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wonders never cease Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14th, 2009 play list of the week: 14 songs about October 14th

[caption id="attachment_1367" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="click to listen"]click to listen[/caption]
October 14th is a landmark day in western history. Stay on your toes, loyal readers, because this is a day when big things happen. Here are 14 events that occurred on the 14th day of October:

1066, William the Conqueror and the Norman army defeated and killed Harold II and his Anglo Saxon forces at the Battle of Hastings. 1322, Scotland’s liberator Robert the Bruce defeated King Edward at Byland, forcing England to recognize Scotland’s independence. 1586, Queen Elizabeth I chose this day to begin the conspiracy trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been imprisoned in England for 18 years. The trials resulted in her conviction and execution. 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was shot at a campaign stop yet managed to deliver his 90 minute speech with the bullet lodged in his bleeding chest, proving that his fledgling Bull Moose Party was aptly named. 1926, A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh is published. 1933, Nazi Germany withdraws from The League of Nations. 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight. 1962, an American U-2 jet photographs Soviet nukes being installed in Cuba, kicking off the Cuban Missile Crisis and bringing our nation to the brink of nuclear war. 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in civil rights. 1968, Jim Hines become the first man to run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds, a feat not repeated until '83. 1979, The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights draws 200,000 people demanding "an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people.” 1982, Ronald Reagan declares war on drugs. 1987, “Baby Jessica” McClure falls down a well and is rescued 58 hours later on live television. 2009, “Captain” Lou Albano dies.

We admit that we were tempted to push the play list to tomorrow since it happens to be National Grouch Day. While we love trash as much as the next grouch, we decided instead to compile a list of songs inspired by some of the events that happened on this day in history. If you want to argue that Winnie-the-Pooh’s publication is historically more important than the Norman Conquest, we’ll grant that you have a strong case and we can agree to disagree. Please reference the songs below to the dates and events listed above:

1066 – 1. “Blame the Viking” – Ceann The Normans (from Norsemen, or Northmen) were Scandinavian Vikings that settled/conquered Normandy before dethroning the Anglo Saxons at Hastings. Much like Vikings that are pretending to be Frenchmen, Ceann are some clever boys from Pittsburgh who pretend to be an Irish band and sing some very fun songs. 1322 - 2. “The Scotsman” – Mike Cross A rollicking song that’s half traditional and half joke, it cheerfully builds toward a classic punch line. Robert the Bruce and William Wallace would tip a pint or two to this Appalachian songwriter and his fiddle, not to mention his superb 12-string bottleneck guitar. 1586 - 3. “The Queen and the Soldier” – Suzanne Vega A heartbreaking ballad that builds hopes only to dash them in the end, this song serves as a sad commentary on the sacrifices involved in gaining and maintaining power, something Elizabeth I knew only too much about. 1912 - 4. “Theodore Roosevelt - The Sherman Act Doesn’t Care” - Jefferson Pitcher and Matthew Gerken Pitcher and Gerken team up with Christian Kiefer and crank out Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 US Presidencies culminating with an amazing performance of all 43 songs on the eve of the 44th president’s inauguration in Washington DC, aided by an army of musicians, including many from our local talent pool. We love the story of Roosevelt delivering his speech after being shot and admit that it was tough to pass up choosing the perfectly titled “Teddy Roosevelt Tough” by Robby Roadsteamer. However, we hold our play list musicians to a certain standard that Roadsteamer simply fails to meet. Now if someone could convince Rufus Wainwright to cover it… 1926 - 5. “Sing Ho for the Life of a Bear (Expedition March)” – Carly Simon While technically not a song from the original The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, it is about a story from the original book. It appears in 2003’s “Piglet’s Big Movie,” and is hopelessly infectious. (No “swine” jabs.) 1933 – 6. “Nazi Punks, F@*% Off” – Dead Kennedys This song was written by Jello Biafra in response to West Coast Neo-Nazis who had missed the satirical intent behind earlier Dead Kennedys’ songs "Kill the Poor" and "California Über Alles." We imagine it would've been a fitting retort from The League of Nations to Hitler’s national party, who quit the precursor to the UN rather than grant human rights to imprisoned jew Franz Bernheim, starting down the path to World War II. 1947 - 7. “When You’re Traveling at the Speed of Light” – These United States Chuck Yeager hid the fact that he’d broken several ribs two days before his landmark flight, but he was in such pain that he was unable to close his cockpit without help. DC’s own TUS seems to understand Chuck’s dilemma in the last song from last year’s sensational Crimes, writing “Who has no pain? My point is …everyone has pain” and closing with “If the thing that drives you onward is your heart, you must not let that engine die,” a concept equally applicable to supersonic flight, I’m sure. 1962 - 8. “Have a Cigar” – Pink Floyd A scathing send-up of the music industry following the breakthrough success of Dark Side of the Moon, Floyd’s Roger Waters packs the lyrics with cliché after cliché, reaching the peak with “The Band is just fantastic, that’s really what I think. Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?” This track was one of only two Floyd songs to be sung by someone other than one of the band’s permanent members, with friend of the band Roy Harper stepping in after Waters strained his voice recording “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” the 26-minute tribute to former band mate Syd Barrett. (Each part had to be recorded as a complete take each time.) As Led Zeppelin would say, “Hats off to (Roy) Harper,” as he filled in admirably. 1964 – 9. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” – U2 The first single from 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire, “Pride” was U2’s biggest hit at the time. Bono had significant doubts about the lyrics, but legendary producer Brian Eno convinced him the song was ready. Despite the song’s success, Bono never quite agreed, writing “I looked at how glorious that song was and thought: ‘What the @*^% is that all about?' It's just a load of vowel sounds ganging up on a great man. It is emotionally very articulate - if you didn't speak English." 1968 – 10. “The Stars of Track and Field” – Belle and Sebastian Jim Hines went into the politically-charged 1968 Olympics under a lot of pressure. As an African American who already held the unofficial world record, Hines faced the turmoil of race riots at home and the threat of a boycott by black athletes due to the Olympics’ inclusion of apartheid South Africa. Things didn’t ease up after the games started, when team members Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the Black Power salute on the medal stand while accepting their awards in the 200 M race and were expelled from the Olympic Village. Hines soon lost his two gold medals when his home was burglarized, only to have them returned in an envelope through his mailslot by the sympathetic burglar. 1979 – 11. “Macho Man” – The Village People If a cop, an Indian chief, a construction worker, a cowboy, a biker and a soldier all marching together in (six-part) harmony can’t convince us to treat each other as equals, then what right do we have to call ourselves a civilized society? We have to love a band that forms around an ad in a trade publication that reads "Macho Types Wanted: Must Dance And Have A Moustache," yet manages to convince the US Navy to allow it to film a video aboard a fully-manned US warship - in trade for using the song “In the Navy” in a recruitment campaign. 1982 – 12. “War on Drugs” – Barenaked Ladies For an alt-rock band known for light-hearted pop tunes and comical banter, this moving song is heavy social commentary about the pain and despair that drives people to abuse drugs, and a reminder to all of us to pitch in and help those in distress. Steven Page, the song’s writer, once said while explaining the song “the second we stop holding our arms out to catch people as they fall is the second we lose our humanity.” 1987 – 13. “Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well” – Mike Doughty The eighteen-month-old Baby Jessica’s harrowing ordeal helped to launch a fledgling 24-hour news network (CNN), inspired a national prayer invocation from Ronald Reagan, and appeared in a video tribute by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. This bleak yet hopeful song was the first solo hit for the former Soul Coughing frontman from the tremendous 2005 release Haughty Melodic. 2009 – 14. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper Captain Lou Albano parlayed his growing celebrity as a professional wrestling cretin into a guest spot in several Cyndi Lauper videos, including the role as her grouchy dad in the hit video for this song. Rest in peace, Captain Lou, and we trust that villain tag teams will be in good hands wherever you are.

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