Tag Archives: 1915

Almanac – June 09

1915 – Les Paul born. American jazz, country and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier and inventor.

He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible, and is credited with many recording innovations.

Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing, delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

 He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, selling millions of records.

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1934 – Jackie Wilson born. American singer and performer.

Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was considered a master showman, one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock history.

Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening.

Wilson’s powerful, electrifying live performances rarely failed to bring audiences to a state of frenzy.  His live performances consisted of knee-drops, splits, spins,back-flips, one-footed across-the-floor slides, a lot of basic boxing steps (advance and retreat shuffling) and one of his favorite routines, getting some of the less attractive girls in the audience to come up and kiss him. “If I kiss the ugliest girl in the audience, they’ll all think they can have me and keep coming back and buying my records.”

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Almanac – May 06

1895 – Rudolph Valentino born.  Italian actor  and  an early pop icon.

A sex symbol of the 1920s, Valentino was known as the “Latin Lover“, and  starred in several well-known silent films including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik.

His death at age 31 caused mass hysteria among his female fans, further propelling him into icon status.

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1915 – Orson Welles born.  American actor, director, writer and producer who worked extensively in theater, radio and film.

He is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media, most notably Caesar (1937), a groundbreaking Broadway adaption of Julius Caesar and the debut of the Mercury Theatre;

The War of the Worlds (1938), one of the most famous broadcasts in the history of radio;

and Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films.

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1992 – Marlene Dietrich died.  German  actress and singer.

Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically.

In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films. Her performance as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel, directed by Josef von Sternberg, brought her international fame and provided her a contract with Paramount Pictures in the US.

Hollywood films such as Shanghai Express and Desire capitalised on her glamour and exotic looks, cementing her stardom and making her one of the highest-paid actresses of the era.

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Almanac – April 07

1739 – Dick Turpin executed. English highwayman whose exploits were romanticised following his execution in York for horse theft.

Turpin may have followed his father’s profession as a butcher early in life, but by the early 1730s he had joined a gang of deer thieves, and later became a poacher, burglar, horse thief and murderer. Forget the romantic image, he was just another thug from Essex.

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1836 – William Godwin died.  English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism.

Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which attacks aristocratic privilege, but also is the first mystery novel.

Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s. In the ensuing conservative reaction to British radicalism, he was attacked, in part because of his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death.

 Their daughter, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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1915 – Billie Holiday born. American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.

Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday “changed the art of American pop vocals forever.”

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1920 – Ravi Shankar born.  Indian musician and composer who played the sitar. He has been described as the best-known contemporary Indian musician.

In 1956, he began to tour Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison of the Beatles.

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Almanac – March 27

1915 – Typhoid Mary, the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States, was put in quarantine for the second time, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938) was identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. She was presumed to have (unintentionally) infected some 51 people, three of whom died, over the course of her career as a cook.

She was forcibly isolated twice by public health authorities and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.

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1972 – M. C. Escher died.  Dutch graphic artist,  known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints featuring impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.

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2000 – Ian Dury died.  English singer, lyricist, bandleader, artist, and actor who initially rose to fame during the late 1970s.  Founder and lead singer of Kilburn & the High Roads and Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

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Almanac – March 20

235 – Maximinus Thrax  proclaimed Roman emperor.  Most likely  of Thraco-Roman origin, and  the first emperor never to set foot in Rome.
But really he’s here because I love his name…

MAXIMINUS THRAX ! Say it loud and say it proud…

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1915 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe born.  American singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist.

A pioneer of 20th-century music, Tharpe attained great popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings that were a mixture of spiritual lyrics and early rock and roll accompaniment.

 As the first recording artist to impact the music charts with spiritual recordings, she effectively became the first superstar of gospel music and known as “the original soul sister”.

She was an early influence on iconic figures such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash.

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1936 – Lee “Scratch” Perry born. Jamaican reggae producer noted for his innovative studio techniques and production values.

Perry was one of the pioneers in the development of dub music with his early adoption of effects and remixing to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks.

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1943 – Gerard Malanga born. American poet, photographer, filmmaker, curator and archivist.

He  worked closely with Andy Warhol during that artist’s most creative period, from 1963 to 1970. A February 17, 1992 article in The New York Times referred to him as “Andy Warhol’s most important associate.

Malanga was involved in all phases of Warhol’s creative output in silkscreen painting and filmmaking. He acted in many of the early Warhol films, including Vinyl, Chelsea Girls, and Kiss; and co-produced Bufferin (1967) in which he reads his poetry, deemed to be the longest spoken word movie on record at 33-minutes nonstop.

 In 1966, he choreographed the music of the Velvet Underground for Warhol’s multimedia presentation, The Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

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