Today in rock history: On this date in 1982, Jamaican-born model, actress and singer Grace Jones released her sixth album, the ambitious and groove-oriented Living My Life. This amazing and genre-defying album shows Jones' true versatility and contains some of the finest work shehas ever committed to wax. Singles from the record included the tribal, urban and funky "My Jamaican Guy," the reggae-flavored "The Apple Stretching" and the outright dance floor banger, "Nipple to the Bottle." The now-iconic cover artwork features an angular, bold photo of the singer and is one of the many recognizable, memorable images of the unique singer and her distinctive appearance. Living My Life was a hit album in many countries and secured Jones' place as a ground-breaking artist and a true pioneer of style, sound and appearance. Many songs from the album have been sampled at length, but the most popular and recognizable is probably the snippet of "My Jamaican Guy" which served as the hook in LL Cool J's 1996 hit, "Doin' It."
Today in rock history: On this date in 1972, Canadian rocker Neil Young released his two-LP soundtrack album, Journey Through the Past, which accompanied a film that mixed live concert footage with arty vignettes created on 16mm film. The album contained material Young recorded throughout different stages of his career, and the release featured tracks with country-rock band Buffalo Springfield as well as some from Young's time as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Also found on the set were a variety of demos and previously unreleased tracks that, making Journey an early treasure trove for Young's fans to revel in. The record, however, was poorly received and panned by just about every rock critic that bothered to review it. Peaking at a paltry No. 45 on Billboard's pop albums chart, Journey Through the Past remains unissued on CD which, for many, represents a glaring omission in the painstaking reissue campaign Neil Young has undertaken over the last several years.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1981, former Black Sabbath lead singer Ozzy Osbourne released his second solo album, Diary of a Madman. After the unprecedented (and unexpected) success of his debut solo release, 1980's Blizzard of Ozz, Osbourne's follow-up release was highly-anticipated. Sadly, it would be the last album to feature Osbourne's hotshot guitar whiz, former Quiet Riot member Randy Rhoads, who passed in a Leesburg plane crash four months after this album's release. Including classics like "Flying High Again" and "Over the Mountain," the album cracked the Top 20 on U.S. album charts and went on to sell several million copies around the world, keeping Osbourne in the public eye as one of the most outrageous and controversial rock artists of the era. Osbourne recently announced that his farewell tour would come to Tampa in 2019.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1983, The Rolling Stones released Undercover. Comprised of all-new, original material, the record was the follow up to the band's 1981 smash hit, Tattoo You, which was made up of leftover tracks and outtakes from earlier recording sessions. Adamant to remain contemporary and relevant, lead singer Mick Jagger fought to have the album sound modern, insisted on adopting current production styles and made sure to bring a dance music vibe to the record. Meanwhile, songwriting partner and occasional adversary Keith Richards was dead set on focusing on the band's more rock and blues-inspired roots for the release. Ultimately, the record had several standout tracks, but many fans scoffed at the slick production and contemporary sound on many of the songs. Singles from the record included the politically-charged "Undercover of the Night," the rocker "She Was Hot" and the grisly, disco-tinged "Too Much Blood," which had a controversial music video that drew plenty of ire when aired on MTV. Although Undercover cracked the Top 10 in both England and America, it was viewed as a slight disappointment in that failed to reach the No. 1 spot in both regions like so many of the band's previous albums did.