boz scaggs

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On this day in music history: June 29, 1976 - “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs is released. Written by Boz Scaggs and David Paich, it is the biggest hit for the San Francisco, CA based singer, songwriter and musician. Co-written by Scaggs and future Toto co-founder and keyboardist David Paich, the track also features future Toto members Jeff Porcaro (drums) and David Hungate (bass), along with veteran studio guitarists Fred Tackett and Louie Shelton and background vocalists Carolyn Willis, Jim Gilstrap, Augie Johnson and Marty McCall. The song is originally considered just an album track, with Scaggs and Paich believing that CBS Records won’t release it as a single, and that radio will not play it. When “Silk Degrees” is released in March of 1976, the albums’ first two singles “What Can I Say” and “It’s Over” receive only a lukewarm response from radio and the public, with the album not fairing any better. Then a DJ at an R&B radio station in Cleveland, OH discovers “Lowdown”, and begins playing the track off of the album. The response is overwhelmingly positive and begins to spread to other stations independently of any direct promotional effort by CBS Records. CBS responds quickly by releasing it as a single and promoting it to both pop and R&B radio. It becomes Scaggs’ biggest hit, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, #5 on the R&B singles chart, and #5 on the Club Play chart. The success of “Lowdown” sets the “Silk Degrees” album on the path to selling well over five million copies in the US, spending five weeks at #2 on the Top 200. The song wins Scaggs and Paich a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1977. “Lowdown” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.