Tag Archives: Velvet Underground

Lou Reed – R.I.P.

“Ah baby, come on and slip away
come on baby, why don’t you slip away…”

 

You’ll know by now that Lou Reed has died at the age of 71 – not bad really, making it that far, all things considered.

I can hardly be classed as a fan of his output post- Velvet Underground, but he did have his moments. Here are a couple of them –

 

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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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Almanac – November 24

1859 – Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

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1868 – Scott Joplin born. American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed “The King of Ragtime”. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag”, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

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1941 – Donald “Duck” Dunn born.  American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter. Dunn was notable for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.’s and as a session bassist for Stax Records, playing on thousands of records including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and many others.

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1944 – Candy Darling born. 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 also immortalized in the Velvet Underground‘s  ‘Candy Says’, Lou Reed‘s ‘Walk On the Wild Side’, the Rolling Stones song ‘Citadel’, and some claim she was the inspiration for  The Kinks ‘Lola’.

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1947 – For refusing to co-operate with the House Un-American Activities Committee, the US Congress cited 10 Hollywood Writers, directors and producers – the Hollywood 10 – for contempt.

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1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, accused of assassinating John F. Kennedy, was himself murdered by Jack Ruby.

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1985 – Big Joe Turner died.  American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.”  Although  his greatest fame came  in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s

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Almanac – October 16

1384 – Although a woman, Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland. She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig, where she is the patron saint of – ironically enough – queens.

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1793 – Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution.

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1854 – Oscar Wilde born. Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.

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1869 – The Cardiff Giant , one of the most famous hoaxes in United States history made its appearance. It was a 10-foot (3.0 m) tall purported “petrified man” uncovered on October 16, 1869 by workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. “Stub” Newell in Cardiff, New York.

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1938 – Nico born. German singer, lyricist, composer, musician, fashion model, and actress, who initially rose to fame as a Warhol Superstar in the 1960s. She is known for both her vocal collaboration on The Velvet Underground‘s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), and her work as a solo artist from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. She also had roles in several films, including a cameo in Federico Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita (1960) and Andy Warhol‘s Chelsea Girls (1966), as herself.

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Almanac – August 30

1797 – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley born. English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet  Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

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1812 – The Observer reported: “Mr. J. Toupin, while on a sailing expedition last week, with a party of ladies and gentlemen, about a mile from Exmouth Bay, discovered an animal resembling the description given of the Mermaid.

One of the boatmen threw it some pieces of boiled fish, which it ate with apparent relish. A medical gentleman offered a reward of 20 pounds…in consequence of which all the fishermen are busily preparing to ensnare it.”

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1918 – London’s policemen went on strike against wages lower that those of unskilled workers, long hours, badly organized and unpaid overtime. Technically a mutiny, the action ended when concessions were granted.

Lloyd George was later to claim that Britain was “nearer to Bolshevism” that night than she was ever to be again.

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1995 – Sterling Morrison died. Guitarist with The Velvet Underground. Victim of  non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Almanac – August 28

1814 – Sheridan Le Fanu born.  Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. Perhaps best remembered for Carmilla, a compelling tale of a lesbian vampire, set in central Europe. This story was to greatly influence Bram Stoker in the writing of Dracula and also inspired several films, including Hammer’s The Vampire Lovers and  Roger Vadim’s  Blood and Roses .
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1833 – The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 received Royal Assent, abolishing slavery through most the British Empire.

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1906 – John Betjeman born. English poet, writer and broadcaster. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate to date.

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1942 – Sterling Morrison born.  Guitarist with The Velvet Underground.

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1955 – Black teenager Emmett Till  murdered in Mississippi, aged 14, after reportedly flirting with a white woman , an event that galvanized  the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

Till was from Chicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta region when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam arrived at Till’s great-uncle’s house where they took Till, transported him to a barn, beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River.

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well, now you can count them one by one
it-could-be-your-son,
and you can count them two by two,
it-could-be-me-and-you
well, into-the-river-they-go, into-the-river-they-go,
now you can count them five by five,
now-they-don’t-come-out-a-live.
now you can count them six by six
in-Mississippi, they-got-it-fixed.
now you can count them seven by seven,
Mississippi, it-ain’t-no-heav-en
now you can count them eight by eight,
and-they-were thrown-in-because-of-hate.
now you can count them Nine by Nine
and Mississippi this a no Crime
you can count them Ten by Ten
and you would wonder when the right win

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Almanac – August 26

1880 – Guillaume Apollinaire born.   French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic. Among the foremost poets of the early 20th century, he is credited with coining the word Surrealism and writing one of the earliest works described as surrealist, the play The Breasts of Tiresias (1917).



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1930 – Lon Chaney, Sr. died.  American actor during the age of silent films. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. He was known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera. His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques he developed earned him the nickname “The Man of a Thousand Faces.”

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1944 – Maureen “Moe”  Tucker born.  Drummer with The Velvet Underground.

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1958 – Ralph Vaughan Williams died.  English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.  My favorite British classical composer.

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