Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Music History Today: December 24, 2020

December 24, 1818: A church choir in Austria introduced a new Christmas song for their Midnight Mass: "Stille Nacht!" better known as "Silent Night."

On Christmas Eve in 1818, a preist named Joseph Mohr asked his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, an organist and teacher, to compose a melody to a poem he had written two years earlier. Happy with the results, Mohr included the song in a short ceremony following Christmas Mass that same evening.


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Mohr sang tenor and strummed along on guitar, while Gruber sang bass, before a congregation of boat builders, laborers and others. What inspired Mohr to write the poem is unknown. In a historic letter by Gruber, Authentic Account of the Origin of the Christmas Carol, Silent Night, Holy Night, there is no mention of the specific reason. Gruber, though, does recount the request he received that day from Mohr to “write a fitting melody for two solo voices together with choir and for accompaniment by guitar.”  

Read more: BBC Travel

December 24, 1966:  Tommy James & the Shondells recorded "I Think We're Alone Now."

The writing of the song was credited to Ritchie Cordell, who wrote or co-wrote 1968's "Mony Mony." The song was originally written as a slow ballad, but when James, Cordell and Gentry recorded a quick demo, they made the song faster. 

Tommy James later wrote: "Ritchie and Bo originally wrote the song as a mid-tempo ballad. I said no way and started speeding it up.... I.. put on a nasally, almost juvenile-sounding lead vocal, and without realizing it, we invented "bubblegum" music."  
Read more: Wikipedia

December 24, 1976: "Hotel California," The Eagles' sixth album, began the first of eight non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard chart. 

With Hotel California, the Eagles sought to capture the excesses and self-destructive behavior that had become status quo in the rock world. It was a scene they were uniquely qualified to address.

Their previous album, 1975’s One of These Nights, had spawned three Top 10 singles, and their greatest-hits album sold in such stratospheric numbers – on its way to becoming the best-selling album of the 20th century in the United States – that the RIAA had to invent to platinum certification.   
Read more: Rolling Stone

December 24, 1977: The Bee Gees hit, "How Deep Is Your Love," ends the 10 weeks reign of  Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" at the top of the Billboard singles chart. 

Saturday Night Fever was a hit movie. It earned more than $100 million against a budget of less than $5 million. In the becoming film year of 1977, it earned more than any movie that wasn’t Star Wars or Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

The Bee Gees

In terms of cultural impact, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack arguably had an even bigger impact than the movie. That album sold tens of millions of copies, and it remains one of the 10 biggest-selling albums of all time. It led the Bee Gees, already in their imperial era, to absolutely dominate the charts in 1978 to an unheard-of degree. 

Read more: Stereogum

December 24, 1988:  Poison collected their only Number 1 with "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." 

If the 1980s power ballad taught us anything, it’s that even lipstick-loving, hairspray-abusing, pointy guitar-playing glam rockers experienced their fair share of women troubles. 

Bret Michaels of Poison

Whether the song was Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine, Def Leppard’s Love Bites or Skid Row’s I Remember You, the sentiment always was the same: regardless of how many porn stars and supermodels you bed, or backstage mother-daughter threesomes you partake in, you’re still, to paraphrase Kip Winger, headed for an eventual heartbreak.

Read more: Louder Sound

Silent Night
Stevie Nicks

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