Hello lovely readers. I did a series last year of historic moments in black music. This year I’m doing something different, but I wanted to share last years series. Be sure to click the links below. Enjoy!
On February 28, 1984 Michael Jackson swept the 26th Annual Grammy Awards with 8 wins of the success of his 1982 album, Thriller. He took home: Album of the Year, Record of the Year (‘Beat It’), Best Recording for Children (‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’), Best Pop Vocal Performance Male (‘Thriller’), Producer of the Year (along with Quincy Jones), Best R&B Vocal Performance Male (‘Billie Jean’), Best Rhythm and Blues Song; songwriter (‘Billie Jean’), and Best Rock Vocal Performance Male (‘Beat It’).
Here’s a compilation of his acceptance speech at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards.
Thriller was released on November 30, 1982. The album only featured 9 songs so for him to have won 8 Grammys for the album it’s like a Grammy per song! In addition to the 8 Grammy wins he won 8 AMAs, a special Merit Award, and 3 The video for ‘Thriller’ was more of a motion picture with their even being a special on the making of the video.
Jackson’s videos ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billie Jean’ are noted for breaking the color barrier on MTV. During the early 80s not many black artists were played except for a few. When ‘Beat It’ aired on MTV it was still not played on a high rotation. In fact, ‘Billie Jean,’ was not put into medium rotation (2-3 times a day) until it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100. Although those two songs set the tone for what what was to come with breaking the color barrier on the station the release of ‘Thriller’ was what really eliminated the barrier.
The album was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records on February 7, 1984 as the world’s best-selling album. On August 21, 2009 the album was certified platinum 29x by the RIAA having sold 29 million copies in the U.S. and over 20 million outside the U.S. The album is still iconic to this day averaging 130,000 in the U.S. yearly.
There are songs that are write for love, heartbreak, happiness, and then there are those written about world peace and current events in the world. There are two classic songs that come to mind when I think of those two topics and it’s Marvin Gaye’s, ‘What’s Going On,’ and Michael Jackson/Lionel Richie, ‘We Are The World.’
‘What’s Going On,’ came from a depressing time in Marvin’s life after losing friend and singing partner, Tammi Terrell. The song was released on January 7, 1971 and in its first week it had sold 200,000 copies. It was #1 for five weeks on the Billboard R&B Charts and #2 on the Hot 100.
The song was nominated at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. It was remade in 2001 for Artists Against Aids World Wide on October 30, 2001. A portion of the proceeds benefited the American Red Cross’ September 11th fund.
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie along with Quincy Jones teamed up for the USA For Africa track, ‘We Are The World.’ The track was released March 7, 1985 and went on to sell over 20 million copies.
The song featured vocals from Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder, and dozens more. The album won 4 Grammys at the 28th annual awards: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Performance by Duo/Group w/ Vocal, Best Music Video (Short Form).
The song was remade in 2010, We Are The World 25 for Haiti.
MMF celebrates one of the most iconic (and popular) record labels of all time, Motown Records.
Motown was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1959. Motown was the home to many pioneers of the music industry beginning in the 1950s. Hittsville USA was the place to be if you wanted a deal. Motown was the home to: Diana Ross & The Supremes, Smokie Robinson & The Miracles, The Marvelettes, The Isley Brothers, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5 and a slew of others.
Diana Ross released her 6th solo album on February 10, 1976. It became her second self-titled album following her 1970 solo debut. The album featured 9 tracks, 4 on one side and 5 on the other along with hits ‘Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To’) , ‘Love Hangover,’ and ‘Smile.’
The album reached #4 on the Billboard 200, #4 on the R&B Album chart and became Ross’ best selling album since her 1973 release, Touch Me In The Morning. It went Gold in the UK with over 100,000 copies sold. The album became her first since her 1970 debut to spawn over 4 hit singles. The album scored Ross a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance, Female Artist and a Oscar nomination for Best Song.
The album was rereleased in 2012 in a dual disc package filled with remastered and alternative versions of the original songs along with previously unreleased tracks.