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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 12:46pm
Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: The Doobie Brothers, “Black Water”

41 years ago today, the brothers Doobie hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first of two times in their career.

“Black Water” might never have made it beyond the riff stage if Patrick Simmons, guitarist for the Doobies, hadn’t been overheard noodling around in the studio with the lick by the band’s producer. “Ted Templeman says, ‘What is that?’” recalled Simmons, in an interview with Guitar Player. “I said, ‘It’s just a little riff that I came up with that I’ve been tweaking with.’ He goes, ‘I love that. You should really write a song using that riff.’”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 11:10am
A Look Back at Crosby, Lesh, and Nash

On this day in 1940, a boy named Philip Chapman Lesh was born in Berkeley, California, so before we do anything else, let’s take a moment to wish this founding member of the Grateful Dead a happy 76th birthday, shall we?

Although Lesh was a stalwart within the Dead from the day they adopted that name (he’d actually been in the band when they were still known as The Warlocks) until the day they called it a day, there were a few occasions here and there when he popped up on other people’s records, and in the early ‘70s, two gentlemen who benefited from his talents were Graham Nash and David Crosby.

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 2:34pm
This Day in 1964: The UK Has An All-British Top 10
52 years ago today, the UK achieved a feat in the top 10 of its singles chart that you’d think would’ve happened sooner, but it’s true: that week was the first time that all 10 singles in the UK Singles top 10 were by British artists.
Monday, March 14, 2016 - 2:26pm
Rhino Factoids
34 years ago today, a foursome of young men named James, Lars, Ron, and Dave played their very first live show, but you may know them better as Metallica.
Friday, March 11, 2016 - 4:29pm
Now Available: The Cars, The Elektra Years: 1978-1987
It’s a rare band that can successfully escape the tag of “new wave” to become full-fledged rock legends, but such is the case with The Cars, who hit the Top 40 in 1978 with their now-iconic single “Just What I Needed” and would do so a dozen more times before calling it quits in 1988.
Friday, March 11, 2016 - 12:21pm
Rhino Factoids
48 years ago today, Otis Redding earned the first gold record of his career, which also proved to be the only gold record of his career, owing predominantly to the fact that he’d been killed in a plane crash three months earlier.
Thursday, March 10, 2016 - 2:58pm
LaVern Baker

Today we celebrate LaVern Baker, who died 19 years ago today. Baker was the talk of the town in the ‘50s and ‘60s, went quiet for most of the ‘70s and ‘80s, but then came roaring back in the late ‘80s and was pretty much on fire ‘til her death in 1997 at the age of 67. Here are a few facts about her life and times that may or may not surprise you but will certainly impress you.

1. Although she was singing in her church choir when she was still a kid, Baker’s first professional gig of note was at Club DeLisa, a Chicago Club where she played a character named Little Miss Sharecropper. Yes, it’s as much of a minstrel-show stereotype as it sounds like, but as Baker told the L.A. Times in 1991, “I was never happy doing it, but to get my foot in the door, I accepted it.”

2. If you’ve ever heard Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen” and wondered who “poor old Johnnie Ray” was, then here’s your answer: he was a white R&B singer who had pipes to die for, but it was Baker – at the behest of her manager, Al Green (but not that Al Green) – who taught him how to belt out the blues.

Thursday, March 10, 2016 - 11:39am
Rhino Factoids

20 years ago today, Canada’s famed Juno Awards, which represent the Great White North’s music industry’s achievements of the previous year, briefly turned into the Alanis Awards, with Alanis Morissette and her international breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill, taking home five Junos.