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April 23, 1977 - Thelma Houston went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, a No.13 hit in the UK. It is an R&B/soul/disco song written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Cary Gilbert. First charting as a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, an act on Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label in 1975. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was covered by Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1976. Originally assigned to Diana Ross, it was recorded and intended to be the follow-up to her hit “Love Hangover.” It was reassigned and given to the upcoming Motown artist, Thelma Houston. Following the release of her third album Any Way You Want It, a Boston record pool unanimously reported positive audience response to “Don’t Leave Me This Way” in discos, and the song was selected for release as a single. Houston’s version became a massive international hit.

It was featured on the soundtrack of the movie, Looking for Mr. Goodbar. In 1978, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” won the award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 20th Annual Grammy Awards.

#thelmahouston #thisdayinmusic #1977 #1970s #motown #kennethgamble #leonhuff #gambleandhuff #disco

April 23, 1988 - Whitney Houston smashed a chart record held by The Beatles and The Bee Gees when ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go’, became her seventh consecutive US No.1, a No.14 hit in the UK. In addition, she became the first female artist to achieve four number-one singles from one album, Whitney. To date, only five albums by women including Houston’s, have yielded four Hot 100 number-one hits; Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl in 1988, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989, Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut in 1990 and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream in 2010. Houston also holds the title for the most number one hits (7) by a female artist in the 1980s, shared only by Madonna.

The song was written by Frank Wildhorn and Chuck Jackson and produced by Narada Michael Walden. Wildhorn approached Jackson about the opportunity to write for Whitney Houston. He gave him the title, and Wildhorn completed the music and lyrics for the song. Initially, Houston did not want to record the song, feeling there was no special message to convey. However, Arista Records CEO Clive Davis believed the song would go to number one if she recorded it, so she agreed.

#whitneyhouston #thisdayinmusic #1988 #1980s #clivedavis #aristarecords #rip #restinpeace

April 23, 1983 - Dexys Midnight Runners went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Come On Eileen’ the group’s only US No.1. It was their second number 1 hit in the United Kingdom, following 1980’s “Geno”. The song was written by Kevin Rowland, “Big” Jim Paterson, and Billy Adams; it was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.

The phrase “Come on Eileen” is used as the chorus to the song, which was loosely inspired by the song “A Man Like Me” by the 1960s British soul group Jimmy James and the Vagabonds. The bridge is based on the Irish folk melody “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral”.

The music video to accompany the single was directed by Julien Temple. It features members of the band wearing sleeveless shirts and dungarees. The “Eileen” as featured in the video (and on the record sleeve) is Máire Fahey, sister of Siobhan Fahey, former singer with Bananarama and Shakespear’s Sister. The American singer Johnnie Ray, an early rock-and-roll crooner mentioned in the opening lyrics, is also featured in the video using old film footage. Most videos at the time were slick productions featuring impossibly pretty people in unexpected locations, but Dexys’ video was delightfully different, with the overall-clad band acting out the love story on a gritty street. Kevin Rowland doing an earnest jig became a defining image of the early MTV era. When we asked him about shooting it, he told us: “It was one day. We started at 6 in the morning, we finished very late at night. It just kind of worked.”

"Come On Eileen" won Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards.

#dexysmidnightrunners #thisdayinmusic #1983 #1980s #pop #celtic #folk #celticfolk #kevinrowland

April 22, 1989 - Madonna started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Like A Prayer’, the singers seventh US No.1, also a No.1 in the UK.

In 1988 Madonna understood that as she was growing up, so was her core audience. Feeling the need to attempt something different, Madonna wanted the sound of her new album to indicate what could be popular in the music world.

Producers Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray experimented with instrumental tracks and musical ideas for her consideration. They wanted to bring their unique style to the project, and they developed completely different music for the title track. Madonna felt that Leonard’s music was more interesting and she started to work with him. They wrote and produced the title track, naming it “Like a Prayer”; it was the first song developed for the Like a Prayer album. Once Madonna had conceptualized the way she would interpose her ideas with the music, she wrote the song in about three hours. She described “Like a Prayer” as the song of a passionate young girl “so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life.” Recording took more time than usual since Madonna and Leonard fought “tooth and nail”, the reason being Madonna wanting to prove everybody that her second time as a record producer was not a fluke.

Madonna wanted the video to be more provocative than anything she had done before. In January 1989, while the music video was still being filmed, Pepsi-Cola announced that they had signed Madonna to a $5 million deal to use her and “Like a Prayer” in a television commercial for them. Religious groups worldwide protested against the video, which they said contained blasphemous use of Christian imagery. They called for the national boycott of Pepsi and PepsiCo’s subsidiaries, including their fast food chains Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Pepsi had decided initially to continue airing their commercial; however, they were taken aback by the protests. They explained the differences between their advertising methods and Madonna’s artistic opinions in the video. Ultimately, Pepsi caved in to the protests, and cancelled the advertising campaign.

#madonna #thisdayinmusic #1989 #1980s #likeaprayer #pepsi

April 21, 1990 - Sinead O’Connor started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with her version of the Prince composed song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. It was Sinead O’Connor’s manager, Fachtna O’Kelly, who came up with the idea for the Irish singer to cover the Prince song. The track was also a No.1 hit in 18 other countries. The video was shot in Paris, and consists almost solely of a close-up on O’Connor’s face as she sings the lyrics. Towards the end of the video, two real tears roll down her face. The clip won Best Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards - the first video by a female artist to win in this category.

This song thrust her into the spotlight, and the attention had some deleterious effects on the singer. O’Connor claimed she hated the fame the song brought her, and struggled with the commercialization of her music. “Nothing Compares 2 U” earned her a Grammy for Best Alternative Performance, but she refused to appear on the awards show in protest of materialism in the music industry. TIME magazine included “Nothing Compares 2 U” in its 2011 (unranked) list of “All-TIME 100 Songs”.

In 1985, The Family, a funk band created as an outlet to release more of Prince’s music, released their first and only album, the self-titled The Family. “Nothing Compares 2 U” appeared on the album but it was not released as a single, and received little recognition.

Prince performed the song as a live duet with Rosie Gaines, subsequently released on his 1993 compilations The Hits/The B-Sides and The Hits 1. Prince also recorded a solo version of the song for his concert film, Rave Un2 the Year 2000, as well as for his 2002 live album, One Nite Alone… Live!

#sineadoconnor #thisdayinmusic #1990 #1990s #prince #thefamily

April 21, 1979 - Amii Stewart went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Knock On Wood’. It made No.6 in the UK the same year and No.7 when re- issued in 1985. The song was co-produced by Simon May.

"Knock on Wood" is a 1966 hit song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, guitarist of the Stax Records house band, Booker T. & the M.G.’s. It was originally performed by Eddie Floyd. They wrote it in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, which is where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. According to Floyd, the line "It’s like thunder, lightning, the way you love me is frightening" was inspired by a thunderstorm that was occurring the afternoon the song was written. The Eddie Floyd version peaked at #28 on the Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Soul Singles chart.

The song has been frequently covered, first by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (1967), and with charting singles by David Bowie (1974), Amii Stewart (1979) and Razzy Bailey (1984), Safri Duo feat. Clark Anderson (2004). The german Techno band Scooter made a half-cover of the song entitled “The Avenger’s Back” on their 2004 album Mind The Gap. The song is also featured in the movie “Satisfaction” as performed by Justine Bateman and The Mystery.

#amiistewart #thisdayinmusic #1979 #1970s ##eddiefloyd #stevecropper #disco

April 20, 1957, Elvis Presley started an eight week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘All Shook Up.’ It went on to be the biggest single of 1957 selling over 2 million copies. It also topped the Billboard R&B chart for four weeks, becoming Presley’s second single to do so, and peaked at No. 3 on the country chart. The song also became Presley’s first No. hit on the UK Singles Chart, remaining there for seven weeks. It was published by Elvis Presley Music and composed by Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley.

Blackwell wrote the song at the offices of Shalimar Music in 1956 after Al Stanton, one of Shalimar’s owners, shaking a bottle of Pepsi at the time, suggested he write a song based around the phrase “all shook up”. According to Peter Guralnick the song has a different origin. In his book “Last Train To Memphis” he wrote that Elvis thought “All Shook Up” was a good phrase for a refrain. For this he received a co-writing credit, his last.

Elvis himself, during an interview on October 28, 1957, said: “I’ve never even had an idea for a song. Just once, maybe. I went to bed one night, had quite a dream, and woke up all shook up. I phoned a pal and told him about it. By morning, he had a new song, ‘All Shook Up’.” Future Last House on the Left actor David Hess, using the stage name David Hill, was the first to record the song and release it a few weeks before Elvis on Aladdin Records, titled “I’m All Shook Up”. Vicki Young recorded a different song with the same title, “(I’m) All Shook Up”, on Capitol Records with Big Dave and His Orchestra, written by Bill Bellman and Hal Blaine in 1956.

On January 12, 1957, Presley recorded the song at Radio Recorders in Hollywood.[1] The duet vocal on the record is by the Jordanaires first tenor Gordon Stoker. Take 10 was selected for release.

#elvis #elvispresley #thisdayinmusic #1957 #1950s #rocknroll

April 20, 1974 - MFSB and the Three Degrees started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘TSOP, (The Sound Of Philadelphia)’, a No.22 hit in the UK.

A classic example of the Philadelphia soul genre, it was written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff as the theme for the American musical television program Soul Train, which specialized in African American musical performers. The single was released on the Philadelphia International label, and it is arguably the first disco song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song is essentially an instrumental piece, featuring a lush blend of strings and horns in the Philadelphia soul style. There are only two vocal parts to the song: a passage close to the beginning during which The Three Degrees sing “Soul Train, Soul Train”; “People all over the world!”; and the chorus over the fadeout, “Let’s get it on/It’s time to get down”. The words “People all over the world!” are not heard in the original version. The version heard on Soul Train also had the series title sung over the first four notes of the melody. This version was released on a 1975 Three Degrees album, International. It also topped the American R&B chart (for one week) and adult contemporary chart (for two weeks). The Three Degrees would revisit the top of the AC chart later in 1974 with their hit single, “When Will I See You Again”.

Don Cornelius, the creator and host of Soul Train, refused to allow any references to the name of the TV series when the single was released, requiring Gamble and Huff to adopt the alternate title for the release. Cornelius would later admit that not allowing the single to be named “Soul Train” was a major mistake on his part.

Although it was rerecorded a number of times for future versions of the show, and various different themes were used during the late 1970s and early 1980s, “TSOP” returned in the late 1980s and remained the theme song for Soul Train through the disco, 1980s R&B, new jack swing, hip-hop, and neo soul eras of black music.

#MFSB #thethreedegrees #thisdayinmusic #1974 #1970s #soultrain #doncornelius #kennethgamble #leonhuff #gambleandhuff #philadelphiainternational #phillysoul


April 19, 1986 - Prince started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Kiss.’ Prince also had the No.2 song ‘Manic Monday’, by The Bangles, which he wrote under the pseudonym ‘Christopher.’ “Kiss” started as a short acoustic demo, about a minute in length, consisting of a single 12-bar blues verse. Prince gave the song to the funk band Mazarati for their debut album. Mazarati and producer David Z drastically reworked the song, giving it its stripped-down minimalist sound. When Mazarati delivered the song to Prince, he was amazed at their work and decided to take back the song for himself. He replaced their lead vocal, added the guitar break in the chorus and edited the song to its present form. Mazarati were credited for their backing vocals, which Prince left intact. Prince added the song at the last minute to Parade.

Despite Warner Bros. not wanting to release it as a single, “Kiss” became Prince’s third number-one U.S. hit following 1984’s highly successful “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy”. It was also a big hit across the Atlantic, reaching #6 on the UK Singles Chart. The song won Prince another Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, and was nominated for Best R&B Song. The song has become a staple at Prince’s concerts.

The 12” single of the song is an extension of the album track. The extended section is based on the funky guitar line and contains much fuller instrumentation than the main track, including bass guitar, organ and horns. New lyrics are present from Prince, along with Jill Jones, that end with a humorous dialogue between a wife and her husband watching Prince on television. The B-side of “Kiss” was “♥ or $” (“Love or Money”), sung in a processed, higher-pitched vocal, which Prince would later use for his Camille material. The song relates to the theme in Under the Cherry Moon, and a bit of the song was heard in the film, as was a bit of the extended version of “Kiss”. •• #prince #thisdayinmusic #1986 #1980s #parade #princeandtherevolution #underthecherrymoon #Mazarati #soundtrack #instamusic #picplaypost @picplaypost

Congrats to my boy Nas on the 20th anniversary of the release of his classic debut, ILLMATIC! Shout out to Nas, Faith Newman, Serch, the Illmatic producers and everybody that had a hand in the birth of this classic!

April 19, 1994 - Nas releases his debut album, Illmatic. After being signed to Columbia Records, Nas recorded the album during 1992 and 1993 at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. Its production was handled by Nas, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier. Styled as a hardcore hip hop album, Illmatic features multi-syllabic internal rhyme patterns and inner city narratives based on Nas’s experiences in Queensbridge, New York.

Upon its release, the album debuted at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 59,000 copies in its first week. Though it experienced initial low sales, Illmatic received rave reviews from most music critics upon its release, including a 5-mic review from Source Magazine, and earned praise for its lyrical content, production, and Nas’s lyricism. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and in 2001, it earned platinum certification after shipments of one million copies in the United States.

Since its initial reception, Illmatic has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in hip hop. Its influence on subsequent hip hop artists has been attributed to the album’s production and Nas’ lyricism. It also contributed to the revival of the New York City rap scene, introducing a number of stylistic trends to the region. The album remains one of the most widely celebrated albums in hip hop history, appearing on numerous best album lists by critics and publications. •• #nas #thisdayinmusic #1994 #1990s #peterock #qtip #les #largeprofessor #djpremier #columbiarecords #hiphop #rap

April 19, 1980 - Blondie went to No.1 on the US singles chart with Giorgio Moroder produced ‘Call Me’, featured in the Richard Gere movie ‘American Gigolo’. It stayed at No.1 for six weeks becoming the band’s biggest single and second No.1. The track was also a No.1 in the UK.

The song was the main theme song of the film American Gigolo. European disco producer Giorgio Moroder originally asked Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac to help compose and perform a song for the soundtrack, but she declined (as a recently signed contract with Modern Records prevented her from working with Moroder). It was at this time that Moroder turned to Debbie Harry and Blondie. Moroder presented Harry with a rough instrumental track called “Man Machine.” Harry was asked to write the lyrics and melody, a process that Harry states took only a few hours. Harry stated that the song is about driving, and that “When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California.” The completed song was then recorded by the band, with Moroder producing. The bridge of the original English-language version also includes Harry singing “Call me, my darling” in Italian (“Amore, chiamami”) and in French (“Appelle-moi, mon chéri”). In 1981, the song was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. •• #blondie #thisdayinmusic #1980 #1980s #giorgiomoroder #debbieharry #deborahharry #americangigolo #soundtrack

April 18, 1996 - Bernard Edwards bass guitarist and producer from Chic, died of pneumonia in a Tokyo Hotel room while touring Japan.

Edwards, who was born in Greenville, North Carolina, and grew up in Brooklyn, NYC, met Nile Rodgers in the early 1970s. They formed the Big Apple Band (active 1972–1976) and then united with drummer Tony Thompson to form Chic together with singer Norma Jean Wright.

With Chic (active 1976–1983), Edwards created era-defining hits such as “Dance, Dance, Dance”, “Everybody Dance”, “Le Freak”, “I Want Your Love” and “Good Times”. Edwards also worked with Nile Rodgers to produce and write for other artists, using Chic to perform everything musically and vocally except lead vocals. Those productions with Norma Jean Wright, Sister Sledge, Sheila and B. Devotion, Diana Ross and Debbie Harry led to more hits such as “Saturday”, “He’s The Greatest Dancer”, “We Are Family”, “Spacer”, “Upside Down”, “I’m Coming Out” and “Backfired”. As a lone songwriter/producer, he gave Diana Ross her Top 15 hit, “Telephone”.

Edwards’ bass line from “Good Times” has become one of the most copied pieces of music in history, and had a huge influence on musicians of many genres. Queen bassist John Deacon’s bass line for “Another One Bites The Dust” was inspired by “Good Times”. In an interview with NME, Edwards stated, “that Queen record came about because that Queen bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio”. The “Good Times” bass line was the foundation of Sugarhill Gang’s “Rappers Delight” in 1979, the first rap song to become a mainstream hit. The following twenty-odd years has seen it sampled by artists of diverse genres.

Chic split in 1983 due to personal and artistic differences between Edwards and Rodgers. In 1985 he was instrumental in the formation of the supergroup Power Station. The band’s first album was produced by Edwards and featured Chic drummer Tony Thompson, Robert Palmer and Duran Duran members John and Andy Taylor. Edwards produced Robert Palmer’s hit album Riptide. He continued to produce artists through the 90s including Diana Ross, Adam Ant, Rod Stewart, Air Supply, ABC and Duran Duran.

#bernardedwards #thisdayinmusic #1996 #1990s #chic #nilerodgers #disco #rnb #producer #bass #rip #restinpeace #powerstation

April 17, 1971 - Three Dog Night started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Joy To The World’. The group’s second US No.1; a No.24 hit in the UK. It was written by Hoyt Axton.

Some of the words are nonsensical. Axton wanted to persuade his record producers to record a new melody he had written and the producers asked him to sing any words to the tune. A member of Three Dog Night said that the original lyrics to the song were “Jeremiah was a prophet” but “no one liked that”. When Hoyt Axton performed the song to the group, two of the three main vocalists – Danny Hutton and Cory Wells – rejected the song, but Chuck Negron felt that the band needed a “silly song” to help bring the band back together as a working unit. Negron also felt that the song “wasn’t even close to our best record, but it might have been one of our most honest.” Unlike most Three Dog Night songs recorded at that point, instead of having just the three main vocalists singing harmony, the song was recorded with all seven members of the band singing. When the song hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971, Axton and his mother, Mae Axton, became the first mother and son to each have written a number one pop single in the rock era. Mae Axton co-wrote “Heartbreak Hotel”, which was the first number one hit for Elvis Presley. •• #threedognight #thisdayinmusic #1971 #1970s #corywells #dannyhutton #instamusic

Happy Birthday to the homie, Redman!! • April 17, 1970 - Born on this day, Redman, US rapper. He came to fame in the early 1990s as an artist on the Def Jam label. He is also well known for his collaborations with Method Man, including their starring roles in films and sitcoms. He was also a member of the Hit Squad and Def Squad in the 1990s. In 1990, Reginald “Reggie” Noble made his world debut on the EPMD album Business as Usual, appearing on tracks “Hardcore” and “Brothers On My Jock”. In 1992 Redman released his debut album, Whut? Thee Album. The album peaked at number forty-nine on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold. He was named “Rap Artist of the Year” by The Source.

Best Personal Memory: Redman teaching me how to roll a blunt at Le Montrose Hotel in L.A. in 1994, I think. Talk about a master class. It’s like having Tiger Woods teaching you how to putt. “YO YO YO, BELGRAVE! Did you towel the door?” [I get a bathroom towel and lay across the bottom of the room door] “YO YO YO, BELGRAVE! Did you wet the towel??” [I run back, wet the towel and lay it back across bottom of the door]. Good times!

A Piece Of Advice: If you find yourself in Palm Springs holding Reggie’s stash because he had to fly out of town before he could finish it… Don’t even try it unless you have varsity lungs. I was having visions in the desert. Very good times! •• #redman #thisdayinmusic #hbd #happybirthday #reggienoble #rapper #hiphop #rap #hitsquad #defsquad #defjam

April 16, 1977 - David Soul one half of TV cop show “Starsky & Hutch”, went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Don’t Give Up On Us’, his only US hit. Also No.1 in the UK. Riding high on the success of playing in the hit TV show Starsky and Hutch, Soul returned to one of his early career choices as a singer. His debut, the Tony Macaulay written and produced “Don’t Give Up on Us” was a worldwide smash. •• #davidsoul #thisdayinmusic #1977 #1970s #starskyandhutch