Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Music Speaks...

Today in Music History: July 31

When music speaks, we listen. In listening, we relate. While relating, we smile, we cry and sometimes simply sigh. The relationship each of us has with music depends upon both the melody, the words and the stories behind the music.

A Bit of Elvis Trivia to kick off this day...

  Elvis Presley 'Tonsil' Photo
Fort Homer Hesterly Armory
Tampa, Florida July 31, 1955
1955 Elvis Presley performed three shows at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, Florida, (2 matinee and 1 evening). A full scale riot broke out after the show when Elvis announced to the 14,000 strong crowd, "Girls, I'll see you backstage." Fans chased Elvis into the dressing room tearing off his clothes and shoes. Other acts who appeared here include Tom Jones, The Animals, James Brown, Buddy Holly, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash and the Doors. The iconic cropped version of the 'tonsil' photo would be used as not only the cover of the first Elvis Presley LP from RCA but it was used extensively in newspaper and print to promote future shows. It also became a famous show promotional print.

1959 Cliff Richard was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Living Doll', The singers first of 14 UK No.1's. The song was from the soundtrack to the film Serious Charge, which was Cliff Richard's movie debut. It was written by Lionel Bart who also wrote the West End and Broadway musical Oliver. It was originally intended for the singer Duffy Power before it was included in Serious Charge. Richard has never achieved the same impact in the United States despite eight US Top 40 singles, including the million-selling "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore"

1968 Tommy James and The Shondells were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Mony Mony'. When they were recording this, it was considered a throwaway B-side. They had no idea it would become a huge hit. It reached No.3 in the US. Also a hit for Billy Idol in 1987. For anyone lovin' the 60s music, Tommy James and The Shondells more than likely have their own special disk space housing hits such as "Hanky Panky" (1966) and "Crimson and Clover" (1969), including five in the top ten: "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mirage", "Mony Mony", "Sweet Cherry Wine", and "Crystal Blue Persuasion".
A Bit of 'Mony Mony' Trivia...
"There was no drummer, so the recording engineer went out there, but he could only get through 2 bars. So before there were loops or anything else, we copied the 2 bars of drums 44 times and spliced them together, and that's the track of 'Mony Mony.' It was like an early loop before there was looping. If you listen carefully, you can hear just 2 bars of the drum track." He added: "When it came time to make it sound like it was a big party, it was lunch time. We went up to Broadway and talked all these strangers into coming down to the studio and going 'Mony, Mony!' There were all these serious guys out there having lunch, and we said, 'You want to sing on a Tommy James record?'" Source: songfacts.com

1971 James Taylor went to No.1 on the US singles chart with the Carole King song 'You've Got A Friend', (included in her album Tapestry and James Taylor's album Mud Slide Slim). Originally written and recorded by Carole King in 1971, this song became the biggest, and most well-known hit for then 23-year-old James Taylor, and his only No.1 in the US. It was the first single off of his third album, which was actually the second album he released on Warner Brothers Records. The song would go on to win the 1971 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Male Performance and Song Of The Year.
A Bit of 'You've Got A Friend' Trivia...
When Taylor recorded his own special version of King's song, both versions were released around the same time in 1971, so there was major competition at radio stations. It was a tossup between whether they should play the original piano version by Carole King, or the softer guitar version by James Taylor. When Carole heard James' version of the song, she finally put an end to the rumors about her being upset with the lyric changes by telling him, "James, I have no problem at all with your version of my song. Those lyric changes don't bother me one bit." Source: songfacts.com

1982 Survivor's 'Eye Of The Tiger' was at No.1 on the US album chart. The song, which was commissioned by actor Sylvester Stallone for the theme for the movie Rocky III, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song and go on to sell over five million copies. [See Awakenings Eye of the Tiger, Spotlight on Survivor.]

1985 The Eurythmics had the No.1 position on the UK singles chart with 'There Must Be An Angel, (Playing With My Heart)'. The song, which was the Eurythmics' first No.1 single, features a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder. The Eurythmics are associated with the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US. Another hit, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is arguably Eurythmics' signature song. Its striking music video helped to propel the song to No.2 on the UK singles chart and No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

1991 Bryan Adams was enjoying his third week at No.1 on the UK singles chart with '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You'. The single stayed a No.1 for a record-breaking sixteen weeks (the longest in British chart history), seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and nine weeks atop the Canadian Singles Chart in Adams's native Canada. This is one of the most successful singles of all time.

1999 Christina Aguilera scored her first US No.1 single with 'Genie In A Bottle', also No.1 in the UK. The song spent 5 weeks at No.1 on the US chart and won Aguilera the Best New Artist Grammy for the year.
A Bit of Genie Trivia...
The genie in a bottle legend has it that if you find a mysterious bottle and rub it, a genie will appear to grant you 3 wishes. This song uses the tale as a sexually-charged metaphor, implying that the girl will respond to the proper touch. This song caused some controversy when it was released, as the 18-year-old Aguilera was quite young to be singing such a racy song, particularly as her music was marketed to young girls. Aguilera explains in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "It is a bit suggestive, but in a positive way. It's all about a girl who's a little sassy and likes to play hard to get, but equally wants sincerity in a relationship." The lyric, "My body's saying let's go, but my heart is saying no" emphasizes her point. Source: songfacts.com
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Treat a mutt!

Are you a dog lover, dog owner, both? Are you intense on yours being a dog of special 'breed' or do you understand the love of a mutt? The dog mutt is synonymous with the runt of a litter. It is special. 

July 31 is...

National Mutt's Day

It's Mutt's Day. Mutts deserve their day in the spotlight, as much as a pure breed. If you own a mutt, or you are a mutt (reading this), then you know this day is for you.

National Mutt Day Celebration
By definition a mutt, sometimes called a "Half-breed", is a dog that is of mixed breed. They come from two to several breeds. Purebred owners, and sometimes the public in general, view them as lesser in many ways. Mutt owners know better. They value the diversity and uniqueness of their mutts. Sure, a mutt doesn't carry the expensive price tag that a purebred with papers has on its head.

To the mutt owner, however, the mutt is invaluable. In addition, mutts don't walk around needing to prove anything. You won't see them strutting around any dog shows trying to prove they are the best.They ARE already the BEST!

To all mutts and and mutt owners, we hope you thoroughly enjoy Mutt's Day. Since it is late in the day, spend the evening relaxing and doing all the things you and your dog like to do. Do so with both of your chins held high. For your mutt is worth a million bucks!

A Closer Closer Look

This Day in History: July 31, 1964

A Harvest Moon
When the moon is in view, particularly during its full moon phase, one can 'see' the craters on its surface. Imagination soars as the 'man in the moon' image appears...none more spectacular than the harvest moon. Uneven surfaces reveal shadowy displays of eyes, nose and a mouth. What we are envisioning is being transmitted an average distance from Moon to Earth of 384,403 km (238,857 mi).

What about a closer look?

Ranger 7
A closer look indeed can be taken through a telescope. But what about a closer closer look, 1,000 times as clear as anything ever seen through earth-bound telescopes? On July 31, 1964, the first US space probe, Ranger 7, successfully transmits close images of the lunar surface back to Earth.

"Ranger 7 reached the Moon on 31 July. The F-channel began its one minute warm up 18 minutes before impact. The first image was taken at 13:08:45 UT at an altitude of 2110 km. Transmission of 4,308 photographs of excellent quality occurred over the final 17 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.5 meters." Source: en.wikipedia.org

 First image of the Moon taken by a US spacecraft.
The large crater at center right is Alphonsus.
  Last picture by Ranger 7, taken about 488 m above the Moon,
reveals features as small as 38 cm across.
The noise pattern at right results from
spacecraft impact while transmitting.

Now, where IS that 'man in the moon'?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last of a Classic

This Day in History: July 30, 2003

The Beetle, not the bug nor the band, but the Volkswagon was founded on This Day in History: May 28, 1937 going on to become a worldwide cultural icon. It remained in production until the last so-called "classic" VW Beetle rolled off the assembly line on this day in history, July 30, 2003. The final original VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) was produced at Puebla, Mexico, 65 years after its original launch, ending an unprecedented 58-year production run (this is not to be confused with the redesigned new Beetle that Volkswagen introduced in 1998).

W30 Prototype 1937
Photo: Hasse Aldhammer

The VW Beetle was featured prominently in the hit 1969 movie "The Love Bug" (which starred a Beetle named Herbie) and immortalized on the cover of the Beatles album "Abbey Road."

The Beatles: Abbey Road

Both the Beetle and The Beatles impacted the 60s beyond compare. This is the era brimming with Beetles, The Beatles and 60's nostalgia.


Bit on the Wild Side

Today in Music History: July 30, 1966

Do you feel a bit on the wild side today? If you do, that feeling would be directly in line with a specific music happening on this day in 1966. The song was written by a songwriter named Chip Taylor, who has made tons of money from it because it has been recorded by many artists and is constantly being used in movies and TV shows. For today's trip down memory lane, we begin with...

1966 The Troggs started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Wild Thing'. Because of a distribution dispute, The Troggs' single was available on two competing labels: Atco and Fontana. Because both pressings were taken from the identical master recording, Billboard combined the sales for both releases, making it the only single to simultaneously reach No.1 for two companies.

http://stevierocks.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/caveman-garage-rock/The style of music exemplified in this song became known as "Caveman Rock" due to The Troggs' grungy features and photos of them in caves, and also because of that unique sound of their first mega hit, 'Wild Thing'. That crazy whistling instrument in the break is an ocarina, which is an Eastern instrument that dates back thousands of years. This gave the song a very distinctive sound and was a great talking point for the band. As for their name, The Troggs is short for "troglodyte" (meaning "cave dweller"), which helped bolster this image. Reg Presley, the vocalist, sang with a lustiness and decadence that turned on millions.

A Bit of Wild Move (Gyrating) Trivia...

Continuing a bit on the wild side, let's backtrack to the year 1956. Yesterday, July 29, featured Blue Suede Shoes with the spotlight on Carl Perkins. Of course, Perkins was not the only musician to record the song. Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins faced off in the "Top 100". The point here is not the song, or any specific song for that matter but the moves...NOT Perkins this time, but Elvis!

Elvis backstage at Overton Park Shell - July 30, 1954
Photo © Bill E. Burk

1954 Slim Whitman ("Rose Marie"), Billy Walker ("(I'd Like to Be In) Charlie's Shoes"), Sugarfoot Collins, Sonny Harvelle, Tinker Fry, Curly Harris (stand-up country comic) and a young Elvis Presley, all appeared at the Hillbilly Hoedown, Overton Park Shell, in Memphis Tennessee. Elvis was so nervous he stood up on the balls of his feet and shook his leg in time with the music, when he came offstage he asked why people were yelling at him. Someone told him it was because he was shaking his leg, which with the baggy pleated pants created a wild gyrating effect in time with the music. This wild gyrating got the crowd so stirred up that it became his trademark in live performances from that point on.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Thomas Fuller (1608 - 16 August 1661)