Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Hold On Tight" by Electric Light Orchestra

Birthday wishes go out today to Jeff Lynne, founding member and principal songwriter for the Electric Light Orchestra, who are also known as ELO; Lynne's career also incorporates the Eighties super-group Traveling Wilburys, to which end he recorded two albums with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.

Hold on Tight originally appeared on the band's 1981 concept album Time. I choose to post it here because of its obvious New Year's overtones; having completed another year of striving on behalf of the Pop Culture Institute, another year of coming into my own, and of having to hold on tight as things are finally starting to take off...

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Pop History Moment: The Fall Of A Tyrant

I have to admit, I never thought they'd do it...

PhotobucketI never thought anyone would have the guts to actually execute Saddam Hussein; I figured they'd just drag it out until he died in custody, Milosevic-style. When I awoke to the news of it on this day in 2006 I went back to sleep, only to dream that he'd then been reanimated and was on the loose inside the Green Zone, until Dick Cheney started shooting at him and he turned into a giant Zombie pinata.

This is what happens when you eat Slim Jims before bed, kids. Especially when high.

A n y w a y...

Maybe it was naive of me to think that the respect for human life so amply demonstrated by the US and Iraqi governments over the years would apply to even the greatest of villains; in fact, I know it was naive of me to think that, stupid even - albeit hilarious - which is probably why I did it in the first place.

Still, I was shocked - shocked! - when I heard that he'd been hanged, at Camp Justice. It was only a matter of time (in fact it was in the very same news cycle) that bootlegged footage of the execution itself, botches and all, had been released. Ironically, for as high as he'd gotten, it was an all-too-short fall that provided better justice for Saddam Hussein than he had ever shown his people.

All in all, it made for a real yikes of a day...
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"Runaway" by Del Shannon

Vintage footage of birthday boy Del Shannon here, performing his smash hit Runaway circa 1961, which features the first sustained synthesizer solo, in this instance provided by the Clavioline. The song's success would not only electrify audiences, but its electrification would change the sound of pop music forever...
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POPnews - December 30th

[Back in the olden days robber barons capitalists like James
Gadsden used their influence within the federal government
to line their own pockets... Thank goodness that kind
of corruption doesn't occur anymore!

1066 - A Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucifying the city's Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacring most of the Jewish population of the city in what came to be known as the Granada Massacre.

1460 - During the so-called Wars of the Roses the Battle of Wakefield pitted the House of Lancaster's Margaret of Anjou against Richard, Duke of York - aptly enough of the House of York.

1853 - The US paid Mexico $10 million for the Gadsden Purchase, which works out to about 53 cents an acre for a parcel of land in southern Arizona and New Mexico which would become the final addition made to the lower 48; it was bought at the behest of James Gadsden, who negotiated the deal, then used the land to complete his transcontinental railroad.

1896 - José Rizal was executed by firing squad in Manila; widely considered a martyr of the Philippine Revolution, his death is currently celebrated as a holiday in the Philippines.

1903 - A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago killed 600 just 37 days after it opened; the club's promotional advertising had promised it was 'absolutely fireproof'.

1905 - Former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg was assassinated near his home in Caldwell, possibly by Canadian-born labour leader Harry Orchard.

1916 - The last coronation in Hungary was performed for King Charles IV and Queen Zita.

1922 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed.

1927 - The Ginza Line, Asia's first subway, opened in Tokyo.

1943 - Subhash Chandra Bose raised the flag of Indian independence at Port Blair, apparently.

1947 - King Michael of Romania was forced to abdicate by his new Soviet-backed Communist government; it was revealed 60 years later that His Majesty was told if he didn't 1,000 students would be executed, so he did.

1948 - Cole Porter's Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate - based on William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew - opened at the New Century Theatre; originally starring Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison, it ran for 1,077 performances, as well as becoming the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.

1965 - Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines.

1977 - Ted Bundy escaped from his cell in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; it was a clean getaway, as his captors didn't notice he was missing for 17 hours. While eluding capture in Florida Bundy managed to kill Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman (as well as sexually assaulting Levy) and severely injure Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner, all Chi Omega sorority sisters. He also crippled Cheryl Thomas before abducting, raping, and murdering Kimberly Leach, before he was recaptured, accidentally, by Pensacola police officer David Lee in February 1978.

1986 - A bus chartered by the Swift Current Broncos - a junior team in the Western Hockey League - crashed during bad weather outside of their hometown, killing 4 players and injuring 1. At the time of the crash the team was on its way to play a game in Regina, where I was living at the time, against the Regina Pats. Among the players who survived the crash was Joe Sakic, the future Hall-of-Famer who currently plays with the Colorado Avalanche.

1994 - John Salvi murdered Lee Ann Nichols and Shannon Lowney during shootings at two abortion clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts; despite being sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences for his crimes, these convictions were overturned by the sentencing judge - Barbara Dortch-Okara - following Salvi's November 2006 jailhouse suicide, invoking the legal principle that a conviction may not stand if the accused dies before his appeals are exhausted.

1995 - The lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK was recorded in Scotland; no surprise there. A bone-chilling -27.2°C was recorded at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands. This equalled the record set at Braemar, in Aberdeenshire, in February 1895 and January 1982.

2004 - A fire in the República Cromagnon nightclub in Buenos Aires killed 194.

2006 - 2 people were killed and 26 injured when Madrid's Barajas International Airport was bombed; the separatist organization ETA later claimed responsibility.
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