The Pop History Dig

“Noteworthy Ladies”
Topics Page: 36 Stories

[…] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 36 stories at this website on female careers in music, film, sport, politics, publishing and other endeavors… Some offer in-depth biographical profiles with extensive photos, and in the case of recording artists, mp3 song files… Among those featured, are: Ali MacGraw, Anna Q Nilsson, Ava Gardner, Babe Didrikson, Barbara Lewis, Barbra Streisand, Bette Davis, Billie Holiday, Carly Simon, Cyd Charisse, Dinah Shore, Gisele Bündchen, Grizabella from “Cats,” Janis Joplin, Lady Gaga, Keira Knightley, Linda Ronstadt, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Martha & the Vandellas, Meryl Streep, Mia Farrow, Pearl White, Petula Clark, Princess Diana, Rachel Carson, Rosie The Riveter, Sarah Palin, Skeeter Davis, Taylor Swift, the Ronettes, The Shirelles, and Tina Turner […]


“Linda & Jerry”
1971-1983

[…] This story tracks the 1970s-early-1980s relationship between rock star Linda Ronstadt and California politician Jerry Brown – and also the music and politics of that era… By 1975, Brown and Ronstadt were high-profile celebrities – he, California’s governor, and she, rising to the top of the rock music business…Story covers their unlikely relationship and rising careers through the 1970s – including the glare of Brown’s presidential bids in 1976 and 1980 – press & media coverage; speculation of a possible marriage between the two; four Ronstadt songs; and more […]


“Burn On, Big River…”
Cuyahoga River Fires

[…] This story explores the history of several Cuyahoga River fires in the Cleveland, Ohio region, circa 1890s to 1969; their influence on national environmental history & public policy; and some related music from Randy Newman, R.E.M., and Adam Again… Includes photos, political cartoons, and some music […]


“Flash Boy Lewis”
1989-2014

Filed under: 1981-1990,1991-2000,2001-Today — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — J.D. @ 1:08 pm

[…] In March/April 2014, a new book about high-speed computerized stock trading on Wall Street titled “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis created a firestorm of controversy by revealing unfair electronic practices, leading to charges of a “rigged market” and subsequent inquiries by the FBI, SEC, and other agencies, as well as action in Congress… Lewis, a prolific & colorful writer is featured as something of a literary “flash boy” in this piece, which covers his 15 books, 2 films & their impact, dubbing him “one of the nation’s most engaging interpreters of business culture,”[…]


“Celebrity Gifford”
1950s-2000s

[…] Frank Gifford, a talented New York Giants football player in the 1950s & 1960s, became a popular figure in New York & nationally and a familiar face in print & TV ads. He also became one of the first professional athletes to successfully venture into TV sports broadcasting, first with CBS and later — for 25-plus years — on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” program. Gifford’s celebrity, in fact, would span nearly six decades, helped in later years by his marriage to Kathie Lee Gifford, books & magazine stories about him, his own publishing, and a controversy or two […].


“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 […]


“U2’s MLK Songs”
1984

[…] In 1984, the Irish rock group U2 included two songs in homage to Martin Luther King on their album, The Unforgettable Fire – “Pride (In the Name of Love),” a song about Martin Luther King’s non-violent activism in the U.S. civil rights movement, and “MLK,” a dreamy lullaby alluding to life struggles… This brief story explores the history of those songs, their making, and reception […]


“Dark Side’s 40 Years”
1973-2013

[…] A 1973 rock music album by the British group Pink Floyd, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ stayed on Billboard’s top 200 albums sales chart for 741 consecutive weeks, from March 1973 to April 1988, setting an all-time record….But the album’s Billboard chart heroics is less than half the story, as ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ – now in its 40th anniversary year – continues to be popular. This article explores the long-standing appeal of Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side’ album, how it enriched the members of its band, and how its has moved its listeners… Song samples included […]


“What A Wonderful World”
Louis Armstrong:1967-68

[…] In 1967, at the age of 66, jazz master Louis Armstrong recorded a song titled, “What A Wonderful World.” Armstrong’s very poignant, gravelly-voiced version of this song – brimming with his ebullient character and optimism – is regarded as a classic… However, this song had a rough beginning as it was opposed by an ABC Records executive… And 20 years after its first release, it was revived, by above all things, a Vietnam War movie […]


“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 […]


“Love Me Do”
1962-2012

[…] This story covers the history of the Beatles’ first hit song, “Love Me Do,” their first recording sessions at EMI’s Abbey Road studios in London, how their manager Brian Epstein pushed to get them a recording contract in the early 1960s, and how their relationship with recording engineer George Martin developed around that song and thereafter…The story also includes mp3 versions of 4 songs and also tracks 20-year and 50-year history surrounding “Love Me Do” & the Beatles […]


“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…[…]


“Brian’s Song”
C-SPAN

[…] Brian Lamb is the founder and creator of the C-SPAN public affairs TV network that covers Congress and a lot more… Lamb has consistently shown with his eclectic range of subjects and guests, how television can be used to inform citizens and elevate learning, doing so without bombast or celebrity fanfare. Lamb and C-SPAN have created a valuable “public learning commons” for millions. That story, and Lamb’s career, are explored in this article […]


“Reagan & Springsteen”
1984

[…] In September 1984, during the U.S. presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan made remarks in a speech at Hammonton, New Jersey invoking the name of rock star Bruce Springsteen that created a bit of controversy about Reagan’s intent and the nature, politics, and meaning of Springsteen’s music […]


“Beatles History”
Ten Stories

[…] This “topics page” lists ten Beatles stories published at this website, with links to each story, including: the first U.S. Beatles concert in 1964; the Beatles’ activities and rise in America during 1964; a profile of the song “Dear Prudence” & “White Album” history;” the Beatles & Nike battling over the use of “Revolution” in a Nike TV ad; history of Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson & the Beatles song catalog; John Lennon history during the time he wrote the song “Watching the Wheels,” and a story on the “Paul-is-dead” rumor & the time of the Beatles’ break-up […]


“Ray Sings America”
1972-2011

[…] There is probably no more soulful a version of “America The Beautiful” than that performed by legendary bluesman Ray Charles… A much-loved song by many Americans, the Ray Charles version has become something of a classic since Charles first recorded it in 1972… This story covers some of that history, as well as Charles’ performance of the song in an emotional closing at the 1984 Republican National Convention […]


“The Jack Pack”
Pt.2: 1961-1990s

[…] Part 2 of the history of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack and their dealings with the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy and his presidency thorugh 1963…. The story picks up at 1961 JFK inauguration and also covers Sinatra’s falling out with JFK, some history on Rat Pack & JFK friends such as Marilyn Monroe, and ends with a “Rat Pack Postscript” on lives & careers beyond the Rat Pack years […]


“Love is Strange”
1956-2007

[…] In January 1957, a new song with the title “Love is Strange” by two artists known as “Mickey & Sylvia” became a top hit on the R&B and pop music charts and a million-seller… Thirty years later, the song had a revival of sorts with the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing” when the song was used as a background piece for a practice dance session with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey […]


“Big Chill”Promo
1983-1998:Video

[…] This is the movie trailer for 1983’s “The Big Chill,” a film about eight former 1960s’ college friends who gather for an unscheduled reunion following a friend’s untimely suicide. The film became something of a landmark in its influence on the subsequent use of original, pre-existing rock songs in commercial advertising […]


“The Loco-Motion”
1962-1988

[…]”The Loco-Motion” is the name of 1962 dance song authored by famous Brill Building song-writing duo, Carole Kind & Gerry Goffin, and recorded by a young artist known as Little Eva… Two other artists — Grand Funk Railroad, an American rock band of the 1970s, and Kylie Monogue, an Australian pop star of the 1980s, also had hits with the song. “The Loco-Motion,” it turns out, is one of a very few songs that managed to top the popular music charts in three separate decades […]


“Mia’s Metamorphoses”
1966-2010

[…] In the mid-1960s, a young actress named Mia Farrow was the TV celebrity de jour starring in a new kind of prime-time soap opera called “Peyton Place”…It now seems light years away from that earlier time, and Ms. Farrow, with an impressive film career behind her, has lived a life full of twists & turns, interesting people, and now international activism… Some of her story is offered here […]


“Pepsi’s Madonna Video”
1989

[…] Short 2 minute video of a March 1989 TV ad for Pepsi entitled “Make a Wish,”
featuring pop music star Madonna singing & dancing. This ad was subsequently
pulled after it generated controversy. Link to a more detailed story at this website is included […]


“Max Headroom”
1984-1988

[…] In 1987-88, a sci-fi television show named “Max Headroom” used humor and satire to critique the TV ratings game…Featured briefly on ABC-TV in America, and also used in Coca-Cola advertising, Max Headroom became a pop culture figure for a time, but the TV show was pulled off the air…Today, the show still has something of a cult and on-line following and remains one of television history’s more engaging self-critiques […]


“Levi’s – Be My Baby”
1989 TV Ad

[…] A video of a 1989 Levi’s jeans TV ad that uses the Ronettes’ classic 1964
song “Be My Baby” as background… Ad story: A good Samaritan in the middle of nowhere, pulls his pick-up truck over to the side of the road to help a distressed driver and discovers a beautiful woman […]


“Watching The Wheels”
1980-1981

[…] “Watching the Wheels” is the name of a song written by former Beatle John Lennon during the end of his 1975-1980 “house husband” period of being a full-time father to his young son… The song also served in part as answer to those who questioned Lennon’s withdrawal from the music world at the time… This story provides some background on Lennon’s outlook & music as he emerged from that period, and his tragic death at the hand of a deranged fan […]


“Murdoch’s NY Deals”
1976-1977

[…] In 1976-1977, Rupert Murdoch, then a little-known Australian newspaper mogul, made a “big news” New York media grab, acquiring two premier New York media companies: the New York Post newspaper and New York Magazine Co., which then held three publications — New York magazine, The Village Voice, and New West… Story, deal history & personalities involved are covered, as well as hints of what followed with the Murdoch global media empire […]


“Memory & Cats”
1981-2010

[…] In the 1981 stage production, Cats, there is the very poignant song, “Memory,” performed by the aging female feline, Grizabella, who has seen better days. Cats – the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that was originally produced in London – became one of the all-time theater box office successes, with “Memory” as one of its most beloved and signature tunes […]


“Harlem Nocturne”
1939-1980s

[…] “Harlem Nocturne” is a saxophone-saturated song that has had a long shelf life. It first found fame in the late 1930s’ jazz and big band era…More than 20 years later, and again nearly 50 years after its first release, “Harlem Nocturne” found popular appeal – first in a sultry1959-1960 version by The Viscounts from New Jersey, and again in the 1980s’ as the signature crime show theme song for “The Mike Hammer” TV series… This story includes the full song and covers its history […]


“Early Beach Boys”
1962-1966

[…] In the early- and mid-1960s, the Beach Boys became one of America’s hottest and most successful groups, credited with inventing “California rock” and “sunshine pop.” Along with the Beatles, they also pushed out the boundaries of contemporary music on a new and imaginative front of songwriting and pop composition. Their music was happy, fun-loving and filled with beautiful harmonies – and it appealed to millions, then and 50 years later […]


“Apple, Rising”
1976-1985

[…]Within five years of adding an assembly of micro-processing chips to a piece of plywood and calling it a personal computer, two guys working in a garage named Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs would be sitting atop a major new company named Apple Computer worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Their inventive moment and entrepreneurial follow-through set off a process that would dramatically change business, entertainment, popular culture, and more… The story of “early Apple,” 1976-1985, is told here, covering computer models, advertising, business history, competition with IBM, etc. […]


“Celebrity Buffett”
1960s-2010

[…] Warren Buffett, the businessman-investor from Omaha, Nebraska, known for his stock picks and investment strategies, is one of the wealthiest persons on the planet. Although famous for years in the investment community, Buffett became more of a mainstream celebrity as his wealth grew and also as stories became known about the millions he made for folks of modest means. …Buffett’s story also shows that once he arrived in the media glare, he moved to use his fame, the media machine, and his philanthropy in ways to benefit society […]


“Wall Street’s Gekko”
1980s-2010

[…] Hollywood imagery sometimes survives long after its initial introduction, moving its characters and message into mainstream culture… Hollywood’s big time deal-maker, Gordon Gekko, played to a tee by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” made “greed is good” the catch phrase of the go-go 1980s… Gekko is a character who has stayed with the culture for some years now, and is periodically mentioned whenever Wall Street excesses flow… This piece looks at the film’s history, the Gekko character, & their effect today as a 2010 sequel arrives […]


“Be My Baby”
1960s-2010

[…] “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes was one of the defining rock ‘n roll songs of the early 1960s — a song notable for advancing a new sound that changed pop music…“Be My Baby” is also a bigger story — of lives entangled in the business of making music during 1963-66 and the fallout years later, including the demise of the group, ill health for one member, a prominent divorce for another, and a protracted legal battle over royalties and song rights[…]


“Let The River Run”
1988-1989

[…] In 1988, Carly Simon wrote a popular song “Let the River Run” for the Mike Nichols film, “Working Girl” – a song that has had resonance beyond the film, not only for millions of young women in their careers, but also for others who find it powerful and inspirational… Simon’s song-writing and hit-making career in the 1970s, 1980s and beyond is also covered […]


“The Rocky Statue”
1980-2009

[…] In 1982, Sylvester Stallone, Hollywood movie star and producer of the Rocky film series, donated a statue of his Rocky Balboa movie character to the City of Philadelphia. It was left near the entrance to the Philadelphia Art Museum, where it touched off a controversy over the appropriateness of its location that would flare up several times over the course of more than 20 years […]


Sting: “Russians”
1985

…In 1985, British rock star and songwriter, Sting, penned a song about the Cold War’s nuclear rhetoric, which was then running quite hot between the U.S. and Russia. Sting’s song was leveled at both sides — and it got people’s attention, also rising on the pop charts of the day…


“I Won’t Back Down”
1989-2008

…Rocker Tom Petty’s 1989 hit song, “I Won’t Back Down,” has become a popular tune in political campaigns — used by: George W. Bush, Senators Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, Bob Menendez, and John Edwards, to name a few… And also Eliot Spitzer…


“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 […]


“Stones Gather Dollars”
1989-2008

October 1989 edition of Forbes business magazine featuring Mick Jagger & Keith Richards among the world’s ‘highest paid entertainers’.     In October 1989, Forbes magazine featured rock ‘n roll stars Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones on its cover.  The story’s headline asked “What’ll They Do With All That Money?”  Forbes writer Peter […]


“Ted Turner & CNN”
1980s & 1990s

Ted Turner on cover of 9 August 1986 Time magazine, which said of his up-and-coming 24-hour news network: ‘…By any measure, CNN is in the big leagues of news.’     Ted Turner was vilified by the press in the late 1970s and early 1980s — called the “mouth from the South,” “Captain Outrageous,” “Terrible Ted,” and all […]


“Nike & The Beatles”
1987-1989

…In mid-1987, Nike made a deal to use the Beatles song “Revolution” in their ad campaign, shelling out $500,000 to do so. However, Nike didn’t make the deal with the Beatles, but rather, with pop star Michael Jackson and EMI-Capitol Records…


“Big Chill Marketing”
1980s-1990s

[…] “The Big Chill” is a film about eight former 1960s’ college friends who gather for an unscheduled reunion and some personal soul-searching following a friend’s untimely suicide. The film’s soundtrack – an evocative collection of original 1960s rock ‘n roll tunes – was especially moving for many baby boomers who first saw the film, a fact not lost on Madison Avenue and subsequent commercial advertising […]


“Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”
1964-1965

[…] In December 1964, a song titled “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” began to be heard on the radio. It was a song that would one day become the 20th century’s most played song on the radio […]


“Do You Love Me?”
1962 & 1988

2003 Motown CD showing the 1960s’ group, The Contours.      It was early summer 1962.  Berry Gordy, Jr., of Motown Records was in a swivet.  He was itching to record a new piece of music he was sure would be a hit record.  The name of the song was “Do You Love Me?,” a jumpy dance […]


“Bette Davis Eyes”
1981

Bette Davis captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine, January 23, 1939.      In May and June of 1981, the most popular song around was a tune about a Hollywood actress — or more precisely, about her eyes. “She’s got Bette Davis eyes” was the refrain made famous by the top-selling song of 1981, appropriately […]


“Madonna’s Pepsi Ad”
1989

In the mid- and late-1980s, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were engaged in game of one upmanship with their advertising dollars. An effective way to reach millions of consumers, they found, was to have popular recording stars perform in television ads. […] In January 1989, Pepsi announced they had signed pop sensation Madonna, and would pay her $5 million to appear in a series of TV ads […]


“Rocker Supreme”
1958-2007

She walked away from her husband and a successful musical career with some loose pocket change, a gasoline credit card, and little else. It was early July1976 […] For a time, she relied on friends and food stamps to survive […] By 2005, Tina Turner had become one of the most successful female rock artists of all time […]


“All Sports, All The Time”
1978-2008

[…] In 1978, an all-sports cable TV network was hardly a “no brainer.” The three major TV networks combined then broadcast only about 20 hours of sports a week […] But Bill Rasmussen, a former sportscaster and recently fired communications man for the New England Whalers ice hockey team, came up with the new concept in sports broadcasting. In a few short years, ESPN was big business […]


“Disney’s Movie Vault”
1984-1998

In the early 1980s, as the home video market began to emerge, the Walt Disney Company was reluctant to release its classic animated movies into that market […], regarding them as a kind of Disney gold, only to be “marketed” through controlled release to movie theaters. But that philosophy would soon change as Disney began to see the huge sales potential […]


JFK’s “Profiles in Courage”
1954-2008

[…] “Profiles in Courage” became a best-seller and was ground-breaking in its day, becoming one of the first books used to advance a political career aimed at the White House […] The book gave Kennedy a certain political gravitas and national recognition he did not have before, lifting him from the ranks of unknown senators […]


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