Otis Williams

The Temptations performing in Newark, New Jersey, 1968. 

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I guess it’s sacrilege to grow up in Memphis but prefer Eno’s take on a Stax song? This cover was on the Married to the Mob OST.

(Looking at Demme’s works on wikipedia and realizing how little I know. I’ve watched that New Order video maybe 50 times over the years, own a copy of Stop Making Sense, saw Something Wild and Married to the Mob in the theater (but remember nothing of the MTTM plot, only that the soundtrack was pretty good and weird) and I think my dad must’ve taped Swimming to Cambodia off HBO because I remember it too, improbably. His big brand-name movies – I guess I never got around to them.)

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On this day in music history: May 22, 1981 - “It Must Be Magic”, the fourth album by Teena Marie is released. Produced by Teena Marie, it is recorded at Motown Hitsville U.S.A. Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA and Wanderland Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1980 - Early 1981. With her previous album “Irons In The Fire” still on the charts, Teena Marie begins work on her fourth release. Utilizing the members of her touring band including Allen McGrier (bass), Paul Hines (drums), James S. Stewart (keyboard), Jill Jones and Mickey Hearn (backing vocals), she is also supported in the studio other guest musicians including Patrice Rushen (keyboards), Gerald Albright (saxophone), Bill Wolfer (synthesizer), Temptations members Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Stone City Band Members Oscar Alston (bass), Tom McDermott (guitar), Daniel LeMelle (saxophone), and Marie’s friend and mentor Rick James (vocals). The first single “Square Biz” (#3 R&B, #12 Club Play, #50 Pop) co-written with McGrier is an immediate smash becoming Teena’s biggest single to date. It is also unique in the fact that it is one of the first R&B songs to incorporate rap verses into it, at a time when rap is still considered by many to be a novelty. The title track “It Must Be Magic” (#30 R&B), features The Temptations’ Melvin Franklin reprising his spoken vocal from The Marvelettes’ 1967 single “My Baby Must Be A Magician”. The third single “Portuguese Love” (#54 R&B) becomes a Quiet Storm radio classic and a fan favorite. When the album is released in the Spring of 1981, it is another major success for Marie, climbing to the runner up spot on the R&B chart, ironically behind Rick James’ “Street Songs”. In spite of the success, it also marks the beginning of the end of her relationship with Motown Records, when she has issues with the label over her contract and royalty payments. Hiring attorney Don Engel to represent her, Teena looks to be released from her contract. The ensuing legal battle between both sides results in “The Brockert Initiative”, a history making piece of legal legislation making it illegal for a record label to hold an artist under contract without releasing new material, or allowing that artist to leave and sign with another label. Eventually she is released from Motown and signs with Epic Records in 1983. First released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 2002, with liner notes by A Scott Galloway. The 12" mix of “Square Biz” replaces the slightly shorter LP version, and includes three additional bonus tracks including the instrumental mix of “Biz” and two live tracks recorded at the Long Beach Arena on July 30, 1981. The original nine track album is remastered and reissued in Japan in 2013 as an SHM-CD, packaged in a mini-LP sleeve. “It Must Be Magic” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty three on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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They are going to feel the pain and suffering of every last victim. They’re gonna crawl on on their hands and knees, and they’re gonna beg me for mercy. But all I’m gonna have for them is pain. Pain and death!