Category Archives: 1970s
“Happy Together” is a 1967 song from The Turtles’ album of the same name. Released in February 1967, the song knocked The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” out of the number one slot for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the group’s only chart-topper. “Happy Together” reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1967. The song was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, former members of a band known as The Magicians. The song had been rejected a dozen times before it was offered to The Turtles, and the demo acetate was worn out.
Riley B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known professionally as B.B. King, was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists.
Indianola Mississippi Seeds is B. B. King’s eighteenth studio album. It was released on October 1970 on ABC Records on LP and May 1989 on MCA Records on CD. On this album B. B. King mixed elements of blues and rock music. Producer Bill Szymczyk decided to follow up on the success of the hit “The Thrill Is Gone” by matching King with a musical all-star cast. The result was one of King’s most critically acclaimed albums and one of the most highly regarded blues crossover albums of all time.
The album appeared on several of Billboard’s album charts in 1970, reaching number 26 on the Pop album chart, number seven on the Jazz album chart and eight on Billboard’s listing for “Black Albums.” The album also generated several hit singles, “Chains and Things”, King’s own “Ask Me No Questions” and Leon Russell’s “Hummingbird”.
King himself, also, views the album as one of his greatest achievements. When asked about his best work, King has said, “I know the critics always mention Live & Well or Live at the Regal, but I think that Indianola Mississippi Seeds was the best album that I’ve done artistically.”
Gordy era (1979–1982)
In 1976, Brockert (as the lead singer member of a band she assembled which included long-time friend Mickey Boyce) gained an introduction to Motown Records staff producer Hal Davis (best known for his work with Brenda Holloway and the Jackson 5). It led to an audition for a film about orphans being developed by Motown. The project was shelved, but label boss Berry Gordy decided to sign her as a solo act, impressed with her singing but having no need for a musical group. She recorded unreleased material with a number of different producers over the next few years, before being spotted by labelmate Rick James who was immediately impressed with her sound. Some of the earlier, unreleased material has since been made available on the compilation album First Class Love: Rare Tee. At the time, James, already established as a successful recording artist, was on tap to produce for Diana Ross but changed his mind and decided to work with Brockert. The result was debut album release, Wild and Peaceful. The album was, at one point, due to be credited to “Teena Tryson”, but ultimately was put out under “Teena Marie”, the name by which she would be known throughout her career. It scored Teena Marie her first top-ten R&B hit, “I’m a Sucker for Your Love” (#8 Black Singles Chart), a duet with James. Neither the album nor its packaging had her picture on it, and many radio programmers assumed she was African-American during the earliest months of her career. This myth was disproved when she performed her debut hit with James on Soul Train in 1979, becoming the show’s first white female guest (she would appear on the show eight more times, more than any other white act).
In 1980, her second album, Lady T, would have her portrait on the cover upon its release. It’s also noted for having production from Richard Rudolph (the widower of R&B singer Minnie Riperton). Teena Marie had asked Berry Gordy to contact Rudolph and secure his input as Rick James was unavailable and she felt unprepared to be sole producer of her own material. Rudolph intended for the song he penned, “Now That I Have You”, to be sung by his wife, but it was later given to Teena Marie. Rudolph also co-composed the single “Behind The Groove”, which reached number 21 on the black singles chart and No. 6 on the U.K. singles chart in 1980. The song would also be included on the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the Fever 105 soundtrack. Another notable track, “Too Many Colors”, featured Rudolph’s and Riperton’s then 7-year-old daughter, Maya Rudolph, who became Teena Marie’s god-daughter.
Also in 1980, Teena Marie released her third LP, Irons in the Fire, for which she handled all writing and production herself, including the horn and rhythm arrangements of her band and all backing vocals, all considered rare at the time for a female artist. The single “I Need Your Lovin'” (#37 Pop, No. 9 Black Singles) brought Teena Marie her first top 40 hit. This single also peaked at No. 28 in the UK chart. That same year, Teena Marie appeared on James’s hugely successful album, Street Songs, with the duet “Fire and Desire”. In an interview, Teena Marie said she had a fever at the time yet managed to record her vocals in one take. After the session, she was driven to a hospital. The two would perform the single at the 2004 BET Awards, which would be their last TV appearance with one another as Rick James died later that year.
Teena Marie continued her success with Motown in 1981, with the release of It Must Be Magic (#2 Black Albums Chart), her first gold record, which included her then biggest hit on R&B, “Square Biz” (#3 Black Singles). Other notable tracks include “Portuguese Love” (featuring a brief, uncredited cameo by James, No. 54 Black Singles), the title track “It Must be Magic” (#30 Black Singles), and album only track “Yes Indeed”, which she cited as a personal favorite.
In 1982, Teena Marie got into a heated legal battle with Motown Records over her contract and disagreements about releasing her new material. The lawsuit resulted in “The Brockert Initiative”, which made it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist. In such instances, artists are able to sign and release with another label instead of being held back by an unsupportive one. Teena Marie commented on the law in an LA Times article, saying, “It wasn’t something I set out to do. I just wanted to get away from Motown and have a good life. But it helped a lot of people, like Luther Vandross and the Mary Jane Girls, and a lot of different artists, to be able to get out of their contracts.” She left Motown as the label’s most successful white solo act.
“Instant Karma!” – sometimes referred to as “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” – is a song written by English musician John Lennon, released as a single on Apple Records in February 1970. In the UK, the single was credited to “Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band”. The song reached the top five in the British and American singles charts, competing with the Beatles’ “Let It Be” in America, where it became the first solo single by a member of the band to sell a million copies.
“Instant Karma!” was written, recorded and released within a period of ten days, making it one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history. The recording was produced by Phil Spector, marking a comeback for the American producer after his self-imposed retirement in 1966, and leading to him being offered the producer’s role on the Beatles’ Let It Be album (1970). Recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios, “Instant Karma!” employs Spector’s signature Wall of Sound technique and features contributions from George Harrison, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann and Alan White. The B-side was a song composed and performed by Yoko Ono, titled “Who Has Seen the Wind?” Recently shorn of the long hair synonymous with their 1969 campaign for world peace, Lennon and Ono promoted the single with an appearance on Britain’s Top of the Pops.
“Instant Karma!” has appeared on many Lennon compilations, including Shaved Fish (1975), Lennon Legend (1997) and Power to the People: The Hits (2010). A version recorded at the “One to One” concerts in August 1972 was included on his posthumously released Live in New York City album (1986). The song continues to receive critical praise as one of the finest recordings from Lennon’s solo career. Paul Weller, Duran Duran, and U2 are among the acts who have covered “Instant Karma!”, the chorus of which inspired the title to Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining.
“If You Leave Me Now” is the title of a popular hit ballad by the American rock group Chicago, from their album Chicago X. It was written and sung by bass guitar player Peter Cetera and released as a single on July 31, 1976.
It is also the title of a compilation album released by Columbia Records (Columbia 38590) in 1983.
The single topped the US charts on October 23, 1976, and stayed there for two weeks, making it the first number one hit for the group as well as hitting number one on the Easy Listening charts. It also reached number one in the UK on November 13, 1976, maintaining the position for three weeks.
“If You Leave Me Now” was also Chicago’s biggest hit worldwide, topping the charts in other countries such as Australia. It won Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. In addition, by August 1978 it had sold 1.4 million copies in the United States alone.
The song has been featured in some several television series and movies such as Three Kings, Shaun of the Dead, A Lot Like Love, Sex and the City and the video game Grand Theft Auto V.
For the past several years Chicago has teamed with the American Cancer Society and offered the opportunity to bid on the chance to sing their hit, “If You Leave Me Now” with them on stage live at their concerts. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer.