Category Archives: 1961-1970

“Joplin’s Shooting Star”
1966-1970

[…]Janis Joplin burned bright as a national rock star for five short years before dying of a heroin overdose at age 27. Yet in her short time she carved out a piece of music history that was distinctly her own… This piece tracks some of the major events in her life during her last four years, from 1966 through 1970, and reaction and plaudits thereafter […]


“I’m A Dole Man”
1996

[…] In the 1996 U.S. Presidential campaign, Republican candidate Bob Dole, former U.S. Senator from Kansas, became involved in a controversy over the use of the 1960s’ song “I’m a Soul Man” at his campaign rallies… A lawsuit was threatened, and Dole’s campaign then tried using other music, including some by artists Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Rabbitt […]


“Motown’s Heat Wave”
1963-1967

[…] In 1963, a Motown singing trio named Martha and the Vandellas swept onto the music scene with a string of hits that captured the attention of leading-edge baby boomers, then in high school… With tunes such as “Heat Wave” and “Dancing in the Street,” Martha and the Vandellas helped define the popular music of that day and also helped make Motown a major power in the pop music business […]


“Beatles in America”
1963-1964

[…] The story of the Beatles’ rise in America in 1963 and 1964; how their songs were first ignored in America by music industry executives, radio DJs, “American Bandstand,” and others, then later embraced as “Beatlemania” took hold following their TV debut in February 1964… History of Beatles’ 1964 song output covered, as well as their popular media coverage, U.S. concert tour, and their business and cultural impacts […]


“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 […]


“JFK, Pitchman?”
2009

[…] In the summer of 2009, the Omega watch company, part of the Swatch Group of Switzerland, launched an ad campaign built around the image and words of former U.S. President, John F. Kennedy from the 1960s… The campaign, using the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Moon landing, focused on Kennedy’s initiative with the Apollo space program, using print & TV ads to promote Omega brand Speedmaster watches, which were used in the U.S. space and lunar programs […]


“Dear Prudence”
1967-1968

[…] In early 1968, John Lennon and the Beatles wrote the song “Dear Prudence” while in India on retreat… On their return from India, the 30 or more songs they had written there helped form the double-disc “White Album,” which would become their all-time best-selling album in the U.S., as some 19 million copies sold […]


“RFK in Brooklyn”
1966-1972

[…] A large bronze memorial bust of Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. Senator and Attorney General in the 1960s, sits in the center of Brooklyn, New York… Kennedy helped initiate an innovative urban program there in a community named Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1966-67 […]


Bill Bradley
1960s-2009

Bill Bradley on the March 18, 1968 cover of ‘Sports Illustrated,’ early in his ten-year career with the New York Knicks professional basketball team.     Before he became a U.S. Senator in 1978 and a presidential candidate in the year 2000, Bill Bradley was a famous high school, college and pro NBA basketball player who reaped All-American … Continue reading Bill Bradley
1960s-2009


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 […]


“Dinah Shore & Chevrolet”
1951-1963

[…] Dinah Shore was one of the first television celebrities whose name became synonymous with a product – Chevrolet automobiles. Singing the “See-The-USA-in-Your Chevrolet” jingle on her popular 1950s TV show every week, Dinah Shore had the nation as her audience, reaching tens of millions…She became a super-salesperson for General Motors and a trusted national persona […]


“Paint It Black”
1966-2000s

Record sleeve for ‘Paint It Black’ single issued in South Africa, 1966, with B-side, ‘Long Long While’. Click for Amazon single.     In the spring of 1966, all was not well in the world.  The Vietnam War was raging and  American involvement there was escalating. U.S. troop strength had reached 200,000 by then, and draft quotas at … Continue reading “Paint It Black”
1966-2000s


“Hello Stranger”
1963-1966

Barbara Lewis, sometime in the early 1960s.     In the summer of 1963, a very smooth and sexy piece of music was being heard on the radio that was also rising on the pop charts.  The name of the tune was “Hello Stranger” and it was written and performed by a 20 year-old named Barbara Lewis.  … Continue reading “Hello Stranger”
1963-1966


“1968 Presidential Race”
Republicans

Richard Nixon, center, is flanked by Dan Rowan, left, and Dick Martin right, of ‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In’ TV show at October 1968 campaign stop in Burbank, CA. Nixon appeared on ‘Laugh-In’ in mid-Sept 1968 in the humorous ‘sock-it-to-me’ segment, covered later below. (AP photo)     In the 1968 presidential race, Hollywood and celebrity involvement in … Continue reading “1968 Presidential Race”
Republicans


“When Harry Met Petula”
April 1968

[…] In March 1968, British pop star Petula Clark, singing a duet with Jamaican American singer and movie star, Harry Belafonte, innocently and naturally touched Belafonte’s arm during a taping of their performance for a TV show. The “interracial touching” incident – at a time when racial tensions and civil rights issues were major concerns – raised objections from an official at Chrysler, the show’s sponsor… This story explores that controversy and its outcome […]


“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?” — then referring to … Continue reading “Stones Gather Dollars”
1989-2008


“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…


“Only A Pawn in Their Game”
1962-1964

[…] This story covers the song Bob Dylan wrote in 1963 after the murder of Mississippi civil rights leader, Medgar Evers – a song Dylan performed at the 1963 March on Washington. This story also provides background on other Dylan civil rights songs, including “Oxford Town” (song sampled), “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and others, and also Dylan’s struggles with becoming a civil rights icon and protest leader as his muse pulled him in other directions […]


“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 […]


1968 Presidential Race
Democrats

[…] This piece focuses on the 1968 Democratic Primary and National Presidential elections, with particular emphasis on celebrity participation in backing particular Democratic candidates…Also covers general Democratic issues & developments that year, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the general uproar in Chicago at the August 1968 Democratic National convention […]


“Do You Love Me?”
1962 & 1988

[…] “Do You Love Me?,” a song by The Contours produced at the Motown music studios, has had several good runs over the last 50 years. In 1962, it hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 3 on the pop chart, becoming a million seller. After the film “Dirty Dancing” used the song in 1987 to back a hot dance scene, the fortunes’s of “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)” rose again, cracking the Top 20 in 1988. And in recent years it has been used in various promotions and advertising, including a 2016 Super Bowl ad starring Janelle Monáe […]


“Beatles’ D.C. Gig”
Feb-March 1964

[…]When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in February 1964, their first-ever live concert performance in Washington, D.C., was filmed by CBS for later use as a “closed-circuit concert” shown in slected U.S. theaters[…]


“Mickey Mantle’s 535th”
19 September 1968

[…] In later years Mickey Mantle would joke half heartedly about his hobbled, late-career performance: “Hitting the ball was easy,” he would say. “Running around the bases was the hard part.” Those who played with Mantle, however, knew it wasn’t funny. In the above photo, you can almost see him wincing as he ran the bases […]


“Dream Lover”
1958-1973

[…] Bobby Darin’s music and film career lasted a short 15 years, ending in his premature death at age 37. But for a time, Bobby Darin set the entertainment world on fire, topping the pop music charts, becoming a successful Las Vegas headliner, Hollywood actor, and film-score writer. Along the way he married actress Sandra Dee, became a social & political activist, and had a change of life after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination […]


“Streisand Rising”
1961-1965

Between 1963 and 1965, at a time when rock and roll music was overwhelming just about everything in sight, a little known singer named Barbra Streisand managed to put not just one, but seven albums of American standards on the Billboard top-selling music charts. How this came to be, and the story of Streisand’s rise to stardom in those years […]


“Fingertips, Pt.2”
1963

[…]The clear, calling harmonica was the sound that first got your attention; it was coming from a new piece of music being played on the radio in late summer 1963… It was like nothing else at the time; a song recorded live with an unusual arrangement. And it was performed by a 12 year-old blind boy. “Little Stevie Wonder” they called him […]


“LBJ’s Atomic Ad”
1964 – “Daisy Girl”

On September 7, 1964, political advertising history was made on television during the broadcast of NBC’s ‘Monday Night at The Movies’. That’s when a new kind of TV ad was first aired that would forever change the art and practice of political advertising — and to a degree, political campaigning as well […] Photo: Daisy Girl counting her petals.


“American Bandstand”
1956-2007

[…] “American Bandstand” was a TV dance show that began in Philadelphia, PA in the 1950s. It became an important arbiter of rock `n roll in American culture, enabling a giant rock music business to explode nationally with the help of Baby Boomer kids… The show also became synonymous with its principal creator & DJ, Dick Clark, who parlayed the show into other entertainment ventures making him a wealthy man […]


“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 July 1976… For a time, she relied on friends and food stamps to survive… But Tina Turner never lost her moxie… By 2005, Tina Turner had become one of the most successful female rock artists of all time […]


“The Kefauver Hearings”
1950-1951

In May 1950, a little-known U.S. Senator named Estes Kefauver, a 47 year-old Democrat from Tennessee, began a series of investigative hearings on organized crime […] An estimated 30 million Americans watched the ‘Kefauver hearings’ in 1950-51, some in movie theaters […]


“Newsweek Sold!”
1961

In early March 1961 in New York, Phil Graham, the 45 year-old publisher of the Washington Post had just written a personal check for $2 million to the Astor Foundation… The Post was then in the process of acquiring one of the nation’s most prominent weekly newsmagazines, “Newsweek”… This piece describes some of the history, background, and characters involved in that deal, and what happened to Newsweek and the Washington Post in the years that followed, including recent events in the 2000s […]


“Selling Janis Joplin”
1995

In 1995, Mercedes-Benz, the German luxury car maker, used a song by ‘60s rocker and blues singer Janis Joplin in one of its TV ads. The Joplin tune — which includes the famous refrain, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” — was used by Mercedes to push a new line of sedans […] Mercedes’ method was aimed squarely at the “maturing” Baby Boomer market […]


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 […]