Born on this day: December 8, 1943 - The Doors lead vocalist, lyricist, and poet Jim Morrison (born James Douglas Morrison in Melbourne, FL). Happy Birthday to “The Lizard King” what would have been his 70th Birthday. Thank you for being you, Jim. Rock & Roll wouldn’t be the same without you.
On this day in music history: December 8, 1984 - “Out Of Touch” by Daryl Hall & John Oates hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #1 on the Dance chart, #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #24 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Daryl Hall and John Oates, it is the sixth and final chart topping pop single for the Philadelphia, PA based duo. For the follow up to the critically and commercially successful “H2O” album, they will decide to shake up their successful hit making formula by enlisting the assistance of Arthur Baker whose acclaimed work as a producer and remixer will co-produce the track (as well as the rest of the album w/ H&O and engineer Bob Clearmountain), giving it a harder dance influenced edge. Working together at Electric Lady Studios in the Summer of 1984, they will emerge from the studio with another highly successful album. Entering the Hot 100 at #48 on September 29, 1984, it will climb to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The success of “Out Of Touch” will drive sales of the accompanying album “Big Bam Boom” to 2x Platinum status in the US.
On this day in music history: December 8, 1980 - “Flash Gordon - Orginal Motion Picture Soundtrack” is released in the UK (US release is in February 1981). Produced by Queen and Reinhold Mack, it is recorded at Advision Studios, The Townhouse, The Music Centre, Utopia Studios and Anvil Studios in London from October - November 1980. The album features a complete song score composed and performed by Queen which is intercut with dialogue from the live action film adaptation of the science fiction comic strip which stars Sam J. Jones and Max von Sydow and Timothy Dalton. The soundtrack’s US release is delayed by two months so that is not in direct competition with Queen’s then current album “The Game”. “Flash Gordon” will peak at #10 on the UK album chart, peaking at #23 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 8, 1976 - “Hotel California”, the fifth album by the Eagles is released. Produced by Bill Szymczyk, it is recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL and The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from March - October 1976. Released as the official follow up to the successful “One Of These Nights”, it is a concept album reflecting on themes of the hedonistic 70’s lifestyle, using “California” as a metaphor for the entire country. It will be the band’s most successful album spinning off three hit singles including “New Kid In Town” (#1 Pop), “Life In The Fast Lane” (#11 Pop) and the title track (#1 Pop). Original vinyl LP copies will come packaged in a gatefold jacket with a poster (taken by photographer Norman Seeff). The original vinyl pressings will also come with custom picture labels of the album’s title logo featured on the front cover. The phrase “Is It 6 O’Clock Yet?” is etched into the runout groove of side one, and “V.O.L. Is Five-Piece Live” etched into the runout of side two. “Hotel California” will spend 8 weeks (non-consecutive) at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 16x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 8, 1973 - “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” by The Staple Singers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on December 22, 1973. Written by Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, and Carl Hampton, it is the second R&B chart topper for the Chicago, IL based family group fronted by lead singer Mavis Staples. The song is inspired when Banks, Jackson and Hampton are hanging out at Stax Studios in Memphis when they decide to go to lunch at a local restaurant. Before heading over, Raymond Jackson will blurt out the line “If you’re ready, come go with me”. Carl Hampton will hear him say it and then reply that it sounds like a potential song title. The trio will return to the studio quickly write the song, recording a demo within a day of completing it. Issued as the first single from the group’s seventeenth album “Be What You Are”, the track features members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section including Jimmy Johnson (guitar), David Hood (bass), Roger Hawkins (drums) and Barry Beckett (keyboards). The group will record their vocals with the band live at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL in mid 1973. “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Remembering music icon John Lennon (born John Winston Lennon in Liverpool, UK) - October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980. Thank you for blessing us with your profound musical talent, humor and generous spirit that have inspired many (myself included). The world is truly a better place for you having been here. Your spirit and legacy are and always will be everlasting.
On this day in music history: December 7, 1991 - “Achtung Baby”, the seventh studio album by U2 hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 1 week. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, it is recorded at Hansa Ton Studios in Berlin, Germany, STS Studios, Elsinore Studios and Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland from October 1990 - September 1991. the band will re-invent their sound, experimenting with industrial, electronic dance rhythms and alternative rock. The result will win the veteran Irish band a new generation of fans and win back critical favor lost on their previous album “Rattle And Hum”. It will spin off five singles including “Mysterious Ways” (#9 Pop) and “One” (#10 Pop). “Achtung Baby” will also become their second largest selling album, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 7, 1991 - “Black Or White” by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks. Written by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell, it is the twelfth solo chart topper (sixteenth overall) for “The King Of Pop”. Issued as the first single from “Dangerous”, the track will be supported by an elaborate eleven minute long short film directed by John Landis (“Thriller”). The clip will have its broadcast debut simultaneously on MTV, BET, VH1, and the Fox television network on November 14, 1991, drawing a record breaking viewing audience. However, the extended dance sequence of the film will draw controversy due to several scenes of Jackson rubbing and grabbing his crotch as well as destroying a car and breaking windows. The singer will issue a statement the next day apologizing, stating that “the violent and suggestive behavior was an interpretation of the black panther’s animal instincts”. The controversy will not hurt the song’s airplay or sales. It will end up being the fastest rising single on the Hot 100 since The Beatles “Get Back” in 1969. Entering the Hot 100 at #35 on November 23, 1991, it will pole vault to the top of the chart two weeks later. Jackson will also become the first artist in history to have number one singles in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. On the UK singles chart, it will be the first single to enter the chart at number one since Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now Or Never” in 1960. It will also hit number one in seventeen other countries, and will be ranked the top single of 1991 by Billboard Magazine. “Black Or White” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: December 7, 1984 - “Agent Provocateur”, the fifth album by Foreigner is released. Produced by Mick Jones and Alex Sadkin, it is recorded at The Hit Factory and Right Track Studios in New York City from Summer - Fall 1984. Following the huge success of their fourth release “Foreigner 4”, the band will take a nearly two year long hiatus before returning to the studio to begin work on their next album. Bandleader Mick Jones will helm the project with producer Alex Sadkin, best known for his work with The Thompson Twins, Robert Palmer, and Grace Jones. The Anglo/American rock bands’ fifth studio release is a concept album in which the songs follow a narrative about a man and his life as a spy. It will spin off three singles including the chart topping “I Want To Know What Love Is” (#1 Pop) which features the New Jersey Mass Choir and singer Jennifer Holliday on the the songs’ final choruses. “Agent Provocateur” will hit #1 on the UK album chart, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.