Keith Richards and his dog Ratbag during a visit to Hyde Park in 1965.

Artist Roy Lichtenstein photographed by Ugo Mulas, New York, 1964 


On this day in music history: April 20, 1967 - “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye  & Tammi Terrell is released. Written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is the first single release for the Motown vocal duo. Newly signed as a solo artist to Motown in 1965, Tammi Terrell is paired with staff producers Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua, who begin working with the young singer. Releasing a handful of non charting singles, nearly a year goes by without scoring a hit. In late 1966, fresh off of their success penning Ray Charles’ number R&B smash “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson are hired as staff songwriters at Motown. Among the songs the pair have already written is one titled “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Having moved from his native North Carolina to New York City in the mid 60’s, the initial inspiration for the song comes from Ashford. Determined to make it in the big city, the lyrics are composed by him as personal affirmation to not give up no matter what. He and Valerie write the song, but hold on it, knowing that it is a potential hit and their ticket into Motown. Bristol and Fuqua love the song immediately and move to cut it on Tammi. The basic track is recorded at Motown Studio A on December 26, 1966 with The Funk Brothers providing musical support. Terrell records her vocals alone on January 6, 1967, with additional overdubs recorded on January 11 and 29, 1967. At one point, the producers decide the song needs something extra, a duet partner. Marvin Gaye is chosen to add his magic vocal touch and does so in short order on February 1, 1967. Finally released in April of 1967, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” takes off quickly, peaking at #3 for three weeks beginning on the Billboard R&B singles chart on July 1, 1967 and #19 on the Hot 100 on July 15, 1967. An instant classic, the record establishes Gaye and Terrell as Motown’s premier vocal duo and Ashford & Simpson as one of the top writing teams on the labels’ already prodigious roster. In time, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” becomes one of Motown’s most popular and frequently covered songs. Diana Ross will score her first solo chart topper in 1970 with a dramatically revamped version of the song produced by Ashford & Simpson. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s original recording of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is used in numerous films, television commercials, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Tina Turner by Lynn Goldsmith, Detroit, 1968

How can a person have self-conceit when knowing that Imam Ahmad knew one million hadith by heart, and Kahmas ibn al-Hasan used to recite the whole Qur’an three times a day, and Salman al-Taymi prayed Fajr with the same wudu of Isha for forty years.

Ibn al-Jawzi Source: Ibn al-Jawzi, Disciplining the soul, Page 60


On this day in music history: May 20, 1967 - “Respect” by Aretha Franklin hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 8 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on June 3, 1967. Written by Otis Redding, it is the second consecutive R&B chart topper for “The Queen Of Soul”. Written and originally recorded by R&B legend Otis Redding in 1965, Aretha Franklin’s version of “Respect” features members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. It is one of the tracks cut during the week long sessions that produce Franklin’s debut album for Atlantic. Aretha’s version receives a dramatic rearrangement when it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City on February 14, 1967. One of the significant changes made on Franklin’s version is in the songs instrumental break. Saxophonist King Curtis plays the solo using the chord changes from Sam & Dave’s hit “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”. Aretha, along with her sisters Erma and Carolyn (also singing background vocals) come up with the signature “sock it to me” line as well as the refrain of “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and the lines that follow including “take care, T-C-B” (street slang for “taking care of business”). Upon hearing Aretha’s version, Otis Redding is quoted as jokingly saying “That little girl done stole my song!”, recognizing that she had just recorded the definitive version of his song. The response to “Respect” is immediate when it begins receiving radio play as soon as the album “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You” is released on March 10, 1967. With the title track holding down the top spot on the R&B singles chart for eight weeks and reaching the top 10 on the pop chart, Atlantic holds off just long enough for the other single to have its moment to unleash the follow up. Entering the Billboard R&B singles chart at #19 on May 6, 1967, it pole vaults up the chart to #5 then #1, just narrowly succeeding herself in the top spot by one week. “Respect” takes a similar ascent up the Hot 100, entering the chart at #50 on April 29, 1967, it rockets to the top five weeks later. Its upward chart movement is so strong, that it temporarily bumps The Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” from the number one spot for two weeks. “Respect” earns Aretha Franklin the first Grammy Award given for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female in 1968. It is the first of eleven times Franklin wins the award over the years, receiving it eight years in a row consecutively, making her the undisputed champ in that category. In the wake of the records huge success, it not only is adapted as a feminist anthem, but also as a rallying cry for the Civil Rights Movement. “Respect” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.


Otis Redding - A Change Is Gonna Come   

Not Sam’s version, but damn near as good….