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Thursday, June 08, 2017

June 8, 1974

This week on the weekly Throwback Thursday post, I thought I'd check out the music scene, and see what hit #1 on this day a bunch of years ago.  There were plenty of choices to choose from, but I think I chose a song that mostly everybody knows.

(Truth be told, it is my second choice.  My first choice was one that I already did a blog on in June 2014.  It's a good thing I have a search bar in my blog so I can double check what topics I've done.)

Before we spin the record around, let's check the records of June 8th to see what happened on this date.

1783 - Icelandic volcano Laki begins erupting - over the EIGHT MONTH period, the eruption would kill nine thousand and create a famine that lasted for several years

1789 - James Madison introduces twelve proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in Congress

1861 - Tennessee secedes from the Union

1862 - The Battle of Cross Keys takes place during the American Civil War

1906 - Theodore Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Law into act

1912 - Universal Pictures is incorporated by Carl Laemmle

1933 - Comedienne/talk show host Joan Rivers (d. 2014) is born in Brooklyn, New York

1940 - Operation Alphabet is completed during World War II

1949 - George Orwell publishes the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

1953 - The United States Supreme Court rules that restaurants in Washington D.C. can NOT refuse service to black patrons

1966 - An F5 tornado strikes Topeka, Kansas - the first tornado to do over one hundred million dollars in damage

1972 - Nick Ut snaps a photo of nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc after being burned by napalm during the Vietnam War - the photo would later go on to win a Pulitzer Prize

1982 - Baseball player Satchel Paige passes away at the age of 75

1984 - The state of New South Wales in Australia declares homosexuality to be legal

1985 - "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears reaches the top of the Billboard Charts

1992 - The world's first Ocean Day is celebrated

1995 - United States Air Force pilot Captain Scott O'Grady is rescued in Bosnia by U.S. Marines

2000 - "Shoe" comic strip illustrator Jeff MacNelly dies at the age of 52

2001 - A school janitor kills eight students and injures fifteen others in the 2001 Osaka school massacre

2004 - The first Venus transit since 1882 takes place

2009 - Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to twelve years of hard labor in North Korea after being charged with entering the country illegally - their sentence was pardoned in August 2009

2014 - Twenty-eight are killed in an attack at the Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan

And blowing out candles on their birthday cake today are the following famous faces; Barbara Bush, Jerry Stiller, Millicent Martin, James Darren, Bernie Casey, Nancy Sinatra, Chuck Negron, Colin Baker, Boz Scaggs, Kathy Baker, Sonia Braga, Tony Rice, Bonnie Tyler, Tim Berners-Lee, Griffin Dunne, Scott Adams, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Mick Hucknall, Nick Rhodes, Kevin Farley, Julianna Margulies, J.P. Manoux, Gabrielle Giffords, Troy Vincent, Mark Feuerstein, Lexa Doig, Shilpa Shetty, Kanye West, Maria Menounos, Derek Trucks, Rob Holliday, Alex Band, and Sara Watkins.

Wow...was there like a celebrity baby boom today or what?

So, as I mentioned, I will be featuring a music themed blog for today in which I select a song that topped the charts on this date.

That date for this week will be June 8, 1974.

Now, I'm sure that almost everybody on this planet has heard of the band known as The Beatles, right?  I mean, I'm sure that no matter what your age, you can name at least one song by them.  Well, unfortunately this blog is NOT about the Beatles.  They had already been broken up for four years when this entry takes place.

Though this blog does feature at least one of them.  Paul McCartney, to be exact.

After the Beatles broke up, the Fab Four all went their separate ways, with each member of the band pursuing a solo career.  But whereas John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr opted to go it alone, Paul McCartney formed his own band called Wings with his wife Linda, Danny Seiwell, and Denny Laing (who previously worked with the Moody Blues).

It did take some time for Wings to...ahem...find its wings in order to fly to success.  Upon their formation in 1971, their first two albums were considered critical disappointments, and although the band scored a major coup with scoring the title track for the James Bond film "Live and Let Die", it was at the cost of losing Seiwell as well as guitarist Henry McCullough.

(McCullough joined the band for its sophomore album "Red Rose Speedway".)

That said, the James Bond theme was key to getting their feet wet in the river of success.  The same year "Live and Let Die" was released, the band's third album "Band on the Run" was released, and it became Wings' breakthrough!  The first track, "Jet" did quite well on the charts.  And the follow-up single reached number one exactly forty-three years ago today!

ARTIST:  Paul McCartney & Wings
SONG:  Band on the Run
ALBUM:  Band on the Run
DATE RELEASED:  April 8, 1974

I'm actually kind of shocked that the song only lasted one week at the top - until I read that 1974 was one of the years that had the most songs reach #1 (tied with 1975 at 35 songs).  But, Band on the Run was definitely a song that made Wings a household name.  Maybe not as big as the Beatles, but it showed that Paul McCartney could have a career renaissance with an entirely new group of musicians.  And, I suppose on a cheeky note, it showed that Linda McCartney had more musical talent than Yoko Ono.

Yep.  I went there.  Not sorry.

I think this song could best be described as one that has a lot of achievements attached to it.  I briefly alluded to one of those achievements earlier in this blog, but to go over it again, this was a song that was released after a shake-up which saw some members of Wings leave to be replaced by other musicians.  Normally that much of a change would be jarring, but Paul took it in stride.

And secondly, this song is such that it actually combines several genres of music together to blend into one seamlessly flowing track.  You want a slow and serene love ballad?  This song has it.  Do you want 1970s funk that gets you on your feet?  This song has it.  Do you want a little bit of country and western twang?  Why yes, this song has that as well!

And would you believe that George Harrison gave Paul McCartney the idea for some of the song lyrics?  During one of the meetings that the Beatles had with their record company, Apple, Harrison was getting fidgety and made the remark "if we ever get out of here".  McCartney felt that sentiment would make a great opening for the album and used it.

I suppose in a way, the phrase "Band on the Run" could be interpreted a bunch of different ways.  Quite literally, the single was the first in a series of hits for Paul McCartney and Wings...a band on the run to success.  But it could also be used to describe a band of criminals on the run from the authorities, or a band of refugees running towards freedom.  It's that ambiguity that adds to the appeal of the single.

A single that hit #1 on June 8, 1974.

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