Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Music History Today: December 23, 2020

December 23, 1977: Cat Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam.

Cat Stevens experienced unprecedented success with hits including "Moon Shadow," "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken." 

Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens

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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. Around this time, while swimming at a Malibu beach, Stevens nearly drowned. The singer to make a promise: If divine intervention could save him from drowning, Stevens would devote his life to honoring God. 

Read more: Biography

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

"This Magic Moment" 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 met, for the first time, with 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 a cover of Bobby Freeman's "Do You Want To Dance."

Bette Midler included a cover of Bobby Freeman's "Do You Want to dance" on her 1972 debut album, The Divine Miss M. 

Bette Midler

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 released "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.”  
Read more: Rhino


Oh Very Young
Cat Stevens

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