Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Music History Today: November 18 2020

November 18, 1993: Nirvana records an MTV Unplugged concert in New York. The show is shot in one take - imperfections and all - and is aired one month later.

The final months of Kurt Cobain's life were chaotic to say the least, but in the midst of it all, the singer and his band Nirvana delivered a poignant and beloved live performance that proved to be one of their most popular releases. 

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That would be the band's MTV Unplugged performance, recorded in November 1993, that would eventually be released on Nov. 1, 1994, in the aftermath of Cobain's death.  
Read more: Loudwire

November 18, 1972: Cat Stevens goes to number 1 in America with his album Catch Bull at Four. 

Ct Stevens sitting cross legged on the floor with an acoustic guitar
Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens was in such form in 1972 that, exactly 12 months after Teaser and the Firecat helped him become one of the defining album rock artists of that decade, he was able to create a follow-up that did even better. On 18 November that year, Catch Bull At Four became his only album to top the US charts.  
Read more: U Discover Music

 

November 18, 1969: Duncan Sheik is born in Montclair, New Jersey.

Establishing himself in the mid-'90s as a singer/songwriter with a knack for literate adult pop songs with hazy surfaces and a touch of alt-rock grit, Duncan Sheik had a Top 20 hit with the song "Barely Breathing" from his 1996 eponymous debut. 

Duncan Sheik
Duncan Sheik

After scoring his first feature-length film, 2004's A Home at the End of the World, Sheik's career turned toward Broadway with the success of 2006's Spring Awakening, a hit rock musical. It won him the Tony for Best Original Score as well as a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, both with lyricist Steven Sater. 

Read more: Allmusic

November 18, 1972: Steely Dan's first single "Do It Again" enters the pop charts. 

“Do It Again” became a top 10 hit in ’73, a few months after it was released as a single, and it’s one of those nominally rock songs that found its stylistic place over the next few years through the artists who found themselves in thrall to its musicianship and its songwriting. 

Walter Becker (L) & Donald Fagen (R) Steely Dan
Walter Becker (L) & Donald Fagen (R)

The original is a sleek, noodly thing that rides on a sense of sharp repetition; each line in each verse drills in that up-and-down “na na naaaaaaa, na na na NA na/na na na na nuh na na na nuh” in a way that makes hookiness sound like the kind of self-destructive compulsion that keeps the song’s “you” going back to the bad ideas well. 

Read more: Stereogum

November 18, 1982: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts released the album I Love Rock 'n' Roll.

Joan Jett's solo career looked like it was destined to be a dud after the Runaways splintered — but everything broke wide open with her second release, 1981's I Love Rock 'n Roll. Dismissed by the industry mere months before its release, Jett found herself with a massive hit on her hands once "I Love Rock 'n Roll" shipped to radio.

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Released in late 1981, the song soared up the charts, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sending the album to No. 2. With a cover of the Tommy James hit "Crimson and Clover" poised for Top 10 success as the follow-up, Jett — and Boardwalk — had a certified smash on their hands.  

Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock

MTV Unplugged
The Man Who Sold the World
Nirvana

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