1980's pop

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On this day in music history: March 28, 1981 - “Rapture” by Blondie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the Club Play chart for 4 weeks on February 28, 1981, and peaking at #33 on the R&B singles chart on March 14, 1981. Written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, it is the fourth and final chart topping single for the New York based New Wave/Rock band fronted by lead vocalist Debbie Harry. Harry and Stein are inspired to write the song after attending Hip Hop parties in the South Bronx. Making references to hip-hop pioneers Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash in its lyrics, the song quickly makes its mark. It becomes the first mainstream pop record to feature rapping to hit number one on the pop charts, introducing the underground art form to a wide mainstream audience. The single’s music video also features cameo appearances from Fab Five Freddy and graffiti and pop artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Released as the second single from their fifth album “Autoamerican” in mid January of 1981, it follows its predecessor “The Tide Is High” to the top of the chart. Entering the Hot 100 at #61 on January 31, 1981 on the same date that “Tide” hits number one, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The single is also released overseas with an extended 12" dance mix of the track clocking in at almost ten minutes, with US club DJ’s and radio being serviced with a promotional only 12" single with the six and a half minute long album track on one side, and an edited version on the flip side running four minutes and fifty seconds, that becomes a heavily sought after collector’s item. A third version clocking in at just over five and a half minutes is released on the compilation “The Best Of Blondie” in 1981, with the same intro as the 12" mix and an extra verse. “Rapture” also turns up on Grandmaster Flash’s landmark single “The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel” later in 1981, featuring the iconic DJ cutting and scratching the Blondie record. “Rapture” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody ( 1975 )

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On this day in music history: March 28, 1983 - “Jarreau”, the sixth album by Al Jarreau is released. Produced by Jay Graydon, it is recorded at Garden Rake Studios in Studio City, CA from Mid - Late 1982. Following the critical and commercial success of his double Grammy winning, Double Platinum selling album “Breaking Away”, the veteran jazz/pop vocalist once again collaborates with session guitarist and producer Jay Graydon (Manhattan Transfer, George Benson). “Jarreau” features musical support from top notch studio players including Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro (drums), Abraham Laboriel (bass) and The Seawind Horns. The album’s seamless blend of jazz, R&B and pop is another winner for the virtuoso vocalist. It spins off three singles including “Mornin’” (#6 R&B, #21 Pop) and “Boogie Down” (#9 R&B, #77 Pop), receiving four Grammy nominations including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Producer Of The Year (Non-Classical) in 1984. “Boogie Down” is also prominently featured in the film “Breakin’” (aka “Breakdance” outside the US) in 1984, though is not included on the soundtrack album. An extended version of the track is also issued on a promotional 12" single, at the time of the commercial singles’ original release in 1983. The album is remastered in 2009, and contains one bonus track not included on the original release. “Jarreau” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.