Category: rock

On this day in music history: May 22, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1976 – “Silly Love Songs” by Wings hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks (non-consecutive), also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 1 week on May 29, 1976. Written and produced by Paul McCartney, it is the fifth solo chart topper for the former Beatle. McCartney writes the song in response to critics who often chide him, feeling that his solo work is “lightweight” in comparison to his Beatles era material. Released on April 1, 1976, it is issued as the first single from Wings’ fifth studio album “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”, becoming an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #58 on April 10, 1976, it leaps to the top of the singles chart just six weeks later. After one week on top, it is temporarily bumped from the top spot by Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” for two weeks on May 29, 1976. The single then rebounds and returns to the top for four more weeks on June 12, 1976. McCartney re-records “Silly Love Songs” in a dramatically revamped version for the film “Give My Regards To Broad Street” in 1984, that features Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson on bass. “Silly Love Songs” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 22, 1965 – &…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1965 – “Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the eighth number one single in the US for “The Fab Four”. Written primarily by John Lennon, the song carries a dual meaning. In part, it is a play on the phrase “ticket to Ryde”, meaning a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde on the Isle Of Wight in England. Lennon also makes it a sly reference to The Beatles days of performing in Hamburg, Germany. In this case, the “tickets” being cards carried by prostitutes indicating they had been given a clean bill of health, with “ride or riding” being a euphemism for sexual intercourse. The track is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London on February 15, 1965, and features Paul McCartney playing lead guitar on a Beatles single for the first time. McCartney is also instrumental in arranging the songs unique rhythm pattern, suggesting it to Ringo Starr. Released on April 9, 1965, it is the first release from the bands second film “Help!”, set to be released in July. However, when the record is released in the US, Capitol Records erroneously lists on the label that the song is from the film “Eight Arms To Hold You” which is the original working title of the film while it is in production. The single is also backed with the initially non-LP B-side “Yes It Is”, recorded the day after “Ride” on February 16, 1965. The song is added to the US album “Beatles VI” in June of 1965, though in the UK it does not surface on an album until the release of the compilation “Love Songs” in 1977. Entering the Hot 100 at #59 on April 24, 1965, “Ticket To Ride” streaks to the top of the chart four weeks later. “Ticket To Ride” is covered by The Carpenters on their 1969 debut album “Offering”, and becomes their first chart single.  The album is re-titled “Ticket To Ride” in late 1970 after the group makes their breakthrough with the single “(They Long To Be) Close To You”. The original Capitol US 45 release is reissued in 2011 as part of a promotion through retail chain Target, in tandem with the remastered reissue of the compilation “Beatles 1”. The limited edition box contains a replica of the 45 and picture sleeve, and a T-shirt.

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On this day in music history: May 21, 1983 – &…

On this day in music history: May 21, 1983 – “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on April 30, 1983, and peaking at #14 on the R&B singles chart on May 28, 1983. Written by David Bowie, it is the second US chart topper for the British rock icon. Newly signed to a worldwide record deal with EMI Records in 1982 worth over $10 million, David Bowie collaborates with musician Nile Rodgers of Chic on his first album with the label. Before the recording sessions begin, Bowie plays Rodgers a number of new songs he has written including one titled “Let’s Dance”. Originally written on a 12-string acoustic guitar, Bowie’s original arrangement bares almost no resemblance to what it becomes. Rodgers takes the folk-rock acoustic based song, and transforms it into a funky, uptempo dance rock song. Recorded at The Power Station in New York City in December of 1982, “Let’s Dance” along with the rest of the accompanying album is recorded in under three weeks. “Dance” features most of the core rhythm section of Chic including Tony Thompson (drums), Rob Sabino (keyboards), Sammy Figueroa (percussion) and Rodgers himself (guitar) as well as Carmine Rojas (bass), and a then little known blues guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan providing the stinging lead guitar on the track. The title track from David Bowie’s fifteenth studio album, it is released in March of 1983 and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #59 on March 26, 1983, it  climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The single also tops the chart in the UK, becoming his third chart topper in his home country. “Dance” not only become Bowie’s biggest single and album, but also introduces him to a new audience, winning him a new generation of fans. The song is accompanied by a music video directed by long time collaborator David Mallet, shot in Sydney, Australia in early 1983. To commemorate the thirty fifth anniversary, the original demo recording of “Let’s Dance” is released digitally on January 8, 2018, Bowie’s 71st birthday. The complete version along with a live recording from the “Serious Moonlight Tour”, is released as a limited edition 12" single for Record Store Day on April 21, 2018. “Let’s Dance” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 21, 1982 – &…

On this day in music history: May 21, 1982 – “Hot Space”, the tenth album by Queen is released. Produced by Queen, Reinhold Mack, Arif Mardin and David Bowie, it is recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland and Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from June 1981 – March 1982. Coming off of the highly successful “The Game” and the “Flash Gordon” soundtrack, Queen begin work on their next album. Scoring one of their biggest hits with “Another One Bites The Dust”, lead singer Freddie Mercury is interested in further exploring that musical territory. However, guitarist Brian May and Roger Taylor are both resistant to the idea, and abandoning their “no synthesizers” rule in spite of having used them on the two previous albums. The dance rock sound favored by Mercury is most pronounced on “Dancer”, “Staying Power” and “Body Language” (#11 Pop, #30 R&B, #62 Club Play). In the UK, response is lukewarm, but is better received in the US. It features only minimal contributions from May and Taylor, with bassist John Deacon not playing on it at all. With Freddie playing most of the instruments, it marks the first time a drum machine is used on a Queen song. “Body” is also the subject of controversy in the US, when the music videos’ erotic imagery cause it to become the first clip to be banned by MTV. It also causes further outcry for the picture sleeve, featuring a man and woman provocatively posed and nude, covered only in body paint. Queen’s US label Elektra Records hastily issues a second sleeve, with the same graphics (printed in red) on a white background. Another song written by Mercury is the piano ballad “Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)”, in tribute to John Lennon. “Under Pressure” (#29 Pop, #1 UK) is written out of a jam session at Queen’s studio in Montreux with David Bowie who had dropped by the studio to visit. Anchored by Deacon’s instantly attention grabbing bass line, Taylor’s in the pocket drumming, and Mercury and Bowie’s searing vocals, “Pressure” is an immediate standout. It becomes Queen’s second number one in the UK, but only cracks the Top 30 in the US, though MTV gives the video substantial airplay. It spins off a third single with “Calling All Girls” (#60 Pop), but is not issued in the UK. When “Hot Space” is released, fans and critics are highly critical to Queen’s change in musical direction and in some cases react with disdain, marking the beginning of the band’s commercial decline in the US throughout the 80’s. The album is remastered and reissued in 1991 with five additional bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since its original release, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2015. “Hot Space” peaks at number four on the UK album chart, number forty on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty two on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 20, 1980 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1980 – “Unmasked”, the eighth studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Vini Poncia, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City from January – March 1980. Following the Platinum selling “Dynasty” album and tour, KISS again collaborate with songwriter and producer Vini Poncia (Ringo Starr, Leo Sayer), who had produced and contributed material to their previous release. Ponicia is heavily involved in the project, also co-writing eight of the new albums eleven tracks. “Unmasked” is last studio album to feature the bands original line up, though drummer Peter Criss actually has no involvement in the recording of the album. His drum parts are played by session drummer Anton Fig (uncredited), who played on the majority of the previous album “Dynasty”. Criss’ only involvement in the project is when he appears in the music video for the first single “Shandi” (#47 Pop). The drummer is fired from the band for his erratic, drug fueled behavior. It is another fifteen years before he unites with the band at a Kiss Fan Convention on June 17, 1995. Unlike previous albums, KISS does not support the album with a tour in US, with the only live performance being a one off show at The Palladium in Hollywood, CA, with Peter Criss’ replacement, drummer Eric Carr. They mount an international tour, playing Australia, France, Italy, Germany, and the UK where the project fares much better commercially. The album spins off three singles including “Talk To Me”, and “Tomorrow”. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Unmasked” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 20, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1978 – “With A Little Luck” by Wings hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Paul McCartney, it is the sixth solo chart topper for the former Beatle. In early 1977, Linda McCartney finds out that she is expecting her and Paul’s third child together (a son, named James Louis McCartney born on September 12, 1977). Inspired by the good news, McCartney writes “With A Little Luck” based on his feelings of happiness and optimism about the impending birth and their future. Deciding that a change of scenery is necessary when recording the follow up to their previous studio album “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”, the band take a working vacation, by living and recording on a yacht called the “Fair Carol” (equipped with a twenty-four track recording studio) moored off of the Virgin Islands in the Spring of 1977. Final overdubbing and mixing for the track is completed in London at Abbey Road and AIR Studios. Released as the first single from “London Town” (original working title “Water Wings”), it quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #70 on March 25, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Commercially sold copies of the 45 contain the full album version clocking in at 5:45, while promotional copies serviced to radio stations feature an edited version running 3:13. The short version is not issued on a commercial album, until the release of the compilation albums “All The Best!” in 1987 (US Version only) and “Wingspan” in 2001. “With A Little Luck” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 20, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1976 – “Changesonebowie”, the eleventh album by David Bowie is released. It is the first compilation of Bowie’s hits on RCA Records from 1969 to 1976. The album also marks the first appearance of the track “John I’m Only Dancing” on an album. The song had been previously issued as a stand alone single in September of 1972. The first 1,000 copies of the UK LP have the “sax version” of the song, a re-recorded version cut in January of 1973. It issued as a single in the UK in April of 1973, using the same catalog number as the first pressing. The compilation subsequently switches out the “sax version” with the original release on future pressings. “Ziggy Stardust” is also issued as a single A-side in tandem with the compilations release to help promote it. “Changesone” is also briefly reissued on CD in 1985 by RCA, but is quickly withdrawn after Bowie acquires the rights to his master recordings. The album also spawns a sequel compilation titled “Changestwobowie” released in November of 1981. After both titles are deleted, another Bowie hits album titled “Changesbowie” featuring tracks from both albums with songs from the “Let’s Dance” and “Tonight” albums (originally released on EMI-America Records) is released in 1990, while Bowie’s catalog is distributed by Rykodisc. It too is deleted when the Bowie’s catalog is licensed to EMI Records worldwide. On May 20, 2016, the album is reissued on vinyl for the first time in over two decades, to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of its original release. Parlophone/WMG presses the new reissue on black and limited edition clear 180 gram vinyl. “Changesonebowie” 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: May 19, 1992 – “…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1992 – “Revenge”, the sixteenth studio album by KISS is released. Producer by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA, Track Records in North Hollywood, CA, Cornerstone Recorders in Chatsworth, CA, The Enterprise Studios in Burbank, CA, Acme Recording Studios in New York City, Ocean Way Recording and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from February 1991 – March 1992. Reuniting with veteran producer Bob Ezrin for the first time in ten years (since “Music From The Elder”), the first track KISS record with him is a cover of Argent’s “God Gave Rock & Roll To You” for the soundtrack of the film “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”. The album also introduces new drummer Eric Singer to the band, replacing Eric Carr who passes away in November of 1991. It spins off five rock radio hits including “Unholy” and “Domino”, becoming the bands’ first US top 10 album since “Dynasty” thirteen years before. Issued briefly on vinyl during its initial release in 1992, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Revenge” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 19, 1986 – &…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1986 – “So”, the fifth studio album by Peter Gabriel is released. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Peter Gabriel, it is recorded at Ashcombe Studios, near Bath, England from May 1985 – March 1986. It is Gabriel’s second collaboration with producer Lanois (having worked together on the “Birdy” Soundtrack in 1984), the songs are a mixture of his more experimental progressive rock sounds and world music combined with more radio friendly, pop oriented material. The results yield his biggest selling album, spinning off five singles including “Sledgehammer” (#1 US Pop, #4 UK), “Big Time” (#8 US Pop, #13 UK), and “In Your Eyes” (#26 US Pop). The albums cover artwork is designed by graphic artist Peter Saville (New Order, Factory Records), and is the first to feature a clear photo of Gabriel on the front. It is also the first of his solo albums to bear a proper title, which he comes up with off the cuff, liking its simplicity and the fact that it had no specific meaning. In 1989, “In Your Eyes” is prominently featured in the Cameron Crowe written and directed film “Say Anything”, in a highly memorable scene featuring actor John Cusack, blasting song on a boombox outside his girlfriend’s (Ione Skye) window. The songs exposure in the film and soundtrack album, leads to it being re-released and charting a second time, peaking at #41 on the Hot 100 in July of 1989. In 2012, a three CD reissue to commemorate the album’s twenty fifth anniversary is released, containing a remastered version of the original album and a live concert recorded in Athens, Greece in 1987 during the “So World Tour”. A further box set edition is also released including the aforementioned contents along with a disc of demo recordings, two DVD’s including the Athens concert, the Classic Albums documentary on the making of the album, a remastered vinyl pressing of the LP, and a vinyl 12" single including two unreleased tracks and an alternate piano version of “Don’t Give Up”. “So” hits number one on the UK album album chart, peaking at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: May 19, 1945 – Singer, songw…

Born on this day: May 19, 1945 – Singer, songwriter and musician Pete Townshend (born Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend in Chiswick, London, UK. Happy 74th Birthday, Pete!!

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