Rest in peace, Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” (1939)

  "Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?" That line, in Pink Floyd's "Vera," was my introduction to the existence of Vera Lynn. At the age of 11, with a fresh copy of The Wall in hand, I didn't necessarily understand all of the references (or all of the material, for that matter) contained in it. … Continue reading Rest in peace, Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” (1939)

On a mission from God: Solomon Burke, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (1964)

Forty years ago today - June 16, 1980 - The Blues Brothers made its film premiere. It was the first R-rated film I ever saw. In an age just in line with the advent of home video recorders and the infiltration of cable TV, it just wasn't as easy to see an "under 17 not … Continue reading On a mission from God: Solomon Burke, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (1964)

The more things change: Spanky and Our Gang, “Give A Damn” (1968)

(Above: Demonstration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1967. Photo credit: WOOD-TV) (Above: Demonstration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2020. Photo credit: John Rothwell) I missed being alive in 1968 by about a year or so. That's not to say that I haven't studied it extensively. One doesn't teach media history to college students and not spend time … Continue reading The more things change: Spanky and Our Gang, “Give A Damn” (1968)

Rest in peace, Betty Wright: “Clean Up Woman” (1971)

Soul singer Betty Wright passed away today at the age of 66. Wright technically started her singing career before she turned three. She was a member of Echoes of Joy, a group that featured her whole family, in Miami in 1956. It wasn't until ten years later, at the age of 13, that she recorded … Continue reading Rest in peace, Betty Wright: “Clean Up Woman” (1971)

Rest in peace, Little Richard: “Long Tall Sally” (1956)

Richard Penniman passed away today at the age of 87. Like anything about Little Richard, that sentence doesn't tell the whole story. Little Richard began his recording career in 1951 with RCA Victor. His early sides for them, including "Taxi Blues," didn't go anywhere on the charts. But in 1956 the world changed. Richard, recording … Continue reading Rest in peace, Little Richard: “Long Tall Sally” (1956)

New this week in ’70: May 2

(Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. Photo credit: KSU photojournalism student and Valley Daily News staffer John Filo, who won a Pulitzer prize for this image.) May 2, 1970 It's a Saturday, and just after midnight hundreds of Kent State students went into downtown breaking windows and causing commotion in an anti-war protest. This led to … Continue reading New this week in ’70: May 2