80's rocked

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On this day in music history: November 18, 1981 - “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll”, the second album by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts is released. Produced by Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell, it is recorded at Kingdom Sound Studios in Syosset, NY from Early - Mid 1981. Issued as the follow up to their debut “Bad Reputation”, it is also released on (former Casablanca Records founder) Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk Records. The title track, originally recorded by The Arrows in 1975, will be the band’s biggest hit, spending seven weeks at number one on the Hot 100 from March-May of 1982. Initial pressings of the LP contain a cover of the holiday classic “Little Drummer Boy” that will be replaced by the cut “Oh Woe Is Me” on later pressings. It also spins off a second hit single with their cover of Tommy James & The Shondells classic “Crimson And Clover” (#7 Pop).  With the demise of Boardwalk Records following Neil Bogart’s death in 1982, the album goes out of print for nearly a decade before Jett is able to acquire the rights to the bands’ master tapes. “Rock 'N’ Roll” is reissued on her own Blackheart Records imprint on CD and cassette in 1992 with all thirteen tracks included for the first time. The album is remastered in 1998 with two additional bonus tracks. It is reissued on vinyl in 2009, with a limited edition 180 gram LP pressed on clear vinyl for Record Store Day in 2011. A double vinyl LP edition is released in 2015 (with 1,000 copies pressed on white vinyl in hand numbered LP sleeves), with the second disc featuring live recordings. One hundred copies of the LP are inserted with a “golden ticket”, redeemable for a very limited edition lithograph poster of the reissues’ cover art work designed by artist Shepard Fairey. “I Love Rock 'N’ Roll” spends three weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 - “Rock A Little”, the third solo album by Stevie Nicks is released. Produced by Rick Nowels, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Iovine and Keith Olsen, it is recorded at Goodnight Studios in Dallas, TX, Westlake Audio, Sunset Sound, Studio 55, United/Western Recorders, Image Recorders in Hollywood, CA, The Record Plant, Village Recorders, The Music Grinder, Art Department Sound in Los Angeles, CA, Record One in Sherman Oaks, CA and Super Bear Studios in Nice, France from Summer 1984 - Fall 1985. Nicks begins recording her third solo album in 1984 with long time producer Iovine (whom she is also romantically with involved at the time), but ends up scrapping most of what is recorded when they break up during the sessions. The singers’ substance abuse problems also reach a crisis point during this time, further delaying completion of the project. It spins off three singles including “Talk To Me” (#4 Pop) and “I Can’t Wait” (#16 Pop). “Rock A Little” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 - “Psychocandy”, the debut album by The Jesus And Mary Chain is released. Produced by The Jesus And Mary Chain, it is recorded at Southern Studios in Wood Green, London, UK from Early - Mid 1985. Formed in their hometown of East Kilbride, Scotland in 1980, brothers Jim and William Reid originally call themselves The Poppy Seeds, then Death By Joey before changing their name to The Jesus And Mary Chain in 1983. Purchasing a Tascam Portastudio, the brothers begin recording demos of the songs they’ve written, and begin sending them out to record labels in the UK. By early 1984, they recruit band members Douglas Hart (bass) and Murray Danglish (drums) (later replaced by Bobby Gillespie) to fill out the line up. The band are signed to indie label Creation Records by its founder Alan McGee and release the single “Upside Down” in late 1984. The record hits number one on the UK indie singles chart, but The Jesus And Mary Chain’s tenure at Creation is brief. In early 1985, they are quickly signed to WEA International distributed Blanco y Negro Records, and to the newly revived Warner Bros. subsidiary Reprise Records in the US. The bands’ unique blend of psychedelic tinged pop, tempered with guitar feedback quickly establishes them as pioneers of what becomes known as the “shoegazer movement” and precursers of alternative rock. The album itself garners raves from critics (landing on many publications’ best of lists), and earning the band a devoted following. It will spin off four singles including “Never Understand” (#47 UK), “Some Candy Talking” (#13 UK) and “Just Like Honey” (#45 UK). “Honey” is later featured in the film “Lost In Translation” in 2003. After the original Reprise CD goes out of print, it is re-released by American Recordings in the US in 1994. Remastered and reissued as a DualDisc in 2006, “Psychocandy” is also reissued in September of 2011 as a double CD/+ DVD set with the second CD featuring the A and B-sides of their first single on Creation Records, single B-sides, radio sessions recorded by legendary DJ John Peel and the bands’ original Portastudio demos recorded in 1984 and 1985. The DVD features the original music videos, and several television performances. “Psychocandy” peaks at number forty five on the UK album chart, is certified Gold in the UK by the BPI, and peaks at number one hundred eighty eight on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: November 18, 1985 - “Radio”, the debut album by LL Cool J is released. Produced by Rick Rubin and Jazzy Jay, it is recorded at Chung King House Of Metal in New York City from Late 1984 - Mid 1985. A talented young MC with a prodigious gift for writing sharp and concise rhymes, delivered with plenty of B-Boy attitude, LL Cool J stands out immediately from his contemporaries. Looking to make it in the music business, the teen aged rapper makes demos at home and sends them out to various record labels. After calling Rick Rubin, the co-founder of Def Jam Records numerous times, he listens to LL’s demo tape at the urging of King Ad Rock of The Beastie Boys. Impressed with what he hears, Rubin signs the then sixteen year old rapper to the label. LL Cool J’s first single “I Need A Beat”, released in 1984, is an immediate smash on the street, selling over 100,000 copies. By the end of that year, Def Jam has secured a major label distribution deal with CBS/Columbia Records. LL Cool J is the first artist on Def Jam given the green light to record a full length album. Aided by Rubin’s stripped down, minimalist production, the finished album does not take long to make a major impact. An instant classic, “Radio” quickly establishes LL Cool J as a force to be reckoned with, and as one of hip hop’s first bonafide mainstream superstars.  It spins off four singles including “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (#15 R&B), “Rock The Bells” (#17 R&B), and “You’ll Rock” (#59 R&B). In time, it is regarded as a seminal album of rap’s “Golden Age”, becoming one of Def Jam’s all time best selling albums. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued in 2014 as a 180 gram LP, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Def Jam Records. “Radio” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty six on the Top 200, and it is Def Jam’s first album to be certified Gold just five months after its release. “Radio” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.