Category Archives: 1961-1970

“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 […]

“…No Satisfaction”

[…] In 1965, a new rock ’n roll group from the U.K. named the Rolling Stones, produced a hit song known as “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” which became a kind of all-purpose, anti-establishment anthem for the ’60s’ generation, also helping create a kind of musical boundary line separating old from new… At that point, some mainstream rock ’n roll groups, following the lead of folk and protest, began adding “message” to their music […]

“The Love Story Saga”

[…] “Love Story” is the name of a 1970-71 best-selling novel and blockbuster film that swept the nation of its feet, surprising literary critics & Hollywood. Though considered sappy today, in the early 1970s both book and film were perfectly timed, and they permeated popular culture through and through, making bundles of money… Book’s tale, characters, biz history recounted here […]

“Iron Butterfly”

[…] In 1968, a hard rock band named Iron Butterfly came out with a 17-minute song that became something of a psychedelic anthem in the Summer of 1968… ”In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” went on to sell tens of millions of albums worldwide and was also used by Fidelity Investments to pitch Baby Boomers in a 2005 TV ad…Iron Butterfly was an early influence on the heavy metal rock sound that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s[…]

“Come Softly to Me”

[…] In 1959, a singing group from the Pacific Northwest named the Fleetwoods rose briefly to the top of the pop music scene with a few top hits that were sweet and melodic with good harmonies, engaging arrangement, and innocent lyrics… The style flourished briefly as the pop music landscape was soon to be transformed by the Beatles and other British groups a few years later…But for a time, the Fleetwoods’ sound became very popular […]

“The Green Berets”

[…] In 1966, the most popular song of the year wasn’t from the Beatles or the Rolling Stones… Rather, it was a song about a Special Forces military group called the Green Berets… It sold millions of copies…But there’s more to this story than just music…. There’s also some politics via JFK & RFK, a paperback book, more music, and a Hollywood film made by Hollywood actor John Wayne […].

“Big Chill”Promo

[…] 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 Paul-is-Dead Saga”
…And Beatles’ Demise:1969-1970

[…] In 1969, the year the Beatles made their “Abbey Road” album – and their last year as a functioning rock group prior to their break up – there was also a “pop rumor” that spread around the world that Beatle Paul McCartney had died in a car crash and had been replaced by a look alike… The story proved to be a giant hoax as Life magazine would report on its cover in early November 1969 […]

“The Loco-Motion”

[…]”The Loco-Motion” is the name of 1962 dance song authored by famous Brill Building song-writing duo, Carole King & 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 Minogue, 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 […]

“Dylan: Only A Pawn…”
1963 Video

[…] This video shows Bob Dylan performing the complete version of “Only A Pawn in Their Game” at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963. Following the murder of black civil rights worker Medgar Evers in Mississippi on June 12th, 1963, Dylan was moved to write the song about the incident, which he titled “Only a Pawn in Their Game”[…]

“Mia’s Metamorphoses”

[…] 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 […]

“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 […]

“At The Hop”

[…] They began singing on Philadelphia street corners in the mid-1950s…They were just teenagers, 14 and 15 years old…. They had cut a record locally, and in December 1957 caught a big break, when Dick Clark at ‘American Bandstand’ asked them to fill-in for a last-minute cancellation… Their recording, “At The Hop,” shot to No.1 on the charts and their lives were forever changed […]

“Pitcher Perfect”

[…] There are only three people in all of baseball history who have done it: win three “triple crowns” in pitching. Sandy Koufax is one of them. He garnered this distinction during his magical years on the pitching mound with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963, 1965 and 1966 – a memorable time for baseball…But Sandy Koufax almost missed these years, as he tossed his glove and spikes into the trash at one point, believing he was through with baseball […]

“Harlem Nocturne”

[…] “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”

[…] 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 […]

“Early Beach Boys”
Part 2: Six Songs

[…] If you know the Beach Boys’ music and haven’t heard it in a while, you may find revisiting these six songs a pleasant reminder of just how gorgeous their harmonies were… If , on the other hand, you’ve never heard the Beach Boys 1960s music, you should at least give these six songs a listen […]

“Gifford For Luckies”

[…] Frank Gifford, a famous professional football player with the New York Giants in the 1950s and 1960s, is shown in early 1960s’ magazine ads for the Lucky Strike cigarette brand…. Gifford’s football achievements are also covered, as well as some of his second career as a sports broadcaster on Monday Night Football and as husband of Kathie Lee Gifford […]

“Mantle’s Griffith Shot”
April 1953

[…] In mid-April 1953, a young baseball player named Micky Mantle of the New York Yankees hit one of the longest home runs ever in a game against the Washington Senators at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C…This article includes some of the historic press coverage of that home run, some of the controversy that followed it, and a look at the power of Mickey Mantle is some of his other famous home runs… Several interesting photos and magazine covers are also included […]

“The Story in Your Eyes”
Moody Blues: 1971

[…] “The Story in Your Eyes” is the name of a popular 1971 hit single by the English rock band The Moody Blues, a song which also appeared on the album, “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.” …The song provides one example of their music at about mid-career, as they still had another three decades of recording and performing ahead of them… To date, the Moody Blues have sold more than 60 million recordings worldwide, and some members of the original group, founded in 1964, are still performing as of 2010 […]

“Wayne For Camels”

[…] John Wayne, the popular Hollywood film star of the 1950s, became one of a number of celebrities, sports stars, and other famous individuals to participate in cigarette and tobacco-product advertising in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s… This short article examines two of Wayne’s print ads, some of his film history during that period, and his personal battles with cancer […]

“Be My Baby”
Ronettes’ History: 1960s

[…] “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[…]

“I Guarantee It.”
1969: Joe Namath

[…] In 1969, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath became famous for his prediction that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, which they did, 16-7… But Joe Namath the celebrity also became a key figure in changing the allure of pro football, making it more exciting & telegenic, more appealing to fans & advertisers, and generally helping improve its economic growth through the 1960s and 1970s […]

“Joplin’s Shooting Star”

[…]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”

[…] 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”

[…] 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”

[…] 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”

[…] 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?”

[…] 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”

[…] 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”

[…] 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

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. Click for copy.     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 … Continue reading Bill Bradley

Ava Gardner

[…] 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”

[…] 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”

Record sleeve for ‘Paint It Black’ single issued in South Africa, 1966. Click for Rolling Stones “Hot Rocks” album.In the spring of 1966, all was not well in the world. The Vietnam War was then raging and American involvement there was escalating. U.S. troop strength had reached 200,000 by then, and draft quotas at home had doubled. Earlier … Continue reading “Paint It Black”

“Hello Stranger”

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”

“1968 Presidential Race”

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”

“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”

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”

“Nike & The Beatles”

…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”

[…] 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'”

[…] In December 1964, a song titled “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” began to be heard on the radio – a song about the painful ebbing away of a love relationship. Called “blue-eyed soul” by some critics, and a product of Brill Building songwriting and Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” orchestration, the song is powerfully performed – partly in call-and-response delivery – by tenor-baritone duo Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. It became a million-selling No. 1 hit and would one day become one of the most played songs on the radio – with more than 8 million plays by 1999 and nearly 15 million by 2011 […]

1968 Presidential Race

[…] 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”

[…] 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”

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”

[…]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”

[…] “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”

[…]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”

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!”

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”

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 […]

“Profiles in Courage”
JFK Book: 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 […]