Eric Benet and Halle Berry at the New York City premiere of “X-Men”
on July 12, 2000.
Eric Benet and Halle Berry at the New York City premiere of “X-Men”
on July 12, 2000.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1989 – “Don’t Take It Personal” by Jermaine Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #64 on the Hot 100 on January 6, 1990. Written by David “Pic” Conley, David Townsend and Derrick Culler, it is the second R&B chart topper for the bassist and co-lead vocalist of the Jackson musical family. The song is co-written and produced by Conley and Townsend of the band Surface, The song had originally slated for Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” album, the writers withdraw the song after producer Frank Farian insists that they not travel to Germany to attend the recording sessions. Arista chief Clive Davis passes the song on to Jackson instead. Issued the title track from Jermaine’s twelfth solo album (also titled “Don’t Take It Personal”), it becomes the singers’ biggest hit since “I Think It’s Love” (co-written by Stevie Wonder) in 1986.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1986 – “Notorious”, the fourth studio album by Duran Duran is released. Produced by Nile Rodgers and Duran Duran, it is recorded at Studio Davout in Paris, France, Abbey Road Studios, Maison Rouge Studios, AIR Studios – Lyndhurst Hall, Westside Studios in London and Skyline Studios in New York City from Late 1985 – Mid 1986. The first new studio album from Duran Duran in three years, the band is pared down to a three piece with the departure of original guitarist Andy Taylor (who plays on a few tracks before leaving the band) and drummer Roger Taylor. Former Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and former AWB drummer Steve Ferrone fills in during the sessions, with Cuccurullo eventually becoming a full fledged member of the band. Featuring a more stripped down funk and horn based sound (courtesy of producer/guitarist Nile Rodgers of Chic), it spins off three singles including the title track (#2 Pop) and “Skin Trade” (#39 Pop). In 2010, the album is remastered and reissued as a three disc set (two CD’s and one DVD), with extended mixes, demos, and outtakes. The DVD features a live concert performance as well as the original music videos for all of the singles. “Notorious” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 – “Radio”, the debut album by LL Cool J is released. Produced by Rick Rubin and Jazzy Jay, it is recorded at Chung King House Of Metal in New York City from Late 1984 – Mid 1985. A talented young MC with a prodigious gift for writing sharp and concise rhymes, delivered with plenty of B-Boy attitude, LL Cool J stands out immediately from his contemporaries. Looking to make it in the music business, the teen aged rapper makes demos at home and sends them out to various record labels. After calling Rick Rubin, the co-founder of Def Jam Records numerous times, he listens to LL’s demo tape at the urging of King Ad Rock of The Beastie Boys. Impressed with what he hears, Rubin signs the then sixteen year old rapper to the label. LL Cool J’s first single “I Need A Beat”, released in 1984, is an immediate smash on the street, selling over 100,000 copies. By the end of that year, Def Jam has secured a major label distribution deal with CBS/Columbia Records. LL Cool J is the first artist on Def Jam given the green light to record a full length album. Aided by Rubin’s stripped down, minimalist production, the finished album does not take long to make a major impact. An instant classic, “Radio” quickly establishes LL Cool J as a force to be reckoned with, and as one of hip hop’s first bonafide mainstream superstars. It spins off four singles including “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (#15 R&B), “Rock The Bells” (#17 R&B), and “You’ll Rock” (#59 R&B). In time, it is regarded as a seminal album of rap’s “Golden Age”, becoming one of Def Jam’s all time best selling albums. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued in 2014, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Def Jam Records. “Radio” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty six on the Top 200, and it is Def Jam’s first album to be certified Gold just five months after its release. “Radio” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 – “Rock A Little”, the third solo album by Stevie Nicks is released. Produced by Rick Nowels, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Iovine and Keith Olsen, it is recorded at Goodnight Studios in Dallas, TX, Westlake Audio, Sunset Sound, Studio 55, United/Western Recorders, Image Recorders in Hollywood, CA, The Record Plant, Village Recorders, The Music Grinder, Art Department Sound in Los Angeles, CA, Record One in Sherman Oaks, CA and Super Bear Studios in Nice, France from Summer 1984 – Fall 1985. Nicks begins recording her third solo album in 1984 with long time producer Iovine (whom she is also romantically with involved at the time), but ends up scrapping most of what is recorded when they break up during the sessions. The singers’ substance abuse problems also reach a crisis point during this time, further delaying completion of the project. It spins off three singles including “Talk To Me” (#4 Pop) and “I Can’t Wait” (#16 Pop). “Rock A Little” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 – “So Red The Rose”, the lone album by Arcadia is released. Produced by Alex Sadkin and Arcadia, it is recorded at Studio de la Grande Armée in Paris, France from April – June 1985. With Duran Duran taking a hiatus after their last studio album “Seven And The Ragged Tiger” and the world tour that follows, the band members decamp to work on side projects rather than record a new album as a band. In the interim, John Taylor and Andy Taylor form The Power Station with singer Robert Palmer and former Chic members Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson. The other three members of Duran Duran, lead singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and drummer Roger Taylor create their own project called Arcadia, heading to Paris to work with producer Alex Sadkin (Grace Jones, Foreigner, Thompson Twins). Wanting to explore new musical horizons, it is “arty and experimental” and more keyboard centered than anything previously done within the confines of Duran Duran. The album features the trio with a number of guest musicians including Grace Jones, Sting, David Gilmour, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny Group bassist Mark Egan. Proceeded by the single “Election Day” featuring Grace Jones (#6 Pop), the album is well received by fans. It spins off two additional singles including “Goodbye Is Forever” (#33 Pop) and “The Flame”. The albums’ lavish cover artwork illustrated by artist Tony Viramontes is modelled after sketches by French artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. The graphic designs were created by Malcolm Garrett and David Crow at Assorted Images. In 2010, the album is remastered and reissued as a three disc set (two CD’s and one DVD), with the second CD featuring several bonus tracks including the 12" remixes of the singles, and the DVD including all of the music videos and behind the scenes footage, documenting the making of those clips. “So Red The Rose” peaks number fourteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 – “Psychocandy”, the debut album by The Jesus And Mary Chain is released. Produced by The Jesus And Mary Chain, it is recorded at Southern Studios in Wood Green, London, UK from Early – Mid 1985. Formed in their hometown of East Kilbride, Scotland in 1980, brothers Jim and William Reid originally call themselves The Poppy Seeds, then Death By Joey before changing their name to The Jesus And Mary Chain in 1983. Purchasing a Tascam Portastudio, the brothers begin recording demos of the songs they’ve written, and begin sending them out to record labels in the UK. By early 1984, they recruit band members Douglas Hart (bass) and Murray Danglish (drums) (later replaced by Bobby Gillespie) to fill out the line up. The band are signed to indie label Creation Records by its founder Alan McGee and release the single “Upside Down” in late 1984. The record hits number one on the UK indie singles chart, but The Jesus And Mary Chain’s tenure at Creation is brief. In early 1985, they are quickly signed to WEA International distributed Blanco y Negro Records, and to the newly revived Warner Bros. subsidiary Reprise Records in the US. The bands’ unique blend of psychedelic tinged pop, tempered with guitar feedback quickly establishes them as pioneers of what becomes known as the “shoegazer movement” and precursors of alternative rock. The album itself garners raves from critics (landing on many publications’ best of lists), and earning the band a devoted following. It will spin off four singles including “Never Understand” (#47 UK), “Some Candy Talking” (#13 UK) and “Just Like Honey” (#45 UK). “Honey” is later featured in the film “Lost In Translation” in 2003. After the original Reprise CD goes out of print, it is re-released by American Recordings in the US in 1994. Remastered and reissued as a DualDisc in 2006, “Psychocandy” is also reissued in September of 2011 as a double CD/+ DVD set with the second CD featuring the A and B-sides of their first single on Creation Records, single B-sides, radio sessions recorded by legendary DJ John Peel and the bands’ original Portastudio demos recorded in 1984 and 1985. The DVD features the original music videos, and several television performances. “Psychocandy” peaks at number forty five on the UK album chart, is certified Gold in the UK by the BPI, and peaks at number one hundred eighty eight on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1981 – “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll”, the second album by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts is released. Produced by Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell, it is recorded at Kingdom Sound Studios in Syosset, NY from Early – Mid 1981. Issued as the follow up to their debut “Bad Reputation”, it is also released on (former Casablanca Records founder) Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk Records. The title track, originally recorded by The Arrows in 1975, becomes the band’s biggest hit, spending seven weeks at number one on the Hot 100 from March-May of 1982. Initial pressings of the LP contain a cover of the holiday classic “Little Drummer Boy” that is replaced by the cut “Oh Woe Is Me” on later pressings. It also spins off a second hit single with their cover of Tommy James & The Shondells classic “Crimson And Clover” (#7 Pop). With the demise of Boardwalk Records following Neil Bogart’s death in 1982, the album goes out of print for nearly a decade, before Jett is able to acquire the rights to the bands’ master tapes. “Rock ‘N’ Roll” is reissued on her own Blackheart Records imprint on CD and cassette in 1992 with all thirteen tracks included for the first time. The album is remastered in 1998 with two additional bonus tracks. It is reissued on vinyl in 2009, with a limited edition 180 gram LP pressed on clear vinyl for Record Store Day in 2011. A double vinyl LP edition is released in 2015 (with 1,000 copies pressed on white vinyl in hand numbered LP sleeves), with the second disc featuring live recordings. One hundred copies of the LP are inserted with a “golden ticket”, redeemable for a very limited edition lithograph poster of the reissues’ cover art work designed by artist Shepard Fairey. “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” spends three weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1974 – “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, the sixth album by Genesis is released. Produced by Genesis and John Burns, it is recorded at Island Mobile Studios in Wales, UK from August – October 1974. The twenty three track double LP is a concept album centering around the character Rael and his surreal odyssey while searching for his brother John. The majority of the songs are written by the band with the exception of Peter Gabriel who is largely absent from the writing and rehearsal sessions due to his wife experiencing major complications while having their first child. When Gabriel returns, he’ll insist on writing and in some cases re-writing lyrics to certain songs which creates friction between band members during the recording sessions. It becomes their most successful release to date in the US, and is regarded as one of the best progressive rock albums of all time. It also is the final album to feature original lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, who leaves the band following the subsequent tour in support of the record. Originally issued on CD in 1985, it is remastered and reissued in 1994. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a double vinyl 180 gram LP in 2001. The album is reissued again in 2007 as a double hybrid SACD + DVD set (Europe only, then Japan in 2009), remixing it into 5.1 surround sound. Along with the multi-channel mix, the DVD disc also includes interviews with Genesis and a rare television appearance from 1974. The set comes packaged in a 5" x 5" hardbound book sleeve. “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” peaks at number ten on the UK album chart, number forty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1972 – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on December 9, 1972. Written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it is the first major hit for the Philadelphia, PA vocal quintet. Lead singer Teddy Pendergrass initially joins The Blue Notes as their drummer, but is moved to the front and center of the group when Harold Melvin discovers that he can sing. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes is among the first acts signed to Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records in 1971. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” is originally written for the Chicago based R&B group The Dells, but does not end up recording it when a deal with their record label cannot be reached. Instead, it is given to The Blue Notes and is released as their second single, becoming an immediate smash on both pop and R&B radio. The success of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” marks the beginning of a hit streak Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes have, turning Teddy Pendergrass into a star prior to launching his own solo career in 1977. British band Simply Red covers the song in 1989, taking it to number one, belatedly winning Gamble and Huff a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1990. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.