Sunday, December 6, 2020

Music History Today: December 7, 2020

December 7, 1973: Paul McCartney & Wings released the album Band on the Run in the U.K.

Strange as it seems, as late as the summer of 1973, Paul McCartney was still trying to find his musical footing in a post-Beatles world.

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Each of his four solo album, including two made with his band Wings, had featured superb moments, but none had matched the high standard set by his work with the Fab Four. His fifth album, Band on the Run, changed all that. 
Brilliant from start to finish, the album freed McCartney from the long shadow of the Beatles’ legacy, and helped give the beloved artist a new musical identity. 
Read more: Best Classic Bands

December 7, 1991: U2 debuted at number 1 on the Album chart with Achtung Baby, their follow up to The Joshua Tree. 

The first year of the 1990s was one of both individual adventure and collective achievement for U2. 

Bono

They were named Best International Group at the BRIT Awards for the third straight year, collected a slew of Rolling Stone awards, and covered Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” on the compilation album Red Hot + Blue to support the fight against AIDS.

For the band, the conversation was all about where to travel next after the immense impact of Rattle and Hum. 

What emerged was "Achtung Baby," an album open to all kinds of sounds and hues, and one that would add to U2’s collection of anthems even as it re-calibrated their sound for the 1990s. 

Read more: U Discover Music

 

December 7, 1942: Harry Chapin is born in New York City. 

Harry Chapin's career as a popular singer/songwriter was cut short by an auto accident in 1981, yet he left behind a series of recordings that his fans continue to treasure decades after his death. Chapin was never a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter. 

Harry Chapin

Critics accused him of over-sentimentalizing his subjects and attaching heavy-handed morals to his socially aware story-songs; the heavily orchestrated arrangements that accompanied many of his songs didn't help his case with the critics, either. 
Nevertheless, Chapin earned a devoted audience during the '70s, through his music and his charity work as a social activist.  
Read more: AllMusic

December 7 1974: Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Fighting" hits number 1 in America for the first of two weeks.

Carl Douglas was a Jamaican-born session singer. Biddu Appaiah, usually just known as Biddu, was an Indian-born record producer. Both of them were living in London when they got together to make “Kung Fu Fighting.”

It was supposed to be a B-side. Douglas and Appaiah had been recording a single called “I Want To Give You My Everything.” They needed a B-side, so Appaiah asked Douglas if he had any other songs, and Douglas showed him a few lyrics. They recorded “Kung Fu Fighting” in two takes, when they only had 10 minutes left in their studio session. 

Read more: Stereogum

December 7, 1985: "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister hits number 1 in the US for the first of two weeks.

If you’re looking for reasons to make fun of ’80s pop music — the fashion, the keyboards, the blaring guitar leads, the almost disarmingly terrible band names — then Richard Page’s band Mr. Mister makes for a great target. 

Mr. Mister didn’t rock. They made ultra-produced, vaguely worded expensive-digital-studio music, and they embodied a moment when that was what pop radio wanted. 

Read more: Stereogum

 

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Paul McCartney & Wings

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