September 23 – That’d Be That Day 65 Years Ago

Rock groups are senior citizens today…in a way of speaking. Because the first smash hit by a rock & roll band got to #1 this day 65 years ago – the 1957 hit “That’ll Be The Day” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets. Rock was still new back then, something that hadn’t hit the mainstream vernacular or even consciousness perhaps. Elvis was already huge mind you, having spent 18 weeks at #1 already that year. But the idea of a rock group – guitarists, bass, drums – instead of an orchestra or anonymous session musicians behind one singer, was quite fresh. And so far back was it that it pre-dates the “Hot 100” era on Billboard. They compiled lists of top-selling singles as well as plays on jukeboxes, but had yet to start the comprehensive list of top songs that became the industry standard by the 1960s.

Holly was of course, seemingly a major star in the making. A nerdy looking kid of 21– almost the anti-Elvis – with thick glasses, from west Texas who also had a knack for writing a catchy tune and an awkward but real on-stage charisma. He’d signed to Decca Records in 1956 and actually recorded “That’ll Be The Day” there first. It was a song he’d written with his drummer, Jerry Allison, the idea coming to him after they watched a Western in which John Wayne uttered the phrase defiantly.

However, as journalist James Harrison points out, the Decca version was “slower…not rock’n’roll.” Decca couldn’t be bothered releasing it, and cut Holly loose. However, they wouldn’t let him use the demos he’d recorded with them, nor release records under his own name for a certain period of time. So he found producer Norman Petty in New Mexico and recorded some tunes there with him…including a redo on this one. Petty helped himself to a writing co-credit on it but also seemed to get the feeling of the song right and make it marketable. Although his efforts to do so were just that – an effort. Columbia, Atlantic and RCA all turned it down flat. Finally Brunswick Records took a chance with it and released it under the name “The Crickets” owing to the old contract restrictions at Decca.

It took off, rising to #1 at home and in the UK, and as Harrison called it “here was the modern era.” Rock groups had arrived. Not surprisingly then, the Quarrymen (who morphed into a band known as The Beatles) recorded a demo of the song.

Rolling Stone rank it as the 39th greatest song of all-time, and it certainly is one that made a star and pointed the way for so many rock songs to follow, from its catchy, defiant chorus to a bit of a guitar solo and its featuring an entire band instead of just one singer.

Those of a certain age might not be that familiar with Holly’s original however. Gen X listeners perhaps got introduced to the song in 1976, when Linda Ronstadt had a top 20 hit in North America with her version of it which was actually sitting at #21 on this day that year.

As for Holly, his star shone brightly but went out too quickly. He died less than two years later in the plane crash referred to as “the day the music died.”

September 19 – Diana’s Supreme Challenge, Going It Alone

This seems like a day Diana Ross would like to celebrate. Fifty-two years ago today, she got to #1 in the U.S. for the first time with her second solo single, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Of course, having a #1 single wasn’t unique or unusual for Diana by then; she’d sang on 12 of them in the ’60s with the Supremes. But the 1970 hit was the first just labeled under her name alone.

The song was the second single off her self-titled “debut” after a much-publicized falling out with her girl group bandmates, largely spurred on by Motown’s Berry Gordy. Gordy sensed, perhaps correctly, that Ross was the real star of the Supremes and could be a household name on her own. To get her on her way he brought in Ashford & Simpson, at the time a pair that were among Motown’s elite writers and producers. In later years, they’d also record on their own and score a major mid-’80s hit with “Solid.

Not only did they produce the Ross album, they also wrote many of the tracks including this one. It wasn’t penned for her though; it was first recorded three years earlier by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, who took it up to #19. They had to do something a little different with it for Ross (who was trying to signify something of a new direction with her album cover, featuring a sexy looking Diana with short hair and in cutoff jeans instead of the elegant gowns and coiffed hair the Supremes had been known for) so they brought in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to add some strings, made it a bit funkier and featured spoken word bits too. As the BBC’s Matthew Horton put it, it became “a sexy anthem, whipping up the tension with two minutes of psychedelic soul before the delayed release of the chorus.” The song ran over six minutes … and neither Diana nor Berry Gordy liked the initial result.

Gordy thought the song much too long and weird, and didn’t like the spoken word bits. Eventually they all compromised and the song was shortened to about half its album length for the 7” single which radio typically played then.

No matter who’s toes might have been stepped on a bit (there was no word on what Marvin thought of “his” song being redone to greater effect) it paid off. It ended up being among the top 10 hits of ’70 and set Diana off to a pretty solid solo career through the decade. And into the next.

Another reason for Diana to like Sep. 19th, was ten years after “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” she was back on top of the American singles charts this day in 1980, with “Upside Down.” It was her fifth solo chart-topper (she’d go on to score one more with “Endless Love”, the duet with Lionel Richie) and it spent a full four weeks at #1, earning her a gold single and a platinum one in Canada, where it topped out at #5 (but sold for more weeks in a row, apparently.) It was from her Diana album, which went platinum in the States. That record was produced by the Chic duo of Nile Rodgers – who’s enjoying his 70th birthday today, by the way – and Bernard Edwards. Rodgers says “Diana was the first big star we ever worked with, so we took it very seriously.” Ross however, didn’t like their job of mixing this song, thinking it too funky and bass-heavy and had it remixed herself, bringing her voice more front and center and cutting the funk a bit. Rodgers was furious, but it seemed to pay off. Ross had a #1 song and Rodgers would soon be working with another “serious” big star – David Bowie, putting together his Let’s Dance album and helping on the Serious Moonlight tour.

September 12 – People Went Bananas Over Monkees

Hey hey, here they came, right onto your TV screen… the Monkees Their TV show premiered on this night on NBC back in 1966. Although it only ran two seasons and 50-odd episodes, it was ground-breaking both in TV and music.

Seeing success the Beatles had with their “mockumentary” A Hard Day’s Night, producer Bob Rafelson realized there was strong potential to merge the visual with the sounds of the burgeoning rock scene. He came up with the concept of a sitcom about the daily lives of a fictitious, successful rock band who lived together (in a life full of amusing highjinks of course) that could have some music mixed in. The show of course paved the way for rock videos (of which the band would typically perform at least one, out of context of the show itself per episode) as well as “broke the Fourth Wall” by speaking directly at the camera and viewer…ground-breaking back then, four decades or more before it became a standard device on Modern Family and The Office. The resulting slapstick about a struggling band won an Emmy in ’67 for Best Comedy, beating out such stalwards as Andy Griffith and Bewitched. On the music scene, the band hastily thrown together (after the producer’s original idea of using up-and-coming Lovin’ Spoonful fell through) would go on to be the biggest-sellers of 1967, even ahead of the Beatles, and quickly throw out five platinum or better albums (in the U.S.) and a trio of #1 singles (“Last Train To Clarksville”, “I’m A Believer” and “Daydream Believer”). In Canada it was six, all in two years!

After the show’s cancelation, the Monkees continued to perform for several years and even began writing some of their own material. They scored a top 20, comeback hit in 1986 (“That Was Then, This Is Now”) and continued to tour semi-regularly even after Davy Jones death in 2012. However, the more recent passing away of Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith leave only Micky Dolenz standing and the band effectively retired.

September 3 – U.S. Had A Second Round Of Wine

Second time’s the charm, in UB40′s case at least. “Red Red Wine” hit the U.S. top 40 for the second time this day in 1988 and this time went all the way to the top.

The reggae-classic had been initially released in 1983 and was a massive #1 hit in both their UK and Canada. American reception to it was lukewarm at the time however, with it creeping upto #34 at that time. It got a second-life after the interracial band played it at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday party concert in the summer of ’88 and the record company took advantage of that, re-released a slightly remixed version and saw it become one of the only reggae chart-topping singles in the U.S.

The song was written by, and a minor hit for, Neil Diamond in 1967 but Neil apparently approves of the UB40 take on it. He says it’s his favorite cover of his music and often performs the originally-somber and a slowish tune UB40-style in concerts. He might be onto something. His version only hit #62 in the U.S. and was largely ignored elsewhere. Meanwhile, the UB40 version has gone platinum in their homeland.

August 30 – Texas Said If NY Can Do It, So Can We

Everything’s bigger in Texas? Well, not always, despite what the Lone Star residents would like to think, but it usually is pretty big anyway. Case in point, this day in 1969 when it held its own version of Woodstock – the Texas International Pop Festival. It didn’t quite rival the upstate New York event of a couple of weeks earlier in crowd size, number of star acts or historical importance, but it was still a pretty big deal.

The event was probably not actually inspired by Woodstock as much as by another 1969 live music event, the Atlanta International Pop Festival at the start of the summer. In attendance there was Angus Wynne III, part of the family who owned the Six Flags amusement parks. He wanted to do something similar in his Dallas area, and quickly put together a pretty good three-day event.

They held it in an open field beside the Dallas Motor Speedway, close to a large campground. They advertised free camping at the camp, which had a little lake as a bonus for over-heated revelers, and brought in a good lineup of mixed musical talent, which went on stage at 4PM Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Grand Funk Railroad opened up each of the three nights, and B.B. King was also on stage for each night, apparently doing not only the same songs but offering up the same patter and jokes. He mistakenly thought each day had its own new audience, but in fact people came for the long weekend and were essentially all the same bodies for each night. And there were a lot of those bodies… no official attendance was released but most estimate it to be around 125 000, perhaps a little more.

Besides Grand Funk and B.B., they got to see Chicago on two nights (then billed as Chicago Transit Authority), local Johnny Winter, Nazz featuring a young Todd Rundgren, Janis Joplin and quite a few more. The first night Sam & Dave were the final act, the Sunday it was Santana, and the final show Tony Joe White. Also, perhaps suspiciously in light of future events, also on the bill were both Spirit and Led Zeppelin. Many will recall that Zep got sued by Spirit (or families of the members of) for plagiarizing a Spirit song to come up with the melody for “Stairway to Heaven”. Though Zep prevailed, few could really deny that there did seem something borrowed there, and despite some claims that Page and Plant never heard of, or anything by Spirit, they showed up on the same stage only hours apart.

The campground had a free stage as well, for secondary acts or main ones warming up and on there was poet Hugh Romney… who B.B. King listened to and nicknamed “Wavy Gravy” that day.

The event seemed to come out well, and as at Woodstock, no violent crimes were committed and people seemed to have a good time although once again weather wasn’t the fans friend. In Woodstock of course, cold rain dampened spirits and created a quagmire of mud; in Texas the opposite was the problem. Dallas is still very hot in late August (normal high still well above 90F) and standing out on an open field for hours isn’t a great idea. One person died of heatstroke.

Although it played second fiddle to Woodstock, it is perhaps surprising so little is recorded of, or about the show. There is a bootleg tape of some popularity going around with Zeppelin’s set, which is said to be of high quality, but there didn’t seem to be any sort of official release of footage or recordings. If you search online though, you will come across a DVD of the event, which seems to also be bootleg. It has about 19 tracks, although some – bizarrely – are studio recordings of acts who didn’t play the show like Linda Ronstadt, and some of the footage of the concert seems to have been dubbed in later with studio music. But you will get an idea of the scope of the concert and see things like an opening welcome from the local police chief, Chicago doing “I’m A Man”, Tony Joe White performing his one hit “Polk Salad Annie” and an apparently good segment of Led Zeppelin doing “Dazed and Confused.”

The event was a one-off, and now the site is a commuter rail station (Hebron St.) which has a plaque commemorating it. However, it did set a trend perhaps as later on Dallas would host annual one-day, big name artist concerts dubbed “Texxas Jam.” they were held annually from 1978-88, almost always in Dallas but occasionally in Houston instead. Headliners there included, through the years, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Heart, Foreigner, Journey, Rush, Aerosmith and Van Halen among others.

August 26 – Seattle Superstar Created Big Apple Music Landmark

The landmark lives on, long after its founder passed away. Jimi Hendrix lived just long enough to open his own Electric Lady Studio in New York on this day in 1970.

The rather non-descript, three-storey brick building at 52 W. Eighth Street in the “Greenwich Village” neighborhood had been a nightclub since 1930, originally called the Village Barn, then in the incarnation Jimi knew, The Generation. There he’d seen a number of great, and varied acts ranging from B.B. King to Janis Joplin’s Big Brother and the Holding Company. He was upset when it closed in 1968, and quickly bought it. His initial intent was to reopen as a nightclub. Probably fortunately for all, his friend, a studio engineer named Eddie Kramer told him that was a bad idea – the club had been losing money and there were many of them nearby – and that he should turn it into his own recording studio. It made utter sense since Jimi was a noted perfectionist when it came to his recording environment and had, according to Kramer spent $150 000 the year before on renting studios (something akin to close to a million dollars now.) He’d worked in three different studios, in London and the Big Apple on his recently-completed Electric Ladyland album.

That made sense to the guitar great, so he got a talented architect, John Storyk to help him come up with the plans and oversee re-construction. While there were many good architects around, Storyk had another quality which made him invaluable – he was a trained acoustician. He understood exactly how to get the specific sound quality people wanted from a space.

The conversion didn’t go smoothly though, running both late and well over budget. A flood, changes required for the plumbing system and delays in getting permits from the city resulted in Jimi having to go to Warner Bros. Records to get a “six-figure loan” to get it completed. Which it was, in August ’70.

Hendrix himself was first to try it, recording a few things there while final construction was still going on around him. He made sure the acoustics were great, the equipment state of the art, but the atmosphere easy-going. Some walls were painted into psychedelic murals, and he had some round windows installed allowing for controllable amounts of ambient light. He wrapped that up on Aug.22 and held the opening party on the 26th. Among those in attendance, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood and Patti Smith. Smith remembers talking to Hendrix just outside that night. She says he ”told me his vision of what he wanted to do with the studio. He dreamed of amassing musicians from all over the world in Woodstock, and they would sit in a field in a circle and play and play…until they found a common language. Eventually they would record this abstract universal language of music in his studio.”

Needless to say, that never happened, and in all likelihood wouldn’t even if Hendrix hadn’t sadly died just a month later. What did happen though was that the studio became one of the country’s most in-demand and respected ones. In the ’70s and ’80s, it was the place to be. Carly Simon recorded her much-touted debut there, then Stevie Wonder came in to do several records, including Talking Book and Fulfingness First Finale. Kiss viewed it as a sort of second home when they were rising to international fame and Led Zeppelin did some work in it as well, including supposedly a record’s worth of Elvis covers which has never been released. David Bowie dropped in with John Lennon to record his first American #1 hit, “Fame.” Later, the Rolling Stones would use it to record much of Emotional Rescue, then mix Tattoo You and Chic would make their disco smashes in it. “Imagine what it’s like to have a studio built by flower-power, hippie, acid-tripping kinds of people,” their guitarist Nile Rodgers laughs.

Albums ranging from Foreigner 4 to the Clash’s Combat Rock to Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell came to be in Electric Lady. However, in the ’90s, its usage dropped and it faced some tough times, but it was rescued, temporarily by Soulquarians. That was a loosely-aligned collective of Black musicians who hung out, jammed and recorded there. Among them were The Roots and Erykah Badu. However, for all the work they did, it resulted in only a few hit records and demand for the studio declined more. Once they moved out, producer Mark Ronson suggested “the glory days had sort of ended.”

But perhaps they weren’t. In 2010, it was sold and the new owners decided to revamp it. They thoroughly renovated it, brought in new, up-to-the-minute recording and mixing equipment and added mixing rooms to its existing capacity (which includes four separate studios). That worked, and it’s rebounded to be one of the country’s busiest studios again in the 2010s and since. One day in 2015, seven different recording sessions were being worked on simultaneously there, including the Black Keys, Rod Stewart, Lana Del Rey and Jean Batiste. Adele and Lourde have recorded there of late and U2 made their Songs of Innocence at it.

A place where artists liked to hang out and could work in with top-notch equipment. An idea so simple it’s a wonder few since Jimi have decided to do the same.

August 25 – Apparently It’s Their Day

August 25 is designated “Kiss and make-up Day” – boy, those good people at Hallmark never stop trying do they? – so what better day to look at the band Kiss…and makeup!

If ’70s bands like Pink Floyd or Chicago were known widely for their songs but without many of their fans having a clue what they looked like, Kiss was the opposite. Even people who didn’t know one tune by them instantly recognized them by their looks… or at least, their on-stage, on-camera looks. Because Kiss created a huge brand for themselves by way of their costumes and, more importantly, crazy face designs, of striking black (or in one case, silver) painted designs on ghostly white background makeup. There was guitarist Paul Stanley “Star Child”, drummer Peter Criss as the “Cat Man”, guitarist Ace Frehley, the “Space Ace” or “Spaceman” (using the flashy silver makeup) and the focal point, bassist Gene Simmons, with his bat-wing eyes as the “Demon.” That coupled with heavy leather outfits, full of spikes, metal inlays and high-heel, S&M-ready boots. It would be hard to walk down the street in their stage outfit without being noticed, no matter where the street. Ironically, it actually did help them go about their ordinary, off-stage lives anonymously. In the pre-internet, pre-social media age, no one really had a clue what they looked like, which Stanley liked. He says now “there is a certain mystique that is gone because everything is known. I think mystique is healthy.”

The idea for the makeup and wild costumes, not to mention the envelope-pushing stage show with the pyrotechnics and blood-spitting displays, was all Simmons who from the start had an idea of making Kiss a very lucrative “rock brand” instead of another “rock band”.

At the same time we were forming in New York (around 1973), there was a very big glitter scene,” he told reporters some years back. “Boys were basically acting like girls…we were more like football players. All of us were over six feet tall, and it wasn’t very convincing.” Still he was game for it, but “the very first pictures (of Kiss), we looked like drag queens.”

But Simmons wasn’t going to be another, run-of-the-mill, long haired, jeans-clad band. ”We weren’t a Grateful Dead kind of band that would get on stage and look worse than the roadie who delivered our stuff. That doesn’t negate what the Dead were doing, it just wasn’t us.”

So, looking silly as glam rock pretty boys, he hit upon the idea of being larger-than-life comic book-style characters. He designed the makeup and personas himself. That, coupled with the wild, much talked-about, high-energy shows worked to make them huge quickly. He mentioned to the Pittsburgh Tribune recently that within two years of them starting, it was clicking. “It wasn’t about the albums. It was about the shows getting bigger and bigger. And it was about the fervor, how crazy the fans were getting…we didn’t have any hit singles, and here we were (headlining a show at Anaheim Stadium in California).” Which was fine with him, because he also says “anything that prevents a band from becoming as mega as possible is complete idiocy to me.”

Of course, soon they did have the hit singles, notably “Beth” and “I Was Made For Loving You”, but it is worth noting that unlike the vast majority of bands, their first hit album was a live one, Kiss Alive. Since then they’ve racked up ten platinum albums at home, and 15 more gold ones. And toured around the world numerous times to enthusiastic crowds. Except perhaps for awhile in the ’80s and early-’90s. In 1983, they famously decided to go naked…well, not “naked” really, but without their famous makeup and costumes. Although the album that brought that in, Lick It Up, did no better nor worse than most of their earlier material, the tour was met with noticeably smaller, less wild crowds. Eventually, they returned to the Comic Book characters.

They’re currently on what they say will be their farewell tour, a lengthy world tour running through next year. In full costume. Which says 70 year old Paul Stanley, is part of the reason they’re calling it a day. He notes that it takes him a minimum of an hour to get into full garb before a show and “if we were a band wearing t-shirts and jeans, we could do this into our 90s.But we’re carrying around 30 to 40 pounds of gear, running around, making it look easy.” So rather than be reduced to jeans or carrying around the gear, groaning and limping, he says they want to go out with a bang.

August 17 – How We Listened Changed 40 Years Ago Today

The way we listened to music changed in a big way on this day in 1982. Philips began making commercial music Compact Discs ( CDs) for the first time, at a factory in Germany.

As we know, the public loved the allegedly indestructible and small discs. Although the sparse variety of titles and expensive price tags on the equipment meant it didn’t rocket to prominence instantly – the RIAA reported in ’83 about 800 000 CDs were sold in the States, less than 1% of the total recorded music – it didn’t take long. By 1985, Dire Straits had a CD sell a million copies, by 1988 there were 50 commercial CD plants worldwide which was good since the next year, 1989, they began to outsell vinyl LPs. They’ve never lost that crown either. For all the talk of the “vinyl resurgence” they still outsell vinyl records in the U.S…although both formats have dropped off dramatically in the digital, streaming, I-tunes era. After peaking with American sales of 943 million in 1999 (according to RIAA again) they’ve plummeted to just 47 million last year. However, surprisingly that was an increase from 2020, and represented 14% of all music sales. With Spotify and other streaming services, total music sales, digital or analog, hit the lowest level since they began being tracked five decades back.  From 1993 through 2007, CD sales were above half a billion per year.

The first CD by the way, was a classical work of Chopin by Claude Arrau who was invited to start the machinery at the plant; later that day some Abba The Visitors CDs were rolling off the assembly line. Here, Billy Joel’s 52nd Street was the very first CD made available for sale.

August 15 – Beatles Saw A Mountain Of Fans

Seems like it’s a good day for a big show if you are in New York. For starters, on this day back in 1965 The Beatles played the biggest concert of their career and ushered in a new era. That was when they started an all-important North American tour with a sell-out at Shea Stadium in the Big Apple. With about 55 600 in attendance, it was not only their biggest crowd, it was the first really big stadium rock concert.

The show came only a year and a half after they first visited the U.S., bursting on the scene with their famous Ed Sullivan appearance. In the time between, they’d scored an incredible seven #1 songs and were riding high on the success of Help, which had just been released. It was according to some of their biographers, “the ultimate pinnacle of Beatlemania.”

They had to be helicoptered in, and John Lennon would later say “at Shea Stadium, I saw the top of the mountain.” Ringo Starr said “what I remember most about the concert was that we were so far away from the crowd…it was very big and very strange.” Indeed, as unlike most modern concerts in such venues, the crowd was limited to the actual stands – there was no on-field seating or standing. So with the stage placed in the shallow outfield area, some of the more distant seats were in the range of 400 feet away!

The Young Rascals acted as an opening act, and then Ed Sullivan himself introduced the Fab Four, saying “now, ladies and gentlemen, honored by their country, decorated by the Queen and loved here in America, here are the Beatles!” The 55 000 fans (including Keith Richards and Mick Jagger) went wild and stayed loud throughout the 12-song show, often drowning out the actual music which was being played on a rather small and inferior sound system. They opened with “Twist and Shout” and did early classics like “I Feel Fine”, “Ticket to Ride” and “Help” before finishig with “I’m Down.” While predictably Paul and John dominated the set, both Ringo and George got a turn to have the spotlight, the former singing “Act Naturally” (later in the tour he’d do “I Wanna Be Your Man” instead) and the latter singing “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby.”

They’d spend the rest of the month doing shows in eight more American cities as well as Toronto, typically playing the same set list. In Atlanta and Chicago they played similar baseball stadiums but to smaller crowds; in other cities they played smaller outdoor venues or indoor arenas.

For those who wanted to relive the New York show, a 50-minute video was made and debuted on the BBC in 1966, then shown on ABC in the States a year later. It contained many of the songs they performed as well as little clips of them on their way into the stadium and getting ready in the baseball clubhouse. Due to the noise of the crowd during the concert, producers had them overdub some tracks and the audio from “Act Naturally” was scrapped totally and replaced with the original studio recording.

The Beatles would play Shea once more, almost a year to the day later, but to a somewhat smaller and perhaps less enthusiastic crowd. That was the famous tour in which they had death threats and were met with protests in the South due to John Lennon’s statements regarding them being more popular than Jesus. It would then be over 40 years before a Beatle would be doing a concert at the home of the Mets; Paul McCartney was a guest at Billy Joel’s concert there which closed the stadium in 2008.

Perhaps the ’65 show gave promoters an idea. As we mentioned, August 15 seems a popular day for concerts in the Empire State. Woodstock kicked off upstate on the date in 1969 and in 1991, something in the range of 600 000 people went to Central Park in the city to attend a free Paul Simon concert.

August 11 – Summer Was The Queen Of Summer Listening In ’79

No questioning who the Queen of the Radio was in 1979. Donna Summer‘s “Bad Girls” was starting its fifth and final week atop Billboard’s. singles chart. Coupled with “Hot Stuff” that spring and “No More Tears” with Barbra Streisand later in the year, Summer would be #1 on the singles chart for 10 weeks of the year; dominance tied by only Debbie Boone in 1977 among females during the decade.

She’d scored a #1 the previous year with her disco remake of “MacArthur Park” but it was her Bad Girls double-album that really put her over the top. It sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone, hit #1 in Canada and several European countries and at the time was even lauded by Rolling Stone (which in general wasn’t a fan of disco), which said it “ranks as the only great disco album other than Saturday Night Fever.” Among her talented collaborators on the record were guitarist Skunk Baxter of the Doobie Brothers and Giorgio Moroder who co-produced it. Summer was Moroder’s first choice to sing “Call Me’ the next year, a song which ended up being a smash for Blondie. Summer’s tip’o’the cap to prostitution and easy sex didn’t sit well with her in the coming years. She became a born-again Christian and distanced herself from the steamy, early records later in her life. Sadly she died of cancer in 2012.