Today in rock history; Hendrix dies, Black Sabbath is Paranoid, Kiss members go solo and more

Dylan has 'Mercy,' too.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, only three years after his debut album revolutionized rock and roll, guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix passed away in London, England. At the young age of 27, the man who created genre-bending, brilliant albums like Electric Ladyland and Axis: Bold As Love during his short but fruitful career in music left a huge void in the diverse array of music he’d helped create at the tail-end of the 1960s.

Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, Black Sabbath released its second album, Paranoid. The record holds the distinction of being the only Sabbath record from the British heavy metal giants' legendary string of highly impactful and influential albums to top British sales charts. Paranoid is full of Black Sabbath classics like “Iron Man,” “Hand of Doom,” “War Pigs” and, of course, the defining title track. The record climbed as high as no. 12 on U.S. album charts and has since gone on to achieve platinum sales status thanks to the millions of copies it sold in the States alone. As one of the most beloved and respected albums of the band’s catalog, this is undoubtedly one of the cornerstones in the creation of heavy metal music.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1978, in a totally unprecedented and unheard of marketing move, the four members of Kiss each released his own solo album. At a time when the band was at the height of its popularity after the successes of several record-breaking concert tours and mega-platinum selling albums like Destroyer and Love Gun, the band’s label, Casablanca Records, thought it would be a good idea to hit the band’s diehard fans with not one but four brand new albums on the same release date. Each record carried the recognizable Kiss logo on the front cover but featured a close-up shot of individual band members as well as their names. Of the four releases, the one that fared the best was lead guitarist Ace Frehley’s. Ace’s album charted higher than the those of his three other band mates and contained a bona fide hit single, a cover of “New York Groove,” (a song originally cut by British glam rock band Hello in 1975) which climbed as high as no. 13 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in ‘78. The impressive sales numbers all four releases achieved is a true testament to the level of popularity and the star power the band was riding on in 1978, arguably the commercial height of their career.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1989, after years of breaking new ground and charting new territory, Bob Dylan continued his unpredictable trajectory as a truly fascinating artist when he released his twenty-sixth studio album, the highly regarded and positively reviewed Oh Mercy.  After a series of poorly-reviewed albums that performed less than spectacularly on sales charts, Dylan enlisted Daniel Lanois to handle production duties for Oh Mercy, and the result was astounding. The critically well-received album was warmly received by Dylan’s fan base as well. The record charted higher than most of Bob’s records had at that period (it cracked the Top 30 in the U.S. and reached no. 6 on U.K. sales charts as well). The album was regarded as a comeback of sorts for the legendary singer/songwriter who’d been mired with a few disappointing albums around that time. Lanois had become known for his stellar work on releases by Peter Gabriel, U2 and Robbie Robertson and Oh Mercy certainly became a high mark in his impressive resume of production work. The album remains a highly respected work from the latter part of Dylan’s colorful career for many of his fans.

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About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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