This is a song, which is dusted off every year for the Christmas season. Ross Bagdasarian was a novelty writer in a non-novelty world. Making a living as a quirky songwriter, Ross had one major triumph…he had written the wacky hit, ‘Come Onna my House’ for Rosemary Clooney in 1951. He was later pushed to the other side of the recording booth to the position of recording engineer. Bagdasarian loved the dials, the buttons, the little gauges and lights. He truly got a kick out of playing with the technology of recording. By deliberately recording on the slowest speed possible on his reel-to-reel tape machine, he found he could sing normally, and sound like a freak on helium if he sped-up the recording to normal speed on playback. Using this novelty voice as the background singers for the chorus, he recorded ‘Witchdoctor’ and hit the top of the charts in 1958. With the same recording technique, he created the Chipmunks and their hapless manager, Dave. The character ‘Alvin’ was based on his son who drove him crazy with very complicated questions. The Chipmunk Song, released for the Christmas season of 1958, sold 5 million copies that year and the Chipmunk Song received two Grammy Awards in 1958: "Best Comedy Performance" and "Best Recording for Children."
George Lerner of New York City invented and patented Mr. Potato Head based on an earlier toy called "make a face" that used a real potato. A year after his appearance, Mr. Potato Head was introduced to the future "Mrs. Potato Head" and a short time later, were married. "Mr. Potato Head" was the first children’s toy to be advertised on TV.
1992 – ‘A Christmas Carol’ opened on Broadway (would continue for 22 performances)
1975 – Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was sentenced to life in prison for attempt on President Ford
1965 – The Houston Astrodome was opened (1st event was Judy Garland & Supremes in concert)
1962 – The Beatles appeared on TV for the 1st time in London, England
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History of the Carols
December 17, 2006
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
Words by Charles Wesley (1707 - 1788)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
The "poet laureate of Methodism," Charles Wesley, the younger brother of John Wesley, who founded Methodism in England, wrote the text for ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ and published it in his ‘Hymns and Sacred Poems’ of 1739, a volume so popular that it went through five editions. It is said that Wesley wrote this about one year after his conversion. Charles Wesley is credited with authoring 6,500 hymns. These lyrics were originally sung to a different tune than it is today. Many hymns in the eighteenth century consisted merely of printed words without music. It was left to those leading the congregational singing to choose an appropriate tune based on the meter of the verse.
A century later in 1840, Felix Mendelssohn, whose reputation as a musical genius bore no challenge, was asked to compose a "Festgesang," or ceremonial cantata, in honor of Johannes Guttenberg and the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press.
Englishman musician Dr. William H. Cummings adapted Mendelssohn’s music to fit the lyrics of ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.’
Meanwhile…1856…150 years ago…in the United States
Woodrow Wilson was born
YMCA opened a branch in New York City
The average American family had 5.4 kids
The main cause of death was: smallpox, typhoid, malaria & "accidents"
Congressman Brooks hit Senator Sumner with his cane on the Senate floor over slavery
Pascal Pratt and Bronson Rumsey founded The M&T Bank in Buffalo, NY
Buffalo, NY had a horse-drawn streetcar named the "omnibus line"
The S. Howes Corporation of Silver Creek, NY was founded