On this day in music history: May 15, 1986 – “Raising Hell”, the third album by Run-DMC is released. Produced by Run-DMC, Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons., it is recorded at Chung King Studios, Shakedown Sound Studios, Soundtrack Studios and Magic Venture Studios in New York City from January – March 1986. Enjoying major success with their first two albums, Run-DMC begin work on their third in early 1986. Instead of producer Larry Smith, the group decide to change things up and work with Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin. Fully rehearsed and prepared with notebooks packed with new rhymes, Run and D are ready to bring it as well. At one point, Rubin suggests that Run-DMC cover Aerosmith’s 70’s rock classic “Walk This Way” (#4 Pop, #8 R&B, #6 Club Play). Though familiar with the opening drum break (having rhymed over it for years), they hadn’t heard the whole song. When they do, they fall about laughing, calling it “corny” and “hillbilly”. Run and D are convinced to do it, with Rick suggesting they remake it as a duet with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. After it’s complete, Simmons and McDaniels are still unsure about it. Much to their surprise, it receives radio play immediately, leading Profile Records to issue it as the follow up to “My Adidas” / “Peter Piper” (#5 R&B, #33 Rap). “Walk This Way” is accompanied by a music video (directed by Jon Small), that pit Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay against Tyler and Perry, ending with them rocking out on stage together. A huge radio and MTV hit, the song propels Run-DMC into the stratosphere. “Walk” also revives Aerosmith’s career, setting the stage for their huge comeback. “Hell” spins off a total of four singles including “You Be Illin’” (#12 R&B, #29 Pop) and “It’s Tricky” (#21 R&B, #57 Pop), with the latter featuring a humorous video with magicians Penn & Teller. “Raising Hell” makes history as the first rap album to reach multi-Platinum status in the US, furthering Hip Hop’s reach into mainstream public consciousness. It receives a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1987. The album cover art is released with two different color variations. One cover is tinted purple (front) and red (back), with the graphics in green (front) and blue (back). The second cover is tinted green (front) and blue (back) with the title and artists graphics printed in hot pink (front) and orange (back). It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005, with five additional bonus tracks. It is most recently reissued as a 180 gram LP by Get On Down Records in 2017. In 2018, it’s selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress. “Raising Hell” spends seven weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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