Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Music History Today: December 17, 2020

December 17, 1971: David Bowie releases his fourth album, Hunky Dory, which opens with the song "Changes."

David Bowie was already four years and four albums into his career when he issued Hunky Dory, the first record to help secure his legend. He had been inching closer to this moment with each release, but with Hunky Dory everything that followed pretty much started here.

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His previous album, 1970's The Man Who Sold the World, began the myth-building. But the real work started a year later, and that transformation was the result of a series of firsts for Bowie: 

The first album for his new label, RCA; the first Bowie album produced by Ken Scott; the first album to include the band that became the Spiders From Mars; and the first album to include a mix of pop, glam, art and folk wrapped in an am-bisexual pose that would come to define the artist.  

Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock

December 17, 1957:  Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" enters the Billboard Pop chart for the first time.

Some Christmas songs are so synonymous with the season that it's hard to even imagine a time before hearing them on the radio or in your favorite holiday films.

Bobby Helms

Pretty much since it was first released in 1957, "Jingle Bell Rock" has been a holiday classic, covered by everyone from Reba Mcentire and Blake Shelton to Hall & Oates. 

But it's Bobby Helms that helped turn the song into what it is today with his original recording.

Read more: Wide Open Country

December 17, 1966: The Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" enters the Billboard Pop chart.

“Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” was written by Phil Gernhard, who had previously produced Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’ #1 hit “Stay,” and Dick Holler, a songwriter who would later go on to pen Dion’s “Abraham, Martin and John.” 

The combination of popular source material and a catchy chorus (“10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or more / the bloody Red Baron was rolling out the score”) seemed guaranteed to be a hit — if they could get Schulz’s permission. 

But what would happen if the cartoonist wouldn’t give his assent? As a precaution, Gerhard, Holler, and the Royal Guardsmen recorded a non-trademark infringing version of the song retitled “Squeaky vs. the Black Knight.”    

Read more: Rebeat Magazine

December 17, 1983: Cyndi Lauper debuted on the chart with her first single, "Girls Just Want To Have Fun."

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a song about inclusivity. Freedom. Self-expression. Uniqueness. But most of all it’s a song that empowers you to embrace every part of yourself.

Cyndi Lauper

Lauper showed girls that they don’t have to feel ashamed of their insecurities or that they look differently than what society defines as beautiful. 
In the music video, she wanted “to have multi-racial girls so that every little girl could actually see herself in it, and it would be kind of contagious that everyone was entitled—no matter what race or color or anything—you were entitled to this joyful experience.”  
Read more: Off the Cuff Mag

December 17, 1989:  Alannah Myles released the single "Black Velvet."

"Black Velvet" is a song written by Canadian songwriters Christopher Ward and David Tyson, and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Alannah Myles.

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Alannah Myles 


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Alannah Myles 

The song is a paean to Elvis Presley — whose portrait was often painted on black velvet, and who used a hair dye named Black Velvet. Co-writer Christopher Ward, who was Myles' then-boyfriend, was inspired on a bus full of Elvis fans riding to Memphis attending the 10th anniversary vigil at Graceland, in 1987. 
Read more: Wikipedia

David Bowie
Changes 

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