On this day in music history: September 10, 1980 - “Uptown” by Prince is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the sixth single release for the iconic singer, songwriter, producer and musician from Minneapolis, MN. The songs lyrics address issues of racism, intolerance, and uses the concept of “Uptown” as utopia where none of those things exist, and a place where people are free to be who they are. “Uptown” also makes reference to an area in Minneapolis where the city’s musicians and artists hang out. Prince writes the song around a bass line created by his friend and band mate Andre Cymone, though Cymone does not receive a co-writing credit. The song is recorded in the 16-track studio set up in the home Prince is renting in Wayzata, MN on the north shore of Lake Minnetonka. The exact dates of the recording sessions are not known, but are believed to have taken place during May and June of 1980, at the time that the rest of the “Dirty Mind” album is recorded. Additional overdubs are recorded and mixing takes place at Hollywood Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA in June of 1980. Originally intended to only be a demo recording, Prince’s managers tell him that the song is great and to release it as is. The track, along with the rest of the album is remixed to polish them up before being issued. Entering the Billboard R&B singles chart at #56 on October 4, 1980, “Uptown” peaks at #5 on the Billboard R&B chart on December 6, 1980, and #101 Bubbling Under on the Hot 100. The song becomes a fan favorite, and is played on numerous Prince tours over the years. “Uptown” also becomes the name of a long running Prince fan magazine featuring articles and photos of the musician.
Jackie Ross “Selfish One” (Chess 1903, R&B#4 Pop#11, 1964)
One of my favorite uptown soul songs of all time, and one of the best selling of the genre was Jackie Ross’s first single for Chess Records. Patterned after Mary Wells’s Motown style, but borrowing the element of elegant Strings that appeared consistently on Brill Building work by Maxine Brown and Dionne Warwick, this fusion (although it can be said that Juanita Williams “Baby Boy” was the first song in this style) was so influential that it influenced songs as different as Brenda Holloway’s version of “When I’m Gone” Dusty Springfield’s “Some of Your Lovin’” and Edwin Starr’s “S.O.S (Stop Her On Sight)” (Check the the intro to the last one, it’s virtually identical to “Selfish One”).
Released in the fall of 1964, in the absence of Mary Wells, it rocketed to the R&B Top five, #1 in some regions like Jackie’s home base of Chicago, and barely missed the Top 10 pop listings. Unfortunately this auspicious start was fumbled: for whatever reason all of her follow-ups barely made the bottom of the Hot 100, and she exited Chess for Brunswick in 1966, but never restored the luster of her debut hit.
01. I Want You Back / 02. Teenage Dream / 03. Bad / 04. Glad You Came / 05. Somewhere Only We Know / 06. Live While We’re Young / 07. Blackbird / 08. Whistle / 09. Bills, Bills, Bills / 10. Help! / 11. When I Get You Alone / 12. Animal / 13. Raise Your Glass / 14. My Dark Side / 15. Uptown Girl / 16. Hey, Soul Sister / 17. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? / 18. My Sharona / 19. Smooth Criminal / 20. Silly Love Songs / 21. Misery / 22. Candles / 23. What Kind Of Fool / 24. Sing / 25. Stand / 26. All You Need Is Love.
This was inspired by the complete lack of ideas for this prompt, volleyball games I’ve played, and a desire to write a fluffy-ish college au because I absolutely love those, and procrastination. And of course, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
When Maka Albarn meets Soul Evans, he’s snarling by himself to no one in particular and emanating a don’t-look-at-me vibe, but she decides that his eyes are too dreamy
to admire from afar and soon she’s crossing the gymnasium and dropping down
beside him, folding her legs and grinning.
Betty Harris “It’s Dark Outside” (Jubilee 5465-B, 1964)
As the veil parts, we pack away Daylight Savings Time. We trade dark mornings with sunrises approaching 8 am in some parts of the United States for dark evenings where the sun lowers below the horizon before many of us leave our offices and shifts and we float like live ghosts into darkened worlds in search of dinners, decompression and companionship.
It won’t be dark 24 hours of the day like the heartbreak Betty Harris sings about. But seemed appropriate as we make that shift into darker, introspective days as we start bringing together what has been a turbulent year for many of us to reach back in introspection what we’ve lived through, properly grieve the losses and be thankful for those moments that we’re still here, and have plenty of things to hope and wonder for.
The sun does shine again, even after thunderous ends of B-sides of uptown soul.
Taken after my team in Sakura-Con 2016′s Late Night Cosplay Chess won! I still hadn’t put my shoes back on so I felt a little silly, but I’m still pretty happy with how this cosplay turned out given that I made the cloak and did the wig in about 2 days. I’m still not sure many people really understood that I was cosplaying Kid from the end of the manga and not just being weirdly symmetrical for no reason!
Here’s a full shot from Sakura-Con 2016 of my new Death the Kid cosplay, his final, fully-awakened shinigami form from the end of the manga! I didn’t get much time to wear him since I only had time to change into him shortly before having to attend the Late Night Cosplay Chess as King, but I’ll make up for it next time!