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.
On this day in music history: April 2, 1985 – “Go West”, the debut album by Go West is released. Produced by Gary Stevenson, it is recorded at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire, Rooster Studios, and Sarm West Studios in London from Late 1984 – Early 1985. The British pop music duo consisting of lead vocalist Peter Cox and guitarist Richard Drummie begin writing songs for their first album in 1982 demoing them on a Tascam 4-track Portastudio. Those demos secure them a record deal with Chrysalis Records. The album features the duo supported by a number top British musicians including King Crimson and Alan Parsons Project saxophonist Mel Collins, bassist Pino Palladino (Paul Young), guitarist Alan Murphy (Kate Bush, Mike + The Mechanics, Level 42), and drummer Graham Broad (Roger Waters, Jeff Beck, Tina Turner). A success across Europe and their native UK, it spins off five singles in the UK (three in the US) including “We Close Our Eyes” (#5 UK, #41 US Pop) and “Call Me” (#12 UK, #54 US Pop). In spite of only modest promotional support from Chrysalis Records in the US, the videos for the singles receive significant airplay, marking the beginnings of a loyal fan base in the US, which lead to them reaching the peak their success in the early 90’s. “Go West” peaks at number eight on the UK album chart, and number sixty on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: December 6, 1968 – “James Taylor”, the debut album by James Taylor is released in the UK (US release is on February 17, 1969). Produced by Peter Asher, it is recorded at Trident Studios in London from July – October 1968. Taylor is one of the first signings to The Beatles Apple label by Asher (one half of the pop duo Peter & Gordon and the brother of Paul McCartney’s former girlfriend Jane Asher) who is the head of A&R. Paul McCartney and George Harrison make an uncredited appearance on the first single “Carolina In My Mind” contributing background vocals. In spite of good reviews, the album sells poorly, due to Taylor’s hospitalization for heroin addiction, which prevents him from promoting it properly. Taylor re-records “Carolina” and “Something In The Way She Moves” for his 1976 greatest hits album when his label Warner Bros Records is unable to license the original versions from Apple. The original album is eventually reissued on CD in the mid 90’s and again in 2010. It is also briefly reissued on vinyl in Europe in 1991, but quickly goes out of print again. The vinyl LP release is remastered and reissued in 2017, making it available in that format, for the first time in over two decades. “James Taylor” peaks at number one hundred eighteen on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: November 27, 1976 – “The Jacksons”, the tenth album by The Jacksons is released. Produced by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Victor Carstarphen, Gene McFadden, John Whitehead, Dexter Wansel and The Jacksons, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA and Paragon Studios in Chicago, IL from June – October 1976. The album is the groups’ first release on Epic Records after leaving their longtime label Motown Records, and also is the first to feature youngest Jackson brother Randy (replacing Jermaine who remains with Motown) on percussion and vocals. Executives at CBS pair the group with songwriter and producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (and their team of staff songwriters and producers) of Philadelphia International Records for their first album. It spins off two hit singles including “Enjoy Yourself” (#2 R&B, #6 Pop) and “Show You The Way To Go” (#6 R&B, #28 Pop, #1 UK). It also features the first two songs written by the group including “Blues Away” (written by Michael) and “Style Of Life” (written by Tito and Michael). Out of print on vinyl for nearly thirty years, it is remastered and reissued in 2018. The reissue replicates the gatefold sleeve found on the original release. “The Jacksons” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty six on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 25, 1968 – “The Beatles” (aka “The White Album), the ninth album by The Beatles is released (UK release date is on November 22, 1968). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Trident Studios in London from May 30 – October 14, 1968. The album marks the beginning of a difficult and tense period for The Beatles, with various inner conflicts within the band coming to a head during the recording sessions. The squabbling becomes so intense at one point, that Ringo Starr quits the band briefly before being persuaded to return. Recording engineer Geoff Emerick also quits amid the tension, and is replaced by Ken Scott and Chris Thomas. In spite of this, it is still a highly creative period, yielding more than thirty new songs, most of which are written during The Beatles spiritual retreat to India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi earlier in the year. The albums’ cover art designed by Richard Hamilton is a stark white gatefold sleeve with the bands’ name embossed on the front during the original press run. Later copies feature the title printed in light grey ink), and individually stamped with a number (running up to over 3,000,000 in the US). The album also comes packaged with a poster, and four individual portraits of the band members. In the UK, it is also the final Beatles album to be issued with separate mono and stereo mixes. The US pressing is released in stereo only. The original mono version of the album is reissued on vinyl in the UK in 1982, and finally on CD in 2009 as part of the "Beatles In Mono” box set. The mono LP is reissued in September of 2014 pressed on 180 gram vinyl, as part of the vinyl LP configuration of the 2009 CD box, and for individual sale. Initial UK LP pressings feature a uniquely designed gatefold sleeve with the jacket openings being on the top instead of on the sides. The mono version of the album is reissued on vinyl in September of 2014, being issued in the US for the first time. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the album is given a new stereo and 5.1 surround remix by Giles Martin. Issued worldwide on November 9, 2018, the expanded release also contains the legendary “Esher Demos”, featuring twenty seven recordings demoed at George Harrrison’s home studio. Prior to this the demos had only surfaced as bootlegs in mono only. The new release presents them in true stereo for the first time. The album is reissued on both CD and vinyl, either as a three CD, six CD + Blu-ray Super Deluxe box set, double vinyl LP or four LP Super Deluxe box set (the latter containing the only vinyl release of the Esher Demos). “The Beatles” spends nine weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 19x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 22, 1977 – “Chic”, the debut album by Chic is released. Produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios and The Power Station in New York City from September – October 1977. After playing together in various incarnations since first meeting in 1970, bassist Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers form the band Chic in 1976 with keyboard player Rob Sabino, drummer Tony Thompson and singer Norma Jean Wright rounding out the basic line up. A DJ friend of theirs named Robert Drake gives them an opportunity to make demo recording of their song “Everybody Dance”, by sneaking them into Electric Lady Studios after hours where he works part time as a recording engineer. A few weeks later, Drake invites Rodgers to The Night Owl, an upscale disco where he DJ’s. Spinning two acetate discs he has cut of Chic’s demo of “Everybody”, Rodgers watches him in stunned amazement as the DJ spins the discs non stop for nearly an hour to the euphoric crowd on the dance floor. Shortly after this, the band return to the studio to cut the single “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”, which attracts the attention of Buddah Records executive Tom Cossie who options the record for release. When Cossie moves to Atlantic Records only a couple of weeks after Buddah releases “Dance”, he takes the band with him, signing them with Atlantic in spite of the fact they had been previously rejected by the label. The debut album by the New York City based R&B/Disco band is recorded in only three weeks for a budget of $35,000. It features all original songs written by Edwards and Rodgers with vocals by Norma Jean Wright, Alfa Anderson, Diva Gray, David Lasley, Robin Clark and Luther Vandross. It spins off the hit singles “Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah)” (#6 R&B and Pop) and “Everybody Dance” (#12 R&B, #38 Pop). Originally released on CD in the early 90’s by Atlantic, the original CD is deleted and goes out of print for several years. It is reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2006, with WEA in Japan remastering and reissuing it on CD in 2011. Out of print on vinyl for more than thirty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Friday Music in 2016. The album is remastered and reissued on CD and vinyl again, as part of the box set “The Chic Organization: 1977 – 1979” on November 23, 2018. “Chic” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty seven on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 17, 1982 – “Chaka Khan”, the fourth solo album by Chaka Khan is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City from Summer – Fall 1982. Issued as the official follow up to “What’cha Gonna Do For Me” (having also recorded the jazz standards album “Echoes of An Era” in the interim), the album features musical support from musicians such as Michael Brecker, Hamish Stuart, Will Lee, Joe Henderson, Anthony Jackson and also features Rick James on “Slow Dancin’”. It spins off two singles including her cover of the Michael Jackson classic “Got To Be There” (#5 R&B, #67 Pop) and “Tearin’ It Up” (#48 R&B). The track “Be Bop Medley” wins Khan and Mardin a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices, and Chaka picks up a second Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for the entire album in 1984. The album makes its CD debut in 1991, when it is released by Warner Music Japan. It is currently in print as part of the box set “Chaka Khan – Original Album Series” released by Warner Music Group UK in 2009. “Chaka Khan” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number fifty two on the Top 200.
On this day in music history: November 16, 1970 – “Stephen Stills”, the debut album by Stephen Stills is released. Produced by Stephen Stills and Bill Halverson, it is recorded at Island Studios in London from June – July 1970. The first solo release from the songwriter and musician it features musical support from friends such as Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Booker T. Jones, Cass Elliott, Rita Coolidge, John Sebastian, Graham Nash, and Jimi Hendrix who passes away two months before its release, and is dedicated to his memory. It spins off two singles including the classic “Love The One You’re With” (#14 Pop), becoming Stills’ biggest solo hit. “Love The One You’re With” is covered by a number of artists over the years, including versions by The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, Tight Fit, Bucks Fizz, and by Stills own daughter Jen Stills. The album is remastered on CD with high resolution HDCD encoding, and is reissued on vinyl as a limited 200 gram LP pressing by Classic Records in 2009. Rhino Records also reissues the album as a 180 gram LP in 2010. “Stephen Stills” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 12, 1968 – “Neil Young”, the debut album by Neil Young is released. Produced by Neil Young, David Briggs, Jack Nitzsche and Ry Cooder, it is recorded at Wally Heider Recording, Sunset Sound Recorders and TTG Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA from August – October 1968. His first release following his departure from Buffalo Springfield, the album features Young with musical support from Ry Cooder, Earl Palmer, Carol Kaye, Jim Messina, and Jack Nitzsche. It is initially released with the Haeco-CSG encoding system, designed to make stereo records compatible with mono turntables, just as mono LP’s are being phased out in the US. The end result makes the recording sound out of phase when played in either stereo or mono. Unhappy with the sound of the final product, Young remixes part of the album, and it is reissued without the processing in November of 1969, a year after the LP’s initial release. The album’s modest sales make the first pressing a sought after collector’s item by fans, who feel that the original mixes are superior in spite the post production processing. It is remastered and reissued in 2009, on CD (with HDCD encoding) and as a 180 gram vinyl LP. "Neil Young" does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: November 12, 1966 – “The Monkees”, the debut album by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 13 weeks. Produced by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Jack Keller and Michael Nesmith, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios A, B, & C and Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA from July – August 1966. Featuring songs written by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, David Gates, Gerry Goffin, Carole King and Mike Nesmith, the album is a huge success, driven by both the hit single “Last Train To Clarksville (#1 Pop) and their highly rated TV series. It is also a huge hit overseas also topping the UK album chart as the series goes on the air there. Early pressings of the LP erroneously credit the track “Papa Gene’s Blues” as “Papa Jean’s Blues”. The album has seen reissues on CD and vinyl in 1994, 1996, 2006 and 2016. On November 11, 2014, Rhino Records releases a two CD Deluxe Edition as well as a limited edition three CD Super Deluxe Edition of the album. Both sets feature the original mono and stereo mixes, as well as outtakes, alternate versions, demos and other rarities. The reissue sets are annotated by Andrew Sandoval. “The Monkees” is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.