Today in Music History: August 11
1956 Elvis Presley's double sided hit 'Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog' was released. The single went to No.1 on the US chart, where it stayed for 11 weeks - a record that would not be broken until 1992's Boyz II Men hit 'End of the Road'. 'Hound Dog' was originally recorded in a Blues style by Big Mama Thornton in 1953. Her version was a No.1 hit and by far her biggest success. Elvis' version of this song is based on how he heard it performed by a Texas group called Freddie Bell and The Bell Boys, who released the song on the Teen label in 1955.
1962 Neil Sedaka started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'. It reached No.7 on the UK chart. Although Sedaka had had eight Top-10 hits in the US to this point, this was his very first No.1. Howie Greenfield penned the lyrics at Sedaka's urging, and then it was presented to Barry Mann (of Mann and Weil) for appraisal. Mann didn't think much of it, so Sedaka then added the opening "dooby-doo" part.
1979 The Knack started a five-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Get The Knack'. The lead single from the album, "My Sharona", was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and number one on Billboard's Top Pop Singles of 1979 year end chart.
1984 Ray Parker Jr. started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with the theme from the film 'Ghostbusters'. Parker's song was chosen after 60 others were rejected. Parker, who had been a session guitarist for Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, was accused of plagiarizing the melody from Huey Lewis and the News song 'I Want a New Drug', resulting in Lewis suing Parker, the pair settled out of court in 1985.
2002 Nelly and Kelly Rowland started a seven week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Dilemma'. Also a No.1 UK hit. Featuring Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child, this song is about a girl who thinks about another guy even when she's with her boyfriend (thus the "Dilemma"). Nelly and Kelly act this out in the video, but also in the song, as they sing to each other by name.
2002 Bruce Springsteen started a two week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'The Rising', the singers fifth US No.1. Also No.1 in the UK. Springsteen wrote this album in response to the September 11 attacks on America. The entire album deals with it in some way, often from the point of view of the victims. Many of the songs that came out soon after September 11, 2001 in the US were calls for revenge and dripped with patriotism (Charlie Daniels' "This Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag), but this is a much more introspective look at the events, as Springsteen attempts to reflect the many different emotions caused by the tragedy. In addition to anger, many Americans felt grief, frustration, and bewilderment in their efforts to deal with it.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...