Monday, July 26, 2010

1965: The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" was # 1 this week

Mick Jagger got a big gift for his 22nd birthday in 1965, or the # 1 song on Billboard USA.    It was also the song that turned The Rolling Stones into huge rock superstars.

"Satisfaction" was released in the "Out of our heads" LP.    It was also included in various compilations LP's, specially "The singles".

It is not my favorite song by The Rolling Stones.  Frankly, I'd rather hear "Jumpin' Jack Flash".     Nevertheless, "Satisfaction" was huge. 

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 2007: I guess that Alberto Gonzalez told the truth after all!

A post from July 2007:

Of course, I want public officials to be truthful and honest. No one should lie to Congress. At the same time, Congressmen should not play partisan games by setting up perjury traps.

This whole Alberto Gonzalez show is shameful and demonstrates how pathetic the Democrats are:
""You've got an interesting situation when members of Congress, knowing that somebody is constrained by matters of classification, they can ask very broad questions ... they know the person sitting on the other side cannot answer thoroughly in an open session," White House spokesman Tony Snow said." (Democrats accused of sandbagging Gonzales)
The Democrats are playing games. AG Gonzalez is operating in the real world, i.e. terrorists are plotting to blow up one of our cities and kill thousands!

AG Gonzalez can not answer every question in a public session because some of this stuff is confidential.

My guess is that the Dems are overplaying their hand and coming across as a bunch of bullies who just want to get Alberto Gonzalez.

It won't work politically. Beyond that, this kind of "gotcha" politics is poisonous for the country.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

A baseball "time tunnel"!

As you may remember, "The Time Tunnelwas a great TV show. 

What about a baseball time tunnel?  What if we could go back and watch a great moment in baseball history?

Let me start with Babe Ruth. In 1927, Ruth set the single season home run record. He hit 60 home runs. The Babe's record stood until Maris hit 61 in 1961. Babe Ruth saved the business of baseball after the 1919 World Series scandal. The Babe put fans in the seats! Again, he saved the game.

Lou Gehrig was Babe Ruth's teammate in the 1927 Yankees. Lou was one of the greatest players of all time. Unfortunately, he played in the Babe's shadow.

In 1939, Lou was forced out of baseball by an illness. He died soon after. Before his death, he gave a short but inspirational speech in Yankee Stadium.

Satchel Paige dominated the old Negro Leagues. He was a great pitcher. Who knows what Paige would have done in the majors? My guess is that he would have been one of the greatest pitchers of the 20th century.

Take me back to the 1941 season. From May to mid-July, Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games, a streak that has not been matched since. Pete Rose had a 44-game streak in 1978. No one has come close. The streak finally ended in Cleveland.

Question: How can any human being hit in 56 straight games? The answer is that Joe was something special.

Ted Williams closed the 1941 season by hitting .406, the last major league player to reach that mark. George Brett hit .390 in 1980. No one has come close. Williams lost some of his prime years to World War II and Korea.

The Dodgers-Giants rivalry is one of the greatest in sports. In 1951, the Dodgers and Giants had a special playoff to settle the NL pennant. It came down to the bottom of the 9th. It was Ralph Branca vs Bobby Thompson.

In 1954, Willie Mays made the most famous catch in baseball history. How in the world did Mays catch up with this missile from Vic Wertz' bat? The answer is quick instincts and amazing ability.

The Braves left Milwaukee after the 1965 season. Therefore, I never had a chance to fall in love with the home team. Years later, my friend had me listen to the audio version of key moments in the team's history. The big moment was Henry Aaron clinching the 1957 pennant with a walk off home run. It must have been wonderful to be there.

A baseball time tunnel? Wouldn't that be nice?    The next best thing to a time tunnel is that great documentary by Ken Burns.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.   If you like our posts, drop a dime here.  Here is the Burns documentary:

1965: “Beatles VI” was # 1 this week

As we’ve posted before, every  pre-Sgt Pepper LP had different tracks or even titles in the US and the rest of the world.   We call them the American LP’s and were released  in a box set.    
It was always interesting to chat about The Beatles with someone from the UK.     We associated different songs with different LP’s!
Beatles VI” released in June 1965 is another example.    It included the single “Eight days a week” and the B-side “I don’t want to spoil the party“.    
It also included several other tunes found in “Beatles for sale“, such as “Every little thing” and “What you’re doing“.
Like everything else released by the group, “Beatles VI” hit # 1 this week in 1965.    However, it was not one of their best LP’s.  
P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, click send, and drop a dime here.......Here is the LP:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wonder what Satchel Paige would say today

Image result for satchel paige images
Seventy years ago this month, the great Satchel Paige made his major league debut:  
Paige’s contract was bought by Bill Veeck’s Cleveland Indians on July 7, 1948, his 42nd birthday. He made his major league debut two days later, entering in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Browns with the Indians trailing 4-1. He gave up two singles in two innings, striking one man out and inducing one batter to hit into a double play. The Indians lost the game 5-3 in spite of Paige’s contribution. That year Satchel Paige went 6-1 with a solid 2.48 ERA for the World Champion Cleveland Indians.
Wonder how many games Paige would have won had he spent his entire career in the majors? Who knows? My guess is that he would have challenged many of the pitching records, especially complete games and strikeouts. He would have sold out stadium after stadium in a way not seen since Babe Ruth. Paige was as much a showman as a pitcher.
It’s hard to believe today that such a talent was for years not allowed to pitch in the majors because of skin color. Nevertheless, I never saw Paige complain about his fortune.  Instead, he made the most of what he had.
Apart from pitching, Satchel was well known for what he said.   
In this respect, he was like a black Yogi Berra, the other great baseball philosopher.
Allow me to speculate.  What would the great Paige say to young people today?
What would he say to the people who complain about everything rather than take advantage of the opportunities in front of them? It would be something like one of his greatest lines:
“Don’t look back.    Something might be gaining on you.” 
We could use a few more people like Paige around these days.
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

July 1967: Bee Gees "First" was a great debut LP - BEE GEES 1ST / RARE US ATCO LP / FIRST ISSUE/MONO ...

Let's look back at The Bee Gees and their "FIRST" LP released July 1967!

What did we learn from that debut LP? 

For one thing, there were 5 Bee Gees back then.  It was the 3 brothers and a couple of friends from Australia.   Eventually, the friends dropped off and it was The Brothers Gibb the rest of the way.

Barry, and his late brothers Robin & Maurice Gibb, were great songwriters.   It was the opening chapter for one of the greatest songwriting trios in modern pop music.

FIRST's songs were catchy, beautiful and always thoughtful.

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Summer 1967: The Beatles and "All you need is love" was on the radio

Image result for the beatles all you need is love
This is a summary of "All you need is love", a Lennon-McCartney song that hit # 1 all over the world back in August 1967:
"It was first performed by The Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link. Broadcast to 26 countries and watched by 400 million, the programme was broadcast via satellite on June 25, 1967.

The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the UK's contribution.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at #362 in their 500 greatest songs of all time."
Later, the song was added to the movie "Yellow submarine".

"All you need is love" was the first single released after the "Sgt Pepper's".    It was eventually included in the US LP "Magical Mystery Tour" and the animated "Yellow submarine".

My favorite part of the song is the last minute when John & Paul go back and forth.

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1967: Remember when "To love somebody" and "Somebody to love" were on the charts?

Once upon a time, we collected 45s.  My brother and I spent every bit of our "savings" building a 45s colection second to none.  It worked out because we shared the same stereo, slept in the same room and had identical tastes.  Therefore, I liked what he contributed and vice versa.

I remember one time when I was accounting for our batch of 45s.  I realized that we had a song called "To love somebody" and another one "Somebody to love".

They are both classics from that wonderful musical year of 1967.

"To love somebody" was The Bee Gees' 2nd international hit, or the follow up to "New York Mining Disaster".  It was recorded by several artists and it is still very popular today.

"Somebody to love" was the first big hit by Jefferson Airplane, a California band.  The lead singer was Gracie Slick.

It was a great summer of songs.  

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Friday, July 02, 2010

The great music of the summer of 1968!

My brother and I started collecting records in 1966. 

My parents bought us a GE record player and we rushed to the store. We used to buy 45's back then, which sold for 69 cents! (Gas was 19 cents!)

1968 was a very crazy political year. It was reflected in the music. I don't remember any love songs that summer. The music was rough but it was also great rock.

Let's start with the greatest record of the summer of '68.  Years later, this is still one of the best rock songs of the rock era. It was also one of the last songs that included Brian Jones, who died in '69 in an accident.

"I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,But its all right now, in fact, its a gas!But its all right. Im jumpin jack flash, Its a gas! gas! gas!"
My second selection is "White Room" by Cream. This was a group created by Eric Clapton, along with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. They didn't record a lot of LP's but this was their greatest single.

It was a summer for hard rock bands. However, The Bee Gees gave us wonderful harmonies in "I've gotta get a message to you". This is still one of my favorite songs from The Brothers Gibb.

The Beatles' "Hey Jude" was released later or at the end of summer. It actually charted in the fall.  Nevertheless, it was the #1 song of the year!

It was a good summer to collect records!

The Beach Boys recorded a lot of interesting songs in 1967, such as "Good Vibrations" and "Darlin"! In 1968, they went back to their beach sound with "Do it again"!

The Seekers had a pop-folk flavor. They were probably too romantic for the crazy summer of '68. However, they recorded many songs and "I'll never find another you" was my favorite:

I guess that the events made in Prague made The Rascals' "People got to be free" a little more than just a song:

It was indeed a good summer to collect records!

I did not care that much for Sergio Mendes but the girls were very attractive. They took the Beatles' "Fool on the hill" and gave it a different sound:

Looking back, it was indeed a great summer for a couple of teens to collect records.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Pop songs stars from before they called us Hispanics

It's common today to hear Hispanic performers on the radio. We have several Spanish radio stations in Dallas. Some artists sing in both languages.

What was it like years ago? What was it like before they called us "Hispanics"?

Let's start with Richie Valens. His story was popularized in "La Bamba", a great movie from the late 1980s.

Richie Valens was born Richard Steven Valenzuela in LA. He was only 18 when he was killed in 1959 along with the legendary Buddy Holly. His career was very short but significant. His hits included "La Bamba", "Donna" and "We belong together".

Second, Trini Lopez was born Trinidad López III in Dallas. He hit the top of the charts with "Lemon tree", "Michael" and "If I had a hammer".

Third, it took me a while to learn about Vikki Carr. She was born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona in El Paso, TX. I heard a lot of her songs before learning of her Hispanic roots. She was a bilingual singer before Gloria Estefan made it cool to do so. One of her biggest English hits was "It must be him":

Fourth, ? and the Mysterians had a few hits. The group's name promoted mystery, almost like a cult around lead singer (?) a.k.a Question Mark.

They were Mexican American kids from Flint, Michigan. They were Larry Borjas on guitar, Robert Balderrama, and Robert Martinez on guitars and bongos. The lead singer was the mysterious "?".   
Their biggest hit was "96 tears":

And last, but not least, Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs was headed by Sam, who was born Domingo “Sam” Samudio in Dallas. They recorded "Wooly Bully", one of the greatest party songs of the rock era.

They did not make as much money as today's performers. In fact, some of these artists are out of music today. Yet, we should remember their unique contributions to the Hispanic experience.

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