Tuesday, September 13, 1994

Sept. 13, 1994: Eric Clapton released From the Cradle, his first blues album

First posted March 31, 2008. Last updated September 9, 2018.

From the Cradle

Eric Clapton

Released: Sept. 13, 1994


Sales (in millions):
US: 3.0
UK: 0.1
IFPI: 1.0
World (estimated): 6.5


Peak:
US: 11
UK: 11
Canada: 2
Australia: 6

Quotable: “one of Clapton's finest moments” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Genre: blues


Album Tracks:

  1. Blues Before Sunrise (Carr) [2:58]
  2. Third Degree (Boyd/Dixon) [5:07]
  3. Reconsider Baby (Fulson) [3:20]
  4. Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) [3:16]
  5. Five Long Years (Boyd) [4:47]
  6. I’m Tore Down (Thompson) [3:02] (9/10/94, #5 AR)
  7. How Long Blues (Carr) [3:09]
  8. Goin’ Away Baby (Lane) [4:00]
  9. Blues Leave Me Alone (Lane) [3:36]
  10. Sinner’s Prayer (Fulson/Glenn) [3:20]
  11. Motherless Child (traditional) [2:57] (10/22/94, #23 AR)
  12. It Hurts Me Too (James) [3:17]
  13. Someday After a While (King/Thompson) [4:27]
  14. Standin’ Round Crying (Waters) [3:39]
  15. Driftin’ (Brown/Moore/Williams) [3:10]
  16. Groaning the Blues (Dixon) [6:05]

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

Eric Clapton’s 1992 Unplugged gave him the most successful album of his career. It won the Grammy for Album of the Year and has sold more than 20 million copies. Instead of stressing him, however, Clapton felt free to do whatever he wanted. He opted to record an all-blues cover album, the first in his career, despite long being associated with the genre.

Reviews were mixed. All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine said “If it wasn't for Clapton's labored vocals, everything would be perfect.” STE “When he sings, Clapton loses that sense of originality, choosing to mimic the vocals of the original recordings. At times, his overemotive singing is painful; he doesn’t have the strength to pull off Howlin’ Wolf’s growl or the confidence to replicate Muddy Waters’ assured phrasing.” STE

Entertainment Weekly’s Tom Sinclair considered the recordings “flawless” but boring, WK but Erlewine said “the album manages to re-create the ambience of postwar electric blues, right down to the bottomless thump of the rhythm section.” STE He asserted it was easy to overlook Clapton’s “vocal shortcomings,” STE saying “as long as he plays his guitar, he can't fail – his solos are white-hot and evocative, original and captivating.” STE

Clapton once again received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. While he didn’t win that, he did take home the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. He subsequently recorded more blues albums, including Riding with the King with B.B. King, Me and Mr. Johnson (a collection of Robert Johnson covers), and The Road to Escondido with J.J. Cale.


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Tuesday, August 23, 1994

Jeff Buckley’s Grace Released: August 23, 1994

image from themusicslut.com

Originally posted 8/23/2011. Updated 3/9/2013.


Released: 23 August 1994
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Mojo Pin 2. Grace 3. Last Goodbye (3/22/95, #54 UK, #19 MR) 4. Lilac Wine 5. So Real 6. Hallelujah (12/20/08, #2 UK, sales: 1.0 m) 7. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over 8. Corpus Christi Carol (for Roy) 9. Eternal Life 10. Dream Brother

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 1.5 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 149 US, 42 UK

Rating:


Review: Buckley had “one of the finest voices of a generation,” AD a voice which “resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim.” AMG His delivery ranged from “delicate and dreamy to highly charged and nakedly emotional.” IC He “could go from a whisper to a roar” AD with his “impassioned, octave defying singing…inherited from his late father Tim along with his matinee idol good looks.” SM “Buckley is doubtless sick of the Son Of Tim tag (especially as dad was never around) but the inheritance of his father’s vocal range and disregard for conventional form is inescapable.” IC

“Buckley had been plying his trade round the coffee houses of New York before hooking up with ex-Magic Band guitarist Gary Lucas in the short lived Gods and Monsters. The band failed to release a record, but Buckley’s profile was raised sufficiently to get him a solo deal…Entering the studio with a hurriedly recruited band, Buckley set about making Grace.” SM

“His extreme intensity and emotional sincerity make Grace…a flourishing achievement.” CH Buckley crafted original “songs of mystery and spirituality” IC which “are full of a search for redemption and all about love, loss and faith.” AD He “jumbles jazz, R&B, blues and rock references” SZ along with “French chanson, eastern melodies and classical choral music to create a classic rock record almost without precedent.” SM It “sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz.” AMG

Sadly, it was the only full-length solo album released in Buckley’s lifetime. He went drinking with a friend on May 29, 1997, and died of an accidental drowning after diving in to the water fully clothed.

Hallelujah


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Award(s):


Saturday, July 16, 1994

July 16, 1994: The Lion King soundtrack hit #1

image from fanpop.com

Originally posted June 10, 2011. Last updated September 3, 2018.

The Lion King (soundtrack/cast)

Elton John/Tim Rice/Hans Zimmer

Soundtrack Released: May 30, 1994

Stage Debut: July 8, 1997


Sales (in millions):
US: 11.0 S, 1.0 C
UK: 0.3 S
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 18.4 S+C


Peak:
US: 110-S, 162 C
UK: 4 S
Canada: 15-S
Australia: --

S soundtrack
C cast album

Quotable: --


Genre: Disney/show tunes


Album Tracks – Soundtrack:

  1. The Circle of Life (CARMEN TWILLIE)
  2. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (JASON WEAVER)
  3. Be Prepared (JEREMY IRONS)
  4. Hakuna Matata (NATHAN LANE/ ERNIE SABELLA/ JOSEPH WILLIAMS)
  5. Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (JOSEPH WILLIAMS/ SALLY DWORSKY)
  6. This Land (HANS ZIMMER)
  7. To Die For (HANS ZIMMER)
  8. Under the Stars (HANS ZIMMER)
  9. King of Pride Rock (HANS ZIMMER)
  10. The Circle of Life (ELTON JOHN) ((8/27/94, #15a US, #11 UK, #2 AC, airplay: 2 million)
  11. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (ELTON JOHN)
  12. Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (ELTON JOHN) (5/21/94, #2a US, #14 UK, #1 AC. sales: ½ million, airplay: 1 million)

Notes:

A 2004 special edition added “an unreleased song, ‘The Morning Report,’ sung by Jeff Bennett, James Earl Jones, and Evan Saucedo” SL and written by John & Rice, “and yet another remix of Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight,’ this time with added percussion.” SL

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.


Album Tracks – Cast Album:

  1. Circle of Life (Tsidii Le Loka)
  2. Grassland Chant (Ensemble)
  3. The Morning Report (Samuel E. Wright)
  4. The Lioness Hunt (Ensemble)
  5. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (Scott Irby-Ranniar)
  6. Chow Down (Tracy Nicole Chapman)
  7. They Live in You (Samuel E. Wright)
  8. Be Prepared (Ensemble)
  9. The Stampede (Ensemble)
  10. Rafiki Mourns (Tsidii de Loka)
  11. Hakuna Matata (Max Casella)
  12. One by One (Ensemble)
  13. The Madness of King Scar (Heather Headley)
  14. Shadowland (Heather Headley)
  15. The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Lebo M)
  16. Endless Night (Jason Raize)
  17. Can You Feel the Love Tonight (Heather Headley)
  18. He Lives in You (Reprise) (Jason Raize)
  19. Simba Confrots Scar (Robert Elhai)
  20. King of Pride Rock/Circle of Life (Reprise) (Heather Headley)

Review:

“Walt Disney Pictures had its fourth straight massive hit with an animated movie musical in the summer of 1994 with its tale of the coming of age of a young lion. The movie studio changed composers, replacing Alan Menken, who wrote The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, with Hans Zimmer (instrumental score) and Elton John (songs); lyricist Tim Rice, who took over on Aladdin after the death of Howard Ashman, remained in place.” WR

“Elton John doesn’t seem like a natural choice to write for a Disney musical, but he rose to the task on The Lion King, transcending his usual penchant for the softest of soft rock.” AZ He “took a leaf from the Paul Simon Graceland songbook and filled his music with references to South African mbaqanga.” WR John’s “collaboration with Tim Rice (former writing partner of Andrew Lloyd Webber) helps connect the soundtrack to the theatrical lineage of all Disney musicals – so much so that, like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King was eventually adapted for Broadway.” AZ

However, from a content standpoint, “there wasn’t that much of it.” WR “but that didn’t keep this album from topping the charts as the movie harvested hundreds of millions of dollars all summer.” WR “Undistinguished songs like Can You Feel the Love Tonight? are far outnumbered by stirring, stately tunes that lent the film so much of its sense of pageant and play.” AZ

However, “while it is hard to argue with the ecology lesson behind Circle of Life or the impossibly infectious rumba of Hakuna Matata,” SL there’s really only “about five songs here, three of which are repeated at the end in versions by John.” WR

Then this “already padded soundtrack was further padded with four excerpts from Zimmer’s score.” WR Of course, some would suggest that “the true heart of the original soundtrack…was the…inspiring and majestic score.” SL

In 1997, The Lion King was turned into a stage musical directed by Julie Taymor. It featured “actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets.” WK It debuted on July 8, 1997 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota and premiered on Broadway on October 15, 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. It is still running (although now at the Minskoff Theatre) after 8500 performances, now making it the “third longest-running show in history and the highest grossing Broadway production of all time, having grossed more than $1 billion.” WK

It opened in London on October 19, 1999 at West End’s Lyceum Theatre and is still going after 7500 performances. “In September 2014, The Lion King became the top-earning title in box-office history for both stage productions and films, surpassing the record previously held by The Phantom of the Opera.” WK


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Monday, April 25, 1994

Blur released Parklife: April 25, 1994

Originally posted April 25, 2012.

In the summer after Parklife was released, Britpop reached a feverish peak with the Blur vs. Oasis battle. The only the thing the bands truly shared, “apart from their public loathing of each other, was their preoccupation with the sixties, with the former attempting to re-write the entire Beatles back catalogue while Blur revived the archetypical English whimsy and art school artifice of The Kinks.” PR

However, “Blur’s admiration of The Kinks isn’t as blatant as their rivals’ fixation for The Fab Four.” PR While previous album “Modern Life Is Rubbish established Blur as the heir to the archly British pop of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and the Jam” AMG, Parklife “revealed the depth of that transformation” AMG by serving up “more eccentricity and more focused evocations of everyday life than Oasis’s work.” TB “The ghost of Ray Davies can be heard on the character sketch Tracy Jacks and there are echoes of the similarly styled Small Faces in the title track,” PR a “mod anthem” AMG in which Phil Daniels, the star of Quadrophenia, “lends his broadest ‘sarf London’ accent.” PR

Parklife

However, the band doesn’t just utilize “Ray Davies’ seriocomic social commentary” AMG; “Parklife runs through the entire history of post-British Invasion Britpop in the course of 16 songs, touching on psychedelia, synth pop, disco, punk, and music hall along the way.” AMG “From the fairground-style dembellishments and novelty instrumentation to the flirtations with punk and psych-pop, Parklife constantly surprises with its diversity of material and infectious good humour.” PR “Damon Albarn even manages a fair stab at Syd Barrett on Far Out.” PR

Indeed, Albarn “intended these songs to form a sketch of British life in the mid-‘90s, and it’s startling how close he came to his goal; not only did the bouncy, disco-fied Girls & Boys and singalong chant Parklife become anthems in the U.K., but they inaugurated a new era of Britpop and lad culture, where British youth celebrated their country and traditions.” AMG However, it was still “a thoroughly modern record in that it bends genres and is self-referential.” AMG “And, by tying the past and the present together, Blur articulated the mid-‘90s zeitgeist and produced an epoch-defining record.” AMG

Girls and Boys


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Tuesday, April 5, 1994

Kurt Cobain commited suicide: April 5, 1994

Originally posted April 5, 2012.

image courtest of billboard.com

On August 8, 1994, an electrician found Kurt Cobain’s body at his home in a room above the garage. He was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A gun and suicide note were nearby. The coroner determined the 27-year-old rock singer/songwriter had died on April 5.

Nirvana, the band Cobain fronted, attained global fame in 1991-92 with Nevermind, a #1 album which achieved sales of 10 million in the U.S. and more than 20 million worldwide. It ranks in the top 10 albums of all time. That album’s lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, is also considered a landmark in music history, ranking in the top ten of the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.

The huge success of that album and song put Nirvana at the forefront of the grunge movement. Considered the most vital music genre to come about in years, Cobain was heralded as its John Lennon – the voice of a generation of dissatisfied teens and young adults in their twenties.

Cobain was tortured by a chronic stomach ailment, heroin abuse, depression. In death, he became – some say intentionally – a member of “the 27 club,” a group of musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and later Amy Winehouse, who all died at age 27. Quoting from a Neil Young song in his suicide note, he said it was “better to burn out than to fade away” (read note here), an indication of his desire to go out on top.

CNN’s repot on Cobain’s death

NBC’s report on Cobain’s death


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