Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BACK IN THE DAY - ODYSSEY 16

The Great Depression

The Great Depression
This image of Florence Thompson from the 1930s came to be associated with the great depression, for years to come. Thompson was a poor migrant mother at the time, like so many others. The expressions of worry and anguish on her face, literally speak of the mood of thousands of others during the same time. The image has been reprinted in various magazines, newspapers and journals over the years. It has become a symbol of sorts, of the great depression.

Abe Smith and Tom Shipp

Abe Smith and Tom Shipp
Abe Smith and Tom Shipp were convicted of robbery and rape in 1930. A crowd broke into the jailhouse, and lynched and hanged them on the 7th of August 1930. Smith tried to free him self from the noose, following which he was lowered and his hands were broken. This image stands in remembrance of the injustice of racism, where these two African American youths were taken out of their jails, to be given a more severe than agreed upon punishment.

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens was the most successful athlete in the 1936 Olympics. At a time when the Nazi authorities in Berlin were propagating Aryan supremacy, Jesse Owens’ superb performance was looked upon as a fitting answer to Adolf Hitler. This image, put into context, speaks volumes of Owens’ timely victories.

Moment of Death

Moment of Death
This image of militiaman Federico Borrell Garcia, captures the precise moment of his death. This was during the Spanish civil war, on the 5th of September, 1936. Sometimes photojournalists need to be prepared to photograph a decisive moment, and expect it to occur just before it actually does! Almost uncanny, but true some photographers do seem to have this gift of being in the right place at the right time.

Hindenburg

Hindenburg
Airship Hindenburg ignites as it tries to dock into its mooring mast. This 1937 disaster resulted in the loss of 35 lives, and a subsequent loss of confidence in the airship. The incident marked the end of the air ship era. Needless to say, this image is associated to not just the air disaster, but also with the end of air ship travel as people knew it at the time.

Fall Of Nazi Collaborators

Fall Of Nazi Collaborators
France was liberated in 1944, and women accused of having been collaborated with Nazi personnel, are humiliated in public. This may seem like a war crime to todays’ audience, but during a time when people were overjoyed at seeing the Nazis leave, this image would have evoked feelings of victory.

Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima
One of the most popular news images of all time – US Marines from the 28th Regiment 5th Div, raise the flag of the United States on Mount Iwo Jima, 1945. This was following the famous Battle of Iwo Jima which has been written and spoken about more than most other battles of WW2. Following this, the United States occupied the island of Iwo Jima until 1968!

Atom Bomb

Atom Bomb
The infamous mushroom cloud, an after effect of an atomic explosion over land… This was the first time the atom bomb was used in warfare. The bomb over Hiroshima more or less put an end to the Second World War. Here, the mushroom cloud as seen over Hiroshima Aug 6, 1945. The image is remembered even today, as a terrifying beauty that the world never wants to see again.

Skymaster

Skymaster
A United States Air Force C-54 “Skymaster” airplane comes in to land at Templehoff Air Base during the Soviet blockade of Berlin, in 1948.

Newspaper Blunder

Newspaper Blunder
This is probably the world’s most famous newspaper error! President Elect Harry Truman was expected to lose the presidential elections in 1948. Here, he is seen holding a copy of the ‘Tribune’, with its bold headlines – ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’. This image is a grim reminder to journalists, of the importance of verifying information on breaking news stories. The ‘Tribune’ is believed to have adopted an anti-Truman attitude during the elections.

Racism,1957

Racism,1957
Dorothy Counts was the first black student to be enrolled into Harding High School, Carolina. This 1957 image gives us an idea of the taunts and unnecessary humiliation she had to face during the time. What was once accepted as a part of social behavior is today rightly condemned as racism. This image reminds us of what society was like, not too long ago.

Saigon Unrest

Saigon Unrest
June 11, 1963. A Buddhist monk by the name of Thic Quang Duc ignites himself on a street of Saigon. This was following a series of events that seemed to target the monks and persecute them for little or no reason. The image has been reprinted many times over the decades, speaking of the possible terrible outcomes of unwarranted persecutions on innocent people.

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. giving his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. This 17-minute speech called for an end to racism, and a beginning to equality. The speech was given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug 28, 1963. It is remembered to this day as one of the most effective speeches ever.

JFK Funeral

JFK Funeral
John F Kennedy is arguably the most popular American president ever. This image shows his family in mourning at his funeral on Nov 25, 1963. The photograph captured the mood of the American people as a whole, and has appeared in print many times over the years.

Saigon War Crime

Saigon War Crime
This is another image that the world remembers from the Saigon area. The police chief of South Vietnam is seen firing a pistol at the head of a man suspected of being an officer from the Viet Cong. Feb 1, 1968. The image is a fitting example of a war crime, another reminder of the unnecessary atrocities that possibly innocent civilians could suffer at the hands of police and military officials.

Man On The Moon

Man On The Moon
Few images we have seen, or will ever see, can have this much impact! Photographed on the lunar surface, this image depicts astronaut Buzz Aldrin, standing next to the flag of the United States, in July 1969.

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski
One of the most respected film directors of our times, Roman Polanski is seen here sitting at the bloodied porch of his home on Aug 1, 1969. This was following the brutal murder of his wife, by Charles Manson followers.

Anti-War Demonstration, 1970

Anti-War Demonstration, 1970
Student Mary Ann Vecchio is seen here kneeling near the body of another student by the name of Jeffrey Miller. The anti-war demonstrations by students of the Kent State University went terribly out of hand on May 4, 1970. This image stands to remind us what a seemingly harmless demonstration, even for the right cause, can turn into when uncontrolled.

President Nixon

President Nixon
President Nixon standing on the steps of Marine One, waves to his fans soon after he resigned as President on August 9, 1974. No prizes for guessing the headlines across newspapers on the 10th Of August.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square
Tanks rolling into China’s Tiananmen Square (Beijing). This came as a result of student pro-democracy protests in 1989.

Death In Africa

Death In Africa
March 1993, Sudan. A vulture watches a starving, dying child, probably awaiting its death. The image was subject to much criticism, some condemning photographer Kevin Carter for taking a photograph rather than helping the child. Carter always maintained that he shooed the vulture away after he took the photograph. He won a Pulitzer Prize for this image. Interestingly, Carter committed suicide soon after…

9 11

9, 11
September 11, 2001. This day marked the worst terror attack on the United States. Here we see a person falling from the north tower of New York’s World Trade Center, after an aircraft collided into it.

War Crime

War Crime
As a result of the terror attacks on American soil, the United States declared a state of war. The war against terror led to US forces establishing presence first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan. This famous image shows an unidentified (probably Iraqi) detainee standing on a box with electrodes attached to his palms, and a bag over his head. The image resulted in adding fire to an already growing feeling of ‘ the US taking things too far’ in the Iraq region.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was one of the most catastrophic natural disasters the United States has ever witnessed. Here we see the garden district at New Orleans being victimized by vandalism after the hurricane. Sept 4, 2005.

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FEMME FATALE

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RAY CHARLES: LOOKING BACK

As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.


"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.


Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.


Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.


He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.


Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."



Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.




For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.


Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

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