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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

January 4, 2011

Welcome to the first ever Wayback Wednesday!

Okay, okay...the Wayback Wednesday is exactly the same as the Tuesday Timeline.  It's just held on Wednesday.  You see, when I first started off the Tuesday Timeline feature in this blog in January 2012, the date that I started it off on was January 3 - and I really want to do a complete cycle of all the days in the calendar before I recycle dates.  So, as a result, from now until February 22, I will be moving this feature to Wednesday.  Then the following week, I'll be shifting it to Thursdays beginning on March 2.  That way, I think I will get all of the dates accounted for. 

Got all that?

Okay, before we get started on the first of eight Wayback Wednesday entries, we'll do it like we did every Tuesday for five years...we'll see what historical events took place on January 4, and talk celebrity birthdays, and then we'll get to the main topic.

So, what happened on January 4?  Lots of things!  Have a look!

46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats Titus Labienus in the Battle of Ruspina

1717 - The Triple Alliance is signed by France, The Netherlands, and Great Britain

1762 - Great Britain enters the Seven Years' War against Spain and Naples

1847 - Samuel Colt sells his first pistol to the United States government

1853 - Solomon Northup regains his freedom after serving as a slave in the American South - he would go on to pen the memoir "Twelve Years a Slave" which would become a national bestseller

1863 - The New Apostolic Church is established in Hamburg, Germany

1865 - The Wall Street location of the New York Stock Exchange is opened

1896 - Utah becomes the 45th state to join the United States of America

1903 - An elephant named Topsy is electrocuted by the owners of Luna Park, Coney Island

1905 - Actor/singer Sterling Holloway (d. 1992) is born in Cedartown, Georgia

1923 - Singer-songwriter and television host Tito Rodriguez (d. 1973) is born in Santurce, Puerto Rico

1944 - Operation Carpetbagger begins during World War II

1951 - Chinese and North Korean forces capture the city of Seoul during the Korean War

1958 - Sputnik 1 falls from orbit towards Earth

1959 - Prince protege and singer Vanity (d. 2016) is born in Fremont, California

1965 - Poet/playwright T.S. Eliot dies at the age of 76

1974 - Richard Nixon refuses to turn over materials that have been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee

1987 - A massive train collision takes place in Chase, Maryland which kills sixteen people

1998 - Ice Storm '98 officially begins with several areas in Ontario, Quebec, and Upstate New York receiving damaging amounts of freezing rain - (my area was hit hardest on January 8, and our power was knocked out for five days)

1999 - Actor/stuntman Iron Eyes Cody passes away at the age of 94

2004 - NASA Mars Rover, Spirit, lands successfully on the surface of Mars

2007 - Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female Speaker of the House in United States history

And celebrating a January 4 birthday are the following famous faces; Barbara Rush, Don Shula, Dyan Cannon, Chris Cutler, Bob Black, Barbara Cochran, Tina Knowles, Ann Magnuson, Bernard Sumner, Patty Loveless, Matt Frewer, Michael Stipe, Dave Foley, Dot-Marie Jones, Julia Ormond, Deana Carter, David Berman, David Toms, Harmony Korine, and Graham Rahal.

All right.  Let's see how far back in time we are going back in time to for the inaugural Wayback Wednesday!

Uhhh...well, okay.  We're only going back in time six years to January 4, 2011.  Not much of a trip, but hey, at least it's a year I can vividly remember, as that was the year I began this blog!

Sadly, six years ago today, a musician that I absolutely adored breathed his last breath.  And it really wasn't until after his passing that I realized just how much he struggled throughout his whole life.

And while his music catalogue was extensive - particularly throughout the 1970s - I have my selection of favourite hits.

For those of you who are following me on Facebook, I've been posting a list of what I consider to be my favourite 750 songs in the world.  I'm doing it with a few other friends of mine, and it's my goal to try and add to other people's music collections by sharing some of the songs I love listening to.

Naturally, this song will be featured at some point on that list.

ARTIST: Gerry Rafferty
SONG:  Baker Street
ALBUM: City to City
DATE RELEASED:  February 3, 1978

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love the song "Baker Street".  From the beautiful lyrics to the killer saxophone solos, it's my idea of one of the greatest songs ever recorded (which tells you that on my list of 750, it's ranked quite high).

Tragically, today marks the 6th anniversary of the death of the man who sang it - Scottish born singer Gerry Rafferty.  He died on January 4, 2011 at the age of 63.  The cause of death was liver failure.

A service was planned on January 21, 2011 - which was live streamed over the Internet so fans of his could mourn along with his family and friends - of which some 400 attended.

But the tragic thing about Rafferty's death was that in many ways, it could have been avoided.

You see, from an early age, Rafferty was one who enjoyed an alcoholic beverage, and by the time he recorded "Baker Street", he was already considered to have a problem with abusing alcohol.  Quite often he would go on alcohol binges, drinking so much that he would black out or be out of it for several days.  His binge drinking impacted his personal life severely, and his wife filed for divorce in 1990.  The death of his brother only served to increase his dependency for alcohol, and many close to him believe that he never really got over it.

As the addiction grew worse, so did his unpredictable behaviour.  In fact, he actually went missing for a period in 2008 following a stay at London hotel room where he reportedly destroyed the whole room during the four days he was there.  It was really sad to see because prior to that, he was known for his brilliant music talent.

I already talked about "Baker Street", but did you know that he was also a part of the band Stealers Wheel?  If you don't know who they are, they sang a song called "Stuck In The Middle With You", a hit in 1973 used for selling Fruit of the Loom underwear as well as being used in a pivotal scene in "Reservoir Dogs" where someone loses an ear.  I'm sure you all know what scene I'm talking about!

And for what it was worth, Gerry Rafferty was quite vocal about hos much he disdained the music industry.  Whereas some artists sought about being famous and rich, Rafferty's songs came from the heart and he really wanted more to be respected for his craft than anything.

I can tell you that I definitely respected him as a musician and songwriter.  And part of me wishes he was still here.  I think he could have taught some of the current crop of musicians a thing or two.

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