BEHIND THE GROOVES: a music blog by Jeff Harris

On this day in music history: July 22, 1989 - “Turned Away” by Chuckii Booker hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week. Written by Chuckii Booker and Donnell Spencer, Jr., it will be the biggest hit for the former childhood keyboard prodigy, who is mentored in his early years by his godfather, musician Barry White. Booker will get his big break when he plays keyboards on saxophonist Gerald Albright’s albums “Just Between Us” and “Bermuda Nights”. Albright’s manager will hear demos that Booker has recorded during 1988, and will help him get signed to Atlantic Records. Upon hearing “Turned Away”, it will be selected for single release by then Atlantic Records A&R exec Sylvia Rhone, unbeknownst to Booker who is initially skeptical about its commercial potential. The success of his solo debut album will land him a coveted spot as the musical director of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour” in 1990, also later working with artists such as Troop, Vanessa Williams, Mary J. Blige, New Edition, TLC, and Keyshia Cole.

Born on this day: July 22, 1941 - Singer, songwriter and P-Funk founder George Clinton (born in Kannapolis, NC). Happy 73rd Birthday, George!!

On this day in music history: July 22, 1978 - “You And I” by Rick James hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #13 on the Hot 100 on September 23, 1978. Written by Rick James, it is the chart topping single for the singer songwriter and musician from Buffalo, NY. James had previously recorded for the label in 1966 as a member of The Mynah Birds, a band led by James and guitarist Neil Young. The recordings will be shelved when Motown finds out he is AWOL from the US Navy at the time. He will return to the label in 1977, signing with subsidiary label Gordy Records after playing his songs for Motown staff producer Jeffrey Bowen. Pairing him with engineer/producer Art Stewart (Marvin Gaye), the duo will complete the tracks James had begun recording at a small eight-track recording studio (Crossed-Eyed Bear Studios in Clarence, NY) near his hometown of Buffalo. James will write the song as an ode to his marriage with his then wife. Issued as a single in April of 1978, it is the first release from his debut album “Come Get It!”. will quickly become a fixture on R&B radio and the dance floor before crossing over to the pop chart. The success of “You And I” will drive sales of “Come Get It!” to Platinum status in the US.

On this day in music history: July 22, 1977 - “My Aim Is True”, the debut album by Elvis Costello is released (US release is in March 1978). Produced by Nick Lowe it is recorded at Pathway Studios in London circa Late 1976 - Early 1977. After six years of performing in pubs and clubs around his native Liverpool, Costello will receive his big break in 1976 when he submits demo recordings of several songs to Stiff Records in the hopes of being signed to the new label. Initially, the label is only interested in him as a staff songwriter (for musician Dave Edmunds), but will be persuaded to sign him as a recording artist. The album will be recorded in 24 hours of studio time (cut in six four hour sessions at a cost of £1,000) spread out over several weeks. Recording with members of the band Clover, Costello will often take time off (calling in sick) from his day job as a data entry clerk in order to rehearse and record the material. It will spin off the classics “Alison” and “(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes”. “My Aim Is True” will peak at number thirty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 22, 1974 - “Fulfillingess’ First Finale”, the seventeenth studio album by Stevie Wonder is released. Produced by Stevie Wonder, Robert Margouleff, and Malcolm Cecil, it is recorded at The Record Plant and Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, CA, Media Sound Studios and Electric Lady Studios in New York City from Mid 1973 - Early 1974. Issued as the follow up to the critically acclaimed and commercially successful “Innervisions”, it will be received in similar fashion for the depth and very personal tone of the songs’ lyrics and innovative production style. It will spin off the hits “You Haven’t Done Nothin’ (#1 R&B and Pop) and “Boogie On Reggae Woman” (#1 R&B, #3 Pop). “Fulfillingess’ First Finale” will spend two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and five weeks at number one on the R&B album chart. The album will win four Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year, making Wonder the only other artist in Grammy history besides Frank Sinatra to win the Album Of The Year prize in consecutive years.

On this day in music history: July 22, 1966 - “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” by John Mayall & The Blues Breakers is released. Produced by Mike Vernon, it is recorded at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London, UK in March 1966. The album will initially be planned as a live recording, but the recordings are scrapped and the band will record in the studio instead. It will be released to great acclaim upon its release in the UK, further cementing Eric Clapton’s reputation as a brilliant lead guitarist, and is regarded as one of the quintessential British blues recordings. Clapton will use his newly acquired (and now legendary) 1960 Les Paul during the sessions. The album’s now famous cover photo features the band posed together looking at the camera, with Clapton eyes averted reading a “Beano” comic book. In 2006, Universal Music Group will release a 2 CD Deluxe Edition of the album featuring a remastered version of the original album with the original stereo and mono mixes, with the second disc featuring live recordings made for and originally broadcast on the BBC radio program “Saturday Club Sessions” as well as the stand alone single “Lonely Years” and its original B-side “Bernard Jenkins”. “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” will peak at number six on the UK album chart.

On this day in music history: July 21, 1987 - “Who’s That Girl - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is released. Produced by Patrick Leonard, Madonna, Stephen Bray, Jay King, Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy, David Agent, Stock Aitken & Waterman, David Gamson, John Potoker, and Hubert Eaves III, it is recorded in Various Studios from December 1986 - March 1987. The album serves as the soundtrack to Madonna’s third film (originally titled “Slammer”), featuring four new songs by her as well as tracks by Club Nouveau, Scritti Politti, Coati Mundi, Michael Davidson, and Duncan Faure. Though the film is universally panned by critics and flops at the box office, the soundtrack album will perform well, spinning off the singles “Causing A Commotion” (#2 Pop) and the chart topping title track. “Who’s That Girl - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” will peak at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 21, 1987 - “Appetite For Destruction”, the debut album by Guns N’ Roses is released. Produced by Mike Clink, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders, Take One Studios in Los Angeles, CA and Can-Am Studios in Tarzana, CA from August - December 1986. In spite of a solid following on the rock club scene in L.A., the album will initially get off to slow start, taking more than a year it to earn signficant sales and upward chart momentum. Through a relentless tour schedule, the band will grow their fanbase beyond their hometown borders, eventually leading to MTV playing their videos. It will eventually spin off five hit singles including “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (#1 Pop), “Welcome To The Jungle” (#7 Pop) and “Paradise City” (#5 Pop), being certified 18x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, becoming one of the best selling debut albums of all time. “Appetite” is credited with bringing hard rock back to mainstream popularity during an era that is dominated by dance oriented pop music and lightweight pop metal acts. The albums’ original cover artwork by Robert Williams will be changed after some retailers refuse to stock it because of its graphic and violent imagery. “Appetite For Destruction” will hit number one on the Billboard Top 200 for five weeks (non-consecutive) in its 50th week on the chart on August 6, 1988.

On this day in music history: July 21, 1983 - Diana Ross puts on a free concert in Central Park with over 800,000 fans in attendance. The show is to raise funds to build a playground for children, with the proceeds coming from the television rights purchased by Showtime who broadcast the concert live via satellite. The show takes place on the Great Lawn at the center of the park, and will be rained out by a major thunderstorm after just 45 minutes, leading to fans scrambling to get out of the storm. Incidents of mugging and pick pocketing will be reported by fans leaving the area. The concert is rescheduled, and the show will go off without a hitch the next day. Cost overruns from having to postpone the concert will force Ross to pay for the construction (at a cost of $275,000) out of her own pocket. The playground is located at West 81st Street and Central Park West, groundbreaking will take place in September 1986, with the construction finally being completed in 1987. The Central Park concert is officially released on DVD as “Diana Ross: For One And For All” by Shout Factory in 2012.

On this day in music history: July 21, 1973 - “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Jim Croce, it is the first chart topping single for the singer, songwriter and musician from South Philadelphia, PA. The story song about a man from “the South Side of Chicago” is inspired by a man actually named Leroy Brown that Croce meets while serving in the army, stationed at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. The person in question will quickly tire of his military stint and go AWOL after a week, then coming back for his pay check and is immediately arrested and taken away to jail. Remembering him for his great bravado, Jim will write a fictionalized account of this man. Croce will record the song for his fourth studio album “Life And Times” in late 1972. Released as a single on March 20, 1973, it will become a major hit short order. Entering the Hot 100 at #85 on April 21, 1973, it will climb to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. Croce will also receive a pair of Grammy nominations for the single posthumously in 1974, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Record Of The Year. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.