march 1983

5

On this day in music history: June 25, 1984 - “Purple Rain”, the sixth album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at First Avenue (w/ mobile recording truck) in Minneapolis, MN, The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, MN, The Record Plant in New York, NY, and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA from August 1983 - March 1984. Serving as the soundtrack to Prince’s motion picture debut, it is the first album officially credited to Prince & The Revolution. Recording of the music for the film begins on August 3, 1983 when the band perform a live benefit show at First Avenue in Minneapolis. The performance marks the debut of new guitarist Wendy Melvoin, with the master versions of “I Would Die 4 U” (#8 Pop, #11 R&B), “Baby I’m A Star” and the title track being recorded at this show. These performances appear on the finished album with only minimal post production. The film and albums rousing opener “Let’s Go Crazy” (#1 Pop and R&B) is recorded at Prince’s rehearsal space “The Warehouse”, after he asks recording engineer Susan Rogers to pull the equipment out of his home studio. The basic track is cut live in spite of having no isolation between the musicians, and electrical interference from various appliances in the building. The track “Take Me With U” (#25 Pop, #40 R&B), the artists duet with Apollonia Kotero is originally slated to appear on Apollonia 6’s album, but Prince changes his mind and includes it on “Purple Rain”. Original LP copies are packaged with a poster of the band (taken during the video shoot for “When Doves Cry”), with a limited number of US promo copies (some stock copies in foreign territories) pressed on purple vinyl. Released four weeks ahead of the film, the soundtrack is an instant critical and commercial smash, launching Prince into worldwide super stardom. It spins off five singles including “When Doves Cry” (#1 Pop and R&B), and the title track (#2 Pop and #4 R&B), becoming the sixth best selling soundtrack of all time. It also wins two Grammy Awards in 1985. “Purple Rain” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2011, and in 2012 is added to the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress. On June 23, 2017, remastered editions of the album are reissued on CD, including a Deluxe Edition 3 CD + DVD set. The deluxe version includes the original album on disc one, with disc two featuring eleven bonus tracks of previously unreleased material. Disc three contains the 7" edits and 12" extended versions. The DVD features the “Prince & The Revolution Live!” concert video originally released in 1985. It is also issued with the new remaster on standard black vinyl, and as a picture disc. “Purple Rain” spends twenty four consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, nineteen consecutive weeks at number one on the R&B album chart, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

vimeo

On this day in music history: May 21, 1983 - “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on April 30, 1983, and peaking at #14 on the R&B singles chart on May 28, 1983. Written by David Bowie, it is the second US chart topper for the British rock icon. Newly signed to a worldwide record deal with EMI Records in 1982 worth over $10 million, David Bowie collaborates with musician Nile Rodgers of Chic on his first album with the label. Before the recording sessions begin, Bowie plays Rodgers a number of new songs he has written including one titled “Let’s Dance”. Originally written on a 12-string acoustic guitar, Bowie’s original arrangement bares almost no resemblance to what it becomes. Rodgers takes the folk-rock acoustic based song, and transforms it into a funky, uptempo dance rock song. Recorded at The Power Station in New York City in December of 1982, “Let’s Dance” along with the rest of the accompanying album is recorded in under three weeks. “Dance” features most of the core rhythm section of Chic including Tony Thompson (drums), Rob Sabino (keyboards), Sammy Figueroa (percussion) and Rodgers himself (guitar) as well as Carmine Rojas (bass), and a then little known blues guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan providing the stinging lead guitar on the track. The title track from David Bowie’s fifteenth studio album, it is released in March of 1983 and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #59 on March 26, 1983, it  climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The single also tops the chart in the UK, becoming his third chart topper in his home country. “Dance” not only become Bowie’s biggest single and album, but also introduces him to a new audience, winning him a new generation of fans. “Let’s Dance” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

As a child and later a teenager, Tammy Lynn Leppert won almost every beauty contest she participated in. She also worked as a model and had started a film career, with small roles in the movies “Scarface” (1983) and “Spring break” (1983). It was after she finished filming the latter, in July 1982, that she started to behave strangely, according to her family. A year later, she went missing.

Tammy was last seen on July 6th, 1983, when she was 18 years old. That morning she went out with a male friend and never came back home. The friend claims that they got involved in a verbal argument and she asked him to let her out of the car. He dropped her near a gas station in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Her mother Linda says that Tammy changed after going to the wrap party for the shooting of “Spring break”. According to her, after coming back from it she seemed withdrawn, increasingly paranoid and believed someone was trying to kill her. Later, in March 1983, while she was filming “Scarface”, she had a breakdown on set after witnessing a scene of someone getting shot. She had to quit and go back home. A few days before he disappearence, she had another meltdown. Her mother took her to a mental hospital to get an evaluation, but aside from determining there were no drugs in her system, nothing came from that, even though she spent 72 hours on observation. She disappeared the day after her release.

There are several theories in this case. One is that Tammy ran away willingly because of family problems, a mental illness or another reason. Another, believed by Linda, is that her daughter saw or experienced something in that party that made her a target. Suspects that have been linked to this case are serial killer Christopher Wilder and John Brennan Crutchley, who kidnapped and raped a woman in Florida in 1985 and drank her blood until he almost killed her, which earned him the nickname of “Vampire Rapist”. He’s a suspect in several murders and kidnappings, but was never tried for them and committed suicide in 2002, while serving a life sentence.