Category Archives: Almanac

Halloween Playlist

Whether you’re handing out treats or partying down at a monster-mash bash of your own, here are a few songs for your listening pleasure. These are five of my favorites. What are some of yours? (recognize that zombie to the left?)

5. Rocky Horror Cast, “Time Warp”

With a jump to the left and then a step to the right. Richard O’Brien’s timeless “Time Warp” is the most fun one can have in Frankenfurter’s abode. There was a theater in St. Louis that played this show continuously for years.

4. Nina Simone, “I Put a Spell on You”

Nina Simone gives the most haunting, venomous reading. John Lennon once said that her inflections here inspired his and Paul McCartney’s vocal approach to “Michelle.”

3. Johnny Cash, “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”

This campfire spook story was a hit twice — in 1961 for the Ramrods and in 1981 for the Outlaws — but I prefer the Man in Black’s take on demon-cows who foretell an apocalyptic horsemen’s ride.

2. Mike Oldfield, “Tubular Bells”

When The Exorcist was released in 1973 I was a cocky 15-year-old who wasn’t afraid of movies. This film changed my mind. Several publications have regarded it one of the best horror films in history. For example, it was named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999, by Movies.com in 2010, by viewers of AMC in 2006, and by the editors of Time Out in 2014.

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”

We close with the finest Halloween song ever concocted. What more needs to be said about one of MJ’s most enduring moments both visually and musically? The Churchill dance team performed their own rendition at one of the football games each fall.

American Epic – One of the Greatest-Ever Untold Stories

The third and final episode of AMERICAN EPIC, a three-part historical documentary will air on PBS tonight, Tuesday. May 30 at 8 p.m.

Go inside one of the greatest-ever untold stories: how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. This three-part film, narrated by Robert Redford, melds space, time and technology to reveal the raw roots of American music. Tracing the odyssey of the first recording teams, from the gritty streets of Memphis to the Texas plains and the islands of Hawaii, American Epic captures the breathtaking variety and excitement of their discoveries. Starring: the Carter Family, Memphis Jug Band, Elder J.E. Burch, the Williamson Brothers and Curry, Dick Justice, Charley Patton, Hopi Indian Chanters, Joseph Kekuku, Lydia Mendoza, the Breaux Family, Mississippi John Hurt, and Blind Willie Johnson.

Over three episodes, narrated by Robert Redford, AMERICAN EPIC rescues this history. The remarkable lives of these seminal musicians are revealed through previously unseen film footage and photographs, and exclusive interviews with music pioneers, their families and eyewitnesses to the era.

Episode 103: “Out of the Many, the One”

Exotic cultures spanning America are captured on record for the first time — inventing new instruments and new cultural identities as disparate voices harmonize in a musical melting pot. The myriad threads of America’s musical tapestry include Hopi priests traveling to Washington to defend their sacred snake dance; an 11-year-old Hawaiian boy who invents the steel guitar; a teenage Tejana shaking the border with a ferocious feminist tango learned from a gum wrapper; the fightingest frères on the bayou turning a lament for a pretty blonde into the Cajun national anthem; and a gentle Delta farmer who sings a nostalgic song of his hometown and inspires the greatest rediscovery of the ’60s folk revival. Musicians featured: the Hopi Indian Chanters, Joseph Kekuku, Lydia Mendoza, the Breaux Frères, Mississippi John Hurt, Taj Mahal, Cyril Pahinui, and Louis Michot. Narrated by Robert Redford. 90 minutes.

Super Bowl LI

GettyImages-89546511-EFrom Brad’s Music Room Almanac comes today’s post. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Super Bowl. On January 15, 1967, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to win the first Super Bowl. As the Patriots and Falcons prepare to take the field for Super Bowl LI, read about some of the ways in which the hastily arranged first Super Bowl differed from today’s modern-day sporting spectacle.

In June 1966, the venerable National Football League (NFL) signed an agreement to merge with the upstart, seven-year-old American Football League (AFL) after the completion of the 1969 season. In the interim, the two rival leagues agreed to stage an annual season-ending contest between their respective champions.

AFL principal founder and Kansas City Chiefs owner, Lamar Hunt suggested that the new championship game be known as the “Super Bowl,” an idea inspired by the ultra-bouncy Super Ball toy from Wham-O—producers of the Frisbee and Hula Hoop—that was popular with his kids and millions of others across America, in the 1960s.

It may be hard to believe today, but the first Super Bowl was not a sellout—far from it. Official attendance in the cavernous, 94,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum failed to top 62,000. Many fans complained about the high ticket prices, which topped out at $12, while others were simply not interested.

There were no big-time musical acts or wardrobe malfunctions at the Super Bowl’s first halftime show. No Beatles, no Rolling Stones, not even the Monkees. Instead, the Anaheim High School drill team joined marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling College high-stepping across the field. Two rocket men from Bell Aerosystems, with jet packs filled with hydrogen peroxide, launched themselves 100 feet into the air before landing on the 50-yard line. The halftime festivities peaked with the release of 10,000 helium-filled balloons and hundreds of pigeons.

For more interesting facts about the first Super Bowl click here.

The number one song in January 1967 was “I’m a Believer”, a song composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by The Monkees in 1966 with the lead vocals by Micky Dolenz. The single, produced by Jeff Barry, hit the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending December 31, 1966 and remained there for seven weeks, becoming the last No. 1 hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling record for all of 1967.