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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Remembering legendary jazz saxophonist John Co…

Remembering legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane (born John William Coltrane in Hamlet, NC) – September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967

Remembering Jazz vocal legend Billie Holiday (…

Remembering Jazz vocal legend Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan in Baltimore, MD) – April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959

twixnmix: James Baldwin photographed by Carl V…

twixnmix:

James Baldwin photographed by Carl Van Vechten on September 13, 1955.

Jimi Hendrix at the Schiller Hotel in Amster…

Jimi Hendrix at the Schiller Hotel in Amsterdam after his performance at the Hippy Happy Festival in 1967.   

Photos by Rob Bosboom

Miko Mayama photographed by Gene Howard, 196…

Miko Mayama photographed by Gene Howard, 1968.  

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On this day in music history: July 16, 2008 – …

On this day in music history: July 16, 2008 – Billy Joel plays the first of two concerts at Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens, New York. The legendary sports venue which has been the home of the New York Mets since opening in 1964, is scheduled to be demolished before years end to make way for its replacement Citi Field. Joel plays to over 110,000 fans over two nights (July 16-18), and features him with a number of guest musicians including Tony Bennett, Don Henley, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney. The concerts are released as the documentary film “Last Play At Shea” in 2010, and as the album and concert video “Live At Shea Stadium” in March of 2011.

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On this day in music history: July 16, 1988 – …

On this day in music history: July 16, 1988 – “Roses Are Red” by The Mac Band Featuring The McCampbell Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week. Written and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, it is the biggest hit for the R&B band from Flint, MI. Formed in the mid 80’s by brothers Ray, Derrick, Charles and Kelvin McCampbell, The Mac Band features band members Ray Flippin (bass), Rodney Frazier (keyboards), Mark Harper (guitar) and Slye Fuller (drums). The band comes together after the McCampbell Brothers relocate from their hometown of Flint, MI to Dallas, TX, where the meet the other four members. Signed to MCA Records in 1987, The Mac Band are paired with two pairs of top R&B songwriters and producers, David and Wayne Lewis of Atlantic Starr and L.A. Reid and Babyface of The Deele. L.A. and Face wind up writing and producing three of the nine tracks featured on the bands self titled debut album. Among those is the hooky and infectious “Roses Are Red”, which the duo base on the poem whose origin dates back to 16th century English poet Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”. The producers actually record the track themselves in Los Angeles, then take it to Dallas for the rest of the band to add their vocals. Released as a single in April of 1988, “Roses Are Red” quickly becomes a smash on the R&B chart. The song is also a hit overseas, cracking the top ten on the UK singles chart, peaking at #6. Shortly after the chart topping success of “Roses”, The Mac Band are featured in a television commercial for fast food chain McDonalds, with the band singing a version of “Roses Are Red” with re-written lyrics. In spite of receiving a major hand up from two of the hottest producers in the music business, The Mac Band are unable to maintain the career momentum of their chart topping debut. Subsequent follow up singles including “Stuck” (#25 R&B), “That’s The Way I Look At Love” (#70 R&B) and “Got To Get Over You” fail to make much of an impact. The bands second album “Love U 2 The Limit” released in 1990, and is largely self produced, also with contributions from R&B band Surface and producer Vassal Benford, it does not produce any hits, and the band are dropped by MCA Records. The Mac Band record and release one final album for local Dallas label Ultrax Records (run by former Vanilla Ice manager Tommy Quon) in 1991, which is not successful and the band split up. In later years, original lead singer Derrick “D-Mac” MacCampbell runs a basketball camp for kids in his local church in his home of McKinney, TX.

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On this day in music history: July 16, 1977 – …

On this day in music history: July 16, 1977 – “Easy” by The Commodores hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on August 27, 1977. Written by Lionel Richie, it is the third R&B chart topper for the band from Tuskegee, AL. Born and raised in Alabama, songwriter and musician Lionel Richie grows up influenced by many different genres of music including R&B, pop and country music. All three musical styles come together when Richie writes the song “Easy”, about a man coming to terms with the end of a relationship. “Easy” is released on March 18, 1977 in advance of The Commodores self-titled fifth album. The pop/soul ballad becomes a multi-format smash, becoming their third number one R&B hit and their biggest pop single to date. The million selling “Easy” takes The Commodores to the next level of success in their career, helping drive sales of the “Commodores” album to 2x Platinum status. Over the years it is covered numerous times by pop, rock and country artists including Clarence Carter, Faith No More and Boyz II Men. Lionel Richie himself covers “Easy” in 2012 with country music icon Willie Nelson, on the duets album “Tuskegee”.

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