Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Music History Today: November 4, 2021

November 4, 1983: Paul Simon releases Hearts and Bones, his sixth solo album.

Hearts and Bones was a commercial disaster, the lowest-charting new studio album of Paul Simon's career. 

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It is also his most personal collection of songs, one of his most ambitious, and one of his best. It retains a personal vision, one largely devoted to the challenges of middle-aged life, among them a renewed commitment to love; the title song was a notable testament to new romance. 

Read more: Allmusic

November 4, 1967: The  highest debuting single on Billboard's chart, at number 57, is "Stag-O-Lee" by Wilson Pickett.

On Christmas Eve, 1895, a shooting occurred in a North St. Louis saloon that was destined to find a prominent—and permanent—place in American oral tradition. The participants were two black men, a levee hand named William “Billy” Lyons and a part-time carriage driver and full-time pimp named Lee Shelton. 

Stagger Lee poster

In the course of an argument, Billy snatched Lee’s Stetson hat from his head, whereupon Lee first struck and then shot him. Billy died of his wound shortly thereafter, and Lee was sentenced to a twenty-five-year prison term. These are the bare bones of the case, upon which have been piled countless folk tales, legends, and outright lies, ultimately giving rise to what has become one of the most popular American murder ballads as well as one of the most widely adapted song in our national history. 

Read more: Missouri Life

November 4,  1972: Danny O’Keefe had a Top 10 hit in the US, at number 9. with "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues." 

"Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues" was recorded by Danny O'Keefe for his self-titled debut album in 1971. The following year he re-recorded it (with a slower, more downbeat arrangement) for his second album, O'Keefe. The second version was issued as a single, reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, number 5 on the adult contemporary chart, and number 63 on the country chart. 
Read more: Wikipedia

November 4, 1978: Anne Murray's "You Needed Me" hits number 1 in the US.

Randy Goodrum, the guy who wrote “You Needed Me,” had grown up playing jazz piano in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In high school, he was in a trio with his friend Bill Clinton. 

Anne Murray
Anne Murray

Goodrum served in the Army and played piano in the Army band, and he eventually moved to Nashville, where he found work as a session pianist and part-time songwriter. He wrote “You Needed Me” for his wife, and he was bummed when she thought that the song was merely OK. Whenever he played it for people, they told him that it needed a chorus. He never gave it one. 

Read more: Stereogum

 

November 4, 1989: "Listen To Your Heart" by the Swedish pop-rock duo Roxette is a number 1 hit on the Hot 100.

Roxette could’ve easily been a glorious fluke. Before the improbable US success of “The Look,” Roxette were big stars in Sweden and total nobodies everywhere else. Success in America didn’t even seem possible; in Fred Bronson’s Billboard Book Of No. 1 Hits, Per Gessle says that he and Marie Fredriksson started Roxette because they “wanted to do something in English and see if we could have a top-20 hit in Germany.” That was about the extent of their ambition. 
Read more: Stereogum

Hearts and Bones
Paul Simon

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