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Posts Tagged ‘records

“If you start throwing hedgehogs under me, I shall throw a couple of porcupines under you”*…

 

In the fourth volume of Brett’s Miscellany, published in Dublin in 1757, readers could find an entry on a custom called “throwing at cocks.” This was an activity where a rooster was tied to a post while the participants, as if playing darts, threw small weighted and sharpened sticks (called coksteles) at the poor bird until it expired. The article explored the sport’s origin: “When the Danes were masters of England, and used the inhabitants very cruelly,” it began, “the people of a certain great city formed a conspiracy to murder their masters in one night.” The English artfully devised “a stratagem,” but “when they were putting it in execution, the unusual crowing and fluttering of the cocks about the place discovered their design.” The Danes, tipped off by the commotion, “doubled their cruelty” and made the Englishmen suffer as never before. “Upon this,” the entry concluded, “the English made custom of knocking the cocks on the head, on Shrove-Tuesday, the day on which it happened.” Very soon “this barbarous act became at last a natural and common diversion, and has continued every since.” Thus the innate human urge to throw things at things entered the early modern era…

On the human desire to hurl (and hurl things at) animals and other humans: “From Throwing Sticks at Roosters to Dwarf Tossing.”

* Nikita Khrushchev

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As we resist the temptation to toss, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939, in a football match between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Centenary Gentlemen at Centenary College Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that “one of the weirdest games in NCAA History” was played.  A torrential downpour and resultant muddy field conditions prevented either Texas Tech or Centenary from advancing the ball either running or passing.  To cope with the conditions, both teams resorted to immediate punting, hoping to recover a fumble at the other end of the field.  They combined to punt 77 times; the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Thirteen records still stand in the NCAA record books:

— Most punts combined both teams: 77 (42 were returned, 19 went out of bounds, 10 were downed, four were blocked, one went for a touchback and another was fair caught; 67 came on first down)

— Most punts by a team: 39, Texas Tech

— Fewest offensive plays: 12, Texas Tech (10 rushes, two passes for a total of minus-1 yard)

— Fewest plays allowed: 12, Centenary

— Fewest yards gained most plays: 30

— Fewest rushing attempts, both teams: 28

— Most punt returns: 22, Texas Tech (for 112 yards)

— Most punt returns, both teams: 42

— Most individual punts: 36, Charlie Calhoun, Texas Tech, for 1,318 yards (36.6 average)

— Punt yardage: 1,318 yards, Calhoun

— Punt returns (and total kick returns): 20, Milton Hill, Texas Tech, 110 yards

The 1939 Texas Tech football team

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Written by LW

November 11, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not”*…

 

From the moment Elvis Presley landed, we wanted every piece of him. This turned his old records into vinyl and shellac gold. While the value of discs by other popular mid-century artists such as Cliff Richard and Frank Sinatra dropped as time passed, Elvis’s didn’t. As an omnipresent figure, the prices of the King’s records rose to astronomical levels.

Unearthing an original “That’s All Right” record became a £4,000 lucky strike; a set of five original Sun singles at one time fetched £25,000. This made them a sort of pension for many collectors. They packed items away, hoping one day to exchange them for a caravan in the Dordogne. However, this has all begun to change…

As the King’s fans die of old age, and their collections hit the second-hand market, vintage Elvis records have never been cheaper: “Can’t help falling in price: why Elvis memorabilia is plummeting in value.”

* Stephen King

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As we feel our age, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that Chuck Berry recorded “Rock & Roll Music” at the Chess Studios in Chicago.  (Some websites report a recording date of either May 6 or May 21, but Steve Sullivan’s Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings affirms May 15 as the date of record.)

The tune reached number 6 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart and number 8 on its Hot 100.  But its impact continued to grow: it was covered by dozens of artists including Bill Haley & His Comets, the Beatles, the Beach Boys (who had a top ten hit with the song in 1976), Dickie Rock and the Miami Showband, REO Speedwagon, Mental As Anything, Humble Pie, Manic Street Preachers and Bryan Adams.  In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Berry’s version number 128 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”; and the song is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

 

Written by LW

May 15, 2017 at 1:01 am

“American music starts here”*…

 

The story of Paramount Records is a fascinating one—the beginning is set about 100 years ago, in a Wisconsin furniture company that began pressing records in hopes that’d help them sell record players, which in their early years were indeed whoppin’ big ol’ pieces of furniture. The middle sees that furniture company curating and releasing a jaw-dropping and still legendary catalogue of classic early jazz and Delta blues 78s by the likes of Charley Patton, Ma Rainey, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. The end of the story sees the closing of the company and disgruntled employees flinging those now priceless shellac records into the Milwaukee River and melting down the metal masters for scrap. The whole story can be found in greater detail online, or in the books Paramount’s Rise and Fall and Do Not Sell At Any Price.

What concerns us here are the label’s print ads, which ran in The Chicago Defender. I’ve tried mightily to find the names of the artists who drew these. People in a better position to know than I assure me their identities are lost to the years, though they may have been staff illustrators at a Madison ad agency. The loss of that knowledge is a damned shame, because without knowing it, those artists altered the history of underground comix, by serving as an acknowledged influence on that form’s grand pooh-bah, Robert Crumb. Even a superficial glance at some of these ads reveals a precursor to Crumb’s famous signature style (it’s strikingly evident in the slouching posture of some of these characters), and Crumb paid direct homage to these artists in a series of trading card sets that have been compiled into the book R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country—the comix artist’s abiding passion for the music of the early recording era has never been a secret…

Appropriately, this slideshow of Crumb’s blues-inspired works is set to a Paramount record, Charley Patton’s “Down the Dirt Road Blues”:

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More of the Paramount story– and more examples of the extraordinary ads– at “The Amazing Old Paramount Records Ads that Inspired R. Crumb.”

[TotH to friend Ted Nelson]

* Michael Ventura, in the wonderful essay “Hear That Long Snake Moan

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As we re-track our lives to twelve-bar blues, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that Richard Wayne Penniman– better known as Little Richard– entered the U.S. pop charts for the first time with “Tutti Frutti,” a song he’d recorded four months earlier.  As History.com reports,

Tutti frutti, good booty…” was the way the version went that Little Richard was accustomed to performing in his club act, and from there it got into lyrical territory that would demand censorship even by today’s standards. It was during a lunch break from his first-ever recording session that Little Richard went to the piano and banged that filthy tune out for producer Bumps Blackwell, who was extremely unhappy with the results of the session so far. As Blackwell would later tell it, “He hits that piano, dididididididididi…and starts to sing, ‘Awop-bop-a-Loo-Mop a-good Goddam…’ and I said ‘Wow! That’s what I want from you Richard. That’s a hit!'” But first, the song’s racy lyrics had to be reworked for there to be any chance of the song being deemed acceptable by the conservative American audience of the 1950s.

An aspiring local songwriter by the name of Dorothy La Bostrie was quickly summoned to the Dew Drop Inn [in New Orleans] to come up with new lyrics for the un-recordable original, and by the time they all returned from lunch, the “Tutti frutti, all rooty” with which we are now familiar was written down alongside lyrics about two gals named Sue and Daisy. In the last 15 minutes of that historic recording session on September 14, 1955, “Tutti Frutti” was recorded, and Little Richard’s claim to have been present at the birth of rock and roll was secured.

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Written by LW

January 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Everybody’s a critic”*…

 

In her latest hit, Miley Cyrus sings that she “came in like a wrecking ball.”  David McDonagh, a third-year natural sciences student at The Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at University of Leicester, did the math and concluded that it’s probably a bad idea to literally smash someone’s walls with your body:

An ordinary wrecking ball is a massive, incredibly durable object. It has to be to break down the buildings and structures we take so much time putting up. An average ball could be anywhere from 1,000 to 7,000 kilograms of solid metal. The material helps, but what really gets the work done is the swinging. When you swing a massive object, it gains a lot of momentum. And when that momentum suddenly changes—when the ball hits a wall—a huge amount of force is produced. That’s what makes it through concrete and steel and brick. So how good a wrecking ball would Miley be?

Miley is nowhere near as heavy as an average wrecking ball, so to produce the same momentum, she would have to come in incredibly fast. Assuming she weighed 125 pounds, she would have to come in like a wrecking ball at over 390 miles per hour to generate the same momentum.

And what happens when this Miley ball hits a wall? Assuming a rapid deceleration, Miley pulls 350 G’s impacting the wall with over 198,000 Newtons—a force equivalent to getting hit with all the force rocketed out of a 747 engine at once.

If Miley really did come in like a wrecking ball, she would never again hit so hard in love, because she’d be dead.

Read more at Discover, and read David’s paper, “The viability of coming in like a wrecking ball,”  Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, here.

* cliche (c.f., here)

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As we have second thoughts about our similes, we might  recall that it was on this date in 1930 that Amy Johnson left Croydon, south of London, on on a flight to Darwin, becoming the first female pilot (or in the language of the time, “aviatrix”) to fly solo from England to Australia, a journey of 11,000 miles.  She had learned to fly only a little more than a year before.

The first British-trained women qualified as a ground engineer, she went on to set a number of long-distance flying records in the 30s, both solo and flying with her husband, Jim Mollison.  She flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary, where she died during a ferry flight in 1941.

The second-hand de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth she bought to make the Australia flight is on display in London’s Science Museum.

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Written by LW

May 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

“People still come up to me and ask me to sign their records. That’s right, records! Man, they don’t even make records no more!…”*

 source

Actually, they do– and the British music retailer Rough Trade is betting big on them.  Last week, Rough Trade opened a massive (15,000 square foot) store stocking some CDs and lots and lots of vinyl records.

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It took 20 employees and various friends and family members 30 hours, over three days, to stock the shelves with 23,000 discs and CDs in time for the store’s opening party– a process documented by Stephen Mallon for the New York Times:

 click image above, or here, for video

* The Rev. Al Green

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As we fish out our turntables, we might take a memorial moment to dangle our pinkies from the pier, in memory of the great Otis Redding; he died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin on this date in 1967, at the age of 26.  Redding had left the studios of Stax/Volt Records in Memphis, planning to return to finish the song he’d been recording– he needed to replace the whistling track he’d used as a placeholder for lyrics he still needed to write.  But first he had to appear on a TV show in Cleveland, and perform a concert in Madison…  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was released in its “unfinished” form several weeks later. It became the first posthumous #1 hit and the biggest pop hit of Redding’s career.

email readers, click here

Written by LW

December 10, 2013 at 1:01 am

Sending Out An S.O.S…

 

From the first known message in a bottle (launched by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, one of Aristotle’s pupils, in 310 BCE) to the 26-foot, 2.7-ton bottle (carrying a 129-square-foot message) expected to make landfall shortly, a history of the message in a bottle

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As we wait shoreside, we might recall that it was on this date in 1978 that West Australian fisherman Arron Marshall finished a 336 hours shower… and earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Written by LW

August 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

World Records for the rest of us!…

Recordsetter is, its cofounder suggests, “kind of the Wikipedia to Guinness’ Encyclopedia Britannica.”

We believe everyone can be the world’s best at something. Our mission is to raise the bar of human achievement through world records.

  • So wait, can anyone set a world record? Heck yes. All you need is a unique skill, a video camera and a bit of imagination. Beyond that, the rules are simple: records you submit must be quantifiable, breakable and include sufficient media evidence. Creativity is highly encouraged.
  • What categories are acceptable? We make it our policy to never subjectively judge submissions, as long as our basic guidelines are followed. We strongly encourage feats that push human achievement in a positive direction. See our RecordSetter Principles below.
  • How are submissions moderated? We rely on record setters to provide honest, accurate information about the records they’re submitting. Our approval process includes both community moderation and a round of input from our internal RecordSetter Council. We’re currently developing tools that will allow users greater control in editing submissions.

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As we reach for the stars… or the Starburst, we might spare a fanciful thought for Rodman Edward “Rod” Serling; he died on this date in 1975.  An award-winning screenwriter (e.g. the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Requiem for a Heavyweight) and radio-television producer, he is surely best-remembered for his ground-breaking series The Twilight Zone.

Serling had run afoul of network pressure, even censorship, in his experience with Kraft Television Theater and Playhouse 90; he turned to the speculative fiction format believing that he could more easy fly under the network’s repressive radar– a strategy that allowed him to explore anti-war and anti-racist themes in episodes that won Emmy, Christopher, WGA, Hugo, and Golden Globe awards.

Ironically, it was the extraordinary quality of Serling’s writing that led to the phenomenon of re-runs on television:  His Patterns (for Kraft Television Theater) aired at a time when sponsors believed that creating new shows every week would yield the largest possible audience.  But response– from both viewers and critics– to Serling’s piece was so strong (it inspired New York Times critic Jack Gould to write an essay urging the use of re-plays within the tele-play format) that it was re-produced– the first time a show was recreated exactly, with the same cast and crew, as it had been originally aired.  The re-broadcast was a hit…  and the re-run was born.

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination—next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

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Written by LW

June 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

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