On this date in 1987, the world lost a blues legend: Paul Butterfield, who kicked off his career in the ‘60s and kept on playing the blues all the way up to his untimely death at only 44 years old.
Radio in 1980 was a hangover from the ‘70s, with artists like Olivia Newton-John, Captain and Tennille and Neil Diamond continuing their chart-topping ways, and new acts like Air Supply scoring hit records with a familiar brand of soft rock. Into this fray stepped a pudgy Texan singer/songwriter with a penchant for laid-back songs and pink flamingoes. Christopher Cross’ self-titled debut sent four of its songs into the Top Forty (including the Number One hit “Sailing” and the iconic “Ride like the Wind”) and won five Grammys, establishing him as a potential hit-maker for the new decade.
20 years ago today, The Notorious B.I.G. was sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in his career, but it was a victory which will forever be tied to a tragedy.
Today’s the birthday of one of the all-time great Jersey boys: Frankie Valli, whose career as a member of The Four Seasons and as a solo artist is the stuff the music legends are made of. Alas, even legends fall off of radio’s radar once in awhile, which is why we’re celebrating Valli’s birthday by celebrating a six-pack of songs that failed to chart but which are still top-notch tracks that any fan will enjoy. You may already know some of them, but here’s hoping you find at least one or two gems here to experience for the first time…and, of course, here’s hoping that Frankie has a fantastic birthday!
57 years ago today, Benjamin Earl Nelson signed on the dotted line at Atco Records, officially beginning his tenure on the label under his stage name: Ben E. King.
Not that Ben E. hadn’t been working prior to putting his John Hancock on the paperwork, mind you. In 1958, he’d joined the doo-wop group The Five Crowns, the members of which were, by the grace of George Treadwell, turned into the new members of The Drifters. As a result, Ben E. found himself fronting the group for such classic tunes as “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” and “This Magic Moment.”