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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 17, 1990

Top o' the mornin' to ye!  Where's me Lucky Charms?

Yes, if you haven't figured it out, today is St. Patrick's Day...the day in which everyone in the world becomes a little more Irish, where people dance jigs in the streets, and where people guzzle back pitchers of green beer as if there is no tomorrow.

Well, okay.  I will NOT be drinking green beer.  I'm just getting over the stomach flu.  Besides, I work later on tonight.  It just isn't going to happen.

What IS going to happen is that we're going to do a very special St. Patrick's Day themed Tuesday Timeline.  And, my goal for this week's entry is to do a blog on an Irish themed morsel of pop culture.

I believe I have succeeded.  In fact, I have some good news for those of you who have expressed a desire for me to come up with more recent pop culture references...this entry will be one of those times.

So, I've provided you with a couple of clues in regards to this week's topic.  The subject matter is Irish, and he is relatively current.  Now let's take a look at some of the other events that took place on St. Patrick's Day over the years...

45 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda

1776 - British forces evacuate Boston effectively ending the Siege of Boston

1842 - The Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is formed

1891 - SS Utopia collides with HMS Anton in the Bay of Gibraltal and sinks; 562 passengers lose their lives

1941 - The National Gallery of Art officially opens in Washington D.C.

1942 - The first Jews from the Lvov Ghetto are gassed at the Belzec death camp

1948 - The Treaty of Brussels is signed by Benelux, the UK, and France

1950 - University of California researchers announce the creation of "californium", the 98th element of the periodic table of elements

1960 - Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the National Security Council directive on the anti-Cuban covert action program, preceding the "Bay of Pigs" invasion

1961 - Actress/activist Dana Reeve (d. 2006) is born in Teaneck, New Jersey

1963 - 1,100 people are killed in Bali after Mount Agung erupts

1969 - Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel - also on this date, fashion designer Alexander McQueen (d. 2010) is born

1973 - The photograph "Burst of Joy" is taken - not only does it symbolize the end of American involvement in the Vietnam War, but it also wins a Pulitzer Prize

1992 - A referendum to end apartheid in South Africa is passed, with nearly 69% voting in favour

1993 - Actress Helen Hayes passes away at the age of 92

2002 - Actress Rosetta LeNoire passes away at the age of 90

2011 - Actor Michael Gough dies at the age of 94

2013 - The largest meteorite - since NASA began observing them - hit the surface of the moon

2014 - Irish singer Paddy McGuigan dies at the age of 74

And for celebrity birthdays, these celebrities must have been born underneath a four-leaf clover or two!  Happy birthday to Patty Maloney, Ken Mattingly, Jim Weatherly, Pattie Boyd, Cito Gaston, John Sebastian, Patrick Duffy, Daniel Lavoie, Craig Ramsay, Kurt Russell, Lesley-Anne Down, Mark Boone Junior, Paul Overstreet, Gary Sinise, Rory McGrath, Christian Clemenson, Rebeca Arthur, Arye Gross, Vicki Lewis, Casey Siesmaszko, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Sheffield, Billy Corgan, Mathew St. Patrick, Gene Ween, Melissa Auf der Mar, Mia Hamm, Caroline Corr, Amelia Heinle, Marisa Coughlan, Natalie Zea, Brittany and Cynthia Daniel, Tamar Braxton, Coco Austin, Miles Kane, Olesya Rulin, and Rob Kardashian.

Okay, so let's see what date we have to work with this time around.

Ah.  March 17, 1990.  That takes us back 25 years.  But wait...didn't I just say that the date was linked to a recent event?

Oh, silly me.  March 17, 1990 is the birthdate of our Tuesday Timeline spotlight this time around.  So, we've already established that this person is turning 25.  But what has this person done that warrants me writing a blog about him?

Well, for one, he was born in Ireland.  Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, to be exact.  And his claim to fame?  I would think that this video will explain all.

ARTIST:  Hozier
SONG:  Take Me To Church
ALBUM:  Hozier
DATE RELEASED:  September 13, 2013

Ah, yes, "Take Me To Church".  A very powerful song that clearly displays Hozier's own frustration with the Catholic church's stance on homosexuality.  A song with a video clip that could not showcase that message more hauntingly.  But we'll get to that discussion a little later.

Right now, let's take a minute to wish the composer of this song a very happy birthday!  Happy birthday to Andrew Hozier-Byrne - otherwise known as Hozier.  And though he hasn't been on the music scene all that long, I have a feeling that he's more than made an impact.  Already considered one of the breakout artists of 2014, Hozier's breakthrough single was "Take Me To Church", a song which topped the charts in twelve countries, went triple platinum in the United States, and which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2015 for Song of the Year.  Unfortunately, Hozier lost the award to Sam Smith.

(Though he shouldn't feel too bad.  A lot of artists lost to Sam Smith in 2015!)

Anyway, one thing that you should probably know about Hozier was that success didn't exactly come to him overnight.  He briefly attended Trinity College in Dublin where he studied music, but dropped out after a few months to free time up for recording demos for record companies.  He was also a member of the Irish choral group Anuna for four years.  During that time, he had the opportunity to perform with the group internationally, singing in The Netherlands and Norway.

But "Take Me To Church" was definitely Hozier's biggest break - and would you believe that he wrote and recorded the song in his family's attic?  It would take some time for the single to be noticed, but in 2013, an independent record label that went by the name of Rubyworks took interest in the single.  Record producer Rob Kirwan later stepped in and added live instruments over the original demo that Hozier had recorded, making it the musical masterpiece it became.

TRIVIA:  Before the musical instrument supplements were added, only two musicians were credited with the creation of the single - Hozier and Fiachra Kinder, who played drums.

The music video was also produced independently, with the video directed by Conal Thompson and Brendan Canty who worked for independent production company Feel Good Lost.  The video was posted on YouTube in September 2013, with Hozier expecting at least a few people to respond.

Well, that video went viral just weeks after it was posted, and the surprising success of the video and how many times it was shared on social media prompted a bidding war between record companies, wishing to sign Hozier to a proper recording contract.  Eventually, Hozier signed to Columbia Records in early 2014, and his self-titled debut album was released worldwide on September 19, 2014 - one year and six days after "Take Me To Church" was first released.

Since then, Hozier continues to make a name for himself in the world of music, having released five singles between 2013 and 2015.  His latest single "Work Song" was just released yesterday, and is already climbing Irish charts.  Time will only tell whether it will have an impact on the United States or Canada.

But given how he almost won a Grammy Award, capped off with a fantastic performance alongside Annie Lennox at the show just one month ago...I think it's safe to say that Hozier's career has only just begun.

Happy 25th, Hozier!

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