Friday, August 28, 2020

Music History Today: August 28, 2020

August 28, 1978:  Donna Summer released her remake of "MacArthur Park."
"The lyrics to MacArthur Park infuriate some people. “Someone left the cake out in the rain/ I don’t think that I can take it/ ‘Cause it took so long to bake it/ And I’ll never have that recipe again.” 
Donna Summer
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They think it’s a psychedelic trip. But everything in the song is real.  There is a MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, near where my girlfriend worked selling life insurance. We’d meet there for lunch, and there would be old men playing checkers by the trees, like in the lyrics."  
Read more:  The Guardian
August 28, 1961: Joe Dowell has Billboard's top tune with "Wooden Heart (Muss I Den)."
Joe Dowell snuck into #1 on a technicality. “Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)” was an Elvis Presley song, one that Presley sang in the movie G.I. Blues. In Europe, it was a huge hit.  But Presley’s handlers figured that the song was cheesy enough that it could hurt Presley’s image in America. “Wooden Heart” went to #1 even in Germany. But in the US, “Wooden Heart” never came out as a single. Someone had to record it, and that someone was a toothy Illinois kid named Joe Dowell.  
Read more:  Stereogum

August 28, 1965: Bob Dylan plays "Desolation Row" for the first time at the Forest Hills Music Festival in Queens, New York.
Desolation Row was never released as a single, because of its length, but the album, Highway 61 Revisited went to #3 US and #4 UK. 
On August 28, 1965, he performed the song for the first time at the Forest Hills Music Festival in Queens as a part of the acoustic set Dylan played before electrifying the Festival by bringing on his electric band.  
Read more:  Rock Pasta


August 28, 1970:  The Jackson 5 released their first single "I'll Be There."
The day after the Jackson 5 released “I’ll Be There,” their fourth national single and fourth #1, Michael Jackson turned 12.  Even if you’ve been living your entire life with “I’ll Be There,” with the myth of Michael Jackson’s whole career, that’s staggering.  
The Jackson 5
“I’ll Be There” is an almost painfully adult song, a song about regret and longing and warmth and support and mixed-up feelings. And Jackson sings it with an almost absurd grace, a sense of empathy and tenderness and understanding.    
Read more: Stereogum

August 28, 1971: John Denver's first hit, "Take Me Home Country Roads," peaks at #2 on the Hot 100.
Next time you hear John Denver warbling “Take Me Home, Country Roads” keep in mind that it wasn’t anywhere in West Virginia that inspired the massive hit, but rather a road in Montgomery County, Maryland. 
John Denver

Songwriter Bill Danoff, in a 1997 article he wrote for The Washington Post, said he had begun writing the song while driving to a family reunion along Clopper Road, near Gaithersburg. He and his future wife, Taffy Nivert, completed the song in December 1970 with Denver’s help.  
Read more: AP News

MacArthur Park
Donna Summer

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