80's pop music

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1987 - “Bad”, the seventh solo album by Michael Jackson is released. Produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, it is recorded at Westlake Audio Recording Studios in West Hollywood, CA from January 5 - July 9, 1987. Issued as the long awaited follow up to the massively successful “Thriller”, the final track listing for album (ten on the original LP, eleven on the CD release) is selected from sixty songs (nearly all written by Jackson himself), with thirty of them being recorded, nine of the eleven songs are written by Jackson. Pre-production on “Bad” begins in November 1986 with the first session taking place on January 5, 1987. The album is also Jackson’s first to be recorded, mixed and mastered entirely on digital recording equipment. Following the enormous sales of “Thriller”, anticipation and expectations for the new album are high. The album spins off seven hit singles including an unprecedented five number one Pop and R&B singles (“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man In The Mirror”, “Another Part Of Me” (#1 R&B, #11 Pop) and “Dirty Diana” (#1 Pop, #8 R&B). At the time of its release, American critics are shortsighted in their critique of the album, calling it “a disappointment” when it sells less half of what “Thriller” sold initially in the US. Internationally, it more than surpasses its domestic sales performance. To date, the album has sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, winning two Grammy Awards, including one for Best Short Form Video for the track “Leave Me Alone” and for Best Engineered Recording (non-classical) (awarded to engineer Bruce Swedien). The album is reissued twice. In 2001, a remastered edition with seven bonus tracks, including interview clips with producer Quincy Jones on the making of the album. In 2012, a 25th anniversary edition including the bonus tracks from the 2001 release (w/out the Jones interviews), adding seven more unreleased tracks, and remixes of the title track and “Speed Demon”. It is also released as a deluxe boxed edition with a live concert DVD filmed at Wembley Stadium in London in July of 1988 (also sold separately).  "Bad" debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200 spending six weeks at the top, eighteen weeks at number one on the R&B album chart, and is certified 9x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1968 - “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on September 14, 1968. Written and produced by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, it’s the second R&B chart topper for the duo of Gaye & Terrell. Writing a string of hits for Gaye and Terrell that begins with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in mid 1967, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson continue their profilic streak with the follow ups “Your Precious Love” (#2 R&B, #5 Pop), “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You” (#2 R&B, #10 Pop) and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” (#1 R&B, #8 Pop). In the Spring of 1968, Ashford and Simpson pen the devotional ode “You’re All I Need To Get By”. Recorded at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit, it features The Funk Brothers providing musical support. The initial tracking sessions take place on April 15 and 27, 1968, with additional overdubs including Marvin and Tammi’s vocals being recorded on May 21 -23, and 27 - 29, 1968. Gaye and Terrell actually record their vocals separately, since Terrell is recovering from surgery for a malignant brain tumor at the time. The surgery is one of several she has after having passed out on stage during a performance with Gaye at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia on October 14, 1967. Released in the late Summer of 1968, it is another smash for Gaye and Terrell. Sadly it is the last major hit to feature Tammi Terrell on lead vocals. The song is covered a number of different artists over the years, including versions by Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams. It is revived again in 1995 when rapper Method Man and singer Mary J. Blige cover “You’re All I Need To Get By” (#1 R&B, #3 Pop), winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1996.

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1964 - “Where Did Our Love Go”, the second album by The Supremes is released. Produced by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Smokey Robinson, Norman Whitfield, and Robert Gordy, it is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit, MI from December 28, 1962 - July 13, 1964. The album features singles by the group released during 1963-64 including their first top 40 pop hit “When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes” (#23 Pop). It makes Billboard chart history when it becomes the first album to ever generate three number one pop singles (“Baby Love”, “Come See About Me” and the title track). It also spends an unprecedented 89 weeks on the Top 200, becoming Motown Records first album to sell over one million copies in the US. In 2004 to commemorate its 40th anniversary, Universal Music Group’s Hip-O Select label releases a 2 CD Deluxe Edition of the album featuring remastered versions of both the original stereo and first digital release of the long out of print mono version, along with outtakes and a complete live performance recorded at the Twenty Grand Club in Detroit. It quickly sells out of its limited pressing of 10,000 copies, turning it into a sought after collector’s item by Supremes fans. “Where Did Our Love Go” spends four weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and one week at number one on the R&B album chart.

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Born on this day: August 31, 1945 - Singer, songwriter and musician Van Morrison (born George Ivan Morrison in Belfast, Northern Ireland). Happy 71st Birthday, Van!!!

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1978 - “Live And More”, the seventh album by Donna Summer is released. Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, it is recorded the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, CA (live tracks), Rusk Sound Studios and Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA (studio tracks) in early 1978. Her second double album, the first three sides are taken from a live concert (during the “Once Upon A Time Tour”) recorded at the Universal Amphitheater in early 1978. The fourth side of the album contains the “MacArthur Park Suite”, a seventeen minute plus long medley of three songs (“MacArthur Park”, “One Of A Kind”, and “Heaven Knows”). The album further demonstrates Summer’s musical versatility beyond her “disco diva” image by covering jazz standards in her set, including “The Man I Love” and “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good”, as well as the pop ballad “The Way We Were”. It spins off two singles including a cover of the Jimmy Webb penned pop classic “MacArthur Park” (#1 Pop, #8 R&B) (originally sung by actor Richard Harris in 1968 (#2 Pop) ), and “Heaven Knows (w/ Brooklyn Dreams) (#4 Pop, #10 R&B). "Live And More” hits number one on the Billboard Top 200, number four on the R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1963 - “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on September 28, 1963. Written and produced by Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, it is the biggest hit for the girl group from South Orange, NJ. Formed in 1961 by sisters Barbara “Bibs” Allbut and Phyllis “Jiggs” Allbut as The Starlets, originally a quartet with Bernadette Carroll and Lynda Malzone. They record a handful of singles and also work as background singers. After Malzone leaves, she is replaced by Linda Jansen (aka Jankowski). They have another set back when manager Tom DeCillis decides to take on Carroll as his sole client, and drops the rest of the group. At this point, the Allbut sisters put their music career aspirations on hold to attend college after they’re turned down for a record deal by producer Gerry Granahan of Caprice Records. He has a change of heart and has the girls come back and record a song performed in their audition titled “Til”. Before it’s released, the group change their name to The Angels. Released in August of 1961, their cover of the pop standard is a hit, peaking at #14 on the Hot 100 in January of 1962. They release four more singles, before Jansen leaves for a solo career. She is replaced by fellow New Jersey native Peggy Santiglia, formerly a member of The Delicates and a commercial jingle singer. Santiglia proves to be a perfect fit, and the group leave Caprice and are signed to Mercury subsidiary Smash Records. They are paired with songwriter and producers Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer (aka “The Strangeloves”). Feldman comes up with the initial idea for “My Boyfriend’s Back” after overhearing a high school girl rebuffing the advances of a male classmate. Initially intended for The Shirelles, they have The Angels record it as a demo. It is recorded at Associated Studios in New York City, and features Herbie Lovell (drums), Billy Butler, Bobby Comstock, Al Gorgoni (guitars), and Bob Bushnell (electric and acoustic bass). After hearing the finished recording, Smash discourages them from giving it away, and releases it on The Angels instead. Issued in July of 1963, “My Boyfriend’s Back” is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #75 on August 3, 1963, it pole vaults to the top of the chart four weeks later. A male answer record titled “Your Boyfriend’s Back” (#98 Pop) by guitarist Bobby Comstock is released and charts briefly. Regarded as one of the classic girl group songs, it is also covered by The Chiffons, Martha & The Vandellas, Melissa Manchester, and Sarah Brightman. Originally released in mono only and edited for single release, the complete unedited take of The Angels original version is remixed into true stereo, from the four track multi-track master. “My Boyfriend’s Back” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1970 - “Sunflower”, the sixteenth album by The Beach Boys is released. Produced by The Beach Boys, it is recorded at Brother Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January 9, 1969 - July 21, 1970. The album is the bands first full length release on their own Brother Records imprint (distributed by Warner Bros subsidiary Reprise Records), following The Beach Boys acrimonious split with their former label Capitol Records. The band sue Capitol over unpaid royalties and unpaid production fees totaling over two million dollars. As a result of the suit, the bands last few albums fare poorly from a lack of promotional support. “Sunflower” is well received by critics upon its release but sells poorly due to the lack of hit single. However, its reputation and popularity with fans grows over the years, and is now regarded as one of the bands finest efforts. “Sunflower” peaks at number one hundred fifty one on the Billboard Top 200.

I Want You
  • I Want You
  • Savage Garden
  • Savage Garden
Play

Savage Garden
I Want You
Savage Garden

Anytime I need to see your face, I just close my eyes.
and I am taken to a place where your crystal mind and
magenta feelings take up shelter in the base of my spine.
Sweet, like a chic-a-cherry cola.

I was 11 years old when I was watching the Kids’ Choice Awards on Nickelodeon and some gal presented Savage Garden. She made a mention of how the next performer could be synonymous with “cherry cola” and everyone went apeshit.

I had never heard the song “I Want You” by Savage Garden. I don’t even think I’d heard it in passing. My knowledge of what music on the radio was consisted of modern country (boo), rap, and ‘classic’ rock. When Savage Garden performed this song, I thought “Wow, this is fucking neat. It doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve ever heard.” A week or two later, I was skating at the skating rink and the song came on. I recognized it and loved it, so the next day, I asked my mom to buy me the CD.

The following Monday, I had the song completely memorized and was listening to it on my CD player at the bus stop. My friends, who I usually talked to every morning, asked me what I was listening to. I acted like knowing who Savage Garden was meant that I was the single coolest kid in the world, since only a month or so prior, a girl I knew introduced me to a band called Bush. My friends didn’t care less, but I remember thinking it was just the coolest thing to really like music.

I guess ever since, my love for it has grown by leaps and bounds. I had always thought that the most popular music was the best music, and although Savage Garden was a popular band, at that point, they weren’t yet, not among my group of friends (who listened to country music and rap music). For the next several years, that’s all I would do is attempt to find music that nobody else was listening to. 2 years later, for the first time, I heard a band called The Offspring, and the rest is history.

I can’t remember the last time I listened to this song all the way through. It’s terrible.

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On this day in music history: August 31, 1970 - “After The Gold Rush”, the third album by Neil Young is released. Produced by Neil Young, David Briggs, and Kendall Pacios, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA, Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA and Neil Young’s Home Studio in Los Angeles, CA from August 1969 - June 1970. Having recently joined his former Buffalo Springfield band mate Stephen Stills in Crosby, Stills & Nash, the band name is amended to add Young. CSNY release the classic “Deja Vu” album in the Spring of 1970, before the individual band members embark on solo projects. Young records a sizeable portion of his third release in his home studio in Topanga Canyon with members of his band Crazy Horse, including a then eighteen year old guitarist named Nils Lofgren. Overdubs and vocals are recorded at Sunset Sound and Sound City Studios. It spins off two singles including “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (#33 Pop) and “When You Dance I Can Really Love” (#93 Pop), though the albums centerpiece is the track “Southern Man”, a sharp rebuke against racism. Originally released on CD in the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2009 with HDCD encoding and is reissued on vinyl. “After The Gold Rush” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.