Thursday, December 31, 2020

Music History Today: December 31, 2020

December 31, 1948: Donna Summer is born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Boston, Massachusetts. 

On her 23rd birthday in 1975, Casablanca Records' throw a single release party for her debut single, "Love To Love You Baby." 

In a studio in Munich, Donna Summer lay on the floor in the dark, preparing to moan her way into history. It was early 1975, and Summer was still 17 minutes of ecstasy away from becoming the sex queen of disco.  


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She ended up with “Love to Love You Baby,” a trailblazing early-disco hit that virtually invented the extended remix and forever linked the sound of pulsating dance beats and female sexual pleasure. 

Read more: Blender (Archived)

December 31, 1947: Burton Cummings (lead singer, keyboardist for The Guess Who) is born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Burton Cummings teamed with guitarist-singer Randy Bachman of The Guess Who to become one of the most prolific and popular songwriting duos of the era, churning out classic songs such as “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” “No Sugar Tonight,” and “American Woman” before Bachman’s departure in May 1970. 

Burton Cummings graphic


Cummings provided backup vocals on Eric Carmen’s Boats Against the Current album before releasing his own self-titled album in 1976. 

The lead single, “Stand Tall,” reached number two on Billboard’s U.S. adult contemporary chart and number 10 on the U.S. singles chart, while the follow-up “I’m Scared” was almost as successful. 

Read more: Britannica

December 31, 1955: The first version of "Unchained Melody," recorded by Les Baxter, his Chorus and Orchestra, is named the top-selling single of 1955 by Billboard. 

"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. North wrote the music as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained (January 1955), hence the song title. 

In 1955, three versions of the song (by Les Baxter, Al Hibbler, and Roy Hamilton) charted in the Billboard top 10 in the United States, and four versions (by Al Hibbler, Les Baxter, Jimmy Young, and Liberace) appeared in the top 20 in the United Kingdom simultaneously, a record for any song. 

Read more: Wikipedia

December 31, 1966:  "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra was the new number 1 song on the Easy Listening chart.

In the autumn of 1966, Frank Sinatra was at Western Recorders, where he began work on a new album with producer Jimmy Bowen, made up of ten tracks arranged by Ernie freeman. On October 18, with an orchestra conducted by Donnie Lanier, Frank recorded what became that album’s title track – That’s Life.

Frank Sinatra

When it was released as a single, less than a month later, it made the Billboard Hot 100 on November 19 – the highest new entry of the week, entering at No. 75. 

Read more: U Discover Music

December 31, 1984: Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses an arm when he crashes his Corvette. 

In one of the scariest and ultimately inspiring stories in recent rock history, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen nearly lost his life and did lose his left arm in a car accident on Dec. 31, 1984.

Although he was lucky to even survive the crash, Allen's position in one of rock's biggest bands -- still riding high on the back of their 1983 commercial breakthrough 'Pyromania' -- was obviously in jeopardy. 

Amazingly, neither Allen nor his bandmates gave up, with the musician realizing in the hospital he could still play the drum parts to many of his favorite songs with his feet. 

Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock

 

Love To Love You Baby
Donna Summer

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