BBMak, “Back Here”

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Back Here BBMak (Telestar, 1999, 2000)

BBMak consisted of Mark Barry (B), Christian Burns (B) and Stephen McNally (Mak). Back Here was their debut single off their debut album, Sooner or Later. Back Here was originally released in their native UK in 1999. It peaked at #37. In July 2000, the U.S. obviously had more love for it. They took it all the way up to #13. Not only that, but Back Here spent 24 weeks in the Top 40 of the Hot 100 chart! It also spent seven weeks atop the Adult Contemporary chart. With all that American love behind it, Back Here was re-released in the UK. The British were ready for it this time. It debuted at #5.

Subsequent singles were not able to increase the band’s visibility or bring them more love, so BBMak broke up in 2003. Each member has gone on to a solo career.

Peter Tosh

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Peter Tosh (October 19, 1944 – September 11, 1987)

Born Winston Hubert McIntosh in rural Jamaica, Tosh started the band The Wailers, which also included Bunny Wailer and a singer by the name of Bob Marley. Tosh’s parents were too young to raise him, so he was raised by his aunt in Grange Hill and displayed an early talent for singing and guitar. (His first guitar was stolen from his mother’s church). In the early 1960s, Tosh moved to the country of the Trench Town slum of Kingston. He started to sell sugarcane juice from a cart. Here was where Tosh met Marley and Wailer (born Neville O’Riley Livingston). The boys
started visiting a voice teacher, Joe Higgs, and soon started the Wailers in 1962.

They started off by covering American pop hits and as they rose to fame, they began incorporating reggae until that was their bread and butter. Tosh left the group (so did Wailer) in 1973. In 1976, Tosh released his first solo album, Legalize It. In 1977, he released his sophomore album, Equal Rights. At this point, he had caught the attention of Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who signed him to their label in 1978.

Through all the highs of his career, Tosh remained faithful to his homeland of Jamaica and returned as often as he could. Many people wish he hadn’t been in Jamaica on September 11, 1987. At this point, Tosh was living in the Kingston suburb of St. Andrew. At 8:30 that evening, three armed robbers came to empty the pockets of the occupants. Tosh, his common-law wife and five friends were at home. All seven of them refused to give up their money and all seven were shot. Tosh was survived by his son, Andrew Tosh, who followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a reggae musician himself. To this day, Tosh’s family continues to hold commemoration concerts and celebratory concerts on his birthday.

“Debt is Slavery”

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Debt is Slavery (2007)

Debt is Slavery recounts author
Michael Mihalik’s monetary transformation. In his 128-page book, he outlines the 10 steps he personally used to gain control of his finances and pay off a large amount of debt. Mihalik is not a money expert, he’s just a regular guy and has boiled his book down to the absolute basics and all of his tips are easily doable by anyone.
(At only 128 pages, it won’t even take that long to get through, and you never know what tips you can pick up.)

The title, Debt is Slavery is Mihalik’s first mind shift. If you’ve ever had debt, you can certainly relate that borrowing money puts you in a financial servitude to the lender. The end of Debt is Slavery provides an in-depth description of a simple way to plan your finances.

Bazooka Blue Raspberry Gum

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Blue Raspberry bubble gum (Bazooka)

Around since 1947, kids have loved Bazooka for centuries. Blue Raspberry is a very popular flavor with kids and it’s hard to imagine that a blue raspberry gum wouldn’t have sold, but, stranger things have happened. If you adore Bazooka gum, blue raspberry flavored things, or are looking for a stroll down memory lane, there is a two-flavor (original and blue raspberry) pack of Bazooka gum available at World Market (www.worldmarket.com), as well as numerous other online candy retailers.

“Twitch City”

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Twitch City (CBC, 1998 and 2000)

TWitch City was a Canadian sitcom that also aired on Bravo in the U.S., as well as in Australia. In fact, Australian TV critics loved it
so much they labeled Twitch City the best television show ever made. With its native Canadians, the show was never a huge ratings success, but it does have a cult following. Twitch City ran for six episodes in 1998 from January
to March. It got a second season in 2000, broadcast from March to April. In total, there were 13 episodes produced of Twitch City.

Twitch City was set in the Kensington Market area of Toronto. Curtis (Don McKellar) was a TV addict who refused to leave his apartment. His friends and roommates Nathan (Daniel MacIvor) and Hope (Molly Parker) are along for the ride. Twitch City started its run with a bang: In the first episode, Curtis kills a homeless man with a can of cat food. Kids in the Hall cast members Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney play Rex Reilly, the host of Curtis’ favorite talk show. (McCulloch played Reilly in the first season; McKinney in the second. The change of appearance was explained by an “on-air cranium transplant.”)

Twitch City is available for purchase on DVD.

Arthur Lyman, “Yellow Bird”

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Yellow Bird Arthur Lyman (1961)

Yellow Bird started out its life as a 19th century Haitian song composed by Michel Mauleart Monton, its lyrics were from a poem by Oswald Durand entitled Choucoune. In the 20th century, it was rewritten with English lyrics and renamed Yellow Bird.

Yellow Bird first appeared on the album, Calypso Holiday, by the Norman Luboff Choir in 1957. The new lyrics were written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and have no connection to Durand’s original poem. The most successful outing with Yellow Bird came in 1961 from Arthur Lyman’s Group. They took their Hawaiian instrumental version to #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the new Easy Listening chart.

“Dirty Dancing”

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Dirty Dancing (Vestron Pictures, 1987)

Dirty Dancing was a 1987 American romantic drama film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. At the time, Dirty Dancing was a low budget film by a new studio and had no major stars (except Broadway legend Jerry Orbach in a supporting role). With a summer 1987 release, that all changed. Swayze and Grey were thrown into superstar status, the studio had super fat pockets to the tune of over $214 million. Dirty Dancing was the first film to sell a million copies on home video. The film created another star: soundtrack single (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Song, plus a Grammy Award for Best Duet. Not bad for some low-budget, “take-a-chance-on-it” flick. The enduring love for Dirty Dancing finally got it a sequel, which turned into a prequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004). Recently, Dirty Dancinghas been adapted into a worldwide-touring stage production. In Lake Lure, North Carolina, (since 2009) there is an annual Dirty Dancing festival.

If you’ve never seen the film, 17-year-old Baby (Grey), while vacationing in the Catskills, falls for a dance instructor (Swayze). Yes, there’s a lot of dancing. And it’s very steamy. They don’t call it Dirty Dancing for nothing.

The accompanying soundtrack that created a star? Well it gave birth to several stars. The soundtrack spent an astounding 18 weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, was certified 11 (!) times Platinum and sold an incredible 32(!) million copies around the world. (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life (by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes) topped the pop charts. She’s Like the Wind (by actor Swayze) peaked at #3. Hungry Eyes (by Eric Carmen) peaked at #4. In fact, trying to determine whether Dirty Dancing is best known for the dancing or the soundtrack is a very tough call.

“Bridge Over Troubled Waters”

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters Simon & Garfunkel (Columbia, 1970)

Bridge Over Troubled Waters was the fifth and final for American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. Bridge Over Troubled Waters was the follow up to their soundtrack for The Graduate and Garfunkel’s acting role in Catch-22. Having been together for over a decade, the guys decided to part ways in 1970. Garfunkel went on to continued his film career while Simon remained in music. Over the years, they both released many solo albums. However, before they broke up, they released one last gem to the world, the album (and subsequent) single, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Four singles were released: The Boxer, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Cecilia and El Condor Pasa (If I Could). The Boxer went top five in Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden. It went top ten additionally in Australia, Ireland, Norway, Spain, UK and the U.S. It was Simon & Garfunkel’s follow-up single after Mrs. Robinson (hard to top). Bridge Over Troubled Waters was the final single the boys recorded for the album. It won them five Grammys in 1971, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It also happened to become their biggest hit, topping the American chart for six weeks (and topped the UK, Canadian, French and New Zealand charts too). It sold over 6 million copies worldwide. Cecilia refers to the patron saint of music, St. Cecilia. Cecilia topped Billboard’s Cash Box chart and went top five in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the American Hot 100. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) was a cover of the orchestral piece from the zarzuela El Condor Pasa. Simon & Garfunkel used the Spanish version as the base track and added some lyrics. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) topped the Australian, Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, West German, Spanish and Swiss charts. It hit #18 in the U.S.

The album Bridge Over Troubled Waters topped the charts in 10 countries (Australia, Canada, Dutch, France, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the U.S. and West Germany), won two Grammy Awards and sold over 25 million copies. (If you’re going out, why not go out on top, right?) A great end to a wonderful career together. In 2011, a 40th anniversary re-issue was released.

Twister

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Twister (Milton Bradley, 1960s)

In 1964, toy inventor Reyn Guyer with the help of Charles Foley and Neil Rabens, created Pretzel. They were intending to promote shoe polish with the aid of this game. They took the idea to Milton Bradley who saw the potential, but they weren’t sold on the name. After much speculation, Milton Bradley took a General Tire printer (General Tire manufactured shower curtains) to print large color spots onto a shower curtain. Since Pretzel was not available to use, they changed the name to Twister and hit the marketplace in 1966.

Sales were slow at first because people didn’t understand how to play this game. Milton Bradley asked Johnny Carson to test market the game for them on The Tonight Show. Before this happened, Sears has decided to back out of selling this “risque” game but Milton Bradley wasn’t able to let The Tonight Show staff know beforehand to cancel the demonstration and Carson with guest Eva Gabor went ahead anyway. The next day, there was only one store in New York City carrying Twister and they sold out. Milton Bradley was forced to make more. In 1967, Milton Bradley sold more than three million games.

Twister is a game anyone can play (as long as you know your colors). It can be played by anyone in any socio-economic bracket and is easily understandable by all cultures. The original game remains inexpensive and if you really need to, it’s very simple to make your own board. There are even versions for the color blind and legally blind to play. Twister was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2015.

Auto-Tune

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Auto-Tune (2000s)

Originally intended for music producers to hide out of tune singing, Auto-Tune bends
the pitch of voices. Auto-Tune has many
fans, yet just as many haters. Love it or hate it, you only have Cher to blame. She was the first to bring Auto-Tune to prominence on her 1998 hit, Believe. If you still need someone to blame, you can lay it squarely on rapper T-Pain’s shoulders. He is absolutely enamored with it and uses it all the time. (Does he even know what he sounds like without it?)

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