Friday, December 31, 2010

"On The Radio" by Donna Summer



Whether or not Donna Summer - born on this day in 1948 - ever said AIDS was a punishment from God* in the early Eighties, the damage to her once-stellar career was done. Her core fan base gone, the string of hits that made her the undisputed Queen of Disco evaporated almost as quickly as disco did; only the rock-flavoured She Works Hard for the Money managed to climb the charts in 1983 before she appeared to be washed up.

Nevertheless, at her peak she could do no wrong; Love to Love You Baby (1975), I Feel Love (1977), Last Dance and MacArthur Park (1978), Hot Stuff and Bad Girls (1979), and On the Radio (1980) are among the dozens of singles she released which form the greater part of the era's soundtrack.

In 1989 she returned to dance floor dominance - even in gay clubs - with This Time I Know It's For Real, from the album Another Place and Time, and in 2004 she was among the first inductees in the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

*And there are those who weren't even there who'll insist she did, even though she has been vehemently denying she said it ever since she is alleged to have said it. For the record, the Pop Culture Institute is willing to believe her version of events.
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Happy Birthday Bebe Neuwirth

PhotobucketAlthough for many of us, our first encounter with Bebe Neuwirth came when she portrayed Lilith Sternin, the romantic foil to Frasier Crane on Cheers - for which she earned Emmy Awards in 1990 and 1991 - she was a respected member of the Broadway community first, having made her stage debut in 1980 as Sheila in A Chorus Line; she's also appeared in such movies as Say Anything (1989), Green Card (1990), and Bugsy (1991).

However, I could listen to her performance of Velma Kelly in the 1996 revival of Chicago all day long - I know because I often have.

A graduate of Juilliard, Neuwirth was honoured with a Tony Award for her role in Chicago, as well as for her performance in the 1986 revival of Sweet Charity; she was also hailed in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees and most recently became the latest in a string of actresses to portray Morticia Addams in the Broadway version of The Addams Family opposite Nathan Lane as Gomez Addams.
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POPnews - December 31st

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[Except for New Year's Eve 1962, during which heavy snow caused the pendulum to detach and forced it to ring ten minutes late, and New Year's Eve 1976, which was interrupted due to major damage to the clock mechanism earlier that year, Big Ben has rung in the new year in the British capital every year since it was first built in 1859.]

1229 - An army commanded by Aragon's King James I - who was known as 'the Conqueror ' - entered Medina Mayurqa (which he promptly renamed Palma) thus completing the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca.

1600 - The British East India Company was chartered by England's Queen Elizabeth I.

1687 - The first Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution in France, set sail for the Cape of Good Hope.

1831
- Gramercy Park was deeded to New York City by Samuel B. Ruggles; the oldest private park in the United States, it's gated, and local residents are able to buy keys.

1857 - Queen Victoria chose Ottawa for Canada's capital over the likes of Toronto and Montreal, both of which have been over-compensating for it ever since.

1862 - The USS Monitor sank off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras.

1879 - Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, at Menlo Park.

1904 - The first New Year's Eve celebration was held in Manhattan's Times Square, then still known as Longacre Square.

1909 - The Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 - The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on BBC radio for the first time to mark the arrival of the New Year.

1929 - Guy Lombardo performed Auld Lang Syne at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City for the first time; coming as it did just two months after the Wall Street crashed must have given it the utmost poignance.

1960 - The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963 - The Central African Federation officially collapsed, splitting into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1981 - A coup d'├ętat in Ghana removed President Hilla Limann's PNP government and replaced it with the Provisional National Defence Council led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.

1986 - A fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killed 97 and injured 140.

1987 - Robert Mugabe assumed office as President of Zimbabwe; he clings to power still, but for how long...

1992 - Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1999 - Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in charge.

2007 - Boston's massive Big Dig construction project ended.
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