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this day in history: 1957, What a Year - 01/07/13 07:40 AM
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)
this day in history: Bigger Than The Beatles, Super Group 1965 - 12/27/12 01:10 PM
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)
This post is based on memories of a teenager in Bellingham, WA. That teenager went on to spend 30 plus years in radio broadcasting, so I assure you that most of the information here is actually based on Top 40 chart history and not my memory. 1964 was an incredible year for the super group from England. Between January and October, the Beatles had placed 28 different songs in the hot 100. That included not only their mighty Capital Record's releases but, also, releases of earlier songs that had been recorded on lesser labels. Those small labels owned the rights (1 comments)
this day in history: Remembering Ed Sullivan - 12/23/12 08:50 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)
this day in history: Stepping Back In Time: Appropriate Song for Christmas Day - 12/25/11 12:42 PM
The first Billboard Top 40 Charts of the rock era emerged in 1955 when the Bill Haley classic "Rock Around the Clock" hit #1. Anyone who is into the era, and the evolution of the music, knows that rock 'n' roll was a derivative of the soul and gospel music that was created and popular with African Americans. It is not surprising that the first #1 hit by an African American group was on the horizon, shortly after the inception of the Top 40 Charts. This group, today, is lesser known than some of the big 1960's soul groups -- Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops. However this (6 comments)
this day in history: First Ever #1 Hit By A Girl Group: January 1961 - 12/07/11 10:47 AM
There is much debate about what was really the first rock n roll song. One fact that cannot be disputed is that the firt rock song to top the charts, July 1955, was by Bill Haley and the Comets -- "Rock Around the Clock". To the casual observer, that might have seemed an anomaly, a blip on the radar, at the time, but the hot 100 charts would never be the same again. Moving forward to January 1961, the charts had another first: The first ever #1 hit by an all girl group.
How time flies, that was 50 years ago. (7 comments)
this day in history: Legendary Performer Reborn, #1 Song In America, 1974 - 10/27/11 10:05 PM
In February of 1974, there was a re-birth for one of the original artists and songwriters of the early days of pop music. The artist's star had faded pretty badly in the USA. He had not had a hit of any magnitude since 1964, ten years before. Despite everyone being ho-hum about his career back home, the performer was still a well-respected artist in the U.K. This man, being incredibly creative, was not willing to rest on his laurels and he presented a new sound to the British audience at a major London concert. They liked what they heard. Shortly thereafter, at a star-studded party (4 comments)
this day in history: This Day In History: That Louisiana Boy and his #1 Hit from November, 1966 - 10/23/11 07:04 PM
When the Beatles ruled the pop charts, in the mid-1960's, there was a young hitmaker, who had moved from NYC to Louisiana, with his family, when he was a toddler. The young fellow had grown up, not with the British beat, but listening to the New Orlean's legends, not the smallest of those being Fats Domino. This had a huge influence on the young man's performing style. Back in 1957, this wannabe star, at the tender age of 15, made his way back to NYC (birth place) to meet the famous rock "n" roll deejay, Alan Freed. Freed, who made superstars, liked the kid's music (7 comments)
this day in history: #1 Album In America On The Day The President Died - 10/15/11 06:24 PM
"This Day in History" posts feature music and nostalgia. On the 4th of July, I speculated that, in the course of every person's life, there are historic moments, and horrendous events, that will be remembered until a person's dying day. In my lifetime, those events would be (1) JFK assassination (2) Armstrong walking on the moon (3) Challenger explosion (4) Oklahoma federal building bombing (5) 911 attacks. I remember where I was when JFK was shot: School lunch duty at Parkview elementary in Bellingham, my teacher was Mrs. Thon. In a previous article, I identified Deep Purple, by the duo Nino Tempo (7 comments)
this day in history: #1 Single in America 24 Years Ago - 08/24/11 10:28 AM
In writing posts that feature songs, and stories about songs, that were big hits in the past, it is readily apparent to me that many of the hits were propelled to the top of the charts due to their prominence in movies that had huge followings. The song that was #1 on the singles chart in November 1987 fits in that category. This duet was by a man and a woman. The man is one of the most successful male performers of the entire rock era, part a famous duet that was right up there with Simon and Garfunkel. He had been involved in (5 comments)
this day in history: Remembering the Legend: #1 Single in America, 55 Years Ago - 08/21/11 08:10 PM
In the hallowed archives of musical history, this is a big deal. One of the most important, and pivotal, rock 'n roll records ever recorded, sat on top of the Billboard charts 55 years ago this week. This vinyl single held the longevity record, the longest run at #1, for any single from 1956 up until 1992 -- that is 36 years at the top of the heap until anyone matched the feat.
That is some hot vinyl we got there and it got more than its share of airplay. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the radio station that made the hits (3 comments)
One of the most recorded songs ever, with pure blues roots, goes back to at least 1925. American blues singer, Ma Rainey (above) made it popular back then and, historically, the tune is considered to be one of the most famous of all of the blues songs. It has been recorded, at one time or another, by Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Janis Joplin and others. In (7 comments)
this day in history: Not Your Typical British Invaders, #1 in America, December 1966 - 08/17/11 09:47 PM
When the British invasion hit, most of us who were around back then, have memories of boy bands with long hair and guitars. In many cases, such as the Animals, the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, what we were really hearing was their interpretation, by British youth, of American blues. Most of us kids did not understand that back then, however. When you think of today's tune, you need to think of a more formal and stately side of England. Don't envision boys with long hair, guitars and loud amps.
The song featured today was an oddity. Here is the story: A (8 comments)
The song I am writing about today, went to #1 in Ireland and Australia, and it got all the way to #3 on the hot 100 here in the USA. Needless to say, that is still a big hit. The interesting thing about her hit from April 1967 is the origin of the song.
Charlie Chaplin, yes the legendary American (5 comments)
this day in history: #1 Song in America, August 1981 - 08/14/11 02:56 PM
Last night I was at a big outdoor barbecue and there was an excellent cover band. Most of the hits I have written about in my series "This day in History" involved songs and events from the 1960's and the 1970's. The cover band played a memorable tune that took me back to the 1980's. This song, the original, was written and performed by an individual whom many people knew more as a soap opera actor than as a singer -- at least initially. The fact is, this Australian born performer had been working on music since his 13th birthday. Back in 1981, (4 comments)
this day in history: Song For The Modern Age -- #1 In America, 1965 - 08/12/11 11:10 AM
Folk music was very popular in the United States in the early 1960's. The Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul & Mary and the New Christy Minstels all had some big, and long remembered, hits. The artist, who is the topic of today's blog post, was the lead singer of the New Christy Minstrels on their biggest hit -- "Green Green". By 1965, what had been popular was changing. The 1965 Mustang was the rage on the road.
And, as a society, people were worried about big problems -- racial unrest, the Vietnam war and possible annihilation by nuclear bombs. The bomb (11 comments)
this day in history: First Tex-Mex #1 Hit Single In America - 08/07/11 11:22 PM
There had been hits by Hispanic artists in years gone by. Once the official era of rock began, in 1955, the best known hits by Latin artists included Ritchie Valens with the classics, Donna and La Bamba, in the late 1950's. And, in the early 1960's, The Girl from Ipanema, featuring a vocal by Astrud Gilberto, was a hit. The album, featuring that single, went to #1 on the album charts. The whole bossa nova and samba craze was upon us. But that craze did not produce a #1 single. That huge Latin or Tex-Mex single did not smack us in the palate, like (4 comments)
this day in history: #1 Album in America, August 1965 - 08/07/11 11:39 AM
In August 1965 what would later be referred to as the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band had their first #1 album on the U.S. charts. There are disputes about which band really deserves that title, but this band certainly wins on pure endurance and longevity. Around the country, in 1965, the hit in the theaters was Julie Andrews in the classic Sound of Music which is one of the biggest selling soundtracks in history.
The music in that production could not be any more different than the music on the #1 charting pop album. Rock radio, by 1965, was heavily (19 comments)
this day in history: Summer of 1966, #1 Single in the City - 08/06/11 12:35 AM
Forty-five years ago, the song that was at the top of the singles chart for much of August was by four guys, from the U.S. and Canada, who considered themselves to be more a a jug band than a rock band. The screaming girls through them for a loop. This band, one of my favorites of the era, squeezed into #1 on the charts by bumping four guys from England off the #1 perch. And, three weeks later, they were knocked down to #2 by an English folksinger. Those Brits were not to be trifled with in the 1960's. . This jug (17 comments)
this day in history: #1 Single In America, August 1960 - 08/03/11 10:24 AM
Times were simpler and life sillier back in 1960. The #1 single in the country 51 years ago is the first song that I remember noticing back when I was a kid. I was only 8 years old at the time and not a guy who was into music and the radio. I saw Lawrence Welk on TV with my folks and that was enough to cure any kid of an interest in music. I used to go visit a friend across the street in Bellingham. We made balsa wood hydroplanes. The friend, years later, went on to run a highly successful (9 comments)
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 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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