“I’M NOT A DEMOCRAT, I’m not a Republican, and I don’t even consider myself an American…I’m speaking as a victim of this American system.
I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see an American dream, I see an American nightmare…
THEY HAVE GOT A CON GAME GOING ON, a political con game and you and I are in the middle. It’s time for you and me to wake up and start looking at it like it is, and then we can deal with it like it is…”
On this day in 1965, violence broke out in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Racial tensions were high throughout the country as the Civil Rights Movement resulted in legislation outlawing racial discrimination. These changes prompted anger in white communities, and drew attention to issues in African-American communities like police brutality, high unemployment, substandard housing and schooling. Watts was a poor and predominately black area, and tensions came to a head when two white policemen arrested Marquette Frye, a black motorist, for drunk driving. A crowd gathered to witness the argument on the roadside, and anger rose as onlookers interpreted the arrest as racially motivated, especially when his family became involved and a scuffle broke out. The incident escalated into a full-scale rebellion, with robberies and violence taking over fifty square miles of Los Angeles. A curfew was enforced and 14,000 California National Guardsmen were called to assist local law enforcement, ultimately suppressing the riot by August 16th. In the five days of disorder, 34 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured, while $40 million worth of property was destroyed. Watts by no means marked the last incident of widespread racial violence at this time, with incidents in Detroit and Newark following, though Watts was the largest and costliest such riot. Sadly, the revolt did not improve conditions in Watts, and issues of poverty and discrimination still plague the community today.
50 years ago today, February 15,1965 - John Lennon passed his driver’s test in Weybridge and got his license! John wasn’t keen on driving though and often was driven around by a chauffeur, Les Anthony.
On this day in 1965, the film The Sound of Music held its official premiere at the Rivoli Theater in New York City. It was based on a 1959 musical of the same name composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The musical is based on the real story of the von Trapp family. In 1926, a young Austrian nun named Maria Kutschera was asked to become the governess of the seven children of widowed naval officer Georg von Trapp. Impressed with her work with the children, Georg proposed to Maria, who reluctantly accepted at the urging of her Mother Abbess. However, Maria came to love her husband, and they went on to have three children together. The family came to prominence for their musical talents, and performed at concerts throughout Austria even after it was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938. However they did not remain long in Nazi territory, and fled to Italy and later the United States. The von Trapps continued their music career upon their move to the United States, and in 1949 Maria published her memoir which became the basis for the musical. The 1965 film starred Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as Georg. It opened to initially negative reviews, being blasted as overly sentimental. However opinion changed rapidly, and The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Songs featured in the musical have gone on to become musical theatre staples, including the titular ‘The Sound of Music’, 'My Favourite Things’, 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain, and 'Do-Re-Mi’.
The Beatles filmed two scenes today for their second film, Help!, at Twickenham Film Studios. In the first, the band donned disguises -including an early outing for John Lennon in granny glasses and long hair - in an airport terminal as they waited to fly Bahamas.
The second featured Ahme, played by Eleanor Bron, on a tank turret, which was used part of Salisbury Plain sequence.
On this day in music history: May 29, 1965 - “Help Me, Rhonda” by The Beach Boys hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Brian Wilson, it is the second chart topping single for the surf rock/pop band from Hawthorne, CA. Suffering from nervous exhaustion, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson will stop touring with the band in December of 1964, to concentrate on writing and producing new material. Now free from the stress of non stop touring, Wilson returns to the recording studio, where he is most comfortable and relaxed. The first product of these sessions is the song “Help Me, Rhonda”, whose narrative is about a man whose affection for a woman he desires goes unrequited, and turns to another woman to help him get over her. The first version of the song, erroneously titled “Help Me Ronda”, the basic track is recorded at Western Recorders on January 8, 1965 featuring members of The Wrecking Crew (with Carl Wilson on guitar), with the vocals being recorded eleven days later on January 19, 1965. Guitarist Al Jardine handles the lead vocal duties on “Ronda” rather than Mike Love or Brian Wilson. The original session tape captures an argument between Brian and his father (and band manager) Murry Wilson, which ends with Murry abruptly leaving the studio. The first version is featured on The Beach Boys eighth studio album “The Beach Boys Today!” released in March of 1965. Before that album is released, Brian decides that the original take can be improved upon, and it is recorded again for single release. The second “hit single” version of “Help Me, Rhonda” is also cut with The Wrecking Crew (with several other members of the studio collective) at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA on February 24, 1965. Released on April 5, 1965, the single is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on April 17, 1965, it leaps to the top of the chart six weeks later. The correct hit version of “Help Me, Rhonda” is released on the next Beach Boys album “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)” in July of 1965, only four months after their previous album.
December 7th 1965: Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration
On this day in 1965 Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I issued the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration. The Declaration simultaneously revoked the mutual excommunications made by the Holy See and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1054. These excommunications were known as the Great Schism and contributed to the medieval separation of the East and West churches, the former being Greek and the latter Latin. The Declaration represented an important moment in the reconciliation of the two churches, with both being represented by their respective leaders.