Friday, December 11, 2020

Music History Today: December 12, 2020

December 12, 1971:  Diana Ross began filming for the movie Lady Sings the Blues.

My first reaction when I learned that Diana Ross had been cast to play Billie Holiday was a quick and simple one: I didn't think she could do it. 

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I knew she could sing, although not as well as Billie Holiday and certainly not in the same way, but I couldn't imagine Diana Ross reaching the emotional highs and lows of one of the more extreme public lives of our time. All of those thoughts were wiped out of my mind within the first three or four minutes of "Lady Sings the Blues", and I was left with a feeling of complete confidence in a dramatic performance. This was one of the great performances of 1972. 

Read more: Roger Ebert

December 12, 1966:  The Bob Crewe Generation released what would become one of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era; "Music To Watch Girls By."

Pepsi used the slogan "Come Alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation" and a melody titled "Music to Watch Girls By" in their mid-'60s advertisements. Legendary producer Bob Crewe took his cue from the T-Bones, who had enjoyed a hit the previous year with an Alka-Seltzer jingle, and turned Pepsi's theme and slogan into the first Top 40 hit to bear Crewe's name as artist. 
Read more: All Music

December 12, 1970:  Brian Hyland peaked at 3 with "Gypsy Woman."

"Gypsy Woman" is a 1961 rhythm and blues song written by Curtis Mayfield and recorded by his group the Impressions. The group's first single following the departure of lead singer Jerry Butler, it reached No. 2 on the R&B chart and No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1970, Brian Hyland recorded the hit version of the song, produced by Del Shannon, which went up to Number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. 
Read more: Wikipedia

December 12, 1981:  The Human League reached number 1 in the U.K. with "Don't You Want Me."

To Americans first encountering the Human League in 1982, the band’s name must’ve come off as a high-concept joke. Everything about the Human League ran against every possible notion of flesh-and-blood rock ‘n’ roll. 
The Human League

The band had no guitarist and no drummer — just three singers and three synth players. In interviews, they said that guitars were “archaic.” Lead singer Philip Oakey delivered his lyrics in a flat, stentorian monotone, sounding like the robotic clone of David Bowie. And yet the Human League’s American breakthrough was a pocket melodrama about jealousy and possessiveness and spite and vulnerability — perhaps the most human of emotions.  
Read more: Stereogum

 

December 12, 1992:  The Soundtrack to "The Bodyguard" moved to number 1 on the Album chart.

"I Have Nothing" is a song recorded by American singer Whitney Houston, released as the third single from The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album.
In a review for The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic called the song a "first-rate urban pop song that skillfully captures Houston at her best." Larry Flick from Billboard called it a "booming power ballad", adding that it "has the same lung-bursting drama" as "I Will Always Love You", "tweaked with a quasi-symphonic climax that never fails to push all the right buttons." 
Read more: Wikipedia

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Diana Ross

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