Today in rock history: on this date in 1977, influential New York City band Television released its debut album, Marquee Moon. Although the band is more closely associated with the CBGB, the downtown New York punk rock mecca where they and bands like The Ramones and Blondie got their start, Television was musically worlds apart from its contemporaries. Delving more into rock and jazz-influenced guitar-driven songs, the band’s dual guitarists, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, created a unique sound that defied the trappings of punk rock and set Television apart from all the other bands from its era. Marquee Moon was critically lauded upon its release and was immediately heralded as a landmark album by most rock journalists. Sadly, the record made little impact on American sales charts but performed surprisingly well in England. Containing signature songs like “See No Evil,” “Friction” and the 10-minute title track, “Marquee Moon” has often been referred to as one of the best albums of all time and a catalyst in the creation of genres like indie rock, new wave and post-punk.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1975, Dayton, Ohio pioneering funk band Ohio Players took over both the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart as well as the pop albums chart simultaneously. The band’s sixth studio album Fire climbed to the No. 1 spot on the country’s best-selling albums chart on the same day that the album’s title track reached the top spot on Billboard’s pop singles chart. Already a hit on R&B and disco/dance charts, the album and the single were the band’s most successful hits of its impressive run of popular records throughout the 1970s. The album’s cover features a provocative, scantily-clad model as was the common theme for the band’s album jackets.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1972, jazz legend Jimmy Smith released his landmark album, Root Down. The live recording showed off the musician’s many talents including his incredible improvisational skills and his mastery of the Hammond B3 electric organ. One of the few jazz musicians who was consistently able to lodge instrumental jazz albums onto Billboard’s pop charts, this highly regarded album is probably Smith’s best-known. With music often sampled by hip-hop artists, the most familiar of those samples is no doubt the Beastie Boys usage of "Root Down (And Get It)" within its 1995 hit, “Root Down.” The highly regarded album also contains Smith’s take on Al Green’s 1971 classic soul tune, “Let’s Stay Together.”
Today in rock history: on this date in 2004, Atlanta, Georgia-based hip-hop duo Outkast became the very first hip-hop act to receive the prestigious Grammy award for Album of the Year with a hip-hop release. The group’s sixth album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was its biggest and most successful release with sales exceeding 11 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. Nominated for six Grammys for this groundbreaking 2-LP set, Outkast took home three trophies including Best Rap Album of the year. Topping pop and hip-hop/R&B charts, the enormously successful 2003 album produced the hit singles “Hey Ya!,” “The Way You Move” and “Roses.”