Today in rock history; Prince's Sign o' the Times, Tracy Chapman's debut and more

*cue "Fast Car" melody*

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1987, musical phenomenon Prince released his ninth studio album, the 2-LP set, Sign o' the Times. The record was released first in the U.K. and Europe and saw its North American release on the very next day. The album was instantly regarded as one of the Minnesota native’s greatest works and one of his most diverse collections thanks to its inclusion of different genres like pop, soul, funk, gospel and rock and roll. The album’s socially topical title track was the first singe released from the record and its impact was undeniable; the always amazing artist tackled drug abuse, AIDS and poverty throughout the course of the song which indicated that this was no ordinary album.  Other hit singles from this landmark album include “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “I Could Never Take the Place Of Your Man,” and “U Got the Look,” the sultry dance smash which was a duet with Scottish pop singer, Sheena Easton. Often regarded as Prince’s boldest and most monumental record, Sign o’ the Times peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s pop albums chart and was an instant million seller upon its release.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1964, singer/songwriter folk-pop artist Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Chapman was an instant success with the release of her superb debut album in 1988. The album sold a million copies after being out for only two weeks thanks to the big hit it boasted, the plaintive ballad, “Fast Car.” This release made Chapman one of the first female artists to ever sell over 10 million copies of an album worldwide. She has released eight strong albums throughout her career and is known for her social activism and her willingness to perform at benefit concerts.  Chapman is a four-time Grammy award winner including a trophy for best song of the year in 1997 for her well-known single, “Give Me One Reason.”

Today in rock history: on this date in 1992, British musician, songwriter and singer PJ Harvey released her amazing debut album, Dry. With the arrival of Polly Jean and her unique, personal, passionate delivery, a new breed of female artists was born. Dry performed well in her native England where it charted in the top 10 on British sales charts. Dry featured the singles “Dress” and “Sheela-Na-Gig” as well as Harvey staples like “O My Lover” and “O Stella.” It fared well on year-end charts too; the album made it onto countless “best of” lists at the close of 1992. One of the most intriguing and unpredictable artists of her time, PJ went on to release 11more albums since her debut with 2016’s The Hope Six Demolition Project being her most recent effort.

Today in rock history: on this date in 1967, the photo session for one of the rock era’s most eye-catching and recognizable album covers took place. The elaborate staging of the cover design for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the eighth studio album by The Beatles, occurred at photographer Michael Cooper’s studio in London. The Fab Four arrived in the afternoon hours to stand in with the colorful set that had taken eight days to assemble. Featuring the images of several celebrities from throughout the ages, represented on the cover were actor Marlon Brando, singer Bob Dylan, boxer Sonny Liston among dozens more. The band posed for a variety of shots for potential cover images as well as for the photo that would be included inside the album’s gate-fold sleeve. The legendary album was released in May of 1967 and its cover stands as one of the most popular album covers of all time.

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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