On this day in music history: September 4, 1967 – “Nobody But Me” by The Human Beinz is released. Written by Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley and O’Kelly Isley, it is the fourth single release and biggest hit for the garage rock band from Youngstown, OH. Starting their career in 1964 as The Premiers, the band consists of John “Dick” Belley (vocals, guitar), Joe “Ting” Markulin (vocals, guitar), Mel Pachuta (vocals, bass) and Gary Coates (drums). The band quickly build a following throughout the midwest. They change their name to The Human Beingz in 1966, and replace Coates with Mike Tatman on drums. The band release three singles, including covers of “Hey Joe”, “My Generation” and are the first US band to record Them’s soon to be ubiquitous garage rock staple “Gloria”. Though it becomes a regional hit, they’re left in the dust by a rival cover by Chicago based garage band The Shadows Of Knight whose version soars to #10 on the Hot 100 in May of 1966. In 1967, The Beingz are signed to Capitol Records, though when the band sign their contract, they notice that their name is listed as “The Human Beinz”. Capitol assures them that their first record will have the correct spelling. In the Summer of 1967, they cut their debut single for the label. Working with producer Alexis de Azevedo, they record at Cleveland Recording Studios in Cleveland, OH. One of the songs they choose to cut is “Nobody But Me”. Written by and originally recorded by The Isley Brothers, their version is released in January of 1963, but fails to make the charts. The Human Beingz discover the song and make it part of their live act, stretching it out for six or seven minutes on stage. When they record it, it’s kept to under two and a half minutes to assure its chances of receiving airplay. The band and de Azevedo spend two days working on “Nobody But Me” before it’s completed. Feeling that it needs a little something extra, the producer has bassist Mel Pachuta tap on an empty Pepsi bottle with a drum stick, which is overdubbed on to the final master. Instead of correcting the spelling error, Capitol issues the single with the same misspelling. Once released, it remains idle before it begins to pick up airplay in various parts of the US. Finally it enters the Hot 100 at #98 on December 9, 1967, peaking eight weeks later at #8 on February 3, 1968. The Human Beinz’s success is short lived, only charting one more time with the follow up “Turn On Your Love Light” (#80 Pop) . In spite of this, “Nobody But Me” has endured in popularity, becoming a party anthem and garage band staple. The Human Beinz’s version has been used in commercials, TV and films including “Kill Bill: Volume 1” in 2003. The song is also mentioned in the “Book Of Rock Lists” for having the word “no” repeated over a hundred times in its two minute and seventeen second running time.
On this day in music history: September 4, 1965 – “Help!” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the ninth chart topping single in the US for the legendary rock band from Liverpool, UK. The song is the theme for the bands second film and soundtrack of the same name. The song is primarily written by John, with the lyrics reveal his feelings of insecurity and depression in The Beatles rise to fame. The films working title is “Eight Arms To Hold You” but is changed after the song is recorded. The band record the track in the number two studio at Abbey Road Studios on April 13, 1965, completing it in twelve takes. The vocals are re-recorded at CTS Studios in London six weeks later on May 24, 1965. The new vocal overdubs are mixed down into mono and used for the films opening title sequence. With these overdubs existing only on this mix, results in noticeable differences in the mono single and stereo LP mixes of the song. The single release of “Help!” is issued with the non-LP B-side “I’m Down”. Written primarily by Paul McCartney, the uptempo rocker is recorded at Abbey Road Studios on June 14, 1965. “Down” is recorded during the same session as the ballads “Yesterday” and “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, standing in stark contrast to that raucous rave up. Though “I’m Down” does not chart on the US singles charts (oddly being one of the few Beatles B-sides that does not during this period), it is performed on The Beatles final Ed Sullivan Show appearance in September of 1965, and on their last two world tours in 1965 and 1966. Released on July 19, 1965 (UK release date is on July 23, 1965), it follows up the bands previous chart topper “Ticket To Ride”, also featured in the film. Entering the Hot 100 at #41 on August 7, 1965, it rockets to the top just four weeks later. “Help!” also receives a Grammy nomination in 1966 for Best Performance By Vocal Group. Infamously, The Beatles lose the award to the Anita Kerr Singers bland, middle of the road country pop album “We Dig Mancini”. Their win causes an uproar, due in part to Kerr being a charter member of the Grammy voting committee. It instigates a drive by NARAS to bring “younger and hipper” Grammy members into the voting pool to better reflect current tastes in popular music. In 2011, a replica of the original US 45 and picture sleeve is reissued in a limited edition box set (w/ a T-shirt), through the Target retail chain. “Help!” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 3, 1982 – The first US Festival is held at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore near San Bernadino, CA. The massive three day concert is sponsored by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak and produced by Bill Graham Presents, the event intended to be a “celebration of evolving technologies; a marriage of music, computers, television and people”. Twenty major acts play over the three day Labor Day weekend including The Police, Talking Heads, The B-52’s, Pat Benatar, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The English Beat, Santana, The Grateful Dead, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Oingo Boingo, The Cars, The Ramones, The Kinks, and Fleetwood Mac among them. The festival attracts over 300,000 people, over the three days that it is held. In spite of the sweltering heat (reaching as high as 110°F), 35 drug overdoses, and a $12 million financial loss by Wozniak on the first festival, it is deemed successful enough that a second and even bigger festival (lasting four days) taking place over the Memorial Day Weekend in May of 1983.
On this day in music history: August 31, 1970 – “Sunflower”, the sixteenth album by The Beach Boys is released. Produced by The Beach Boys, it is recorded at Brother Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January 9, 1969 – July 21, 1970. The album is the bands first full length release on their own Brother Records imprint (distributed by Warner Bros subsidiary Reprise Records), following The Beach Boys acrimonious split with their former label Capitol Records. The band sue Capitol over unpaid royalties and unpaid production fees totaling over two million dollars. As a result of the suit, the bands last few albums fare poorly from a lack of promotional support. “Sunflower” is well received by critics upon its release but sells poorly due to the lack of hit single. However, its reputation and popularity with fans grows over the years, and is now regarded as one of the bands finest efforts. The album goes in and out of print over the years, and is reissued several times. It is most recently remastered and reissued by audiophile label Analogue Productions in 2016. The title is issued as a hybrid SACD, and 200 gram vinyl LP. “Sunflower” peaks at number one hundred fifty one on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: August 31, 1970 – “After The Gold Rush”, the third album by Neil Young is released. Produced by Neil Young, David Briggs and Kendall Pacios, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA, Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA and Neil Young’s Home Studio in Los Angeles, CA from August 1969 – June 1970. Having recently joined his former Buffalo Springfield bandmate Stephen Stills in Crosby, Stills & Nash, the band name is amended to add Young. CSNY release the classic “Deja Vu” album in the Spring of 1970, before the individual band members embark on solo projects. Young records a sizeable portion of his third release in his home studio in Topanga Canyon with members of his band Crazy Horse, including a then eighteen year old guitarist named Nils Lofgren. Overdubs and vocals are recorded at Sunset Sound and Sound City Studios. It spins off two singles including “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (#33 Pop) and “When You Dance I Can Really Love” (#93 Pop), though the albums centerpiece is the track “Southern Man”, a sharp rebuke against racism. Originally released on CD in the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2009 with HDCD encoding and is reissued on vinyl. “After The Gold Rush” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 30, 1986 – “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings, it is the first chart topping single for the British born singer and musician. Following the lukewarm response to his previous album “Talking Back To The Night” in 1982, Winwood takes a lengthy hiatus from the music business to regroup, and begin work on his next album. When Winwood begins working on the “Back In The High Life” album with producer Russ Titelman, he suggests bringing in Chaka Khan to contribute vocals to the track after hearing Winwood’s demo for “Higher Love”. Chaka’s fellow Rufus band mate, drummer John Robinson also plays on the song, adding live drums and the electrifying intro percussion and breakdown to the pre-programmed drum machine rhythm. Clocking in at nearly six minutes on the album, the song is edited down to a more radio friendly 4:08. Released as the first single from “Back In The High Life” in early June of 1986, it is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #77 on June 14, 1986, it climbs to the top of the chart eleven weeks later. The success of the “Back In The High Life” album and “Higher Love” earn a total of six Grammy nominations, including Album Of The Year. Winwood wins two Grammy Awards for the single, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Record Of The Year in 1987.
On this day in music history: August 29, 1989 – “Steel Wheels”, the nineteenth album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Chris Kimsey and The Glimmer Twins, it is recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat from March 29 – May 5, 1989, May 15 – June 29, 1989. It is the bands first album of new material in over three years, following a period where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are at a low point in their working and personal relationship in part due to Jagger’s embarking on a solo career. Recording on the West Indies island of Montserrat sees the band working in a calm and relaxed atmosphere, which allow them to be very focused and productive. The band complete the recording sessions just in three months, mixing the album at The Hit Factory in New York City and Olympic Studios in London. Sadly, “Steel Wheels” is one of the last major albums recorded at AIR Montserrat. In September of 1989, Hurricane Hugo hits the island, doing major damage to the studio, and forcing it to close indefinitely. After receiving largely mixed notices for their two previous studio albums “Undercover” and “Dirty Work”, “Steel Wheels” is their best received album in nearly a decade. It spins off three singles including “Mixed Emotions” (#5 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock) and “Rock In A Hard Place” (#23 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock). The album is also supported by the ambitious “Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle” world tour, which is The Stones first major tour in seven years. The album is also the last for original bassist Bill Wyman, who officially leaves the band in 1993 before the Stones record their next studio album “Voodoo Lounge”. The album is remastered and reissued in 1994, when The Rolling Stones end their association with CBS Records and sign with Virgin Records. It is remastered and reissued again in 2009 when The Stones’ catalog is licensed to Universal Music Group. Out of print on vinyl since its original release in 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2010. The vinyl is remastered and reissued again in July of 2018, as part of the box set “The Rolling Stones: Vinyl Album Collection 1971 – 2016”. “Steel Wheels” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 29, 1987 – “La Bamba” by Los Lobos hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Ritchie Valens, it is the biggest hit for the East Los Angeles, CA based band. Recorded as the theme song to the biopic of Mexican American rock & roll icon Ritchie Valens, the traditional Mexican folk song is based on the Son Jarocho style of music native to the state of Veracruz, and is often played at weddings. Valens rock & roll version (#22 Pop) is recorded in 1958 and is issued as the B-side of his biggest single “Donna” (#2 Pop). When Los Lobos records their version for the film (who also make a cameo appearance), they use Valens’ arrangement of the song, adding a reprise at the end of the traditional folk arrangement. Released six weeks ahead of the film in early June of 1987, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on June 27, 1987, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. The accompanying soundtrack album also hits number one on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks (on September 12, 1987), and to date has been certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 29, 1977 – “Lust For Life”, the second album by Iggy Pop is released. Produced by David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Colin Thurston (aka “The Bewlay Brothers”), it is recorded at Hansa Studios By The Wall in West Berlin, Germany from April – June 1977. Having produced Pop’s solo debut “The Idiot” the year before, David Bowie returns to the studio with Iggy in mid April of 1977, only a month after that album arrives in stores to record the follow up. The album is co-produced by Iggy along with engineer Colin Thurston who later engineers Bowie’s “Heroes” album, becoming a success producer in his own right through his work with numerous artists including Duran Duran and Talk Talk. The trio dub themselves “The Bewlay Brothers” after the song on the album “Hunky Dory”. With guitarist Carlos Alomar in tow, “Lust” also features musical support from Ricky Gardiner (lead guitar), Bowie (keyboards, piano, organ, backing vocals) and brothers Hunt (drums, bass, backing vocals) and Tony Sales (bass, guitar, backing vocals), the sons of comedian Soupy Sales. Rejuvenated both creatively and physically after moving Berlin in late 1976 to beat his severe cocaine addiction, Bowie writes or co-writes seven of the the nine songs on “Lust For Life” including the now iconic title track. The song is inspired by the sound of the morse code opening that David hears while listening to Armed Forces Radio one day. The distinctive and hard hitting back beat on “Lust” played by Hunt Sales, is taken directly from “The Motown Sound”, specifically The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” and Martha & The Vandella’s “I’m Ready For Love”, but played with a more intense and punkish drive. “The Passenger”, written by guitarist Gardiner is another stand out, and becomes another one of Iggy Pop’s signature songs over time. Once released, it becomes the most successful of Pop’s career internationally. It is in part fueled by a now legendary and infamous appearance that Iggy makes on the UK music show “TopPop”, where he literally destroys part of the stage set during his energetic performance. It makes a lesser splash in the US, after RCA abruptly pulls the plug on its promotional efforts to focus on selling Elvis Presley catalog, after the rock & roll legend’s death two weeks before. In later years, “Lust For Life” is featured in various media including the films “Desperately Seeking Susan” and most notably at the opening of “Trainspotting”. It is first released on CD in 1990 on Virgin Records. It is remastered and reissued on vinyl in 1997, and is reissued again by 4 Men With Beards in 2009, with limited pressings on clear red, purple and yellow vinyl in 2016. And finally it is reissued by Virgin/UMe in 2017 on standard black vinyl and clear vinyl. “Lust For Life” peaks at number one hundred twenty on the Billboard Top 200.