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God Bless the USA

‘American’ patriotic song written and recorded by country music artist ‘Lee Greenwood’, and is considered to be his signature song. The first album it appears on is (1984) “You’ve Got a Good Love Comin'”. It reached No. 7 on the ‘Billboard’ magazine ‘Hot Country Singles’ chart when originally released in the spring of (1984), and was played at the (1984) ‘Republican National Convention’ with President ‘Ronald Reagan’ and first lady ‘Nancy Reagan’ in attendance, but the song gained greater prominence during the ‘Gulf War’ in (1990) and (1991), as a way of boosting morale.

The popularity of the song rose sharply after the ‘September 11’ attacks and during the (2003) invasion of ‘Iraq’, and the song was re-released as a single, re-entering the country music charts at No. 16 and peaking at No. 16 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ pop chart in (2001). ‘Greenwood’ said that he “wanted to write it my whole life. When I got to that point, we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album on MCA. I called my producer, and I said I have a need to do this. I’ve always wanted to write a song about America, and I said we just need to be more united.” The reason behind the cities chosen in the song ‘Greenwood’ says, “I’m from California, and I don’t know anybody from Virginia or New York, so when I wrote it—and my producer and I had talked about it—[we] talked about the four cities I wanted to mention, the four corners of the United States. It could have been Seattle or Miami but we chose New York City and Los Angeles, and he suggested Detroit and Houston because they both were economically part of the basis of our economy—Motortown and the oil industry, so I just poetically wrote that in the bridge.”

A music video was released for this song in (1984), depicting ‘Greenwood’ as a farmer who loses the family farm. The video was produced and edited by ‘L.A. Johnson’ and directed by ‘Gary Burden’. A second video was released in (1991), also on ‘VHS’, and was directed by ‘Edd Griles’. A third music video was also released after the ‘September 11’ (2001) attacks.

“God Bless the USA” debuted on the ‘Hot Country Singles & Tracks’ chart for the week of May 26, (1984).

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Norma Jean

‘Marilyn Monroe’ born in (1926) was an actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the (1950) and early (1960). ‘Monroe’ began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in (1946) with ‘Twentieth Century-Fox’.

‘Norma Jeane’ became one of ‘Blue Book’ most successful models; she appeared on dozens of magazine covers. Her successful modeling career brought her to the attention of ‘Ben Lyon’, a ’20th Century Fox’ executive, who arranged a screen test for her. ‘Lyon’ was impressed and commented, “It’s Jean Harlow all over again.” During her first few months at ’20th Century Fox’, ‘Monroe’ had no speaking roles in any films but, alongside other new contract players, took singing, dancing and other classes.

In (1947), ‘Monroe’ had been released from her contract with ’20th Century Fox’. She then met with ‘Hollywood’ pin-up photographer ‘Bruno Bernard’, who photographed her at the ‘Racquet Club of Palm Springs’; and it was at the ‘Racquet Club’ where she met ‘Hollywood’ talent agent ‘Johnny Hyde’. ‘Monroe’ signed in (1948) a six-month contract with ‘Columbia Pictures’ and was introduced to the studio head drama coach ‘Natasha Lytess’, who became her acting coach for several years.

‘Monroe’ faced in March (1952) a possible scandal when two of her nude photos from her (1949) session with photographer ‘Tom Kelley’ were featured on calendars. The press speculated about the identity of the anonymous model and commented that she closely resembled ‘Monroe’. As the studio discussed how to deal with the problem, ‘Monroe’ suggested that she should simply admit that she had posed for the photographs but emphasize that she had done so only because she had no money to pay her rent. She gave an interview in which she discussed the circumstances that led to her posing for the photographs, and the resulting publicity elicited a degree of sympathy for her plight as a struggling actress.

Of these photographs was published in the first issue of ‘Playboy’ in December (1953), making ‘Marilyn’ the first ‘Playmate’ of the Month. ‘Playboy’ editor ‘Hugh Hefner’ chose what he deemed the “sexiest” image, a previously unused nude study of ‘Marilyn’ stretched with an upraised arm on a red velvet background from (1949). The heavy promotion centered around ‘Marilyn’ nudity on the already famous calendar, together with the tease marketing, made the new ‘Playboy’ magazine a success.