On this day in music history: July 28, 1979 - “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson is released. Written by Michael Jackson, it is the first single issued from the landmark “Off The Wall” album. The melody for the song comes to Jackson while walking around the family home in Encino, CA in 1978. Enlisting the assistance of his brother Randy and sister Janet, they help him record a demo of the song in their home studio. For the official studio recording of the track, producer Quincy Jones assembles a crack team of A-list studio musicians which include Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson, Rufus drummer John Robinson, guitarists David Williams and Marlo Henderson, keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, percussionist Paulinho DaCosta, and the Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft, Bill Reichenbach, Gary Grant and Larry Williams). An instant classic upon its release, the record marks the beginning of Michael Jackson’s meteoric rise to an unprecedented level of superstardom as an adult performer. Originally clocking in at just over six minutes, the song is released with various edits for the original 45. An edit cutting Jackson’s rap at the beginning running under four minutes is initially considered for the US 45 release, but is nixed by Jackson. The shorter edit is reserved for promotional copies issued to Top 40 pop stations that feel that the stock 45’s 5:45 running time is too long. the 3:55 edit is also released in some foreign territories including the UK. A second edit featured in the songs music video which includes the full intro running 4:11 is issued on US re-service promo 45’s, and to date has never appeared on any Michael Jackson compilation. The single release of “Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough” is backed with the “Off The Wall” track “I Can’t Help It” written by Stevie Wonder and former Supreme and Wonderlove backing vocalist Susaye Greene, which also comes a fan favorite. “Don’t Stop” hits #1 on the R&B singles chart (5 weeks) on September 8, 1979, and on the Billboard Hot 100 (1 week) on October 13, 1979, becoming Jackson’s second solo chart topper on the pop singles chart. “Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough” also wins Michael Jackson his first Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1980. “Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: July 28, 1979 - “Good Times” by Chic hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 6 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on August 18, 1979. Written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is the second R&B and pop chart topper for the seminal New York City based R&B band led by musician and producers Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. Like many of Chic’s other hit singles, on the surface many of their songs seem quite ambiguous, but in truth often mask a much more profound and deeper meaning within the lyrics. The duo refer to their songs having a “deep hidden meaning” behind them. Edwards and Rodgers base “Good Times” conceptually on depression era pop songs like “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “About A Quarter To Nine”, juxtaposing them with the then down state of the late 70’s US economy and the unbridled hedonism of the “Disco Era”, making a veiled statement about peoples need to escape and to forget about their troubles. That concept even extends to the packaging of the accompanying album “Risque”, which feature the members of the band posed in a sepia toned black & white photograph depicting that bygone era. Released as a single on June 4, 1979, “Good Times” is an immediate smash, both on the dance floor and on the radio. It goes on to become one of the most influential records of the late 20th century and beyond when it also becomes a cornerstone of Hip Hop culture. Its innovative bassline is used as the basis for the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”, as well as spawning numerous songs either directly copying or having been influenced by it. “Good Times” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
“There was nothing like getting a photo of two rock stars together. It was cosmic. All the magazines and fans would go nuts. I would get on the phone and call Haruko at Music Life magazine in Japan and say something like “ I have actual photos of Joan and Debbie backstage”! I could not sleep for days!”
On this day in music history: July 28, 1992 - “What’s The 411?”, the debut album by Mary J. Blige is released. Produced by Mark Morales, Mark C. Rooney, Dave “Jam” Hall, Devante Swing and Tony Dofat, it is recorded at Chung King House Of Metal, The Hit Factory, Marathon Studios in New York City, and Soul Convention Studios in Rosedale, Queens, NY from Early 1991 - Spring 1992. The first album by the Yonkers, NY based R&B vocalist quickly establishes her reputation and sound. Working closely with then Uptown Records A&R executive Sean “Puffy” Combs and numerous producers, they pair Blige’s soulful vocals with Hip Hop sample based tracks and R&B which earns her the title “The Queen Of Hip Hop Soul”. “411” spins off six hit singles including the R&B chart toppers “You Remind Me” and “Real Love”. It’s success is such that it even spins off a sequel album featuring remixes of various tracks, with the original being regarded as one of the best R&B albums of the 90’s. “What’s The 411?” spends seven weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number six on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
I’ve been magically transported to the late 80′s and early 90′s by the opening bars of Fickle Friends’ Cry Baby, a wildly infectious new tune from a UK outfit we’ve been featuring for over two years! With Cry Baby, they give us some of their best and most rousing pop yet, a sweet twirling, rosy dashing mixture of MUNA, HAIM, and The 1975. Cry Baby was in fact inspired by the classic John Waters film of the same name from 1990.
On this day in music history: July 28, 1980 - “Zapp”, the debut album by Zapp is released. Produced by Roger Troutman and William “Bootsy” Collins, it is recorded at United Sound Studios in Detroit, MI from December 1979 - Early 1980. The debut album by the Dayton, OH R&B/Funk band is the result of Roger Troutman’s childhood friend Bootsy Collins introducing him to Parliament/Funkadelic leader George Clinton. The pair help the band secure a record deal with Warner Bros (then the home of both Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band). While Roger and Bootsy are working together on another song titled “Funky Bounce”, George Clinton (who happens to visit the studio that evening) overhears the track in progress, hearing a particularly scintillating section of the groove, and suggest to the pair that they create another song around that hook, also using the talkbox. It spins off two singles including “More Bounce To The Ounce” (#2 R&B, #86 Pop) and “Be Alright” (#9 R&B). The epic “More Bounce” goes on to become one of the most widely sampled and influential records in history. “Be Alright” is later sampled as basis of 2Pac’s hit single “Keep Your Head Up” in 1993. The album is reissued on CD by reissue label Get On Down Records in 2011 packaged in a digipak cover. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl in 2014. Warner Music Group Japan also remasters and reissues the album on CD as part of its Warner 80’s Soul Classics Best Collection 1000 Series in 2015. “Zapp” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.