This Week in Music History (December 4th-10th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

12/4- On this day in 1964, The Beatles released their fourth studio album, Beatles for Sale. The album, which featured tracks like “Eight Days a Week” and “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”, spent 11 weeks at the top of the UK charts.

12/5- On this day in 1968, the Rolling Stones hosted a party in London to celebrate the release of their new album Beggar’s Banquet. Although Keith Richards was sick and unable to attend, the rest of the band and their guests participated in a custard pie food fight that became the highlight of the event.

12/6- On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin made their debut on the US singles chart. The single, “Whole Lotta Love”, went on to become the first of six Top 40 singles for the band in the United States.

12/7- On this day in 1967, Otis Redding went in to the studio to record “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay”. The track went on to be his all-time biggest hit. Redding, however, would never see the single’s success; he died in a plane crash just days later on December 10, 1967.

12/8- On this day in 1961, The Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’”, was released on Candix Records, a small record label based in Los Angeles. The song became extremely popular in Southern California, and the band was soon signed to Capitol Records.

12/9-  On this day in 1967, The Doors played at the New Haven Arena in New Haven, Connecticut. Before the show began, police caught frontman Jim Morrison kissing a girl in a backstage shower. Morrison mocked the incident onstage, and was dragged off and arrested by police.

12/10- On this day in 1983, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson began a six-week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with “Say Say Say”. The song was Jackson’s 10th No. 1 hit and McCartney’s 29th.

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This Week in Music History (November 20th-26th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

11/20- On this day in 1976, Paul Simon hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Simon appeared live with George Harrison, performing tracks including “Here Comes the Sun” and “Homeward Bound”.

11/21- On this day in 1970, Jimi Hendrix shot to No.1 on the UK singles chart with “Voodoo Child”, the closing track on Electric Ladyland. The track was Hendrix’s only No.1 UK single, and his guitar solo was named the 11th greatest solo of all time in Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

11/22- On this day in 1965, Bob Dylan married Sara Lowndes in a secret ceremony in Mineola, Long Island. The couple had a son, singer Jakob Dylan, but Lowndes filed for divorce in 1977.

11/23- On this day in 1899, the world’s first jukebox was installed in San Francisco at the Palais Royal Hotel. The term “jukebox”, however, only became popular in the 1940s.

11/24- On this day in 1966, The Beatles returned to the studio for the first time after their US summer tour. They spent the day recording “Strawberry Fields Forever”, a track that would go on to become their next single and one of their most famous of all time.

11/25- On this day in 1984, some of the biggest names in British music gathered at S.A.R.M. Studios in London to record the hit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. The single, which featured artists like Bono, Boy George, Sting, George Michael and Paul Young, sold over three million copies in the UK.

11/26- On this day in 1958, Johnny Cash made his debut on the US top country chart with “Cry, Cry, Cry”. The song hit number 14 on the chart, but his next seven singles would all reach the country top ten.

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This Week in Music History (November 13th-19th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

11/13- On this day in 1964, The Rolling Stones’ single “Little Red Rooster” was released by Decca Records. The single, which had previously been recorded by Sam Cooke, was a No.1 hit in the UK—the only time a blues song has ever topped the UK pop chart.

11/14- On this day in 1960, Ray Charles shot to No.1 on the United States singles chart with his track “Georgia on My Mind”. The song became the first of three No.1 hits for Charles.

11/15- On this day in 1966, The Doors signed with Elektra Records in a deal to produce seven albums. The band agreed to release “Break on Through” as its first single, but was forced to edit the lyrics to secure radio play.

11/16- On this day in 1968, The Jimi Hendrix Experience went No.1 on the US album chart with Electric Ladyland. The album included popular tracks like “Crosstown Traffic” and “All Along the Watchtower”.

11/17- On this day in 1973, The Who’s famous double album Quadrophenia peaked at No.2 on the UK album charts. Along with 1969’s Tommy, Quadrophenia was one of two full-scale rock operas released by the band.

11/18- On this day in 1978, Billy Joel rose to No.1 on the US album chart with 52nd Street, his sixth studio album. It was Joel’s first album to top the Billboard charts and would go on to earn him two Grammys. On October 1, 1982, the album became the first to be commercially released on compact disc by Sony Music Entertainment.

11/19- On this day in 1955, Carl Perkins recorded “Blue Suede Shoes” at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The classic track became a No.2 hit on the US charts for Perkins in 1956, and went on to be covered by artists like Elvis Presley.

Oh, so you wanna own any of these gems, or download in lossless formats? Check out these albums and more pieces of music history in our marketplace!

Sounds Like California: The Best of the Golden State

Last week, we brought you the best music that Murfie’s lovely home state has to offer. As in love as we are with the Wisconsin music scene, it’s time to take this nationwide. This week, check out reviews of three of the best albums by California bands!

Red Hot Chili Peppers
By the Way

In a blog post all about music from California, it was tempting to review RHCP’s Californication. I finally decided, though, that By the Way is just too good to miss; it’s like an answer to Californication’s question.

This is the first RHCP album that fully moves away from its ‘80s funk/rap/rock sound and pioneers a fresh new rock-pop sound. And what a successful move it was—along the way, the Peppers’ songs became more intricate, with guitar and string riffs and hooks for days. This album does the seemingly impossible: it creates music that sounds right at home on your radio, but that you’re not the least bit embarrassed to declare your love for.

This album was a big undertaking, chasing that pop-rock bliss that only masters like The Beatles have previously captured. It succeeds with catchy song after catchy song, complete with powerful melodic punches and existential lyrics galore. This is the band’s most consistent album to date, and it shows: this album is a timeless example of an already much-loved band evolving and expanding upon its sound to keep creating an even better album, without losing its signature touch.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Universally Speaking”, “The Zephyr Song”

Queens of the Stone Age
Rated R

If you’re a hard rock fan still mourning the loss of decades past, Rated R is likely the answer. It’s been hard to make a hard rock album in the last 20 years, but this 2000 album is one of the greatest of them all. Furthermore, this is a true California album, written in the desert of Joshua Tree.

Josh Homme and company have used this album to firmly establish their place as the reigning kings of the riff-heavy rock album in this new millennium. Full of low-guitar-string riffs and the band’s signature category-evading sound, this album is hard to pin down. Rather than being a weakness, however, that evasiveness turns this album into an experimental, instrumental album full of unique arrangements and unusual sounds, most notably electric piano and steel guitar.

What really makes this album fantastic, though, is that it’s totally fearless. There’s so many different styles and sounds represented here, each one cooler and more original than the last. Queens of the Stone Age is definitely made up of a bunch of weirdos, but here’s the thing: they figured out how to do whatever they want, all at the same time, and still make it sound pretty fantastic.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Better Living Through Chemistry”, “Auto Pilot”

No Doubt
Tragic Kingdom

I should preface this with my undying love for Gwen Stefani. Regardless of that fact, however, Anaheim, California-based No Doubt knocked this one of the park with an unbeatable combination of fantastic beats and one of the few female lead singers in alt-rock.

This album is at heart the most fun thing you’ll listen to all week, or maybe even all year. It’s on a whole new playing field from No Doubt’s previous albums, with hard-hitting rhythms and great instrumentation. Most importantly, though, is the ear candy factor: it’s an exuberant genre-bending collection of tracks, covering ground from punk to pop to ska and back again.

All the fun is backed up with some real musical achievements. The horn sections are killer, and Stefani’s vocals have several true shining moments. The combination of power ballads and poppy tracks with a bit of punk mixed in are a don’t-miss combo for when you’re just looking for a little sunshine.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Spiderwebs”, “Don’t Speak”

This Week in Music History (November 6th-12th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

11/06- On this day in 1965, The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off of My Cloud” began a two-week run at the top of the US singles chart. The track was the group’s second No. 1 single to date, knocking The Beatles’ “Yesterday” from the top spot.

11/07- On this day in 1987, Bruce Springsteen shot to No.1 on the US album chart with Tunnel of Love. The album, The Boss’s eighth, went triple platinum, and the single “Brilliant Disguise” became one of his most popular tracks.

11/08- On this day in 2008, long-standing rockers AC/DC began a two-week run at No. 1 on the US album charts with Black Ice. The album, which was the band’s 15th, became the second-best selling album of the year.

11/09- On this day in 1958, Elvis Presley’s hit single “Hound Dog” passed three million copies sold in the US, becoming only the third single of all time to do so. Before “Hound Dog”, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” hit the mark.

11/10- On this day in 1958, soul singer Sam Cooke was severely injured in a car crash in Marion, Arkansas that killed the car’s driver. Cooke is known for his major hits like “A Change is Gonna Come” and “Twistin’ the Night Away”.

11/11- On this day in 1969, Doors frontman Jim Morrison was arrested by the FBI in Phoenix, Arizona for drunk and disorderly conduct aboard a plane. The Doors singer, accompanied by actor Tom Baker, had been drinking and harassing stewardesses. Both were released after spending a night in jail.

11/12- On this day in 1977, The Sex Pistols released their debut LP Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. The album, which was met with a wave of controversy in the UK upon its release, went on to become the group’s only No. 1 UK album.

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Sounds Like Wisconsin: Hometown Acts Both Big and Small

Volcano Choir
Repave

We’ve already shown our love for Wisconsin native Justin Vernon for his work on Bon Iver, but Repave shows an entirely different side of him: this album makes him look like he’s just a guy having fun. Collaborating with members of another local favorite band, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Vernon and company have created a record with a fresh rock sound, killer lyrics, and most importantly of all, the ability to stick in your head.

Repave is in many ways all about power. The album sounds absolutely fantastic, and powerfully so—truly unique guitar lines effortlessly combine with a deep and incredibly clear sound. Even amidst all that power, Vernon never allows his voice to be outshone. He sings with all the guts of a power ballad while maintaining his trademark dark mood. Unlike Vernon’s work with Bon Iver, however, this album has potential for real stadium sound.

Don’t miss tracks: “Alaskans”, “Comrade”

Violent Femmes
Permanent Record: The Very Best of the Violent Femmes

Some of Wisconsin’s most famous musical natives released this essential collection of their all-time greatest tracks in 2005. This album is really mood music, but not in the way you’d usually picture that phrase. The mood here is teenage angst and ecstasy, bouncing off the walls and sometimes falling to the ground. It’s also just really, really wanting to party. This album captures that scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs vibe that was so essential to the band’s success.

This album makes a good call in focusing largely on tracks from self-titled debut album Violent Femmes, an incredibly fun collection of songs that was nearly impossible to follow. These songs are instantly and insanely catchy, but not without the music clout to back it up. There’s a fantastic minimalism going on here—acoustics, a single drum—but it’s far from boring. These Milwaukee natives know how to keep a party going, wherever that party may be.

Don’t miss tracks: “Blister in the Sun”, “Kiss Off”

PHOX
Friendship

Don’t be intimidated by the impossibly long tracklist here. Those 19 tracks look deceptively long. About half the songs, however, are in the 20-second range, creating an album that actually comes to feel like the perfect length.

Part of that perfect length feeling comes from the fact that this is just a really nice listen. Friendship has an eclectic, indie-pop sound that blends seamlessly from track to track. The seven-piece PHOX, originally Baraboo natives, have created a unique combination of longer songs and shorter, transitional musical arrangements that tie together into a tight album that’s fun all the way through.

Instrumentally, the album focuses on crystal-clear vocals and awesome instrumentation, featuring horns, banjos, synths and the whole nine yards. This band is certainly up-and-coming—time to get on the bandwagon!

Don’t miss tracks: “Clubs and Spades”, “Shrinking Violets”

This Week in Music History (October 30th-November 5th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

10/30- On this day in 1971, John Lennon went to No. 1 on the UK charts with his album Imagine. The album contained two songs—”How Do You Sleep” and “Crippled Inside”—attacking Lennon’s former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney.

10/31- On this day in 1970, Led Zeppelin began a four-week stint at No. 1 on the US album charts. The hit album, Led Zeppelin III, was the band’s second US smash and remains one of its most critically acclaimed albums to this day.

11/01- On this day in 1980, Bruce Springsteen’s first No. 1 US album, The River, reached the top of the charts. The album was just one example of The Boss’s massive success, and is still critically acclaimed to this day. Rolling Stone ranked it #253 on its list of the greatest albums of all time.

11/02- On this day in 2002, police arrested an international gang that was planning to kidnap Victoria Beckham, formerly Posh Spice of the Spice Girls, and her young child. The group had planned to ransom Posh for £5 million, so they were taken in to custody and Beckham and her family were kept safe.

11/03- On this day in 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis released Great Balls of Fire with Sun Records. The single went on to become a massive hit, taking the No. 1 spot in the UK and No. 2 in the US.

11/04- On this day in 1980, reggae legend Bob Marley was baptized at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Kingston, Jamaica. Marley officially became a Christian Rastafarian and took the new name Berhane Selassie.

11/05- On this day in 1956, The Nat King Cole Show premiered on NBC-TV in the United States. Cole’s program became one of the first of its kind on national television to be hosted by an African-American.

Are you looking to own a piece of music history, or download it in lossless formats? Check these albums out in our marketplace!