38 years ago today, Chicago found themselves atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in their career with a song written and sung by bassist Peter Cetera, thereby firmly establishing him as the band’s go-to guy for romantic ballads.
Released as the second single from Chicago X (with the first being “Another Rainy Day in New York City,” another Cetera composition), “If You Leave Me Now” was the biggest hit of the band’s career up to that point, spending two weeks at #1 in the US and three weeks at #1 in the UK while also going on to top the Australian, Canadian, and Dutch charts. In addition, the song went on to win Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus, and ultimately shifted platinum-level units, which is pretty impressive for a single.
R.E.M.'s REMTV, a six-DVD collection chronicling the band's special relationship with MTV through live performances, award show highlights, and a new feature-length documentary may not be available until November 24th, but you can take a first look over here.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Slipknot, The Studio Album Collection 1999-2008: For most of the time between 2008 and 2014, it would’ve been considered a sucker’s bet to expect the band Slipknot to regroup for the long haul, let alone return to the studio. Not that it hadn’t been discussed here and there, but in the wake of bassist Paul Gray’s death in 2010, the band’s solidity wasn’t exactly at its highest ebb, and given the departure of drummer Joey Jordison from their ranks last year, it was beginning to seem as though the likelihood of the band completing the long-threatened new album was grim at best.
This edition of Dr. Rhino’s Picks (#85 already…yeesh!) is dedicated to that jewel of Memphis, the Stax label and recording studio. Come on and groove with Otis, Sam & Dave, Eddie, Booker T., and the rest of the crew. This Big Bird is ready to fly!
12 years ago today, Madonna released the title song to the 20th film in the long-running James Bond franchise…or the 22nd if you count the original 1967 version of Casino Royale and 1983’s Never Say Never Again. (We know some of you do count those, so we figured we’d better acknowledge their existence.)
It’s hardly shocking that the Bond folks were interested in having Madonna take a shot at doing a title song, given that A) she’s Madonna, and B) she’d had a considerable amount of success with her contributions to other soundtracks, including “This Used to Be My Playground (A League of Their Own), “I’ll Remember” (With Honors), “Beautiful Stranger” (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), and – to a decidedly lesser extent – her cover of Don McLean’s “American Pie” (The Next Best Thing).
Madonna herself was somewhat less certain about signing on, however, explaining to Larry King that she “hemmed and hawed about it for a while because…everybody wants to do the theme song of a James Bond movie, and I never liked to do what everybody else likes to do. It's just some perverse thing in me, right? So, but then I thought about it and I said, ‘You know what? James Bond needs to get techno, so...”
Mike Oldfield has had a lengthy and successful career as a composer and musician, one which started in a big way when he released his first album, Tubular Bells, back in 1973. Unfortunately, that’s also the album where most Americans’ recognition of his music starts and stops: despite the fact that the album in question actually hit #3 on the Billboard Top 200 (thanks in no small part to the title track’s prominence in The Exorcist), Oldfield has never released any other effort in the States that’s come anywhere close to matching the success of his debut. In fact, the last time one of his studio albums charted was in 1987, and even at that, Islands only made it to #138.
Oldfield’s profile in his native UK, however, is far more substantial: in addition to Tubular Bells topping the charts over yonder, he followed that success with a second number - one album – 1974’s Hergest Ridge – and has gone on to score five additional top-five albums, four more which hit the top-20, and still another half-dozen which made it into various other spots within the top 40. Oh, right, and he’s also managed to pick up another #1 album in that time…and – what luck! – it just so happens to be the album that kicks off a new collection of Oldfield’s studio output during his tenure with Warner Brothers.