30th Aug 1939, Born on this day, John Peel, BBC radio DJ. journalist and TV presenter, born John Robert Parker Ravenscroft. He was the longest running BBC Radio 1 and the most influential British DJ ever. He was one of the first broadcasters to play psychedelic rock and progressive rock records on British radio, and is widely acknowledged for promoting artists working in various genres, including pop, reggae, indie rock, alternative rock, punk, hardcore punk, breakcore, grindcore, death metal, British hip hop, and dance music. Peel died in Cuzco, Peru of a heart attack on 25th October 2004 aged 65.
Oasis - Definitely Maybe
Towards the end of the 80’s, Manchester gave us ‘Madchester’, a mix of alternative rock, psychedelic rock and dance music. This scene, exclusive to the North of England, introduced the world to New Order, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, and The Charlatans. With the help of Factory Records and using the Hacienda nightclub as their home, this distinctive musical ethos brought us the Second Summer of Love.
The Oldham based Inspiral Carpets, who were a major part of this scene, with their swirling Hammond organ played by Clint Boon, had a secret weapon at the side of the stage: a young guitar roadie by the name of Noel Gallagher. Working with the Inspirals for over two years, Gallagher watched and learned stage craft, recording, and the work ethic of a hard working touring band.
Noel’s younger brother Liam meantime had joined a Manchester group known as The Rain, (after The Beatles’ B side of Paperback Writer), who contained guitarist Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs and bassist Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan, Liam replaced vocalist Chris Hutton, and suggested the group’s name change to Oasis, from an Inspiral Carpets tour poster that hung in the Gallagher brothers' bedroom. One of the venues listed on the poster was the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.
Noel Gallagher returned from the Inspiral Carpets' 1991 tour of the US, and went to watch his brother's band perform at small Manchester club The Boardwalk. Impressed, Noel offered to join, reportedly on condition that he would be the lead guitarist and they would perform only his songs, which he had been stockpiling for some time. Noel made an instant impact on the band, organising more rehearsals and a few small warm up gigs in and around Manchester.
In May 1993, the band heard that a record executive from Creation Records would be scouting for talent at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Together, they found the money to hire a van and make the six-hour journey to Scotland. The band secured the opening slot and played a four-song set that impressed Creation founder Alan McGee, who signed the band, declaring: ‘I've found the greatest rock 'n' roll band since The Beatles.’
Sessions for the band’s debut began in Monnow Valley Studio, near Monmouth, Wales at the start of 1994, but the recordings were unsatisfactory, so the band switched locations, re-recording the album at Sawmills Studio in Cornwall, as well as The Pink Museum studio in Liverpool.
By the time Definitely Maybe was released in August 1994, Oasis had seen their first two singles in the charts; their chart debut Supersonic peaked at #31, and their second release Shakermaker at #11.
The album kicks off with the thick, reverb-heavy guitar intro of Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, which Noel has since said was the end of everything he wanted to say as a songwriter. On arguably Liam’s greatest-ever vocal performance he goads all-comers, snarling: ‘You’re not down with who I am / Look at you now you’re all in my hands tonight.’ The opener sets the mood - The Beatles played by The Sex Pistols, with the swagger of T Rex - with riffs a-plenty.
The second track, Shakermaker, illustrates Noel Gallagher's habit of sometimes borrowing from the past: the melody for the verse was originally taken from I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony), a song made famous from its use on Coca-Cola adverts in the 1970s, written by Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Bill Backer and Billy Davis. However, this led to Oasis being successfully sued for the unlicensed use by the copyright owners, prompting Noel Gallagher’s comment: ‘Now we all drink Pepsi’.
The album is now sounding like a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation. Live Forever was later placed #1 in the NME and an XFM poll of the 50 ‘Greatest Indie Anthems Ever'. Supersonic, which gave Oasis their first US chart placing, is reportedly Noel’s favourite Oasis song. The identity of the ’Elsa’ mentioned in the song was questioned, and it has since been revealed that Elsa was a nine-stone rottweiler with a flatulence problem; the dog belonged to the sound engineer Dave Scott and was in the studio on the day the song was written.
The group’s fourth single Cigarettes & Alcohol became the second case in which Oasis was accused of plagiarism. The main riff of the song is purportedly ‘borrowed’ from Get It On by T. Rex and Little Queenie by Chuck Berry, and bears a similarity to the opening of Humble Pie's cover of C'mon Everybody. Upon first hearing the song, the man who discovered the band, Alan McGee, claimed that the song was one of the greatest social statements anyone had made in the past 25 years. Noel Gallagher later recalled: ‘I remember writing it in my flat in Manchester, and two guys used to live above me, and in those days, being the fucking geezer that I was, I used to write on the electric guitar with my amp in the fucking room, in a block of flats, on ten, and one of the guys passed me on the stairs and said ‘You're not gonna fucking write a song to that riff are you? That's fucking rubbish’ and I was going ‘Listen fat arse, that's gonna be fucking amazing when it comes out’.’
The photograph on the front cover of the album, taken in guitarist Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs' house in Withington, Manchester, (for which he later claimed to have done all the plastering himself), held clues to the group’s heroes. A picture of Manchester City footballer Rodney Marsh can be seen, while a television is showing a scene from the film The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. A poster of Burt Bacharach (one of Noel Gallagher's idols) is also shown on the lower left-hand side of the cover. On the back cover, a still of Gian Maria Volonté from the film A Fistful Of Dollars is visible on the television. Some writers believe that Oasis were trying to pay homage to Pink Floyd's Ummagumma by placing it there in the same prominent position that Floyd reserved for the soundtrack of Vincente Minnelli's American musical film Gigi.
The media buzz around Definitely Maybe was rampant. It went straight to #1 in the UK Albums Charts on initial release, becoming the fastest-selling debut album up to that time in the UK. The album also marked the beginning of Oasis' success in America, selling over one million copies there, despite only peaking at #58 on the Billboard 200. The album went on to sell over eight million copies worldwide.
© 2012 This Day In Music Apps LLP
29th Aug 1958, Born on this day, Michael Jackson, singer, songwriter, The Jackson Five, The Jacksons, and solo. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. The music videos for 'Beat It', 'Billie Jean', and Thriller are credited with breaking down racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. His 1982 album Thriller, is the best-selling album of all time. Jackson died on 25th June 2009 at the age of 50, after suffering heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills. Prior to his death, Jackson had been scheduled to perform 50 sold-out concerts to over one million people, at London's O2 arena, from July 13, 2009 to March 6, 2010.
29th Aug 1966, The Beatles played their last concert before a paying audience, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California to a sold-out crowd of 25,000. John and Paul, knowing what the fans do not (that this will be the last concert ever) bring cameras on stage and take pictures between songs. During this tour, The Beatles have not played a single song from their latest album, Revolver. They finished the show with a version of Little Richard's 'Long Tall Sally'
28th Aug 1968, Tammy Wynette recorded 'Stand By Your Man' at Epic studios after an idea that came from producer, Billy Sherrill. Wynette and Sherril completed the song in 15 minutes. It proved to be the most successful record of Wynette's career and is one of the most covered songs in the history of country music. The song has appeared in various films, including: Five Easy Pieces, The Blues Brothers, The Crying Game, Sleepless in Seattle, Four Weddings and a Funeral and GoldenEye
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Before his untimely death in 1990, guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan had become the leading figure in the blues-rock-revival he spearheaded in the mid-'80s. Vaughan drew equally from bluesmen like Albert King, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins as well as rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack, whose 1985 comeback, Strike Like Lightning, Vaughan would co-produce. In spite of a short-lived mainstream career spanning just seven years, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of blues music.
Born and raised in Dallas, Vaughan began playing guitar when he was just 7 years old, inspired by older brother Jimmie, (who later helped form the Fabulous Thunderbirds). By 12 he was playing in garage bands, and within a few years joined semi-professional bands that occasionally landed gigs in local nightclubs. At 17 he dropped out of high school to concentrate on playing music full time. By 1970 Stevie was playing in a nine-piece horn band and then formed his first blues band, Blackbird, a year later. Blackbird moved to Austin and after a few more stints in various bands Vaughan joined Paul Ray and the Cobras in 1975, (who won Austin’s Band of the Year in 1976).
Stevie then formed Triple Threat in 1977 which also featured bassist W.C. Clark, and vocalist Lou Ann Barton. Barton left the band in 1979 and the group became Double Trouble, the name inspired by the Otis Rush song. Double Trouble featured Jack Newhouse on bass, Chris Layton on drums and Vaughan became the band's lead singer. In 1981 Tommy Shannon (a bassist who had played with Johnny Winter in the late '60s joined on bass and the blues based power trio was set.
By 1982 the band's reputation was spreading and reached the Rolling Stones, who hired Double Trouble to perform at a private party in New York. That same year, veteran producer Jerry Wexler arranged for Vaughan's band to play the Montreux Jazz Festival, the first time an unsigned, group had done so. David Bowie happened to see their performance and invited Vaughan to play on his next album. Vaughan's gritty guitar work became one of the unexpected highlights of Bowie's No.1 hit 'Let's Dance'.
Inspired musically by American and British blues rock, he favored clean amplifiers with high volume and contributed to the popularity of vintage musical equipment. He often combined several different amplifiers together and used minimal effects pedals.
Vaughan received several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1983, readers of Guitar Player voted him as Best New Talent and Best Electric Blues Guitar Player. In 1984, the Blues Foundation named him Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year, and in 1987, Performance Magazine honored him with Rhythm and Blues Act of the Year. Earning six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Awards, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014. Rolling Stone ranked Vaughan as the twelfth greatest guitarist of all time.
Before the last song of the last show of a two-night stand at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, guitar legend Eric Clapton stepped up to the microphone. "I'd like to bring out to join me, in truth, the best guitar players in the entire world: Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray... Jimmie Vaughan." The band played an extended jam of the classic "Sweet Home Chicago," with 40,000 people soaking up blistering guitar licks as the performers traded vocals.
After the show, four helicopters were on site to take people to Chicago. According to interviews in Hopkins' book, Vaughan took the last remaining seat, eager to get to his hotel so he could call his girlfriend.
About 6:30 a.m. Aug. 27, wreckage of the Bell JetRanger was found about three-fourths of the way up the northeast side of the ski hill, a half-mile from the lodge, with the debris scattered across 150 feet. The helicopter had lifted only about 100 feet off the ground and traveled about 3,000 feet before the crash.
Pilot Jeff Brown was experienced, with more than 5,000 hours of flight time, including 4,327 in a helicopter. But the National Transportation Safety Board report that followed in 1992 indicated the pilot didn't gain altitude quickly enough to clear the 150-foot ski hill.
After the crash, Vaughan's music quickly sold out in local record stores, according to the Sentinel, and two subsequent posthumous albums — "Family Style" with his older brother Jimmie in 1990, and studio outtakes collection "The Sky is Falling" in 1991 — debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard charts.
Happy birthday to Elvis Costello, born on 25th aug 1954, (Declan McManus), singer, songwriter. Had the 1979 UK No.2 single with The Attractions 'Olivers Army' and his 1979 UK No.2 album Armed Forces spent 28 weeks on the chart. Costello has won multiple awards in his career, including a Grammy Award, and has worked with Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Kid Rock, and Brian Eno. Do you have a favourite Elvis Costello track?
25th Aug 1979, The Knack started a five week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'My Sharona', the group's only US chart topper, a No.6 hit in the UK. Lead singer Doug Fieger said he was inspired to write the tune by Sharrona Alperin, a 17 year old senior at Los Angeles' Fairfax High, who later became his girlfriend. Fieger and Alperin eventually got married to other people, but they remained friends. After battling cancer for several years, Fieger died at his home in the Los Angeles on February 14, 2010. He was 57 years old.
Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
Looking back on the making of Born To Run, its maker Bruce Springsteen had this to say about it: ‘Born To Run had the feeling of that one, endless summer night. The whole record feels like it could all be taking place in the course of one evening, in all these different locations. Everything is filled with that tension of somebody struggling, trying to find some other place.’
The skinny, tousled 24-year-old Jersey Shore songwriter had been hailed as the new Bob Dylan by his A&R man at Columbia Records, John Hammond, who knew what he was talking about, since he had discovered the original. But Born To Run, the songwriter’s third, was his make or break album; his first two albums hadn't sold enough to convince Columbia that he wasn't a flop, so this could’ve been his last chance. The thing is, the first two albums (Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, and The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle), were good records, and Springsteen’s songwriting was already so well regarded that The Hollies had covered one of his songs – and David Bowie had covered two, having seen him perform at Max’s Kansas City in 1972. But within the media the ‘new Dylan’ tag was in danger of tainting Springsteen’s’ chances of success, so it was out on the road that Springsteen was making his mark.
Luckily he had the crack E Street Band to back him up, plus a love of soul, Motown, R&B and pop that allowed him to switch from one genre to another in an instant, giving 100% nightly in a welter of excitement. Springsteen’s live shows were rapidly becoming an open secret that hipsters couldn’t afford to miss, and one who didn’t was the highly respected Jon Landau, a contributor to Rolling Stone magazine based in Boston, Massachusetts. His rave review of a Springsteen show, in which the quote ‘I have seen rock n’ roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen’ was quoted both incorrectly and out of context, could have been another unwelcome millstone, but in fact, in the short term, it persuaded Columbia execs that perhaps, just perhaps, Springsteen was worth sticking with.
The other major factor for Springsteen’s career in 1975 was one ground-breaking song, ironically one of the most complicated he would ever record: Born To Run. The title came to Springsteen as something that sounded good and made a statement, but the pursuit of its recorded perfection was to take him nearly a year. He had signed to Columbia in May 1972, recruited the E Street Band from former New Jersey band mates, and hit the road, releasing his debut album in January 1973. The second album followed in November, including the future show-closer Rosalita, but also the long, jazzy New York City Serenade, featuring the keyboards of the prodigiously talented David Sancious. So in May 1974, when Springsteen, opening for Bonnie Raitt at a show in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was able to evoke the multifarious images of street poet, folk drifter, jazz boulevardier and out and out rocker, it was understandable that, because it was hard to categorise him, it would be to his benefit to create one defining anthem.
Here’s part of what Jon Landau said in the Boston Real Paper, after a preamble about feeling old and jaded (Landau was 27 at the time): ‘… tonight there is someone I can write of the way I used to write, without reservations of any kind. Last Thursday, at the Harvard Square theatre, I saw my rock’n'roll past flash before my eyes. And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time. When his two-hour set ended I could only think, can anyone really be this good; can anyone say this much to me, can rock’n'roll still speak with this kind of power and glory? And then I felt the sores on my thighs where I had been pounding my hands in time for the entire concert and knew that the answer was yes.’
Rolling Stone and other papers were soon trumpeting Landau's endorsement. So all he had to do was live up to it. Born To Run was an important step forward in Springsteen’s musical journey because it became a door in to Part Two of his career, where he mixed up all his disparate elements into one new version – contemplative, wistful, triumphant, hopeful, and rocking. Springsteen debuted the song live in May / June 1974, then decamped back to the same studio used on the first two albums: 914 Sound Studios, a small studio in Blauvelt, New York, out at the very fringe of the northern suburbs west of the Hudson. Mike Appel, a music producer and publisher, had signed Springsteen to a production deal, and then, at Springsteen’s request, become his manager, securing the release of the recordings on CBS. Springsteen and Appel co-produced their albums, but at 914 the 1974 sessions were a struggle to realise Springsteen’s vision.
In the book Songs, Springsteen commented: ‘One day I was… working on some song ideas, and the words ‘born to run’ came into my head. At first I thought it was the name of a movie or something I’d seen on a car spinning round the Circuit, but I couldn’t be certain.’ Working out the arrangement on live dates with the E Street Band, the song was in the tradition of the long pieces on the first two albums, but Springsteen was determined, as he put it, to ‘deliver its message in less time and with a shorter burst of energy’.
Springsteen: ‘Born To Run… proved to be the key to my songwriting for the rest of the record. Lyrically, I was entrenched in classic rock and roll images, and I wanted to find a way to use those images without their feeling anachronistic.’ The backing track featured The E Street band’s regular keyboard player David Sancious, and Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter, a replacement drummer for the departed Vini ‘Mad Dog’ Lopez, who had played on the first two albums, leaving in February 1974 after a dustup with the band’s management. Carter was a more jazz-oriented player who nevertheless did a fine job on Born To Run. However, having been part of a session on the track on August 6th, according to Backstreets magazine, within 2 weeks Carter quit the band for a career in jazz, along with David Sancious.
Money was very tight, and CBS Records were looking for some action, but The E Street Band took a further step into its second phase when, in relatively short order, new keyboardist Roy Bittan and drummer Max Weinberg were recruited, which at least gave the band a full complement of players with which to carrying on making tracks, and, as importantly, playing gigs, because all the band members had financial commitments.
Springsteen sent a work in progress version of Born To Run to Jon Landau and, in October 1974, when he returned to Boston to play at the Music Hall, he and Landau sat down for a long discussion of how to make a quantum leap from the first albums to world-class recordings. When Landau subsequently relocated to New York, he was to join Springsteen's team as co-producer with Appel, having previously convinced Springsteen to leave Blauvelt and move to a premier league recording studio, the Record Plant in Manhattan. Landau later stated, ‘We knew exactly what we wanted, we were not in it to do something average. We were not in it to get any particular song on the radio. We were in it to do something great.’
The massive Phil Spector sound on almost every song touched on the central mythical image of the rock 'n' roll era - Springsteen has said that he wanted Born To Run to sound like ‘Roy Orbison singing Bob Dylan, produced by Spector’. It took Bruce and his band months in total to record the title track, with versions including string section overdubs, a choir on the chorus and one with a double-tracked lead vocal. Bruce’s friend, guitarist Steve Van Zandt, a veteran of early Springsteen bands and who joined the E Street Band during the album sessions, now laughs at the thought of it. ‘Anytime you spend six months on a song, there's something not exactly going right. A song should take about three hours.’
As Springsteen stated in one interview, ‘I'm still fiddling with the words for the new single, but I think it will be good’. He wasn’t wrong: on 3rd November 1974, Springsteen appeared with DJ Ed Sciaky on WMMR in Philadelphia, with a surprise for listeners that day: the radio premiere of Born To Run. With an astonishing 9 months to go before the album saw the light of day, and with no confirmed album release date, various radio stations in the US began to play Born To Run. Their early endorsement had two effects: when the official single was finally universally available, radio programmers jumped on it and it became an instant smash; and CBS Records became convinced that their signing had the capability to create hits, becoming much more supportive of Springsteen and the band.
Of course, it also created a ton of pressure to get the record finished and march the quality and power of the title cut. Springsteen knew that the stakes for the third album were high, and recording the rest of the album proved just as challenging for all concerned. New keyboardist Roy Bittan recalled ‘We were recording epics at the time,’ he recalled, ‘I mean Jungleland and Backstreets are not easy songs to record.’ Bittan maintained, ‘It's like trying to drive a Grand Prix course: Every time you go around one turn, there's another.’
Springsteen was struggling to get on tape the sound he had in his head, with 18-hour recording sessions becoming a regular occurrence. During these sessions, to stay awake, engineer Jimmy Iovine would take a piece of gum, throw it away, and chew on the aluminium wrapping, counting on the pain to keep him awake.
All in all, the album took more than 14 months to record and at the end, Springsteen was miserable: ‘After it was finished? I hated it! I couldn't stand to listen to it. I thought it was the worst piece of garbage I'd ever heard.’ Jon Landau, as co-producer, helped persuade him to let go. According to writer Dave Marsh, Landau called Springsteen and said, ‘Look, you're not supposed to like it. You think Chuck Berry sits around listening to ‘Maybelline’ and when he does hear it, don't you think he wishes a few things could be changed.? C'mon, it's time to put the record out.’
Springsteen looked at different titles for the release, considering American Summer, The Legend of Zero & Blind Terry, From the Churches to the Jails, War and Roses, and The Hungry and the Hunted but in the end, the album was named after the single, which burnt up the airwaves when finally officially released, alongside the album, in August 1975. In terms of the original LP's sequencing, Springsteen had originally planned to begin and end the album with alternative versions of Thunder Road, but eventually adopted a ‘four corners’ approach, as the songs beginning each side (Thunder Road and Born to Run) were uplifting odes to escape, while the songs ending each side (Backstreets and Jungleland) were sad epics of loss, betrayal, and defeat.
Born To Run launched Springsteen towards mega-stardom in 1975, famously getting him on the covers of Time and Newsweek simultaneously, and seeing the album's release accompanied by a $250,000 promotional campaign by Columbia making use of Landau's ‘I saw rock 'n' roll future’ quote. In 2005, on the 30th anniversary of the album's release, Springsteen eventually came around to appreciate what he had accomplished, admitting ‘It's embarrassing to want so much, and to expect so much from music, except sometimes it happens: The Sun Sessions, Highway 61, Sgt. Pepper's, The Band, Robert Johnson, Exile On Main Street, Born To Run.. - whoops, I meant to leave that one out.’
© 2012 This Day In Music Apps LLP.
24th Aug 1963, Stevie Wonder became the first artist ever to score a US No.1 album and single in the same week. Wonder was at No.1 on the album chart with 'Little Stevie Wonder / The 12 Year Old Genius' and had the No.1 single 'Fingertips part 2'. This was also the first ever live recording to make No.1.