Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Music History Today: January 21, 2021

January 21, 1938: Lupine disc jockey Wolfman Jack is born Robert Weston Smith in Brooklyn, New York. 
Wolfman Jack was born Robert Weston Smith, in Brooklyn, New York, on January 21, 1938.  As a young teenager, he would listen to the radio in his home’s basement, where he pretended to be the DJ.  

Wolfman Jack

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His early influences were the DJ’s of his day like; Tommy Small, The Hound, and Jocko.   At the age of 16, his love for radio grew as he listened daily to Alan Freed, the ultimate DJ of New York. One week, for several days, hoping to meet Freed, Smith positioned himself near the outside stage-door of the Paramount Theater, where Freed did major rock & roll stage shows. While hanging around outside the theater, Smith was noticed and received a big break, he not only met Freed, he also got a job as a "gofer" at the Paramount. 
Read more: Wolfman Jack Radio
January 21, 1961: Del Shannon records his first single, "Runaway."
Born Charles Westover in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1934, the singer-songwriter known as Del Shannon dies by suicide on February 8, 1990. 

Del Shannon
Del Shannon

In a period when the American pop charts were dominated by cookie-cutter teen idols and novelty acts, he stood out as an all-too-rare example of an American pop star whose work reflected real originality. His heyday as a chart-friendly star in the United States may have been brief, but on the strength of his biggest hit alone he deserves to be regarded as one of rock and roll’s greatest.  
Read more: History

January 21, 1978: The soundtrack album to Saturday Night Fever hits  number 1 in the US and stays there for an astonishing 24 weeks.
With 15 million copies sold in the U.S. alone, Saturday Night Fever was the top-selling soundtrack album of all time before being supplanted by The Bodyguard some 15 years later.
It's also the only disco record (so far) to win the Grammy for Album of the Year, and one of only three soundtracks (besides The Bodyguard and O Brother, Where Art Thou?) to win that category. 
Read more: Mental Floss

January 21, 1978: Dolly Parton's hit "Here You Come Again" peaked at Number 3 on the Hot 100 chart.
On Feb. 1, 1978, Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again" became her first gold single. The song had recently appeared on a BJ Thomas LP. 
Dolly Parton
Parton's version of "Here You Come Again," which is about someone having their life shaken up from seeing an old flame, sounds contemporary. Glamorous backing vocals, syrupy strings and a perky, easygoing tempo dominate. But in a deliberate nod to her country roots, Al Perkins contributes pedal steel. 
Read more: The Boot

January 21, 1984: "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" by Yes goes to number 1 in America, an uncharacteristic hit for the prog-rockers and their only Top 10.
“Owner Of A Lonely Heart” wasn’t supposed to be a Yes song. The band that recorded the song wasn’t even supposed to be called Yes. Yes had broken up. They were finished. 


The members of the band wanted to move onto other things, and they only assented to calling themselves Yes because their label demanded it. The primary songwriter of “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” hadn’t ever been a member of Yes, and he was uncomfortable with the song coming out under that name, with that history attached. 
Read more: Stereogum

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