Today in rock history; Iggy Pop goes Blah, Al Green Still In Love, Costello goes country and more

Wham! makes it 'Big,' too.

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Today In rock history: on this date in 1986, Iggy Pop released his eighth studio album, Blah-Blah-Blah. Pop had taken an unusually long break from recording resulting in a four year gap between this release and his prior record, 1982’s Zombie Birdhouse. Collaborating primarily with friend and cohort David Bowie (who co-produced the album and co-wrote many of its songs), Pop also worked with ex-Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who played on the record and co-wrote three of its songs with Iggy. Pop’s most commercially successful release to date was received favorably but many listeners and critics thought it sounded more like a David Bowie album than what they’d come to expect from Iggy Pop. The album is best remembered for its rousing cover of the 1958 Johnny O’Keefe song “Wild One” (although Pop retitled his rendition as “Real Wild Child”); the song was Iggy’s first solo Top Ten hit in the U.K. and it performed well on college radio here in the States as well as on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1972, soul music crooner Al Green released his fifth studio album, the stellar I’m Still In Love With You. The album was another No. 1 hit on Billboard’s r&b albums chart for Green and it reached No. 4 on the pop albums chart. Fueled by the singles “Love And Happiness,” “Look What You Done For Me” and the title track, this is undoubtedly one of Green’s very best albums and is often been considered one of the greatest soul albums of all time. A fine interpreter of any song, Green also tackled Kris Kristofferson’s country music classic “For The Good Times” on this million-selling record and put his own unique mark on the it.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1981, after releasing a non-stop barrage of critically acclaimed and lauded albums, Elvis Costello made what many felt was a unusual career move when he released his sixth album Almost Blue, an album that consisted of nothing but covers of classic country music songs. A longtime fan of the genre, Costello felt strongly about recording his own versions of songs originally made popular by Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard, among many others, for this project. The rock press which had been endearing and wildly supportive for all of Costello’s albums to this point were split; some found the record to be weak and forced while others gave kudos to the singer for tackling the unpredictable and being bold enough to release a country album. The record was produced by legendary Nashville record producer Billy Sherrill who was known for his work on some of biggest hits by Tammy Wynette and George Jones. To add authenticity to the album, recording sessions took place in Nashville with Elvis’s backing band, The Attractions. While the record wasn’t a huge hit for Elvis in America, several of its songs were released as singles in the U.K. The album originally came packaged with a sticker on the front cover that read as follows: “WARNING: This album contains country & western music and may cause offence to narrow minded listeners.”

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1984, British singing duo Wham! released its second album, the blockbuster release, Make It Big. The group’s first album, 1983’s Fantastic was a massive hit in Europe, and it produced several hit singles while simultaneously making childhood friends and singing partners George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley international pop stars and teen idols. For this, Wham!'s sophomore album, chief songwriter and singer George Michael, at age 21, was granted full creative control of the project and was appointed as the sole producer of the record. The results were staggering: the album went straight to No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic and all four of its singles, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Freedom,” “Everything She Wants” and the sultry ballad “Careless Whisper” all went to No. 1 in England and fared almost as well in the U.S. too. With success on American R&B charts as well, the group became superstars all across the U.S. due to the heavy exposure it received on MTV and the massive cross-section of listeners of all ages, races and backgrounds it managed to appeal to. The record has exceeded sales of over 10 million copies sold worldwide and remains one of the most beloved and popular albums released in the 1980’s. Make It Big” made it obvious that George Michael would one day be one of the most famous pop stars in the world, a prediction would come true within a few short years of this infectious pop record.

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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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