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)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blue Suede Shoes

Today in Music History: July 29, 1956

Many persons of the 60s, then and now, contribute 'Blue Suede Shoes' and its rebellious message with Elvis Presley. True indeed is an Elvis version but that is not the original nor was it ever a chart hit. Yet, in the public eye, Presley has been associated with cultural ownership of the ever classic song. 

Carl Perkins That's right, NOT Elvis Presley! 'Blue Suede Shoes' has been called the first true rock 'n' roll hit. It's fairly clear that the music dubbed rock 'n' roll incorporated elements rhythm & blues and country & western. As for 'Blue Suede Shoes', this was the first record to borrow from the three categories - blues, country and pop, then, become a hit on all three charts. That achievement is attributed to Carl Perkins'!

1956 On July 29, Carl Perkins was on the UK singles chart with his debut UK hit 'Blue Suede Shoes'. The song had already entered the local Memphis country charts on February 11 at No2. The following week it became No1, where it remained for three months. Billboard picked it as a "Country Best Buy." "Interestingly enough," Billboard added, "the disk has a large measure of appeal for pop and R&B customers." It starts to sell in huge quantities throughout the South.

Origin of the song 'Blue Suede Shoes'...
Carl Perkins actually wrote 'Blue Suede Shoes'. There are two versions how Perkins wrote the song. One version has Johnny Cash planting the seed for the song in the fall of 1955, while Perkins, Cash, and Elvis Presley toured throughout the South. Cash told Perkins of a black airman whom he had met when serving in the military in Germany. He had heard a reference in the chow line to his military regulation air shoes as "blue suede shoes." This prompted Cash to suggest that Carl write a song about the shoes.
A second version places Perkins a few nights later playing in Jackson, Tennessee. When he sees a dancer in the crowd trying to keep his girlfriend away from his new blue suede shoes, it connects with the idea that Cash had given him. At three o'clock the following morning, Perkins awakens with the genesis of the song in his head. He goes downstairs and writes out the lyrics in pencil on an empty potato bag.
A Tidbit of 'Blue Suede Shoes' Trivia...

• Presley and Perkins faced off in the "Top 100"
The two records also had a race to the top of the Hot 100. Both entered Billboard’s top pop chart on March 3, 1956, with Heartbreak Hotel at #68 and Blue Suede Shoes at #83. The very next week, however, Perkins’s record leaped up to #23, five spots ahead of Presley. Both recordings reached the top 10 on March 31, when they tied for the #9 spot. Then, slowly, Heartbreak Hotel inched ahead, reaching #1 on May 5, while Blue Suede Shoes spent six weeks vacillating between #4 and #5. In the end, Elvis’s first RCA record spent seven weeks at #1. Carl Perkins’ first entry in the Top 100 was a smash hit as well. Blue Suede Shoes spent 21 weeks on the chart, nine of them in the top ten. Source: Elvis History Blog
"Presley gave Blue Suede Shoes the full rock ’n’ roll treatment, at a faster pace and with greater energy than Perkins’s rockabilly recording." 

Which do you prefer?

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

Related Articles:


Blue Suede Shoes …A Classic Cut For 2 Rockabilly Singers in ’56

Songs: Blue Suede Shoes


Royal Wedding, Whoops & Trivia

This Day in History: July 29, 1981

An estimated 750 million television viewers in 74 countries tune in on July 29, 1981 to witness the now-legendary royal wedding of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. An additional 600,000 lined the streets of London hoping to catch even a mere glimpse of the wedding couple. This was the spectacular extravaganza of the decade setting the bar for royal weddings to come with Princess Diana wearing a silk taffeta and lace gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel for her walk down the aisleattached to it, the now-infamous 25-foot-long train.

If you missed it...


Whoops! What endearing mistake did Lady Diana make during her wedding ceremony with Prince Charles? Lady Diana mixed up the order of Prince Charles' many names — Charles Philip Arthur George when reciting her vows. She called him Philip Charles Arthur George. Also of note, she did not say she'd "obey," her future husband.
Did the Royal Prince royally goof? The groom referred to "thy goods" rather than "my worldly goods".

Cake, cake, cake and more cake!

Royal Wedding Cake
(Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Diana and Charles inaugurated the balcony kiss at Buckingham Palace, where not just one cake would do for the reception ...try 27 wedding cakes! While most were donated by royal watchers, the Royal Wedding Cake was prepared by Chief Petty Officer chef David Avery, senior instructor of the Royal Naval Cookery School. Topping out at more than five feet high, the cake was adorned with both the Prince and his family's royal coat of arms, the couple's first initials and a spray of roses, lilies of the valley and orchids. In the photo at left, Chef Avery is putting the finishing touches to the five tier royal wedding cake. A slice of the cake given to Moyra Smith, who worked for the Queen Mother at Clarence House, sold at auction for $1,830. 

Cinderella perhaps!

Do you know what special conveyance carried Princess Diana to St. Paul's Cathedral for her wedding? Relating to Cinderella is a give-away for the answer to this trivia question. Princess Diana arrived at St. Paul's in the horse-drawn "glass coach" escorted by five mounted military police officers. The carriage was too small to comfortably seat Diana's father and Diana in her dress, especially with the 25-foot train. Diana's wedding dress was a puff ball meringue wedding dress, with huge puffed sleeves and a frilly neckline. The dress was decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls.

While this was the wedding of the decade, it was not the marriage of a lifetime. The couple divorced in August 1996 with the Princess continuing to live at Kensington Palace and carrying out public work. Tragically, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. On 9 April 2005, the Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles.

Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, Great Britain
July 1, 1961 - August 31, 1997

Race in Space Begins

This Day in History: July 29, 1958

"An Act to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth's atmosphere, and for other purposes." 

NASA was established as a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America's activities in space. On July 29, 1958, its creation was secured with the signing of the National Aeronautics and Space Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. NASA's establishment further equipped the United States for leadership in the space age. 

The establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (The Birth of NASA) solidified the United States' commitment to winning the "race in space" against the Soviets. NASA's involvement occurred in response to the Soviet Union's October 4, 1957 launch of its satellite, Sputnik I, the first satellite to orbit the earth bringing about the dawning of the space age. Its launching became known as the "Sputnik crisis", which prompted attention of the United States to turn toward its own fledgling space efforts. The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

NASA thus became synonymous with the space race. It was the driving force that brought to reality what was once only envisioned in a sci-fi movie. What makes NASA even more intriguing are the events that followed within the next 56 years: Some ecstatic, others traumatic. 


A Walk on the Moon

In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States should set a goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Eight years and billions of dollars later, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module Eagle and onto the moon's surface on July 20, 1969.

The great space race was over.

Left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin 


Travel into Space

The astronaut program at its inception consisted of male candidates, that is in the United States. Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova traveled into space aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963. As the US program expanded, so did its candidacy. Almost twenty years to the day after the first woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride, a mission specialist, joined the Challenger shuttle mission on June 18, 1983 becoming the first American woman to complete the same feat.

Sally Ride communicates with ground controllers
from the flight deck of Space Shuttle Challenger
during her first mission in space, STS-7.
(Photo by NASA)

NASA Remembers Three Space Tragedies

With any successful program lies the possibility of tragedy. NASA has not escaped such horrific events. The end of January marks a somber time for NASA with the anniversary of three major tragedies int he history of U.S. spaceflight, each of which left a nation stunned but did not kill the spirit of exploration. Despite the risks, astronauts continue to risk their lives...in the name of adventure, exploration, and discovery.

Jan. 27, 1967

Jan. 28, 1986
Feb. 1, 2003


We've come a long way since the birth of NASA in 1958 and who knows what is yet to come. . . Look below at what is happening today and take a peak at the Launch Schedule of what lies ahead!
Date: July 29, 2014 -- 7:47 p.m. Eastern
Mission: Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 (ATV-5)
Description: The European Space Agency’s fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5), named “Georges Lemaître” in honor of the Belgian astronomer and physicist, will launch from Kourou in French Guiana to deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station.

The Congress hereby declares that it is the policy
of the United States that activities in space should be devoted 
to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Music & Such

Today in Music History: July 28

Music brings with it Moments, Memories, Pain & Happiness with Stories Behind the Music often being just as enjoyable as the tunes themselves. There are 'Copycats' & Fun Facts that keep everything interesting creating the desire for more, more, more. Such is on this day in music history with familiar songs of yesteryear and a bit trivia that just may not be in your memory bank.

1954 The first press interview with 19-year-old Elvis Presley was published in the 'Memphis Press- Scimitar'. The interview was a follow-up to 18 July 1953 when Elvis walked into the Memphis Recording Service to make a record against a small payment. He wanted to hear how he sounded on tape, and gave the record to his mother as a late birthday present. Almost a year later the owner of a small starting label working in the Memphis Recording Studio, Sun Records, called Elvis and wanted him to come to the studio and try recording for him accompanied by Bill Black (bass) and Scotty Moore (guitar) the result of these first recordings was in July 1954 a record That's All Right/Blue Moon Of Kentucky
1956 Gene Vincent made his first appearance on national TV in the US on The Perry Como Show. Vincent had released ‘Woman Love’ the previous month, but it was the B-side, ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’, that eventually made the top 10. The song had been purchased from a fellow hospital patient when Vincent was recovering from leg injuries. A demo of the song made its way to Capitol Records as part of an Elvis sound-alike contest and a re-recorded version gave Vincent a hit.
1960 Roy Orbison entered the UK chart with 'Only The Lonely', which went on to give Roy his first of 3 UK chart toppers. As an operatic rock ballad, it was a sound unheard of at the time, and is seen as a seminal event in the evolution of Rock and Roll. Released as a 45rpm single by Monument Records in May, 1960, 'Only The Lonely' went to No. 2 on the United States. The song was turned down by The Everly Brothers and Elvis Presley, so Orbison decided to record the song himself.
More on Roy Orbison: ...funny to think that various budding English rock musicians were in awe of Orbison, and before they became famous would buy his singles, listening, learning and attempting to copy his singing and writing skills. On such group was The Beatles, who at this time were playing the endless sets in Liverpool, England and Hamburg, Germany, but would later meet their hero, tour with him and George Harrison would end up working alongside Roy Orbison in The Traveling Wilburys where Roy was known as 'Lefty Wilbury' and Harrison 'Nelson Wilbury'.

1966 Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards song 'Out Of Time'.

A Tidbit of Music Trivia...
1969 Police in Moscow reported that thousands of public phone booths had been vandalised after thieves were stealing parts of the phones to convert their acoustic guitars to electric. A feature in a Russian youth magazine had shown details on how to do this.

1979 'I Don't Like Mondays' gave The Boomtown Rats their second UK No.1 single. Bob Geldof wrote the song after reading a report on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children playing in a school playground across the street from her home in San Diego, California. She killed two adults and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays, this livens up the day."
 1990 Elton John started a five-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with 'Sleeping With The Past', his fifth No.1 album.

A Tidbit of Music Trivia...

1992 Rapper Ice T announced that Warner Brothers Records would pull the controversial song 'Cop Killer' from all future copies of his "Body Count" album. The song had been the target of protests by law enforcement groups who said it encouraged the killing of police. Ice T said he would give away recordings of 'Cop Killer' at his concerts. In an ironic twist, he would later join the cast of the NBC police drama, Law and Order.

2000 Five and Queen were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'We Will Rock You', the classic Queen song was only a B-side in 1977 and this new version featured boy band Five and Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.

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