Tag Archives: Alan Freed

Almanac – March 21

1656 – James Ussher died.  Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656.

He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, according to the proleptic Julian calendar.

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1902 – Son House born.  American blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing.

After years of hostility to secular music, as a preacher, and for a few years also as a church pastor, he turned to blues performance at the age of 25.

He quickly developed a unique style by applying the rhythmic drive, vocal power and emotional intensity of his preaching to the newly learned idiom. He was a formative influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

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1922 – Russ Meyer born.  U.S. motion picture director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, actor and photographer,  known primarily for writing and directing a series of successful low-budget sexploitation films that featured campy humor, sly satire and large-breasted women – Faster Pussycat ! Kill ! Kill !, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Supervixens, etc.

Film historian Jimmy McDonough posits that  Meyer’s usage of physically and sexually overwhelming female characters places him in his own separate genre.

He argues that despite portraying women as sex objects, Meyer nonetheless depicts them as more powerful than men and is therefore an inadvertent feminist filmmaker. I dont think anyone who’s seen the amazing  Tura Satana in Faster Pussycat ! Kill ! Kill !  would argue with that.

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1925 – The Butler Act prohibited  Tennessee  public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man’s origin. It also prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from what it referred to as lower orders of animals in place of the Biblical account.

Any teacher straying from the Creationist line would be guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined between $100 and $500 for each offense.

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1943 – Vivian Stanshall born.  English singer-songwriter, painter, musician, author, poet and wit, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his surreal exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and for narrating Mike Oldfield‘s Tubular Bells.

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1952 – Alan Freed presented the Moondog Coronation Ball, generally accepted as the first major rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

At the time, its most remarkable feature was its mix of black and white musical performers, in a revue intended for a racially mixed audience, at a time when almost all performances, radio stations and record labels were de facto segregated by race.

 More tickets were printed than the arena’s actual capacity, in part due to counterfeiting, and a printing error (tickets for a follow-up ball were sold with the same date printed after the first had sold out).

With an estimated 20,000 individuals trying to crowd into an arena that held slightly more than half that — and worries that a riot might break out as people tried to crowd in — the fire authorities shut down the concert after the first song by opening act Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams ended.

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1974 – Candy Darling died. American actress, best known as a Warhol Superstar.

A male-to-female transsexual, she starred in Andy Warhol‘s films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), and was a muse of  The Velvet Underground – the subject of their song Candy Says, and is  one of several Warhol associates memorialized in Lou Reed‘s  solo Walk on the Wild Side.

Darling died of lymphoma  aged 29,

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Almanac – March 10

1997 – LaVern Baker died.  American rhythm and blues singer, who had several hit records on the pop chart in the 1950s and early 1960s.  In addition to singing, Baker also did some work with Ed Sullivan and Alan Freed on TV and in films, including Rock, Rock, Rock and Mr. Rock & Roll.

In 1966  she recorded, as a duet  with Jackie Wilson, the controversial song, “Think Twice”, which featured lyrics that were not considered appropriate for airplay at that time… or even today.

Three versions were recorded, one of which is the X-rated version with the raunchy lyrics.  Guess which version accompanies this post…

She died from cardiovascular disease  at the age of 67. Originally buried in an unmarked plot in Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, New York, her grave received a headstone on May 4, 2008, after a fundraiser was held by local historians.

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Almanac – January 20

St. Agnes Eve

Ladies – if you want to dream the identity of your future husband, try this St Agnes Eve spell…

You must fast and keep silent all day and do not allow anyone to kiss you.

[Obviously, by the time you read this you’ll probably have eaten, spoke or kissed someone – maybe all three if you’re lucky. So you might want to save the info for next  St Agnes Eve ].

At bedtime, don your best nightdress and then hard-boil an egg.

Remove the yolk from the egg and fill the space with salt.

Eat egg [shell, salt and all].

Then walk backwards to bed, chanting:

“Fair St Agnes, play thy part
And send to me my own sweetheart
Not in his best or worst array
But in the clothes he wears every day”

[That last line sounds a bit out – “each day” would fit better…everyone’s a critic]

Anyway, you should then dream of your intended. But you must tell no-one of your dream.

This last condition makes it virtually impossible to estimate success rates for the experiment.

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1899 – Clarice Cliff born. English ceramic industrial artist active from 1922 to 1963.

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1900 – Colin Clive born. English stage and screen actor best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein in James Whale‘s two Universal Frankenstein films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.

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1929 – In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, was released. Directed by Irving Cummings and Raoul Walsh, the film was based on the character of the Cisco Kid in the story The Caballero’s Way by O. Henry.

The film made extensive use of authentic locations, filming in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah and the San Fernando Mission and the Mojave Desert in California.
It was also instrumental in developing the image of the singing cowboy, with its star, Warner Baxter, singing My Tonia.

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1946 – David Lynch born.  American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor, known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed “Lynchian“, a style characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design. Eraserhead, Dune, The Elephant Man and Twin Peaks, among others, are his.

As he says – “I look at the world and I see absurdity all around me. People do strange things constantly, to the point that, for the most part, we manage not to see it. That’s why I love coffee shops and public places – I mean, they’re all out there.”

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1965 – Alan Freed died. American disc jockey. He became internationally known for promoting the mix of blues, country and rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

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2012 – Etta James died. American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz.

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January 20, 2013 · 17:17

Almanac – December 15

37 – Nero born. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

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1859 – Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof born.  Jewish doctor, linguist, and the creator of Esperanto, the most successful constructed language designed for international communication.

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1890 – Sitting Bull died. Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies. Born near the Grand River in Dakota Territory, he was killed by Indian agency police on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation during an attempt to arrest him and prevent him from supporting the Ghost Dance movement.

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1921 – Alan Freed born.  American disc jockey. He became internationally known for promoting the mix of blues, country and rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

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1932 – Jesse Belvin born. American R&B singer, pianist and songwriter.

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1973 – The American Psychiatric Association voted 13–0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

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Almanac – November 21

1694 – Voltaire born. (François-Marie Arouet ).  French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade and separation of church and state.

He was a prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws with harsh penalties for those who broke them.

As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day, and was one of several Enlightenment figures whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.

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1898 – René Magritte born. Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the umbrella of surrealism. His work challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.

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1905 – Albert Einstein‘s paper, Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?,  published in the journal “Annalen der Physik”. This paper reveals the relationship between energy and mass, leading to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².

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1937 – Ingrid Pitt born. Polish-born actress best known for her work in horror films of the 1960s and 1970s, icluding The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula and The Wicker Man, although she also appeared in films like Doctor Zhivago and Who Dares Wins.

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1940 – Dr. John born. American singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.

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1953 – The British Natural History Museum announced that the “Piltdown Man” skull, initially believed to be one of the most important fossilized hominid skulls ever found, was a hoax.

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1959 – American disc jockey Alan Freed, who had popularized the term “rock and roll” and the music itself, was fired from WABC-AM radio for refusing to deny allegations that he had participated in the payola scandal.

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