Cab Calloway's song "Minnie the Moocher" is familiar to many people, due to its status a one of Cab's swinging classics, which was used for the title and inspiration for a spookly little Bettie Boop short cartoon, complete with a spectral walrus whose dance moves were rotoscoped from Cab himself. Flash forward to 1980 with Calloway in his 70s, Cab returned to belt out the tune in The Blues Brothers in classic Cab Calloway swinging style, returning the song to broad prominence. But do you know how the song came to be? You've probably heard the somber "Saint James Infirmary," but have you heard of "Willie the Weeper" or "Willie the Chimney Sweeper"? Mix the two, and you have a few pieces of the story behind Cab Calloway's big hit (Google books preview). [more inside]
Jane Byrne was the first, and, so far, only, female mayor of Chicago, serving from 1979-1983. [more inside]
Millions may know him best from one of the only lines he delivered in the Blues Brothers movie: "We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline". Others who notice these things will remember him as the guy who also played the bass in the Blues Brothers band. And those for whom Stax records and the Memphis sound are important will know him as the four-string foundation of the great Booker T and the MGs, and the man who lent his solid, no-frills bass lines to many a tune by soul luminaries Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and lots of other greats. Memphis-born bassman Donald "Duck" Dunn has died while on tour (along with fellow legend and bandmate Steve Cropper) in Tokyo. RIP, Duck Dunn, and if there's any goat piss in heaven, I know you're gonna turn it into gasoline up there, too.
Hanson's (catchy, if you ask me) video "Thinking 'Bout Something" is an homage to Ray Charles's great performance of "Shake a Tailfeather" in The Blues Brothers. As an added bonus, look closely at the tambourine player; it's our favorite, Weird Al. [more inside]
"John Belushi is here," Curtis Salgado said to his bandmates after that fateful show in Eugene, Oregon, one evening in 1977 (pdf). "[We said, 'Who's John Belushi?' because for as long as we could remember, we'd always had to work on Saturday nights."