Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Music History Today: March 23, 2021

March 23, 2002: The O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack  takes bluegrass to number 1 in America.

Loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," the movie deals with the picaresque adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississipi. 

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Sprung from a chain gang and trying to reach Everett's home to recover the buried loot of a bank heist they are confronted by a series of strange characters--among them sirens, a cyclops, bank robber George "Baby Face" Nelson (very annoyed by that nickname), a campaigning governor and his opponent, a KKK lynch mob, and a blind prophet who warns the trio that "the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find." 

Read more: Imdb

March 23 1970: Leon Russell released his self-titled studio album in the US.

By 1970, Leon Russell Bridges had played on hits by The Ronettes, The Crystals, Glen Campbell, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Frank Sinatra, and many others. 

Leon Russell
 Leon Russell 

He joined Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, then teamed up with Joe Cocker who had a hit with Russell's "Delta Lady" in 1969, ultimately inspiring them to organize and hit the road as the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour throughout 1970. Before they hit the road, Russell gathered all of his friends and recorded his self-titled debut solo album. 

Three-fifths of The Rolling Stones, half of the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Merry Clayton, Klaus Voorman, and Joe Cocker all contribute. Yet unlike the ego-stroking guest appearances that were commonplace on albums in the 1980s and beyond, the musicians involved here never get in the way of the star of the show. 

Read more: Albumism

March 23, 1979: Journey released their album "Evolution," which contained their first Top 40 hit, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'."

The Evolution album marked the Journey debut of drummer Steve Smith, who replaced Aynsley Dunbar. Smith had been a member of the band Montrose, who opened shows for Journey in 1978.

"Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' " was Journey's first Top 20 single, peaking at Number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lead singer Steve Perry said the song came from a true story, after he watched from a window as his then-girlfriend got out of a Corvette and gave the driver a lengthy kiss goodbye. Perry initially called the song "Love Justice." 

Read more: Nights with Alice Cooper


March 23, 1974: Cher captured the top spot on the charts with "Dark Lady."

Cher had a formula, and that formula worked, at least for a while. She hit #1 three times in quick succession in the early ’70s, and those three songs shared a whole lot in common with one another.


All three were story-songs. All three made use of producer Snuff Garrett’s schlocky Broadway-rock aesthetic. And all three revolved around some kind of exoticized version of the American other.
In “Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves,” Cher is a Gypsy. On “Half-Breed,” she’s half-Cherokee. (In real life, she’s neither.) And on “Dark Lady,” the last #1 single from that run, we don’t learn anything about Cher’s character’s ethnicity, but she does kill a Gypsy woman. 
Read more: Stereogum

 

March 23, 1996: Céline Dion takes over at number 1 with "Because You Loved Me."

"Because You Loved Me" was written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. Both Warren and Foster worked with Dion on her previous English-language albums. 

The song is a downtempo pop ballad, and its lyrics revolve around the protagonist thanking a loyal loved one for guiding, encouraging, and protecting her throughout her life, and making her who she is today. Warren said that the song was a tribute to her father. 
Read more: Fandom

In The Jailhouse
The Soggy Bottom Boys
ft. Tim Blake Nelson 

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