Saturday, January 16, 2021

Music History Today: January 17, 2021

January 17 1976: Barry Manilow's "I Write The Songs" hits number 1 in America. It goes on to win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Barry Manilow has written a lot of songs, but he didn’t write “I Write The Songs.” In fact, Manilow didn’t write any of his three #1 hits. 

Barry Manilow
(sign up to follow by email)

“I Write The Songs” isn’t intended to be a statement of fact. Instead, it’s a vague and expansive tribute to the the very idea of music itself. And according to the person who actually did write “I Write The Songs,” it’s a song about God. That makes it one of the only songs about God ever to get to #1. Praise be. 
Read more: Stereogum

January 17 1976: Earth, Wind and Fire's album Gratitude hits number 1 in America.

Gratitude, EWF's 1975 double album, showcased three sides of the best live material from their busy year of touring. 

But tucked away on the fourth side is a quintet of studio gems, led off by the shimmering "Sing a Song." Guitarist Al McKay came up with the track's signature riff while in his dressing room prior to a show, before presenting the tune to Maurice White for lyrical input. White kept the words simple and optimistic, penning an infectious disco-flecked jingle praising the healing power of music. 
Read more: Rolling Stone

January 17 1970:  The top mover of the week was Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia", up from number 100 to 70.

Brook Benton was a successful young songwriter for artists like Nat “King” Cole before his own breakthrough hit as an artist with “It’s Just a Matter of Time.” He went on to have several more hit singles, as well as big duets with “The Queen of Music,” Dinah Washington.

 

But as the ‘60s passed, and the Beatles and Motown dominated the charts, Benton’s success waned. That is, until he recorded “Rainy Night in Georgia,” a song written by a drawling Louisiana singer named Tony Joe White.  
Read more: American Songwriter

January 17 1972:  Neil Young released the single "Heart Of Gold."

“Heart Of Gold” is not a lyrically complicated song. Young, we learn, is looking for a girl. 

He’s been all around the world — to Hollywood, to Redwood — but he can’t find the right person. Given the context of the time, we can probably infer that this is a song about getting tired of groupies and wanting a stable relationship.  This is total rock-cliché stuff. But Young sings about that search in vast, mythic terms.
Read more: Stereogum

 

January 17 1972:  Paul Simon released the single "Mother And Child Reunion."

Paul Simon was a fan of reggae music, and he listened to artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, and Byron Lee; he wanted to go to Kingston, Jamaica to record the song, as that was where Cliff had recorded his antiwar song "Vietnam" in 1970.

Paul Simon

The title has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish called "Mother and Child Reunion" that Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant's menu. 
The song's lyrics were inspired by a pet dog that was run over and killed. It was the first death Simon personally experienced, and he began to wonder how he would react if the same happened to his wife, Peggy Harper.
Read more: Wikipedia

 I Write The Songs
Barry Manilow

No comments:

Post a Comment