This Week in Music History (July 31 – August 6)

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

AaliyahJuly 31: On this day in 1994, Aaliyah and R. Kelly secretly eloped in Rosemont, IL. Aaliyah just 15 at the time, so the marriage was later annulled.

Brothers in ArmsAugust 1: On this day in 1987, MTV launched MTV Europe. The first video they broadcast was Dire Straits‘ classic “Money For Nothing,” taken from their 1985 record Brothers in Arms.

August Are You Experienced2: On this day in 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their first of five nights at New York’s Salvation Club. The setlist included hits like “Foxey Lady” and Purple Haze” from their debut, Are You Experienced?.

The Smile SessionsAugust 3: On this day in 1963, The Beach Boys released “Surfer Girl,” the first single that gave production credit to Brian Wilson. He would remain as the band’s producer until he gave up on the Smile sessions in 1967.

Purple RainAugust 4: On this day in 1984, Prince began his 24 week stint of topping the US album charts with Purple Rain. The album has since gone on to sell over 20 million records worldwide, and is currently the sixth best-selling soundtrack of all time.

NirvanaAugust 5: On this day in 1959, guitarist Pat Smear was born. Smear would grow up to play in the bands Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

Whitney HoustonAugust 6: On this day in 2001, Whitney Houston signed a new deal with Arista that made her, at the time, one of the highest paid musicians in the entire world. The contract was said to be worth more than $100 million.

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

Halloween Picks: All-Time Favorite Movie Monsters

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from John Kruse of Mine All Mine Records (and Murfie Ops).

Halloween is on its way, which means it’s a good time to celebrate our favorite movie monsters. We can’t pick just one, so we’ve put together a list of all our monster favorites, and the movie soundtracks they inspire.

Vampires

Just to prove that vampire love is nothing new, we’ve got two great Dracula-inspired soundtracks to show you: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and Wes Craven’s cult horror flick Dracula 2000Bram Stoker’s Dracula may be just another adaptation of the book (a very successful one, admittedly), but it also has a killer score by Wojciech Kilar. As an added bonus, it includes the Annie Lennox hit “Love Song for a Vampire.” If you’re more of a classic horror fan, though, you’ll definitely want to check out the Dracula 2000 soundtrack. It’s got everyone you’d expect: Disturbed, Slayer, System of a Down, Linkin Park, etc.

Werewolves

Okay, so the follow-up to the 1981 classic An American Werewolf in London didn’t quite live up to expectations. In fact, it bombed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still love the idea! An American Werewolf in Paris came out in 1997, so what better way to celebrate our furry friends and relive the late 90s than by snagging this soundtrack? It features tunes from the likes of Bush, Cake, Skinny Puppy and more.

Vampires FIGHTING Werewolves

Instead of teaming up to take down humanity, vampires and werewolves have decided to duke it out in an eternal struggle for dominance. Lucky for us, their grudge means we get to sit back and watch—and Hollywood has certainly provided! Whether you like the dark and gritty tone of Underworld, or you love the love triangle of Twilight, we’ve got you covered. While Underworld‘s soundtrack features a mix of artists that reflect the darker tone of the movie, Twilight is a different story. The series has gained a reputation for producing great soundtracks that stand alone, covering a wide range of pop and indie artists, from Paramore to Iron & Wine.

Zombies

Love it or hate it, the living dead are here to stay. They’re everywhere, from the ultra-serious contagion film 28 Days Later to the trademark quirk of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Who can resist the compositional skill of 28 Days Later‘s John Murphy or Beetlejuice‘s Danny Elfman? Not to mention that there’s word of a Beetlejuice 2 coming soon!

BONUS: (Boo!) Ghosts

What is there to say about Ghostbusters? You see a ghost, you’ve got to bust it. Just don’t cross streams! Grab an Ecto Cooler, put on your proton pack and blast some Bobby Brown and Run–D.M.C.

Staff Picks: Soundtracks

This week we like…Soundtracks

In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, we at Murfie decided to dedicate this week’s staff picks to the film and TV soundtracks that have made their way across our desks recently.  Some are old, some are new, but all have been hand-selected for the enjoyment of you, the Murfieist.

Jacques Loussier/Ennio Morricone: “Dark of the Sun/Guns for San Sebastian”

Dark SunDark of the Sun is a violent adventure film from 1968 set in the Congo, with a score by French pianist Jacques Loussier.  Several tracks from Loussier’s soundtrack were later re-used in the film Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino, a confirmed fan of the original film.  Also included is the score to The Guns for San Sebastian, a Spaghetti Western also from 1968 that starred Charles Bronson and Anthony Quinn.  This score was composed by Ennio Morricone, easily one of the most influential popular composers of his time, and remembered mostly for his scores to several of director Sergio Leone’s best Spaghetti Westerns, including A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Dust Brothers: “Fight Club”

David Fincher’s 1999 adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club suffered from one of the worst marketing campaigns in history, and was one of the most critically reviled films that year.  However, after its release to DVD, it quickly became an established cult hit due to its striking cinematography, gleefully dark performances, and of course its playful and haunting soundtrack by The Dust Brothers, known for their revolutionary work with the Beastie Boys and Beck.

Bernard Herrmann: “Taxi Driver”

Taxi DriverMartin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver, a violent tale of the isolation and paranoia of city life in America, was dedicated to Bernard Herrmann, whose score for the film was his last.  Herrmann was well known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock, having scored Pyscho and Vertigo, and is also responsible for the unmistakable theme to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone television series.  Herrmann’s score for Taxi Driver is jarring and evocative, and “Diary of a Taxi Driver” features Robert DeNiro’s iconic opening voiceover.

Air: “The Virgin Suicides”

Sofia Coppola’s 1999 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides is a haunting exercise in both dark melodrama and understated 1970s period style.  The French electronic duo Air supplied a fantastic soundtrack for this film, one which contributed to both the surreality of the film and the palatability of its dark subject matter.  The soundtrack revolves around the bittersweet single “Playground Love,” featuring vocals by Gordon Tracks, and is capable of standing by itself as an album of nostalgic, dreamy electronic grooves.