Category: rock

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1996 – “Sheryl Crow”, the second album by Sheryl Crow is released. Produced by Sheryl Crow, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders, Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, and Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA from Early – Mid 1996. Following up her multi-platinum, multiple Grammy winning debut “Tuesday Night Music Club”, Crow returns to the studio with producer Bill Bottrell. Bottrell abruptly leaves the project in a dispute over musical direction, with Crow taking over the production duties herself. The album features a number of guest musicians including Neil Finn (of Crowded House), Steve Berlin (of Los Lobos), Jim Keltner and Pete Thomas. It spins off three singles including “If It Makes You Happy” (#10 Pop) and “Everyday Is A Winding Road” (#11 Pop). The album is also the subject of a minor controversy over the lyrics to the song “Love Is A Good Thing” in which one line states, “Watch out sister, watch out brother, watch our children while they kill each other with a gun they bought at Wal-Mart discount stores”. This leads to the mass market retailer banning the album from being carried in their stores when Crow refuses to change the lyrics, or remove the song from the album. The album wins two Grammy Awards for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance (for “If It Makes You Happy”) and Best Rock Album in 1997. “Sheryl Crow” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Nevermind”, the second album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Butch Vig, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA from April 1990, May – June 1991. Releasing their debut album “Bleach” on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop in 1989, Nirvana are disappointed when it sells only 40,000 copies initially. Deciding that the only way to reach a wider audience is to sign with a major label, the band are courted by several labels, but eventually sign with Geffen Records subsidiary DGC Records. Working previously with engineer and producer Butch Vig in 1990, he is chosen to produced their second album. With exception of the track “Polly” (recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI in April 1990), the bulk of Nirvana’s major label debut is recorded in Southern California during the Spring of 1991. When the album is originally mastered, engineer Howie Weinberg accidentally leaves off the final track “Endless, Nameless”, which was tacked on the end of the master tape, proceeded by ten minutes of blank leader tape in between. The mistake isn’t caught until after the first press run of CD’s and cassettes are manufactured. The first 20,000 copies of “Nevermind” exclude the hidden track, but is corrected on all future pressings. When it is released, initial expectations are low with only 46,251 copies being shipped. Thanks to the breakout success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6 Pop), the album reaches gold status in under thirty days, and platinum two weeks after that. It spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 on January 11, 1992. The massive and unexpected success of the album affects a major sea change in not only the music industry, but in popular culture with the rise of the grunge music phenomenon of the early to mid 90’s. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release in 2011, “Nevermind” is remastered and reissued as a four CD + DVD deluxe edition. Disc one features the original thirteen track album, with nine additional bonus tracks. Disc two features the previously unreleased “Smart Studios Sessions” recordings, and two tracks from a BBC in-studio appearance on DJ John Peel’s radio show. Disc three contains the original unreleased Devonshire Studios mixes. Disc four features a complete live concert recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA on October 31, 1991. The DVD features the complete film of the concert, and all four original music videos from the album. The box set also comes in a slip case, with a ninety page hardbound book, and a double sided poster. Reissued on vinyl numerous times since its initial limited release in 1991, it is most recently remastered and released as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Nevermind” is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1984 – “No More Lonely Nights” by Paul McCartney is released. Written by Paul McCartney, it is the thirty-first US Top 40 single for the former Beatle. The last song written and recorded for the film and soundtrack of “Give My Regards To Broadstreet” (released through 20th Century Fox), “No More Lonely Nights” is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London in mid 1984. The band on the song features McCartney (lead vocals, piano), Linda McCartney (backing vocals, keyboards), Eric Stewart (backing vocals), Herbie Flowers (bass), Anne Dudley (synthesizer) and Stuart Elliott (drums). Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is also featured playing the guitar solo on the track. Gilmour does not accept a session fee for playing on the song, instead asking McCartney to donate his fee to the charity of his choice. Two versions of the song are recorded, the original straight ahead “ballad” version is the A-side of the single, while the more uptempo “playout” version is placed on the B-side. An extended version remixed by Arthur Baker is also released as a standard 12" single and picture disc. The music video directed by Peter Webb is shot in London, featuring a full fireworks display over the Thames. The late night video shoot causes many local residents to call the police to complain about the noise from the exploding fireworks. Though the film opens to universally negative reviews and disastrous box office numbers, the soundtrack album and single are a hit. “No More Lonely Nights” peaks at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 8, 1984, driving “Give My Regards To Broadstreet” to Gold status in the US. A dance remix remixed by Arthur Baker, of the uptempo version is also issued as a 12" single at the same time.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1979 – “The Long Run”, the sixth album by the Eagles is released. Produced by Bill Szymczyk, it is recorded at Bayshore Recording Studios in Coconut Grove, FL, One Step Up Recording Studio, Love ‘N’ Comfort Recording Studio, Brittania Recording Studio and The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from March 1978 – September 1979. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Hotel California”, the album is recorded over an eighteen month period, and is the first to include new bassist and vocalist Timothy B. Schmit (replacing founding member Randy Meisner, also having replaced him in Poco). The album is originally planned to be a double album, but is pared back to a single LP when the band feels they don’t have enough suitable material. Many of the songs are developed in the studio as the years of constant writing and recording followed by extensive tours has left the band tapped out physically and creatively. When the Eagles enter the studio in March of 1978, they have no material ready to record. The band spend endless hours jamming, and developing song ideas in the studio. Under intense pressure from both their record label and fans, the long arduous recording sessions lasting a year and half take their toll. It eventually leads to the bands split in July 1980 following the tour to support the album. Though it receives somewhat mixed reviews upon its release, it is a huge commercial success, spinning off three Top 10 singles including “Heartache Tonight” (#1 Pop), the title track (#8 Pop), and “I Can’t Tell You Why” (#8 Pop, #22 R&B). The band win a Grammy Award for “Best Rock Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group” for “Heartache Tonight” in 1980. Originally released on CD in 1984, it is remastered and reissued in 1999. Unavailable on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2008 (and again in 2014) by Rhino UK. The reissue faithfully replicates the original gatefold LP sleeve, inner sleeve and custom LP labels.  "The Long Run" spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1966 – “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” by The Rolling Stones is released. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is the thirteenth US and fourteenth UK single by the legendary rock band from London, UK. The track is recorded at IBC Studios in London from August 31 – September 2, 1966. Recorded early in the sessions for the bands next album “Between The Buttons”, the song is issued as a stand alone single, making its first appearance on an LP on the UK edition of their first greatest hits compilation “Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)” in November 1966, and in the US on the compilation “Flowers” in June 1967. The song is their first to incorporate guitar feedback as well as a horn section. The bands’ record label (Decca in the UK and London in the US) issues the single with what The Stones feel to be an inferior rough mix of the song (obscuring the tracks strong rhythm section) in order to rush it out to the marketplace. The picture sleeve for “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby” features a photograph of The Rolling Stones dressed in drag, taken by photographer Jerry Schatzberg in New York City. For the US release of the single, the satirical drag photo is considered “controversial” and is regulated to the back side of the sleeve, while another picture of the band (shot with a fish eye lens) also used as the cover photo the UK edition of “Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)” is used on the front instead. Film footage of the photo shoot is also included in the documentary “25×5: The Continuing Adventures Of The Rolling Stones” released in 1989. “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” peaks at #5 on the UK singles chart and #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 29, 1966.

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1986 – “Third Stage”, the third album by Boston is released. Produced by Tom Scholz, it is recorded at Hideaway Studios in Boston, MA from Early 1980 – Mid 1986. Over six years in the making, the album is released on MCA Records after a seven year long legal battle with CBS Records. CBS accuse the band of being in breach of contract for taking so many years to deliver their third album, and responds by putting a freeze on royalty payments for their first two albums. Believing that ploy will force Scholz to settle out of court and turn over the album, the guitarist responds by setting up his own company, creating The Rockman compact guitar amplifier. The money earned from the device provides him with income to continue recording, and pay the mounting legal costs generated by the lawsuit. Eventually, the court decides in the bands favor, being awarded millions in back royalties. The decision also releases Boston from their contract with CBS, leaving the band free to sign with MCA. The recording process is long and arduous, due to Tom Scholz’s legendary perfectionism and because of numerous technical setbacks. For the track “Cool The Engines”, Scholz puts it together by recording the drums live and splicing the final track together bar by bar from numerous takes for the final result. During the year spent working on that song, the multi-track tape has been run over the record and playback heads so many times, that the tape begins shedding oxide and sticking to the heads. At one point, an early version of the unfinished song “Amanda” leaks out of the studio in 1984, forcing the band to quickly send a cease and desist letter to stations had been playing it. In spite of the lengthy hiatus, the album is very well received upon its release. It spins off four singles including “Amanda” (#1 Pop), “We’re Ready” (#9 Pop) and “Can’tcha Say (You Believe in Me)/Still In Love” (#20 Pop). “Third Stage” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1982 – “The Nylon Curtain”, the eighth album by Billy Joel is released. Produced by Phil Ramone, it is recorded at A&R Recording Studios and Media Sound Studios in New York City from February – June 1982. Coming after the commercial and critical acclaim for his album “Glass Houses” in 1980, Billy Joel follows it in the Fall of 1981 with the live release “Songs In The Attic” recorded during the tour for the previous album. Writing new material during that period, Joel makes plans to return to the studio in early 1982. The creation what becomes “The Nylon Curtain” comes during a period of major upheaval in Joel’s life and career, which sees the end of his first marriage, and being involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Much of the material is more introspective and darker than previous efforts. Several of the songs reflect on the then current state of America under President Ronald Reagan in the early 1980’s, with many facing economic hardship, and seeing the American Dream slipping away from them. Joel’s ambition to create “a sonic masterpiece” leaves him physically and creatively exhausted by the end of the recording process. Joel sites the album as his personal favorite, and the one he is most proud of. It is one of the first digitally recorded (mixed to analog tape) albums by a major artist. It spins off three singles including “Pressure” (#20 Pop), and “Allentown” (#17 Pop). While not as huge sales wise as some of his previous efforts, it receives major acclaim from critics and fans upon its release, and is regarded as one of Billy Joel’s finest works.  Other highlights of the set include “Goodnight Saigon”, addressing the plight of Marines who had served in the Vietnam War, the poor treatment they receive after returning home and coming to terms with they’ve experienced and its aftermath. The “Beatle-esque” “Scandanavian Skies”, “She’s Right On Time” and “Laura” also become favorites of Joel’s devoted fans. The album is remastered on CD for the first time in 1998, and is reissued in 2012 by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab as a hybrid SACD and in 2014 as a 2 LP 180 gram vinyl LP mastered at 45 RPM. “The Nylon Curtain” peaks at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: September 23, 1949 – Rock mu…

Born on this day: September 23, 1949 – Rock music icon Bruce Springsteen (born Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen in Long Branch, NJ). Happy 69th Birthday to “The Boss”!!!

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1977 – “Aja”, the sixth album by Steely Dan is released. Produced by Gary Katz, it is recorded at Village Recorders in West Los Angeles, CA, Producer’s Workshop, ABC Recording Studios, Sound Labs in Hollywood, CA, Warner Bros Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA, and A&R Studios in New York City from January – July 1977. Following the critically and commercially successful “The Royal Scam”, Steely Dan record what becomes the most musically ambitious and biggest selling album of their career. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen work with a team of top notch studio musicians on project including Chuck Rainey (bass), Bernard Purdie, Jim Keltner, Steve Gadd, Paul Humphrey, Rick Marotta (drums), Joe Sample, Victor Feldman, Paul Griffin, Michael Omartian (keyboards), Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, Denny Dias, Jay Graydon, Steve Khan (guitars), Tom Scott, Wayne Shorter (saxophones), Venetta Fields, Shirlie Matthews, Clydie King, Rebecca Louis, and Michael McDonald (background vocals). The albums title comes from the name of a Korean woman married to the brother of one of Donald Fagen’s high school friends. The elegant and enigmatic cover photo (taken by photographer Hideki Fujii) is of Japanese fashion model Sayoko Yamaguchi. The albums’ seamless blend of jazz and R&B influenced pop resonates with the public and critics alike. It spins off three singles including “Peg” (#11 Pop), “Deacon Blues” (#19 Pop) and “Josie” (#26 Pop). A favorite of audiophiles for many years for its meticulous production and outstanding sonics, the album is remastered and reissued numerous times on vinyl and CD by specialty labels like Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Cisco Music and MCA Records. In the late 90’s, plans to re-release “Aja” with new a 5.1 surround mix as had been done previously for “Gaucho”, have to be scrapped when it is discovered that the 24-track multi-track masters for “Black Cow” and the title track are missing from Universal Music’s tape archive. To date, the masters have not been found. The album is most recently remastered and reissued as a high resolution DSD UHQCD by Universal Japan in June of 2018. In 2011, “Aja” is added to the United States National Recording Registry of The Library Of Congress, as being deemed culturally, historically and aesthetically important. “Aja” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 23, 19…

On this day in music history: September 23, 1967 – “People Are Strange” by The Doors is released. Written by The Doors, it is the third single release for the rock band from Los Angeles, CA. Written in early 1967, the initial idea for “People Are Strange” comes while Jim Morrison and Robby Kreiger are hiking to the top of Laurel Canyon. Feeling depressed at the time, Morrison’s lyrics reflect his feelings of alienation, outsider status, and vulnerability. Though the song is penned by Morrison and Krieger alone, the entire band receives writing credit. The musicial portion of the song is also inspired and influenced by The Doors’ fascination with European cabaret music (explored on tracks such as “The Crystal Ship” and their cover of Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill’s “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” on their debut album). The song is issued as the first single from the bands second album “Strange Days”, two days before the LP. “People Are Strange” peaks at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 28, 1967. “Strange” is covered a number of times over the years, most notably by Echo & The Bunnymen, whose version appears in the film “The Lost Boys” in 1987.