Category: soundtrack

On this day in music history: May 19, 1980 -…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1980 – “Fame – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is released. Produced by Michael Gore, it is recorded at Media Sound Studios, C.I. Recording Studios, A&R Recording Studios and Columbia 30th Street Studios in New York City from April – May 1979. Issued as the soundtrack to the Alan Parker directed film about students attending the New York High School of Performing Arts, it stars Irene Cara, Gene Anthony Ray, Lee Curreri, Barry Miller, Maureen Teefy and Paul McCrane. Parker approaches Giorgio Moroder who had won an Oscar for composing the score to his film “Midnight Express”, to work on “Fame”. Moroder declines as he is busy working with Donna Summer. The director also asks Jeff Lynne of ELO who also busy. Ultimately musician Michael Gore is hired, who co-writes six of the nine songs. The music is recorded prior to the start of filming in July of 1979. Three of the songs are performed by Irene Cara. The title track (#4 Pop, #1 Club Play) is co-written by Gore and Dean Pitchford, featuring a group of backing vocalists that includes Luther Vandross who is also the vocal arranger on the track. The song is the albums’ break out single, becoming a pop radio and club smash. “Fame” also earns Gore and Pitchford the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1981. The follow up single, the ballad “Out Here On My Own” (#19 Pop, #20 AC) also sung by Cara is co-written by Gore along with his sister pop vocalist Lesley Gore, also earning an Oscar nomination. It marks the first time in history that two songs from the same film, are nominated in the same category. Paul McCrane (Montgomery MacNeil) performs “Dogs In The Yard” and “Is It Okay If I Call You Mine?”, the latter of which is written by him. “Red Light” (#1 Club Play, #41 Pop, #40 R&B) performed by Linda Clifford is another stand out, featured in a memorable scene. Like the film itself, the soundtrack becomes a major success, and a pop cultural phenomenon at a time when film musicals are considered well past their prime. It launches Irene Cara’s career as a recording artist, having performed on Broadway, on television and in film since childhood. “Fame” is spun off into a successful TV series in 1982, running for six seasons. The title track and soundtrack become belated hits in the UK two years after the films release, when both are reissued after the debut of the series. Both top the UK singles and album charts in July of 1982, with the album being succeeded at number one by “The Kids From Fame” album. Originally released on CD in 1990, the original soundtrack is remastered and reissued in 2003, including three bonus tracks not on the original album. “Fame – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” peaks at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Mainstream Rock chart for 3 weeks on April 20, 1985. Written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, it is the biggest hit for the Anglo/Scottish rock band fronted by lead singer Jim Kerr. Written as the theme song to the John Hughes directed coming of age comedy/drama “The Breakfast Club”, Forsey initially approaches Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry and Cy Curnin (lead singer of The Fixx) to record the song, all of them decline. Simple Minds are also asked to do the song, and turn it down before being persuaded by their US label A&M Records to record it. The band create their own arrangement and record the track in about three hours. Released as a single on January 21, 1985, four weeks before the film arrives in theaters, it quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on February 23, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. The full unedited version of the track (running over six and a half minutes) is issued as a 12" single, along with the shorter 45 version (also featured on the soundtrack album). In the US, A&M Records issues the 7″ and 12″ singles in a title sleeve with Celtic themed crosses on the front and back.

The second and more common printing of the 7″ sleeve, adds a mini of “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack cover art work (adding info about the song’s inclusion on the soundtrack album), shortly after its release.

In time, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is regarded as an iconic song of the era, and remains one the most popular and frequently played 80′s records on radio today.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 14, 1987…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1987 – “Moonlighting (Theme)” by Al Jarreau is released. Written by Al Jarreau and Lee Holdridge, it is the twenty seventh single release for the jazz and pop vocalist from Milwaukee, WI. By the mid 80’s, singer Al Jarreau is the at the pinnacle of his career, successfully bridging the worlds of jazz, and expanding his reach to include R&B and pop music. In 1984, the singer is asked to co-write and sing the theme song for a new series, set to debut on ABC in early 1985. The series is the ground breaking comedy-drama “Moonlighting”, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as private detectives. Jarreau accepts the offer, writing the lyrics and melody for the theme song with veteran film score composer and arranger Lee Holdridge (Neil Diamond). When “Moonlighting” quickly becomes a hit, fans also become enamored of its theme song. Though at the time, no effort is made to release a longer version of Al Jarreau’s song, which is originally only one minute long. With “Miami Vice” reviving the long dormant genre of television soundtrack albums in late 1985, others begin to follow suit. With music being an integral part of its appeal, the producers of “Moonlighting” decide to also create a spin off soundtrack album. Needing to re-record the theme, Al Jarreau calls on one of the top producers in the business to assist him. Having produced Jarreau’s 1986 album “L Is For Lover”, former Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers produces the expanded version of the theme. The “Moonlighting (Theme)” peaks at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 18, 1987, at #32 on the R&B singles chart on August 1, 1986, and spending one week at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart on July 25, 1987. It’s an even bigger hit overseas, peaking at #8 on the UK singles chart, becoming Jarreau’s third highest charting single in that country. The UK release is accompanied by an extended 12" single. The original version which includes a sax solo during the break, is later replaced on compilations by a mix that features a harmonica solo in its place. The singer receives a pair of Grammy nominations in 1988, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion Picture or Television Program. However, the chart success of “Moonlighting” can’t prevent the show from going into a major decline. The downward slope is caused in part by squabbles between Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, and by the sexual and romantic tension between the pairs on screen characters, being broken when they finally consummate their relationship. “Moonlighting (Theme)” marks the beginning of the end of Al Jarreau’s pop chart success, though he continues to enjoy a successful string of Grammy winning jazz vocal albums, until his passing in February of 2017.

Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 13, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1978 – “If I Can’t Have You” by Yvonne Elliman hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #60 on the R&B singles chart on June 3, 1978. Written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, it is the biggest hit for the Hawaiian born singer and actress. The song is actually the first that the Bee Gees complete when writing material for the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. Initially, Elliman is to record the ballad “How Deep Is Your Love” for the film, but when executive producer/Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood hears the Bee Gees’ demo version, he insists that they record it themselves, giving “If I Can’t Have You” to Elliman. The bands own version of “If I Can’t Have You” is issued as the non-LP B-side to “Stayin’ Alive” in late 1977. Elliman records her version with producer Freddie Perren (The Jackson 5, The Sylvers, Peaches & Herb) at The Mom & Pops Company Store Studios in Studio City, CA in mid 1977. Issued as the fourth single from “Saturday Night Fever” in January 1978, it is another major smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #89 on January 28, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart fifteen weeks later. “If I Can’t Have You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 11, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 11, 1985 – “Crazy For You” by Madonna hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, peaking at #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart on the same date, and #80 on the R&B singles chart on May 4, 1985. Written by John Bettis and Jon Lind, it is the second chart topping single for the pop music superstar from Rochester, MI. Songwriters Bettis (“Top Of The World, "Goodbye To Love”) and Lind (“Boogie Wonderland”, “Save The Best For Last”) are asked by Warner Bros film music executive Joel Sill if they write a song for a film being produced by Jon Peters and Peter Guber (“Batman”, “The Color Purple”) titled “Vision Quest” in early 1984. Producer Phil Ramone acts as the music supervisor for the film, and is responsible compiling the soundtrack album. Ramone hears “Crazy For You” and loves it immediately, knowing exactly who he wants to record the song. At the time, Madonna’s career is just beginning to take flight as her third single “Borderline” is climbing the charts. Known at the time only for her uptempo dance material, the songwriters are unsure of Madonna’s ability to sing a ballad. The track is produced by Madonna’s then boyfriend, club DJ and remixer John “Jellybean” Benitez. When Bettis and Lind attend the initial recording session for the song, they are disappointed at the outcome. Benitez brings in keyboardist and studio musician Rob Mounsey to write a new arrangement and they re-record the song. Everyone is pleased with the new version and it is included on the “Vision Quest” soundtrack album. Madonna also has a small role in the film as a night club singer, performing “Crazy For You” and “Gambler”. Released in February of 1985, as her second album “Like A Virgin” is riding high in the charts, the ballad is another major smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #55 on March 2, 1985, it climb to the top of the chart ten weeks later, unseating USA For Africa’s “We Are The World” from the top spot, after holding at number two for three weeks behind it. “Crazy” not only is Madonna’s second number one single in less than six months, it also helps broaden her audience and show another side of her musically that had not been previously seen. The single also earns Madonna a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1986. “Crazy For You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 10, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: May 10, 1984 – “Breakin’… There’s No Stoppin’ Us” by Ollie And Jerry is released. Written by Ollie E. Brown and Jerry Knight, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the R&B music duo from Los Angeles, CA. Originally members of mutual friend and fellow Detroit native Ray Parker, Jr.’s band Raydio, keyboardist and vocalist Jerry Knight leaves the band in 1979 to pursue a solo career. Drummer Ollie Brown departs from the band in 1981 when Parker decides to continue as a solo artist. In the interim, Knight records three albums for A&M Records, scoring sizable R&B hits with “Overnight Sensation”, “Turn It Out” and “Perfect Fit”. During the same period, Brown is in demand as a studio musician, playing on records by numerous high profile artists including The Jacksons, Billy Preston, Blondie, Quincy Jones and DeBarge. By 1983, the old friends pair up once again when they are hired by soundtrack supervisor Russ Regan, to write and record a couple of songs for a low budget film about breakdancing. Knight and Brown come up with the songs “Showdown” and the film’s theme song “Breakin’… There’s No Stoppin’ Us”. Immediately radio friendly and infectious, “There’s No Stoppin’ Us” is released as the first single from the soundtrack album, just days after the film becomes a surprise box office hit. It is also released as an extended 12" dance mix, remixed by DJ John “Jellybean” Benitez. “Breakin’… There’s No Stoppin’ Us” races to the top of the Billboard Club Play chart on August 11, 1984 (unseating Prince’s “When Doves Cry” / “17 Days”) spending one week at #1, The single is a smash on the R&B chart peaking at #3 on July 21, 1984, and #9 on August 4, 1984. Ollie & Jerry only chart once more with the title song of the “Breakin’” sequel “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo”. “Electric Boogaloo” peaks at only #45 on the R&B singles chart, and misses the Hot 100 entirely, though charts in the UK (#57 UK) in early 1985. Knight and Brown go their separate ways, with Knight having a successful career as a songwriter and producer, turning out hits for artists like The Jets and several other artists. Sadly, Jerry Knight passes away from cancer in December of 1996, at the age of only 44. Ollie Brown continues to work as a studio musician for a time, before leaving the music industry behind to start a real estate business.  

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 8, 1982 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 8, 1982 – “Chariots Of Fire – Titles” by Vangelis hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on April 3, 1982. Written and produced by Evangelos Papathanassiou (aka Vangelis), it is the biggest hit for the Greek musician and composer. The theme song to the Academy Award winning film about two British athletes training for the 1924 Olympics in Paris, the composer is chosen by film director Hugh Hudson to score the film. Vangelis takes a unique approach when creating the music for the period film. It is contrasted dramatically by a contemporary, modern sounding score performed by the composer alone on an acoustic piano, combined with numerous layers of synthesizers (including the Yamaha CS-80 and ARP 2600), only augmented by a choir on one track. Released as a single in late 1981, and entering the Hot 100 at #94 on December 12, 1981, it begins a long and slow climb up the US pop singles chart, finally reaching the top of the chart twenty weeks later. Vangelis wins an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score for the music he composed for the film in March of 1982. The critical and commercial success of the film turns the Greek composer’s majestic and unconventional film score into a surprise pop hit, with the soundtrack album spending four weeks at number one on the Top 200 beginning on April 17, 1982 and being certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA. The title theme and the score become instantly iconic, with the theme being used in numerous other films, television shows and commercials over the years.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 – “Let It Be”, the twelfth studio album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin and Phil Spector, it is recorded at EMI and Apple Studios and Twickenham Film Studios in London from February 1968, January – February 1969, January and March – April 1970. The Beatles final album (of new material) is culled mostly from the January 1969 sessions for the aborted Get Back album and film documenting their dissolution and eventual break up. Its original intent is to feature the band playing together in the studio live, with minimal overdubbing and post production. However, things go astray as tensions between The Beatles come to a head during the sessions, leading to George Harrison temporarily walking out. Eventually, the project is completed over a year after the initial recording takes place. Producer Phil Spector is brought in sort through the hundreds of hours of tapes, editing, remixing and overdubbing to compile a cohesive and polished album. It spins off two singles including “The Long And Winding Road” and the title track (both #1 Pop). In the UK and Canada, the album is originally issued as a lavish box set with a large one hundred sixty page paperback book (titled “Get Back”) featuring still photographs of the band taken by photographer Ethan Russell. The boxed edition is not issued in the US (due to cost concerns), and is released in a gatefold jacket with United Artists having the rights to distribute it, though Capitol Records actually contracted to press the record. Original copies are issued with a red Apple label instead of the standard green label, and carry a United Artists catalog number. The album goes out of print in US for three years before Capitol Records acquires the rights to the album (as well the soundtrack to “A Hard Day’s Night”) from United Artists in 1979. The Capitol pressing reissues the album in a single pocket sleeve with a poster inserted into the jacket. First released on CD in 1987, the album is remastered and reissued in 2009, with a 180 gram vinyl LP being released in 2012. “Let It Be” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 4, 1984 – …

On this day in music history: May 4, 1984 – “Breakin’ – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is released. Music Supervision and Compilation Producers: Russ Regan and Ted Daryll, Produced by Ollie E. Brown, Jerry Knight, Chris “The Glove” Taylor, David Storrs, Curtis Hudson, Lisa Stevens, Allen A. Jones, Russ Titelman, Rod Hui, Charlie Midnight, Dan Hartman and John Punter, it is recorded at Ameraycan Studios in North Hollywood, CA and Various Studios from Early – Late 1983. Issued as the soundtrack to the Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus produced film, it stars Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quiñones, Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers and Lucinda Dickey. The ten song album features new and previously released material. Originally conceived as a quick low budget feature to exploit the explosion of the Hip Hop subculture, it is inspired in part by a 1983 German documentary titled “Breakin’ and Enterin’”. Produced by Cannon Films and released through MGM/UA, the film and soundtrack are both surprise hits, having the unexpected bonus of furthering the exposure of Hip Hop into mainstream society. The album features two tracks by former Raydio members Ollie E. Brown and Jerry Knight (aka Ollie & Jerry), The Bar-Kays, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Carol Lynn Townes, Re-Flex, Hot Streak (aka Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens, writers of Madonna’s “Holiday”), Chris “The Glove Taylor & David Storrs (Featuring Ice-T) and 3V (aka Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight). Ollie & Jerry’s title song "Breakin’… There’s No Stoppin’ Us” (#3 R&B, #9 Pop, #1 Club Play) is the soundtrack’s biggest hit with Carol Lynn Townes’ “99 ½” (#22 R&B, #77 Pop, #9 Club Play), and “Reckless” by Chris “The Glove” Taylor & David Storrs also issued as singles. The Bar-Kays’ “Freakshow On The Dance Floor” (#2 R&B, #73 Pop) and Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” (#1 R&B, #22 Pop), both recent hits at the time of the film’s release are both prominently featured. Three other songs featured in the film including Kraftwerk’s “Tour De France”, Al Jarreau’s “Boogie Down” and the Art Of Noise’s “Beat Box” are not included on the soundtrack album due to licensing issues and time constraints. Original vinyl copies of “Breakin’” are packaged with a mini poster of the album cover artwork. Also issued on CD, the disc becomes heavily sought after by collectors when Polydor Records’ distributor Polygram deletes it from its catalog, inspiring bootleggers to fill the void with various black market knock off copies. The soundtrack is legitimately reissued on CD in 2011 and on vinyl by Get On Down Records in 2012, also reproducing the bonus poster for both. “Breakin’ – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: April 27, 1985 -…

On this day in music history: April 27, 1985 – “Rhythm Of The Night” by DeBarge hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on the same date, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 1 week on May 4, 1985. Written by Diane Warren, it is the biggest hit for the family vocal group from Grand Rapids, MI. In mid 1984, Songwriter Diane Warren (“Love Will Lead You Back”, “Blame It On The Rain”, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”), submits two songs for DeBarge, when they begin work on the follow up to their Gold certified album “In A Special Way”. The songs are “The Heart Is Not So Smart” and “Rhythm Of The Night”. The latter is the title track of the groups fourth album as well as included in the film and soundtrack to “The Last Dragon” starring Taimak and Vanity. Produced by veteran pop producer Richard Perry (The Pointer Sisters, Nilsson, Ringo Starr) it is recorded at The Record Plant and Studio 55 in Los Angeles, CA and features Abraham Laboriel (bass), John Robinson (drums), Paul Jackson, Jr. and Dann Huff (guitars) and Jeff Lorber (synthesizers) playing on the track. Released one month ahead of the album on January 29, 1985, the single quickly becomes a smash on pop and R&B radio. The across the board success of “Rhythm Of The Night” also propels DeBarge’s album to Platinum status in the US.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228