Category: self titled album

On this day in music history: July 13, 1993 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1993 – “Toni Braxton”, the debut album by Toni Braxton is released. Produced by Babyface, L.A. Reid, Daryl Simmons, Vassal Benford, Bo & McArthur, Toni Braxton, Vincent Herbert,  Ernesto Phillips and Tim & Ted, it is recorded at Studio LaCoCo, Doppler Studios, Bosstown Recording Studios in Atlanta, GA, Elumba Studios in Hollywood, CA, Encore Studios in Burbank, CA, Summa Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Central Studios in Bladensburg, MD and Newark Sound Studios in Newark, NJ from May 1992 – May 1993. Raised in a large strict religious family in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Toni Braxton grows up singing her local church choir, but aspires to sing secular music. Blessed with a distinctive, rich and sensual contralto voice, it won’t take long for the young singer to be noticed. The course of her future changes when she is overheard singing to herself while pumping gas at a station in Servern, MD. Bill Pettaway, Jr., the man who hears Toni singing, is a member of a band called Numarx (“Girl You Know It’s True”) and has ties to the music business. Through Pettaway, Toni and her sisters are signed to Arista in 1989, releasing the single “Good Love” in 1990. The single is a failure, but is heard by L.A. Reid and Babyface who are interested in signing Toni as a solo artist to their Arista distributed label LaFace Records. Initially hesitant to leave her sisters behind, they give her their blessing when they realize this is their older sisters’ opportunity to become successful. L.A. and Babyface first have Toni record “Love Should Have Brought You Home” (#2 R&B, #33 Pop) and “Give U My Heart” (duet with Babyface) (#2 R&B, #29 Pop) for the soundtrack of the Eddie Murphy comedy “Boomrang”. Both songs are major hits, thrusting Braxton into the spotlight and generating buzz for her first solo album. Spending an entire year in the studio with L.A. and Face and a number of other producers, Toni Braxton’s debut album is an immediate smash. Led by the single “Another Sad Love Song” (2 R&B, #7 Pop), it spins off a total of six singles also including “Breathe Again” (#4 R&B, #3 Pop) and “You Mean The World To Me” (#3 R&B, #7 Pop). The huge success of her debut quickly establishes Toni as one of the top female vocalists of the decade, selling over ten million copies worldwide. The album is nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning three including Best New Artist in 1994, and Best R&B Female Vocal Performance in both 1994 and 1995. “Toni Braxton” spends three weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, two weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 11, 1995 – …

On this day in music history: July 11, 1995 – “311” (aka “The Blue Album”), the fifth album by 311​ is released. Produced by Ron Saint Germain, it is recorded at NRG Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Early – Mid 1995. Formed in 1988 in their native Omaha, NE, 311 (Three Eleven) originally consists of band members Nick Hexum (vocals, guitar), Jim Watson (lead guitar) (replaced by Tim Mahoney in 1991), Chad Sexton (drums) and Aaron “P-Nut” Willis (bass). The band record an EP and two albums independently,over three years. In 1992, the band are signed to Capricorn Records, the legendary label co-formed by Phil Walden, the former manager of R&B icon Otis Redding. 311 are part of the relaunch of the Capricorn in the early 90’s, reinventing itself as a center for the 90’s alt-rock movement. Prior to this, they add second vocalist and DJ SA Martinez (born Douglas Vincent Martinez), cementing their line up. Relocating to L.A., they record “Music” and “Grassroots” in 1993 and 1994. Previously produced by Eddy Offord (Yes), they hire Ron Saint Germain for their next album, best known for his work as a mix engineer, and for producing the Bad Brains, Sonic Youth, and Living Colour. He proves to be an ally and asset to 311, offering his expertise both technically and giving moral support. Unlike previous releases which had been painstakingly tracked and overdubbed, the band record their new album almost entirely live. Having worked out the material in advance, they cut more than twenty five songs in six weeks, paring them down to the final fourteen that make the finished album. Following in the tradition of bands that the members grew up admiring like Led Zeppelin, the Ramones and The Stooges, they decide to self-title their album. Also known by fans as “The Blue Album” due to its blue background, emblazoned with the 311 band logo. Initially released through independent distributor RED (Relativity Entertainment Distribution), it gets off to a slow start. Mercury Records president Danny Goldberg then picks up Capricorn Records for national distribution. With the marketing and promotional muscle of Polygram Group Distribution behind it, “311” takes flight. With the release of “Down” (#1 Modern Rock, #14 Mainstream Rock) and the album’s seamless blend of rock, rap, reggae and funk metal, it becomes a huge commercial success. The music video for “Down” and its follow up “All Mixed Up” (#4 Modern Rock, #34 Mainstream Rock), both become mainstays on MTV, and “The Blue Album” becomes 311’s breakthrough. Originally issued on a limited basis as a vinyl LP in 1995, the album is remastered and reissued as a numbered double 180 gram vinyl set for Record Store Day in April of 2014. A second non-numbered edition is released shortly after, and currently remains in print. “311” (aka “The Blue Album”) peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 9, 1982 – &…

On this day in music history: July 9, 1982 – “Billy Idol”, the debut album by Billy Idol is released. Produced by Keith Forsey, it is recorded at Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1981 – Mid 1982. Enjoying considerable success with the mini album “Don’t Stop”, Chrysalis Records gives Billy Idol the green light to record a full album. Working again with former Giorgio Moroder associate Keith Forsey, they record Idol’s debut solo album in Los Angeles. Idol records with a band of musicians that feature Forsey and Steve Missal on drums, Phil Feit on bass and Steve Stevens (guitars, keyboards, bass). Stevens becomes an essential part of Billy Idol’s creative team, not only as a first rate guitarist, but also as a songwriting collaborator. Idol himself writes or co-writes all ten songs on his first album, including the first single “Hot In The City” (#23 Pop), which gives him his first US top 40 hit. Though it is the follow up single that makes an indelible impression on the public. “White Wedding” (#36 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock) is released as a single in October of 1982, and is supported by an instantly memorable music video. Directed by long time David Bowie collaborator David Mallet, the clip features a goth styled wedding ceremony with Idol’s then girlfriend Perri Lister playing the bride. One of its more controversial images includes leather clad female dancers, slapping their buttocks in time with the music. During the wedding ceremony scene, Idol slips a barbed wire wedding ring on to his girlfriend’s finger, cutting it and drawing real blood in the process. The wedding guests surrounding them, also appear to give them a quasi-Nazi salute. The gesture was made only as a statement of “the power of crowd imagery”, and not of any deliberate negative intent. The video along with Idol’s spiky bleach blonde hair, and a sneer reminiscent of his childhood hero Elvis Presley, the singer becomes a major presence on MTV. The single also becomes a new wave dance classic, with Chrysalis Records issuing an extended 12" single, with some copies pressed on virgin white vinyl. The success of Billy Idol’s debut album sets the stage for the even bigger stardom he achieves with his next album “Rebel Yell”, and throughout the rest of the 80’s and early 90’s. “Billy Idol” is also released with two different album covers, with the first featuring the singer in a red, white and black shirt against a black and white painted background. In 1983, the album is reissued with a second cover, featuring Idol dressed in black leather, which is used for all subsequent issues. Originally released on CD in 1984, the single edit of “Dancing With Myself” added as a bonus track as well as on the reissued cassette edition. Out of print on vinyl for nearly thirty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP (w/ cover #2) in 2017. “Billy Idol” peaks at number forty 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: July 6, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: July 6, 1985 – “Heart”, the eighth studio album by Heart is released. Produced by Ron Nevison, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA and The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA from January – April 1985. It is the veteran Seattle, WA based bands first album for new label Capitol Records, after a nearly decade long stint with Epic Records. For the first time, Heart records material mostly by outside songwriters (Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, and Holly Knight) when Nevison feels they haven’t come up with enough strong material on their own. Wanting to recapture the success of their late 70’s heyday, they agree. But the band  often find themselves clashing with Nevison during the recording sessions over the content. In spite of this, the polished and highly radio friendly set is the most successful album of their career, winning them a large new and younger fan base. It spins off five singles, four of which reach the US top 10 including “What About Love?” (#10 Pop), “Never” (#4 Pop), “Nothin’ At All” (#10 Pop) and their first chart topping single “These Dreams” (#1 Pop). During the album’s original release on vinyl, the original mixes of the hit singles are substituted with the hit single remixes on subsequent pressings. The album is reissued on vinyl by Friday Music in 2016. It is also remastered and reissued by Capitol Records in 2017, as part of their vinyl reissue series to commemorate the label’s 75th anniversary. “Heart” spends one week at number one 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: July 6, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: July 6, 1979 – “The B-52’s”, the debut album by The B-52’s is released. Produced by Chris Blackwell, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas from Late 1978 – Early 1979. The first album by the Athens, GA based new wave band quickly establishes their trademark sound featuring kitschy lyrics, influenced by many different musical genres earns them a large and loyal fan base. The single “Rock Lobster” (#56 Pop) (b/w “52 Girls), first recorded for indie label DB Records selling over 2,000 copies, attracts the attention of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who sign them to his label in the UK. Warner Bros signs the band in the US, with the B’s cutting their full length debut at Blackwell’s studio in the Bahamas. Technically self-titled, The B-52’s album also becomes known as "High-Fidelity”, due to it being printed in the upper left hand corner of sleeve. In Germany, it’s titled “Play Loud”, since original pressings of the LP feature the phrase boldly printed on the bright yellow custom labels, under the band’s logo. When the album is released in the Summer of 1979, its sales are slow at first in the US, but is a big hit internationally where they have solid pockets of support. This all changes when The B-52’s are booked as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live on January 26, 1980, with actress Teri Garr as that week’s host. Performing “Rock Lobster” and “Dance This Mess Around”, it heightens their profile immediately. With an edit of the re-recorded “Rock Lobster” released as a single by Warner Bros that month, it begins receiving radio play, and by the Spring becomes their first chart single. “The B-52’s” goes on to become one of the most influential albums of the new wave genre. Other than a brief reissue in the mid 90’s, the band’s debut album remains out of print on vinyl for over two decades. It is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2015, on standard black vinyl, and in a limited edition numbered release pressed on yellow vinyl. The album is reissued again by Rhino Records on July 3, 2018, as part its “Back To The 80’s” vinyl reissue series. It is pressed on yellow vinyl, with the album packaging matching the original release. “The B-52’s” peaks at number fifty nine on the Billboard Top 200, number twenty two on the UK album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 5, 1968 – &…

On this day in music history: July 5, 1968 – “Creedence Clearwater Revival”, the debut album by Creedence Clearwater Revival is released. Produced by Saul Zaentz, it is recorded at Coast Recorders in San Francisco, CA from October 1967, January – February 1968. The first album by the El Cerrito, CA based band will bridge the gap between their earlier incarnation as The Golliwogs and CCR, combining both material they have been performing live for several years along with original songs written by John Fogerty. The albums centerpiece is a cover of the Dale Hawkins rockabilly classic “Suzie Q” which becomes their first major hit single (#11 Pop). The albums country and swamp rock based sound contrasts sharply with the psychedelic and acid rock of CCR’s contemporaries, but finds a loyal and enthusiastic audience, setting them on the path to mainstream success. The album is remastered on CD in 2008, with four additional bonus tracks, including two live performances, and two studio outtakes. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2015, and again in 2018 as part of the box set “Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Studio Albums Collection”. “Creedence Clearwater Revival” peaks at number fifty two 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: July 4, 1995 – &…

On this day in music history: July 4, 1995 – “Foo Fighters”, the debut album by Foo Fighters is released. Produced by Barrett Jones and Dave Grohl, it is recorded at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, WA from October 17 – 23, 1994. The album is mostly a solo effort by Dave Grohl who plays all of the instruments (except for the track “X-Static” that features Greg Dulli from The Afghan Whigs). Recorded in just eight days of studio time, Grohl deliberately mixes the album to sound like a lo-fi punk record, then gives cassette copies to friends which  quickly attracts record company interest. The musician starts his own label Roswell Records, and is signed to Capitol Records. Following the albums’ completion, Grohl puts together a full band (including bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith of Sunny Day Real Estate and former Nirvana and Germs guitarist Pat Smear) to play the songs live. The album becomes a staple on both Modern Rock and Mainstream rock radio, spinning off several airplay hits including “I’ll Stick Around” and “Big Me”. Originally released only on vinyl on a very limited press run in 1995, the album is reissued in that format twenty years later in 2015. “Foo Fighters” peaks at number twenty three 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: June 23, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: June 23, 1981 – “Tom Tom Club”, the debut album by Tom Tom Club is released in the UK (US release is in November 1981). Produced by Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Steven Stanley, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas from November 1980 – April 1981. The album is a side project by Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz and bassist/wife Tina Weymouth, following the recording of Talking Heads’ “Remain In Light” album. When the band decide not to tour in support of the album, keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison records and releases his own solo album “ The Red and the Black”, while lead vocalist David Byrne completes “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” with collaborator Brian Eno. The group take their name from a dancehall in the Bahamas that they visited during their previous visit to the islands. Expanding on the Funk and African rhythms used on “Remain in Light”, Frantz and Weymouth are also influenced by the underground Hip Hop culture in New York incorporating it into their project. “Tom Tom Club” also features King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew and Weymouth’s sisters and brother on backing vocals. Frantz and Weymouth’s US label Sire Records initially passes on releasing the album. Taken aback by its decidedly pronounced R&B/dance vibe, they are unsure how to market it, feeling that it will alienate Talking Heads largely white fan base. The album is initially released in the UK through Island Records. Club DJ’s in the US discover the second single “Genius Of Love” (released in September of 1981). Name checking musical greats including Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, James Brown and Hamilton Bohannon in its lyrics, the highly infectious song quickly becomes it a sensation on club dance floors. It’s only after “Genius” sells over 100,000 copies as an import single, that Sire finally schedules it for release later in the year. It spins off two singles including “Wordy Rappinghood” (#1 Club Play, #7 UK) and “Genius Of Love” (#2 R&B, #1 Club Play, #31 Pop). The albums innovative and distinctive cover art as well as the animated music videos for both singles are designed by famed pop artist James Rizzi (directed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, and animated by Cucumber Studios in London). “Genius” only grows in popularity over the years as it is repeatedly sampled and interpolated into other songs, including forming the basis of Mariah Carey’s chart topping single “Fantasy” in 1995. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009 as a two CD deluxe edition (UK & Europe only). It is also remastered and reissued as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl LP on pink (Newbury Comics exclusive) and translucent green vinyl, by Real Gone Music in 2016. “Tom Tom Club” peaks at number twenty three 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: June 19, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: June 19, 1970 – “Diana Ross”, the debut album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit, MI and A&R Studios in New York City from September 1969 – March 1970. The former Supremes lead singer begins work on her solo debut before leaving the group officially in January 1970. Motown, wanting to market her as the “black Barbra Streisand” initially have Ross record with producer Bones Howe. The material they record ends up being shelved and Ashford & Simpson along with Motown staff songwriter/producer Johnny Bristol are  given the assignment of crafting the Motown superstars’ debut. The album spins off two singles including “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” (#7 R&B, #20 Pop) and a dramatic reworking of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (#1 R&B and Pop), first recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967. It is the albums breakout hit and establishes Ross as a solo star in her own right. The LP’s distinctive and iconic cover photo, taken by fashion photographer Harry Langdon, features a sepia toned picture of Ross wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and cut off shorts, holding an apple. The photo is taken with a special optical lens, distorting her features. After taking a series of high glamour shots the same day, the casual picture is chosen instead to stand in sharp contrast to the Motown superstars elegant, high fashion image. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2002, featuring eight bonus tracks, including four previously unreleased tracks from the aborted Bones Howe produced sessions and tracks produced by Johnny Bristol. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP on Universal’s “Back To Black” series, and by Speakers Corner Records in 2009. “Diana Ross” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 15, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: June 15, 1981 – “Duran Duran”, the debut album by Duran Duran is released. Produced by Colin Thurston, it is recorded at Red Bus Studios, Abbey Road Studios, Utopia Studio in London, and Chipping Norton Recording Studios, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, UK from October – December 1980. The Birmingham, UK band are at the forefront of the New Romantic movement sweeping England at the time of its release. Boasting a wide variety of musical influences including David Bowie, The Sex Pistols and American R&B/dance music innovators Chic, Duran Duran marry these musical genres together, creating a unique hybrid and develop their own distinctive sound. The album is a huge success in their native country spinning off three singles including “Planet Earth” (#12 UK) and “Girls On Film” (#5 UK). It goes largely unnoticed in the US on its initial release, until it is reissued in April 1983 following their breakthrough success with their second album “Rio”. The original US release removes the original single version of “Planet Earth”, replacing it with the extended “Night Version” of the song. The track “To The Shore” included on the UK LP is not featured on either version of the US LP. Also, initial US pressings are issued with Harvest labels, with a subsequent re-pressing using maroon Capitol labels in 1982. The 1983 US reissue (w/ black rainbow colorband Capitol labels) is repackaged with redesigned cover art (cover photo taken by photographer Brian Aris), restoring the short version of “Planet Earth”, and adding the then new single “Is There Something I Should Know?” (#1 UK, #4 US Pop). The album is first remastered and reissued on CD in 2003, featuring the original UK LP track listing. It is remastered and reissued again in 2010 as a double CD + DVD special edition, with the first disc including the non-LP B-sides “Late Bar”, “Khanada”, “Fame” and “Faster Than Light”. The second disc includes fourteen bonus tracks including demo recordings, live BBC 1 radio performances, and the night versions and night mixes of “Planet Earth” and “Girls On Film”. The DVD includes the music videos for all of the singles, and television performances. The vinyl edition of the album is also reissued in 2010, including a bonus 12" EP with the extended night versions of “Planet Earth” and “Girls On Film”. “Duran Duran” peaks at number three 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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