Monday, May 17, 2021

Music History Today: May 18, 2021

May 18, 1949: Rick Wakeman, the keyboardist for Yes, was born in London. 

Rick Wakeman is currently in the middle of a U.S. solo tour called Grumpy Old Rick where he plays songs from throughout his career like David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” and “Cat Stevens’ “Morning Has Broken,” pausing between each one to tell funny stories about his life.

Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman

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During a visit to New York a couple of weeks ago, the keyboardist sat down to talk about his long career, focusing on his tumultuous tenure in Yes, his plans for a 2020 Anderson Rabin Wakeman farewell tour, and continuing to play and record despite being diagnosed with arthritis in his hands a few years back. 

Read more: Rolling Stone

May 18, 1963: Jimmy Soul's marriage advice anthem, "If You Want to Be Happy," hit Number 1 in America.

The lyrics of Jimmy Soul’s “If You Wanna Be Happy” make it one of the more offensive, yet somehow totally fun songs from the 1960s. In the song Soul tosses comedic, albeit chauvinistic lyrics giving advice to the listener. 

Jimmy Soul

Marry an “ugly girl” he says, because she’ll do everything she can to make you happy. She’ll cook well and be faithful just because you gave her the lifetime of happiness all for the kindness of putting a ring on her finger.  
Read more: Groovy History


May 18, 1966: The Hollies recorded "Bus Stop."

Perhaps the most undervalued band of the original British Invasion, The Hollies’ hits are well known in the U.S., but their early albums are almost impossible to find!

The Hollies
The Hollies

Taking their name from Buddy Holly and modeling their harmonies on the Everly Brothers, the Hollies gathered these American musical ingredients and whipped them into a wholly-UKnique concoction. 
Read more: The In Groove

May 18, 1985: Smooth Operator by Sade made it to Number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

It might come as a surprise, but Sade Adu never took voice lessons before hitting it big and selling tens of millions of records with her Sade band mates Paul S. Denman, Andrew Hale, and Stuart Matthewman. 

Sade Adu
Sade Adu

“I have no technical notion, but I know what sounds good and what doesn’t,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s an instinct.” This instinct proved beneficial when Sade first recorded unpolished 4-track demo tapes of “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator.” 

Read more: Microchop Substack


May 18, 2002: Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" peaked at Number 5 in the US.

Vanessa Carlton has finally given a hint about who her breakout hit "A Thousand Miles" is about, 20 years after it lit radio airwaves on fire.

Vanessa Carlton
Vanessa Carlton

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight about the song on Thursday, Carlton, 40, teased that it's "about a crush I had on a Juilliard student." "I can't say the person's name because they are a famous actor and I don't want to say it," she added. Carlton went on to say that she's "purposefully not attaching a gender" to the subject of her song, "and it will remain like that."  

Read more: People


Morning Has Broken
Rick Wakeman

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