Sunday, November 8, 2020

Music History Today: November 9, 2020

November 9, 1973: Billy Joel releases his breakthrough album, "Piano Man." 

Piano Man proved to be the first Billy Joel album to gain any real traction on the charts. It broke the Billboard Top 30 in 1974. But it would take him several more years before he'd really become a household name with 1977's The Stranger. 

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Joel later reflected, "Piano Man was not a hit record. It was a turntable hit. In other words, it didn’t sell through." He'd have to endure additional commercial struggles to get there, but soon enough, there would come a point when disc jockeys would be spinning all the Billy Joel hits anyone could ask for - and they all started with Piano Man.  

Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock

November 9, 1962:  The Miracles released the first song produced by Smokey Robinson, "You've Really Got A Hold On Me."

"You've Really Got a Hold On Me" was written by Smokey Robinson while in New York in 1962 on business for Motown. He heard Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home to Me", which was in the charts at the time, and — influenced by it — wrote the song in his hotel room.

One of the Miracles' most covered tunes, this million-selling song received a 1998 Grammy Hall of Fame Award. It has also been selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.  

Read more: Wikipedia

November 9, 1968: Cream peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "White Room." 

There’s no question; if we had to pick just one track by Cream that epitomizes Jack Bruce’s vocal delivery it would be ‘White Room.’ 

l-r: Ginger Baker,  Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton

There is something so special about the way he comes in following the track’s distinctive opening, an opening that Ginger Baker says he came up with. Add to this Ginger’s perfect drum patterns, Eric Clapton’s great wah-wah guitar, ringing chords and brilliant solo on the outro, and what you have is pure Cream. 
Read more: U Discover Music

November 9, 1969  Simon & Garfunkel record "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with future member of Bread, Larry Knechtel on piano. 

Rock & roll was in full creative bloom, the film version of the Woodstock festival was about to open in theaters, and Led Zeppelin had overtaken the Beatles as favorite rock band in a U.K. poll. 

Simon & Garfunkel

But on February 28th, 1970, the song that would hit Number One and remain there for six weeks wasn’t a rocker but a ballad, and, it turned out, the ballad the country seemed to need at the moment as the tumultuous Sixties ended. Musically, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” would be a key moment in Simon’s creative development, demonstrating that he wasn’t simply limited to folk rock.  

Read more: Rolling Stone

November 9, 1971:  Nilsson released the single "Without You." It will reach number 1 on the charts on February 19, 1972, for two weeks.

In December 1969, an unknown band called Badfinger released “Come and Get It,” a catchy pop song written by Paul McCartney, who had given it to the band to help them break into the charts. It worked. But it was the wrong song for the wrong band at the wrong time. 

Harry Nilsson

While McCartney’s ditty was giving them instant chart recognition, two of the group’s members, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, were hatching a more dramatic song back in their Golders Green bedsits. “Without You” was written about the two men’s relationships with their girlfriends: Ham wrote the verse, Evans the chorus. 

Read more: Financial Times

Piano Man
Billy Joel

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