Sunday, July 26, 2020

Music History Today: July 27, 2020

July 27. 1984: Prince stars in the film Purple Rain. The movie parallels his life story but is not strictly autobiographical. He didn't write or direct it.
Prince stars as a headstrong, vulnerable young musician. He’s self-destructive, submerging his music in his anger and insecurities. 
Cellphone Wallpaper  Prince
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In short, his music is indulgently personal, and Prince soon finds himself losing his standing in the club where he and his band, the Revolutionaries, are on the verge of hitting the big time. His rival, funker Morris Day, taunts him, “You’re just like your old man. You don’t have what takes to be on top.”  
Read more: Hollywood Reporter
July 27, 1944: "Ode To Billie Joe" singer Bobbie Gentry is born Roberta Lee Streeter in Chickasaw County, Mississippi. 
From its opening notes, "Ode to Billie Joe" transports you to rural Mississippi, to its farming life and church-based communities. 
Booby Gentry

It appears idyllic from the outside, but spend a short time in Gentry's world and you quickly realize that it's filled with dark secrets. Why did Billie Joe jump off the bridge? Is the girl who's singing the same girl spotted with Billie Joe on the bridge? What did they throw off the bridge? And how can you "pass the biscuits" at a time like this?  
Read more: NPR

July 27, 1957:  The Everly Brothers had the best-selling song in America with "Bye Bye Love."
"Bye Bye Love" was originally written for Elvis Presley by husband and wife team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, but he turned it down. 
Everly Brothers
The Bryant's went on to write the Everly's greatest 1950s hits, including their first two Number Ones, "Wake Up Little Susie" and "All I Have To Do Is Dream," and many more classic songs Don and Phil Everly recorded for Cadence Records.  
Read more:  Nights with Alice Cooper

July 27, 1961: The Tokens recorded "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."
In Johannesburg, South Africa in 1938, a group of Zulu singers and dancers called Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds stepped into the first recording studio ever set up in sub-Saharan Africa and recorded a song called “Mbube”—Zulu for “the lion.”  “Mbube” was a regional hit, and it helped make Solomon Linda into a South African star. 


But the story might have ended there had a copy of the record not made its way to New York City in the early 1950s, where it was saved from the slush pile at Decca Records by the legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. Without actually hearing any of the records in a box sent from Africa, Lomax thought a friend of his might be interested in the box’s contents. That friend was the folksinger Pete Seeger.   
Read more: History

July 27, 1974: Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" is released in America. It would become their highest charting single, reaching Number 8.
It starts with one of the best known guitar riffs in rock and roll. What follows is a down-home ode to the state that is known as the heart of Dixie: folksy colloquialisms, eternal blue skies, family. Pretty simple, right? 
Maybe not. Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" cracked the Top 10 back in 1974. Since then, it's become a kind of anthem for the state and the fight song for for the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide football team. But its history and meaning are complicated. 
Read more:  NPR

July 27, 1981:  Stevie Nicks released her first solo album, "Bella Donna," on Modern Records. 
Fleetwood Mac pretty much owned popular music during the last half of the '70s. Album sales in the millions, sold-out tours, hit singles, you name it. The Mac were everywhere. Following the mega-success of Rumours in 1977, the band made a dynamic left turn with Tusk, an album that shook up the formula and is now seen as a masterpiece. 
Stevie Nicks

As artful as that LP is, sales took a hit, even though the massive tour that followed sold out every place it played. Following the tour, the band needed a break from the road and from each other.  It was the perfect time for the members to explore some individual paths.Stevie Nicks who hit the big time with Bella Donna when it was released in July 1981.  
Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock

Let's Go, Crazy 
Prince & The Revolution

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