Testimony is the debut studio album by American R&B singer August Alsina. It was released on April 15, 2014, by Def Jam Recordings. The album was supported by six singles: I Luv This Shit (#48), Ghetto, Numb, Make It Home, Kissin’ on My Tattoos and No Love; along with the release of his promotional single, Benediction. Testimony debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 67,000 copies in the United States. It has been certified Gold.
After a number one hit in 1981 with Bette Davis Eyes and nearly a decade of making contemporary adult pop music, Kim Carnes was ready for a change: “I can’t do another album here (in Los Angeles). I’ve tried and finally stopped. The only way I get a thrill out of recording is to record live as opposed to running everything through a computer. I want to feel that interplay between musicians. And I feel real strongly that Nashville is the place to make an album with real instruments.” So for her eleventh studio album, American singer songwriter Carnes returned to her early musical roots — country music — for View from the House. The album peaked at #39 on the Country Music Album chart and the two singles, Crazy in Love and Speed of the Sound of Loneliness, peaked at #68 and #70 respectively. Crazy in Love peaked at #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart as well. View from the House was Carnes’ first hit to chart on the country chart.
Brother to Brother is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer Gino Vannelli. Despite its success — the biggest of Vannelli’s career — it was also his last for A&M Records. The album was released in 1978 and featured I Just Wanna Stop, Vannelli’s highest-charting single to date in both the U.S. and Canada, where the single reached #4 and #1 respectively. Two other singles were released from the album, Wheels of Life (U.S. #78, Canada #31), and The River Must Flow (Canada #80). Brother to Brother has been praised for being the kind of emotionally honest album that any artist should aspire to making.
Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (Virgin, 1977)
Back in 1976, English punk rock band the Sex Pistols released their debut single Anarchy in the U.K.. What a fitting title that was! Anarchy was the only release the band had with EMI Records as they were dropped in January 1977 after band members used profanity during a live television broadcast. Undeterred, the band moved on to their next anarchist stunt. With the Queen of England’s Silver Jubilee on the horizon, the Pistols and their manager, Malcom McLaren, sensed an opportunity to capitalize. On March 10, the group signed a new contract with A&M Records outside Buckingham Palace, and 25,000 copies of their anti-establishment tirade were pressed up. The celebrations, however, got out of hand – so much so that the label wiped its hands of the group just four days later and destroyed most of the singles. Not a problem. Enter Richard Branson and Virgin Records, who signed the Pistols on May 18 and decided to rush release the song to coincide with the Queen’s anniversary bash. Despite a ban from the BBC, the single flew off the shelves, selling 200,000 in its first week. Yet, somehow, it didn’t hit the No.1 spot. Sensing the industry had cheated them, McLaren and the Pistols organized another stunt: on June 7 they played a wild gig on a boat as it floated down the Thames River, past the Houses Of Parliament, sending the tabloids into meltdown and securing the Pistols’ notoriety. McLaren put his energy into making a movie featuring the band which was often screened at concert venues before the band took the stage. Their debut (and only album), Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols was released in the fall of 1977. Despite much and various legal trouble, the Sex Pistols embarked on a U.S. tour in early January 1978. January 14 was the final date in San Francisco. The band officially split January 17, 1978.
Tad was an American band formed in 1988 by Tad Doyle in Seattle, Washington. They were one of the first bands from the grunge era. They released their debut album, God’s Balls in early 1989. They returned to Seattle after a European tour with Nirvana (right before their breakthrough with Smells Like Teen Spirit), Tad recorded their sophomore album, 8-Way Santa, named after a type of blotter acid. 8 Way Santa was more pop oriented than its predecessor and featured the singles Jinx and Jack Pepsi. 8-Way Santa was extremely controversial, but not for the music. The album cover featured a beaming couple with the shirtless male cupping one of the female’s breasts. (The woman is clothed.) That could have been problematic enough for censors, but the problem arose from the couple. Tad had found a copy of the photo in a thrift store. The couple sued the record label for unauthorized use and Sub Pop replaced the cover with a picture of the band standing in front of some cows. The second lawsuit came from Pepsi. They sued over the use of their logo on the cover for Jack Pepsi. It was deemed not to be copyright infringement as “Tad” was in place of “Pepsi” and the colorations were considered to be “folk art.”
Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the seventh studio album by the American rock group the Mothers of Invention, and the tenth overall by Frank Zappa, released in 1970. It is the second album released after the Mothers disbanded in 1969, preceded by Burnt Weeny Sandwich. In contrast to its predecessor, which almost entirely focused on studio recordings of arranged compositions, Weasels Ripped My Flesh consists of a combination of live and studio recordings and features more improvisation. The album peaked at #189 on the Album chart.
Frank Zappa recruited artist Neon Park to create a subversive image based on a cover story from the September 1956 issue of Man’s Life, a men’s adventure magazine. The magazine’s cover story depicts a shirtless man being attacked by numerous weasels, above the caption “Weasels Ripped My Flesh”. After showing Neon a copy of the magazine, Zappa inquired, “This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?” Neon’s answer was to craft a parody of an advertisement for Schick brand electric razor based on the “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” theme. The record company released the album despite its reservations about the album cover. German releases of the album featured an album cover showing a metal baby caught in a rat trap. This cover was not approved by Zappa.
Aliens Ate My Buick, released in 1988, is the third studio LP release by new wave/synthpop artist Thomas Dolby. It peaked at #30 in the UK Albums Chart. The album’s sales were disappointing and reviews were mixed. The lead single from the album, Airhead, peaked at #53. Second and third singles, Hot Sauce and My Brain Is Like a Sieve, peaked at #80 and #89 respectively. In the U.S., the album peaked at #70. Dolby has said in interviews that he believes the album’s commercial failure was due to his change in musical direction, evident on the album.
The ultra-campy, B-movie-styled cover says it all. Dolby released Aliens Ate My Buick after he made a brief foray into film. The packed the album full of bold, over-the-top dance-pop songs that contrasted with the quiet, introverted nature of previous album The Flat Earth.
Slippery When Wet is the third studio album by American rock band Bon Jovi. It was released on August 18, 1986 by Mercury Records in North America and Vertigo Records internationally. It was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, with recording sessions between January and July 1986 at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Slippery When Wet was an instant commercial success. Its songs are considered Bon Jovi’s best known, including You Give Love a Bad Name (which topped the American chart and went top ten in Belgium, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands), Livin’ on a Prayer (which topped the charts in Canada, New Zealand, Norway and the U.S.), and Wanted Dead or Alive (which went top 10 in Ireland, New Zealand and the U.S.).
The album spent eight weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and was named by Billboard as the top-selling album of 1987. Slippery When Wet is Bon Jovi’s best-selling album to date, with an RIAA certification of 12× Platinum, making it one of the top 100 best-selling albums in the United States.
Fun facts: According to Bon Jovi, the band named the album Slippery When Wet after visiting The No.5 Orange strip club in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to Sambora, “This woman descended from the ceiling on a pole and proceeded to take all her clothes off. When she got in a shower and soaped herself up, we just about lost our tongues. We just sat there and said, ‘We will be here every day.’ That energized us through the whole project. Our testosterone was at a very high level back then.” The cover consists of a wet black garbage bag with the words “Slippery When Wet” traced in the water. “So simple, and not very impressive”, said Sambora. The album originally was to feature a busty woman in a wet yellow T-shirt with the album name on the front of the shirt. This was swapped for the plastic bag cover just prior to release. The reasons given for the switch were record executives’ fears that dominant record store chains at the time would have refused to carry the album with a sexist cover, and Jon Bon Jovi’s dislike of the bright pink border around the photograph the band submitted. Sambora said, “Our label freaked out a bit when they saw what we’d done. They thought it would be banned by American stores, so we had to come up with something else – fast.” This cover has always been sold in Japan.
The Shaggs comprised three sisters, who recorded Philosophy of the World at the behest of their father despite only a rudimentary understanding of popular music. The album received wider release in 1980 where it gained attention (much of it ironically positive) for being so bad, it’s good. Chris Connelly wrote for Rolling Stone: “Without exaggeration, [Philosophy of the World] may stand as the worst album ever recorded.” The New York Times dubbed it “the worst rock album ever made”. However, Debra Rae Cohen in Rolling Stone was so enthralled by the poor quality that she referred to it as “the sickest, most stunningly awful wonderful record I’ve heard in ages”. Other reviews were kinder, with AllMusic giving the album 4.5 out of 5 stars. Blender placed it 100th on a 2007 list of the “100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever”, and it was cited as influential by musicians including Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa, Kimya Dawson and Deerhoof.
Tapestry is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Carole King, released in 1971. It is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. In the United States, it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA with more than 10 million copies sold. It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year. Tapestry spent 15 weeks topping the album chart, which at that time was a record for a female solo artist and a record that King would retain for over 20 years. The lead singles from the album -— It’s Too Late/I Feel the Earth Move -— spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.