Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Music History Today: June 10, 2021

June 10, 1978: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's Grease duet "You're The One That I Want" hits number 1 in the US.

If you didn’t like John Travolta’s face, then 1978 must’ve been a tough year for you. Saturday Night Fever, which made Travolta a star, opened in theaters during the last month of 1977. 

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John in Grease
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

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The film ended up as the #3 box-office hit released in 1977, a year that also gave us Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kid. Six months later, Travolta starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease. Grease was the biggest movie of 1978, besting Animal House and Superman. Suddenly, John Travolta, one of the Sweathogs from Welcome Back, Kotter, was arguably the biggest movie star in the world. 

Read more: Stereogum

June 10, 1970: Brian Hyland released "Gypsy Woman" from his self-titled album.

"Gypsy Woman" is a 1961 rhythm and blues song written by Curtis Mayfield and recorded by his group the Impressions. The group's first single following the departure of lead singer Jerry Butler, it reached No. 2 on the R&B chart, 

Brian Hyland
Brian Hyland

In 1970, Brian Hyland recorded the hit version of the song, produced by Del Shannon, which went up to Number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and in Canada, and number 4 in South Africa. 

Read more: Wikipedia

June 10,  1972: Sammy Davis, Jr.'s "The Candy Man" tops the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“The Candy Man” came from Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, the rapturous and psychedelic kids’ musical. The candy shop owner sings it in the scene where he’s tells a bunch of kids about the magical properties of Wonka products. 

Willie Wonka Gene Wilder
Willie Wonka Gene Wilder

Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, two Broadway songwriting partners, wrote the song for the movie. Newley hated the way that Aubrey Woods, the actor who played the candy shop owner, had sung it. Newley lobbied the movie’s producers to re-record the whole scene, and he even offered to pay for it himself. They turned him down, so Newley decided that he’d record it himself. But before he could do that, MGM Records head Mike Curb had the idea to get Sammy Davis Jr. to sing it. 
Read more: Stereogum

 

June 10, 1978: "On Broadway" by George Benson peaks at number 7 in America.

This song proves that strongly written songs can keep coming back. Unbeknownst to a lot of the record-buying public, "On Broadway" was a song that went through many configurations.

George Benson
George Benson

Songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil originally wrote it with a girl group in mind. The producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller liked it for the Drifters, and after some tweaking, it became an early-'60s Brill Building classic. Years later, George Benson, the leading jazz-pop artist, tackled it for his 1978 live album, Weekend in LA. For his version, Benson turned the song into a track that boasted his late-'70s band's unique sound. 
Read more: Allmusic

June 10, 1989: "Wind Beneath My Wings" from Bette Midler moved to number 1.

"Wind Beneath My Wings" was written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley. The pair recorded a demo of the song, and gave it to musician Bob Montgomery.

Beaches with Bette Midler & Barbara Hershey
Beaches with Bette Midler & Barbara Hershey

Montgomery recorded his own demo version of the song, changing it from the mid-tempo original he was given, to a ballad. Silbar and Henley then offered it around to many other artists. Bette Midler recorded a version of the song for the soundtrack of 1988 drama Beaches, in which she also starred as singer CC Bloom. The song features in a heartbreaking scene when CC's best friend Victoria passes away due to cancer, after watching the sun setting over the beach. 

Read more: Smooth Radio 

Grease
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John 

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