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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Doc Pomus ► A Musical Appreciation

Doc Pomus singing at the Pied Piper with Uffe Bode,
Sol Yaged, John Levy and Rex William Stuart (1947)
Light 88 candles -- the same as the number of keys on a piano -- for Doc Pomus, one of the greatest names in Rock and Roll you never heard of; a Founding Father and a Brill Building Blues-shouting Jew.

Born Jerome Solon Felder on June 27, 1925, in Brooklyn, he walked with crutches due to a bout of polio at the age of six. He fell in love with The Blues after hearing a Big Joe Turner tune and took the stage name Doc Pomus as a teenager when he started performing in Blues clubs as a teenager. More often than not, he was the only White person in the club. During these years he recorded some 40 songs for small labels.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

50 Years Ago ► St. Augustine Beaches Integrated ► History Is Complicated

Florida Memory reminds us that it took blood and guts to integrate Florida beaches. On this day -- June 25, 1964 -- White segregationists attacked the participants of a "Wade-In" at St. Augustine, Florida:
Demonstrators held several nonviolent “wade-ins” at segregated hotel pools and beaches. This film shows footage taken by the Florida Highway Patrol of one of the largest demonstrations, a wade-in held at St. Augustine Beach on June 25, 1964 (see full-length version).

Civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., came to northeast Florida to show their support for the Movement. King is said to have remarked that St. Augustine was “the most segregated city in America” at the time. He pledged to defeat segregation using nonviolence, even “if it takes all summer.”

Music Brings Our World Together For The First Time

Dateline June 25, 1967 - Our World is broadcast to the entire world, via the very first live, global, satellite hookup. Taking part in the broadcast were creative artists from 19 countries around the globe, including Maria Callas, Pablo Picasso, Marshall McLuhan and The Beatles. More than 350 million people tuned in.

According to the WikiWackyWoo, it took more than 10,000 technicians, producers and translators to pull off the two and a half hour broadcast. The project took 10 months to plan. The countries that participated promised that their segments would be 100% live and no politicians or heads of state could appear. A last minute problem came close to scuttling the project, when the entire Eastern Bloc, directed by the Soviet Union, pulled out in protest over response to the Six Day War.

More from the WikiWackyWoo:
The opening credits were accompanied by the Our World theme sung in 22 different languages by the Vienna Boys Choir.
Canada's CBC Television had Marshall McLuhan being interviewed in a Toronto television control room. At 7:17 pm GMT, the show switched to the United States' segment about the Glassboro, New Jersey, conference between American president Lyndon Johnson and Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin; since Our World insisted that no politicians be shown, only the house where the conference was being held was televised. National Educational Television's (NET) Dick McCutcheon ended up talking about the impact of the new television technology on a global scale.

The show switched back to Canada at 7:18 pm GMT. Segments that were beamed worldwide were from a Ghost Lake, Alberta ranch, showing a rancher, and his cutting horse, cutting out a herd of cattle. The last Canadian segment was from Kitsilano Beach, located in Vancouver, British Columbia's Point Grey district at 7:19 pm GMT.

At 7:20 pm GMT, the program shifted continents to Asia, with Tokyo, Japan being the next segment. It was 4:20 a.m. local time and NHK showed the construction of the Tokyo Subway system.

The equator was crossed for the first time in the program when it switched to the Australian contribution, which was at 5:22 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). This was the most technically complicated point in the broadcast, as both the Japanese and Australian satellite ground stations had to reverse their actions: Tokyo had to go from transmit mode to receive mode, while Melbourne had to switch from receive to transmit mode. The segment dealt with Trams leaving the Hanna Street Depot in Melbourne with Australian Broadcasting Commission's Brian King explaining that sunrise was many hours away as it was winter there. A scientific segment, later on in the broadcast, was also included that dealt with the Parkes Observatory tracking a deep space object.
For the Beatles segment John Lennon wrote All You Need Is Love specifically for the broadcast (though like all their Beatles' songs it's credited to Lennon-McCartney). The song premiered that night to the entire world at the very same time. Watch:

The Beatles - All You Need is Love from gledson_adriel on Vimeo.

All recordings of All You Need Is Love were in black and white. This colourized version is from The Beatles Anthology series. Watch it while you can because EMI & The Beatles seem to remove any copies found on the innertubes.

The Beatles released All You Need Is Love as their next single, on July 7, 1967. However, it wasn't the exact performance from the satellite broadcast. John had been unhappy with his vocals, so he re-recorded them and Ringo fixed a few of the drum tracks, including substituting a drum roll for a tambourine shake during the La Marseillaise section of the tune. The single went straight to the top of the charts, where it stayed for 3 weeks.