The death of a legend, the release of of the most iconic albums of all time, and the debut of the music video that changed all future music videos. Here’s everything that went down this week in music history!
1968 – November 22nd, The Beatles released The White Album.
It was a double album containing both the soothing ‘Blackbird’ and discomfiting ‘Helter Skelter’.
Most of the songs on the album were written at a Transcendental Meditation course in Rishikesh, India.
Eric Clapton played guitar on the song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’
During the recording sessions of the album, the members became increasingly at odds.
McCartney described it as a turning point for the group because “there was a lot of friction during that album.”
1978 – November 18th, Billy Joel went to #1 on the US album chart with his sixth studio album, 52nd Street.
The title is a reference to 52nd Street, one of New York City’s jazz centers in the middle of the century.
It was the first of four Joel albums to top the Billboard charts and it earned him two Grammys.
The Grammys were for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male.
The album is notable for being among the first albums commercially released on the compact disc (CD) format.
1983 – November 21st, Michael Jackson’s 14-minute video for ‘Thriller’ was premiered in Los Angeles.
The video was directed by John Landis and featured former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray.
Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was launched to great anticipation and played regularly on MTV.
It doubled the sales of the album, helping it become the best-selling album in history.
The video sold over a million copies on VHS, becoming the bestselling videotape at the time.
It’s credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form and breaking down racial barriers in popular entertainment.
The success transformed Jackson into a dominant force in global pop culture.
1985 – November 18th, LL Cool J released his debut album, Radio.
It was the first album ever issued on Def Jam Records.
It went Platinum and made LL the first solo act on par with reigning rap kings Run-D.M.C.
LL Cool J’s lyrics explored themes of inner city culture, teenage promiscuity, and braggadocio raps.
It’s been recognized as one of the first artistically cohesive and commercially successful hip hop albums.
1997 – November 22nd, INXS singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel suite in Sydney.
He was only 37 years old at the time.
The autopsy ruled that his death was suicide while depressed and under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Following Hutchence’s death, INXS continued recording and performing until 2012.
INXS is the highest-selling Australian music act in the US behind AC/DC.
2001 – November 18th, Britney Spears scored another US #1 album with Britney.
It made her the first female artist in music history to have her first three studio albums debut at #1.
This record however would later be broken by Spears herself with her 4th studio album In the Zone.
Six singles were released from the album, with ‘I’m a Slave 4 U’ being the lead single.
Britney embraced a significantly more mature sound from her previous teen pop style.