Saturday, January 23, 2021

Music History Today: January 24, 2021

January 24, 1976: The theme from Diana Ross' second movie, Mahogany, becomes her third solo US number-one hit, where it stays for one week.
Mahogany was the story of Tracy Chambers, a secretary at a Chicago department store who dreams of becoming a fashion designer. 

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She eventually gets her chance, but only because Anthony Perkins, playing a predatory photographer, transforms her into a supermodel and renames her Mahogany. In the movie, Diana Ross’ character is split between her life in Rome with Perkins and her attraction to Chicago community organizer Billy Dee Williams. 
Read more: Sterreogum

January 24, 1939: Ray Stevens (real name Harold Ray Ragsdale) was born in Clarkdale, Georgia. 

From his early days performing around Atlanta to his rise to Nashville stardom, funny man Ray Stevens never took himself too seriously. His love of country music, America, and old-fashioned values remain firm after all of these years, but it has always been the guaranteed laughs that keep attracting fans to Stevens' body of work.

Ray Stevens

Although he had some big hits ("Misty," "Everything Is Beautiful" and "Mr. Businessman"), Stevens' better-known songs remain his novelty material, from the simple and fun ("The Haircut Song") to the wordy and absurd ("Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick-Dissolving Fast-Acting Pleasant-Tasting Green and Purple Pills," "Freddie Feelgood (and His Funky Little Five Piece Band"). 

Read more: Wide Open Country


January 24, 1977: Boston released the single "Long Time."
Before people started calling bedroom bands bedroom bands, Boston were a bedroom band. MIT tech whiz Tom Scholz wrote a batch of songs and recorded some home demos, playing almost all of the instruments himself in his basement studio. 

"Long Time," like the instrumental intro "Foreplay" that's often attached to it, was written about six years before Boston's self-titled debut album came out. It's one of Scholz's earliest compositions, but the musical template he'd follow throughout the band's career -- fist-raising guitar riffs, crystal-clear solos, tightly constructed foundations -- was already in place. 
Read more: Ultimate Classic Rock


January 24, 1978: Randy Newman upset some people when his song "Short People" hit the top of the Cash Box best sellers list.  

Back in the era of jiggle TV and polyester — long before Howard Stern, Public Enemy, and Cybill Shepherd would be condemned by feminists, Jewish groups, and animal-rights advocates respectively — no one had heard the term Politically Correct. Especially Randy Newman.

Randy Newman

But when his freak hit, ”Short People” (”They got grubby little fingers and dirty little minds”), entered the Billboard Top 40 chart on Dec. 10, 1977, Newman learned the hard way that there is no fury like a minority scorned — especially, as he noted wryly at the time, a tiny minority. 
Read more: Entertainment Weekly

January 24, 1987: Billy Vera & the Beaters reaches number 1 with "At This Moment" for the next two weeks.
When Billy Vera wrote “At This Moment,” he didn’t think his soulful ode to heartbreak would end up a hit record. He struggled to name it, and he thought its lack of rhymes might turn off audiences. Instead the song, aided by its chance inclusion in the hit ‘80s sitcom “Family Ties,” ended up topping the pop charts. 
Read more: Market Watch

Theme From Mahogany
Diana Ross

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