This Week in Music History (May 28th-June 3rd)

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

Oops I did it again5/28- On this day in 2000, Britney Spears topped the new millenium’s album chart with Oops!…I Did It Again. The album sold 1,319,000 copies in its first week and went on to reach No.1 in thirteen other countries. To date, it has sold over 20 million copies.

365447-large5/29- On this day in 1942, Bing Crosby recorded the Irving Berlin song “White Christmas” with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Crosby’s version is the best-selling single of all time, with sales to date topping 50 million.

Beatles5/30- On this day in 1964, The Beatles‘ single “Love Me Do” reached No.1 on the US singles chart, the group’s fourth US No.1 in five months’ time. Although the single was originally released in the United Kingdom in October 1962, it did not become a hit in the United States until 1964.

114141-large5/31- On this day in 1977, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced a ban on the new Sex Pistols single “God Save the Queen”. Although the single reached No.2 on the UK chart, the BBC declared it to be “in gross bad taste” and considered it to be an assault on Queen Elizabeth II and the monarchy. Lead singer Johnny Rotten, however, explained, “You don’t write ‘God Save the Queen’ because you hate the English race. You write a song like that because you love them and you’re fed up with them being mistreated.”

32093-large6/1- On this day in 1968, Simon & Garfunkel went to No.1 on the US singles chart with “Mrs. Robinson”. An early version of the song was featured in the film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffmann and Ann Bancroft. It was then re-recorded to be released as a single, which went on to win the duo a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

7400-large6/2- On this day in 1984, British duo Wham! had their first No.1 hit with “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”. The song was written and produced by British musician George Michael, who was one half of the duo. Michael’s inspiration for the song was a note his Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley had left for his parents which read “Wake me up up before you go go”.

13293-large6/3- On this day in 1967, soul legend Aretha Franklin hit No.1 on the US singles chart with her cover of Otis Redding‘s hit song “Respect”. Although the two versions were musically very similar, Aretha’s version added the famous R-E-S-P-E-C-T chorus and backup singers’ refrain of “Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…”

Find these musical gems in our CD marketplace, and own your own pieces of music history! Every album purchase comes with unlimited streaming and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. :-)

Sounds Like New York: The Best of the Empire State

This week, we’re heading east. Check out our reviews of three of the best albums by New York artists!

Paul Simon GracelandPaul Simon
Graceland

Simply put: this album is one of my absolute favorites of all time, and it should be on your list as well. As a solo artist, Simon is like a musical archaeologist, digging up influences from styles of music ranging from blues to salsa to reggae. Graceland represents his move even further away from the pop-rock mainstream charts he topped as part of Simon & Garfunkel. It’s heavily influenced by both South African music and culture, exploring both new sounds and new political statements.

Rather that simply merging African influence with traditional Western sounds, this album commits: Nine of its eleven songs contain elements of mbaqanga, or South African pop music. Much of the recording was done in Johannesberg, and the songs truly soak up the local sound. They also absorb the local politics; Simon’s collaborations with local musicians inherently address controversial issues like apartheid. On the standout track “Homeless”, harmonies by vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo suggest the possibility of peaceful resolution.

The title track, one of Simon’s greatest songs, best represents the album’s attitude. Although the song’s narrator is running from a broken relationship, he runs towards what he believes to be a place of happiness and redemption. Simon is unafraid to examine the dark sides of people and societies, but remains hopeful that there is always light to be found.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Graceland”, “Homeless”

Jay-Z Reasonable DoubtJay-Z
Reasonable Doubt

Although this album was rap legend’s Jay-Z’s first and lowest selling, he himself calls it his best album to date. I’d have to agree: This album is a classic that belongs on the top shelf of any rap lover’s collection. It’s a mastery of execution-—smoothly delivered, easy to listen to, and filled with top-notch collaborations and quick, clever wordplay. In a genre that’s all about delivery, few have mastered the craft as well as Jay-Z does here.

What separates this album from the hundreds of other rap albums released in the ’90s? Jay-Z’s steady flow, witty lyrics, and confident delivery that put him on the map. Although it certainly contains tried-and-true themes of crime tales and street stories, his charisma is all his own. His humor and presence on each track make him a relatable figure who can sell to Middle America as well as he can to his native Brooklyn neighborhoods. This album establishes Jay not only as a rapper, but as a storyteller.

Another highlight on this album is the fantastic array of collaborations that blends in seamlessly. On highlight “Brooklyn’s Finest”, Jay-Z raps along with New York legend Notorious B.I.G. in a track that allows them to work together as equals, but also suggests subtle competition between the two for the song’s title. It seems only fitting that one of rap’s all-time greats would lend a hand on the debut of one of modern music’s most recognizable figures.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Brooklyn’s Finest”, “Politics as Usual”

MI0000832128The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground & Nico

Velvet Underground vocalist and guitarist Lou Reed‘s death last fall brought this album back into heavy rotation in my collection. It was a reminder of how influential this band has really been: Despite the fact that this album only sold 30,000 copies when it was released, British musician Brian Eno famously said that “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”. Despite its initial commercial flop, this album has gone on to become one of the most influential of its generation.

This record is, in a word, fearless: In an era most noted for the Summer of Love, it combined lyrics about drug addiction and despair with pounding force and throbbing basslines. Despite its bold statement, it still contains surprising diversity. It moves from the smooth and stripped-down R&B sounds of “There She Goes Again” to the tough punk rock of “Waiting for the Man” without skipping a beat. Although the album’s controversial lyrics have ultimately gained it the most attention (and notoriety), they’re matched by a solid music backing that is equally unique and compelling.

What’s most fascinating is listening to this album after hearing decades of rock and roll develop from the late 1960s onward. After just a few songs in, it’s easy to see that nearly every brand of rock owes credit to this album.  From punk to new wave and everything in between, nearly everything in the rock genre has been influenced by the Velvet Underground’s sound.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “There She Goes Again”, “Sunday Morning”


Ally Boutelle
@arboutelle

Ally is a communications intern at Murfie, blogging about all things music. When she’s not typing away, she cooks spicy food, does hot yoga, and reads weird history books. She’s also a college student double majoring in history and journalism.


This Week in Music History (May 21st-27th)

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

300492-large5/21- On this day in 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released the single “Ohio” in reaction to the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings during which unarmed college students were shot by members of the Ohio National Guard.

2174-large5/22- On this day in 1965, The Beatles reached No.1 on the US singles chart with their track “Ticket to Ride”. The song was the group’s eighth No.1 hit. It was also used in the Beatles’ second film Help! and was a part of the film’s soundtrack.

375787-large5/23- On this day in 1970, Paul McCartney‘s debut solo album McCartney began a three-week run atop the US album chart. Apart from a few vocal contributions by Linda McCartney, McCartney performed and recorded the entire album as a solo project.

101405-large5/24- On this day in 1974, jazz legend, bandleader, composer and pianist Duke Ellington died of lung cancer and pneumonia at age 75. Ellington’s career spanned over 50 years; he was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1966, and the United States Mint launched a new coin featuring his face in 2009.

32093-large5/25– On this day in 1968, Simon and Garfunkel‘s fourth studio album Bookends became the duo’s second US No.1 hit. The album was a breakthrough for the pair, launching them to superstar status. It contained their No.1 hit single “Mrs. Robinson”, which went on to win a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

12589-large5/26- On this day in 1990, the top five positions on the US singles chart were held by female artists for the first time. Madonna was at No.1 with “Vogue”, members of Heart were at No.2, Sinead O’Connor at No.3, Wilson Phillips at No.4, and Janet Jackson at No. 5.

114141-large5/27- On this day in 1977, The Sex Pistols‘ single “God Save the Queen” was released in the United Kingdom. Although the track sold over 200,000 copies in one week and peaked at No.2 on the UK charts, it was banned by TV, radio, and stores because of its controversial lyrics.

Pick up these pieces of music history in our CD marketplace! Every album purchase comes with unlimited streaming and downloads in mp3, aac, and lossless formats FLAC and ALAC. :-)

This Week in Music History (March 5th-11th)

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

3/5- On this day in 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” started a seven-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart. The song was his fourth solo No.1 in the United States, and also went to No.1 in the United Kingdom.

3/6- On this day in 1965, The Temptations became the first male group to have a No.1 hit for Motown with their single “My Girl”, written by Smokey Robinson.

3/7- On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin appeared at the Bluesville 69 Club at the Hornsey Wood Tavern, Finsbury Park, in London. The venue was a tiny room in back of the pub, with a stage that was so small that only the drum set fit onstage. The rest of the group was forced to stand on the floor with the crowd.

3/8- On this day in 2008, China began to impose tighter regulations on foreign pop stars after singer Björk caused a controversy by screaming “Tibet, Tibet” after performing her song “Declare Independence” at her concert in Shanghai.

3/9- On this day in 1991, British punk band The Clash scored their only UK No.1 single with “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. The song shot to popularity after it was used in a Levi’s TV advertisement.

3/10- On this day in 1964, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel recorded “The Sounds of Silence” as an acoustic duet. The song did not become a hit until late 1965, when record company producers added electric guitar, drums and bass to the track.

3/11– On this day in 2008, Madonna was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York City. The singer thanked her detractors in her acceptance speech, particularly those who “said I couldn’t sing, that I was a one-hit wonder”.

Pick up these pieces of music history in our CD marketplace! Every album you own comes with unlimited streaming and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and Apple Lossless! :-)

Interview with Paper Bird

Mark Anderson was a really great person to chat with earlier this year on the Murfie Podcast. He plays percussion in Paper Bird, a harmonious seven-piece band that’s gaining more and more national buzz each day. Here’s a transcript of our interview, and another chance to dig in to the interesting world of up-and-coming music.

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast, right from murfie.com: the world’s largest used and new CD store online. So, one band that I’m really diggin’ right now is Paper Bird. They’re a seven-piece indie folk band from Colorado. I had a chat with one of the band members, Mark, right after they released their new album, Rooms.

[MUSIC: “As I Am” by Paper Bird]

Kayla: Alright, so right now I have Mark on the phone, from Paper Bird. Where are you calling from?

Mark: I’m just calling from my apartment in Denver, Colorado.

Kayla: Ok, yes, I saw that you guys are from Colorado, and I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about that place. So, are a lot of people in the band from Colorado, originally, or did you guys end up there?

Mark: Um, most of us are from here, originally. Some of us were born other places—like Sarah, my sister, and I, were born in Ohio, but moved here when we were really young—and then a couple of members were born in Texas. But all of us say we’re from Colorado—it’s where we grew up.

Kayla: Right—it’s your home, totally! You and Sarah are brother and sister—I did not know that.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. There’s another set of siblings in the band, too: Genny and Esme are sisters.

Kayla: Oh, awesome! That’s fun.

Mark: Yeah.

Kayla: How did you all meet each other?

Mark: Well, we’ve known each other for a long time—it kind of was a culmination of coincidence and then also just like, common interest. Like, we all moved to Denver—um, god, I don’t know, we’ve lived in Denver for a long time. And I think just like, through random acquaintances, and some people through school and things like that, a loose group of us started getting together—and then music is what pulled us in farther, and slowly our friendships culminated into the band, and we’ve been doing it for like, six years now.

Kayla: That’s the best way to get started, you know—the music brings you together, the common interests. And you guys have developed a really unique sound, because basically everybody in the band contributes to writing songs and that sort of thing; so is that how it usually works? Do you guys kind of come to each other and say, “I have an idea for a song,” and then do you work on it together?

Continue reading Interview with Paper Bird

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.

So you wanna own any of these gems, or hear them in lossless formats? Well, we just so happen to have them for sale! Find these albums and more pieces of music history in our marketplace!

What Makes a CD Collectible, Part 1

What makes a CD collectible is to some degree a totally personal question. CDs play such a huge emotional role in our lives, and it’s easy for a disc that critics might not consider music’s greatest work of art to hold an irreplaceable spot in your collection. Examples of this include the Avril Lavigne CD that’s still on my bookshelf 10 years later. But from a more objective level, what really makes a CD collectible? I dug up one class of CDs that are widely classified as collectible items. What’s more, many of them can be found on Murfie!

Target CDs

Target CDs are a class of CDs that were released by Warner-Elektra-Atlantic in the 1980s. Their name comes from the design WEA used, which resembles a target. They’re also easily identifiable by the bright colors used on the label side in their jewel cases. What really makes Target CDs collectible, however, is the fact that they are original issues. In the world of CDs, these are historical artifacts.

Here’s an example of what a Target CD looks like.

In addition to being relics of the early days of the compact disc, Target CDs also caught collectors’ eyes (and ears) because of their pure sound quality. These CDs are a “flat transfer” of the original tapes, and have not been subjected to compression or noise reduction. The sounds you’ll find on a Target CD are most true to how the artist intended.

If you’re a CD collector, check out this comprehensive list of Target CDs available out there. Here are a few albums on Murfie that were once issued as target CDs, and have later been re-released in the past few decades. You can’t go wrong if you listen to them in FLAC:

4864-large
Dire Straits (Dire Straits)                         Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin)


Hearts and Bones (Paul Simon)                  90125 (Yes)

If we come across discs that are rare or valuable on Murfie, we’ll give you a heads up so that you know about it! Then you can know to hang onto them, or even sell them for a higher price. It’ll surprise you what gems you’ll find!

Target CDs are not the only kind of collectible discs out there, but more on that later…