On this day in music history: July 19, 1980 - “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” by Billy Joel hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Billy Joel, it is the first chart topping single for the singer, songwriter and musician from Hicksville, Long Island, NY. The song is inspired by a conversation that Joel has with his publicist and manager over his image, and his unwillingness to change or conform to current trends. All of this is influential in the stylistic turn that Billy Joel takes with his seventh album “Glass Houses”. Featuring a more straight ahead rock sound than his previous work, it becomes one of his most successful and acclaimed works. Issued as the follow up to the albums first single “You May Be Right” (#7 Pop) in early May of 1980, “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” is a smash right out of the gate. Entering the Hot 100 at #38 on May 24, 1980, it climbs to the top the charts eight weeks later. The success of the single drives the “Glass Houses” album to over 5x Platinum status (as certified by the RIAA) in the US alone. The music video for the song, a performance clip features Joel singing a live vocal to the original track. “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: July 19, 1986 - “Invisible Touch” by Genesis hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, it is the biggest hit for the progressive rock band from Godalming, Surrey, UK. While his third solo album “No Jacket Required” is still riding high in the charts, Phil Collins re-joins his Genesis band mates keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford in the Fall of 1985 to begin work on the follow up to their previous album “Genesis”, released two years earlier. Recording at their studio The Farm in Chiddingfold, Surrey, the idea for what will become “Invisible Touch”, evolves out of an in studio jam session while the band are working on the track “The Last Domino”. Rutherford begins playing the songs signature riff as Collins improvises the line “she seems to have an invisible touch”. Realizing they’re on to something, they begin crafting a song around those parts. The trio agree that it is a hit, deciding that it not only will it be the title track of their next album, but be released as its first single. Issued on May 19, 1986, “Invisible Touch” is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #45 on May 31, 1986, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The week that “Invisible Touch” tops the US singles charts, Genesis’ former lead singer Peter Gabriel move up to number two on the Hot 100 with “Sledgehammer”. It marks the first time in Billboard chart history that a band and one of its former members have held down the top two positions on the Hot 100. Gabriel succeeds Genesis at the top of the chart the following week on July 26, 1986, giving him his highest charting single in the US as well. “Touch” is also released with an extended 12" version, remixed by John “Tokes” Potoker (also having previously remixed Collins’ “Sussudio” and Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”). In the UK, Virgin Records issues a limited edition 7" vinyl single of the song pressed on clear vinyl with custom labels, and packaged in a die cut fold out sleeve. “Invisible Touch” is the first of five consecutive top five singles to be released from the album, helping propel it to over 6x Platinum status in the US.
On this day in music history: July 19, 1969 - “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” by Jr. Walker & The All Stars hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on August 9, 1969. Written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and Vernon Bullock, it is the second R&B chart topper for the Motown singer and saxophonist. The track is recorded in late 1968 at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit with members of The Funk Brothers sitting in for members of Walker’s band. The Originals (“Baby I’m For Real”) and The Andantes, provide the background vocals. “What Does It Take” is initially passed over for release in one of Motown’s Quality Control meetings in favor of another Jr. Walker song titled “Home Cookin’” (#19 R&B, #42 Pop). When that single is only moderately successful, “What Does It Take” is immediately pulled from the vault and is released on April 25, 1969. “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” takes off faster than any of Walker’s singles since “Shotgun” four years before, becoming his second million seller.
On this day in music history: July 19, 1982 - “Donna Summer”, the tenth studio album by Donna Summer is released. Produced by Quincy Jones, it is recorded at Westlake Audio, Allen Zentz Studios and Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA from December 1981 - May 1982. In the Fall of 1981, Geffen Records rejects “I’m A Rainbow”, an eighteen song double LP concept album, it is initially presented as Summer’s projected second full length release for the label. With Geffen deciding to shelve the ambitious project (until 1996), she instead collaborates with producer Quincy Jones. The sessions prove to be difficult as Summer is pregnant with her third child (daughter Amanda Grace Sudano) at the time. Suffering from morning sickness and fatigue throughout most of the sessions, she frequently clashes with Jones over the musical direction of the album. Jones invites numerous artists to contribute songs to the project including Bruce Springsteen, Rod Temperton and Michael Sembello. Label founder David Geffen approaches Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau about the musician writing a song for Donna. Springsteen agrees and initially writes “Cover Me” for Summer. However, Bruce’s manager feels the song is a potential hit for his client and convinces him to keep it for his own album. Springsteen ends up recording the song for himself and includes it on “Born In The USA”, and writes another song instead for Summer. He offers up the rocking “Protection”, of which he also plays guitar and sings background vocals on. The track earns Donna Summer a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1983. It spins off three singles including “Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)” (#10 Pop, #4 R&B) and “State Of Independence” (#41 Pop, #31 R&B), the latter of which includes an all star chorus that includes Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, James Ingram, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Kenny Loggins, Brenda Russell, Dionne Warwick and many others. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 1994 by Casablanca/Mercury Records. Regaining the rights to her albums originally released on Geffen, Summer’s catalog is remastered and reissued two years after her passing in 2014 on the Driven By The Music label, including her self titled album with seven additional bonus tracks. "Donna Summer" peaks at number twenty on the Billboard Top 200, number six on the R&B album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.