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On February 23rd, in 1974, singer, composer, activist, songwriter, producer, pianist, and the woman known as the Queen of Soul achieved a first time feat that no other artist had done up to that point. She became the first to have a song peak in each slot of the top 10 off the Billboard Hot 100. It only took her 7 short years to achieve this. Pre-1974, she had a total of 9 songs chart in different slots from 1-2 and 4-10, the elusive #3 couldn't be found. Interesting fact: all of these songs: 1-2 and 4-10 were all released as singles that peaked between 1967-1968. They include: #1 Respect (Atlantic, off the ‘I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You’ LP-1967); #2 Chain of Fools (Atlantic, off the ‘Lady Soul’ LP, 1967); #4 Baby I Love You (Atlantic, off the ‘Aretha Arrives’ LP, 1967);
#5 (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone (Atlantic, off the ‘Lady Soul’ LP, 1968); #6 The House that Jack Built (Atlantic, off the ‘Aretha’s Gold’ LP, 1968); #7 Think (Atlantic, off the ‘Aretha Now’ LP, 1968); #8 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Atlantic, off the ‘Lady Soul’ LP, 1967); #9 I Never Loved A Man (the Way I Love You) (Atlantic, off the ‘I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You’ LP, 1967); and #10 I Say A Little Prayer (Atlantic, off the ‘Aretha Now’ LP, 1968). Aretha’s song that peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 chart, bridging the gap between the #2 & #4 song, was originally written by Stevie Wonder, Morris Broadnax and Clarence Paul-Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do). It was one of the first singles released off her 1973 Atlantic LP-Let Me In Your Life.
On February 23rd, in 1995, singer, dancer choreographer, songwriter and original member of the Temptations-Melvin Franklin (David Melvin English AKA ‘Blue’-above 2nd l, inset 2nd r) passed away in Los Angeles County, California. TOV covered the artist’s birthday on the October 12th post. Please refer to it for more information. Melvin pretty much was the right hand man to the leader of the Temptations-Otis Williams who invited the singer to join his vocal group when they were in high school. The ‘Tempting Temps’ came about when Otis Williams and the Siberians (Otis, Melvin & Elbridge Bryant) merged with Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks forming the Elgins (1960).
Once they signed to Motown in 1961, Gordy changed the group’s name to the Temptations. David Ruffin would add-on later. Franklin (above l, inset r) and Williams were the only 2 Temptations that stayed with the group during the duration of their live's/the group’s career. Melvin was the bass singer for the group. He had a few songs as co-lead and sang a signature tune-Ol’ Man River. Other songs he was featured on were: I Truly Believe, The Prophet and Silent Night. He was stricken with rheumatoid Arthritis in the late 60s and used cortisone cream to offset the pain so he could continue to do the steps they were famous for. He was 52 when he passed (from a brain seizure).
On February 23rd, in 1997, jazz musician, sideman, drummer, bandleader, percussionist, composer, arranger, producer, member of Miles Davis’ second quintet and fusion jazz innovator-Tony Williams (Anthony Tillmon Williams) passed away in Daly City, California. TOV covered the artist’s death on the December 12th post. Please refer to it for more information. He joined Miles’ second quintet when he was 17 (1962). Other artists were Wayne Shorter on sax, Ron Cater on bass and Herbie Hancock on piano. He was the featured drummer on Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure LP, and Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch! LP.
In 1964 and 1965, he recorded 2 solo LPs for Blue Note-Life Time & Spring. In 1969, he formed his first trio-The Tony Williams Lifetime-Larry Young (keys) and John McLaughlin (guitar). They became a pioneering fusion jazz group that released their first LP in 1969-Emergency! (Polydor/Ploygram). In 1975, he renamed the group-the New Tony Williams Lifetime. He also joined Hancock, Carter and Shorter for a revamp of the Second Great Quintet called V.S.O.P. He continued to tour and record from the late 70s to mid 90s. The DownBeat Hall of Fame drummer and NEA Jazz Master was 51 when he passed.
HONORABLE MENTION: On February 23rd, in 2017, the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (SHOF) inducted the its first rapper-Jay Z. The SHOF is located in the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. Nile Rodgers of Chic, is the acting chairman. The mission of the SHOF is to: honor those whose work represents and maintains the heritage and legacy of a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world's popular music songbook. Motown mogul Berry Gordy, Babyface, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were also inducted with Jay-Z (C.O. 2017). Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye & Bob Dylan are some notable inductees from previous classes.
The Jacksons-February 23rd proved to be an interestingly significant day in the lives of Jermaine & Michael Jackson. In 2013, Jermaine changed the spelling of his last name from Aziz to Jacksun. He’s the bassist and 3rd eldest member of the Jackson 5 (Jackie's the eldest, then Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael). Jermaine also converted to Islam in 1989, changing his name to Mohammad Abdul Aziz.
In 2003, The News Of The World (UK tabloid/sensational periodical) reported that the King of Pop-Michael Jackson had been having his skin peeled and bleached so that he would appear White. They went further to claim that Santa Monica surgeons had refused to perform any additional skin peeling and bleaching procedures on the singer....
On February 23rd, in 1997, the East Coast vs West Coast media and American law enforcement fueled beef, had already taken one prominent figure in 1996-Tupac Shakur. As a result, Puffy & Snoop Dogg declared a truce to try to end the violence. Both of the rap stars appeared on the Steve Harvey Show to promote it and discuss the meaningless violence that was taking place. The Episode was called-I Do, I Don’t. Their attempt at peace-making was heartfelt by the crowd, but it didn’t prevent Biggie from getting shot and killed less than a month later in March.
On February 23rd, in 1985, singer, songwriter, producer, actor, pianist, drummer, bassist, guitarist, harmonica player, Motown icon, political activist, and humanitarian-Stevie Wonder was arrested by the Washington, DC police. As the story goes, the star was protesting outside the South African Embassy with several others. Participants were holding an anti-apratheid demonstration to denounce the unjust treatment of native South Africans. He was detained briefly, questioned, and then released. I can’t believe anyone would actually arrest Stevie Wonder for protesting…
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on The Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE