On this day in music history: July 25, 1980 - “TP”, the fourth studio album by Teddy Pendergrass is released. Produced by Dexter Wansel, Cecil Womack, Cynthia Biggs, Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, Gene McFadden, John Whitehead, Jerry Cohen, John R. Faith and Teddy Pendergrass, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA and New York City from December 1979 - April 1980. Ending the 70’s as one of the top R&B male vocalists, as well as experiencing major crossover success, Teddy Pendergrass starts the new decade with no signs of slowing down. With Philadelphia International co-founders Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff having their attention focused elsewhere at the time, Pendergrass’ fourth solo album is the first not to include any creative input from the duo (acting as executive producers only), neither writing or producing. Instead, Teddy takes the production reigns himself for the first time, along with several others contributing to the project including Ashford & Simpson, McFadden & Whitehead, Jerry Cohen, Cecil Womack (Womack & Womack, Valentine Brothers), and fellow Philly International staff songwriter and producers Dexter Wansel, Cynthia Biggs and John R. Faith. Musically, “TP” differs from previous albums as it features no uptempo songs at all. Coming out of the Disco Era and perhaps trying to downplay that sound, the album consists mostly of ballads and mid tempo material that emphasize Teddy’s “ladies man” image. The album features two duets with R&B star Stephanie Mills including “Feel The Fire” and “Take Me In Your Arms Tonight”. The lead single “Can’t We Try” (#3 R&B, #52 Pop) is also featured in the film and on the soundtrack of the musical comedy “Roadie”. The track that makes the biggest impression is the follow up “Love T.K.O.” (#2 R&B, #44 Pop) written by Cecil Womack and Gip Nobel, Jr.. The sexy ballad quickly becomes another of Teddy’s signature songs, and one of his most widely covered. “T.K.O.” is also sampled a number of times, on Ahmad’s “Back In The Day (Remix)”, Compton’s Most Wanted’s “Can I Kill It?” and Xscape’s “Who Can I Run To?” (Remix). R&B artists Kenny Lattimore (“I Won’t Let You Down”) and Total (“Spend Some Time”) also sample the song. First released on CD in the late 80’s, it is reissued in 1993 on Right Stuff/EMI Records. In March of 2016, UK reissue label BBR Records remasters and reissues the the album, including five additional bonus tracks. “TP” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Okay, so I love Storm. But I've never really been able to get into the comics. And I would love to! Any ideas/suggestions of where a beginner could start reading X-men with a heavy presence of Storm in it?? Thanks!!
First things first, the old Uncanny X-Men More recent stuff is probably better for beginners, esp if you haven’t really been able to get into comics, but this is just in case you want a bit of that original X-Men reading (first ever appearances and major storylines of the 80′s - Mohawk Storm!)
Uncanny X-Men #145-147 (Rogue Storm) It involves the famous Doctor Doom flirting scene - moral of the story: everyone should love and fear her, even DD, because she’s amazing
Uncanny X-Men #159 (Blood Feud!) Storm and Dracula, that’s all you need to know
Uncanny X-Men #169-170 (Dancin’ in the Dark) SO iconic. Storm takes on Callisto, the leader of the Morlocks - very famous fight
Uncanny X-Men #186 + #198 (Lifedeath Part 1 & 2) - also #220 (Unfinished Business) Super important Storm storyline - she loses her powers, huge fallout with Forge - very deep, a big moment in her comic life
Uncanny X-Men #201 (Duel) Storm once again proves she’s Queen - she fights Cyclops, STILL POWERLESS, to be the new leader of the X-Men
Uncanny X-Men #215-216 (Crucible) Still without her powers, she takes on some superpower people hunting her down - once again, she’s amazing.
House of M - Scarlet Witch makes the universe alternate. Unsurprisingly, Storm is Princess of Kenya
Black Panther Vol. 4, 5 and 6 - Storm’s always around, if you like the two together, its worth a read
Astonishing X-Men #25-35 (collected as Ghost Box and Exogenetic) - some GREAT storm ass-kicking here
Avengers Vol. 4 #19-25 - Storm as an Avenger? Yes please.
Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #544-550 - Storm and Black Panther replace Mr. Fantastic and Sue Storm (who decide to take a break from the FF to work on their marriage)
Avengers vs. X-Men - Important Storm and Black Panther marriage point, that’s all I’m saying to keep it spoiler-free
Most of X-Men Vol. 3 - Ororo’s such a prominent x-member, it’s hard to find issues where she doesn’t show up
X-Men Vol. 4 - an all girl x-team led by Storm you say? Sign me up.
And, if you want to follow her current activity, the team she’s now a member of is X-Men: Gold Vol. 2 (I believe this series and Black Panther Vol. 6 - previously mentioned - are the only two series going with Storm in at the moment. I could be wrong)
Oh and, just for fun, the one-off Amazon comic - DC and Marvel amalgamated a bunch of their characters - Storm became Princess Ororo of Themiscyra and takes on Poseidon. Pretty cool.
Note: I haven’t read all of the series above so couldn’t be as specific in some cases i.e all the Black Panther volumes and X-Men Vol. 3 & 4
On this day in music history: March 20, 1986 - “Rapture”, the second album by Anita Baker is released. Produced by Michael J. Powell, Marti Sharron and Gary Skardina, it is recorded at Yamaha R&D Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Music Grinder Studios in Hollywood, CA and United Sound Studios in Detroit, MI from Mid 1985 - Early 1986. After making a solid impression with her debut album “The Songstress” in 1983, Anita Baker finds her career progress halted when she becomes mired in a lawsuit with Beverly Glen Records. Seeking to end her relationship with the label for non-payment of royalties, the label counter sues her for breach of contract. The case takes nearly two years to settle, but it is in Baker’s favor, allowing her to field offers from other record labels. Anita is signed to Elektra Records in 1985, giving her more autonomy and creative control. To produce her major label debut, Baker enlists Michael J. Powell, her former Chapter 8 band mate to work on the project. Initially, A&R at Elektra are not pleased, feeling that a “name” producer should work with her, but label president Bob Krasnow allows the singer to go with her original choice. Powell assembles a team of top studio musicians including bassists Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson), Jimmy Haslip (The Yellowjackets), Nathan East (Eric Clapton), “Ready” Freddie Washington (Patrice Rushen), Neil Stubenhaus, Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Don Myrick, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., drummers John Robinson (Rufus), Ricky Lawson (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Steely Dan), and keyboardists Greg Phillinganes, Vernon Fails, Sir Dean Gant and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Spending six months in the studio, recording wraps in early 1986. When the first single “Watch Your Step” (#23 R&B) receives a muted response from radio, Elektra quickly follows it up with “Sweet Love” (#2 R&B, #3 AC, #8 Pop). The ballad is a multi-format smash, giving Anita Baker her long awaited breakthrough. The albums seamless blend of R&B, jazz and pop proves irresistible, standing out dramatically in an era dominated by sterile over-produced recordings. “Rapture” cements her status with her core R&B fan base, broadening her audience. It spins off a total of five singles including “Same Ole Love (365 Days A Year)” (#8 R&B, #6 AC, #44 Pop), “No One In The World” (#5 R&B, #9 AC, #44 Pop) and the title track “Caught Up In The Rapture” (#6 R&B, #9 AC, #37 Pop). Though not released as singles, “You Bring Me Joy” and “Mystery” also become R&B airplay favorites as well. The album wins Anita Baker her first two Grammy Awards including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for the full album) and Best R&B Song (“Sweet Love”) in 1987. “Rapture” spends three weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number eleven on the Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: July 7, 1989 - “Tender Lover”, the second solo album by Babyface is released. Produced by Babyface and L.A. Reid, it is recorded at Elumba Studios, Galaxy Sound in Los Angeles, CA and M'Bila Studios in Hollywood, CA from Late 1988 - Mid 1989. Having made a major name for himself as a songwriter and producer with Deele band mate L.A. Reid during 1987 and 1988 producing huge hits for Bobby Brown, The Whispers, and Pebbles to name a few, Babyface returns to the studio in late 1988 looking to put his own prodigious talents as a singer and songwriter front and center. Having released the modestly successful solo album titled “Lovers” in 1986, it does not get the full promotional support of Solar Records then distributor Capitol Records resulting in light sales. With Solar signing a distribution deal with Sony Music through Epic Records, the label has the companies full support and marketing muscle behind him this time out. A solid balance of uptempo tracks mixed with Face’s signature ballads, the resulting album is a grand tour de force, and regarded as one of the best R&B albums of the era. “Tender Lover” also experiences major pop crossover success as well as cementing Babyface’s reputation with his core African American fan base, also making him a huge crossover solo star in the process. It spin off four singles including “It’s No Crime” (#1 R&B, #7 Pop), “Whip Appeal” (#2 R&B, #6 Pop), and the title track (#1 R&B, #14 Pop). Several other songs like “Soon As I Get Home”, “Sunshine”, and “Given A Chance”, though not released as singles, become huge fan favorites and airplay staples on Quiet Storm format stations. It receives three Grammy nominations including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Producer Of The Year in 1990. The album is remastered in 2001 with the 12" mixes of “Whip Appeal”, “My Kinda Girl” and the dub mix of the title track added as bonus tracks. “Tender Lover” spends eleven weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
E•MO•TION is an album made of perfect touches - the way Carly’s melodies swoop around, never quite settling; the million little production flourishes (the sax in “Run Away With Me” or the slap bass in “All That”) that add detail and texture to her streamlined synthpop; lyrics that aren’t afraid to sacrifice easy platitude-ism for something more awkward, anxious, and dark. Here, that perfect touch is provided by a bone-simple drum track, mixed perfectly in and countering the Robyn-esque 80′s storm of the production, that powers the song forward as Carly launches herself to greater and greater heights of anguish. That, and “I love you!/ I’m sorry!/ I’m sorry!/ I love you!”, desperation and desire mingling together to the point of explosion. Carly’s greatest trick is making impossible alchemy look easy: this is utterly flawless pop.