Saturday, February 20, 2021

Music History Today: February 21, 2021

February 21, 2001: U2 captured Grammys for Record and Song of the Year with "Beautiful Day."

“We’re back, re-applying for the job of best band in the world,” U2 frontman Bono announced onstage at London’s Astoria Theatre on the night of February 7, 2001. 
Beatiful Day by U2 Ecru poster band walking on grass with overlay

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When “Beautiful Day,” the lead single from the band’s tenth album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, won three Grammy Awards just two weeks later, it must have felt like confirmation that they got their old job back. 
Read more: U Discover Music

February 21, 1933: Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, where she began playing the piano at age 3.

Nina Simone studied classical piano at the Juilliard School in New York City, but left early when she ran out of money. Performing in night clubs, she turned her interest to jazz, blues and folk music and released her first album in 1957, scoring a Top 20 hit with the track "I Loves You Porgy." 

Nina Simone black and white publicty head shot
Nine Simone

In the 1960s, Simone expanded her repertory in exemplary fashion while becoming identified as a leading voice of the Civil Rights Movement. She later lived abroad and experienced major mental health and financial issues, though she enjoyed a career resurgence in the 1980s. Simone died in France on April 21, 2003.  
Read more: Biography

February 21, 1964: The Rolling Stones released their first single in America, a cover of the Buddy Holly song "Not Fade Away."

When the Rolling Stones released their cover of a 1957 Buddy Holly B-side "Not Face Away" in the U.S. in early 1964, the Stones were trying to push into a market the bright-sounding Beatles (and the Dave Clark Five) were taking by storm. 

Rolling Stones publicity photo with Brain Jones
Rolling Stones with Brian Jones

Their choice was to revamp the Holly song with a rough-hewn and scruffy percussive Bo Diddley beat, powered by Keith Richards’ opening guitar chords, eerily perched between minor and major key and a precursor of “Street Fightin’ Man.”

But the song was too bluesy with Brian Jones’ harmonica, too churning and guttural and too dangerous, to hit big on the U.S. charts, although the momentum of the British Invasion pushed it up Billboard’s Top 100 chart to No. 48. 

Read more: American Songwriter


February 21, 1970: Eddie Holman peaked at Number 2 with "Hey There Lonely Girl." 

First recorded in 1963, titled "Hey There Lonely Boy" by Ruby and the Romantics, it was a Top 30 hit, peaking at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. In 1969, R&B singer Eddie Holman recorded and released his own version of the song.  
Read more: Wikipedia


February 21, 1981: REO Speedwagon started a 15-week run at the top of the Billboard album chart with "Hi Infidelity."

Released in late 1980, Hi Infidelity hit commercial pay-dirt for the Illinois-based group REO Speedwagon. 

The album strikes a nice balance of accessible pop rockers and ballads as the quintet forged a sound which was at once contemporary and featuring some roots rock elements and, with six of the album’s ten tracks landing on the American pop charts, this chart-topping album became the biggest-selling rock album of 1981 in the US and was eventually certified 10 times platinum. 
Read more: Classic Rock Review


Beautiful Day

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