The Pop History Dig

“The End of the World”
Skeeter Davis: 1963

[...] In early 1963, a song by country singer Skeeter Davis with the title “The End of the World” was doing something that no other recording had done then or since then – making its way into the Top Ten of four of the nation’s music charts… This story covers the history of that song, the biography of Skeeter Davis, and the success of some of her country and pop music hits… Includes photos & music sample [...]


“The Saddest Song”
1936-2013

[...]“Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber might also be called “Adagio for Tears” since it is known for evoking very powerful emotion and sadness among its listeners. Used in film scores from “Elephant Man” to “Platoon,” Barber’s Adagio has also been used at prominent state & celebrity funerals, such as those for FDR, JFK. Grace Kelly & others – also played following 9/11. Electronic dance and trance DJ.s have recorded versions as well… This piece looks at the history and reception of “Adagio for Strings” and it related choral version, “Angus Dei”[...]


“Civil Rights Topics”
14 Selected Stories

[...] This “topics page” lists 14 stories at this website which include civil rights-related content. Among stories listed are several related to civil rights & music; civil rights & television; civil rights & art; and civil rights & politics – stories which include performers & artists such as: Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Norman Rockwell, Petula Clark, Harry Belafonte, Martha & the Vandellas, U2, and others. Also listed are stories on Jackie Robinson and Barack Obama, and others with sections on Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King [...]


“1930s Super Girl”
Babe Didrikson

[...] Mildred “Babe” Didrikson, received her Ruthian nickname for her sandlot baseball heroics in the late 1920s… But baseball was the least of her talents, as there was little in athletics she couldn’t do. Babe Didrikson would become a standout track & field sensation at the 1932 Summer Olympics, and thereafter, in the 1940s and 1950s, a golf superstar & multi-tournament winner who helped change the women’s game for the better…Her story, and death by cancer at age 45, is told here with period photos and numerous source links [...]


“The Yogi Chronicles”
1940s-2012

[...] Yogi Berra, the famous Hall-of-Fame, New York Yankee baseball player, in addition to becoming a sports celebrity of his day, also became something of cultural icon know for his “famous sayings” – sparking a bit of cottage industry in book publishing… Berra’s story not only captures the baseball aura of his times, but also shows how his sports popularity seeped into popular culture in a novel way, as Yogi Berra’s celebrity is now in its eighth decade [...]


“Empire Newhouse”
1920s-2012

Filed under: 1921-1930,1931-1940,1941-1950,1951-1960,1961-1970,1971-1980,1981-1990,1991-2000,2001-Today — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — J.D. @ 12:26 pm

[...] Advance Publications is a sprawling media empire of leading magazines, newspapers, cable TV and websites owned by the Newhouse family of Long Island, New York. In recent years the Newhouse/Advance empire has ranked among the 50 largest privately-held companies in the U.S. This article dips into the 90 years of Newhouse empire-building history, with some focus on the newspaper and magazine parts of the story, celebrity and political issues, and the Newhouse publishing and media impact on America culture…[...]


“Baseball Stories”
1900s-2000s

[...] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 14 baseball stories at this website, including in-depth profiles and photos of Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, Christie Mathewson, Lou Gehrig, and others [...]


“The U.S. Post Office”
1950s-2011

[...] A series of 1950s Saturday Evening Post magazine covers are presented by artist Stevan Dohanos, who offered several Post Office and U.S. mail-related scenes from American communities and everyday life… These serve as indications of the importance of the local post office and U.S. postal system in American culture and local communities for both mid-20th century America and beyond, offering some relevance to the current debate over the proposed closing of some 3,600 post offices across urban and rural America [...]


“Rockwell & Race”
1963-1968

[...] In 2011, Norman Rockwell’s painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” depicting a famous 1960 school desegregation scene in New Orleans, was displayed in the Obama White House. This article explores that painting and other Norman Rockwell civil rights paintings, as well as related history on magazine cover art dealing with African American and civil rights topics during the late 1950s and early 1960s [...]


“Reese & Robbie”
1945-2005

[...] A Brooklyn, NY “baseball sculpture” of Brooklyn Dodger players Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese dedicated in 2005, commemorates Reese’s “arm-around-the-shoulders” support of black player Robinson on the field during racial taunts and fan heckling at a 1947 Cincinnati Reds game….This story covers Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in major league baseball, the sculpture’s genesis, Brooklyn Dodger history, and more [...]


“Strange Fruit”
1939

[...] In 1939, blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday performed a song that was unlike any other that had come before it — a song titled, “Strange Fruit;” a song about the lynching of black people… “Strange Fruit” was not popular fare, but eventually, with Billie Holiday’s voice and presence, it permeated mainstream culture in an unsettling way, becoming a song of protest and a song that got attention [...]


“Babe Ruth & Tobacco”
1920s-1940s

[...] Baseball great Babe Ruth and his wife Claire are shown in a 1938 Los Angeles Times newspaper ad for White Owl cigars. Ruth’s involvement with other tobacco advertising – cigarettes, pipe, and chewing tobacco – is also covered, with some advertising samples & photos. Ruth’s throat disease is also discussed…[...]


“Al Jolson & Luckies”
1928-1940s

[...] In 1928, Al Jolson, fresh from the fame of appearing in the first talking motion picture, “The Jazz Singer” of 1927, also began appearing in American Tobacco Co. cigarette advertising for their Lucky Strike brand… American Tobacco, and other tobacco companies, would soon make film-star and celebrity advertising of cigarette brands a staple in their tobacco promotion campaigns through the 1930s, 1940s, and beyond… This story covers some of that history [...]


“Legs: Cyd Charisse”
1950s-1990s

[...] From the late 1940s through the 1960s, a classically-trained dancer named Cyd Charisse helped bring a new style of dance to Hollywood film during the Golden Age of the MGM musical. Dancing with partners such as Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and others in some of the most famous films of that era, including “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Band Wagon,” Charisse brought grace, beauty, and sensuality to dance in a way not often seen on film before that time, making her an audience favorite then and something of a Hollywood dance icon today [...]


“The Sound of Money”
2009

[...] In April 2009, a European entertainment company named Imagem Music, shelled out an estimated $250-to-$300 million to acquire the rights to the Broadway legacy of music legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein — plus their New York organization covering some 12,000 songs, 900 concert works, 100 musicals, and 200 writers [...]


Ava Gardner
1940s-1950s

[...] Hollywood film star Ava Gardner is profiled from her “country girl” roots in North Carolina to her discovery in New York City, her film roles, and her love affairs with other notables, including Artie Shaw, George C. Scott, Spanish bullfighters and others, but especially Frank Sinatra (separate sidebar)… Includes photos, film posters and magazine covers [...]


“Rosie The Riveter”
1941-1945

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.     “Rosie the Riveter” is the name of a fictional character  who came to symbolize the millions of real women who  filled America’s factories, munitions plants, and shipyards during World […]


“Slingin’ Sammy”
1930s-1950s

     It was December 1937 in Chicago.  The Washington Redskins professional football team had come to town to play the fearsome Chicago Bears in the National Football League championship game at Wrigley Field.  It was a bitterly cold day with frozen turf.  Washington, although a good team, wasn’t given much of a chance against “the […]


“Sixteen Tons”
1955-1956

The top song in America during late 1955 and early 1956 was a tune about coal mining — a song about the hard life and poverty of being a coal miner. Its title was “Sixteen Tons” and it was made popular by a singer named Tennessee Ernie Ford. The song had actually been written in the 1940s, its verse grown piecemeal from oft-heard phrases….


“The Sinatra Riots”
1942-1944

[...] In the early 1940s, as radio and recordings were making singers more broadly popular, it became clear they could also draw huge, adoring crowds to their live performances. And one of the first modern “teen idols” to do just that was a young singer from Hoboken, New Jersey named Frank Sinatra [...]


“Steinbeck to Springsteen”
1939-2006

“The Grapes of Wrath” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by John Steinbeck in 1939. Not only was this book a landmark social commentary in its day and a major publishing success, it became an award-winning and profitable Hollywood film, and also inspired at least two rounds of music — one by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and another by Bruce Springsteen in the 1990s [...]


“Babe Ruth Days”
1947 & 1948

…On April 27th, 1947, more than 58,000 fans packed Yankee Stadium to honor former New York Yankee baseball star Babe Ruth… It was 20 years since he had set baseball’s most revered record — hitting an unheard-of 60 home runs in one season — and it was more than a dozen years since he had been an active player… Still, on this Babe Ruth Day, the fans loved him…


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