Sometimes I see a piece of pop art and just know it's from the 1950s without knowing anything else about it. Such is the case with this phenomenal piece from 1956, advertising a concert called Modern Jazz for '56, which seems to have been a package tour. It featured artists such as Chris Connor, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Don Shirley Duo, and Herbie Mann and was sold as "an enjoyable evening with your favorite modern jazz artists." This particular concert was held on January 27, 1956 at the Victoria Theatre in what I believe is Kansas City. Dig this beauty, man: I would frame this gem in a heartbeat if I had it. So totally mid-century and just oozing with that hep cat charm you also find on a lot of jazz album covers from the period. A concert review published on January 29th b...
Taco Bell was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, who had owned hot dog stands and other taco stands as far back as 1946. The first Taco-Tia stands opened in the early '50s and were the forerunner of Taco Bell. The first Taco Bell opened in Downey, California on March 21, 1962, and today the franchise boasts over 7,000 locations. As with any of my other logo capsules, dates may not be totally accurate. As is often the case with logos, older logos can stick around in advertising and building design for a while after their official expiration dates. 1962-72 The original Taco Bell logo design had two separate elements -- there was a colorful, blocky wordmark and a festive sombrero/bell sign. This was in widespread use for the first decade of Taco Bell's existence. Despite its first use...
Before We Was Fab looks at some of the best songs of the pre-Beatles era, in search of great singles that have largely been forgotten. If you've heard of Benny Spellman at all, chances are it's because of his association with groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The O'Jays, or The Hollies -- all of whom covered his songs. As it happens, I was listening to the iconic Who album Live at Leeds and paid particular attention to their live rendition of "Fortune Teller." The Who, as with many English rock bands of the time, had a deep love and appreciation for popular and obscure R&B, and that's where "Fortune Teller" comes in. The song was written by the great Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville, and was first recorded by Spellman as the B-side of his only hit si
One of the greatest television specials of all time, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year! Let's take a moment to recognize this essential piece of our childhoods and to pay homage to the man behind it all, Charles M. Schulz. The now-yearly tradition began on October 27, 1966, when CBS debuted the half-hour animated special -- the third such Peanuts show -- as part of its Thursday evening lineup. Here are a few newspaper ads from that day. Now as far as I can tell, the first reference to the Great Pumpkin appeared in the Peanuts comic strip almost exactly 7 years before the show, in October 1959. Here is that strip:
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: “Nothing in the World" The Artist: Nat King Cole #99 Chart Date: August 11, 1958 Just one week after our last entry peaked at #99 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of the 20th century's greatest crooners grabbed the spot. And my friends, this is about as smooth and sumptuous a recording as we're likely to come across during this project. As far as I can tell, this song was actually the B-side to "Acércate Más (Come Closer to Me)", released on Capitol Records F4004, which itself peaked at #41 in September 1958. In addition to Cole's smoother-than-butter vocals,
I was a little too young to have seen the Paul Lynde Halloween Special from 1976, but as a lifelong Kiss fan I knew of it. Here's a national newspaper ad that ABC ran for the special, which aired on October 29, 1976. Featured on the show were Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Margaret Hamilton, Florence Henderson, Betty White, and of course the aforementioned Kiss.
Rather than share the entire prime time schedule as I've done before, I want to share this fantastic, large newspaper ad touting NBC's prime time television lineup from the evening of September 21, 1973. This is the ad as printed in The Cincinnati Enquirer. Click on the ad for a larger version, and then let's talk about this greatness. Remember that visiting any of the Amazon show title links below will help me in keeping this site running! OK, first things first. I had never seen that NBC 73 logo before and it is glorious. If anyone has a color specimen please let me know. Now let's look at that lineup: 7:00 To Tell the Truth 7:30 The New Dating Game 8:00 Sanford and Son 8:30 The Girl with Something Extra 9:00 Needles and Pins 9:30 The Brian Keith Show
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" The Artist: Billy Williams #99 Chart Date: August 4, 1958 Today's entry is the first #99 in the Billboard Hot 100 era, "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" by Billy Williams. Williams charted several times going back to the mid-1940s, but by far his biggest hit was "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," which hit #3 in the summer of 1957. Just over one year later he released "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" as the b-side of "It's Prayin' Time." In just about every important way, "I'll Get By" is a carbon c