Aug 082010
 

February 16th, 1983:

Michael Jackson is in London to attend the British Record Industry Awards and record with Paul McCartney. During his stay, there is industrial action by water workers in the capital which prompts a scare about contaminated water. Michael arranges for large quantities of Perrier water to be delivered to his hotel suite, prompting the tabloid press to speculate that he is cooking, shaving and bathing with bottled water as well as merely drinking it.”

On the surface…these are quick flicks from the backstage area of an awards show. Mike, Paul, and a young group who had to be stoked to meet Michael Jackson.  Shit, I’d be happy too.  Also, Musical Youth had to look up to Jackson 5 as they were trying to do a similar thing with their group (two sets of brothers).  On a deeper level, let’s take a look at another reason why they should all be smiling.

Musical Youth released “Pass The Dutchie” in autumn of 1982.  The record went to Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in October 1982. It went on to sell over four million copies, and was nominated for a Grammy Award. A U.S. Top 10 placing also followed in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The accompanying video made them the first black artists to be played on MTV. (Wikipedia)

Thriller was released on December 1, 1982, and sold one million copies worldwide per week at its peak (Wikipedia)

Paul McCartney is a Beatle. What else is there to say?  For this post, we’ll just say that he was on a track on Thriller named “The Girl Is Mine”, so Thriller’s success reflects on him as well.

So, to sum it up, these smiles can be described with a little rough Their Time’s Limited math (and Wikipedia help):

Michael Jackson Album Sales: 750 million, Beatles Album Sales: 1 billion, Paul McCartney: 100 million, Jackson 5 Album Sales: 100 million, & Musical Youth Album Sale: 4 million

Total Estimated Album Sales involving the guys smiling in the picture = 1,954,000,000

And you rappers act like you’re really doing something with your raggedy ass album selling in the thousands?  Go jump off a building.

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson – Say Say Say (I know..it’s not on Thriller, but it’s my site and I’ll post whatever I want):

Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie

Aug 062010
 

The record business has changed dramatically in the past 30 years, but putting yourself out there to get noticed is still the same.  In some ways it’s different (ads in trade mags, standing outside of labels, calling in favors, cold calling, breaking the bank on unsolicited demos, etc) and in some ways it’s the same (eating dicks / sucking up, playing shows to build a following, and having talent (which is somewhat questionable in most cases these days)).

So what we have here is an old school ad for a group of three people trying to get noticed.  They have a nice rudimentary graphic that meets up with their logo on some old school clashing of five different fonts. Obviously, this is before photoshop so someone put in work cutting film and lining up this ad in a very sloppy way on a light table. I only know this because I learned it back in high school in South Bend….why they taught us this in the age of computers is a mystery to me.

The only reason I’m really posting this is because of Vernon.  This is pure speculation, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Vernon is smashing Vicki Rae something terrible.  He has that old school “Mike, I’m all up in this biatch so back the hell up” smile with an accompanying arm clamp on what he’s claiming as his in the demo picture. Mike prob had the money to pay for the ad and “demos” plus the songwriting skills and talent.  I put demos in quotes because who knows if it was a physical 8 track tape or vinyl record…or maybe they really just waited around by the phone and tried to sing live to anyone who called?

It appears that the telephone number is from Santa Ynez California…which appears to be desolate land somewhere up the Cali coast.  I bet that was a real hotbed for disco shit back in the day.

So…I wonder if they ever made it?  I wonder if Vernon will answer if you call the number?

I wonder if Vicki Rae went solo and finally made a record under the name Vicki Rae Von and this is it (below)?  The song was produced by Tom Brasfield and he appears to be a disco producer who ended up writing a big hit for Ronnie Milsap.  Oh shit, now I’m really tripping cause I use to bang that hit Ronnie Milsap song on my am radio back in the day.

Fuck. Now I’ve gotta get off into some Ronnie Milsap shit. Why did I just find out that he’s blind?  I thought he was rocking shades all those years to be cool.  Here’s the kicker: I thought Roy Orbison was blind because he rocked shades his entire career and then he turned out to not be blind at all. Wtf?! My blindar is way off.

Ronnie Milsap – (There’s No) Gettin’ Over Me

But now that I’ve lost all control of this post…look at these cats from the Fukuoka American Music Association trying to put it down on the same song:

Aug 062010
 

Dope and tripped out packaging…very reminiscent Jimi Hendrix’s, non nude, Electric Ladyland cover, eh?  Don’t believe me, take a look for yourself (below).  Old school style biting.

Regardless of the blatant bite, which still happens all the time and is actually something I enjoy when its done well or in tribute, the songs on the album speak for themselves.  I wish Ghostface was here inside of this post to pop out and say “Niggas bit off Nas Shit!!!!”..

Btw, Tina is the original Beyonce….She would’ve gotten the business so bad and still looks amazing to this day (for her age).

Ike & Tina Turner – Let Me Touch Your Mind

Aug 062010
 

This some some serious ad copy: “Six hours of contemporary history edited to the essence of human entertainment”.

The Wattstax lineup was stellar and I wish I could go back in time to be there.  Who can forget Rufus Thomas’s loud suit, Isaac Hayes rockin a chain shirt, and the Bar Kays putting in work on “Son of Shaft”.  I haven’t watched or listened to Wattstax in a long time, but I’m definitely due for a refresher viewing…even if it’s just to see the mega infield dancing that resembles the world’s biggest Soul Train line.  It’s not the absolute greatest shit of all time, but def worth your time if you’re not in the know.  Also, If you listen close to the record, you’re going to hear a few famous vocal samples.

For those of you on phones and garbage monitors, the album lineup is: Issac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, The Bar-Kays, Carla Thomas, & The Soul Children

Richard Pryor narrated trailer:

Aug 052010
 

Where to begin? I guess I’ll start with this: I’ve had this ad in my “to post” folder for awhile, but I never actually researched Mrs. Miller until a few minutes ago.  Matter of fact, I only created this particular blog the other day so we’re just now getting into the groove over here.  It seems that I’m a little late to the starting line on this artist as a quick search reveals a bunch of blogs and sites that have covered this already.  I could very well be the only one with the OG ad though, but whatevers holmes.  Without reading any of them, I’m just going to dive in on my own with limited info and tell you about Mrs. Miller.

Starting with the ad…She looks like she should be on a pasta jar, right?  Granted, I’ve shuffled through tens of thousands of old LPs looking for samples and this cover is only modestly jacked up compared to some of the stuff I’ve seen.  In total stream of consciousness writing, this just reminded me of the time Silva and I stopped by an “album cover” art gallery show after skating one day…shit was sweet.  Back to Mrs. Miller, why is she holding the mic out like an emcee?  She’s holding that shit like she’s stroking something or like she’s about to get it in in the booth…or both (insert Eric Burdon “Spill The Wine” story here).

The song selection on this Greatest Hits album looks excellent with a variety of pop hits.  This has to be good right?  You be the judge:

Mrs. Miller – Downtown

Mrs. Miller – Strangers in the Night

Mrs. Miller – The Girl From Ipanema

Ok. What the flying fuck was Capitol thinking?  This has to be a joke right? Good God.

Having spent some time in the tower myself here and there, let me sidetrack this again with another story: I have a video somewhere of me showing my homey how to get past Capitol security, hit the elevator, stairs, and boom…the roof.  So just know that footage exists of Dj Marvski jumping over the ledge on the roof of the Capitol building and dancing around because he was so excited to be up there.  One more step and it would’ve been a done deal for the legend.

Anyway, this chick, Mrs. Miller, isn’t so good.  I can just see some 60s version of a Ron Lafitte, still dressed the same, signing her like she was going to be the next big thing.  Maybe a current “A&R” will venture out to Claremont now and find a school teacher to sign just to spice up the industry a little, eh?  That would be a true Hell Yeah!!!

Seriously, it seems like she eventually caught on to the fact that the world was laughing at her and it can be summed up in this sentence from her Wikipedia page:

“She apparently was unaware at first that her musical ability was being ridiculed, but eventually realized it and decided to go along with the joke. She attributed her break with Capitol to her wanting to sing correctly and record ballads, while Capitol wanted to continue the “so bad it’s good” style.”

Aug 042010
 

The caption on this one is:

“Never before in the history of show business have so many working black entertainers congregated in one city at the same time. During one week this winter, the above performers were appearing in Las Vegas with still additional stars (see marquees on opposite page) starting the next week.  Pictured 1st row, left to right, George Kirby, Harry Belafonte, Nancy Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald (half hidden), Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams;  2nd row, Redd Foxx, Billy Daniels, conductor George Rhodes, Herb Mills, and Donald Mills of the Mills Brothers, Jimmy Randolph and 3rd row, Harry Mills, Sonny Charles, music conductors Bobby Tucker, Paul Curry, and Tommy Flannigan.”

My question to you…do we even have enough black star power today to make a photo worthy of being in the same class with this?

Aug 032010
 

James Brown & Beer = Two of my favorite things in my life and world.

This might be one of the dopest ads of all time as it combines live action concert shots, JB hippin’ you to some game on how to stay on top, pushing some brew on you, and it has a big ass frosty mug filled to the top with beer at the bottom.

RIP JB…I, and millions like me, will never forget you. Good God!!

Aug 022010
 

Stevie Wonder is one of my favorite artists of all time.  I’ve seen Stevie at least 6 or 7 times and he just keeps getting better and better.  He will definitely be a reoccurring theme in my posts. I’ve got some Stevie stories…but I’ll save them for future posts.  For now, I’ll just appreciate this beautiful ad.

Btw, Tammi was looking good in that little bubble.  It’s interesting to note the Motown slogan at the bottom, “The Sound of Young America”. They sure were.