Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wicked Wednesday

Martha Wash and Izora Armstead had been performing together for a few years as Two Tons o’ Fun before they changed their name to The Weather Girls and cut a single written by Paul Shafer, of David Letterman fame, called It’s Raining Men. The result is a classic single that many people consider the anthem of 80’s rock.

This video is so much fun to watch. Martha and Izora were having a blast and so it seemed was everyone else in the crew. One of MTV’s most popular offerings in 1982, The Weather Girls hit it big on the Billboard charts as well as with radio programmers the country over. The song also became an international hit, keeping Martha and Izora busy for years. No matter that they never repeated the success of It’s Raining Men; this one song put them on the map and has kept them there for almost thirty years.

Izora is gone now, having died of heart failure in 2004. After she and Martha parted company in the 90’s, Izora kept The Weather Girls alive with her daughter Dynell, scoring big on the European front, but never finding chart success in the US again. Martha continues touring and performing, and whenever she cranks down on It’s Raining Men audiences still scream and go wild. This song just never gets old.

This Day in History: December 29

1170 - St Thomas à Becket, the 40th archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights acting on Henry II's orders.

1812 - The USS Constitution won a battle with the British ship HMS Java about 30 miles off the coast of Brazil. Before Commodore William Bainbridge ordered the sinking of the Java he had her wheel removed to replace the one the Constitution had lost during the battle.

1813 - The British burned Buffalo, NY, during the War of 1812.

1837 - Canadian militiamen destroyed the Caroline, a U.S. steamboat docked at Buffalo, NY.

1845 - U.S. President James Polk and signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States.

1848 - U.S. President James Polk turned on the first gas light at the White House.

1851 - The first American Young Men's Christian Association was organized, in Boston, MA.

1860 - The HMS Warrior, Britain's first seagoing first iron-hulled warship, was launched.

1888 - The first Performance of Macbeth took place at the Lyceum Theatre.

1890 - The U.S. Seventh Cavalry massacred over 400 men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, SD. This was the last major conflict between Indians and U.S. troops.

1895 - The Jameson Raid from Mafikeng into Transvaal, which attempted to overthrow Kruger's Boer government, started.

1911 - Sun Yat-sen became the first president of a republican China, following the Revolution.

1913 - "The Unwelcome Throne" was released by Selig’s Polyscope Company. This was a moving picture and the first serial motion picture.

1934 - The first regular-season, college basketball game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. New York University defeated Notre Dame 25-18.

1934 - Japan renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

1937 - Babe Ruth returned to baseball as the new manager of the Class D, De Land Reds of the Florida State League. Ruth had retired from baseball in 1935.

1940 - During World War II, Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London.

1945 - The mystery voice of Mr. Hush was heard for the first time on the radio show, "Truth or Consequences", hosted by Ralph Edwards.

1945 - Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville, TN.

1949 - KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut became the first ultrahigh frequency (UHF) television station to begin operating on a regular daily schedule.

1952 - The first transistorized hearing aid was offered for sale by Sonotone Corporation.

1953 - Jean Stapleton debuted in her first Broadway play, "In the Summer House", which closed after only 55 performances.

1972 - Following 36 years of publication, the last weekly issue of "LIFE" magazine hit the newsstands. The magazine later became a monthly publication.

1975 - A bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York's LaGuardia Airport. 11 people were killed.

1985 - Phil Donahue and a Soviet radio commentator hosted the "Citizens’ Summit" via satellite TV.

1986 - The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL, reopened for business after eighteen years and $47 million expended on restoration.

1989 - Following Hong Kong's decision to forcibly repatriate some Vietnamese refugees, thousands of Vietnamese 'boat people' battled with riot police.

1996 - The Guatemalan government and leaders of the leftist Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union signed a peace accord in Guatemala City, ending a civil war that had lasted 36 years.

1997 - Hong Kong began killing 1.25 million chickens, the entire population, for fear of the spread of 'bird flu'.

1998 - Khmer Rouge leaders apologized for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed 1 million lives.

Wednesday's Flashback

Martha and The Vandellas are one of Motown’s most popular acts. As a girl group they were second only to the more sophisticated Supremes in terms of appeal. Martha Reeves began as a secretary at Motown Records, bursting into song every time Berry Gordy walked by to get him to notice her. When he did, big hits and chart success were not far behind.

The Vandellas have changed personnel many times over the last forty years. The original Vandellas, Rosalind Ashford and Annette Sterling, rejoined Martha Reeves in the 90’s for a few years before they split again, but it’s always been Reeves and her phenomenal voice that have powered the group’s legacy. Unlike The Supremes, where faces and voices changed over the years but the hits continued, there could be no stand in for Martha. She is irreplaceable.

In a clip from Hullabaloo in the 60’s, Martha and The Vandellas perform one of their biggest hits, Nowhere To Run. The sound is still fantastic and people still want to get up and dance whenever this one plays.

Thought for Today

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. -- Jim Morrison