Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Always" by James Ingram

Birthday wishes go out today to James Ingram, whose 1986 single Always - from his second album, Never Felt So Good - spins the usual soulful sounds that fans of his earlier releases like Baby, Come to Me (a duet with Patti Austin featuring the background vocals of Michael McDonald) and Yah Mo B There had come to expect from him alongside the synth-driven sound of the times.

Ingram later followed up this lesser-known offering with a pair of smashes, including Somewhere Out There (a duet with Linda Ronstadt featured in Steven Spielberg's 1986 movie An American Tail - directed by Don Bluth) and 1990's I Don't Have the Heart.
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Pop History Moment: The Rise of Fidel Castro

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOn this day in 1959 Fidel Castro was sworn in as the youngest Prime Minister in Cuban history, succeeding José Miró Cardona, whose own resignation from the position was considered sudden. Cardona was later appointed ambassador to Spain by Castro.

Castro's leadership of the 26th of July movement against the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista - originating in 1953 with an attack on the Moncada Barracks - has come to be known as the Cuban Revolution in the five decades since it occurred.

The image* accompanying this post makes reference to various plots by the US government to assassinate the only communist leader in the Americas by means of - among other things - exploding cigars. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan all gunned for him; now they're all dead and he's still alive. Good job there guys.

*On a personal note, the Pop Culture Institute only recently acquired its own copy of the October 1963 issue of
magazine shown at right... I mean, seriously. How could we not?

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POPnews - February 16th

[During the aptly named Ash Wednesday fires 2,080 sq. km (513,979 acres) in South Australia and 2,100 sq. km (518,921 acres) in Victoria burned in a single day, with 5,196 sq. km (1,284,000 acres) in all burnt throughout the 1982/83 season; Victoria had 47 deaths, with 28 in South Australia, and 2676 injuries reported in total.]

1279 - Portugal's King Afonso III died; he was succeeded by his son Denis.

1742 - Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, became British Prime Minister.

1804 - Stephen Decatur, Jr. led a successful raid from the ketch Intrepid in Tripoli harbor to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia during the First Barbary War.

1899 - France's President Félix Faure died of a fit of apoplexy following an assignation with his mistress Marguerite Steinheil.

1918 - The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopted the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.

1923 - Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber within the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

1934 - The Commission of Government was sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland; the Commission governed until March 1949, when Newfoundland 'voted' to join the Canadian Confederation.

1936 - Democratic elections brought a leftist coalition called Popular Front to power in Spain, under the leadership of Manuel Azaña; a right-wing coup staged by Francisco Franco the following July not only unseated them but instigated the Spanish Civil War.

1945 - American forces landed on the Philippine island of Corregidor - at the entrance of Manila Bay - with the intent of recapturing it from the Japanese.

1957 - The so-called Toddlers' Truce - a controversial television closedown between 6 and 7 PM - was abolished in the United Kingdom.

1959 - Fidel Castro was sworn in as Prime Minister of Cuba following the overthrow of dictator Fulgencio Batista on January 1st.

1968 - In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system went into service.

1983 - The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claimed the lives of 75 people; they remained the worst wildfires in Australian history until those of 2009.

1985 - The terrorist organization Hezbollah was founded.

1986 - The Soviet ocean liner Mikhail Lermontov ran aground and then sank off New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds, resulting in the death of one crew member; resting at a depth of only 37 metres, the ship is now a popular reef for scuba divers.

1987 - The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed 'Ivan the Terrible' in Treblinka extermination camp, started in Jerusalem.

1991 - Enrique Bermúdez, leader of the Nicaraguan Contras, was assassinated in Managua by person or persons unknown.

1993 - Australia's first woman Premier, Western Australia's Carmen Lawrence, was voted out of office; she was succeeded by Richard Court.

2005 - The Kyoto Protocol came into force, following its ratification by Russia.
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