On this day in music history: July 29, 1968 - “Hush” by Deep Purple is released. Written by Joe South, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the British hard rock band from Hertford, Hertfordshire, UK. Formed in March of 1968, the original line up includes guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Nick Simper and lead singer Rod Evans. Originally calling themselves Roundabout, the band change their name to Deep Purple taking it from the title of the standard best known in its version by brother and sister duo Nino Tempo and April Stevens. The name is suggested by Ritchie Blackmore, as song is a favorite of his grandmother. Deep Purple are quickly signed by EMI Records in the UK, and to Tetragrammaton Records in the US, a newly formed record label co-owned by comedian Bill Cosby and his manager Roy Silver. Working with producer Derek Lawrence (Outlaws, Wishbone Ash), the band begin recording their first album at Pye Studios in London in April of 1968. Not having enough material of their own, the band fill out their album with several covers including the song “Hush”. Written American guitarist Joe South (“Games People Play”, “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”), it is originally recorded by singer Billy Joe Royal (“Down In The Boondocks”) in 1967. One of the main hooks “hush, hush… though I heard her calling my name…”, South takes inspiration from an old gospel song in which the lyric is originally written as “Hush I thought I heard Jesus calling my name”. Royal’s version stalls at #52 on the Hot 100 in October of 1967. Deep Purple record their version of “Hush” on April 21, 1968, with a dramatic re-arrangement, giving it an aggressive and hard rocking edge. Released first on EMI’s Parlophone Records imprint on June 21, 1968, the record fails to chart in their home country. Issued in the US on Tetragrammaton five weeks later, it fares decidely better. Entering the Hot 100 at #83 on August 17, 1968, it leaps up the chart, peaking at #4 on September 21, 1968. The accompanying album “Shades Of Deep Purple” also performs well, peaking at number twenty four on the Billboard Top 200. An instant classic, “Hush” establishes Deep Purple as one the premier British hard rock bands, paving the way for other iconic British bands that follow including Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The band revisit their first hit in 1988, recording a new version of “Hush” for the album “Nobody’s Perfect”, with the remake peaking at #62 on the UK singles chart and #44 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The original version is used in numerous films including “Apollo 11”, “When Strangers Appear” and “Beyond The Sea”. Deep Purple’s version of “Hush” is also sampled by the Beastie Boys on their single “Hey Ladies” in 1989. Due to threat of a lawsuit, the original sample is removed from the album and single releases of the song, but remains intact on the audio track for the music video.
45 years ago today, Pink Floyd’s soundtrack album MORE was released.
This is Pink Floyd’s first full album without founding member Syd Barrett, who was ousted from the group in early 1968 during the recording of their previous album, A Saucerful of Secrets. It is one of the two Pink Floyd albums to feature David Gilmour as the sole lead vocalist, the other being 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and it is also the first album to be produced by Pink Floyd without assistance from Norman Smith. It was recorded at Pye Studios, Marble Arch, London and engineered by Brian Humphries.
On this day in music history: October 2, 1964 - “The Kinks/You Really Got Me”, the debut album by The Kinks is released. Produced by Shel Talmy, it is recorded at Pye Studios 1 & 2, and IBC Studios in London from July - August 1964. The album features the bands breakthrough hit “You Really Got Me” (#1 UK, #7 US Pop). The US version of the album (re-titled after the current hit) will contain three fewer tracks than the UK release. It also feature another Ray Davies original, “Stop Your Sobbing” which is later covered by by Davies’ future girlfriend/ex-wife Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. The album is remastered and reissued several times over the years in 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2011. The 2011 edition features a second CD with more bonus tracks. “The Kinks/You Really Got Me” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, and number twenty nine on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: September 15, 1967 - “Something Else By The Kinks”, the fifth album by The Kinks is released. Produced by Shel Talmy and Ray Davies, it is recorded at Pye Studios in London from April 1966 - July 1967. Recorded over a fifteen month period, it is the last Kinks album to be co-produced by Shel Talmy. Ray Davies takes over the production midway through recording. It spins off the classic “Waterloo Sunset” (#2 UK), about watching two lovers walking over a bridge (written about Davies sister and boyfriend leaving England and immigrating to another country). The album sells poorly in the US and the single does not chart (largely due to a ban placed on the band by the American Federation Of Musicians union, which prevent them from securing visas to perform and tour in the US), it is later regarded one of the bands’ finest. The album is first remastered and reissued in 1998, with eight additional bonus tracks added. An expanded two CD remaster is issued in 2011, with the first disc containing sixteen bonus tracks including a radio broadcast recorded for the BBC in 1967. The second disc features the original stereo mix of the album nine alternate versions and stereo mixes, including first time stereo versions of several previously mono only B-sides. “Something Else By The Kinks” peaks at number one hundred fifty three on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: January 23, 1965 - “Downtown” by Petula Clark hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Tony Hatch, it is the biggest hit for the British pop singer and actress from Epsom, Surrey, UK. The song is inspired by a trip that Hatch takes to New York in 1964. Originally intended for The Drifters, Hatch plays the still unfinished song for Petula Clark who immediately expresses interest in it. It is recorded at Pye Studios in London on October 16, 1964 and released a few weeks later in early November. The single is an instant smash, first climbing to #2 on the UK singles chart in December (held off the top by The Beatles “I Feel Fine”), then quickly taking hold on the US charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on December 19, 1964, it will streak to the top of the chart five weeks later. The single wins Petula Clark the Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Recording in 1965. Clark re-records the song in German, French, and Italian during its initial run on the charts. She later records it again in 1976 (as a disco version), in 1984 and once again in 1988, with remixes of the original 1964 recording done in 1988, 1999, and 2003. Petula Clark’s original recording of “Downtown” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2004.