27 years ago today, the former frontman for The Smiths arrived at the top of the UK Albums chart with his debut solo album a mere six months after the release of his band's final studio effort, Strangeways, Here We Come.
Produced by Stephen Street, Viva Hate had already been preceded by Morrissey's debut single, “Suedehead,” which hit #5 on the UK Singles chart and caused Smiths fans' mouths to start watering at the thought of what Viva Hate would sound like, which no doubt had something to do the album's out-of-the-box success.
73 years ago today, the Queen of Soul was born, and the world hasn't been the same since. (We mean this in a good way, of course. But you probably figured that.)
Over the course of her career, Aretha Franklin has seen 20 of her songs make their way to the top of the Billboard R&B Singles chart, starting with 1967's “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) and finishing - at least for the time being, anyway - with 1985's “Freeway of Love.” This is an amazing accomplishment, to be certain, but to celebrate Aretha's birthday, we decided to put together a playlist containing these songs…except they're performed by other people.
29 years ago today, the band Book of Love made a whole lot of synthpop fans feel so good when they released their self-titled debut album on Sire Records.
Formed in Philadelphia, Book of Love featured Susan Ottaviano on vocals, backed by a trio of keyboardists / backing vocalists: Jade Lee, Ted Ottaviano, and Lauren Roselli, with Lee chiming in on acoustic and electronic percussion and Ottaviano offering a bit of piano, melodica, and - wait for it - tubular bells. The band got a big boost in profile when they secured the sweet gig of opening for Depeche Mode in 1985, so you can imagine that there were plenty of folks who were giddy at the thought of hearing Book of Love's first full-length effort when it finally arrived on record store shelves the following year.
If you thought 1978 was great, check out some platters from 1988!
ABOUT DR. RHINO
Hitting the big 8-0 today is one of the best bass players in the music business: Carol Kaye, whose list of credits is so long that we don't have a joke worthy enough to answer the question, “How long is it?” Seriously, she's done something like 10,000 sessions over the course of her career, which has been going on for more than five decades, so she'd be worthy of your admiration even if it wasn't her birthday, but since it is - and since it's such a major milestone, too - we couldn't help but pay tribute to her.
Today we kick off with the original 1970s version of Ghanian highlife guitar legend Ebo Taylor's "Love And Death." As the polyrhythms fade out things quickly turn hoodoo with Nora Dean's "Angie La La (Ay Ay Ay)" - a thick slice of Jamaican psychedelia from 1969. Up next is Tom Waits take on Skip Spence's "Books of Moses." With its ambient indeterminate clanking amidst pouring rain and thunder, the Spence original is already otherworldly. Here, Waits further injects the track with a kind of backwoods Pentecostal deliverance sounding as if snake handling and Glossolalia are imminent