This week in 1969 “The Who” released their album Tommy, a rock opera about a deaf, dumb and blind boy who plays a mean pinball. The lavish double concept album introduced a new genre: Rock Opera. The single Pinball Wizard became a classic hit. The album was developed into an acclaimed movie in 1975 starring Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and Jack Nicholson.
Formed in 1976 British pop group “Racey” achieved success in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Lay Your Love on Me was their first hit single, reaching number 3 in the UK Singles Chart, and number 2 in Ireland in December 1978. It was a number 1 hit in the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
This week in 1989 Michael Jackson, wearing a wig and fake Moustache, entered a jewelry store in California. Security thought he looked like a suspicious person and called the police. Michael, who wore the disguise in order to do some shopping without the drama of being recognised by fans, discovered that wearing a disguise to a jewelry store only replaced one drama with another.
This week in 1977 Jim Steinman’s play Neverland, a futuristic rock version of Peter Pan opened at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington, DC. It’s run lasted only six days. However, just five months later, three of the songs Steinman wrote for the production, All Revved Up With No Place to Go, Bat Out of Hell and Heaven Can Wait, appeared on Meat Loaf’s album Bat Out Of Hell.
Bat Out of Hell was initially rejected by many record companies but today it is still one of the 10 best-selling albums of all time.
Dutch band “Pussycat” was formed in 1973 by three sisters. Prior to forming the band the three sisters all worked as telephone operators, while three of the four male band members were in a band called “Scum.” In 1975/1976 Pussycat scored a big world-wide hit with Mississippi.
The song, written in 1969 by the sisters’ guitar teacher, was inspired by the “Bee Gees” song Massachusetts. By December 1975 Mississippi topped the chart in the Netherlands. Its international success came in 1976, when it reached number one in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and a number of others.
This week in 2016 classic rocker Steve Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but he didn’t enjoy the experience. In his acceptance speech, which was in part critical, he encouraged the Hall of Fame to keep expanding its vision, to be more inclusive of women and to do more to support music education in schools. After his performance, which included his hits Fly Like an Eagle, Rock’n Me, and The Joker, Miller really ripped into the institution during a press room interview for the way it treated him throughout the process.
“When they told me I was inducted they said, ‘You have two tickets—one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000. Sorry, that’s the way it goes.’ What about my band? What about their wives?”
Miller wasn’t the first to have criticized the Hall of Fame, whose limited selection process has drawn much heat from skeptics over the years.
This week in 1970 Let It Be, the final Beatles single before Paul McCartney announced his departure from the band, was the number one song in Australia and the USA. The song also topped the charts in Canada, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.
McCartney said he had the idea of Let It Be in 1968 when the Beatles as a group were having a tough time and he had a dream in which his deceased mother, Mary Patricia McCartney, reassured him: “It’s gonna be OK. Just let it be.” Paul’s mother had died when he was 14 years old.
When asked if the phrase “Mother Mary” in the song referred to Mary, mother of Jesus, McCartney has typically replied that listeners can interpret the song however they like.
This week in 1983 Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was the number 1 song in Canada and Australia. The song was actually written, and first recorded, in 1979 by American musician Robert Hazard.
Cyndi’s album, She’s So Unusual, was the first debut album by a female artist to achieve four top-five hits on the American Billboard Hot 100 – Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Time After Time, She Bop, and All Through the Night – and earned her the “Best New Artist award” at the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985.
This week in 1986 Rock Me Amadeus, a tribute to the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Austrian musician “Falco,” hit number 1 in America. It was the first, and so far the only, German language song to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Prior to this, 99 Luftballons by “Nena” had peaked at number two.
Achy Breaky Heart by “Billy Ray Cyrus” was released this week in 1992. It would become Cyrus’ signature song and his biggest hit. The music video led to the explosion of the “line dance” into the mainstream.
Even though the song topped the charts in New Zealand and Australia, and was a top 10 hit in a number of other countries, it is also considered by some as one of the worst songs of all time and featured at number 2 on VH1’s list of the “50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever”. However, considering The Heart of Rock & Roll by “Huey Lewis & The News” was number 10 on that same list we suggest this can’t be taken at all seriously.