Happy Birthday Tom Waits

American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor Tom Waits was born on this day, December 7 in 1949. His distinctive voice, is described as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car, has helped him built up a distinctive musical persona, and over the years his trademark growl has been combined with a variety of pre-rock music styles such as blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music.

Waits has also worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and as a supporting actor in films, including Down by Law and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.   Lyrically, Waits’ songs frequently present atmospheric portrayals of grotesque, often seedy characters and places—although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional ballads. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters despite having little radio or music video support. His songs are best-known through cover versions by more commercial artists: “Jersey Girl”, performed by Bruce Springsteen, “Ol’ ’55″, performed by the Eagles, and “Downtown Train”, performed by Rod Stewart.

Although Waits’ albums have met with mixed commercial success in his native United States, they have occasionally achieved gold album sales status in other countries. He has been nominated for a number of major music awards and has won Grammy Awards for two albums, Bone Machine and Mule Variations. In 2011, Waits was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pearl Harbour Day

The Japanese assault on Pearl Harbour, took place on this date 7 December, in 1941. It catapulted America into the Second World War and resulted in, 2,390 Americans losing their lives in the attack. Twelve ships being sank or beached, and nine being damaged. The US lost 164 aircraft. On the Japanese side, 64 people died, five ships sank, and 29 planes were destroyed.

The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.   The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk.

All but two of the eight were raised, repaired and returned to service later in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.   The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8th ) the United States declared war on Japan. Domestic support for isolationism, which had been strong, disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. the same day. This led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”.

Tribute to Roy Orbison

Known by the nickname ‘The Big O’ and remembered for his distinctive, powerful voice,the American singer, guitarist, and songwriter Roy Orbison sadly  died on 6TH December 1988. Born April 23, 1936 Roy Kelton Orbison, he grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top Forty, including “Only the Lonely”, “Crying”, and “Oh, Pretty Woman”. His career stagnated through the 1970s, but several covers of his songs and the use of “In Dreams” in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet revived his career in the 1980s. In 1988, he joined the supergroup Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and also released a new solo album. He died of a heart attack in December that year, at the zenith of his resurgence. His life was marred by tragedy, including the death of his first
wife and his two eldest sons in separate accidents.

Orbison was a natural baritone, but music scholars have suggested that he had a three- or four-octave range. The combination of Orbison’s powerful, impassioned voice and complex musical arrangements led many critics to refer to his music as operatic, giving him the sobriquet “the Caruso of Rock”.Elvis Presley and Bono have stated his voice was, respectively, the greatest and most distinctive they had ever heard While most men in rock and roll in the 1950s and 1960s portrayed a defiant masculinity, many of Orbison’s songs instead conveyed a quiet, desperate vulnerability. He was known for performing dark emotional ballads while standing still and solitary, wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses which lent an air of mystery to his persona.

Orbison was initiated into the second class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 by longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen. The same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame two years later. Rolling Stone placed Orbison at number 37 on their list of The Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 13 on their list of The 100Greatest Singers of All Time. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists