Tommy’s Coffee Break Calendar for May 21st
5/21/1971 (49 years ago today) - Marvin Gaye releases his 11th studio LP, the beyond-phenomenal "What's Going On" -- Justifiably regarded as one of the landmark recordings in the history of pop music, "WGO" was really a concept album made up of just nine songs(!), telling the story from the point of view of a Vietnam vet returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing only hatred, suffering and injustice. It's quite a revelation to hear these songs now, and realize how meaningful they remain, almost half-a-century later. It's really sad, the way we humans treat one another.
5/21/1977 (43 years ago today) - Stevie Wonder starts three weeks at the top of the chart with "Sir Duke" -- His tribute to Duke Ellington is Stevie's sixth No. 1 U.S. single. 'Catchy' doesn't even begin to...
5/21/1904 - Born on this date, Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller, jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedy entertainer whose innovations in the "Harlem stride style" of keyboard-playing/boogie-woogie pretty much laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano -- Best known for the classics "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose", Fats was a superstar in the mid-1920's, as in "Can you top this story?": In 1926, Waller was kidnapped at gunpoint in Chicago and driven to club owned by notorious mob boss Al Capone -- Once inside, he was ordered to perform at what turned out to be a surprise birthday party for the gangster. Yikes! Fats passed away from pneumonia-related causes on December 15, 1943; he was only 39 years old.
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"You know we've got to find a way/To bring some understanding here today...", xoxo!