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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

True to His Own Spirit

Today in Music History: September 17

Each day leads to a step back in time as witness to the changes in music through the decades. The lyrics. The melodies. The harmony. The rhythm. The beat. The instruments. But, that's not all. Let's not forget the devices that provide the ability to listen to the songs, any genre, for it is not possible to attend every performance of every performer around the world. The journey on this day begins at the beginning...way before iTunes!

1931 The first long-playing record, a 33 1/3 rpm recording, was demonstrated at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York by RCA-Victor. The venture was doomed to fail however due to the high price of the record players, which started around $95 (about $1140 in today's dollars) and wasn't revived until 1948.
Moving on down the road into the music of the day let's make a stop during the 60s Music Revolution. A tidbit of trivia adds a bit of spice to the music. The musician in the spotlight on this day definitely 'seasoned' his performances, not always in a fashionable manner.

Promotional photo of The Doors in late 1966
(l–r: Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek and Morrison)
Source: en.wikipedia.org

http://www.biography.com/people/jim-morrison-9415576 Jim Morrison A charismatic singer and songwriter, Jim Morrison, studied film at UCLA where he met the members who would become the 60s rock group The Doors: vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger

Jim Morrison remains one of the most legendary and mysterious rock and roll stars of all time. He was a gifted lyricist whose poetic odes to rebellion, set to the music of The Doors, inspired a generation of disaffected youth who found in his words an eloquent articulation of their own hopes and frustrations. His tragic early death at the hands of drugs and depression likely deprived the world of much more in the way of beautiful music and poetry. Morrison's goal as a lyricist and singer was to open the minds of those who listened to his words, to encourage them to leave behind the familiar in search of the new. As Morrison put it, paraphrasing Aldous Huxley who was himself paraphrasing William Blake, "There are things known, and there are things unknown, and in between are The Doors."  (Jim Morrison Bio)

1967 The Doors were banned from The Ed Sullivan Show after Jim Morrison broke his agreement with the show’s producers. Morrison said before the performance that he wouldn’t sing the words, ‘Girl, we couldn’t get much higher,’ from 'Light My Fire' but did anyway. The Doors also performed their new single 'People Are Strange'.
Known for his drinking, drug use and outrageous stage behavior, in 1971, Morrison left the Doors to write poetry and moved to Paris, where he died of heart failure. The epitaph on Morrison's headstone bears the Greek inscription "ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ", literally meaning "According to his own daimōn" and usually interpreted as "True to his own spirit". Morrison died at age 27, thus remaining "Forever 27", the same age as several other famous rock stars in the 27 Club. In 1974, Morrison's girlfriend Pamela Courson also died at the age of 27.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Burger, burger...this time with CHEESE!

WOW! What is it with all the burger days? Of course, the answer to that question is simple: because they are so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o good! During the month of May, you could have indulged on any day since it was National Hamburger Month. Then, you were encouraged on May 28th to Have it your way! on National Hamburger Day in National Hamburger Month. By the way, according to wikipedia, May 28th is International Hamburger Day and August 27th is National Burger Day. That gave you a choice or you could have simply celebrated on both days since you may have been eating burgers all month anyway. Whew! May 28th is also designated as National Burger Day in the UK, which was launched in 2013. 

Burger, burger...this time with CHEESE! Harumph, harumph! As though we left it off on the other days. Right! Of course, there are those of you out there in burger land that simply prefer the good ol' juicy plain burger. Nothing wrong with that! Now, let's get on with the celebration.

September 18 is not another burger day for you to Just Bite It! It's...

National Cheeseburger Day

Fire up the grill or head to your favorite restaurant on National Cheeseburger Day!
If it is still too hot to grill outside, simply pan fry.

Julia Child's Pan Fried Thin Burger

There are several theories about the origins of the cheeseburger. One story claims that the cheeseburger was created between 1924 and 1926 by a chef named Lionel Sternberger. As the story goes, a homeless man dining at Sternberger's restaurant in Pasadena, California, suggested the addition of a slice of cheese to his hamburger order. Sternberger complied, eventually added it to his menu, and the rest is history.
Photo courtesy Herman Schultheis/LAPL Photo Collection
Today cheeseburgers are a staple at restaurants and backyard celebrations all across the country. Hungry yet? Enjoy a delicious cheeseburger in honor of National Cheeseburger Day!

SMILE...Everybody likes a good deal!

 Is your mouth watering yet?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An American Head & a Cuban Heart

Today in Music History: September 16

There are many legendary women recording artists of our time. Most are filled with a love and passion for music that is nothing less than sheer excellence. Their horizons are greatly broadened with an overwhelming desire to help others succeed. The time and energies put into their music shines in the songs often written by the artist under a backdrop of real life. 

http://www.biography.com/people/gloria-estefan-9542436#synopsisGloria Estefan Gloria María Fajardo García was born on September 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba. Her family fled Cuba and moved to the United States when Communist dictator Fidel Castro rose to power. Her father, Jos˜O Manuel Fajardo, had been a Cuban soldier and bodyguard of President Fulgencio Batista. She was two years old upon arriving in the US and little did she know her destiny was to become a Latin superstar.

"When my father was ill, music was my escape," Estefan told Washington Post reporter Richard Harrington. "I would lock myself up in my room for hours and just sing. I wouldn't cry—I refused to cry...Music was the only way I had to just let go, so I sang for fun and for emotional catharsis."

In 1976, Gloria became romantically involved with the Miami Sound Machine's band leader, Emilio Estefan. They married on September 2, 1978 and she later revealed "he was my first and only boyfriend."  
Watching Gloria Estefan perform is deceptive. When she sings in English, you hear an all-American pop star with a great voice and a lot of style - Miami style. When she sings in Spanish, Cuban soul shines through her ever mve and gesture. So which is she?
According to Gloria, she's not one thing or another. She calls herself a Cuban-American with an American head and a Cuban heart. Read MORE...
1989 Gloria Estefan went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Don't Wanna Lose You', a No.6 hit in the UK. After many years of performing under the banner of Miami Sound Machine, this was the first single to be released by Gloria Estefan under her own name only. The shift of focus was because she was the only member of the original line-up left after the band's leader and her husband Emilio pulled out to produce.
Gloria’s favorite quote:
 “You can put things off until tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.”

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

From Perilous Seas to Western Journalese

This Day in History: September 16

With each day comes the opportunity to relive from whence we came by stepping back in time and turning the pages of history. WAIT! Don't you dare yawn and don't touch that dialDo not leave this page simply because of a misconception that history is boring. History is who we are and what we are yet to become. It is our yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Two of many events that occurred on this day in history are today's focus of attention. The first represents the crossing of hostile seas as ferocious winds and sickness befell a journey to the New World. Another signifies the frontier movement from the east coast to an area once considered worthless desert in the territory of Oklahoma.

Aboard the Mayflower, 1620
September 16, 1620

Close your eyes and let your mind venture away from the modern amenities of the 21st century. Become totally absorbed in the despair of the 17th century that has its roots in London, England. Focus on America being discovered but not colonized. Plague, tuberculosis along with other urban pestilences, lethargy, fear and sadness ruled daily life. Heads were turned, eyes opened wide with visions of the virgin soil of America becoming the images of hope and promise. 

With ships already having sailed to the New World, the time had come for permanent settlements in America. The ships of this day and age to set sail across the Atlantic were merchant ships whose cargo was normally wine and dry goods, not people traveling as passengers. However, time had come for travelers to venture beyond the shores of England. On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower is finally on its way after two failed attempts sailing along with the Speedwell. On this journey, the ship carried 102 men, women and children passengers. This would be its only trip to New England. Since the cargo was the passengers they all had to live in the dark, cold cargo decks below the crew’s quarters. They all carried the same visions in their hearts and minds: beginning a new life on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The distance from the departure point in Southampton, England to Boston, MA, is 3236 statute miles (equal to 2812 nautical miles). The entire sea journey for the Pilgrims took 66 days. There are 1584 hours in 66 days. The ship, therefore traveled at a speed of 2 miles an hour. An average person can walk 4 miles an hour. Distance at sea is designated in nautical miles. One nautical mile is approximately 1 1/2 statute miles. Sea speed is designated in knots. One knot equals 1 nautical mile per hour. Using sea terms, the average speed of the Mayflower, traveling across the cold, wet Atlantic, was 1.77 knots. [Excerpted from The Mayflower at Sea: 1620]
The Mayflower battered by Atlantic storms. Painting by Mike Haywood
 Could you have survived Sixty-six Days at Sea under such grueling conditions?

Now, jump ahead in time to the year 1893. It has been 273 years since the Mayflower set sail for America. Settlements flourishing in New England now had heads turning and eyes focusing on not crossing the Atlantic Ocean but venturing westward cross country to stake their claims to the best acres of land once belonging to Native Americans. By this time, America was in the grip of the worst economic depression it had ever experienced becoming one of the factors that swelled the number of expectant land-seekers that day. News had traveled fast for the communication capabilities and journalese of the day painting lush green pictures of the American West. Many would be disappointed. There were only 42,000 parcels of land available - far too few to satisfy the hopes of all those who raced for land on this day in history.  

Here again, you have to feel the rush! Close your eyes and void your mind of any mode of travel other than on horseback, carriage or wagon. That's it! Nothing more, nothing less. Hone in on the excitement of venturing into a new frontier where land was waiting for the taking. All you have to do is stake a claim...the hard part is getting there...alive! Time is counting down as last minute preparations are made with everything being checked and double checked right down to the last wheel and axle. Ten minutes. Five minutes. Three minutes...two...one...At precisely 12 noon on September 16, 1893, a single gunshot (some sources report a cannon's boom) signals the beginning of a mad dash as more than 100,000 land-hungry pioneers on horseback, in carriages and covered wagons race into the Cherokee strip of Oklahoma. This would become the largest land run in history.

Painting by Robert Lindneux in 1942 commemorating
the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal.
(Image Credit: The Granger Collection, New York)
While excitement abounded on this day and while you walk among the footsteps of history, there is also sadness that taints the images portrayed on this day. Stripped of their dignity, the Cherokee people became victims in one of the saddest episodes of our brief history. Whether man, woman, infant, or young child, all were taken from their land, herded like cattle into makeshift living quarters with minimal facilities and food, then forced to march overland to a destination neither of their choice nor free will. This led to the death of 4,000 Cherokee who died during the brutal overland march known appropriately as the "Trail of Tears."

The American Indians are a spiritual and proud people who did not deserve the treatment they received. They suffered at the greed of the 'white' man. Savages? Maybe so to a certain degree. All in how you perceive what one should do in order to preserve a way of life. Savagery remains existent today as the cruelties of terrorism and war still permeate our planet.

On Trail of Tears:

But their land, located in parts of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee, was valuable, and it grew to be more coveted as white settlers flooded the region.
“I fought through the Civil War and have seen
men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands
but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.”

—Georgia militiaman who participated in the “roundup” of the Cherokee Indians

Monday, September 15, 2014

Life IS Music

Today in Music History: September 15

Life IS music. It is all around us in everything we do. We may not deem it 'music' at the time but listen closely enough and the surrounding sounds will become melodic in their own way. Perception, interpretation and motivation join hands as thoughts revolve around the harmonies of everyday life. Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest! See your life in terms of music.

1956 Elvis Presley started a five-week run at No.1 on the US charts with 'Don't Be Cruel'. 'Don't Be Cruel' went on to become Presley's biggest selling single recorded in 1956, with sales over six million by 1961.
1961 A group from Hawthorne, California called The Pendletones attend their first real recording session at Hite Morgan's studio in Los Angeles. The band recorded 'Surfin', a song that would help shape their career as The Beach Boys.
1962 The Four Seasons started a five week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Sherry', it made No.8 in the UK. They became the first American group to have three No.1's in succession.  
1965 The Ford Motor Company became the first automaker to offer an 8-track tape player as an option for their entire line of vehicles on sale in the US. Tapes were initially only available at auto parts stores, as home 8-track equipment was still a year away.

1966 The Small Faces were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'All Or Nothing', their only No.1 hit. According to Kay Marriott, Steve Marriott's mother, Steve wrote the song about his split with ex-fiancee Sue Oliver, though first wife Jenny Rylance states that Marriott told her he wrote the song for her as a result of her split with Rod Stewart.
1970 US Vice-President Spiro Agnew said in a speech that the youth of America were being "brainwashed into a drug culture" by rock music, movies, books and underground newspapers.

1975 Pink Floyd released their ninth studio album Wish You Were Here in the UK. The album which explores themes of absence, the music business, and former band-mate Syd Barrett's mental decline peaked at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic and went on to spend a total of 84 weeks on the chart.
1975 Bob Dylan released Slow Train Coming, an album of religious songs, including the Grammy Award winning single, 'Gotta Serve Somebody'. The album alienated many of his long time fans.
1979 Led Zeppelin scored their sixth US No.1 album when In Through The Out Door started a seven-week run at the top of the charts.  
1984 Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Relax' became the longest running chart hit since Engelbert Humperdink's 'Release Me', after spending 43 weeks on the UK singles chart. 
1990 The Steve Miller Band had a UK No.1 with 'The Joker' 16 years after it's first release. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974. More than 16 years later, it reached No.1 in the UK Singles Chart after being used in "Great Deal", a Hugh Johnson-directed television advertisement for Levi's, thus holding the record for the longest gap between transatlantic chart-toppers.  
1990 Wilson Phillips had their second US No.1 with 'Release Me', a No.36 hit in the UK. The group was made up of Carnie and Wendy Wilson, the daughters of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, along with Chynna Phillips, the daughter of Mamas and Papas founder John Phillips. 

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