Category Archives: 1991-2000

“Music Rights Deals”
Selected Artists: 2020s

[…] In the early 2020s, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, Sting, Stevie Nicks, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and dozens of other rock stars, made mega-million dollar music rights deals, selling their song catalogs and/or royalty rights to the big music labels, new investment players, and other entertainment interests…These artists and their deals are profiled, along with brief career re-caps, song samples, and a listing of more than 50 other artists who have also sold music rights… A major shift and consolidation in music power is occurring, and streaming in the digital age is now one of the primary drivers […]

“Applause for Du Pont?”
An Environmental Critique

[…]This story highlights a 1990-92 battle between Friends of The Earth and the Du Pont chemical company over a Du Pont TV ad that environmentalists charged “glossed over” the company’s pollution record, including stratospheric ozone damage … Story details some of the Du Pont record in those years (mid-1970s through early 1990s), while also covering later environmental & public health issues in current times through mid-2023 regarding Du Pont and the PFAS chemicals. Video of TV ad included, as well as photos, period newspaper clips, book covers & links […]

“Marilyn & Joe, et al.”
A 70-Year Saga

[…] This story covers the love affair of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe…. He, the famous baseball player; she, the beautiful movie star – seen in the 1950s as the perfect, all-American, love story… But alas, theirs became a star-crossed union that ended in divorce – but not completely… With the celebrity- and Hollywood-obsessed media, their story – chiefly through the twists and turns of Monroe’s career in Hollywood, with the Rat Pack, and the Kennedys (and her premature death) – stayed alive for decades… Includes a history of related books, films, photos & magazine covers […]

“Pipeline Fireball”
Bellingham, WA: 1999

[…] On June 10th, 1999, a leak of 277,000 gallons of gasoline from an underground pipeline at Bellingham, Washington ignited and caused a massive explosion and fireball that roared along Whatcom Creek and park, killing three boys, terrorizing a city of 75,000, and leaving a 1.3 mile scorched-earth corridor of environmental devastation… The incident, laid to oil and pipeline company negligence and failures, would result in fines and criminal prosecutions, also revealing shortcomings in state and federal oversight. Yet, today, pipeline leaks, spills, fires, explosions, and methane emissions continue, endangering workers, public health and safety, and the environment […]

“Music in Film”
Songs & Soundtracks

[…] This topics page offers more that two dozen story choices that include some focus on the use of music in film, whether in soundtracks or with notable songs linked to particular movie scenes, TV shows, or conveying special emotional impact or other quality… Among topics, for example, are: Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” used in PLATOON and other films; “Philadelphia Morning” and other songs from Bill Conti’s first ROCKY film score; reggae music from THE HARDER THEY COME; the love theme from LOVE STORY; Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” song for WORKING GIRL; DIRTY DANCING songs, “Love is Strange” and “Do You Love Me?”; two theme songs from James Bond films; a story on THE BIG CHILL soundtrack; and others. Among artists with film songs profiled are: Louis Armstrong, the Beach Boys, Fats Domino, Bill Haley, the Righteous Brothers, Link Wray, Moby, Bruce Springsteen, Rogers & Hammerstein, and others […]

“The Brent Spar Fight”
Greenpeace: 1995

[…] In April 1995, a famous environmental protest and activist intervention began to unfold in Europe’s North Sea… A political, media, and direct-action contest erupted there between the environmental group, Greenpeace, and one of the world’s largest oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell. Greenpeace opposed Shell’s plan to dump at sea, a gigantic, decommissioned oil storage unit named the Brent Spar… A several months-long battle ensued, with Greenpeace activists occupying the structure twice in some dramatic boardings under water-cannon fire, while political and media pressure was brought to bear on Shell throughout Europe… This story, with photos, recounts that action and its outcome, as well as some current North Sea oil-rig disposal issues emerging in 2018-19 […]

“The Santana Sound”
Woodstock: 1969

[…] A new and exciting sound was in the air at the Woodstock music festival of August 1969… It wasn’t exactly rock ‘n roll; it was something else. But it was powerful, rhythmic, and beckoning – and it was coming from a new band few had heard of – Santana, led by Mexican American guitarist Carlos Santana…. Santana’s Afro-Latin instrumentals at Woodstock had the whole place rocking, and soon sent this unknown group soaring to the top of popular music – and on to 50 years of continued music making… This story recounts Santana’s Woodstock launch and impressive album production since, offering music samples “Jingo” and “Soul Sacrifice” and period photos […]

“Fonda Fitness Boom”
1980s & Beyond

[…] Jane Fonda, Hollywood film star and sometimes controversial activist, became a national fitness leader in the 1980s. Her rise to this position was something of an accident, but it would bring her a new identity, a new career path, and a considerable cash flow….Although a controversial anti-Vietnam War activist in the 1970s, during the 1980s and beyond, she became a trusted fitness leader for millions, touching off an exercise boom and a home video revolution. The “Jane Fonda workout” permeated the larger culture as her best-selling books and videos swept over America… This story recounts that history as well as much of her biography in film and her various activist involvements up through the 2010s […]

“Shell Plant Explodes”
1994: Belpre, Ohio

[…] On May 27th, 1994, an explosion and multiple fires at a Shell Chemical plastics plant in Ohio killed three workers, caused the temporary evacuation of 1,700 residents, and polluted the adjacent Ohio River, affecting downstream users… The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) charged the company with dozens of violations and imposed a $3 million fine, though Shell blocked public release of OSHA’s report….This story recounts the Shell disaster, the company’s later sale of the plant, recent Shell incidents elsewhere, and controversy over a planned Shell “cracker” plant slated to produce plastics north of Pittsburgh […]

“Coal & The Kennedys”

[…] Over the last 50 years or more, members of the politically prominent Kennedy family of Massachusetts have brought national attention to the plight of coal communities, coal miners, and/or coal/environment issues… This story profiles five of them: John F. Kennedy in West Virginia; Robert F. Kennedy in Kentucky; Caroline Kennedy in Tennessee; Ted Kennedy on coal mine safety; and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on coal/environment issues… While running for political office, acting on public policy matters once in office, or in various other public service roles, these Kennedys worked to help coal miners, their communities and families, or to spotlight coal-related safety and environmental issues […]

“Republican History”

[…] A topics page offering a selection of stories on Republican politicians and Republican history, including those involving presidential campaigns and various candidates, among them: Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and others… Spiro Agnew appears in one story about 1960s pop music lyrics; Geo. W. Bush & Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visit Graceland in another; and David Frost conducts his famous Nixon TV interviews in a third… Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen also have their “Republican moments” in a few of theses stories […]

“Rhino Skin”
Tom Petty: 1999

[…] The Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers song, “Rhino Skin,” suggests that in navigating today’s modern world – life, love, work, and all the rest – you need to have “thick skin” … It’s a tough, judgmental, and sometimes unforgiving world out there, and you best be equipped with the dermatological-psychological equivalent of “rhino skin” to get through… This story also delves into the song’s other suggested navigational aides, as well some background on Petty’s life at the time this song was made […]

“Magazine History”
Selected Stories: 1910s-2010s

[…] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 18 stories at this website that feature or include magazine-related content from the last 100 years – including selected cover art, illustrator profiles, advertising art, political stories, civil rights stories, business stories, sports stories, and more… Cover samples are typically included throughout the stories from a range of magazines – Time, Life, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Fortune, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, The Saturday Evening Post, New York Magazine, Wired, and others […]

“Inferno at Whiting”
Standard Oil: 1955

[…] In August 1955, the Standard Oil refinery at Whiting, Indiana had a catastrophic explosion and fire of historic proportion that shattered nearby-communities and burned through the refinery grounds and nearly 70 large storage tanks for 8 days…This story recounts that incident with photos, a short video, and eyewitness accounts and also lists some of the refinery’s 1940s-through-2015 performance history & environmental record, including those of new owner, British Petroleum (BP) […]

“Legend of a Mind”
Timothy Leary & LSD

[…]“Legend of a Mind” is the name of a 1968 Moody Blues song about a man named Timothy Leary, a former Harvard University instructor and research psychologist who became something of a “pied piper” for LSD drug use in the 1960s… This story includes the Moody Blues song as intro and period piece, and also a detailed history on Leary & associates, as well Leary’s run-ins with Art Linkletter, Richard Nixon, his prison escape, and his global flight from the law […]

“Noteworthy Ladies”
Selected Stories: 1910s-2010s

[…] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 36 stories at this website on female careers in music, film, sport, politics, publishing and other endeavors… Some offer in-depth biographical profiles with extensive photos, and in the case of recording artists, mp3 song files… Among those featured, are: Ali MacGraw, Anna Q Nilsson, Ava Gardner, Babe Didrikson, Barbara Lewis, Barbra Streisand, Bette Davis, Billie Holiday, Carly Simon, Cyd Charisse, Dinah Shore, Gisele Bündchen, Grizabella from “Cats,” Janis Joplin, Lady Gaga, Keira Knightley, Linda Ronstadt, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Martha & the Vandellas, Meryl Streep, Mia Farrow, Pearl White, Petula Clark, Princess Diana, Rachel Carson, Rosie The Riveter, Sarah Palin, Skeeter Davis, Taylor Swift, the Ronettes, The Shirelles, and Tina Turner […]

“Burn On, Big River…”
Cuyahoga River Fires

[…] This story explores the history of several Cuyahoga River fires in the Cleveland, Ohio region, circa 1890s to 1969; their influence on national environmental history & public policy; and some related music from Randy Newman, R.E.M., and Adam Again… Includes photos, political cartoons, and some music […]

“Flash Boy Lewis”

[…] In March/April 2014, a new book about high-speed computerized stock trading on Wall Street titled “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis created a firestorm of controversy by revealing unfair electronic practices, leading to charges of a “rigged market” and subsequent inquiries by the FBI, SEC, and other agencies, as well as action in Congress… Lewis, a prolific & colorful writer is featured as something of a literary “flash boy” in this piece, which covers his 15 books, 2 films & their impact, dubbing him “one of the nation’s most engaging interpreters of business culture,”[…]

“Keira & The Zombies”
2014 & The 1960s

[…] In March 2014, actress Keira Knightley and the 1960s’ Zombies teamed up to do a Chanel perfume TV ad to the tune of “She’s Not There”– attention-getting music that backs the ad’s “mystery” mini-plot… The article lays out some of the ad’s screenshots & plot, and also offers an in-depth look at the history of the Zombies and other uses of their music in film, TV and advertising, along with 3 song samples […]

“Moondog Alan Freed”

[…] In the staid Eisenhower 1950s, when pop radio featured mostly standard fare, a Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey named Alan Freed began to shake things up with his what he called “rock ’n roll” music – the upbeat rhythm & blues music then primarily performed and followed by black Americans… Freed soon made a name for himself with upbeat broadcasts and live stage shows, taking R&B and rock ’n roll to New York and throughout the country… Later hit with charges of inciting “rock ’n roll riots” and implicated in a national “payola” scandal, Freed suffered a reversal of fortune that left him dead & financially ruined at 43… His story and his impact on music & popular culture are covered here […]

“Celebrity Gifford”

[…] Frank Gifford, a talented New York Giants football player in the 1950s & 1960s, became a popular figure in New York & nationally and a familiar face in print & TV ads. He also became one of the first professional athletes to successfully venture into TV sports broadcasting, first with CBS and later — for 25-plus years — on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” program. Gifford’s celebrity, in fact, would span nearly six decades, helped in later years by his marriage to Kathie Lee Gifford, books & magazine stories about him, his own publishing, and a controversy or two […].

“The Saddest Song”

[…]“Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber might also be called “Adagio for Tears” since it is known for evoking very powerful emotion and sadness among its listeners. Used in film scores from “Elephant Man” to “Platoon,” Barber’s Adagio has also been used at prominent state & celebrity funerals, such as those for FDR, JFK. Grace Kelly & others – also played following 9/11. Electronic dance and trance DJs have recorded versions as well… This piece looks at the history and reception of “Adagio for Strings” and its related choral version, “Angus Dei”[…]

“Civil Rights Stories”

[…] This “topics page” lists 14 stories at this website which include civil rights-related content. Among stories listed are several related to civil rights & music; civil rights & television; civil rights & art; and civil rights & politics – stories which include performers & artists such as: Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Norman Rockwell, Petula Clark, Harry Belafonte, Martha & the Vandellas, U2, and others. Also listed are stories on Jackie Robinson and Barack Obama, and others with sections on Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King […]

“Dark Side’s 40 Years”

[…] A 1973 rock music album by the British group Pink Floyd, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ stayed on Billboard’s top 200 albums sales chart for 741 consecutive weeks, from March 1973 to April 1988, setting an all-time record….But the album’s Billboard chart heroics is less than half the story, as ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ – now in its 40th anniversary year – continues to be popular. This article explores the long-standing appeal of Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side’ album, how it enriched the members of its band, and how its has moved its listeners… Song samples included […]

“Life Is Beautiful”
2006: Vega 4

[…] “Life is Beautiful” is the name of a 2006 song by the U.K. group Vega 4… The song is filled with emotionally powerful sentiment and moving lyrics, and has been used in PBS advertising, TV episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy,” and various films…The group’s style is in the mold of Coldplay and Snow Patrol, but they have since disbanded […]

“The Yogi Chronicles”

[…] Yogi Berra, the famous Hall-of-Fame, New York Yankee baseball player, in addition to becoming a sports celebrity of his day, also became something of cultural icon know for his “famous sayings” – sparking a bit of cottage industry in book publishing… Berra’s story not only captures the baseball aura of his times, but also shows how his sports popularity seeped into popular culture in a novel way, as Yogi Berra’s celebrity is now in its eighth decade […]

“Empire Newhouse”

[…] Advance Publications is a sprawling media empire of leading magazines, newspapers, cable TV and websites owned by the Newhouse family of Long Island, New York. In recent years the Newhouse/Advance empire has ranked among the 50 largest privately-held companies in the U.S. This article dips into the 90 years of Newhouse empire-building history, with some focus on the newspaper and magazine parts of the story, celebrity and political issues, and the Newhouse publishing and media impact on America culture…[…]

“Brian’s Song”

[…] Brian Lamb is the founder and creator of the C-SPAN public affairs TV network that covers Congress and a lot more… Lamb has consistently shown with his eclectic range of subjects and guests, how television can be used to inform citizens and elevate learning, doing so without bombast or celebrity fanfare. Lamb and C-SPAN have created a valuable “public learning commons” for millions. That story, and Lamb’s career, are explored in this article […]

“The iPod Silhouettes”

[…] Steve Jobs, Apple, and TBWA/Chiat/Day created a memorable advertising campaign & enduring set of cultural images with their iPod-attired silhouette dancers… These ads, used to sell digital music players & digital music, appeared in print, TV, and outdoor venues all over the world… The ads had a “pied piper” effect on consumers, transforming Apple into a digital music giant, sending it in into the superstar stratosphere of the world’s most elite and profitable companies […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“Murdoch’s NY Deals”

[…] In 1976-1977, Rupert Murdoch, then a little-known Australian newspaper mogul, made a “big news” New York media grab, acquiring two premier New York media companies: the New York Post newspaper and New York Magazine Co., which then held three publications — New York magazine, The Village Voice, and New West… Story, deal history & personalities involved are covered, as well as hints of what followed with the Murdoch global media empire […]

“Memory & Cats”

[…] In the 1981 stage production, Cats, there is the very poignant song, “Memory,” performed by the aging female feline, Grizabella, who has seen better days. Cats – the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that was originally produced in London – became one of the all-time theater box office successes, with “Memory” as one of its most beloved and signature tunes […]

“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 […]

“Celebrity Buffett”

[…] Warren Buffett, the businessman-investor from Omaha, Nebraska, known for his stock picks and investment strategies, is one of the wealthiest persons on the planet. Although famous for years in the investment community, Buffett became more of a mainstream celebrity as his wealth grew and also as stories became known about the millions he made for folks of modest means. …Buffett’s story also shows that once he arrived in the media glare, he moved to use his fame, the media machine, and his philanthropy in ways to benefit society […]

“Wall Street’s Gekko”

[…] Hollywood imagery sometimes survives long after its initial introduction, moving its characters and message into mainstream culture… Hollywood’s big time deal-maker, Gordon Gekko, played to a tee by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” made “greed is good” the catch phrase of the go-go 1980s… Gekko is a character who has stayed with the culture for some years now, and is periodically mentioned whenever Wall Street excesses flow… This piece looks at the film’s history, the Gekko character, & their effect today as a 2010 sequel arrives […]

“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’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 […]

“Start Me Up”

[…] In 1995, Bill Gates of the Microsoft Corporation paid millions to use a popular Rolling Stones rock ’n roll song from the 1980s named “Start Me Up” to help launch and promote his company’s new Windows 95 computer software… The song’s use in TV advertising was part of Microsoft’s $300 million global PR campaign to launch and promote its new computer software […]

“Let The River Run”

[…] In 1988, Carly Simon wrote a popular song “Let the River Run” for the Mike Nichols film, “Working Girl” – a song that has had resonance beyond the film, not only for millions of young women in their careers, but also for others who find it powerful and inspirational… Simon’s song-writing and hit-making career in the 1970s, 1980s and beyond is also covered […]

“…Keeps on Ticking”

[…] In the 1950s and 1960s, Timex, a brand-named wristwatch, became some- thing of an iconic American product through a long-running advertising campaign that used sports newscaster John Cameron Swayze as well as sports celebrities such as Mickey Mantle, Rocky Marciano, Ben Hogan, Babe Didrikson and others to pitch the product…. Swayze hosted 20-years of TV ads featuring various “torture tests” of Timex watches […]

“Streets of Philadelphia”

[…] In 1993-94, a Bruce Springsteen song about the plight of an AIDS victim in the film Philadelphia with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, becomes an international hit and Oscar winner while helping audiences understand and empathize with the victims and families of AIDS disease. Director Jonathan Demme’s use of contemporary music in the film, including an ending Neil Young song, proved to be quite moving […]

“The Rocky Statue”

[…] In 1982, Sylvester Stallone, Hollywood movie star and producer of the Rocky film series, donated a statue of his Rocky Balboa movie character to the City of Philadelphia. It was left near the entrance to the Philadelphia Art Museum, where it touched off a controversy over the appropriateness of its location that would flare up several times over the course of more than 20 years […]

“Michael & McCartney”

[…] In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney teamed up for some joint music projects. Their friendship led to Jackson’s discovery of the music publishing business, and ironically, his $47 million acquisition of a large and important Beatles music catalog… That catalog became an important asset for Jackson and a much sought-after prize in the music industry […]

“The Jackson Statues”

[…] In 1995, Michael Jackson and Sony Music embarked on a $30 million album promotion campaign that included nine giant Michael Jackson statues used for marketing, publicity, and a video promo […]

U2 Song- “One”

[…] In 1990, the Irish rock group U2 went looking for their muse, and part of what they found was one of the top songs of the 1990s – “One” […]

“Ralph Kramden Statue”
August 2000

Close-up of Ralph Kramden-Jackie Gleason statue at the August 2000 ‘TV Land’ unveiling in New York city.      Ralph Kramden is the name of a fictional New York City bus driver who starred in the popular 1950s television comedy The Honeymooners.  Actor Jackie Gleason played the role of Ralph, who was a memorable, one-of-a-kind character.  … Continue reading “Ralph Kramden Statue”
August 2000

“Rosie The Riveter”

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.     “Rosie the Riveter” is the name of a fictional character  who came to symbolize the millions of real women who  filled America’s factories, munitions plants, and shipyards during World … Continue reading “Rosie The Riveter”

“The Frost-Nixon Biz”

[…] In 1975, former U.S. President Richard Nixon made a business deal with British celebrity talk show host David Frost for a series of “tell us what happened” TV interviews on the Watergate scandal…The interviews aired much fanfare in May 1977… And over the next 30 years, a small cottage industry grew up around the event, spawning a series of books, VHS tapes, DVDs, stage productions, a Hollywood film, more books, and lots of continuing debate…This piece looks at that Nixon-Frost history, including how Frost landed the deal, the media fanfare then, excerpts from the interviews, and the subsequent “Frost-Nixon biz” that followed […]

“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”

“Ted Turner & CNN”
1980s & 1990s

Ted Turner on cover of 9 August 1986 Time magazine, which said of his up-and-coming 24-hour news network: ‘…By any measure, CNN is in the big leagues of news.’     Ted Turner was vilified by the press in the late 1970s and early 1980s — called the “mouth from the South,” “Captain Outrageous,” “Terrible Ted,” and all … Continue reading “Ted Turner & CNN”
1980s & 1990s

“Sting & Jaguar”

[…] In 1999-2000, recording artist “Sting,” in an effort to bring new music to the market, made a deal with the Jaguar car company to use his song “Desert Rose,” and portions of a related video, in a TV car commercial. Story includes the Jaguar video with clips of Sting performing “Desert Rose” and also some discussion of the difficult choices facing artists trying to bring new music to market […]

“Bette Davis Eyes”

Bette Davis captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine, January 23, 1939. Click for copy.      In May and June of 1981, the most popular song around was a tune about a Hollywood actress — or more precisely, about her eyes. “She’s got Bette Davis eyes” was the refrain made famous by the top-selling song … Continue reading “Bette Davis Eyes”

“Of Bridges & Lovers”

[…] A surprise best-selling book in 1992-94 was “The Bridges of Madison County,” a story about an Iowa farm wife who meets a National Geographic photographer by chance while her family is away at the Illinois State Fair. The book became a word-of-mouth sensation and was followed in 1995 by a well-received Hollywood film starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood….This story covers both the book and the film, their success & popular reception […]

“Candle in the Wind”
1973 & 1997

“Candle in the Wind” is a name of a song performed by Elton John and written by he and collaborator Bernie Taupin in 1972. The song was originally written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe who died at the age of 36 […] Following the death of Princess Diana, John and Taupin did a remake of “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to Diana, a version which sold wildly throughout the world […]

“All Sports, All The Time”

[…] In 1978, an all-sports cable TV network was hardly a “no brainer.” The three major TV networks combined then broadcast only about 20 hours of sports a week […] But Bill Rasmussen, a former sportscaster and recently fired communications man for the New England Whalers ice hockey team, came up with the new concept in sports broadcasting. In a few short years, ESPN was big business […]

“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 […]

“Disney’s Movie Vault”

In the early 1980s, as the home video market began to emerge, the Walt Disney Company was reluctant to release its classic animated movies into that market […], regarding them as a kind of Disney gold, only to be “marketed” through controlled release to movie theaters. But that philosophy would soon change as Disney began to see the huge sales potential […]

“Steinbeck to Springsteen”

“The Grapes of Wrath” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by John Steinbeck in 1939. Not only was this book a landmark social commentary in its day and a major publishing success, it became an award-winning and profitable Hollywood film, and also inspired at least two rounds of music — one by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and another by Bruce Springsteen in the 1990s […]

“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 […]

“The Most Beautiful Girl”

In 1993, before she graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine at right, Gisele Bündchen was a skinny 14 year-old kid in southern Brazil who aspired to play professional volleyball […] Photo: Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, on cover of the September 14, 2000 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, then naming her, ‘the most beautiful girl in the world.’