Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Music in the Air

Today in Music History: November 17, 1957

As we approach the holiday season, the music in the air is already transforming to the seasonal tunes of Christmas. What a joyful time of the year filled with thankfulness and blessings. Today's spotlight shines on a performer who sought permission to record a West Indian song written by Jester Hairston, a Julliard-trained songwriter who would later popularize the spiritual "Amen" during the civil rights movement in the United States. 

A man of many talents

http://www.biography.com/people/harry-belafonte-12103211 Harry Belafonte: a multi-talented performer achieving lasting fame for his traditional folk songs, Broadway stage and on-screen performances

The oldest son of Caribbean immigrants, Harry Belafonte struggled with poverty and a turbulent family life. He spent much of his childhood in Jamaica where a lasting impression resulted from the oppression of blacks by the English authorities.
"The most difficult time in my life was when I was a kid," he later told People magazine. "My mother gave me affection, but, because I was left on my own, also a lot of anguish." Source: bio.com
Belafonte enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944 serving in the Pacific at the end of World War II. It was his return to New York City after being discharged from the Navy that became the stage for his acting and singing successes. He is best known for such songs as "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)," and for his humanitarian work.
1957 Harry Belafonte was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Mary's Boy Child'. Belafonte became the first black male to have a #1 in the UK. It was the first ever song to sell 1 million copies there and the first ever British #1 record to have a playing time of more than four minutes. It stayed at No.1 for seven weeks making it this 1957's Christmas No.1. The first Christmas song to hit No.1 in two different versions - the other was Boney M's version in 1978. 
The song was first recorded in 1956 for Belafonte's album An Evening with Belafonte. To date, his version has sold over 1.18 million copies. In 1962, the full-length version was added to a re-issue of Belafonte's previously released album To Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Tidbits of Trivia...

  • 1963 John Weightman the Headmaster of a Surrey Grammar School, banned all pupils from having Beatle haircuts saying, "this ridiculous style brings out the worst in boys physically. It makes them look like morons."
  • 2000 It was reported that Andy White who played drums on The Beatles track 'Love Me Do' which was featured on the new Beatles Greatest Hits album would not earn enough from it to buy his own copy. White would get no more than his original session fee of £7.
  • 2003 Britney Spears said that her first lover Justin Timberlake was a huge disappointment in the pants department. Talking during a MTV show Spears said ‘forget trousersnake, its more like trouser worm’, when referring to her ex-boyfriend. In this same year, 21 year-old Britney Spears became the youngest singer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...