Today in rock history: On this date in 2006, British band Arctic Monkeys won the prestigious Mercury Prize, an annual award that’s bestowed upon the British or Irish artist that released the best album of the year. The band’s debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not was the fastest-selling debut album in British chart history with nearly 400,000 copies sold in its first week of release. The band was selected for the prize from a list of 12 nominees that included more established artists like Editors, Muse and Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke. The album remains the fastest-selling debut album in British music history to this date and eventually went on to achieve quadruple platinum status in England.
REVIEW: GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2017
A letter to Ryan Adams, plus every great band who graced the stage on day two
Today in rock history: On this date in 2000, songwriter Ryan Adams released his debut solo album, Heartbreaker. The record, which was inspired by a breakup the North Carolina native had endured, was the first in a long line of fine albums Adams would release right up through the present day. After the dissolution of his critically lauded band Whiskeytown, Adams stepped out on his own with Heartbreaker and received plenty of accolades for his initial effort as a solo artist. The album was recorded over a 14-day period in Nashville and was released on respected indie label Bloodshot Records. Featuring now-classic tunes from Ryan’s catalog like “Oh My Sweet Carolina” and “Come Pick Me Up,” Heartbreaker featured guest appearances by established artists like Emmylou Harris, Kim Richey and Gillian Welch. To date, Adams has released 16 more solo albums since this excellent debut record, making him one of the most prolific and consistent artists of recent years. See photos of Adams headlining Tampa's Gasparilla Music Festival here.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1974, The Jackson 5 released its 10 album, the smash hit Dancing Machine. After a brief chart slump following its late '60s/early '70s hot streak, Dancing Machine helped the group re-establish its former stature as chart-toppers. Fueled by the album’s title track, a huge dance smash and a precursor to the disco music boom that would occur a few short years later, "Dancing Machine," the single, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart and made it as high as No. 2 on the publication’s pop singles chart. Selling nearly 3 million copies, the album was a substantial hit for the band and wound up being the last Jackson 5 record to chart significantly while the group was still a part of Motown Records, the label that initially signed it to a recording contract (the group would change its moniker to simply The Jacksons and would sign with CBS Records in 1976). Lead singer and superstar Michael Jackson, a consummate dancer and entertainer, popularized the robot, a dance move he’d regularly perform dazzlingly during performances of “Dancing Machine.”
Today in rock history: On this date in 1988, premier post-punk and goth band Siouxsie and the Banshees released its ninth album, the bold and ambitious Peepshow. Never a band to rely on its past triumphs, The Banshees traveled to new musical heights on this fine album, which found distinctive and highly influential singer Siouxsie Sioux turning in some of the finest and most memorable vocal performances of her career. Critically lauded and received favorably by the band’s longtime fans, Peepshow sold well in the band’s native England and featured several British hit singles. The cabaret-inspired pop sound of “Peek-a-Boo” and the up-tempo “The Killing Jar” were two popular singles taken from this album, and became alternative dance club favorites. Adding to the album’s varied textures and nuances was “The Last Beat of My Heart,” a third single from the album that featured lush strings and an accordion, proving the eclecticism of the band.