On this day in music history: June 19, 1990 - Prince will begin the first of 12 sold out shows at the Wembley Arena in London. The eleventh stop on the “Nude Tour”, the Wembley shows set list consists primarily of hits only going as far back as the “1999” album. However, at some shows he will preview the as yet to be released “Thieves In The Temple” from the “Graffiti Bridge” soundtrack. The dates will broken up into three residencies, with the first run of shows on consecutive nights from June 19 - 27 (with two nights off in between on the 21st and 24th), then on July 3rd and 4th, and finally from July 9th - 11th. The tour will last 56 shows in Europe and Asia only, with Prince opting not to tour the US again until 1993. The shows will also be professionally shot, but to date have not been commercially released, though high quality copies are in the hands of collectors.
On this day in music history: June 19, 1988 - Michael Jackson will perform a large open air concert in front of the historic Reichstag Building in Berlin, Germany. Part of the European leg of Jackson’s mammoth worldwide “Bad Tour”, the show will be attended by over 120,000 fans. The city of Berlin, still divided prior to the re-unification of Germany in 1990, it will not prevent fans on the eastern side of the city from hearing the concert. Over 3,000 fans will gather at the Berlin Wall and listen to Jackson’s performance.
On this day in music history: June 19, 1974 - “Marvin Gaye Live!”, the second live album (fifteenth release overall) by Marvin Gaye is released. Produced by Marvin Gaye, it is recorded at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA on January 4, 1974. Following the huge commercial and critical success of the “Let’s Get It On” album, Gaye will go embark on a major US tour in support of it. Though he will have to overcome often paralyzing stage fright that has kept him from performing in front of a live audience for several years. Appearing in front of a sold out crowd of over 14,000 cheering fans at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the electric atmosphere of the show will be captured on the released album. The concerts’ centerpiece is his rendition of “Distant Lover”, which will create such a sensation on R&B radio stations that Motown will release an edited version of the six minute plus song as a single (#15 R&B, #28 Pop). “Marvin Gaye Live!” will spend 1 week at #1 on the Billboard R&B album chart and peak at #8 on the Top 200.
Emmy Award winning actor James Gandolfini (born James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr. in Westwood, NJ) - September 18, 1961 - June 19, 2013, RIP
On this day in music history: June 19, 1971 - “Tapestry”, the second album by Carole King hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 15 weeks. Produced by Lou Adler, it is recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA in January 1971. The prolific pop singer/songwriter’s second album will not only be her commercial breakthrough as an artist, but will represent a watershed moment for women in music in the years to come. The album will spin off three singles including the double A-sided hit “It’s Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move” (#1 Pop) and “So Far Away” (#14 Pop). “Tapestry” will also set records for the longest run at #1 on the Top 200 by a female artist(which will stand until 2011 when it is surpassed by Adele’s “21” album), and the largest selling album by a female artist (a record held until it is broken in 1996 by Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”). It will also win King three Grammy Awards including Record and Album Of The Year. She will also win a fourth Grammy that year for “You’ve Got A Friend”, and is the first solo female artist in Grammy history to win the Record and Song Of The Year prizes. “Tapestry” is certified 10x Platinum in the US, receiving a Diamond certification from the RIAA. The album was also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.
On this day in music history: June 19, 1971 - “It’s Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole King hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks. Written by Toni Stern and Carole King, it is biggest hit for the New York City born and raised singer, songwriter and musician. Recorded in January of 1971 at A&M Studios, she will collaborate with lyricist Toni Stern who will tell her about a brief affair she has with fellow singer/songwriter James Taylor. Stern will use their conversation to write the lyrics for “It’s Too Late”. After the affair ends, Taylor will begin dating singer/songwriter Carly Simon, who he would marry in 1972. During this same period, Taylor will record Carole King’s song “You’ve Got A Friend” which will be his only #1 pop single and win King a Grammy for Song Of The Year. Issued as the first single from King’s landmark “Tapestry” album in April of 1971, “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel The Earth Move” will both receive heavy airplay. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on May 8, 1971, the single will swiftly rise to the top the chart six weeks later. “It’s Too Late” will win two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year in 1972. “It’s Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 19, 1970 - The self-titled debut album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and Johnny Bristol, it is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit, MI and A&R Studios in New York City from September 1969 - March 1970. The former Supremes lead singer will begin work on her solo debut before leaving the group officially in January 1970. Motown, wanting to market her as the “black Barbra Streisand” will initially have Ross record with producer Bones Howe. The material they record will end up being shelved and Ashford & Simpson along with Motown staff songwriter/producer Johnny Bristol will be given the assignment of crafting the Motown superstars’ debut. The album will spin off two singles including “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” (#7 R&B, #20 Pop) and a dramatic reworking of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (#1 R&B and Pop), first recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967. It will be the albums’ breakout hit and establish Ross as a solo star in her own right. The LP’s distinctive and iconic cover photo (shot by fashion photographer Harry Langdon) features a sepia toned picture of Ross wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and cut off shorts, holding an apple. The photo is taken with a wide angle lens, distorting her features. After taking a series of high glamour shots the same day, the casual picture will be chosen instead to stand in sharp contrast to the Motown superstars’ elegant, high fashion image. “Diana Ross” will spend 2 weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B album chart and peak at #19 on the Top 200.
On this day in music history: June 19, 1965 - “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” by The Four Tops hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks (non-consecutive), also topping the R&B singles chart for 9 weeks on June 5th. Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, it is the first chart topping single for the Detroit based R&B vocal quartet. The writing and production team Holland/Dozier/Holland will actually take inspiration from one of their previous hits when they write “I Can’t Help Myself”. The Supremes #1 smash “Where Did Our Love Go?” being the song in question. HDH will use same chords while writing it, changing the progression around and writing a completely different melody over those chords. Ironically, or perhaps not so much, The Four Tops single will replace The Supremes’ “Back In My Arms Again” at #1 on both the pop and R&B singles charts, also written and produced by HDH. Entering the Hot 100 at #67 on May 15, 1965, it will rocket to the top of the chart five weeks later. After its first week on top, the single will be temporarily bumped from the top by The Byrds “Mr. Tambourine Man”, but will return to the top for a second week on July 3rd. “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” will become one of The Four Tops signature songs, and one of many in this era that will come to define “The Motown Sound”.
On this day in music history: June 18, 1996 - “Secrets”, the second album by Toni Braxton is released. Produced by Babyface, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, R. Kelly, David Foster, Tony Rich, Soulshock & Karlin, and Keith Crouch it is recorded at Bosstown Recording Studios, Studio LaCoCo in Atlanta, GA, Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, CA, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA, and The Tracken Place in Beverly Hills, CA from October 1995 - May 1996. The follow up to Braxton’s self-titled debut will equal the success of her first effort, cementing her status as one of the premier female vocalists of the era. Featuring tracks produced by Babyface and David Foster, the album will spin off four hits including the #1 singles “You’re Makin’ Me High” (1 week on the Hot 100, 2 weeks on the R&B singles chart (non-consecutive) and “Un-Break My Heart” (11 weeks on the Hot 100 and #2 R&B). “Secrets” will be Braxton’s most successful album, selling over 8 million copies in the US alone, winning two Grammy Awards including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. “Secrets” will peak at #2 on the Billboard Top 200, spending 1 week at #1 on the R&B album chart, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 18, 1996 - “Odelay”, the fifth studio album by Beck is released. Produced by Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato, Jr, Brian Paulson, Tom Rothrock, Rob Schnapf, it is recorded at PCP Labs and G-Son Studios in Los Angeles, CA, The Shop, Sunset Sound and Conway Studios in Hollywood, CA and Sun Studios in Memphis, TN, from March 1994 - February 1996. Beck will initially begin recording with Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf in early 1994, intending it to be more acoustic based than the previous album. He end up will scrapping much of the work recorded during those sessions, starting over with The Dust Brothers. The albums’ title is pun on the phrase “Oh Delay”, with Beck making a subtle, self-effacing statement on how long it had taken to record the album. It will spin off five singles including “Where It’s At” and “Devil’s Haircut”. The album will become Hansen’s most successful and acclaimed album, winning two Grammy Awards including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the single “Where It’s At. “Odelay” will peak at #16 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.