Saturday, May 15, 2021

Music History Today: May 16, 2021

May 16, 1966: The Beach Boys released their landmark album Pet Sounds. Standout tracks included "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows."

Brian Wilson’s songwriting in the early days of The Beach Boys inevitably included cars, surfing, and always the pursuit of girls, California or otherwise. The combination of those lyrics with the band unique rhythm made for perfect pieces of great American candy-pop for us all to rot our teeth with. 

Pet Sounds photoshoot
Pet Sounds photoshoot

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But it was on 1966’s Pet Sounds, Wilson’s masterpiece, that his ultimate love song appeared in the form of ‘God Only Knows’. The song that Paul McCartney once called “the greatest song ever written” (often cited as the inspiration for his own ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’) would go on to find it’s home on the dancefloors of countless weddings, as it to this day remains Brian Wilson and Tony Asher’s masterpiece of emotion. 

Read more: Far Out Magazine

May 16, 1953: Percy Faith's "Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart)" hit Number 1 in the US.

The music was written by Georges Auric. The original French lyrics were by Jacques Larue, the English words by William Engvick. However, in the film the song is called "It's April Again", and there is no mention of the phrase "Where Is Your Heart".

Moulin Rouge poster

In Moulin Rouge, the theme song was sung by Muriel Smith, dubbing for Zsa Zsa Gabor, who lip-synched to Smith's singing. The most popular version of the song was made by Percy Faith's Orchestra, with a vocal by Felicia Sanders. 

Read more: Wikipedia

May 16, 1963: "My Guy" by Mary Wells lead the US music chart.

Mary Wells’ ascent was a beautiful thing. Growing up in Detroit with an absent father and a domestic-worker mother, she went through both spinal meningitis and tuberculosis. To deal with the pain of her various illnesses, she lost herself in the church and in music. And by the time she was out of her teens, she was, quite possibly, the biggest star of Motown’s early years.

Mary Wells
Mary Wells

Working with Smokey Robinson, her favorite producer and songwriter, she scored a handful of big crossover hits in the early ’60s. She headlined the label’s early package tours. She was the first Motown artist to be nominated for a Grammy and the first to perform outside the US. She was the Beatles’ favorite American singer, and they took her on a UK tour. And it all came to a head with “My Guy,” the biggest hit of her career. 

Read more: Stereogum


May 16, 1981: "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington Jr., featuring Bill Withers, made it to Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

William Salter helped write one of America's most iconic love songs. He collaborated with Bill Withers and Ralph MacDonald on "Just the Two of Us," performed by Grover Washington Jr. on his album Winelight in 1980.

Grover Washington Jr.

Salter, now 84, spoke with his 25-year-old granddaughter Jada Salter for a remote StoryCorps conversation about how he first found his sound. Jada remembered her grandfather always humming a tune on her childhood visits to his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. 

Read more: NPR


May 16, 1987: Bryan Adams peaked at Number 6 in the US with "Heat Of The Night ."

"Heat of the Night" is a song written by Canadian rock musician Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and performed by Adams. The song became the most successful song from Adams's album Into the Fire in 1987. 

Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams

The song was partly inspired by the film noir classic The Third Man, starring the actor-director Orson Welles. The darkness of the lyrics was further influenced by a trip Bryan and Jim Vallance took to Berlin in March 1986, before the wall came down. 

Read more: Wikipedia


God Only Knows
Beach Boys

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