Saturday, February 13, 2021

Music History Today: February 14, 2021

February 14, 1972: Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty is born to American parents in West Germany.   

A gifted songwriter, Rob Thomas credits include two decades-worth of hits by Matchbox Twenty, his own solo work and such classics as 1999’s Grammy Award-winning “Smooth” by Santana, on which he was a featured artist and co-writer. 

Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 lead singers sitting in front of a red door
Rob Thomas

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On Matchbox’s “Disease,” Thomas collaborated with Mick Jagger. Thomas has been honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, receiving the Hal David Starlight Award, among other accolades. 
Read more: Variety

February 14, 1964: The Dave Clark Five release the single "Bits And Pieces" in the UK.

If you were listening to music and watching “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1960s, there’s little chance you don’t know the beats and hooks of The Dave Clark Five. 

Dave Clark Five band  publicity photo with five members
Dave Clark Five

Songs like “Glad All Over,” “Bits and Pieces,” and “Do You Love Me?” helped the band sell more than 100 million records in their eight-year run. Here are fast facts for those discovering this British Invasion band for the first time, and a refresher for those who loved them from the start. 
Read more: PBS 

February 14, 1970: Sly & the Family Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" hits number 1 in America for a two week stay.

On a purely sonic level, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” sounds like a total celebration. It’s sharp, sprightly, upbeat. 

Sly and the Family Stone group publicity picture
Sly and the Family Stone


All the band members share lead vocal duties, singing as one, like they’re an army. Larry Graham hammers his bass hard, popping the strings and treating his instrument like it’s percussive. Sly and Freddie Stone’s guitars do a wah-wah strut, and Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson’s horns stab through the mix. The hook sounds celebratory — like the Family Stone is thanking America’s public for latching onto their bugged-out sound. 
 

Read more: Stereogum

 

February 14, 1976: "Paloma Blanca" became a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Easy Listening Singles chart the United States,

Paloma Blanca is frothy, anonymous European pop, marrying chipper romp-in-the-country melodies with beats that borrow from disco, polka, mariachi, and pseudo-Eastern European gypsy music. 

George Baker Selection black & White publicty photo landscape
George Baker Selection

Echoes of faux country music are heard sometimes as well, in tunes like "As Long as the Sun Will Shine." It ends up sounding like those hack bands you see grinning away in the "it's a small world after all" corners of amusement theme parks, the commercial success of this stuff being the most notable difference. 
Read more: Allmusic

February 14, 1987: Bon Jovi started a four week run at the top of the Billboard chart with "Livin' On A Prayer." It reached number 4 in the UK.

Let's pretend for a moment that you're not familiar with Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer."

BonJovi black and white desktop background wallpaper
Bon Jovi

The 1986 rock anthem — a No. 1 hit that went on to become the band's signature song — tells the tale of Tommy and Gina, a working class couple who struggle to make ends meet and vow to "hold on to what we've got."

Bandmates Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora also were coming from a scrappy background as they met with their "Prayer" co-writer, master popsmith Desmond Child. He first wrote with the pair in the basement of Sambora's parents' house — on the edge of a marsh and in the shadow of an oil refinery. 

Read more: The Tennessean

 

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