Category Archives: Almanac

Remembering Super Bowl XXXVI

I will admit. I’m not overly excited about watching tonight’s Super Bowl game. I expected a battle between the two best teams during the regular season. Instead we have to spend yet another Super Bowl Sunday watching Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Even before this season the Patriots had appeared in more Super Bowls than any other franchise (10). The New England Patriots (5–5), Dallas Cowboys (5–3), and San Francisco 49ers (5–1) have five wins. The Pittsburgh Steelers (6–2) have won the most Super Bowls with six. The Denver Broncos (3–5) and Patriots have each lost a record five Super Bowls. With a win the Patriots will move into a tie with the Steelers for most wins. Otherwise they will possess the dubious distinction of biggest losers.

Before the season the Rams played in three Super Bowls. They were 0-1 in Los Angeles and 1-1 in St. Louis.

Pregame Notes

This is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI when the Rams were based in St. Louis. Only one player, Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady, remains on either roster from that contest. Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ head coach in that contest, also remains in that position.

The Patriots defeated the Rams by the score of 20–17. It was New England’s first Super Bowl championship, and the franchise’s first league championship of any kind. The game was also notable for snapping the AFC East’s long streak of not being able to win a Super Bowl championship. The division had lost eight Super Bowls in total (prior to the Patriots victory in XXXVI). It would be the last time the Rams reached a Super Bowl during their time in St. Louis.

Super Bowl LIII features record setting age differences between rival coaches and quarterbacks, pitting the 41-year old Tom Brady against the 24-year old Jared Goff, as well as the 66-year old Bill Belichick against 33-year old Sean McVay.

Super Bowl XXXVI Halftime Show

The halftime show featured a three-song set from Irish rock band U2. They had just completed their successful Elevation Tour. After a rendition of “Beautiful Day“, the band played “MLK” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” as the names of the victims from the September 11 attacks were projected onto a sheet behind the stage. While singing “Where the Streets Have No Name”, the group’s lead singer Bono replaced the lyrics “take shelter from the poison rain” with “dance in the Louisiana rain”, “high on a desert plain” with “where there’s no sorrow or pain”, and the final line “it’s all I can do” with “it’s all we can do”. At the conclusion of the song, Bono opened his jacket to reveal an American flag printed into the lining. U2’s halftime show captivated the audience as a poignant tribute to those who had been lost in the attacks. In 2009, SI.com ranked it the best halftime show in Super Bowl history.

John Lennon writes and records “Instant Karma” in a single day

“I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch and we’re putting it out for dinner.” That’s the way John Lennon told the story of “Instant Karma,” one of his most memorable songs. It was his third single as a solo artist to appear before the official breakup of the Beatles. The only exaggeration in John’s description was the part about dinner. “Instant Karma” wasn’t actually released to the public until 13 days after it was written and recorded. This happened over the course of a single Tuesday, on January 27, 1970. By any measure, it was one of the fastest pop songs ever to come to market.

“Instant Karma” came during a tumultuous time for John and for the band he would soon leave behind. The Beatles had spent the better part of 1969 trying to decide whether or not they were still a band. They abandoned recording sessions that had just begun. And they canceled plans for their first live performances in more than three years.

New Directions

The material for both of the band’s last two albums—Abbey Road and Let it Be—was recorded that year. However Let it Be sat unreleased and without an agreed-upon producer. Lennon, meanwhile, was moving in a new direction. “Give Peace a Chance,” had already come out under the name “The Plastic Ono Band”. “Cold Turkey,” his wrenching account of kicking heroin came out that same year. By January 1970, John had walked away from the Beatles. The from down Plastic Ono Band was the only musical entity he considered himself part of.

The January 27 session came about spontaneously. Lennon wrote the song that morning and, as he said, “I knew I had a hit record.” What got the record finished that same day and gave it its incredible sound, however, was the unexpected appearance of Phil Spector that evening in the EMI studios. After several run-throughs under Spector’s direction, John said, “Suddenly we went in the room and heard what he’d done to it…it was fantastic. It sounded like there was [sic] fifty people playing.” John’s happiness with the results would lead directly to Spector’s taking over the dormant Let it Be project—a development that ended up driving a further wedge between Lennon and McCartney prior to the official breakup of the Beatles.

In Memoriam: Musicians We Lost in 2018

Ray Thomas (29 December 1941 – 4 January 2018)

Ray Thomas, flautist, vocalist and founding member of the Moody Blues, died January 4 at the age of 76.

Thomas appeared on all of the prog rock band’s albums – including their classic LPs like:

Thomas retired from the Moody Blues in 2002 after suffering from a series of health issues. In 2013, Thomas revealed that he was suffering from “in-operable” prostate cancer.

Tony Joe White (July 24, 1943 – October 24, 2018)
strong down

Singer-songwriter Tony Joe White died Wednesday, October 24th.

White had a Top Ten record with “Polk Salad Annie,” in 1969. He was also perhaps best known as the writer of “Rainy Night in Georgia,”. This song was a Number Four pop hit for Brook Benton in 1970. Furthermore, other acts covered this song including:

  • Hank Williams Jr.,
  • B.J. Thomas,
  • Shelby Lynne, and
  • as a duet by Conway Twitty and Sam Moore.

White died of natural causes at his home in Leipers Fork, Tennessee, just outside Nashville. He was 75.

Marty Balin (January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018)

Marty Balin died Thursday, September 27 at the age of 76. 

Balin was an American singer, songwriter, and musician best known as the founder and one of the lead singers and songwriters of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.

He co-founded the San Francisco psychedelic rock band in 1965. He played a crucial role in the creation of all their 1960s albums, He contributed to and sang lead on four top-20 hits, including;

Balin’s rep confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone, though the cause of death is currently unknown.

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018)

Aretha Franklin died Thursday, August 16 at the age of 76.

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career recording for Columbia Records. She found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966. Hit songs such as “Respect“, “Chain of Fools“, “Think“, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman“, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)“, and “I Say a Little Prayer“, propelled her past her musical peers. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as “The Queen of Soul“.

Hall of Fame singer, cultural icon and civil rights activist who influenced countless vocalists succumbs to pancreatic cancer.