The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus (1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X (1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X as X Minus One (1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding and Galaxy. 17 of 30 episodes of 2000 Plus, all 50 episodes of Dimension X, and all 125 episodes of X Minus One are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
Fifty years ago today Elvis Presley recorded what would prove to be one of the iconic standards of the rock'n'roll canon, Leiber and Stoller's Jailhouse Rock. The song's sly allusions ("number 47 said to number three, you're the cutest jailbird I ever did see") to same-sex prison liaisons went unnoticed (or at least uncommented on) at the time, and it stayed a US #1 radio hit for 7 weeks straight. The unisex production number [youtube] from the movie of the same name has come to be recognized as one of the grandfathers of the pop/rock video. A black-leather-clad, still-svelte Presley performed the song on his 1968 [youtube] "comeback" TV special, and was singing it (slurred delivery, sequins and all) right up into 1977 [youtube], the year of his death. In 1980 John Belushi and company turned in a fine version [youtube] as the closer to the Blues Brothers movie, and the song was a regular feature of their live [youtube] shows as well. Happy 50th birthday, Jailhouse Rock!
The Brill Building, located at 1619 Broadway in the heart of New York's music district, is a name synonymous with an approach to songwriting that changed the course of music. Housing legendary songwriters like Carole King, Jerry Leiber, Neil Sedaka, and Burt Bacharach, the Brill Building created some of the greatest hits of the rock'n'roll era. [more inside]