Category: rock

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On this day in music history: April 26, 1985 – “Nervous Night”, the second album by The Hooters is released. Produced by Rick Chertoff, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City and Studio 4 in Philadelphia, PA from Mid 1984 – Early 1985. Following the success of band members Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian work on Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual”, they team up with her producer and former band mate Chertoff to record their second full length release (and major label debut). The band take their name from the melodica, a harmonica/keyboard hybrid (made by Hohner) that is nicknamed “the hooter” by the band members. The instrument played by keyboardist and vocalist Rob Hyman, also becomes a key element of their sound. The album initially gets off to a slow start until they receive major exposure by opening the US portion of “Live Aid” at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. It spins off four singles including “And We Danced” (#21 Pop) and “Day By Day” (#18 Pop). “Nervous Night” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 24, 1989 – “Full Moon Fever”, the first solo album by Tom Petty is released. Produced by Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, it is recorded at M.C. Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA, Sunset Sound Studios, Conway Studios in Hollywood, CA, Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA and Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA from Late 1987 – Mid 1988. After releasing The Heartbreakers’ album “Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)” in the Spring of 1987, Tom Petty decides to record an album on his own. When he tells his bandmates, it causes tension among them. Drummer Stan Lynch is especially vocal about his displeasure. Petty moves ahead with the project anyway, with guitarist Mike Campbell assisting. To co-produce the album, Tom hires Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne. At the start of recording, the songs are written in Campbell’s garage studio, with the album having a working title of “Songs From The Garage”. Petty, Campbell, Lynne and drummer Phil Jones (Waddy Wachtel), play most of the instruments. Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench and bassist Howie Epstein also contribute. Later in the recording, they are joined by George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jim Keltner, whom Petty and Lynne have worked with on The Traveling Wilburys album. Tom presents then the finished solo album to his label. In spite of a string of Gold and Platinum selling albums, Tom Petty has had a strained relationship with MCA Records. After playing it for then label boss Irving Azoff, the executive tells Petty he “doesn’t hear any singles” and refuses to release it. Shocked by the reception he receives, Tom goes back and records two more songs, then waits. By 1989, Azoff has left MCA to start his own label Giant Records, and Petty resubmits the album now called “Full Moon Fever”, to the new regime. This time, they love it and put it out immediately. Led by the single “I Won’t Back Down” (#12 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock), “Fever” receives a rapturous response from fans. It spins off four more singles including “Runnin’ Down A Dream” (#23 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock), “Free Fallin’ (#7 Pop, #17 AC), and "A Face In The Crowd” (#46 Pop, #5 Mainstream Rock). “Full Moon Fever” becomes the biggest selling studio album of Tom Petty’s career. The original CD release contains a brief spoken monologue, hidden in the gap between tracks five and six. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2016, as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan. Only given a limited pressing on vinyl in 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP also in 2016, as part of the box set “Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – The Complete Studio Albums Volume 1 (1976-1991)”. “Full Moon Fever” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 19, 1980 – “Call Me” by Blondie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 6 weeks. Written by Giorgio Moroder and Deborah Harry, it is the second chart topping single for the New York based New Wave/Rock band fronted by lead singer Debbie Harry. Written as the theme song for the Richard Gere film “American Gigolo”. Moroder originally approaches Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac to co-write and perform the song, but declines when her label Modern Records will not grant permission for her to participate on the project. Next, Moroder asks Blondie lead vocalist Debbie Harry if she is interested. She agrees and begins working with the producer. Originally titled “Man Machine”, with a rough lyric written in by Moroder, Debbie feels the original words don’t transfer well to English. After looking at rough cut of the film, it gives the singer the proper inspiration to write new lyrics and melody. Harry writes the lyrics and records her vocals in just a few hours of studio time. Released in early February of 1980, the single is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on February 16, 1980, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. “Call Me” is ranked the top single of year by Billboard Magazine. Three versions of the song are released. The version released on the “American Gigolo” soundtrack on Polydor Records runs 8:04 and is also serviced as a promotional 12" single to club and radio DJ’s. Blondie’s label Chrysalis Records releases the single edit clocking in at 3:32, and the third being a Spanish language version titled “Llámame” released on Salsoul Records on a 12" single. “Call Me” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 16, 1991 – “Temple Of The Dog”, the lone album by Temple Of The Dog is released. Produced by Rick Parashar and Temple Of The Dog, it is recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA from November – December 1990. In early 1990, Mother Love Bone are poised for success. Emerging from Seattle’s late 80’s underground music scene, they’re signed by Polydor Records, and release the EP “Shine” in March of 1989. Polydor then options a full album from the band. With this good fortune, there is also a problem. Their charismatic lead singer Andrew Wood, is a heroin addict. In spite of this, they complete their album “Apple”, which is set for release in March of 1990. On March 16th, Wood overdoses on heroin and is found in a coma by his girlfriend. Declared legally brain dead, Andrew is kept on life support long enough for friends and family to say goodbye. Wood dies on March 19, 1990, at the age of only 24. Devastated by the loss, Mother Love Bone disband after their lone album is released in July of 1990. Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard form Pearl Jam shortly after. Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell, a close friend of Andrew Wood and his roommate in Seattle, looks a way to honor his friend. He writes several songs including “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven”. Cornell then approaches Ament and Gossard about a tribute to Wood. They agree, also bringing in Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready, with Cornell having Matt Cameron from his band to play drums. Intending to record only a single, that idea is discarded in favor of an album. Calling themselves Temple Of The Dog, they begin recording. During the sessions, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder is also present. When Chris has problems with the song “Hunger Strike” during rehearsals. Vedder steps up to the mic and sings with Cornell. The impromptu duet is then recorded. Completed in only fifteen days, “Temple Of The Dog” initially sells only 70,000 copies. By 1992, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden see their albums “Ten” and “Badmotorfinger” taking flight. Both bands are caught up in the huge wave of media attention, focused on the Seattle grunge movement. Realizing what they have, A&M re-promotes the album, shooting a video for “Hunger Strike” (#4 Mainstream Rock, #7 Modern Rock). The tribute album is regarded as one of the best rock albums of the 90’s. It’s reissued as Deluxe and Super Deluxe sets for its 25th anniversary in 2016. Given only a tiny press run on vinyl in 1991, it’s reissued as a double 180 gram LP set by Music On Vinyl in 2013 (and by A&M/UMe in 2016). The songs are pressed on three sides, with the fourth side featuring etched artwork (band logo on the MOV release, a band silhouette on the A&M release). “Temple Of The Dog” peaks at number five 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: April 14, 1980 – “British Steel”, the sixth album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Startling Studios in Ascot, UK from January – February 1980. After an extended world tour to promote their previous studio release “Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather” and the subsequent live album “Unleashed In The East”, Judas Priest return to the studio at the beginning of 1980 to work on their next full length LP. The band record the album on the English country estate (Tittenhurst Park) formerly owned by John Lennon (now owned by Ringo Starr). It is their first album to feature all original material written by the band, and the first to include new drummer Dave Holland (replacing Les Binks). The album is the British heavy metal bands breakthrough release in the US, and includes the classics “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”. “Law” is promoted with a music video directed by Julien Temple (“The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle”, “Absolute Beginners”). The plot of the video involves the band holding up a bank (with guitars), breaking into the vault and robbing it of a gold record award for their own album. The video and song are later parodied on the MTV series “Beavis & Butthead”, and on an episode of “The Simpsons”. Judas Priest’s original version is also featured on the video game Guitar Hero Live. The album is remastered and reissued in 2010 as a CD/DVD 30th anniversary edition with the CD including two live bonus tracks. The DVD features live performances, and a documentary on the making of the album. It is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by UK label Simply Vinyl in 2001, with a later reissue from Sony Legacy in 2008. And in 2010. UK reissue label Back On Black releases various pressings of “Steel” on red, clear, blue and standard black vinyl, also as a limited edition picture disc. “British Steel” peaks at number four on the UK album chart, number thirty four 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: April 13, 1984 – “Street Talk”, the solo debut album by Steve Perry is released. Produced by Steve Perry and Bruce Botnick, it is recorded at Record One Studios in Sherman Oaks, CA from Late 1983 – Early 1984. With Journey at the peak of their success by 1983, they take their first hiatus. Recording nearly an album a year, and then touring extensively since lead singer Steve Perry’s arrival in late 1977, the break is needed. During the down time, drummer Steve Smith records with his jazz fusion band Vital Information. No stranger to side projects, guitarist Neal Schon has recorded with keyboardist Jan Hammer (Schon & Hammer). Then Schon puts together HSAS (Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve), including Sammy Hagar, Kenny Aaronson and Michael Shrieve. Fearful that it will interfere with Journey, Perry voices his concern to both Schon and the band manager Herbie Herbert. When Herbert says that he can’t stop Neal from doing what he wants to do, Steve decides to make a solo album himself. When the singer tells his label Columbia Records, that he wants to record on his own, initially they are less than enthused. They’re concerned that he’ll make an overly expensive, self indulgent album that won’t sell. He convinces them he’ll complete it in reasonable time and not go over budget. Perry then contacts his former Alien Project band mate (also of Kim Carnes’ backing band) Craig Krampf (drums) to assist him. Also collaborating with Randy Goodrum (Chicago, Toto, Anne Murray), Steve Perry enlists Bruce Botnick (The Doors, Eddie Money) to co-produce. They put together a team of musicians that include Bob Glaub, Chuck Domanico (bass), Michael Landau, Waddy Wachtel (guitars), Bill Cuomo, Duane Hitchings (keyboards), and Steve Douglas (saxophone). With no outside pressure, the recording sessions go quickly. Though Perry’s unmistakable voice is front and center, his first solo outing differs noticeably from Journey. Returning to his pop and R&B music roots, it stands apart from his superstar band’s arena rock bombast. “Street Talk” is led by “Oh Sherrie” (#3 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock, #33 AC), written for Perry’s then girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, who also appears in the music video. The album spins off three more singles including “She’s Mine” (#21 Pop, #15 Mainstream Rock) “Strung Out” (#40 Pop, #17 Mainstream Rock) and “Foolish Heart” (#18 Pop, #2 AC). Though he finds success on his own, Steve Perry returns to Journey, and does not record another solo album (“For The Love Of Strange Medicine”) until 1994. “Street Talk” is remastered and reissued on CD in 2006, with five additional bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it’s reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2011. “Street Talk” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 11, 1983 – “Living In Oz”, the sixth album by Rick Springfield is released. Produced by Rick Springfield and Bill Drescher, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Soundcastle Recorders in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1982 – Early 1983. With his music career in full swing, Rick Springfield continues to deliver one hit after another. Buoyed by the back to back Platinum selling successes of “Working Class Dog” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet”, they give the Australian born musician and actor the confidence to take greater control of the production end of his music. With his producer Keith Olsen busy working with Sammy Hagar, Rick interviews several prospective candidates for the job. Springfield eventually decides to co-produce his sixth album with recording engineer Bill Drescher. Armed with a batch of brand new songs that demonstrate his growing maturity as an artist, they head into the studio in the Fall of 1982 to begin work on the album. Titled “Living In Oz”, Springfield begins to experiment with his established sound, incorporating synthesizers and electronic drums into the mix. Just as the album is completed, Rick ends his initial stint on the soap opera “General Hospital”, where he has played Dr. Noah Drake for three seasons. The first single “Affair Of The Heart” (#9 Pop) is released in tandem with the album, becoming his fourth top ten hit in the US. It’s nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male in 1984, the award he had won two years earlier for “Jessie’s Girl”. This time out, the singer has even tougher competition, losing the award to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. “Oz” spins off two more singles including “Human Touch” (#18 Pop) and “Souls” (#23 Pop). Though it is regarded as one of his best albums now, critics (who didn’t take him seriously anyway), take cheap shots at the musician for “trying to grow up” and attempting to do something different. Originally released on CD in 1985 (Japan only), it’s not released in the US until 1990. The album is remastered and reissued by Rock Candy Records in 2008. The CD reissue includes a twelve page color booklet, an interview with Rick Springfield, and a 4,000 word essay by Malcolm Page. On April 2, 2020, Rick Springfield posts a video on his YouTube page, performing an acoustic reworking of “Human Touch”. Re-titled “No Human Touch”, Springfield re-writes the lyrics to bring some levity to the Coronavirus pandemic effecting every corner of the world. “Living In Oz” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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