6. Frank Sinatra – “Songs for young lovers” (1954)
Sweet Ol’ Blue Eyes… in case you didn’t know that was one of Frank Sinatra’s nick names. Who doesn’t love him? An American icon, huge and numerous hits, starring in many classic movies, a true example of a complex artist. His career began as a swing boy singer alongside Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, while his solo success started taking shape after being signed by Columbia Records, back in 1943.
Washed Up Career
Despite his staggering success, the end of the 40’s was not at all kind to Frank. His style was going out of fashion and America was feeling it, they were steadily heading away from the style of Sinatra. His personal life was also a deterrent for the public, having reportedly tied with the mafia and divorcing his wife, with whom he had fostered three kids.
Moreover, his affair with Ava Gardner was made public, striking even a deeper blow to the image of the artist. Also his voice was getting weaker and that didn’t sit well with the records label. By the start of the 1950’s, his career was washed up; no movie contracts or record labels.
The year of 1953 saw a breakthrough for Frank. His role in the movie “From Here to Eternity” won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, reigniting the interest for the person of Frank Sinatra in the public eye. The follow-up was a new record deal with Capitol Records, contract which was more to his liking, given the artistic liberty that was provided this way to him.
The first album recorded with Capital Records was also his comeback to the mainstream of the U.S. musical industry. It was called “Songs For Young Lovers” and was made in collaboration with Nelson Riddle, a band conductor, with whom, over the next 20 years, he produced some of greatest hits of his career.
When he started working with capitol, Sinatra started focusing his albums on a single mood/theme, a concept that was considered rather risky at the time, even if today it is quite common to see such albums. He released 16 albums following this concept, awarding his daring enterprises with glory and fame, while also putting him amongst the stars of the American music culture.
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Californication”
Nothing spells good times better than the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though their success was not always all time high. Even though the astonishing sound of “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” brought the four a lot of appraisal from both critics and public, the following years only shined by means of the album’s aftermath, the band itself was going through some rough times.
John Frusciante was not in his best mood while still trying to jump-start his solo career and the same could have been said about his fellow band members, who also felt at an all-time low. The album that followed “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, “One Hot Minute”, was made possible via a collaboration with guitarist Dave Navaro of Jane’s Addiction.
Even though it sounded surprisingly good, something was missing, and everybody felt it. All the band members felt the need to resuscitate the project, including Frusciante, whom was swayed back in the fold by Flea. And thus Red Hot Chili Peppers were “hot” once more.
The resuscitation of the band was aided by Rick Rubin’s magical hands, as he has a nick for getting people of their feet and making their careers shine once more. The themes that the album approached varied from: lust to death, drugs, California, Globalization, travel and contemplations of suicide.
The album aired on June 8, 1999, on Warner Bros. Records and is credited to be the band’s most successfully commercial album, with over 15 million copies being distributed world-wide, 5 million alone being sold only in the U.S. The lyrics of “Californication” were a result of Anthony Kiedis’ ideas, perceptions on life, backed by his native-American heritage. It still stands today as one of the most influential pieces of music in the funk-rock niche.
4. AC/DC – “Back in Black”
The Australian band saw the light of day in November 1973, in Sydney Australia, where the Young brothers, Malcolm and Angus, made it happen.
They are often usually mentioned as a hard-rock/blues rock band, even though they are considered to be among the pioneers of the heavy metal genre and are also classified as such. The band sold over 200 million recordings world-wide, out of which only 71.5 million in the U.S.A. alone, being the 10th most commercialized band in the States.
Tests of Faith
Even though they enjoyed, and still do, staggering success all along their careers, it wasn’t without tests of faith on the way. Having released the all-time hit single “Highway to Hell”, the band was on the hypest hype.
Bad luck stroke however and six month later lead singer, Bon Scott, was found dead in the back of car, choked to death on his own vomit (what a way to die!).
At the time fans all over the world couldn’t envision the band going on without him, nor did the band itself which thought of disbanding. The warm wishes and constant pushing from the side of Scott’s parents kept the band marching on. Enter Brian Johnson. Even though not easy at first, given the charismatic figure that Scott was, the choice made by the band in taking in Brian Johnson paid out handsomely.
At first it was a bit hard for Brian to adjust, given the shoes of his predecessor that he had to fit, and trying to write lyrics that were up to the standards proved to be a difficult task. Faith has a mysterious way of playing out and it was as such that one faithful day, while the band retreated in Bahamas to write songs, a storm that rolled in inspired Brian to write the opening lyrics for “Hells Bells”, the opening track for their comeback album, “Back in Black”, the second-highest selling album of all time.