Saturday, January 27, 2007

This Day in Music History: Stevie Wonder and Superstition

This day in music history, January 27th 1973, the #1 song on the Billboard charts was Stevie Wonder with Superstition. A few months earlier he was working on his new album called Talking Book. He was certain that the song he was working on for the album, Big Brother, would be a big hit and should be the single released from the album. Motown was certain it should be Superstition. Stevie said he wrote the song for Jeff Beck. He felt it more suited Jeffs style of music. Stevie said he was certain Jeff would release Superstition before he did since he was still working on the album. However, since Stevies version of the song was already finished Motown released his version before the album in November of 1972. A few weeks later it was the #1 song in the country.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Day in Music History: Ringo Starr and You're Sixteen

On this day in music history, January 26th 1974, Ringo Starr had the #1 song for one week with You're Sixteen. The song had been a hit for Johnny Burnette in 1960 when it went to #8 but Ringo took it all the way up to the top. The song was produced by Richard Perry when he produced the Ringo album for Mr. Starr. Mr. Perry said that working on that album was one of the highlights of his career and that it would be hard to top. Perhaps it was because he got to work with all of the Beatles. No matter what problems they had that caused them to break up the other three always seemed to want to help Ringo. John and George were in Los Angeles where most of the album was recorded so it was easy just for them to call and drive over to help out. George co-wrote with Ringo the song Photograph the albums first #1 song as well as played on it. He also played on "I'm the Greatest" a song that John wrote and preformed on. Too bad Paul was on the other side of the world at the time. If he had been in L.A. we may have had the first full member Beatle reunion. Chances are at that time John wouldn't have shown up if he knew Paul would be there. Still Paul also helped out on the album. Richard Perry was working with Paul on the music for a TV special he was doing in London. At that time he was also producing Ringo's new album and they were recording part of if in London at the same time. Paul was good enough to write a song for Ringo and he also sang on You're Sixteen. Yes if you listen closely to the record you will hear what sounds like a kazoo solo. It isn't a kazoo or any musical instrument at all. It is actually Paul singing the part only he made it sound like it was a kazoo. So Paul is singing on the song with Ringo.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Real Obedience

"But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' The son answered, 'No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, 'You go,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go. Which of the two was obeying his father?"They replied, "The first of course." Then Jesus explained the meaning "I assure you, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the way to life, and you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to turn from your sins and believe him."
Matthew 21:28-32 NLT
Real obedience
Someone has said that the road to destruction is paved with good intentions. In this parable, Jesus is showing us that our actions prove our obedience or disobedience. Even though the one son had no intention of obeying, the fact that he obeyed in the end made him the obedient son. The other son said the right thing but didn't follow through, and he was therefore disobedient. We are reminded that our professions of faith are only as valid as the actions that follow them. Which brother in this story illustrates your walk with Christ?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Obeying God brings great joy

Obeying God brings great joy
Is your life dreary or joyful?
[Jesus said,] "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so you will be filled with joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"
John 15:9-11 NLT
Finding joy
Why should joy flow from obedience?
Because of the "never say die" misconception in some quarters that the Christian life is, at best, a dreary existence and at worst, a grim process of spiritual survival.
No! Jesus wants our lives to be rich and full (John 10:10). The Bible demonstrates repeatedly that joy can be our companion—even during life's worst moments. William Vander Hoven has noted: "Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ." We've all known believers who understood that truth. Despite hard times they were filled to overflowing with joy. Tell the truth—is anything more eye-catching or more attractive than that?
Whatever your current difficulty, the more you are convinced of Christ's unconditional love for you, and the more you are committed to loving him in return by obeying all that he commands, the more you will know the supernatural joy of Jesus.
You want me to know your love, Lord. I demonstrate love and experience love as I obey you. Rekindle my desire to live as you command. You want me to overflow with joy. Make my eyes dance with joy. Despite my troubles, put a supernatural spring in my step. Fill my soul with delight as I seek you and obey you and taste your goodness. Make me attractive to those trapped in joyless lives.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Howard the Duck

I talked about the 33rd anniversary of Marvel Two-In-One earlier well I should also point out that January of this year is also the 31st anniversary of Howard the Duck #1. He was created by writer Steve Gerber and first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 in 1973 for Marvel comics. Not long after that he was given a back up feature in Giant Size Man-Thing.
Howard's story starts on another planet called Duckworld. It looks very much like our Earth except that the dominant life forms are ducks that speak english. Howards life is thrown upside down when a power hungry villain named Thog wants to rule every universe. He uses his power to shift the cosmic axis and hoped to collapse them all into one universe under his rule. What it did was drop Howard from Duckworld into ours. He landed in the Florida everglades where he met Man-Thing and his friends. Together they defeated Thog but instead of Howard going home as they planned he fell again and landed in Cleveland, Ohio. There he met and befriended a pretty young lady named Beverly. It was around this time Howrd the Duck proved popular enough to get his own comic book. The series was mostly about how he tried various jobs to fit into this new world and along the way would save the world from minor villains. In many storylines it was a parody of modern science fiction and fantasy stories of the day. The distributors of Marvel comics was accused of making the first issue scarce but buying up and hording the book so that it became a collector's item. The fact was hinted at in one of Stan Lee's Soapbox articles that you can read here. If this was really done or if it was done on purpose I can't say for certain but the allegations were there. It seemed like almost over night the price of the book went from twenty five cents to ten dollars if you could find the book. What really helped its popularity was when they ran Howard for President for the All Night Party. Every where you looked you saw stickers and buttons of Howard the Duck for President. He lost to Jimmy Carter. The book was so popular that it spawned a newspaper strip and later George Lucas and Universal produced a big budget film called...Howard the Duck. It was a huge flop. George Lucas and the stars, Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins and Chip Zein as the voice of Howard, would like us all to forget. But we will never forget people. How could we forget THAT movie? Howard the Duck the movie also taught me a lesson. How your mentality of seeing a movie at midnight is completly different then at 3pm. I saw the film at a midnight show the first time. I really enjoyed it. When it came out on VHS I rented it and watched it at 3 in the afternoon. The movie was lousy. I couldn't wait to get it back to the rental store.

Howard the Duck is one of the early characters who brought to light the problems with character creations in the comic book industry. Steve Gerber has had a long battle with Marvel comics over his character. It resulted in Mr. Gerber being taken off the book. While the book was published for a few issues more many major industry artist like Jack Kirby and Gene Colon sided with Gerber. They produced some parody comics like Destroyer Duck to get Gerbers side of the story told. With Gerbers vision of the character gone Howard the Duck was eventually canceled. It was brought back a couple of times since, one with Gerber as the writer, and the character as appeared in other books over the years but all had mixed results. The original series ended in 1979 with issue #31 but in the 1980's Marvel put out issues 32 and 33. More recentlty Howard showed up in a Civil War mini-series tie in. It was there that Howard found out that the Government took a stand that Howard didn't exist. He had caused them so much headaches that decided to ignore him. He was very pleased as this ment that he would not have to pay taxes or anything else.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ad for a new G.I. Joe character...Bulletman

Remember seeing this G.I. Joe ad for the new member of their Adventure Team? He was Bulletman the Human Bullet. Wasn't Bulletman a Fawcett character? Didn't DC Comics buy the rights to all of those characters? Eagle Eye G.I. Joe looks a lot like the Six Million Dollar Man who was popular on TV at that time. Hasbro should consider themselves lucky they weren't sued.

Happy be-lated Birthday Keith Pollard

I just found out that January 20th was Keith Pollards birthday. Keith was the main artist on Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Mighty Thor for most of the 70's and 80's. He also had a pretty good run on Green Lantern and Wonder Woman over at DC. Thanks to being the artist for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe he can safely say that he has drawn every character at Marvel Comics. He is also the co-creator of the Black Cat along with Marv Wolfman. Happy Birthday Mr. Pollard. I hope you had a good day.