Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Music History Today: August 12, 2020

August 12, 1968:  Big Brother & the Holding Company released their one and only big album, Cheap Thrills. The first single released is Gershwin's "Summertime." 

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Janis Joplin circa 1968
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August 12, 1972:  Alice Cooper had the Number 1 U.K. song with "School's Out."
Alice Cooper Group drummer Neal Smith said the band wouldn’t write the classic song “School’s Out” today due to social changes that have rendered the line “School’s been blown to pieces” politically incorrect. 
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Alice Cooper

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Alice Cooper

The 1972 song remains one of the band’s best-known hits, but Smith accepted that times have changed and that they wouldn’t consider recording a lyric like that if they were writing in the 21st century.  
Read more:  Ultimate Classic Rock

August 12, 1978: The Commodores get their first Number 1 hit with the Lionel Richie-penned ballad "Three Times a Lady." 
As a student at Tuskegee University, Lionel Richie joined friends to form the band The Commodores. The group primarily performed funk and party songs written by band members.
The Commodores
The Commodores
 At a party to celebrate his parents' 37th wedding anniversary, Richie's father toasted his mother, Alberta, saying "She's a great lady, she's a great mother, and she's a great friend."  The toast inspired Richie to write a waltz, "Three Times a Lady."  
Read more: Wikipedia

August 12, 1984: Lionel Richie closed the Olympic Games in Los Angeles with his Number 1 smash, "All Night Long."  One of his backing dancers is a young Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Back in the early '80s, Gooding and his crew, known as the Majestic Visual Break Dancers, used to perform on the streets. But then they came across a recreational center that offered them space to practice -- The Boys and Girls Club (then known as the Boys Club).  
Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie

The young men were allowed to rehearse in the gymnasium under the condition that they bring their homework along with them. The practicing paid off.
 A couple of years later, when the Olympics came to Los Angeles, Gooding and his crew became the official break dancers for the 1984 Summer Games.  
Read more: ABC News

August 12, 1986:  Paul Simon released his album Graceland.
As a lyricist, Simon was always telling stories. His 1986 release was no different. There was “You Can Call Me Al,” a song about a man in a midlife crisis. 
Paul Simon Graceland album cover
And the title track begins “the Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar.” But what made “Graceland” different was its sound.  To an American audience, the music was new, fresh and unfamiliar. At the time, Simon was influenced by South African music, specifically the album “Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume II.”  
Read more: The World

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