Wednesday, 21 September 2022

ba-dee-ya (10. 152)

Co-written by Alta Sherral “Allee” Willis (whose credits include “Boogie Wonderland,” the Pet Shop Boys’ “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” scoring for Beverly Hills Cop and The Color Purple and the Friendstheme song) and the band’s lead vocalist Maurice White (“You Deserve the Best of My Love,” “That’s What Friends Are For”), Earth, Wind & Fire’s September was an international hit, inscribed on the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2018, four decades after its release. There’s no consensus regarding the significance of the date—other than it was recorded in September and the twenty-first was most resonant, and reportedly Willis didn’t care for the nonsense lyrics and down to the last minute had insisted that they were only place-holders and urged White to cut the gibberish, eventually relenting and admittedly learning a lesson about composition.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

brackets, in kilohertz, closed brackets (10. 058)

In winter of 1978 in response to a newly brokered international broadcasting frequency allocation scheme, much of the BBC’s presence on the radio dial shifted and to pass this information to the listening public, the Broadcasting Corporation commissioned the a capella vocal ensemble The King’s Singers to harmonise a series of psalm settings to list the changed stations. It was released as a single by EMI Records as the transition was coming into effect called “Some Enchanted Wavelength.” After this pause for station identification, the public became endeared to the group for the 1984 televised documentary series on minstrel traditions in Western Europe called The Madrigal History Tour in deference to the Beatles’ album. Listen to more announcements in anticipation of the 23 November changes, please click here.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

come on down to fifty-four (10. 051)

Released on this day in 1978, the eponymous second studio album from the band, C’est Chic (Trรฉs Chic in Europe), not only includes their signature funk, disco number “Le Freak,” other tracks “Chic Cheer,” “Savoir Faire” and “I Want Your Love” also did exceedingly well in the charts, prompting not only climbing to and holding number one international but also the album’s inclusion on the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry as “culturally, historically and artistically significant.” The song commemorates the New Year’s Eve party at Studio 54 that the bandmates did not get to attend, despite having been invited by Grace Jones—she neglected apparently to inform the doormen and bouncers, and originally had the refrain “F— you!” instead of “Freak out!,” which was the response of club staff when refusing bassist Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers entrance.

Friday, 10 June 2022

meditate in my direction

Reaching number one on UK and US singles charts on this day in 1978, the John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John duet from Grease (released as the second single, “Hopelessly Devoted to You” was the lead, from the original movie soundtrack) was written specifically for Sandy Olsson and was not in the stage version and not universally admired among the production team as not fitting with the rest of the score. The number from the Warren Casey lyric was to be “All Choked Up,” an Elvis pastiche with Sandy being a bit more forward with T-Bird leader Danny Zuko.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

capricorn one

The 1978 conspiracy thriller by Peter Hyams starring Karen Black, Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, OJ Simpson, Hal Holbrook and Telly Savalas, considered the most successful independent production of that year, premiered in cinemas on this day and tells the story of an aborted crewed mission to Mars whose members are kidnapped from the launchpad—the life-support systems deemed unfit for purpose—and transported to a film studio, under duress with their families under threat—to complete their journey of exploration in front of the cameras. Fearing another blow to public interest and confidence in the space programme and attendant loss of billions in contracts, NASA administrators force the astronauts to act out their Martian adventure. Unfortunately this plot strengthened and perpetuated the theory that the Moon landing was faked and directed by Stanley Kubrick with The Shining being a veiled confession for his involvement in the deception.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

yea i didn’t falter—just kept on going, man! i knew nirvana was straight around the corner. i turned the corner and ran smack into betty crocker! she was running across the sky yelling you never outgrow your need for milk:

The low-budget 1978 sci-fi movie Laserblast starring Roddy McDowall (previously), Kim Milford (original cast member of Hair, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and both Jesus and Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar), Cheryl Lynn “Rainbeaux” Smith and introducing Eddie Deezen received the MST3K treatment on this day in 1996 as the season finale of its seventh and last on the Comedy Central cable channel, before being untethered (the Umbilicus of the Satellite of Love cut) the mad scientist lair Deep 13 and drifting into interstellar space—foreshadowing its imminent move to the Sci-Fi network. A teenage loner discovers a powerful piece of alien technology that slowly corrupts him and compels him to seek revenge (a popular genre at the time) against those who’ve wronged him.

enmod

Signed on this day in 1977 in Geneva—the Environmental Modification Convention—formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques—entering into force in October the following year, the international treaty—party to some eighty nations and binding for all UN members after ratification, it originally bans weather warfare to induce damage or famine. Expanded later to include instances of destructive geoengineering and modification to the atmosphere, the subject of herbicides, like Agent Orange, is contentiously unaddressed as how the framework of this convention might now be interpreted and applied to those territories most vulnerable to the effects of global warming and sea rise.

Friday, 11 March 2022

you had a temper like my jealousy, too hot, too greedy

The debut single from Kate Bush “Wuthering Heights”—arranged aged nineteen and inspired by the Emily Brontรซ novel (see previously here and here) began a four week run on the top of UK charts on this day in 1978. The record company had wanted instead to lead with the single “James and the Cold Gun” from the album, but at the artist’s insistence, her signature, phenomenal composition won out. Much more—including the music video plus cos-play—at the links above.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

xmodem

Emerging from the disruption and necessary respite, downtime afforded by the Great Blizzard of 1978 that blanketed much of the US Midwest, computer hobbyists Ward Christensen and Randy Suess of Chicago created the programme and platform to host the world’s first Computerised Bulletin Board System (see also) on this day of the same year, inventing much of the accepted protocol and terminology for messages, threads and forums.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

eeny, meeny, miney milliters

Via our peripatetic friend, Messy Nessy Chic, we are enjoying this 1978 Schoolhouse Rock! style campaign (from the same creative team) to bring the metric system to United States of America (see also) whose success and legacy presently is dubious at best.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

rainbow connection

On this day in 1978, the Rainbow Flag, created by artist and seamster Gilbert Baker (*1951 – †2017) was unfurled for the first time at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade, an event that originated around 1972 as an informal “gay-in” and is now a celebration of pride echoed around the world.
Gilbert met Harvey Milk in 1974, who asked him to create a new symbol for the community—wanting to jettison the shorthand of the day, the Pink Triangle, reclaiming a badge of shame that the Nazis used for imprisoned men identified as homosexuals as a means of self-identification but dark and derivative nonetheless—prompting Gilbert to design his flag (previously). The colourful motif was possibly inspired by the PACE flags that first appeared during an Italian peace march in 1961 or the Judy Garland ballad, Over the Rainbow. While the banner certainly represents the diversity of the community and the struggle for recognition and civil rights, the original eight stripes had specific meanings: hot pink stood for sex, red for life, orange was healing, yellow was sunshine, green was Nature, turquoise stood for magic and art, indigo for serenity and violet represented spirit. Hot pink was subsequently dropped due to the lack of fabric and dye, and the six banded version was adopted in 1979, blending indigo and turquoise as royal blue—though often throughout the 1990s, a black stripe was added to represent those whom had died due to complications from AIDS.