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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 1979

Welcome to the final Tuesday Timeline for March 2016.  Hard to believe that a quarter of the year is gone just like that! 

Anyway, I had a difficult time trying to come up with a subject for today's blog.  All of the news events that I came up with I either already talked about, or know absolutely nothing about!  I had to use my music trivia knowledge to come up with a topic of discussion, and I think I have succeeded.

Of course, before we get to that, we should have a look at the other events of historical significance that took place on March 29...

845 - Paris is sacked by Viking raiders

1461 - Edward of York defeats Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England in the Battle of Towton

1632 - The Treaty of Saint-Germain is signed returning Quebec to French control

1792 - King Gustav III of Sweden succumbs to his injuries thirteen days after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball

1867 - Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act, which leads to the founding of the Dominion of Canada on July 1

1886 - In his Atlanta backyard, Dr. John Pemberton brews the first batch of the liquid that would come to be known as Coca-Cola

1919 - Actress Eileen Heckart (d. 2001) is born in Columbus, Ohio

1936 - Adolf Hitler receives 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany's illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland

1941 - The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement goes into effect

1945 - The last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England in the final stages of World War II

1951 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage

1957 - The New York, Ontario and Western Railway makes its final run

1961 - Residents of Washington D.C. are allowed to vote in presidential elections as a result of the ratification of the twenty-third amendment to the United States Constitution

1971 - A jury recommends the death penalty for Charles Manson and three of his followers

1974 - NASA's Mariner 10 becomes the first space probe to pass Mercury

1985 - Jeanne Deckers - otherwise known as The Singing Nun - dies at the age of 51

1993 - Catherine Callbeck becomes the first woman to be elected Premier of a Canadian province (in this case, it was Prince Edward Island)

1999 - For the first time in its history, the Dow Jones closes above 10,000

2004 - A busy day for NATO as Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join as full members

2005 - Lawyer and O.J. Simpson trial figure Johnnie Cochran dies at 67

2010 - Forty people are killed when two suicide bombers blow themselves up at the Moscow Metro System

2014 - The first same-sex marriages are performed in Wales and England

And celebrating a birthday today are the following famous faces; Julie Goodyear, Scott Wilson, Vangelis, Chad Allan, Eric Idle, Terry Jacks, Paul Herman, Bruce Weber, Bobby Kimball, Bud Cort, Brendan Gleeson, Kurt Thomas, Christopher Lambert, Marc Silvestri, Perry Farrell, Amy Sedaris, Michael Winterbottom, Elle Macpherson, Ming Tsai, Jill Goodacre, John Popper, Lucy Lawless, Ruth England, Lara Logan, Jennifer Capriati, Megan Hilty, and Lucas Elliot Eberl.

Okay, so what date will be looking at this week?

Well, how about March 29, 1979?

Yeah, that was the day that a particular band from merry old England released what is to be considered one of their more successful albums.

Have you ever heard of Supertramp?  Well, to some people now, it would be used as a derogatory insult for someone who is extremely promiscuous, but back in the 1970s, it was the name of the band that was comprised of Rick Davies, John Helliwell, Roger Hodgson, Bob Siebenberg, and Dougie Thompson.  And during their heyday, the group released seven studio albums together before Hodgson left the band in 1982.  Of course, Supertramp never really went away, and various incarnations of the band have been performing and recording music over the last 45 years or so.

But if one were to pinpoint the cream of the crop of Supertramp, one might suggest that their 1979 album "Breakfast in America" certainly qualifies.  Released thirty-seven years ago today, the album went on to sell over six million copies in the United States alone.  It charted well in the UK, Canada, Australia, and especially France where it became the biggest selling English language album in that country alone!

And here in North America, four of the album's singles charted on the Billboard charts, with two of the songs being Top 10 hits.

So, let's have a listen to these four songs, shall we?

Released:  April 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #6

It makes...pardon the pun...logical sense to feature this song first, as it was not only the first release from the album, but the album's highest charting single.  And I have to admit, it's a fantastic single.  Mind you, I heard this song about ten thousand times at my workplace, but still, I really like it. 

But what you might not know about this song is that it's autobiographical, written from the perspective of Roger Hodgson, who based the lyrics around his 10-year stint in boarding school.

Certainly the song flowed well, with every lyric ending in -ible, -able, ical, etc...but I think the saxophone made the song as well.  Saxophone music was really big circa 1979, and while disco was still charting high on the pop charts, this song gave a fighting chance.  I wish it had charted higher though.

Released:  June 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #62

First things first, ouch!  I can't recall any band being excited about their song peaking at #62 on the charts.  And I can't understand why this was the case because this song is actually quite nice.  At least in the UK, it became a Top 10 hit.  But then again, I suppose some people might call this song (and this album in general) a parody of American life, so maybe that might have something to do with it.  Regardless, this song is unique because it is alleged that this song was penned by Hodgson before Supertramp was even founded.  And this single about a teen who wanted to experience what life was like in America took a record ten years before it was released!  That's quite a long time.

Released:  June 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts: #15

This song was once featured on an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati (back when television shows could play snippits of songs on the air), and it was featured prominently on an episode of The Office, only the lyrics were changed to Goodbye Toby.

Now here's the kicker.  For the longest time, I remember hearing this song played a lot, and I remember loving it a lot...but it wasn't until very recently that I realized it was a Supertramp song.  For the longest time, I had thought other groups had sang it.  I think one time, I thought it was the Bee Gees, and the next minute, I was thinking it was Andy Gibb, and so on and so forth.  It's sort of embarrassing when you stop and think about it.  But, then again, I doubt many people my age even knew who Supertramp was...

Released:  October 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #10

And how appropriate that the last song written for the album would be the last song to chart on Billboard, just making the Top 10.  And according to Roger Hodgson who wrote the song, this single has sort of a double entendre to it.  On one hand, it could symbolize the dread of coming home to a nagging wife or whiny children, and how the subject wants to purposely take the long way home to avoid the drama.  Or, it could mean something deeper, such as finding a place where we belong, and looking into your heart to find out what home is.  I think that's why I can relate to this song a lot.

So, that's what was released on this day in history.  What's your favourite Supertramp song?

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