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On this day in music history: March 27, 1971 - “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also peaking at #2 for 3 weeks on the Hot 100 on April 10, 1971. Written by Marvin Gaye, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Al Cleveland, it is the fifth R&B chart topper for the “Prince Of Motown”. The initial inspiration of the song comes from Renaldo “Obie” Benson of The Four Tops, after witnessing police viciously beating up anti-war student protesters at People’s Park in Berkeley, CA (while the group are in town for a concert appearance). When he gets back home to Detroit, Benson tells his friend, songwriter Al Cleveland about the incident. The two begin writing the song together with the intention of having The Four Tops record it. When the other group members don’t care for the song, Benson shows it Marvin Gaye. Liking what he hears, Gaye changes the melody and add his own lyrics to the song, drawing upon his own emotional response to the violence sparked by the anti-war protests, and his own disdain for the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. A point that is brought closer to home by his younger brother Frankie, who had served three tours of duty in Vietnam. Once Gaye is finished writing, the basic track is recorded on June 10, 1970 with members of The Funk Brothers, including bassist James Jamerson, who is pulled out of a jam session at a local club to play on the session. At the time, Jamerson is so drunk that he can’t sit on a stool to play. He actually records his bass part while lying on his back on the studio floor. Another overdub session takes place in September with Detroit Lions players Lem Barney and Mel Farr singing  background vocals and add to the “party atmosphere” on the track. When Motown hears the finished song, they initially refuse to release it, feeling that it is “uncommercial”. They eventually relent when Gaye refuses to record anymore new material until it released. Issued on January 17, 1971, “What’s Going On” is a massive smash, selling over a million copies in its first week of release (moving over two and half million copies in the US by the time it drops off the chart), becoming the fastest selling single in Motown’s history to that date.

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O▪ha▪na
(oh-hah-nah) noun
1. Family. Family means nobody
gets left behind ─ or forgotten.

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On this day in music history: March 27, 1984 - “Run-D.M.C.”, the debut album by Run-D.M.C. is released. Produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith, it is recorded at Greene Street Recording in New York City from Mid - Late 1983. The Hollis, Queens, NY rap groups debut changes the face of the genre with its stripped down beats and hard edged rhymes, reflecting a truer vision of hip hop than has previously existed on record. Its impact is felt upon its release, not only expanding the boundaries of rap music, but helping the music grow beyond its original fan base out of the inner city and into the suburbs of America, then around the world. With the single “Rock Box”, Run-DMC is one of the first rap acts to be played on MTV. It spin off four singles including “It’s Like That”, “Rock Box” and “Hard Times”, becoming the first rap album to reach Gold status in the US. In 2005, a deluxe edition of the album is reissued with four bonus tracks. “Run–D.M.C.” peaks at number fourteen on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifty three on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 27, 1965 - “Stop! In The Name Of Love” by The Supremes hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, it is the fourth consecutive chart topping single for the Motown vocal trio featuring Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” is inspired by an argument that Lamont Dozier has with his girlfriend, when he inadvertently blurts out the phrase in the middle of the squabble. The two laugh at what is said and stop arguing. Later, Dozier tells his writing partners about the incident and they write the song about a woman pleading with her man to remain faithful, and not to stray from their relationship. Recorded on January 5, 1965 at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit with The Funk Brothers providing the musical backing, The Supremes add their vocals on January 11, 1965. Shortly after the song is released on February 8, 1965, The Supremes along with several of Motown’s major acts travel to England for a major tour of the country as well as a make an appearance on the popular music series “Ready Steady Go!”. It is on that show that The Supremes debut the signature choreography for “Stop!” with one hand on their hip and the other hand outstretched in a “stop” gesture. Paul Williams and Melvin Franklin of The Temptations come up with the choreography and teach it to the girls prior to the programs taping. Meanwhile, back at home, the single becomes another instant smash for The Supremes. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on February 20, 1965, it streaks to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” also receives a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Rock & Roll Group Performance in 1966, but loses to The Statler Brothers’ “Flowers On The Wall”. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001.

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Born on this day: March 27, 1924 - Jazz vocal icon Sarah Vaughan (born Sarah Lois Vaughan in Newark, NJ). Happy Birthday the legendary “Sassy” on what would have been her 93rd Birthday.

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On this day in music history: March 27, 1995 - “Frogstomp”, the debut album by Silverchair is released. Produced by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, it is recorded at Festival Studios in Pyrmont, New South Wales, Australia from December 27, 1994 - January 17, 1995. Formed only three years before as Death Rides A Sandwich (before changing their name), the Australian rock trio consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannu, and drummer Ben Gillies, get their big break in 1994 when they enter a demo competition conducted by the television show “Nomad” and Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio station Triple J. When they win the competition they are signed to Murmur Records (an Australian subsidiary of Sony Music), and are signed to Epic Records throughout the rest of the world. Their debut album is recorded in just three weeks, all of the members are only fifteen years old at the time of its release. It is an immediate hit on alternative and mainstream rock radio, spinning off five singles including “Tomorrow” (#1 Alternative and Mainstream Rock). “Frogstomp” hits number one on the Australian album chart (going 9x Platinum), peaking at number nine on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 27, 1979 - Eric Clapton marries Pattie Boyd at Temple Bethel in Tuscon, AZ. Boyd, the former wife of ex-Beatle George Harrison (and best friend of Clapton) the subject of Clapton’s songs “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” and deep infatuation tie the knot in a small ceremony. However, Clapton’s infidelity and alcohol problems cause the couple to split in 1988 when Boyd files for divorce.

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On this day in music history: January 24, 1980 - A large billboard to promote Pink Floyd’s album “The Wall” and their four city tour of the US, is erected above the parking lot of the Tower Records store on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA. The billboard has a giant brick wall pasted up in front of it, resembling the cover artwork for “The Wall”. Bricks are removed each day from the billboard, slowly revealing a massive blow up of artist Gerald Scarfe’s artwork from the inner album cover gatefold underneath. The artwork is fully unveiled by the end of the bands’ Los Angeles tour dates in February.

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Born on this day: March 23, 1953 - R&B vocal icon and songwriter Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens in Chicago, IL). Happy 64th Birthday, Chaka!!

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On this day in music history: January 30, 1969 - The Beatles perform live for the last time on the roof of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row in London. Filmed as the climax of the documentary film “Let It Be”, the band perform a forty-two minute long impromptu set (only half appears in the finished film) consisting of the songs “Get Back” (performed twice), “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Dig A Pony”, “One After 909” and “I’ve Got A Feeling”. The performance quickly attracts attention from the street below, drawing a huge crowd, stopping traffic in central London, and leading the police to bring the concert to a halt. The roof top concert captures a rare glimpse of The Beatles during their last days as a functioning unit, and becomes an iconic moment in their history.

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On this day in music history: February 17, 1983 - Music superstar Michael Jackson appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The article titled “Michael Jackson: Life In The Magical Kingdom”, features an in depth interview with the very media shy pop superstar by journalist Gerri Hirshey conducted over the course of several days in the Fall of 1982. In the interview, Jackson talks about his past as a child star and about the current projects he is working on at the time which include the blockbuster album “Thriller” and the “E.T. Storybook Album”. The article reveals a not often seen side of the usually guarded Jackson, revealing himself to be sensitive and playful, but also very business savvy and highly ambitious. The cover photo taken by photographer Bonnie Schiffman is the first time Michael Jackson is featured on the cover of Rolling Stone since 1971, when The Jackson 5 are at the height of their success. The interview is the last major in print interview that Jackson grants during his career. The article is reprinted in the Rolling Stone anthology book “20 Years Of Rolling Stone: What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been” in 1987, and in the Michael Jackson memorial commemorative issue that Rolling Stone publishes in July of 2009.

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On this day in music history: March 25, 1985 - Prince wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for “Purple Rain” at the 57th Annual Academy Awards. The awards ceremony is held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA with the award being presented by actors Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. When he is announced as the winner, Prince is accompanied on stage by Revolution band mates Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin. The shy and soft spoken musician graciously accepts the honor, thanking the Academy, “Purple Rain” director Albert Magnoli, his managers, the members of his band, and God. Prince becomes only the third African American musician in history to win an Academy Award for film music, thirteen years after Isaac Hayes’ win for “The Theme From Shaft” in 1972, and just one year after Irene Cara’s win for “Flashdance… What A Feeling” in 1984.