocks” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2015. “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” spends two weeks at number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number one hundred six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: July 22, 1977 – “My Aim Is True”, the debut album by Elvis Costello is released (US release is in November 1977). Produced by Nick Lowe, it is recorded at Pathway Studios in London circa Late 1976 – Early 1977. After six years of performing in pubs and clubs around his native Liverpool, Costello receives his big break in 1976 when he submits demo recordings of several songs to Stiff Records in the hopes of being signed to the new label. Initially, the label is only interested in him as a staff songwriter (for musician Dave Edmunds), but are persuaded to sign him as a recording artist. The album is recorded in twenty four hours of studio time (cut in six four hour sessions at a cost of £1,000) spread out over several weeks. Recording with members of the band Clover, Costello often takes time off (calling in sick) from his day job as a data entry clerk in order to rehearse and record the material. It spins off the classics “Alison” and “(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes”. Originally released as a stand alone single in the UK in October of 1977, the track “Watching The Detectives” is added to the US version of the album, when it is issued four months after its UK release. The original US LP cover art also differs from its UK counterpart, with the UK version featuring the front cover photo in black & white, with the background on the back airbrushed pink, beige, blue, green, purple, yellow, orange or crimson red. The US version features the front cover photo airbrushed yellow, with the back cover photo, using either a yellow or white background. A mid 80’s reissue of the album reverts to the original UK cover with the black & white front photo, and yellow background back cover. The album is remastered and reissued numerous times over the years since its first CD release in 1986, with expanded reissues on Rykodisc and Rhino Records. “My Aim” is also reissued as a hybrid SACD in Japan by Hip-O Records in 2011, with 180 gram vinyl LP pressing released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2009, and UMe in 2015. “My Aim Is True” peaks at number thirty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: April 8, 1977 – “The Clash”, the debut album by The Clash is released. Produced by Mickey Foote, it is recorded at CBS Studios in London and National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, UK from February 10 – 27, 1977. The self-titled debut release by the iconic British punk band is recorded in just two and half weeks, at a cost of only £4000 ($6698.40 USD currently). Many of the songs are written while The Clash are living in a council flat in NW London being rented by Mick Jones’ grandmother. The album quickly establish the band in their home country and earn them a loyal fan base, featuring several songs that become standards in the bands repertoire including “White Riot”, “Career Opportunities”, “Remote Control”, and “I’m So Bored With The USA”. In spite of its UK and European success, CBS Records initially passes on the releasing the album in the US, calling it “un-commercial” and “not radio friendly”. It still finds a sizable audience in the United States when record stores begin importing UK copies of the album, selling an impressive 100,000 copies before it is picked up for domestic release by Epic Records in July of 1979, after the release of their second album “Give ‘Em Enough Rope”. However, the US version differs from its UK counterpart, replacing the tracks “Deny”, “Cheat”, “Protex Blue”, “48 Hours”, and “White Riot (original version)”, with “Clash City Rockers”, “Complete Control”, “White Riot” (re-recorded version), “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”, “I Fought the Law”, and “Jail Guitar Doors”. The initial US pressing also comes packaged with a bonus 7" single featuring the tracks “Groovy Times” and “Gates Of The West”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, and on 180 gram vinyl. Another vinyl reissue is released in 2010 that includes the bonus 7". A numbered limited edition version pressed on split blue and white vinyl is released in the US for Black Friday Record Store Day in November of 2015. “The Clash” peaks at number twelve on the UK album chart, number one hundred twenty six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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16-year-old Courtney Love photographed by Jon Sievert, 1981.
“When I was fourteen, I was so bloody ugly and I thought I was Kate Moss. I chased this guy named Mark Rennie, who was the hottest photographer in Portland, around, convinced him to [take pictures of me]. I had this big schnoz, I had blusher on, I’m wearing white gloves, and I [was] making new wave faces, and, like, voguing… there was a gap in my teeth, and I was 180 pounds. So if someone calls me ugly, it sort of rolls off my back because it’s not about looks, it’s about attitude—you get laid on attitude.”