In week five of Philly Mixtape’s ‘5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016,’ we’re keeping it musically real in the City of Brotherly Love by reminiscing on landmark albums from some of Philly’s most recognizable music artists, including Hall & Oates, Boyz II Men, Joan Jett, Will Smith, P!nk, and of course, Mr. DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Hall & Oates/Private Eyes/35 YO Although the legendary local music duo had hit the upper reaches of the Billboard charts prior to Private Eyes with ’70s hits, “She’s Gone,” “Sara Smile”, and “Rich Girl,” they didn’t return to major mainstream success until the early ’80s–and it was this album that helped put them there.
Loaded with that smoothly undeniable Hall & Oates sound, which was all over singles, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” the album’s title track (both songs also hit #1) and “Did it in a Minute,” Private Eyes eventually went platinum and helped the Philly music gentleman onto one hell of a career path in the ’80s and beyond.
It should also be musically noted that “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” also spent a week at the top of the R&B charts, which was a rare accomplishment for a white band. It’s all another reason to celebrate what a landmark album Private Eyes truly is, and you can bet that Hall & Oates will be celebrating their ’80s breakthrough record when they hit the stage at the BB&T Pavillion this upcoming July 10th.
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts/I Love Rock and Roll/35 YO The second studio album by Joan Jett and the first to feature her backing band The Blackhearts, I Love Rock and Roll would not just make the whole entire music world fall in love with the legendary rock goddess, but the electrified title track would go on to become a karaoke staple around the globe.
The album became Ms. Jett’s most successful album to date with over 10 million copies sold, which was largely due to the success of the title track, which was released as a single soon after the album was released. What you may not know is that the original “I Love Rock and Roll” was written and recorded by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, and after Jett saw them perform the juke box anthem live, she was was taken away by it and it quickly became a staple of her set list for 7 years before the album was even recorded.
Judging by how many times you’ve screamed it out at your local karaoke night, we’re so glad she did, and of course, so is Ms. Britney Spears, whose own version of “I Love Rock and Roll” has been playing on in her just rebooted Britney Piece of Me Las Vegas residency.
Boyz II Men/Cooleyhighharmony/25 YO The harmonizing debut album from one of Philly’s biggest music success stories, Cooleyhighharmony was met with rave reviews upon its release a-quarter-of-a-century (!) ago. Written by group members Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman with production by ’90s super producer, Dallas Austin, the album went on to sell nine million copies worldwide thanks to thunderous lead single “Motown Philly,” which would help push follow-up their follow-up record, II, to even greater heights on the Billboard album charts.
The album also came out at the peak of the early ’90s New Jack swing era, as fellow R&B acts like Bell Biv Devoe and ABC (hey, “Iesha”), we’re already dancing all over the charts. The Boyz’ Grammy winning set was truly the icing on the cake in a time for music that no one will ever forget anytime soon.
And you know what else we will never forget? That time on Full House when Ms. Stephanie Judith Tanner tore the roof of the place with her choreographed take on “Motown Philly.” Absolutely priceless. #soon
Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince/Homebase/25 YO Whenever we think of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s & The Fresh Prince’s fourth studio set, there’s truly only one track that comes to mind–the Grammy award-winning lead single, “Summertime.” The perfect blend of Mr. Smith’s on point rap delivery mixed with that Kool & The Gang “Summer Madness” sample, Ms. Perry’s “California Gurls” can take a seat to this one-of-a-kind sun-kissed anthem.
If you’ll also remember, Will Smith was already flying high when “Summertime” hit the airwaves in ’91 as his NBC Monday night comedy, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, had just wrapped up a stellar first season. As we all know, Smith would eventually become one of the biggest movie stars on he planet in the mid ’90s, with the breezy, catchy flow of “Summertime” becoming another accomplishment that helped him get his star on the rise.
P!nk/M!ssundaztood/15 YO Hard to believe, but it was fifteen years ago this year that P!nk gave her La Face record label boss, Mr. L.A. Reid, the middle finger after she wanted to stray away from the R&B influence of her debut record, Can’t Take Me Home and venture into more rock pop territory with her sophomore set. Lucky for us, Mr. Reid listened (did he really have a choice?) and she delivered not just one hell of a career defining album, but one that sold more than three times it predecessor.
Led by the rousing, “Get the Party Started,” M!ssundaztood was a hit straight-out-of-the-music gate that was packed full of P!nk’s prowess alongside collaborations with 4 Non Blondes Linda Perry, who beautifully helmed most of the record. Along with “Party,” three more top 20 singles were released from the set, including “Don’t Let Me Get Me” “Just Like a Pill” and “Family Portrait.”
M!ssundazstood would not only prove that Ms. Moore knew how to put out one hell of a slaying pop music moment in time, but that she knew what the f#$k she was doing when it came to following and trusting her music instincts. Because really, that’s why we still love her so much.