6:30 p.m. Oct. 31---
Studs Terkel died the same week of Mahalia Jackson's birth.
A spiritual connection.
In 1945 Studs introduced the African-American gospel legend to a white audience. He was host of "The Wax Museum," a Sunday night ABC network radio show that originated from the 19th floor of the Merchandise Mart.
"I'd do all kinds of crazy things," Studs told me during a 2000 conversation in his home where a black and white photo of Jackson was taped to a wall in his kitchen. "I'd play an operatic aria. I'd follow that with Louis Armstrong and then Woody Guthrie's "Dust Bowl Ballads." I'd pick out records at George Hoefer's Concorde record shop on Randolph Street (Hoefer was a critic for Down Beat magazine). And I found this Apollo 78!"
Studs' 88-year-old eyes lit up.
He loved to be on the pulpit in front of a fellow story catcher.........
October 2008 Archives
6:30 p.m. Oct. 31---
7:30 p.m. Oct. 11--
Over the summer I saw rock n' roll commerce played out in its most hopeless grandiose manner with the opening of the Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The $400 million amusement park opened on June 2.
It closed a couple weeks ago, filing for bankruptcy.
The park's CEO was responsible for developing Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando and other HR venues. But he and other creative officers had that bulletproof rock attitude, charging $50 a ticket in tough times. The park never came close to its projection of averaging 30,000 people a day. Hard Rock Park was on my beloved co-worker Robert Feder's bucket list. Now he will have to settle for that Beatle tribute in Branson.
The folks at Busy Beaver Button company in Chicago also have a rock n' roll pedigree. In manufacturing buttons for Beck, White Strips and local venues like the Hideout, they keep their passion in focus. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact the business is run by women. Here's a video of my visit (I guess I was so excited about buttonmaking I couldn't stop nodding like a bobblehead) followed by some essential links.
The links follow.......
In conjunction with the opening of the "Million Dollar Quartet" musical in Chicago, I revisited my 1987 interview with Sun Records founder Samuel Cornelius Phillips. It was good stuff. It also keeps my mind off the Cubs. Here's an edited, encore version of my Sun-Times story. [Sam died on July 30, 2003 in Memphis.]
In what Knox Phillips called one of the most candid interviews with his father, Sam Phillips spent two hours on a hot afternoon addressing the dynamics that shaped rock 'n' roll. Sam Phillips has granted only a handful of interviews since he sold Sun Records in 1969. Here is the essence of a man who, according to Rolling Stone magazine, "created a music so innovative and alive that the music itself became a revolutionary force that in turn changed everything......."