Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Music History Today: December 23, 2020

December 23, 1977: Cat Stevens converts to Islam and changes his name to Yusuf Islam.

Cat Stevens experienced unprecedented success with hits including "Moon Shadow," "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken," and even recorded tracks for the offbeat film Harold and Maude. His next album, Catch Bull at Four (1972), stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks, making it his most successful American release.

Cat Stevens

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After releasing a successful greatest hits compilation in 1975, he put out his tenth album, Izitso, which also went gold. Around this time, while swimming at a Malibu beach, Stevens nearly drowned. Facing imminent death led the singer to make a promise: If divine intervention could save him from drowning, Stevens would devote his life to honoring God. According to Stevens, a wave pushed him to shore as if in answer to his prayers. 

Read more: Biography

December 23, 1959: The Drifters record "This Magic Moment." 

"This Magic Moment" is a song composed by lyricist Doc Pomus and pianist Mort Shuman, and is one of their best-known songs. It was recorded first by Ben E. King and the Drifters. The Drifters version spent 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 16 on April 2, 1960. 
Read more: Wikipedia

December 23, 1969: Elton John meets for the first time with what would become his classic team - songwriter Bernie Taupin, arranger Paul Buckmaster, and producer Gus Dudgeon - to begin work on his first solo album.

For most artists, the first album is the one they essentially spend their entire lives to that point creating. Then there are the artists that give it a solid try on their initial outing, but find their true voice later.

Elton John's first album, Empty Sky, is a great example of a debut album that only hints at the brilliance to come. It's not a bad record by any means, but it is a product of its time, and you can hear John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin learning their way and finding their voice as they go. 

Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock

December 23, 1972:  Bette Midler charted for the first time with her debut single "Do You Want To Dance."

"Do You Want to Dance" is a song written by American singer Bobby Freeman and recorded by him in 1958. It reached number No. 5 on the United States Billboard Top 100 Sides pop chart and No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart. 

Bette Midler

Bette Midler included the song on her 1972 debut album The Divine Miss M. In contrast to the Bobby Freeman's are up-tempo rock and roll version, Midler slowed the tempo of the song down to a sultry-sounding ballad. Midler's version was her first single release, reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1973.  

Read more: Wikipedia

December 23, 1978: Rod Stewart releases "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" in the US.

When Rod Stewart posed the musical question “Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?” millions replied in the affirmative; the single was a Top 10 hit in nearly 20 countries, topping the U.S. chart for four weeks.

Rod Stewart

The song was co-written by Stewart, drummer Carmine Appice and Duane Hitchings, who described it as “a spoof on guys from the 'cocaine lounge lizards' of the Saturday Night Fever days … Rod, in his brilliance, decided to do a spoof on disco.”  
Read more: Rhino

 

Oh Very Young
Cat Stevens

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