On this day in music history: July 27, 1983 - “Madonna”, the debut album by Madonna is released. Produced by Reggie Lucas, John “Jellybean” Benitez and Mark Kamins, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from May 1982 - April 1983. Proceeded by the singles “Everybody” and “Burning Up”, Madonna works with former Mtume guitarist Reggie Lucas on the album until the two have musical differences during the sessions. Lucas abruptly leaves the project midway through the recording. Madonna calls upon her then boyfriend, club DJ, producer, and remixer “Jellybean” Benitez to help finish mixing and recording the album. It sells slowly for the first few months of release until “Holiday” (#16 Pop, #25 R&B, #1 Club Play) is issued as a single in September of 1983. Within a year, it spins off the top 10 hits “Borderline” (#10 Pop) and “Lucky Star” (#4 Pop). Its belated success delays the release of the follow up album “Like A Virgin” (recorded in the Spring of 1984) by several months, it ascends the charts during the Spring, Summer and Fall of 1984. Original vinyl LP, cassette and CD pressings of “Madonna” include a shorter version of the tracks “Everybody” running 4:57 and “Burning Up”, running 3:41. The remastered CD released in 2001 substitutes original version of “Everybody” for the 12" version clocking in at 6:02. Later LP pressings also include a longer version of “Burning Up” running 4:48, also used on the European release of the album, and remastered CD. The album is remastered and reissued in 2001 with the track line up from the second LP pressing, and includes the original 12" dance mixes of “Burning Up” and “Lucky Star” as bonus tracks.
Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records in 2016.
“Madonna” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, number twenty on the R&B album chart, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 20, 1975 - “Fame” by David Bowie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks (non-consecutive). also peaking at #21 on the R&B singles chart on October 18, 1975. Written by David Bowie, Carlos Alomar and John Lennon, it is the first US chart topper for the British rock superstar born David Robert Jones. The song comes about after Bowie meets John Lennon in New York during the sessions for the “Young Americans” album. While most of the album is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with Tony Visconti producing, “Fame” is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village with producer Harry Maslin, with the initial riff coming from Bowie’s guitarist Carlos Alomar. Lennon comes up with title (also playing guitar and singing background vocals), with Bowie writing the lyrics. Released in June of 1975 as the albums second single, it quickly finds favor on both pop and R&B radio stations. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on June 28, 1975, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. After one week on top, the single is bumped from the number one spot on September 27, 1975, yielding to John Denver’s double A-sided hit “Calypso/I’m Sorry” for one week, “Fame” rebounds and regains the number one position for one more week on October 4, 1975. New remixes of the classic song titled “Fame 90” are remixed by engineer Jon Gass (Babyface), Arthur Baker, and D.J. Mark “The 45 King. The 45 King mix features rap verses by Queen Latifah. The remixes are released as a 12” single, and “The Gass Mix” is also included on the soundtrack of the film “Pretty Woman”, and the hits compilation “Changesbowie”. “Fame” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Bowie, Sclaky, and Springsteen at Sigma Sound Studio. August 1974.
“Bowie, a fan of rocker Bruce Springsteen, had recorded a Springsteen song, but the night they met at Sigma Sound, Bowie was too shy to play it for him. Springsteen thought Bowie ‘was some weird space guy.’”
On this day in music history: May 31, 1983 - “Speaking In Tongues”, the fifth studio album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Talking Heads, it is recorded at Blank Tapes Studios, Sigma Sound Studios in New York City and Compass Point Studios in Nassau, The Bahamas from July 1982 - February 1983. Their first album of new studio material since “Remain In Light” three years earlier, the band create their most accessible and commercially successful album. It spins off two singles including their biggest hit “Burning Down The House” (#9 Pop) and “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” (#62 Pop). “Tongues” is also supported by their largest tour to date, which also produces the live concert film and album “Stop Making Sense” in 1984. Pop Artist Robert Rauschenberg wins a Grammy Award (for Best Album Package) for the limited edition LP package which includes a clear vinyl LP (with three additional clear plastic discs with collages printed on each) housed in a clear plastic cover. The original cassette version of the album contains longer versions of the tracks “I Get Wild/Wild Gravity”, “Slippery People”, “Girlfriend Is Better”, “Moon Rocks” and “Making Flippy Floppy” that were edited for time to fit on a single LP. In 2006, a remastered DualDisc CD of the album is issued including the longer versions of the songs from the cassette release, along two additional bonus tracks. The second side of the disc is a DVD-A featuring high resolution stereo and 5.1 surround mixes of the album and the music videos for “Burning Down The House” and “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”. In 2009, the album is also issued as a limited edition SHM-CD, replicating the Rauschenberg designed packaging in mini-LP form. “Speaking In Tongues” peaks at number fifteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 10, 1985 - “Little Creatures”, the sixth album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Talking Heads, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from October 1984 - March 1985. Following the tour in support of “Speaking In Tongues”, Talking Heads spend much of 1984 writing and rehearsing material for their next studio album. For their next project, the band work with engineer Eric “E.T. Thorngren after mixing the audio for their live concert film and album "Stop Making Sense”. Recorded under the working titles of “Wild Infancy” and “In Defense Of Television, "Little Creatures” marks a shift away from the poly rhythmic sound of the previous album and its predecessors “Remain In Light” and “Fear Of Music”, instead writing material that explores elements of country music and Americana. The albums colorful and idiosyncratic artwork is illustrated by artist Howard Finster, a Baptist minister from Georgia who has also painted the cover art for R.E.M.’s second album “Reckoning. "Creatures” is another critical and commercial success for Talking Heads, becoming their best selling studio album. It spins off two singles including “Road To Nowhere” (#105 Pop) and “And She Was” (#54 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued in 2005 as a DualDisc CD with the standard stereo redbook CD on one side, and a DVD-A side with a 5.1 surround mix of the album as well as the music videos for “Road To Nowhere” and “And She Was”. “Little Creatures” peaks at number twenty on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: May 27, 1978 - “Use Ta Be My Girl” by The O'Jays hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, and will peak at #4 on the Hot 100 on July 8, 1978. Written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it is the eighth R&B chart topper for the R&B vocal trio from Canton, OH. With former Little Anthony & The Imperials member Sammy Strain replacing the late William Powell earlier in 1977, his first album as a full time member is “Travelin’ At The Speed Of Thought”, released in May of that year. In spite of spinning off the R&B top ten hit “Work On Me” (#7 R&B), it fails to chart on the Hot 100 with the album itself barely reaching Gold status. Gamble and Huff recommit themselves to coming up with stronger material for the next O'Jays album. Among the three songs the production duo write for them is “Use Ta Be My Girl”. The track is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia in Late 1977, featuring members of the labels in house studio band including Bobby Eli, Roland Chambers (guitars), Quinton Joseph (drums), Larry Washington (percussion) and Jimmy Williams (bass). Both the producers and the group are somewhat doubtful of the retro sounding songs hit potential until after its release. Issued as the first single from the groups twelfth studio album “So Full Of Love” on March 21, 1978, “Girl” is an immediate smash right out of the gate. The single spends a total of twenty one weeks on the R&B chart and nineteen weeks on the Hot 100, longer than any of their previous hits. The success of the single drives the accompanying album to Platinum status in the US. “Use Ta Be My Girl” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.