Monday, July 19, 2021

Music History Today: July 20, 2021

July 20, 1991: "Unbelievable" by EMF moves into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
England’s alternative music scene never seems to make nearly deep an impact in the States as it does there, no matter the era. 


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From the Jam and the Smiths through the Britpop explosion of Oasis and Blur, artists that sell out multiple nights at stadiums in their home country tend to be more of a mild curiosity on these shores. It was quite the anomaly then when the July 20, 1991 issue of Billboard hit the stands and the song “Unbelievable” from EMF had topped the Hot 100. 
Read more: Diffuser
July 20, 1963: "Memphis" by Lonnie Mack peaked at number 5 on the US music chart.
One of Chuck Berry's best songs describes a man's frustration in attempting to reach his estranged six-year-old daughter by telephone. "Memphis, Tennessee" addresses a personal concern common in life yet seldom broached in a musical work. The brilliantly emotional song with its surprise-realization ending was relegated to a B side when released in 1959...but deserved to be a hit. And it was, four years later, only as an instrumental.
Read more: Way Back Attack

July 20, 1968: Hugh Masakela's instrumental rendition of "Grazing In The Grass" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
How did a South African jazz trumpeter get an instrumental song all the way up to #1 on the US charts? What was going on in the ’60s that made something like this possible? 

Hugh Masakela
Hugh Masakela

There are factors. Jazz had not quite faded from popular culture in the late ’60s. It wasn’t pop music, but it was still an artistic and commercial force. Instrumental easy-listening music was still booming; consider, for instance, the dominance of Herb Alpert, who Hugh Masekela dethroned at the #1 spot and with whom Masekela would later record. “Grazing In The Grass,” Masekela’s one big hit, wasn’t easy listening, but it could’ve been played in some of the same places. 
Read more: Stereogum

July 20,  1974: "Beach Baby" by First Class debuts on the Billboard single's chart.
First Class are credited as the performers of “Beach Baby”, but there wasn’t a “real group” behind this record. First Class were formed out of a collection of session musicians for the sole purpose of recording the track. Having recorded a great track, the session players went off in all sorts of different directions to work on other projects. When “Beach Baby” started up the charts in the summer of 1974, the record company wanted someone to tour but had nobody left from the original recording ensemble. 
Read more: No Words, No Song


July 20, 1996: Eric Clapton's "Change the World" debuts on the US music chart in the Top 10, at number 9.
"Change the World” finds Eric Clapton wishing that he had some sort of supernatural power to make certain changes in the world. The reason for his wish is simple; to prove his undying love for the woman he loves.

Eric Clapton's "Change the World"

As the song begins, he talks about how he wishes he could pull down a star, shine it on his heart so his love interest can clearly see how much he adores her. In the chorus, Clapton further expresses that if he had such power to transform the world, he would become sunlight to her, providing her with brightness, hope and good love. With this same power, the writer wishes that if he was a king, he would make his woman the queen. 



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