Today in rock history: on this date in 1981, the lineup for one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time was solidified. After sacking its original lead singer, Iron Maiden auditioned the great Bruce Dickinson in September of ’81, but was already familiar with his rich, soaring vocal abilities since it had played live gigs alongside his then current band Samson at the time. After Dickinson was unanimously voted in by the Maiden, he was informed that the band already had live gigs booked in Italy the month after his hiring. The tour started on 10/26/17 in Bologna, Italy at a venue called Palasport marking the very first time Bruce Dickinson ever fronted the band he’s still fronting to this date. The new lineup went over well; the band played a 17-song set for Dickinson’s Maiden debut and was called back for three encores. The set consisted mostly of material from the band’s first two albums (records that featured first lead singer, Paul Di’Anno) as well as a cover of “I Got The Fire” by American hard rock band, Montrose. By the following year, the band would release its first album to feature Dickinson on lead vocals, the metal classic The Number of the Beast, which is often referred to as one of the best heavy metal albums of all time. Read our review of Maiden's June set at Amalie Arena here.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1973, jazz heavyweight Herbie Hancock released his 12th studio album Head Hunters. The album single handedly created a brand new blend of jazz/funk/fusion that Hancock concocted, and had been regarded as a pioneering piece of work from the multi-talented musician and producer. Containing a revamped version of one of Hancock’s earliest hits “Watermelon Man” and “Sly,” a tribute to legendary funk and soul artist Sly Stone, the record is often referred to as a landmark for having such a vast impact on the genres of soul, funk, hip-hop and modern jazz. Tampa band Poetry 'n Lotion does fantastic covers of tracks from Head Hunters, and Carlos Santana (who plays Tampa on Friday, October 27) recently cited Hancock as an influence in this interview with CL.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1981, Massachusetts rock and roll hell raisers The J. Geils Band released its 12th studio album, Freeze Frame. After a string of decently-selling albums and a reputation for being one of the best live bands of its day, the soul-influenced, raucous band scored a huge hit with this album. Fueled by the monster radio and MTV hit “Centerfold,” the band found itself at the upper reaches of album and singles charts in a way that it had never experienced; both went straight to the No. 1 spot of their respective charts and the album remained at that coveted spot for four weeks. Another hit, the album’s title track, climbed as high as No. 4 on the singles chart and helped make this the band’s best-selling album of its career. To add to the hot streak the band was on, another one of the album’s tracks, “Flamethrower” received heavy airplay on urban stations nationwide and managed to rise to No. 25 on Billboard’s soul singles chart.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1967, celebrated soul music duo Sam and Dave released its third studio album, the high-spirited classic, Soul Men. The record charted well on soul and pop album charts and included the well-known, classic single “Soul Man”. The record earned the duo a Grammy award in the category of Best R&B Group, Vocal or Instrumental and featured the legendary soul band Booker T. and the MG’s providing musical accompaniment. The album consists of several songs co-written by a then up and coming songwriter by the name of Isaac Hayes who’d soon become a soul music superstar on his own in a few short years after this release.