Michael Martin Murphey may have three names, but for the average radio listener, it only takes a single name to jog their memory about who he is…and it isn’t even one of his!
That name, of course, is “Wildfire.”
30 years ago today, The Isley Brothers released their 24th album, but it was one tinged with a certain degree of sadness, as it was the first LP released by Ronald and Rudolph Isley after the death of their older brother, Kelly Isley.
Sadly, Kelly’s death wasn’t the first time the Isley siblings had lost one of their brothers: their youngest brother, Vernon, had died in a road accident while the Isleys were still performing as a gospel group. In the wake of Vernon’s death, they shifted their focus to doo-wop, and the rest is musical history.
18 years ago today, Cher performed an unbelievable feat: she became the oldest female artist ever to top the Billboard Hot 100.
In fact, there are quite a few unbelievable things about “Believe,” not least of which is the fact that it took months for its original songwriters – Matthew Gray, Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, and Timothy Powell – to find someone who was even interested in recording the song. The demo eventually found its way into Cher’s camp, at which point two additional songwriters – Steve Torch and Paul Barry – entered the composition process and turned it into the song you know and love.
11 years ago today, the Sex Pistols were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not that they were there to have the honored bestowed upon them, mind you, but it’s the day it happened nonetheless.
Given that the whole point of punk rock was ostensibly to do away with the bloated excess of the 1970s rock scene and get back to basics with material that was raw, angry, and pure, it stands to reason that John Lydon, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Glen Matlock would react poorly to the idea of being inducted into something as respectable as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As such, few Pistols fans were surprised when the announcement in February 2006 of their impending induction resulted in a statement from the band which offered as much of a sneer as the “we don’t care” in their song “Pretty Vacant.”
We’ve lost another member of the Rhino family, but we’re far from the only family to be feeling the loss: Joni Sledge – one of the sisters in Sister Sledge – died on Saturday at age 60.
Joni was the second-born of the Sledge sisters, arriving on September 13, 1956, which placed her after Debbie and before Kim and Kathy. To look at their parents’ background, it’s not hard to see how they ended up in show business: their father, Edwin, was a Broadway tap dancer, and their mother, Florez, was an actress. In addition, the four girls received vocal training by their grandmother, Viola Williams, herself a former lyric soprano opera singer, and the sisters paid tribute to their instructor with the original name for their singing group: Mrs. Williams’ Grandchildren.
Pet Shop Boys recently took home the NME Award for “Godlike Geniuses,” and who are we to argue with the venerable U.K. music magazine? Dance-pop duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe had been minting hits for nearly 15 years when they brought the audience at Glastonbury to their feet with such favorites as “West End Girls,” “It's A Sin” and “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” (with Catatonia's Cerys Matthews standing in for Dusty Springfield).
25 years ago today, Prince received the Soul Train Heritage Award for Career Achievement, which is particularly impressive when you consider just how much more he had yet to achieve in his career at the time he received it.
For you kids out there, here’s the deal: when it came to R&B music, there was no more important show than Soul Train, which started in 1971 and finally came to a halt in 2006. Indeed, it was so iconic that, despite no longer being on the air, its awards continue to be given out on an annual basis to honor the best in Black music and entertainment.
If you’ll allow us to spin you back down the years, then we’ll tell you the tale of Jethro Tull’s THICK AS A BRICK, which was released in the U.S. 45 years ago today.
Following the success of 1971’s AQUALUNG, Jethro Tull decided to go all in on the concept-album concept that was all the rage at the time, except not really. Although you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who picked up on it at the time, Ian Anderson had, in fact, been inspired by the work of Monty Python to get a bit cleverer with the band’s work and poke fun at the whole prog-rock genre and its grandiosity while also delivering the concept album to end all concept albums.