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This monthly podcast looks back at the pop culture of Generation X, from an African-American perspective.

Sep 1, 2018

Topics: Dj Kool Herc, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Pam Grier, The Mack, & George Jefferson. (Bonus Artist: Luck Pacheco)


1.    Snapshots
2.    General News
3.    Richard Nixon STILL President.
4.    Vietnam War: year 18 of 19
5.    The Paris Peace Accords, signed on January 27, 1973, effectively removed the U.S. from the conflict in Vietnam.
6.    Deaths: 168 killed. Down from 641 in 1972
7.    Nixon, on national TV, accepts responsibility, but not blame, for Watergate; (April 30).
8.    Spiro T. Agnew resigns as Vice President and then pleads no contest to charges of evasion of income taxes while Governor of Maryland (Oct. 10).
9.    Jan: Military draft ends
10.    Jan: Roe v. Wade, SCOTUS ruled that a right to privacy extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but with some limits.
11.    Apr: The World Trade Center
12.    Economics:
13.    Oct: OPEC embargo sets off an oil/energy crisis and starts the recession.
14.    Unemployment: 4.9% / Black unemployment: 5.7 / minimum wage: still $1.60 ($64w, $3,200y, ~$19,800 in 2018)
15.    Open Comments:
16.    Sports:
17.    Super Bowl: Miami d. Washington
18.    World Series: Oakland A's d. NY Mets (4-3)
19.    NBA Championship: New York d. LA Lakers
20.    Pop Music:
21.    Top radio singles:
22.    #1 "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree", Tony Orlando and Dawn
23.    #2 "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", Jim Croce
24.    #3 "Killing Me Softly with His Song", Roberta Flack
25.    1973 Grammy Awards:
26.    ROY, “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” Roberta Flack
27.    SOY, “Killing Me Softly with His Song,”
28.    AOY, Innervisions, Stevie Wonder
29.    New Artist, Bette Midler
30.    Open Comments:
31.    Top Movies:
32.    #1 The Sting
33.    #2 The Exorcist
34.    #3 American Graffiti
35.    Top Television:
36.    #1 All in the Family
37.    #2 The Waltons
38.    #3 Sanford and Son
39.    Black Folks
40.    Illinois 1st state to declare MLK Day
41.    Alice Walker publishes 1st book
42.    Red Foxx NAACP Entertainer of the Year
43.    Open Comments:
44.    Social/Political Scene: The Birth of a Hip-Hop Nation
45.    Clive Campbell (@18yrs) - a.k.a. DJ Kool Herc (Hercules), founding father of hip hop.
46.    It's summer time of 1973 in the Bronx NY.
47.    In the recreation room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, a HISTORIC party jumps off. - And hip hop is born!
48.    Bio: Kool Herc was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, moved to NYC as a teen and started spinning records at parties with his dad's PA system.
49.    He was deep into Reggae and he styled himself like a Jamaican “selector” (DJ) and did a lot of “toasting” (talking/chanting) over the instrumentals.
50.    But his real genius was paying attention to the crowds. He said a lot of DJ's back then would put on a record and go smoke a cigarette.
51.    He watched what got the crowd going and noticed hat it was the instrumental bridge, or drum breaks, that was hot with the dancers.
52.    His SIGNATURE move and GROUNDBREAKING contribution was to use the two turntables of a regular DJ setup, NOT to switch between songs, BUT switch back and forth between the break beats and keep the crowds moving!
53.    His homie, Coke La Rock, would get on the mic and do shout outs ("so and so is in the house!"), do call-and-response phrases (yes, yes, y'all - you don't stop, ...just throw your hands in the air), and do catchy "poems" (Hotel, motel, you don't tell, we won't  
54.    tell)
55.    Herc had been working on it this new style for almost a year, but that summertime party in 73 was his breakout moment.
56.    After that, the crowds got too big for the rec room and he started throwing jams in the park. Those crowds where bigger than some at the clubs and that's where all four elements of hip hop would really come together. (Dj'ing, MC'ing, dancing, and graffiti) 
57.    He got stabbed at a party just a few years later, and while he was sidelined, his 2 homies and "understudies" took over hip hop, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash! 
58.    Hip Hop basically started by presenting a party on wax.
59.    Question: How has partying changed? (i.e., dancing, music, sex, drugs, socializing, violence, etc...)
60.    Final thoughts: Kool Herc continues be an undervalued personality. He deserves WAY more credit.
61.    Music Scene:
62.    Pop Singles
63.    #1 - Tony Orlando and Dawn, Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree
64.    #3 - Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly With His Song
65.    #4 - Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
66.    #8 - Billy Preston, Will It Go Round In Circles
67.    #10 - Diana Ross, Touch Me In The Morning
68.    #15 - Billy Paul, Me And Mrs. Jones
69.    #17 - Dobie Gray, Drift Away
70.    #19 - Stevie Wonder, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
71.    #21 - Isley Bros., That Lady
72.    #22 - Sylvia, Pillow Talk
73.    #26 - Stevie Wonder, Superstition
74.    #32 - O’Jays, Love Train
75.    #33 - Barry White, I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More
76.    Vote:
77.    Jan - 360 Degrees of Billy Paul, Billy Paul
78.    Feb -Talking Book, Stevie Wonder
79.    Feb - The World Is a Ghetto, War
80.    Apr - Wattstax: The Living Word, Soundtrack / Various artists
81.    Apr - Neither One of Us, Gladys Knight & the Pips
82.    May - Masterpiece, The Temptations
83.    May - Spinners, The Spinners
84.    Jun - Birth Day, New Birth
85.    Jun - Call Me, Al Green
86.    Jun - Live at the Sahara Tahoe, Isaac Hayes
87.    Jul - I've Got So Much to Give, Barry White
88.    Jul - Back to the World, Curtis Mayfield
89.    Aug - Fresh, Sly and the Family Stone
90.    Aug - Touch Me in the Morning, Diana Ross
91.    Sep - Innervisions, Stevie Wonder
92.    Sep - Deliver the Word, War
93.    Sep - Let's Get It On, Marvin Gaye
94.    Dec - Imagination, Gladys Knight & the Pips
95.    Key Artist: Gladys Maria Knight, aka The Empress of Soul (@29): Singer, song writer, actress.
96.    Born and raised in ATL
97.    Started touring with the Pips at 16yrs old, signed with Motown at 22, and started dropping hits:
98.    "Every Beat of My Heart/I Heard It Through the Grapevine/If I Were Your Woman
99.    In 1973 she left Motown (Former Motown artists where EVERYWHERE) and blew up!
100.    They landed 4 straight #1 Soul Lps between 1973 and 1974
101.    Neither One of Us/Imagination/Claudine/I Feel a Song
102.    Gladys will tell you that Diana Ross, kicked her off a tour once because the crowds were feeling her more and that The Boss felt overshadowed.
103.    Some people called her the true successor to Aretha.
104.    Question: What was Glady's biggest hurdle: Too nice, Diana, song material, or a CRAZY personal life? (4 marriages, custody battles, legal issues with the Pips, child kidnapped, or the Mormons?
105.    Key Artist: Stevland Hardaway Morris (@23yrsold), aka Stevie Wonder: Musical Genius
106.    Born in Michigan, raised in Detroit
107.    Started getting down with Motown in 1961 at 11yrs old and rose to fame FAST!
108.    Fingertips/Uptight (everything's Alright/Sign, Sealed, Delivered/My Cherie Amour
109.    In 1971, he let his Motown contract expire, muscled his way to a bigger royalty, got more creative independence, and proceeded to change the history of pop music.
110.    His next 3 releases each won album of the year! - a first for an RnB act.
111.    Partly influenced by his Motown homie Marvin Gaye and his album "what's Going On", (and to some degree his FRIENDS the Beatles!) he consciously changed up his style.
112.    "We as a people are not interested in 'baby, baby' songs anymore," he said back then. "There's more to life than that.
113.    Innervisions (16th studio LP) was where he stopped being merely a "boy" genius.
114.    "It is the album that best celebrates his musical maturity and completes the transition from Little Stevie Wonder to the grown-up artist with an active imagination and burning social conscience. Coming just nine months after Talking Book, Innervisions is Wonder at 
115.    the absolute peak of his powers, a 23-year-old man with the world at his fingertips." - BBC Review
116.    Question: Bigger impact, Stevie or James? (Writing, singing, performing, musician)
117.    Conclusion: IMHO, Stevie is the most important black artist ever.
118.    Movies
119.    Key Actor: Pamela Suzette Grier (@24yrs old); Actress, author, superstar girlfriend
120.    Born in North KakalaKa and raised as an Air Force kid
121.    The family settled in Denver and she went to East High School - Genina's alma mater
122.    She started competing in state wide beauty contests and that led to her moving to LA to pursue acting at 18
123.    In 1971, at 22, she made her movie debut in Big Doll House.
124.    She did a few more "women in cages" movies and broke out in 1973 with Coffy!
125.    "The baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever-hit town!"
126.    In 1974, she delivered her iconic performance as Foxy Brown
127.    A gun toting prostitute out for revenge
128.    This solidified her as really the first female action hero.
129.    It also, stigmatized her acting career, as she basically got limited to Blaxploitation roles
130.    However, she still received props for her acting skills in those roles.
131.    "What makes Coffy interesting is Miss Grier...she’s' beautiful, but also has a kind of physical life to her that is sometimes missing in beautiful actresses...she gets into an action role and does it right." - film critic, Roger Ebert
132.    Question: where have the female black action heroines gone?
133.    Key Movie: The Mack
134.    Question: What was that?!?!?!
135.    Television:
136.    Key Character: George Jefferson, Dry cleaning Business owner
137.    Played by Sherman Hemsley (@35): born and raised in Philly
138.    High school dropout and former Air force
139.    went to NYC and got regular work as a Broadway actor
140.    In 1971 (@33) he flashed on Broadway and caught the attention of the producer for "All in The Family" (sorta like Redd Foxx)
141.    In 1973 he debuted on the show as Archie's "opinionated, rude, bigoted, scheming neighbor.
142.    Always trying to move "to a deluxe apartment in the sky"!
143.    But, he was also a loving and hard-working family man, who was cleverer than Archie.
144.    Sherman himself was shy and very private.
145.    Never married and no kids.
146.    He said playing George Jefferson "was hard for me. But he was the character. I had to do it."
147.    Question: Was GJ a positive or negative character?
148.    Schoolhouse Rock! Animated musical educational short films.
149.    Aired from 1973 to 1985 (12 Yrs.)
150.    64 -3m episodes
151.    Topics covered: Math, grammar, American history, and science.
152.    The creator noticed one of his sons was having trouble remembering the multiplication tables, BUT the kid knew all the lyrics to the current rock songs.
153.    The goal was to educate through videos, motivate kids with music, and convince them learning is fun.
154.    Question: What are some of your favorite SHR episodes?
155.    Conclusion:  No doubt, for a generation of kids, every Saturday morning, SHR put it DOWN!
156.    Wrap Up
157.    Question: What had the biggest impact from 1973?