Friday, July 16, 2021

Music History Today: July 17, 2021

July 17, 1982: "Only the Lonely" by The Motels ends it run at number 9 up the Billboard singles chart.

Lead singer Martha Davis wrote "Only the Lonely" on a guitar that was given to her by her late father—an administrator at the University of California, Berkeley. She explained the song's inspiration in an interview with Beyond Race magazine:

The Motels lead singer Martha Davis
The Motels lead singer Martha Davis

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"...It's a song about empty success. It came about while the Motels were experiencing critical acclaim, traveling the world, riding in limos, and yet I was probably as sad as I had ever been. I was in a horrible relationship and had not yet recovered from my parents' death." 

Read more: Wikipedia

July 17, 1971:  The highest debuting song, at number 68, is "Sweet Hitch-Hiker" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

In 1963, Marvin Gaye was packin’ up his bags and hitch hiking to his baby. In 1970, Vanity Fare were “Hitchin’ A Ride.” On July 17, 1971, Creedence Clearwater Revival were telling us about their “Sweet Hitch-Hiker,” and landing yet another Billboard Hot 100 entry. It was to be the group’s last US top ten hit. 
Read more: U Discover Music

July 17, 1976: "Devil With a Blue Dress" by Pratt and McClain debuts in the top 100 singles chart in the US.

"Devil with the Blue Dress" was originally released as Shorty Long's debut single on Motown in 1964, but the single failed to chart. The song describes a femme fatale in a blue dress and not an actual devil. Two years later, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels recorded the song as a medley with an original arrangement of Little Richard's "Good Golly, Miss Molly". Their version was notably more up-tempo. "Devil with a Blue Dress On" was also recorded by Pratt & McClain, who are best known for the theme from the television series Happy Days. 
Read more: Wikipedia 

July 17, 1981: Journey released the studio album Escape.

Almost every album that comes to define its genre feels in a way like it has always existed. It coalesces various elements – a sound, a feeling, a particular moment in time – and makes them solid. 


Think of Nevermind or Appetite For Destruction or The Dark Side Of The Moon, and they seem to hold within them the seeds of what the genre is and where it might go. It’s the same with Escape. You can argue forever as to whether it is AOR’s greatest album, or even if it’s Journey’s best, but it is inarguably the genre’s defining record. Its grip on the culture has grown stronger through the years. 

Read more: Louder Sound

July 17, 1982: "Valley Girl" by Frank Zappa and his 14 year old daughter Moon Unit, enters the Billboard Pop chart at number 75. 

It was the summer of 1982. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was set to signal a zeitgeist shift in pop culture when it arrived in August of that year. 

Frank Zappa and his 14 year old daughter Moon Unit
Frank Zappa and his 14 year old daughter Moon Unit

A new way of speaking was emerging from Southern California, and music legend--with a vital assist from his then-14-year-old daughter, Moon Unit Zappa--would be the ones to bring it to the masses. Released as the one and only single from Zappa's 1982 full-length, Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, "Valley Girl" exploded across the country after the song was played in heavy rotation on wildly influential L.A.FM radio station, KROQ. 

Read more: Totally 80s

Only the Lonely
The Motels

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