Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Boogie Chillen

Haven't done one of these history things for a while, so here we go.

August 22, 2003: A Norwegian Elvis impersonator sings the King's songs for 26 straight hours to set a world record. It must have seemed important at the time.

August 22, 1979: Led Zeppelin's final studio album, In Through the Out Door, is released. The album is shipped in six different covers, although it's also shipped in a brown outer wrapper that makes it impossible for buyers to see which cover they are getting.

August 22, 1966: Two teenagers climb to the second floor ledge of a New York City hotel and threaten to jump unless they are permitted to meet the Beatles, who are in town for a concert. The cops talk them down; they don't meet the band.

August 22, 1965: The Beatles' second film, Help!, has its American premiere. Although it hasn't endured like A Hard Day's Night, the film is credited with inspiring the visual styles of both The Monkees and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

August 22, 1956: Production begins on Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley's first film. Originally set to be called The Reno Brothers, its title was changed to "Love Me Tender" after a song that was tacked on to the end of the film. Elvis is billed third and plays Clint Reno, a supporting character who dies in the end. "Love Me Tender" was reportedly tacked on because preview audiences disliked the fact that Clint/Elvis had died.

August 22, 1906: The Victor Talking Machine Company introduces the first gramophone with a built-in speaker, which is known as the Victrola. List price: $200, which is equivalent to something like $4,300 today.

Birthdays Today:
Ron Dante is 61. Dante sang lead anonymously on the Archies' "Sugar Sugar" and the Cuff Links' "Tracy," which were in the Top 10 at the same time in the fall of 1969. He was also Barry Manilow's producer until 1981, but "Sugar Sugar" makes up for that.

John Lee Hooker would either be 86 or 89 today, depending on the source, had he not died in 2001. A blues growler better known to contemporary listeners for his famous friends, such as the Blues Brothers, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, and Bonnie Raitt, than for his own catalog, which includes "Boogie Chillen" and "Boom Boom."

Number One Songs on This Date:
1989: "Right Here Waiting"/Richard Marx.
For a few minutes in the late 80s, Marx had a perfect grasp on what pop radio required. When it required a desperately dull 4-1/2 minute ballad, he delivered this.

1980: "Magic"/Olivia Newton-John.
Actually a fairly respectable pop record, neither weird nor unlistenable. That would be ONJ's other summer-of-80 hit, the title song from the movie Xanadu, an inexplicable collaboration with ELO that represented the moment at which that band's career jumped the shark.

1974: "The Night Chicago Died"/Paper Lace. Essential 70s trash. If you have to ask, you'll never know.

1970: "Make it With You/Bread. Their first Top-40 hit, and--surprisingly--their only Number One song.

1944: "G.I. Jive"/Louis Jordan. In the 1990s, when swing and boogie-woogie came briefly back into fashion, I kept waiting for the big Louis Jordan revival. It never happened, but it should have. Jordan would become an enormously popular R&B figure in the postwar era, and as such, is one of the fathers of rock and roll, albeit largely unknown.


At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also with the Zeppelin album, add a bit of water to the cover and it changed the color.


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