Thursday, February 16, 2006

Champagne and Coca-Cola

February 16, 1991: The Simpsons top the British singles charts with "Do the Bartman." The novelty-hit cash-in is often the point at which a particular cultural phenomenon jumps the shark. Not this time.

February 16, 1975: The Cher show has its official premiere on CBS-TV, although it had actually launched with a special preview episode four days earlier. It was only a modest success, and when a second-season retooling didn't improve the ratings, CBS decided to shut it down in January 1976 and re-team Cher with Sonny, despite their acrimonious parting a couple of years before. The new show launched in February and lasted a season-and-a-half, but it didn't make anybody forget the old Sonny and Cher show.

February 16, 1974:
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer are arrested in Salt Lake City for skinny-dipping in the hotel pool and fined $75 apiece.

February 16, 1968:
The Harrisons and Lennons fly to India for two months' meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Starrs and Paul and his entourage would join them two days later. The whole thing will end badly when the Beatles accuse the Maharishi of making a pass at one of the women in the group.

Birthday Today:
Sonny Bono would be 71, had he not died in a skiing accident in 1997. A woman I know tells the following story: She was teaching high school in 1997, and one of her classes was discussing Bono's accident. One student was incredulous at hearing that Bono was missing for several hours before being discovered. She asked, "Didn't anyone look behind the boat?"

Number One Songs on This Date:
1999: "Baby One More Time"/Britney Spears.
And so it begins.

1981: "Celebration"/Kool and the Gang. I once read a bit of political analysis suggesting that "Celebration" was such a big hit at this time because people were happy that Ronald Reagan had taken office. That kind of brilliance explains why there are very few influential Republican music critics.

1968: "Love Is Blue"/Paul Mauriat. In the peak year of the 1960s, one of the year's biggest hits was this, a harpsichord-driven muzak-y instrumental.

1961: "Calcutta"/Lawrence Welk. Another harpsichord-driven muzak-y instrumental which, despite the title, this has nothing to do with India. It's actually not half-bad, either, possessing a lot more energy than you'd expect from Welk. Maybe all that champagne made 'em giddy.

1945: "Rum and Coca-Cola"/Andrews Sisters. The Sisters had the sound that defined the World War II era, and this was their biggest hit.


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