Saturday, June 6, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: June 7

1964: Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas made their live debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1964:  During their first U.S. tour, the Rolling Stones were booed off stage in San Antonio, Texas and the Marquis Chimps, world-famous monkeys, had to be brought back on stage to perform.  (Note:  some websites state that the group the Monkees replaced the Stones on stage.  According to '', the act brought on to replace the Stones was the Marquis Chips, not the musical group the Monkees.)

1969:  Blind Faith (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Rick Grech) gave a concert in Hyde Park in London before 100,000 people in their British debut.
1969:  Blood, Sweat & Tears had a big hit on their hands with "Spinning Wheel", up from 78 to 33 this week.
1969:  The Beatles made it three straight weeks at #1 with "Get Back".  There were two big movers within the Top 10--"Grazing in the Grass" from the Friends of Distinction moved form 10-3 and CCR climbed up nine from 14-5 with "Bad Moon Rising".

                                  The Cowsills' title smash helped "Hair" to the #1 spot...

1969:  Everyone was into hair, specifically the Soundtrack to "Hair".  It held down #1 on the Album chart for the seventh consecutive week.  The monumental Blood, Sweat & Tears album spent a seventh straight week at #2 after being #1 for three weeks prior to Hair.  Bob Dylan remained at #3 with Nashville Skyline while Galveston by Glen Campbell came in fourth.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Soundtrack to "Romeo & Juliet" was #5, Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was #6, CCR's great album Bayou Country was #7, the 5th Dimension shot up from 32 to 8 with The Age of Aquarius, Donovan's Greatest Hits was #9 and Happy Heart from Andy Williams rounded out the list.
1970:  The Who played the entire opera Tommy at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
1972:  The musical Grease opened on Broadway after four months of off-Broadway performances.  Richard Gere was among those playing "Danny" during the monumental run while John Travolta played the character Doody at the age of 17.
1974:  The Kinks were hosts on The Midnight Special with ELO performing.
1975:  "Love Will Keep Us Together" was #1 on a second format as the Captain & Tennille ruled the Adult Contemporary chart on this date.

1975:  "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" by John Denver was the new #1 song on the Popular chart.  It was Denver's third #1 (following "Sunshine On My Shoulders" and "Annie's Song") and his sixth top 10.  "Sister Golden Hair" moved strongly from 5-2 for America while "How Long" by Ace was #3, Grand Funk moved up to #4 with "Bad Time" and Chicago's "Old Days" was fifth in a pretty solid Top Five.
  1975:  Elton John's album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, which came in #85 in the Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era*, came out this week and debuted at #1, the first album in history to accomplish the feat and one of a select few in the Rock Era.  Elton toppled Earth, Wind & Fire's album That's the Way of the World while the Soundtrack to "Tommy" fell to #3.  Jeff Beck was #4 with Blow By Blow and America reached #5 with Hearts".  The rest of the Top 10:  Alice Cooper with Welcome To My Nightmare, Chicago VIII was at #7, Bad Company fell to #8 with Straight Shooter, Nuthin' Fancy from Lynyrd Skynyrd was #9 and Carly Simon had the #10 album with Playing Possum.
1976:  Capitol Records released "Got To Get You Into My Life" by the Beatles.  It would become the first hit  of the Beatles since their breakup in 1970.
1977:  Led Zeppelin played the first of six sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1979:  Chuck Berry was charged with three counts of tax evasion.
1979:  Blondie performed "Sunday Girl" on the British television show Top of the Pops.

T                             his song was kept from #1 by "Funkytown"?  Really?

1980:  "Funkytown" continued to ride the #1 position for Lipps, Inc. with "Coming Up" from Paul McCartney & Wings in the backup spot.  Ambrosia's smash "Biggest Part Of Me" was up to #3.  The rest of a pretty good Top 10--"Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" from Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes, "Call Me" from Blondie was on its way down after spending six weeks at #1, "The Rose" from Bette Midler was up from 11 to 6, Bob Seger had song #7 with "Against The Wind", "Hurt So Bad" from Linda Ronstadt was #8, Gary Numan's one and only hit "Cars" drove up to #9 and Elton John's 29th career hit "Little Jeannie" rounded out the impressive list.
1980:  "The Rose" spent a fifth week at #1 for Bette Midler on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1980:  Against the Wind, the Bob Seger album that had the distinction of knocking off Pink Floyd's The Wall from the #1 spot, continued to set the pace for a seventh week.  Billy Joel waited his turn at #2 with Glass Houses while Pink Floyd hung in there at #3.  Just One Night from Eric Clapton was #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Lipps, Inc. had Mouth To Mouth, Van Halen's newest album Women and Children First was #6, the debut from Christopher Cross held steady at 7, the Isley Brothers were at #8 with Go All the Way, the Pretenders' debut was ninth and Boz Scaggs moved into the Top 10 with Middle Man.
1982:  Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion was opened to the public.
1986:  The album Whitney Houston spent its 11th week at #1 and 36th in the Top 10 and 63rd week on the Album chart.

1986:  Madonna had the new #1 with "Live To Tell" but it would be short-lived as Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald's "On My Own" was closing fast.  Whitney Houston fell to 3 after three weeks at #1 with "Greatest Love Of All".
1988:  Bob Dylan began a tour at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California.  Neil Young played guitar on that date.
1991:  Jimmy Osmond of the Osmonds married Michelle Larson in Salt Lake City.
1993:  Mysteriously, Prince changed his name to The Artist.  The name change reflected an ongoing battle with Warner Brothers Records over ownership and direction of his music.
2000:  By this time, we had finally found out why Prince had changed his name to a symbol.  On this date, Prince celebrated reclaiming his name of "Prince" after a seven-year battle with Warner Brothers, who refused to let him record under that name.  If there's a problem, a corporation is usually at the bottom of it.

1993:  Groundbreaking began for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
1994:  Boston released their fourth album in 18 years, Walk On.  It was eight years after Third Stage.  We all understood about being meticulous and wanting to get it right.  For an album like their debut, it was fine to take their time.  But if you're going to take eight years to release an album, it had better be a classic.
1997:  Gary Barlow had the #1 album in the U.K. with Open Road.
1997:  The Bee Gees had hit #43 of their careers ("Alone") and it was the highest debuting song of the week--position #34.
1997:  Yes, it's true.  Hanson remained at #1 for a third week with "MMMBop".  Hey, everyone has to have their moment in the sun, and this was their time.  
1998:  Wally Gold, a member of the Four Esquires in the late'50's and also a prolific songwriter, died from colitis in Teaneck, New Jersey at the age of 70.  Gold wrote "It's Now Or Never" for Elvis Presley and "It's My Party" for Lesley Gore.  He also produced Gene Pitney and Kansas.
1999:  Rod Stewart was supposed to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange but arrived late and threw some soccer balls onto the floor instead.  He didn't quite understand the principle that no one was going to wait for him to open Wall Street.
2002:  The Eagles appeared in concert at the Idaho Center in Nampa, Idaho.
2002:  Research what kind of people you support with your $.  On this date, R. Kelly was taken into custody on child pornography charges.
2006:  The Dixie Chicks had the #1 album with Taking the Long Way.  It was the third #1 album of their career, following Fly and Home.
2007:  The city of Rancho Mirage, California named a street after Dean Martin.
2008:  The funeral of guitar great Bo Diddley was held in Gainseville, Florida.  (Note:  some websites err in saying the funeral was on June 7, 2007.  That would be tough to pull off, since Diddley did not die until June 2, 2008.)
2009:  Elton John's musical Billy Elliot won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
2012:  Bob Welch, guitarist for Fleetwood Mac in the early 1970's and a solo artist, died at age 66 in Nashville, Tennessee from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Born This Day:
1917:  The great Dean Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio; died December 25, 1995 at his home in Beverly Hills, California from respiratory failure resulting from emphysema.

1940:  Tom Jones (Sir Thomas John Woodward) was born in Treforest, Glamorgan, South Wales and women would be swooning all over him soon.
1944:  Clarence White (real name Clarence LeBlanc), guitarist of the Byrds, was born in Lewiston, Maine; died July 15, 1973 after being hit by a drunk driver.  (Note:  some websites report White's death as July 14.  Unfortunately, there are no credible sources for either date, but since 'Allmusic' says it was on July 15, one has to assume it was on July 14.)
1955:  Joey Scarbury ("Theme From 'The Greatest American Hero'") was born in Ontario, California.
1958:  Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1966:  Eric Kretz, drummer of Stone Temple Pilots, was born in Santa Cruz, California.  (Note:  some websites claim Kretz was born in San Jose, but according to the newspaper 'The San Diego Reader', he was born in Santa Cruz.)
1967:  David Navarro, lead guitarist of Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was born in Santa Monica, California.
1974:  T-Low (real name Terrance Brown) of Next ("Too Close") was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #340-331

We hope you are hearing the greatest collection of back-to-back classics ever presented.  They are the most popular songs that have stood the test of time from 1955-2015, presented exclusively on Inside The Rock Era:


Angel Of The Morning 
Juice Newton

"One of the best remakes ever."
"Classic song."
"Love it."
"This song is so beautiful".

At #340*, one of 17 songs by artists from the state of New Jersey--and one of 15 songs in The Top 500* from 1981.
Juice Newton was inspired by the music of Bob Dylan and the Byrds, and began performing professionally at age 13.  She joined the trio Silver Spur, which signed a recording contract with RCA Records.  When the group changed labels to Capitol, they were known as Juice Newton and Silver Spur.  She scored a hit as a songwriter with the song "Sweet, Sweet Smile", which was recorded by the Carpenters.   

"Angel Of The Morning", written by Chip Taylor, was a hit for Merilee Rush in 1968, but the highest-charting and best-selling version was recorded thirteen years later by Juice Newton.  Steve Meyer, one of the promotion people at Capitol Records, suggested to Newton that she record the song.   From the 1981 album Juice, "Angel Of The Morning" debuted on the charts in February.

Chief competition came from "Lady" by Kenny Rogers, Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust", "Endless Love" by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, "Woman" from John Lennon, "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes, "Woman In Love" from Barbra Streisand, Dollly Parton's "9 To 5", "Keep On Loving You" by REO Speedwagon, and "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang.

Juice hit #4 for 4 weeks, and #1 for 3 weeks on the AC chart; "Angel Of The Morning" also reached the Top 10 in Canada and Australia.

Newton was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary/Pop Vocal Performance, Female.  "Angel Of The Morning" went Gold, and the song has been heard over five million times.



Another Day In Paradise 
Phil Collins

"Classic song."
"Awesome--love this song."
"This song is so deep--love it!"
"A great song from a great singer."
"One of the all-time greats".

Up next, one of four songs from 1989 to make the elite Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.

This artist was once a child actor, playing the part of the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver, and he was also an extra in the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night.  His success in the '80s, both as the lead singer, songwriter and drummer with Genesis and as a solo artist, made him one of the hot commodities in that decade.

David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, and Nash sang backing vocals on the track.  Phil later repaid the favor by singing backup on Crosby's 1993 song "Hero".  Collins released the single in 1989 from his album ...But Seriously.  Beginning with its debut in November, "Listen To Your Heart" by Roxette and "Black Velvet" from Alannah Myles are the only two Top 500* songs that Phil encountered during his chart run.

"Another Day In Paradise" went to #1 for four weeks, and 10 of its 18 weeks inside the Top 10, with five weeks at #1 on the more important Adult Contemporary chart.  It was the final #1 song of the '80s.  The song also reached #1 in Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, #2 in the U.K., Austria, Finland, Ireland, #5 in New Zealand, and #8 in France. 
The song was nominated for Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Music Video, Short Form.  "Another Day In Paradise" sold half a million singles and helped sell eight million albums.


 Sweet Child O' Mine
 Guns N' Roses


"You can't beat the classics."
"One of the best guitar solos of all-time."
"One of the best songs ever."

One day while Guns N' Roses was jamming at their house on the Sunset Strip, lead guitarist Slash began playing a melody.  Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin asked him to play it again.   Stradlin subsequently came up with some chords, Duff McKagan created a bass line, and drummer Steven Adler planned a beat.  Within an hour, the melody Slash had been playing became a song.  Meanwhile, lead singer Axl Rose listened to the musicians downstairs and wrote lyrics to the tune, which he completed the following afternoon.  When it came time for the band's next composing session in Burbank, they had added a bridge and guitar solo to "Sweet Child O' Mine".

As the group was getting ready to record demos, producer Spencer Proffer suggested adding a breakdown at the end of the song.  The members of Guns N' Roses agreed, but weren't sure what to do.  They played the demo back, and Axl started asying to himself, "Where do we go?  Where do we go now? and Proffer suggested that he sing that.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" features one of the great guitar solos of the Rock Era.  The song went to #1 for two weeks in the U.S., and peaked at #4 in Ireland, #5 in New Zealand, #6 in the U.K., and #7 in Canada.
Unfortunately, only three other Top 500* songs were out at the same time, "Groovy Kind Of Love" by Phil Collins, "One More Try" by George Michael, and "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys.  That lack of strong competition keeps a ceiling on "Sweet Child O' Mine".  That can be fixed with a few more million in sales. 

"Sweet Child O' Mine" sold one million singles and helped sell 23 million albums.  It has not yet reached one million in radio airplay.



Dust In The Wind

"This is an awesome song."
"Great song!"
"I love this song so much."
"One of my favorites!"

After several incarnations as the band White Clover, this band finally formed as Kansas in 1972.  Their unique combination of guitars and strings with a progressive rock sound made them a force later in the decade.
The group recorded a demo in a recording studio in Liberal, Kansas and mailed to a friend on the East Coast of the United States with contacts in the record industry.  Several months later, while Kansas was playing a concert, Wally Gold of Kirshner Records called and wanted to see them play live.  Soon afterwards, Kansas signed a recording contract with Kirshner. 
Guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote this song after being inspired by a line he read in a book of Native American poetry--"For all we are is dust in the wind."  That got Livgren thinking, as we all should do, about the true value of material items and the meaning of success.  No matter our possessions or accomplishments, Livgren thought, we all end up back in the ground.
At the time, Kansas was under pressure from Kirshner Records for a follow-up to the group's first hit, "Carry On Wayward Son".  While Livgren was going through his acoustic guitar exercises, his wife suggested that writing lyrics to the patterns would give him his hit song.  He didn't think it was a Kansas-type song, but his wife encouraged him to give it a try, anyway.  "Several million records later, I guess she was right," Livgren told Songfacts
Kansas was nearly finished writing and rehearsing for their album Point of Know Return when producer Jeff Glixman asked if they had any more songs.  Livgren reluctantly played this song on acoustic guitar, insisting they wouldn't like it.  To his surprise, the other members of Kansas loved it and wanted to record it on the album.  The guitar track consists of two guitarists each playing six-string guitars in unison but tuned differently to produce a chimy sound.
"Dust In The Wind" peaked at #6 for 2 weeks, with 7 weeks in the Top 10--another song that on the surface, you wouldn't think would have the strength to make The Top 500*.  It also reached #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States and #3 in Canada.
When the song first hit the airwaves in January of 1978, it encountered some stiff competition, in fact some of the toughest of the Rock Era:  "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, "You Light Up My Life" from Debby Boone, Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street", "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel, "Lay Down Sally" from Eric Clapton, "We Are The Champions" by Queen, "You Make Loving Fun" by Fleetwood Mac, "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman, "Blue Bayou" by Linda Ronstadt, Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing", "Sometimes When We Touch" by Dan Hill, and "Baby Come Back" from Player.   
"Dust In The Wind" enabled Kansas to headline shows for the rest of the decade.  The single went Platinum, which meant two million in sales back then, helped sell eight million albums, and has registered three million radio airplays. 



Bad Moon Rising 
Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Classic from an incredible group."
"Love this song!"
"Still listening, still rocking, and still loving Creedence in 2015."
"Nothing can be more classic! can beat this tune! SIMPLY SUPERB!!!!!"
"Great sing-along song--one of my favs!"


Is this the happiest doomsday song ever recorded?

Not only were these guys one of the most talented acts in the world; they played what can only be described as perfect, never adding a note or drum beat that wasn't necessary.  They were there at the Newport 69 Festival in Northridge, California, playing to over 150,000 people.  They were there at Woodstock, although because of numerous delays and groups before them playing longer than scheduled, CCR was unfortunately buried in the early morning hours. 

They started out of Portola Junior High School in El Cerrito, California, and were known under various names, including Tommy Fogerty & the Blue Velvets and the Golliwogs.  They signed with local record company Fantasy Records, which relegated them to their subsidiary label Scorpio Records.  Lead singer John Fogerty and drummer Doug Clifford were both drafted for national service in the U.S. military. 

But this amazing group did not give up.  With Fogerty and Clifford back in the fold in 1967, the group sharpened their edge by rehearsing solid for six months.  They also chose a new name:  Creedence Clearwater Revival, Creedence being the name of a friend, Clearwater coming from a beer commercial, and Revival a state of intent, because they were determined to make it in the music business.  Did they ever.

John Fogerty wrote the song after watching the movie The Devil and Daniel Webster.  CCR recorded and released it as the first single from their album Green River.  The group released the song in April, 1969.   

As Thomas Ryan remarks in his book American Hit Radio, "'Bad Moon Rising' perfectly captures the fine line between exhilaration and fear".
"Bad Moon Rising" certainly faced a tough task getting to the top, encountering strong competition from "Get Back" by the Beatles, "Aquarius" by the 5th Dimension, "Honky Tonk Women" from the Rolling Stones, "In The Year 2525" by Zager & Evans, "Time Of The Season" by the Zombies, "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies, "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Get Together" by the Youngbloods, "Dizzy" from Tommy Roe, "Crystal Blue Persuasion" by Tommy James & the Shondells, "Everybody's Talkin'" by Nilsson, "In The Ghetto" by Elvis Presley, "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder, and "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.

Yet "Bad Moon Rising" still reached #2 in the U.S., and also hit #1 in the U.K. and Ireland, #3 in Australia, Norway and Sweden, and #8 in Germany and Austria, and #10 in the Netherlands.

"Bad Moon Rising" has sold over two million singles and helped sell over 14.5 million albums.  It has achieved two million airplays since 1969.


Olivia Newton-John

 "The world's most profoundly unique and gifted superstar celebrity...ONJ!"

"Sounds great.  Great tune!"

"One of my favorite songs."  (John Lennon)

"A song that will live forever."


For a while, this enterprising artist joined friend Pat Carroll to found the company Koala Blue.  The stores, which originally contained Australian imports, eventually became a chain of women’s clothing boutiques.  Koala Blue started out successful, but eventually folded.  Now, the name is licensed for a line of Australian wines, confections, and bed and bath products.

In 1980, Olivia Newton-John was coming off the blockbuster hit Grease.  She was thrilled when she was cast opposite the legendary Gene Kelly in Xanadu.  The movie bombed, but the soundtrack is fantastic, and Olivia had a big hand in it.  She collaborated with ELO and longtime friend Cliff Richard, and recorded this song solo.

John Farrar, Newton-John’s producer, wrote “Magic” for her.  The song debuted on the charts in May of 1980, a great time in music when listeners would also hear  "Lady" by Kenny Rogers", "Another One Bites The Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" from Queen, "Another Brick In The Wall" by Pink Floyd, "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me" from Billy Joel, Blondie's "Call Me", "All Out Of Love" and "Lost In Love" by Air Supply, "Upside Down" by Diana Ross, "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" by Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes, "Sailing" from Christopher Cross, and "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg.

“Magic” went to the top of the charts for four weeks, and was #1 for five weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart.  It gave Newton-John her third career #1 and spent nine weeks in the Top 10 in the U.S.  It also topped the Canadian chart and reached #4 in Australia and New Zealand.

“Magic” achieved one million in single sales and helped sell four million albums.  "Magic" has pulled one million radio airplays out of its hat thus far.


Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me
Mac Davis


"Love this song."
"Such a great song."

"One of my favorite songs."
"Awesome song!"
"Amazing.  Great music."

This artist paid his dues writing songs for other artists, including Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, and Bobby Goldsboro, before writing one for himself.
He started out with a rock band called Kotz as a college student in Atlanta, Georgia.  The group went nowhere, so Mac Davis quit to work as a regional promotion man for Vee Jay Records.  While at Vee Jay, Davis promoted artists such as the 4 Seasons and Gene Chandler, then obtained a similar job at Liberty Records.  
But since Mac was more interested in the songwriting end of the business, he was able to transfer the Liberty's publishing office in Hollywood, California.  Davis wrote "In The Ghetto" and "Don't Cry Daddy" for Presley, "Little Green Apples" for O.C. Smith, "Something's Burning" for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and "Watching Scotty Grow" for Goldsboro during this period. 
Davis became a popular guest star on television programs with Glen Campbell, Red Skelton and Johnny Cash.  In 1971, Davis opened for Nancy Sinatra in Las Vegas and did so well that he was signed to be a headliner.  Columbia Records signed him to a recording contract, and Davis hosted his own 90-minute late night television special on NBC.   

Davis released "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" as the title song from his 1972 album.  In July, competition included the Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin", "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack, "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Lean On Me" from Bill Withers, the Eagles' "Take It Easy", "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash, "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder, "Saturday In The Park" by Chicago, and "Song Sung Blue" from Neil Diamond.
"Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" reached #1 for 3 weeks with 9 weeks in the Top 10 in the U.S., and #2 in Canada.
The song went Gold and has posted two million radio airplays.


Can't Smile Without You
Barry Manilow

"Superb song."
"This is great music."
"I totally love this awesome song."
"Really beautiful music.  I am happy."
"Love this song."


This artist was voted best musician at Eastern District High School in Brooklyn.  After graduating from high school, Barry Manilow did many things, but one of them was working in the mailroom at CBS Television in Manhattan, New York, where he dropped off the daily mail to programming boss Fred Silverman.

Christian Arnold, David Martin and Geoff Morrow teamed up to write this song, which Manilow turned into a smash hit from his album Even Now.  The astute among you will remember the song originally done by the Carpenters in 1976—they featured it as the B-side to their hit “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft” the following year.

Manilow changed the lyrics around for his version and released it as a single.  It made the charts in February, 1978, and went against great songs like "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive", and "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone, "Three Times A Lady" by the Commodores, "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty, "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel, "We Are The Champions" by Queen, "Lay Down Sally" by Eric Clapton, "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman, "Blue Bayou" from Linda Ronstadt, "Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb, "Sometimes When We Touch", and "Dust In The Wind" by Kansas.

Manilow made it to #3 for 3 weeks, with 10 weeks in the Top 10.  More important, it was #1 for two weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart. 

"Can't Smile Without You" quickly went Gold, and it has helped sell 9.5 albums in the U.S. alone for Manilow.  Further, the song's popularity is cemented by continued radio airplay, which has now topped the three-million mark.



Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Diana Ross

"It doesn't get any better than this."
"A perfect piece of music!"
"All-time classic no matter what genre you like."

Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson wrote this song for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, who had a hit with it in 1967.  Nick had the idea for the lyric when he first moved to New York City, and was determined that the Big Apple would not get the best of him.  The words "Ain't no mountain high enough" popped into his head, and he called Valerie to help him finish the song.

After leaving the Supremes, Diana Ross re-recorded this song for her debut solo album at the Hitsville USA Studios in Detroit, Michigan on March 13, 14 and 18th of 1970.  Berry Gordy, boss of Motown Records, assigned an outside producer, Bones Howe, to produce Diana's first album.  Howe had major credentials, having produced both "Aquarius" for the 5th Dimension and "Windy" for the Association.

But Howe was dropped from the project before he could complete it, and Ashford and Simpson were asked to produce the album.  The song here at #332* is one of the songs the pair brought to the project.  They came up with a brand new concept for the song, utilizing Diana's speaking voice.  The song features spoken lyrics from Ross that build to a thrilling climax that features Valerie's backing vocals.

Ross released "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" as a single in 1970, and it began its chart run in August.  While it was a current song, one could also hear "Close To You" and "We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters, "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison, Santana's "Black Magic Woman", "Fire And Rain" by James Taylor, "Your Song" by Elton John, "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5, "Knock Three Times" from Tony Orlando & Dawn, and Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden".  That's a good group of songs, but not the high number of classics competing with songs that you'll see ranked higher.

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" did rise to the summit for 3 weeks, and scored 9 weeks in Top 10.  Add in the fact that it reached #1 on R&B chart, and #6 on Adult chart, and that equals a lot of listeners. 

The song won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal/Instrumental, and Ross was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.



Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

"Sexy and soulful...amazing music."
"Beautiful for SO many reasons."
"Great Harmonies!"
"Makes the deepest most-loving part of my soul go back to a time when it all felt so real.... swaying to the soft beat and getting lost*."

The Temptations, known for their great R&B hits in their early years, recorded several "psychedelic soul" songs written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, such as "Runaway Child, Running Wild", "Psychedelic Shack", and "Ball Of Confusion".
Longtime fans of the group did not like the change, and demanded the Temptations return to their roots.  Whitfield obliged, writing this classic in 1969.  But since the psychedelic songs were working, "Just My Imagination" was put on the shelf for a while.  When a Temptations release stalled outside the Top 10, Whitfield decided the time was right to resurrect the song.  The Temptations recorded it for their 1971 album Sky's the Limit on Gordy Records.
Whitfield oversaw the recording of the instrumental track.  Along with Motown's studio group, the Funk Brothers, Jerry Long conducted members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on horns and strings.  The members of the Temptations loved it.  They put the finishing touches on the song with their vocals on November 24, 1970 at Golden World Studios in Detroit, Michigan, with Eddie Kendricks singing lead. 
At the time, there was a bitter feud between Eddie and Otis Williams.  Kendricks was dissatisfied with Otis's leadership, and the two were not on speaking terms when the Temptations recorded "Just My Imagination".  Nevertheless, while the other members of the group left at six in the  morning, Kendricks remained hard at work for several hours recording takes for his lead vocal.  Kendricks left the group soon after for a solo career, and Paul Williams also left because of health reasons. Recording was completed on December 3 with overdubs.
The Temptations released the song as a single from their album Sky's the Limit, and it began attracting airplay almost immediately in February.
Other songs out at the time included "Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night, "It's Too Late" by Carole King, "My Sweet Lord" from George Harrison, "Your Song" by Elton John, "Me And Bobby McGee" by the late Janis Joplin, "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones, "Knock Three Times" by Tony Orlando & Dawn, "Rose Garden" by Lynn Anderson, "Rainy Days And Mondays" and "For All We Know by the Carpenters, and "Indian Reservation" by Paul Revere & the Raiders.

"Just My Imagination" became the third Temptations song to go to #1.  It remained there for two weeks, and resided in the Top 10 for 9 weeks.  It also topped the R&B chart for three weeks.

"Just My Imagination" has exceeded two million airplays since 1970. 
We began The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* on May 21, but we won't stop until we reach #1.  Stay tuned tomorrow for another great day of music!

Friday, June 5, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: June 6

1956:  Capitol Tower, the home of Capitol Records, was dedicated in Los Angeles, California.  The iconic building was the first circular building (13 stories and 92 feet in diameter) in America.
1960:  Tony Williams left the Platters to pursue a solo career.
1960:  The Silver Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers performed at the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, Lancashire, England.
1962:  The Beatles auditioned for producer George Martin of EMI Records, playing "Love Me Do" and "Ask Me Why".

1964:  "Chapel Of Love" moved into the #1 position for the Dixie Cups.  The Beatles were knocked off with "Love Me Do" while Mary Wells' former #1 "My Guy" remained in the #3 spot.  The Ray Charles Singers were there with "Love Me With All Your Heart" while Louis Armstrong made it four #1 songs on the Top Five on this date, creating a logjam.  The rest of the Top 10:  "A World Without Love" from Peter & Gordon, Dionne Warwick rose from 10-7 with "Walk On By", "Little Children" from Billy J. Kramer, the Reflections fell with "(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet" and the Beatles added another Top 10 with "P.S. I Love You".
1965:  Herman's Hermits performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1968:  The Rolling Stones added new lyrics to their upcoming song "Sympathy For The Devil" following the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
1969:  Rod Stewart signed a solo recording contract with Mercury Records.
1970:  Christie had a #1 song in the U.K. with "Yellow River".
1970:  The Jackson 5 had another smash as "The Love You Save" vaulted from #45 to #15.
1970:  The album McCartney remained at #1 while the Beatles last studio album Let It Be rose from #104 to #2.
1971:  The final episode of The Ed Sullivan Show aired on television.  One of the most popular shows for 23 years (1948-1971) and a total of 1,059 episodes, it was canceled.  Gladys Knight & the Pips were Ed's guests that night.

1977:  The Emotions released the single "Best of My Love".  (Note:  some websites naively say the song was released June 9.  Seeing as the chart came out on June 10, it is physically impossible for a group to release a single, mail it to radio stations, arrive at radio stations, be listened to and added to radio station playlists, reported to the trade papers and printed and published by the trade papers, all in one day.)
1977:  Queen appeared at Earls Court in London.
1977:  Stevie Wonder gave an unannounced lecture to a UCLA class that was studying the record industry.  He also performed for the shocked but happy students.
1979:  Def Leppard appeared in concert at Crookes Workingman's Club in Sheffield, England, leading to a recording contract with Phonogram Records.

1981:  Champaign had the #1 Adult Contemporary song for a second week with "How 'Bout Us".
1981:  Kim Carnes continued to hold off everyone at #1 for the fourth week on the Popular chart with "Bette Davis Eyes".
1982:  Stevie Wonder, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt played at the Peace Sunday:  We Have a Dream concert for nuclear disarmament before 85,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
1986:  U2, Bob Dylan, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jackson Browne, Sting and Joan Baez performed at the Amnesty International concert at the Forum in Inglewood, California.  (Note:  some websites naively say the concert was in Los Angeles.  The Forum is located in Inglewood.)
1987:  Simple Minds had the top U.K. album with Live in the City of Light.

1987:  Kim Wilde became the third artist to score a big hit with "You Keep Me Hangin' On" hitting #1, following the original by the Supremes and the remake from Vanilla Fudge.  Atlantic Starr closed with "Always" while Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam were right behind with "Head To Toe".  Chris DeBurgh's memorable song "The Lady In Red" dropped to #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  previous #1 "With Or Without You" from U2, Genesis scored their fifth Top 10 in a row and 17th overall hit with "In Too Deep", Bon Jovi moved up with "Wanted Dead Or Alive", Fleetwood Mac's "Big Love", Herb Alpert made a comeback with "Diamonds" and Whitney Houston bounced into the Top 10 after just four weeks with "I Wanna' Dance With Somebody".
1987:  The Joshua Tree by U2 remained as the #1 album.

  1988:  Steve Winwood released the single "Roll With It".

1991:  Stan Getz, the great saxophonist who teamed with Joao Gilberto for the classic album Getz/Gilberto died of liver cancer in Malibu, California at the age of 64.
1992:  David Bowie married Iman in Florence, Italy.

1992:  Celine Dion had her third Top 10 song as "If You Asked Me To" moved from 12 to 9 on this date.
1996:  William Palmer, inventor of the magnetic tape recorder, passed away of a stroke at age 85 in Menlo Park, California.
1997:  When Phil Collins left for a highly successful solo career, Genesis announced that they were replacing him with Ray Wilson, formerly of Stiltskin.
1998:  In the U.K., B"Witched debuted at #1 with "C'est La Vie".

1998:  Brandy & Monica rose to #1 for the first of what would be 12 weeks at the top with "The Boy Is Mine".
1999:  The Backstreet Boys had the #1 album with Millennium, which is the #99 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era*.
2003:  The Eagles were in concert at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

2003:  Dave Rowberry of the Animals was found dead in his home in East London of an ulcer hemorrhage.  Rowberry was 62.
2004:  Metallica, minus drummer Lars Ulrich, played at the Download Festival at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England.  Ulrich, who came down with an undisclosed illness just hours before Metallica was due on stage, was replaced by Joey Jordison of Slipknot and Dave Lombardo from Slayer. 
2004:  Performers at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in Dallas, Texas included Santana, ZZ Top, James Taylor, John Mayer, Booker T. & the MG's, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Walsh, Stevie Vai, Buddy Guy and host Clapton.
2004:  Mario Winans led the way on the U.K. Singles chart with "I Don't Wanna' Know".
2004:  Avril Lavigne had her second #1 album in the U.S. with Under My Skin.

2006:  Keyboard whiz Billy Preston died from kidney failure at the age of 59 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
2010:  Marvin Isley, bass guitarist of the Isley Brothers, died at the age of 56 in Chicago, Illinois from complications with diabetes.  He had stopped performing in 1996 due to problems with diabetes, which had robbed him of the use of his legs.

Born This Day:

1936:  Levi Stubbs, one of the great lead singers of the Rock Era for the Four Tops, was born in Detroit, Michigan; died October 17, 2008 in Detroit from complications of a stroke he suffered in 2000.
1939:  Gary "U.S." Bonds (Gary Anderson) was born in Jacksonville, Florida.
1942:  Howie Kane of Jay and the Americans was born in Queens, New York.
1944:  Peter Albin, bassist of Big Brother and the Holding Company, was born in San Francisco, California.
1948:  Terry Williams of the New Christy Minstrels and co-founder and guitarist of the First Edition, was born in Hollywood, California.
1951:  Dwight Twilley ("I'm On Fire" in 1975) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1960:  Elite guitarist Steve Vai, who played with Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, was born in Long Island, New York.  (Note:  some websites naively say Vai was born on Long Island, New York, while others say he was born in Carleplace, New York.  Long Island is neither a city nor a state; it is simply an island, and you will never see Long Island listed on an official birth certificate.  Vai was born in Carle Place, according to MTV and the book 'Gear Secrets of the Guitar Legends:  How to Sound Like Your Favorite Players' by Pete Prown and Lisa Sharken.  There is no such town as Carleplace in New York; the correct spelling of his city of birth is Carle Place, a hamlet and census-designated place in the town of North Hempstead.) 
1961: Tom Araya, bassist and vocalist of Slayer, was born in ViƱa del Mar, Chile.
1970: James Shaffer, guitarist of Korn, was born in Rosedale, California.  (Note:  some websites report Shaffer was born in Bakersfield, California.  According to the book 'Gear Secrets of the Guitar Legends:  How to Sound Like Your Favorite Players' by Pete Prown and Lisa Sharken, James was born in Rosedale.)
1974:  Uncle Kracker (real name Matthew Shafer) was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan.