Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Music History Today: August 25, 2021

August 25, 1939: The movie Wizard of Oz was released. Judy Garland starred and sang "Over the Rainbow."

In this classic musical fantasy, Judy Garland stars as Dorothy Gale, a young Kansas farm girl who dreams of a land "somewhere over the rainbow." 

Wizard of Oz movie poster

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Winner of Academy Awards for the classic song, "Over The Rainbow" and for "Best Score," the family classic also received an Oscar nomination for "Best Picture." A special Oscar for "the best juvenile performer of the year" was awarded to Judy Garland. 

Read more: Warner Brothers

August 25, 1949: Gene Simmons of KISS is born Chaim Weitz in Haifa, Israel.

Musician Gene Simmons first decided he wanted to be in a band while in middle school, after watching girls scream at The Beatles on television. 

Gene Simmons of Kiss
Gene Simmons of KISS

He was in several bands before co-founding KISS with Paul Stanley in the 1970s. Simmons later pursued interests in fashion, publishing and acting, and starred in the A&E reality TV show Gene Simmons Family Jewels. 

Read more: Biography


August 25, 1958: "Bird Dog" by the Everly Brothers hits the top spot for one week. 

Written by Boudleaux Bryant, "Bird Dog" finds the narrator comparing a guy named Johnny to a bird dog, because he's always sniffing around the singer's girl.

Everly Brothers
Everly Brothers

This hit the charts two years after Elvis Presley compared his lover to a whiny canine in the #1 hit "Hound Dog." The Everlys weren't fond of the song and were surprised when it became a hit. 
Read more: Songfacts


August 25 1962:  The New Jersey Doo Wop group, The Duprees saw their debut hit, "You Belong To Me" enter the Billboard Top 40 on its way to Number 7. 

“You Belong to Me” had already been a hit, for both Jo Stafford and Patti Page, when the Jersey City doo-wop group, The Duprees, recorded it in 1962.

The Duprees
The Duprees
But The Duprees made it sound bigger and more dramatic than ever before— it took on a quality that seemed somewhat cinematic — with an orchestral arrangement and lead singer Joey Canzano’srich, almost Roy Orbison-like vocals. And it became their breakthrough song, a Top 10 hit. 
Read more: NJ Arts


August 25, 1967: His second studio album, Just for You,  by Neil Diamond was released.

Neil Diamond was on the cusp of discovering a new genre with his second album, which perfectly straddled early- and mid-'60s Brill Building teen pop and the as-yet-unidentified (and unnamed) singer/songwriter genre.  
Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond

Oddly enough, Diamond's then-current big hit "Kentucky Woman" isn't present here, though a pair of successes from the previous year, "Cherry Cherry" and "Solitary Man", are. But somewhat eclipsing them and everything else here, for the attentive listener, is a song and a performance that show Diamond rising to a new level as a musician and composer: "Shilo." 
Read more: Allmusic


Over the Rainbow
Judy Garland

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