On this day in music history: June 14, 1986 - “Nasty” by Janet Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on July 19th. Written by James Harris III, Terry Lewis, and Janet Jackson, it is the second R&B chart topper for the youngest member of the Jackson musical family. The song is inspired by incident that takes place while Janet is hanging out with the producers and childhood friend Melanie Andrews in Minneapolis. Jackson will be accosted by two aggressive men stalking her on the street. Jackson will stand her ground, making them back off. Recorded at Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ Flyte Tyme Studios in September 1985, the songs’ distinctive rhythm will be generated by an Ensoniq Mirage digital sampler/synthesizer. Issued as the second single from “Control”, it is released as the follow up to her first chart topper “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” on April 15, 1986. The songs’ memorable video (shot on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles) is directed by Mary Lambert (Madonna, Prince, Chris Isaak, Annie Lennox) and is choreographed by Paula Abdul who also makes a cameo appearance. “Nasty” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 13, 1981 - “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, topping the Club Play chart for 3 weeks on July 25th, also peaking at #40 on the Hot 100 on July 18th. Written and produced by Rick James, it is the second R&B chart topper for the singer, songwriter and musician dubbed the “King Of Punk Funk”. After the critical and relative commercial failure of his fourth album “Garden Of Love” in 1980, Rick James will return home to his native Buffalo, NY to regroup, “determined to do the greatest album” he could produce. “Give It To Me Baby will be inspired after a night of heavy partying. James will come home and sit down at the piano, writing it in short order. The track is recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA in December of 1980, with James’ lead vocal being completed in only two or three takes. Issued as the first single from James’ landmark album “Street Songs” on February 20, 1981, it is an immediate smash on R&B radio and on the dance floor. Shortly after the single’s release, Motown will also issue a commercial 12” single featuring an extended version of “Give It To Me Baby”. It and its instrumental B-side will both be reissued on the 2001 Deluxe Edition of the “Street Songs” album.
On this day in music history: June 8, 1974 - “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on July 6th. Written by Ricky West and Kool & The Gang, it is the first R&B chart topper for the R&B/Funk band from Jersey City, NJ led by bassist Robert “Kool” Bell. The song will come about when Kool & The Gangs’ record label De-Lite asks them to record a cover version of African musician Manu Dibango’s recent hit “Soul Makossa”. During rehearsal the next day, the band will start improvising and instead of working out a new arrangement of “Soul Makossa”, they will quickly come up with the ideas for “Funky Stuff”, “Hollywood Swinging” and “Jungle Boogie”. Quickly booking time at Mediasound Studios in New York City, all three songs are cut in the same session, and will become the biggest hits from their breakthrough album “Wild & Peaceful”. It will be the albums second single following up the million selling smash “Jungle Boogie” (#2 R&B, #4 Pop). “Hollywood Swinging” will be sampled numerous times over the years by artists such as DJ Kool (“Let Me Clear My Throat”), Too Short (“Money In The Ghetto”), and Mase (“Feels So Good”), as well as being covered by UK acid jazz/soul band Jamiroquai. “Hollywood Swinging” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Born on this day: June 7, 1958 - Singer, songwriter, producer, and musician Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, MN). Happy 55th Birthday to this musical icon!!
Born on this day: June 6, 1959 - Producer, songwriter, and musician Jimmy Jam (born James Samuel Harris III in Minneapolis, MN). Happy 54th Birthday, Jimmy Jam!!!
On this day in music history: June 4, 1984 - “The Glamorous Life”, the debut album by Sheila E. is released. Produced by Sheila and The Starr Company (aka Prince), it is recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA in Early 1984. The first album by the Oakland, CA born and raised singer/percussionist will come about after Prince (who has known Escovedo since 1978) asks if she’s interested in making an album. She will agree, first collaborating on the song “Erotic City” with the artist (released as the B-side of “Let’s Go Crazy”) before work on her album begins. The song “The Glamorous Life” (written by Prince, but credited to Sheila E.) was originally intended for Apollonia 6, but is given to Sheila instead. The album will spin off two singles including the title track (#7 Pop, #9 R&B) and “The Belle Of St. Mark” (#34 Pop, #68 R&B). “The Glamorous Life” will peak at #7 on the Billboard R&B album chart, #28 on the Top 200 and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this in music history: June 4, 1983 - “Juicy Fruit” by Mtume hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 8 weeks, also peaking at #45 on the Hot 100 on August 6th. Written and produced by James Mtume, it is the biggest hit for the R&B/Funk band led by percussionist James Mtume. The son of saxophonist Jimmy Heath (The Heath Brothers), and formerly a percussionist for jazz legend Miles Davis, Mtume will form the band named after him in 1978, signing a deal with Epic Records. The track is written largely in the studio, with Mtume writing each verse as lead singer Tawatha Agee completes her vocal on the previous one. The bands’ label Epic Records will initially be hesitant to release the song, feeling that radio won’t play it due to the provocative double entendres in the lyrics. Within a week and a half of its release, the single will be the most added record on R&B stations across the country, immediately connecting with the public. It will quickly sell over a million copies in the US without cracking the Top 40 on the pop singles chart. “Juicy Fruit” will gain enduring popularity over the years when it is sampled or interpolated by numerous rap and R&B artists most notably on The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”, and on singles by Warren G, and Keyshia Cole. Mtume’s version of “Juicy Fruit” will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 4, 1979 - “Good Times” by Chic is released. Written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, It is the second R&B and Pop chart topper for the New York City based R&B/Funk/Disco band led by musicians Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. The track is recorded The Power Station in New York City in March 1979, during sessions for Chic’s third album “Risque”. Edwards and Rodgers will develop the concept of the song from 1930’s Depression era “Tin Pan Alley” pop songs such as “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “About A Quarter To Nine”, juxtaposing them with then current state of the economy in America along with the celebratory hedonism of the Disco Era in the late 70’s. “Good Times” will be an instant smash upon its release, quickly racing up the charts, hitting #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 6 weeks on July 28th and #1 on the Hot 100 for 1 week on August 18th. The songs’ popularity and influence will spread even further when it becomes the basis of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”, giving rise to the rap music phenomenon. “Good Times” will become one of the most important and influential records of the late 20th century and beyond. “Good Times” will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: May 30, 1975 - “The Heat Is On”, the twelfth studio album by The Isley Brothers is released. Produced by The Isley Brothers, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA in Early 1975. After the back to back successes of their first two CBS distributed albums “3 + 3” and “Live It Up”, The Isley Brothers will continue their artistic and commercial hot streak with their third release in as many years. The album will be uniquely sequenced with all of the uptempo tracks on the first side, and the ballads on side two. Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, best known for their work with Stevie Wonder, will assist keyboardist Chris Jasper with the synthesizer programming during the sessions. It will spin off two singles including “Fight The Power” (#1 R&B, #4 Pop) and “For The Love Of You” (#10 R&B, #22 Pop), selling over 500,000 copies in its first month, becoming the bands’ largest selling album to date. It will also become their first #1 pop album on Sept. 13th (one of only three R&B bands to accomplish this feat. (Earth, Wind & Fire and The Ohio Players being the other two), also spending 4 weeks (non-consecutive) at #1 on the R&B album chart on July 19th. “The Heat Is On” will be certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: May 29, 1982 - “Let It Whip” by The Dazz Band hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks (non-consecutive), also peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 on July 17th. Written by Reggie Andrews and Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, it is the biggest hit for the R&B/Funk band from Cleveland, OH. Originally known as Kinsman Dazz when they form in 1976, they will take their name in part from the then recent R&B/Pop smash “Dazz” by Atlanta, GA based band Brick. They will be signed to 20th Century Records in 1978, releasing two albums (the first being co-produced by Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind & Fire) for the label with minimal success. Changing their name to The Dazz Band in 1980, they will sign with Motown Records. Of their first two albums for the label, “Invitation To Love” and “Let The Music Play”, only the latter will produce a minor hit with the single “Knock, Knock” (#36 R&B). For their fifth album “Keep It Live”, The Dazz Band will work with producer and songwriter Reggie Andrews. Prior to becoming a staff producer at Motown, Andrews will work as a student music teacher at Locke High School in Dominguez Hills, CA where some of his former students include future star musicians such as Patrice Rushen, Gerald Albright and Leon “Ndugu” Chancler. Having previously collaborated on Dazz’s “Let The Music Play”, they’ll work together again. The pair will begin thinking of writing a song that could also become a dance, when the idea for “Let It Whip” comes. They will begin putting the track together using a Linn LM-1 drum machine and a Mini Moog bass synthesizer. With the band adding their instruments and vocals to the basic track, it will take nearly a month to complete the song. Released on February 12, 1982, “Let It Whip” will be an instant smash on R&B radio, quickly crossing over to Top 40 pop radio. The single will spend four consecutive weeks at the top, before being bumped by The Gap Band’s “Early In The Morning” for one week on June 26th. It will rebound and spend more week at #1 on July 3rd. “Let It Whip” will earn the band a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group (tying with Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Wanna Be With You”) in 1983.