stories behind the music: What Was The First Rock and Roll Record? - 12/23/16 10:49 AM
 
1948 Wurlitzer jukebox
Debates take place among music enthusiasts and historians as to what recording should be credited as the first ever rock & roll record. Coming up with a definitive answer to that question, with multiple factors involved, presents a nearly impossible task. In my nearly 30 years of working in radio broadcasting, where understanding the music you played was of importance, this is a matter that I have discussed in depth several times. Therefore, here is my opinion on that topic based on a reasonable degree of research and thought.
Let's get this straight: Elvis Presley’s Sun Records release That's Alright … (4 comments)

stories behind the music: 1957, What a Year - 01/06/13 11:40 PM
In the history of recorded music, songs do not get much bigger than this one. The impact of this song,  how it and the artist who performed it influenced music for the next 50 years and beyond, is quite amazing. It was a real trend setter.
For seven weeks, in the fall and winter of 1957, this tune was #1 from downtown Manhattan to Alcatraz Island. The smash hit was blasting out of AM car radios and, internationally, the artist had the first song to ever debut at #1 on the British charts. Ike was the President, back in the days … (8 comments)

stories behind the music: Bigger Than The Beatles, Super Group 1965 - 12/27/12 05:10 AM
When a person thinks of the early British Invasion bands, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones would, at this time, be the best known of those pioneers from the U.K. That was not always the case, several bands were nipping at the Beatles' heels in those early years.

In December 1965, it looked like another British super group might surpass the Beatles as hit-makers. In fact, back home in the U.K. this band did rival the Beatles in the year 1964. As a kid in Bellingham, I remember watching TV news reports when the Beatles and this other group (subject of … (3 comments)

stories behind the music: #1 Song in America: Christmas 1964 - 12/24/12 02:37 AM
 
This article is based on the memories of a teenager who grew up in Bellingham, WA. That teenager, who happens to be me, went on to spend 30 years in radio broadcasting. However, most of the information posted here is based on Top 40 chart history vs. my memories alone.
1964 was an incredible year for a prominent super group from England: Between January and October of that year, the Beatles placed 28 singles in the Billboard Hot 100. Their catalog included the mighty and colorful Capital Record's releases (spinning disc above) and offerings of their earlier endeavors that were recorded on small … (1 comments)

stories behind the music: Remembering Ed Sullivan - 12/23/12 12:50 AM
Nearly five years ago, I wrote a historical piece here at Active Rain that received many comments. The topic was Ed Sullivan, a showbiz phenomenon of my generation.  In looking at that post the other day, I saw that some of the links were broken and the formatting has a problem that I was unable to easily correct. Therefore, I have revised and rewritten the story, with some updated information and videos, below.
In the midyears of the past century, one of the biggest names in show business was Ed Sullivan. His show was broadcast from coast to coast across the … (4 comments)

stories behind the music: Number One With A Bullet -- 50 Years Ago This Week! - 06/19/11 04:24 PM
I used to write posts about music, from Top 40, to country to soul. I spent years in the radio industry so I enjoyed researching and writing these pieces. It was like re-living history. Due to personal commitments, and an increasing workload, I backed-off on that for about a year. 
Despite still being very busy at work, I need a distraction, so I have the hankering to write a few similar posts once again. These posts will appear about once a week, maybe more or less, and they will be in the context of "on this day in history". The posts will highlight a … (13 comments)

stories behind the music: Stand By Me -- Bellingham, June 25, 2011 - 06/18/11 06:17 AM
A legendary soul and R&B performer is coming to Whatcom County next weekend, Saturday, June 25. Ben E. King was an original lead singer with the Drifters. He was the featured vocalist on This Magic Moment, There Goes My Baby, Save the Last Dance For Me, Spanish Harlem and other classic hits from the early years of rock n' roll.
But his pinnacle moment has to be his huge solo hit -- Stand By Me. This song has gone on to become one of the most respected rock and R&B songs ever recorded. Even the early Beatles were playing with this … (7 comments)

stories behind the music: Stories Behind the Music -- Elvis Was #1 Fifty Years Ago Today - 09/05/10 03:18 PM
How time flies. Isn't that true? I was sitting here today, my mind wandering, and I decided that I would like to see what was the #1 song in the nation exactly 50 years ago today.
The answer: "It's Now or Never" by nobody other than the King himself, Elvis Presley. It ended up being the biggest selling of all of Presley's hits. "It's Now or Never" topped the American charts for five weeks and the UK charts for eight weeks. Sales topped 20 million units.
This video, despite being a composite or out-of-sync, does have shots of Elvis, years later … (7 comments)

stories behind the music: That Kinky Summer Forty-Four Years Ago - 07/28/10 09:00 AM
I was meeting a friend for coffee downtown today -- something I do not do enough of anymore. But, in going to town, I followed the familiar path that I used to tread as a kid living at my folk's house. If you know Bellingham, they lived in the Cornwall Park neighborhood. In those days, Cornwall Avenue was the main drag into town and it took you directly to the central business district. By the way, Cornwall still takes you to the same place, except much of the business district is now out at the mall.
From my folk's house, Bellingham High … (12 comments)

stories behind the music: The Day the Music Died -- 51 Years Ago Today - 02/03/10 05:46 AM
I have not written a music related blog post in some time. I have been too busy or otherwise preoccupied. I had an enquiry asking if I would write a post about the tragic events that transpired on this date 51 years ago.
This day is referred to in popular lore and music as "The Day the Music Died." Three young, shining talents in the field of rock n' roll, which was emerging as a major force in those early years of the genre, perished in an airplane crash in the early morning hours of February 3, 1959.
The performers were part of a … (13 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz -- The Most Successful Tooter Ever? - 10/13/09 08:40 AM
Here comes another twin-pick music trivia quiz. If you don't know how this contest works, it is quite simple. You receive clues as to the identity of the mystery artist. From those clues, you make a choice, take a guess, from the names below.
Simply use your mouse to click on the choices. If you get the answer right, you will be taken back in time to a video of a performance by the mystery artist. If, on the other hand, you are wrong, you will be ridiculed by my obnoxious cyber assistants. Have no fear, if they get under your skin, you are not … (8 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz - 10/05/09 04:12 PM
It has been awhile since I have written a Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz. They were popular here in the rain, but I have been busy lately and putting these together consumes more time than the average post.
We will try another one. This question will take you back. Let's think about the early girl singers, of the late 1950's and the early 1960's. This young lady was the first female singer to have two consecutive singles go to #1 on the charts and, until Diana Ross went solo, this girl was the most successful female singer of the era. She, to this day, … (13 comments)

stories behind the music: Perfect Soundtrack For Hot Days Of Summer - 08/01/09 03:21 AM
When we get into the hot days of summer, I always think back on the soundtrack of my life. For some reason, maybe it was just the worry-free cruising around Bellingham in the summer as a youth, the music of summer seems more memorable than tunes from other times of the year.
Those big hits of summer tend to stick with you. You hear them blaring from radios at the beach, at the drive-in, wherever you go.
There are many summer songs but one of my favorites first hit the big time just in front of summer, April 1966. It was … (13 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz -- A Life At Number Two - 07/17/09 07:18 AM
Some performers who today are household names have gone through their careers without EVER having had a #1 hit. When you see the names of the artists on that list, and you know the names of some of the one-hit-wonders who have had a big #1 hit, it is really quite startling.
 
It is time for another Twin-Pick. This is the music trivia quiz that makes you think and helps you tickle your memory gland. You know how it works. You try to answer the question by clicking on the choices below. My able cyber assistants try to offend you every … (7 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin Pick (Music Trivia Quiz) -- Pete Seeger and a #1 Pop Hit - 07/12/09 11:28 AM
I think that most of us, who remember Pete Seeger, think of him as a folk singer -- one of the best known of all the folk singers. He is in a category with Woody Guthrie and wrote and arranged some of the classic protest songs of a generation.
Seeger was also with a popular folk group known as The Weavers.

They were most famous for a song called "Goodnight Irene." However, one song that Seeger arranged, for the western audience, was a tune that had been recorded ten years previously by Mariam Makeba. The song had been in Zulu.
Move … (11 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Contest -- Oddball Out! - 07/11/09 04:49 AM
In a recent blog posts, I wrote about Leiber and Stoller. This pair of great early rock and roll songwriters referred to themselves as two Jewish boys who liked to listen to, and write music for, R&B and soul artists. They got together at age 16, and wrote some of the best songs of the rock era.

 The Leiber and Stoller songs were fun, like the various songs they wrote for the Coasters -- Yakety Yak, Along Came Jones, and Charlie Brown, for example, or how about Jailhouse Rock, Kansas City, Stand by Me, Love Potion #9 and so many more clever … (8 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick (Music Trivia Quiz) -- The Carpenter's Made Gold - 07/09/09 02:17 PM
Michael Thornton, a Tennessee home inspector who participates here at Twin-Pick, the music trivia contest, made a suggestion a few weeks back. He wanted to test his memory on the music of Richard and Karen Carpenter. You know -- The Carpenters!

The brother and sister act had phenomenal success in the 1970's. The act was on the A&M label and their first hit was suggested to them by Herb Alpert an owner of A&M and the leader of the Tijuana Brass. Alpert had been offered this song, the suggestion was that he should sing it himself, and the lyrics were not manly … (12 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz -- Herman and Charles Buell - 07/08/09 04:53 PM
My friend Charles Buell claims that everything he needs to know he learned 40 years ago while listening to Herman's Hermits.
Herman and the boys were quite the band all right. Essentially, the Hermits consisted of singer, Peter Noone and a revolving cast. For the most part, the group the Hermits, that a person saw on television and in live performances, was NOT the same cast of musicians who played on the studio recordings. Those performers, on the records, were established studio musicians with stronger musical credentials than the Hermits.
Herman and his Hermits were part of the British Invasion and, more so than … (13 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz -- Blue-eyed and Righteous Too - 07/07/09 04:56 PM
I think that when you look back on the boys who were considered to be the masters of blue-eyed soul, one duo outshines all others. Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield were the Righteous Brothers. The boys were given the name by African-American GI's who heard the singing and said; "you are some righteous brothers."
Many of the songs by the Righteous Brothers are classics of oldies radio. They had two songs that hit #1 and several others made the top ten.
Yes, it is time for another edition of Twin-Pick, the music trivia quiz where you put your memory against my rude, obnoxious … (10 comments)

stories behind the music: Twin-Pick Music Trivia Quiz -- Change of Pace, Jazz is the Word - 07/07/09 02:03 AM
In the modern era, the first jazz album to ever reach #1 on the record charts was quite the innovative album. Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, a jazz guitarist who was just home from a South American tour, recorded this album together. Getz played tenor sax and Byrd played his guitar. Jazz Samba was the name of the album and it hit #1 in March 1963. The album also exposed the USA to a new and popular style of music -- Brazilian rhythms.
In the long run, despite this being a pinnacle in Getz career, it would be a recording a year later that would … (9 comments)

 
Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) Rainmaker large

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Bellingham, WA

More about me…

King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.

Address: 1609 East Maplewood Ave, Bellingham, WA, 98225

Office: (360) 319-0038

Mobile: (360) 319-0038

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Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals. Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home Inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector, ASHI certified inspector #252760 and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest. Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.


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