Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Hazel" by Ronnie Dawson

Today's birthday wishes are also tinged with wishful thinking; rockabilly music legend Ronnie Dawson - born on this day in 1939 - died of throat cancer in 2003, having spent most of his life using it to help fill the world with music. How's that for irony?

Initially signed to Dick Clark's Swan Records, the so-called Blonde Bomber's career was almost ruined by the payola scandal in the 1950s; latterly he found a greater degree of fame in the UK, where considerable crossover between rockabilly and skiffle strengthened, rather than weakened, each genre. He was also a respected session musician, playing drums as well as guitar on such classic tunes as Hey! Baby by Bruce Channel and Hey Paula by Paul and Paula.

While Hazel was a Number One hit in Philadelphia, it was denied national exposure by coming out at just the wrong moment - namely when Dick Clark was forced to divest himself of all his music industry holdings aside from American Bandstand, leaving Dawson without a contract. Dawson later disowned the song, so strong was his lingering bitterness over the turns of events which had befallen him...
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POPnews - August 11th

[Despite a life lived with a zeal for dissipation, Babe Ruth was also the consummate athlete - which contradiction is as surely the source of his legend as his feats of prowess (whether on the field or the barstool) alone.]

3114 BCE - The Long Count calendar - used by several pre-Colombian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans - began.

355 CE - Claudius Silvanus proclaimed himself Roman Emperor against Constantius II despite being accused of treason.

- The first race meeting was held at Ascot; the first race run that day, with a purse of 100 guineas, was called 'Her Majesty's Plate'. In attendance, then as now, was the Queen; in this case, though, it was Queen Anne.

1755 - Charles Lawrence issued orders to remove the Acadians from Nova Scotia, beginning what we now know as the Great Upheaval.

1786 - Captain Francis Light established the British colony of Penang in Malaysia which, in that fine British tradition, he instantly renamed Prince of Wales Island.

1804 - Holy Roman Emperor Francis II assumed the title of the first Emperor of Austria.

1858 - The first ascent of the Eiger was made, by Christian Almer and Peter Bohren and Charles Barrington; the 3,970 m (13,025 ft) peak is one of the most famous in the Bernese Alps, and today features the Jungfraubahn railway, which runs along a tunnel inside the mountain and which terminates at Europe's highest railway station.

1918 - The Battle of Amiens - the opening operation of the Hundred Days Offensive that would bring about the end of World War I - ended.

1919 - The constitution of the Weimar Republic was adopted.

1929 - Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career when he knocked one over the fence at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

1934 - Alcatraz opened as a federal prison; the island had previously been a military prison from the Civil War era forward, housing inmates as early as 1861.

1952 - Hussein was proclaimed King of Jordan.

1960 - Chad declared its independence from France.

1965 - Rioting began in Watts, a predominantly black neighbourhood in Los Angeles. The insurrection lasted 6 days in total, eventually claiming the lives of 34 people (28 of them black); the injured included 773 civilians, 90 LAPD officers, 136 firemen, 10 national guardsmen, and 23 persons from other governmental agencies. 118 of those injured were injured by firearms. In all 600 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and it took the involvement of the National Guard to bring the violence to an end.

Further reading...

1970 - The spork was trademarked.

1971 - British Prime Minister Edward Heath captained his own 42-foot yacht Morning Cloud to victory in the Admiral's Cup; he'd previously won the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in 1969, the year he purchased the craft.

1982 - Britain's Ronnie and Reggie Kray - notorious gangsters and twin brothers - were released from jail under massive security to attend their mother's funeral at Chingford, in the London borough of Waltham Forest.

1984 - South African runner Zola Budd sparked an international controversy when she appeared to trip American Mary Decker during the final of the 3,000-metre race at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

1999 - The so-called Salt Lake City Tornado - only the second tornado in the recorded history of Utah - tore through the downtown district of the city, killing one.
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