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April 15, 2001 - Janet Jackson started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘All For You.’ It was written and produced by Jackson with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. It samples “The Glow of Love”, performed by Change.

Jackson was titled the “Queen of Radio” by MTV as the song made radio history, becoming the first single to be added to every pop, rhythmic, and urban radio format within its first week of release. It also set the record for the highest debut of a song which was not commercially available in both the United States and France. The song’s overall airplay record was later broken by Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”, although Gaga’s single was able to achieve the feat with a radio airplay deal to play the song hourly.

It received a Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording,” ASCAP Award for “Song of the Year,” and Teen Choice Award for “Best Single,” as well as several sales awards in the United Kingdom and Japan, and certifications in Australia, France, and New Zealand. The song’s music video received several accolades, including a nomination for “Video of the Year” at the MTV Video Music Awards. •• #janetjackson #thisdayinmusic #2001 #2000s #jimmyjam #terrylewis #instamusic

April 15, 1989 - The Fine Young Cannibals went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘She Drives Me Crazy.’ Produced with David Z.

The unique snare drum “pop” sound was created by recording the snare drum portion separately. A speaker was then placed on top of the snare drum, and a microphone below. The original recording of the snare drum part was played back through the speaker and re-recorded.

Two music videos were produced for the song, one by Philippe Decouflé and one by Pedro Romhanyi. Similar to Decouflé’s only other music video, New Order’s “True Faith”, his version includes extensive choreography and performers in unusual costumes, including two identical dancers with completely different coloured-outfits, as well as a person with a television on their head. This version received several nominations at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Video.

Dolly Parton covered this on her 2008 album Backwoods Barbie The country legend explained to Observer Music Monthly April 2008: “It’s a song my husband loves. So I did it as bluegrass with a little hoedown towards the end.” •• #fineyoungcannibals #thisdayinmusic #1989 #1980s #FYC #rolandgift #davidz #pop

April 14, 2002 - Ashanti started a ten week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Foolish’. The video was a three-time nominee at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best R&B Video, and Best New Artist. The song was nominated at the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance - Female, and Ashanti for Best New artist and won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single for Female.

In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Foolish”, and “What’s Luv” (with Fat Joe). She broke records again by having three Top Ten songs (Foolish, What’s Luv, and Always on Time (with Ja Rule)) on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week. Only The Beatles have achieved this. Ashanti wrote and sang background on the song “Ain’t It Funny” sung by Jennifer Lopez, which was also in the top 10 charts at the same time as “Foolish”, “Always on Time” (with Ja Rule), and “What’s Luv” (with Fat Joe) so the singer actually had four top 10 singles in the top ten. (2009) According to Billboard.com, Ashanti has had the most top 10 songs (16 to date) on the R*B/Hip-hop charts by a female this decade.

Also on 14 April 2002, Ashanti started a three week run at No.1 on the US album chart with her self-titled album. With first-week sales of an impressive 503,000 units, it was the biggest first-week sales for a debut female artist. The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of 3,000,000 copies on December 17, 2002. It earned Ashanti three Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Best Contemporary R&B Album, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Ashanti also received two additional Grammy nominations in the same year for other projects, both in the category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Ashanti took home a record 8 billboard awards, winning all the categories she was nominated for. •• #ashanti #thisdayinmusic #2002 #2000s #rnb #murderinc #defjam

April 14, 1979 - The Doobie Brothers went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘What A Fool Believes’, the group’s second US No.1, it made No.31 in the UK, from their 1978 album Minute by Minute.. The song is written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, produced by Ted Templeman. The song received Grammy Awards in 1980 for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year. They were the only Grammys the band ever won. “What a Fool Believes” was one of the few non-disco No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 during 1979. The song lyrics tell a story of a man who is reunited with an old love interest and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed. The song has been covered by many people including Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and George Michael (Live In Birmingham booleg). •• #thedoobiebrothers #doobiebrothers #thisdayinmusic #1979 #1970s #michaelmcdonald #kennyloggins #patricksimons #tiranporter #jeffbaxter #jeffskunkbaxter #tedtempleman #pop #softrock

April 13, 1995 - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony started a two week run on the US album chart with ‘E 1999 Eternal.’ The album was released four months after the death of rapper Eazy-E, the group’s mentor and the executive producer of the album. Both the album and single “Tha Crossroads” are dedicated to him. Following up on the surprise success of their breakthrough single “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”, it became a popular album and received positive reviews from music critics, earning praise for the group’s melodic rapping style. The album title is a portmentau of the then-future year 1999 and Cleveland’s eastside neighborhood centering around East 99th Street and St. Clair Avenue where the group is based from.

E. 1999 Eternal became the group’s best-selling album, with over five million copies sold in the United States and ten million worldwide. The album was nominated for the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, ultimately losing to Naughty by Nature’s Poverty’s Paradise at the 1996 Grammy Awards. •• #bonethugsnharmony #thisdayinmusic #1995 #1990s #krayziebone #layziebone #bizzybone #wishbone #hiphop #rap

Happy Birthday, Al Green! • April 13, 1946 - Born on this day, Al Green (born Albert Greene), (1971 UK No.4 single ‘Tired Of Being Alone’, 1972 US No.1 single ‘Let’s Stay Together’ plus over 10 other Top 40 hits). Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum’s site as being “one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music”.

Raised in a religious family, Al was kicked out of the family home in his teens after his father caught him listening to Jackie Wilson. In high school, Al formed a group called Al Greene & The Creations. In 1968 they changed their name to Al Greene & The Soul Mates. While performing with the Soul Mates, Al met Memphis record producer Willie Mitchell in 1969 when Mitchell hired him to sing with Mitchell’s band for a Texas show. Afterwards Mitchell asked Al to sign to his Hi Records label. Having noted that Al had been trying to sing like Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and James Brown, Mitchell became his vocal mentor, coaching him into finding his own voice.

His first significant hit, “Tired of Being Alone”, sold half a million copies, the first of seven consecutive gold singles. Green’s album, ‘Let’s Stay Together’, solidified Green’s place in soul music with the title track becoming his biggest hit to date, reaching No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. It became his first gold album. His follow-up, ‘I’m Still in Love with You’ went platinum behind the singles, “Look What You Done for Me” and the title track, both of which went top ten on the Hot 100. 1973’s Call Me spawned three top ten singles including “You Ought to Be with Me”, “Call Me (Come Back Home)” and “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”. Livin’ for You, released at the end of 1973, became his last gold album.

Green’s other radio hits include “Love and Happiness”, his cover of the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”, “Simply Beautiful”, “What a Wonderful Thing Love Is” and “Take Me to the River”, later covered successfully by new wave band Talking Heads. •• #algreen #thisdayinmusic #hbd #happybirthday #singer #songwriter #soul

April 13, 1985 - USA for Africa started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘We Are The World.’ It is a song and charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. With sales in excess of 20 million copies, it is one of the fewer than 30 all-time singles to have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide. It topped music charts throughout the world and became the fastest-selling American pop single in history. The first ever single to be certified multi-platinum, “We Are the World” received a Quadruple Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. The promotion and merchandise aided the success of “We Are the World” and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.

Following Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” project in the UK, an idea for the creation of an American benefit single for African famine relief came from activist Harry Belafonte, who, along with fundraiser Ken Kragen, was instrumental in bringing the vision to reality. Several musicians were contacted by the pair, before Jackson and Richie were assigned the task of writing the song. The duo completed the writing of “We Are the World” seven weeks after the release of “Do They Know Its Christmas”, and one night before the song’s first recording session, on January 21, 1985. (The last recording session for the song was held on January 28, 1985). The historic event brought together some of the most famous artists in the music industry at the time.

Soloists on the record are: Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles. •• #usaforafrica #thisdayinmusic #1985 #1980s #LionelRichie #StevieWonder #PaulSimon #KennyRogers #JamesIngram #TinaTurner #BillyJoel #MichaelJackson #DianaRoss #DionneWarwick #WillieNelson #AlJarreau #BruceSpringsteen #KennyLoggins #StevePerry #DarylHall #HueyLewis #CyndiLauper #KimCarnes #BobDylan #RayCharles #quincyjones

April 13, 1974 - Paul McCartney’s ‘Band On The Run’, went to No.1 on the US album charts. McCartney’s third US No.1, which went on to sell over 6 million copies world-wide. It became Wings’ most successful album and remains the most celebrated of McCartney’s post-Beatles albums. It was the last McCartney album issued on the Apple Records label.

After the success of Red Rose Speedway and “Live and Let Die”, Wings began contemplating its next album. Paul and Linda McCartney began writing new songs at their Scottish retreat soon after concluding their 1973 tour. Bored with recording in the United Kingdom, they wanted to go to an exotic locale. After asking EMI to send him a listing of all their international recording studios, Paul happened upon Lagos in Nigeria and was instantly taken with the idea of recording in Africa. Upon arriving in Lagos, the band discovered a country in stark contrast from their visions of paradise. The country was run by a military government, with corruption and disease running rampant. The studio, located on Wharf Road in the suburb of Apapa, was ramshackle and under-equipped.

While out walking one night against advice, Paul and Linda were robbed at knifepoint. The assailants made away with all of their valuables and even stole a bag containing a notebook full of handwritten lyrics and songs, and cassettes containing demos for songs to be recorded.

Another incident was the confrontation with local Afrobeat star and political activist Fela Kuti who publicly accused the band of being in Africa to exploit and steal African music after their visit to his club. Kuti even went to the studio to confront McCartney who played their songs for him proving that they contained no local influence whatsoever.

The commercial reaction was slow, with the album gradually inching its way up the charts, but by the spring of 1974, bolstered by the hits “Jet” and the title track “Band on the Run”, Band on the Run was a major success. In early 1975, Paul McCartney & Wings won the Grammy award for “Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus” for Band on the Run. •• #paulmccartney #thisdayinmusic #1974 #1970s #lindamccartney #wings #applerecords #felakuti

April 12, 1969 - The 5th Dimension started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In’, a No.11 hit in the UK. It is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair by James Rado & Gerome Ragni (lyrics), and Galt MacDermot (music), released as a single by The 5th Dimension. The single became the first medley to top the American pop charts and was eventually certified platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA. The recording won both the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group for the Grammy Awards of 1970, after being published on the album The Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension, and also being released as a seven-inch vinyl single record. •• #5thdimension #the5thdimension #thisdayinmusic #1969 #1960s #billydavisjr #marilynmccoo #florencelarue #lamontemclemore #rontownson

Happy Birthday, David Cassidy! • April 12, 1950 - Born on this day, David Cassidy, US singer, (1970 US No.1 single ‘I Think I Love You’, 1972 UK No.3 single ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’). He is widely known for his role as Keith Partridge in the 1970s musical/sitcom The Partridge Family. He was one of pop culture’s celebrated teen idols, he enjoyed a successful pop career in the 1970s, and he still performs as of 2014.
Cassidy was born at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City, the son of actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward. In 1956, his father married actress Shirley Jones, and three half-brothers were born: Shaun (1958), Patrick (1962) and Ryan (1966). As a young teen he moved into Shirley’s home in Beverly Hills where his father and half-brothers resided. David remained there seeking fame as an actor/musician until he moved out when his career began to flourish. In 1970, he took the part of Keith Partridge, son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by Cassidy’s real stepmother, Shirley Jones. The Partridge Family series creator Bernard Slade and producers Paul Junger Witt and Robert “Bob” Claver did not care whether Cassidy could sing, knowing only that his androgynous good looks would guarantee success. Shortly after production began, Cassidy convinced music producer Wes Farrell that he was good enough and he was promoted to lead singer for the show’s recordings. Once “I Think I Love You” became a hit, Cassidy began work on solo albums as well. Within the first year he produced his own single, “Cherish”, which reached No. 9 in the US, No. 2 in the UK and No.1 in Australia and New Zealand. He began tours that featured Partridge tunes and his own hits. Though he strove to become a respected rock musician along the lines of Mick Jagger or Alice Cooper, his channel to stardom launched him into the ranks of teen idol, a brand he loathed until much later in life when he managed to come to terms with his bubblegum pop beginnings. •• #davidcassidy #thisdayinmusic #hbd #happybirthday #partridgefamily #thepartridgefamily #singer #actor

Happy Birthday, Lisa Stansfield! • April 11, 1966 - Born on this day, Lisa Stansfield, UK singer, (1989 UK No.1 & US No.3 single ‘All Around The World’, plus over 12 other UK Top 40 singles). her career began in 1980 when she won the singing competition, Search for a Star. After appearances in various television shows and releasing her first singles, Stansfield, Ian Devaney and Andy Morris formed Blue Zone in 1984. The band released few singles and one album, but after the success of “People Hold On” in 1989 on which Stansfield was featured, they focused on her solo career.

Stansfield’s first solo album, Affection (1989), and its worldwide chart-topping lead single, “All Around the World”, were major breakthroughs in her career. She was nominated for two Grammy Awards and Affection is currently her best-selling album. In the following years, Stansfield released Real Love (1991), So Natural (1993) and Lisa Stansfield (1997). In 1999, she appeared in her first film, Swing, and also recorded the soundtrack for it. Her next albums included Face Up (2001), Biography: The Greatest Hits (2003) and The Moment (2004). After that, Stansfield took a break from music and focused on her film career. In 2008, she starred in The Edge of Love and in 2013 she appeared in Northern Soul.

Stansfield has won numerous awards, including Brit Awards, Ivor Novello Awards, Billboard Music Award, World Music Award, ASCAP Award, Women’s World Award, Silver Clef Awards and DMC Awards. She has sold over twenty million albums worldwide, including five million of Affection. •• #lisastansfield #thisdayinmusic #hbd #happybirthday #singer #actress #songwriter

April 11, 1981 - Hall and Oates started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Kiss On My List’, the duo’s second US No.1, a No.33 hit in the UK. It was written by Janna Allen and Daryl Hall, and produced by Hall and Oates. It was the third single from their album Voices, and became their second Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (after “Rich Girl” in 1977). In an interview with Mix magazine, Daryl Hall said: “Eddie Van Halen told me that he copied the synth part from ‘Kiss On My List’ and used it in “Jump.” I don’t have a problem with that at all.” •• #hallandoates #thisdayinmusic #1981 #1980s #darylhall #johnoates

April 11, 1970 - The Beatles started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Let It Be’. It became the group’s 19th US No.1 in 6 years. The track was a No.2 hit in the UK. At the time, it had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100, coming in at Number 6. It was written and sung by Paul McCartney. It was their final single before McCartney announced his departure from the band. Both the Let It Be album and the US single “The Long and Winding Road” were released after McCartney’s announced departure from and subsequent break-up of the group.

McCartney said he had the idea of “Let It Be” after he had a dream about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for The Beatles (the “White Album”). Contrary to popular belief, the song’s reference to “Mother Mary” was not a biblical reference; the phrase has at times been used as a reference to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. McCartney explained that his mum — who died of cancer when Paul was fourteen — was the inspiration for the “Mother Mary” lyric. He later said, “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be’.” He also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him “It will be all right, just let it be.” When asked if the song referred to the Virgin Mary, however, McCartney has typically answered the question by assuring his fans that they can interpret the song however they would like.

In John Lennon’s Playboy interview in 1980, he disavowed any involvement with composing the song. - “That’s Paul. What can you say? Nothing to do with the Beatles. It could’ve been Wings. I don’t know what he’s thinking when he writes “Let It Be”. I think it was inspired by “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. That’s my feeling, although I have nothing to go on. I know that he wanted to write a “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. •• #thebeatles #beatles #thisdayinmusic #1970 #1970s #paulmccartney #johnlennon #letitbe #georgeharrison #ringostarr

Happy 55th Birthday, Babyface! • April 10, 1959 - Born on this day, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds. As a teen he served a stint in Bootsy Collins’ backing unit (where he earned his nickname, Babyface) and subsequently joined the funk outfit Manchild, who signed a record deal in 1977 and released three albums. After their breakup, Babyface and partner Antonio “L.A.” Reid formed an urban funk group called the Deele in the early ’80s, who scored a few sizable hits on the R&B charts.

In the late 1980s, he contributed to the creation of new jack swing, writing and producing music for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles, Paula Abdul and Sheena Easton.

In 1989, Edmonds co-founded LaFace Records with Reid. Three of the label’s early artists TLC, Usher, and Toni Braxton were hugely successful, the former becoming one of the best selling female groups in music history. Braxton’s eponymous 1993 debut album went on to sell over eight million copies, and earned her the 1994 Grammy Award Best New Artist. TLC’s first two albums on LaFace—1992’s Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip and 1994’s CrazySexyCool—combined to sell more than 15 million copies in the U.S. CrazySexyCool won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best R&B album.

Edmonds works with many successful performers in contemporary music. “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” produced for Whitney Houston, was his first No. 1 Top 40 hit in the US. He also wrote and produced Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You,” both of which established records for the longest stay at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He co-wrote, co-produced, and provided backing vocals on Madonna’s 1994 Bedtime Stories, which featured the 7-week No. 1 hit “Take a Bow,” and shared billing with Eric Clapton on the chart-topping Grammy winner “Change the World” from the Phenomenon soundtrack. He also wrote and produced the No. 1 hit “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” for Whitney Houston as well as the rest of the critically acclaimed 10 million selling Waiting to Exhale soundtrack in 1995, which spawned additional hits for Houston, Brandy and Mary J. Blige. He received three consecutive Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year in 1995–1997. •• #babyface #thisdayinmusic #hbd #happybirthday #singer #songwriter #producer #laface #thedeele

April 10, 1976 - Peter Frampton went to No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Frampton Comes Alive’, the biggest selling ‘live’ album in rock history. It was the best-selling album of 1976, selling over 6 million copies in the US. Frampton Comes Alive! was voted “Album of the year” in the 1976 Rolling Stone readers poll. It stayed on the chart for 97 weeks.

Following four solo albums with little commercial success, Frampton Comes Alive! was a breakthrough for the artist. The album was recorded in summer and fall 1975, primarily at Winterland in San Francisco and the Long Island Arena in Commack, New York, As well as a concert on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in Plattsburgh, New York. The live album was originally intended as a single LP disc, but at the suggestion of A&M Records additional shows were recorded and the album expanded to two LPs for release.

Three hit singles were released from the album: “Baby, I Love Your Way”, “Do You Feel Like We Do” and “Show Me the Way”. •• #peterframpton #thisdayinmusic #1976 #1970s