Category: soundtrack

On this day in music history: July 17, 1958 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1958 – “Hard Headed Woman" by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Claude Demetrius, it is the tenth chart topping single for Presley. The song is written for and included in his fourth film “King Creole”, directed by Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”, “The Adventures Of Robin Hood”, “Angels With Dirty Faces”) and co-starring Carolyn Jones (“The Addams Family”) and Walter Matthau. Recorded on January 10, 1958, Presley records the soundtrack and stars in the film just prior to being inducted into the Army. He receives a deferment from the US Government from January to March, to allow him time to complete his work on the film. Presley receives his best reviews yet for his performance, and sites it as his personal favorite among the thirty one films he makes between 1956 and 1969. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #15 on June 26, 1958, it streaks to the top of the chart three weeks later. “Hard Headed Woman” is Elvis’ third single to be officially certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Duran Duran and John Barry, it is the second US chart topper for the Birmingham, UK based pop/rock band. The members of Duran Duran are invited to write the theme for the fourteenth James Bond film after bassist John Taylor meets Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli at a party. This encounter leads to the two sides talking seriously about composing the title song. Broccoli then introduces Duran Duran to score composer John Barry who co-writes and arranges the song with the band. Fresh off of working on The Power Station project, producer and musician Bernard Edwards of Chic produces the song. The track is recorded at CTS Studios and Maison Rouge in London, with Barry conducting a sixty-piece orchestra, augmenting Duran Duran’s instrumentation. The recording sessions become so contentious (particularly between Nick Rhodes and Andy Taylor), that the band members end up overdubbing their parts separately. Released in early May of 1985, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #43 on May 18, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “A View To A Kill” is the only Bond theme to top the US pop singles chart, and is the last Duran Duran single to feature all five original band members until they reunite in 2001. Prior to “Kill” reaching the summit, the two highest charting Bond themes are Wings’ “Live And Let Die” and Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” (from “The Spy Who Loved Me”), both peaking at #2 on the Hot 100. On the same day the single hits number one, Duran Duran perform it at Live Aid in Philadelphia. Lead singer Simon LeBon unintentionally hits a bad note during the song on the live telecast. This faux pas leads to it being excised from the band’s set on the Live Aid DVD box set, and has not been rebroadcast since. After the original track is cut, Duran Duran along with Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero create an extended remix of “Kill” with the intent of issuing it along side the original single version. For reasons unknown, this version is shelved and remained unheard by the public for nearly thirty years. Mysteriously, it surfaces online on the Soundcloud  and YouTube websites in November of 2014. Since then it has been widely circulated among Duran Duran fans. To date, no official release of the 12" remix has been officially sanctioned by the band.  "A View To A Kill" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 11, 1980 – …

On this day in music history: July 11, 1980 – “Late In The Evening” by Paul Simon is released. Written by Paul Simon, it is the sixteenth solo single for the singer, songwriter and musician from Queens, NY. The Latin flavored “Late In The Evening”, is issued as the first single from the soundtrack to his first starring role in the film “One Trick Pony”. The plot (based on both true life experiences and dramatic fictionalization) centers around Simon, portraying a once popular musician on the down side of his career, looking to make a comeback. The song and soundtrack album features instrumental backing by the Jazz/Funk band Stuff. The film and the accompanying soundtrack album actually feature different versions of the same material. “Late In The Evening” features musicians Steve Gadd (drums), Eric Gale, Hiram Bullock (guitars), Tony Levin (bass), Richard Tee (keyboards), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Michael Brecker, David Sanborn (saxophones), Jon Faddis (flugelhorn), Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm (trumpets), Patti Austin and Lani Groves (background vocals). “Late In The Evening” peaks at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 27, 1980, and also receiving a Grammy Nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1981.

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On this day in music history: July 8, 1958 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1958 – “Oklahoma! – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. The film soundtrack to the hit stage musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II features actors Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, James Whitmore and Rod Steiger. Released by Capitol Records in August of 1955 (initially in mono only, then completely re-recorded in true stereo in 1958), it becomes the first album in history to a receive Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association Of America. Originally established in 1952, the organization initiates an award program to acknowledge the sales achievements of best selling albums and singles. Initially, the Gold award is given to recordings that achieve over $1,000,000 in record sales in the US. In 1975, the criteria for Gold status changes, representing the sales of over 500,000 units shipped for a full length album and 1,000,000 units for a single. In 1989, the sales criteria for Gold singles are reduced to 500,000 units to reflect the then declining sales of singles.

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On this day in music history: July 8, 1957 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1957 – “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 8 weeks, also topping the Country & Western chart for 1 week on August 5, 1957 and the Rhythm & Blues chart for 1 week on September 2, 1957. Written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe, it is the rock & roll icon’s seventh number one single in just under fifteen months. Songwriters Mann and Lowe (co-founders of Philadelphia based Cameo-Parkway Records) hear of a rumor started (no one is certain where or by whom) that Elvis Presley collected teddy bears, leading his fans to send him thousands of the cuddly toys. This provides the inspiration for the pair to write the song for Presley’s second film “Loving You”. The track is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA on January 24, 1957 with Presley’s regular band including Scotty Moore (guitar), Bill Black (bass), D.J. Fontana (drums) and The Jordanaires (background vocals). Entering the Best Sellers chart at #23 on June 24, 1957, it pole vaults to the top of the chart two weeks later. “Teddy Bear” quickly sells over two million copies in the US, and is the third of four chart topping singles for Elvis during 1957. Presley becomes the only artist in history to hold the top spot on the pop singles chart for 25 weeks, which he does consecutively in both 1956 and 1957. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 7, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: July 7, 1984 – “When Doves Cry” by Prince hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, topping the R&B singles chart for 8 weeks on June 30, 1984, and also topping the Club Play chart for 6 weeks on June 30, 1984. Written and produced by Prince, it is the first pop and second R&B chart topper for the virtuoso singer, songwriter and musician from Minneapolis, MN. After principal photography on his first film “Purple Rain” is completed, director Albert Magnoli asks Prince to write another song for the film to underscore a montage sequence describing the vibe that he’s looking for. Stating “that it’s about your parents and about loss and redemption”. Prince tells Magnoli “OK”, and comes back the next day with not one but two songs that he feels will suit the director’s request. The two settle on “When Doves Cry”, and Prince goes off to work on it immediately. Prince enters Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA on March 1, 1984, with the assistance of engineer Peggy McCreary (aka “Peggy Mac”) recording and mixing the track in a single thirty six hour long session. Released on May 16, 1984, ten weeks ahead of the films July 27, 1984 opening date, the record is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #57 on June 2, 1984, it streaks to the top of the chart five weeks later. By the time the single drops off the charts it has sold over three million copies in the US alone, making “When Doves Cry” the top selling single of 1984. The single is backed with the non-LP B-side “17 Days” (full title: “17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose. If U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose.)”). Originally intended for Apollonia 6’s album, Prince keeps the track for himself, becoming a firm fan favorite. “When Doves Cry” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 3, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: July 3, 1978 – “Hopelessly Devoted To You” by Olivia Newton-John is released. Written and produced by John Farrar, it is seventh US top single for the British born/Australian raised pop vocalist. When Olivia Newton-John wins the role of Sandy Dumbrowski in the film adaptation of the hit stage musical “Grease”, her producer John Farrar is asked to write two new songs for the film. He goes away and come back with “You’re The One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. Upon hearing the latter, director Randal Kleiser is unsure of the song, and where to place it in the film. Finally he decides to write in a new scene not in the original script, to make it fit in the proper context. The pop ballad also gives a nod to Newton-John’s earlier country music incarnation by adding a pedal steel guitar to the track. Since “Hopelessly” is a late edition to the film and soundtrack album, it is recorded after the main part of filming has wrapped, and the scene is quickly shot and edited into the film. When the soundtrack album is released eight weeks ahead of the film, the song begins receiving attention from fans and radio immediately. With it receiving heavy airplay as an album cut, “Hopelessly Devoted To You” is issued by RSO as the third single from the “Grease – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”. Entering the Hot 100 at #68 on July 8, 1978, it peaks eleven weeks later at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, on September 23, 1978. The third of four consecutive top five singles from the album, it also receives an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song, but loses to “Last Dance” from “Thank God It’s Friday”. “Hopelessly Devoted To You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 2, 1977 – “…

On this day in music history: July 2, 1977 – “Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)” by Bill Conti hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Bill Conti, Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, it is the biggest hit for the film score composer from Providence, RI. Prior to the theme being written, a temporary track written by Stallone’s brother Frank is used while the film is being edited. Someone suggests to the films director John G. Avildsen to replace the song with something else. Avildsen asks score composer Bill Conti if he can come up with something. Conti collaborates with lyric writers Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, quickly completing the song. The final lyrics consist of only thirty words, but manages to perfectly capture the spirit and message conveyed in the film. Singers DeEtta Little (sister of actor Cleavon Little) and Nelson Pigford (co-writer of Barry White’s “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me”) are brought in to sing the song. The huge popularity of the film generates demand for it to be released as a single, and is issued in February 1977 prior to the Academy Awards. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on April 23, 1977, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. It is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (though it loses to Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams’ “Evergreen (Love Theme From "A Star Is Born”), the film itself wins Best Picture. The theme becomes a pop cultural touchstone, being featured in numerous other films and television programs outside of the “Rocky” film franchise. The popularity of “Gonna Fly Now” propels the soundtrack album featuring Bill Conti’s score to #4 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum. Conti goes on to score four more “Rocky” films over the years including the last in the series “Rocky Balboa” in 2006. “Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 27, 1980 – …

On this day in music history: June 27, 1980 – “I’m Alright (Theme From “Caddyshack”)“ by Kenny Loggins is released. Written by Kenny Loggins, it is the seventh solo single release for the singer, songwriter and musician from Everett, WA. Coming off the success of three consecutive Platinum selling solo albums between 1977 and 1979, Kenny Loggins starts off new decade with yet another big hit. In the Fall of 1979, Loggins is asked by executive producer Jon Peters ("Batman”, “A Star Is Born”, “The Color Purple”) to write songs for the soundtrack of a low budgeted comedy titled “Caddyshack. The film starring Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield centers around life on an upscale country club golf course, and the culture clash between the characters. In all, Loggins writes four songs for the soundtrack, including "I’m Alright” which is used as the theme for “Caddyshack”. The track is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles in late 1979 with co-producer/engineer Bruce Botnick (The Doors), backed by his touring band which include Mike Hamilton (lead guitar, backing vocals), George Hawkins (bass, backing vocals), Brian Mann (keyboards) and Tris Imboden (drums). During the sessions, singer (and label mate) Eddie Money is recording in an adjoining studio, and Kenny invites him to contribute background vocals to the song. Though Money later expresses his displeasure when he does not receive credit for his contribution. Featured over the opening title and end sequences of the film, “I’m Alright” becomes synonymous with the animatronic gopher that Bill Murray’s character, the groundskeeper Carl spends the duration of the movie trying and failing to eradicate. Though “Caddyshack” is initially only a modest box office success before later becoming a hugely popular cult classic, “I’m Alright” is an immediate success. Entering the Hot 100 at #88 on July 12, 1980, it peaks at #7 on October 11, 1980. The single also earns Loggins a Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1981. A live version of the song also appears on the album “Alive!” in September of 1980. The success of the film theme not only gives Kenny Loggins his second top ten hit, but changes the course of his career for the next decade. Throughout the rest of the 80’s, Loggins scores his biggest hits with the songs he contributes to the film soundtracks for “Footloose” (title song (#1 Pop), “I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)” (#22 Pop)), “Top Gun” (“Danger Zone” (#2 Pop), “Playing With The Boys” (#60 Pop)) and “Over The Top” (“Meet Me Half Way” (#11 Pop)). When the sequel “Caddyshack II” is made in 1988, Kenny Loggins also writes and records the films theme song “Nobody’s Fool” (#8 Pop), giving him his fifth and final top ten single in the US.

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On this day in music history: June 26, 1964 – …

On this day in music history: June 26, 1964 – “A Hard Day’s Night”, the third studio album by The Beatles is released (UK release date is on July 10, 1964). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at EMI Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France and Abbey Road Studios in London from January 29, 1964, February 25 – 27, 1964, and March 1 – June 4, 1964. During their initial rush of Beatlemania in the UK, The Beatles receive an offer from United Artists Pictures to make a film. The film company’s motivation is to make a quick, low budget film so that it has the rights to release an accompanying soundtrack album. In spite of this, the project is an inspired collaboration between The Beatles and director Richard Lester. When the band begins work on the music prior to the start of filming, they once again demonstrate another leap forward in their musical development. It is the first Beatles album to feature all original songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The title track is one of the last songs written and recorded for the film, inspired by a statement made by drummer Ringo Starr, exclaiming “that was a hard day’s night, that was!”, after an exhaustive day of filming. Lennon and McCartney write the song overnight, and play it for film producer Walter Shenson the next day. The song is also selected to be the film’s title (the working title had been “Beatlemania”). The soundtrack album is released in the US ten days before the film’s world premiere in London on July 6, 1964. The US version of the album differs significantly from its UK counterpart. The UK version features the seven songs included in the film, and an additional six that make up side two. Aside from featuring different cover artwork, the US LP features the seven songs used in the film along with “I’ll Cry Instead”. The other four songs (“When I Get Home”, “Things We Said Today”, “I’ll Be Back”, “Any Time At All”), are replaced by instrumental versions of “I Should Have Known Better”, “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy)”, “And I Love Her”, and “A Hard Day’s Night” scored and conducted by George Martin. Like the film itself, the soundtrack will be a runaway success, spinning off a total of four singles (including the previously released “Can’t Buy Me Love” (#1 Pop), and the title track (#1 Pop). The rights to the US version of the soundtrack revert to Capitol Records after the demise of United Artists Records in 1980. That version is deleted in 1987, when the original UK version is finally issued in the US. In January of 2014, the original US soundtrack is reissued on CD (in a CD sized replica of the original LP package) individually and as part of the box set “The Beatles – The US Albums”. “A Hard Day’s Night” spends fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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