Today in rock history: on this date in 1993, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the debut album by New York hip-hop outfit Wu-Tang Clan was released. With a title derived from the late 1970s martial arts film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, the record revolutionized 1990s hip-hop culture and sound almost immediately after its release. The large collective of rappers included luminaries Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, GZA/Genius, Masta Killa, Method Man, Ol'Dirty Bastard, RZA/Prince Rakeem, Raekwon and U-God. Widely regarded as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, the record influenced just about every hip-hop artist that followed them and made individual superstars out of almost every emcee who made up the group. Featuring groundbreaking singles like “Protect Ya Neck” and “C.R.E.A.M,” this is a bona fide hip-hop classic that remains one of this most revered and respected albums of the genre.
Today in rock history: this date in 1967 marks the date that appeared on the very first issue of San Francisco magazine, Rolling Stone. Issue No. 1 of the popular music, culture, politics and entertainment magazine featured then-Beatle John Lennon on the cover dressed in military gear as he appeared in the comedic war film, “How I Won The War” which was also released in ’67. The thin, folded, newsprint publication sold for 25 cents and was intended to serve as a counter-culture media source for young, hip readers. The magazine’s title supposedly derived from a nod to blues great Muddy Waters, rock giants The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan’s classic song, “Like A Rolling Stone”. The magazine moved its headquarters from California to New York City in the late 1970’s and is still in existence, publishing biweekly issues fifty years after its inception. Founding publisher Jann Werner, however, put the controlling stake of the magazine up for sale in September just after he sold 49 percent of Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a digital music company based in Singapore.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, British pop/rock group Badfinger released its exquisite second album, No Dice. Signed to Apple Records, the label belonging to The Beatles, the band was added to the label’s roster at the behest of the Fab Four. Sounding like natural prodigies of the band which signed them to its label, the melodic, harmony-rich quartet produced some of the finest and catchiest records of the time, and this classic is certainly no exception. Featuring a pair of singles that rank as two of the finest slices of pop music mastery, “No Matter What” and “Without You” (which was later popularized by genius pop singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson), the record made the band popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Badfinger’s success also continued the following year when it released an equally impressive album, 1971’s Straight Up.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1981, the original release date of the debut album by Australian new wave band Men At Work occurred. Business As Usual was already a huge hit down under by the time it was released in America in June of 1982. The group’s catchy, infectious blend of new wave pop seemed to have universal appeal, too. The album, and it’s impressive string of hit singles, was an international success. Selling 15million copies worldwide, the album topped the charts in many different markets around the globe and sold an impressive 6 million copies in the U.S. alone. The band’s quirky, often comical music videos were instant successes on music video network MTV where they received heavy rotation for many months. The hits included “Who Can It Be Now?,” “Be Good Johnny” and “Down Under.”