God Only Knows

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The BBC assembled a “We Are the World”– style cast of globally famous musicians to sing the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” with its 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra for a spot promoting the network’s newly launched BBC Music venture.

The network has dubbed the ensemble — which sings in a classically fantastical array of settings, from a jungle-scape on a stage to a hot air balloon — the “Impossible Orchestra.”

Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Lorde, Chris Martin, Brian Wilson, Florence Welch, Stevie Wonder, Brian May, One Direction, Chrissie Hynde, Baaba Maal, Dave Grohl and Sam Smith are among the dozens of performers who comprise the ensemble.

“All of the artists did such a beautiful job, I can’t thank them enough,” Brian Wilson told The Guardian. “I’m just honored that ‘God Only Knows’ was chosen. ‘God Only Knows’ is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”

The BBC has created a charity single of the song to raise money for its BBC Children in Need campaign. A physical copy of the CD is available for purchase in the U.K. and on Amazon, and it’s also available for download and streaming.

See the original story at RollingStone.com.

Oh, Say Can You See?

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Only about a dozen copies of the original 1814 sheet music imprint of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” have survived. The original edition can be easily identified by the misprint “A Pariotic Song” in its subtitle. Courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Only about a dozen copies of the original 1814 sheet music imprint of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” have survived. The original edition can be easily identified by the misprint “A Pariotic Song” in its subtitle. Courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Today marks the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the massive overnight British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812. Key, an American lawyer, watched the siege while under detainment on a British ship and penned the famous words after observing with awe that Fort McHenry’s flag survived the 1,800-bomb assault.

After circulating as a handbill, the patriotic lyrics were published in a Baltimore newspaper on September 20, 1814. Key’s words were later set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular English song. Throughout the 19th century, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was regarded as the national anthem by most branches of the U.S. armed forces and other groups, but it was not until 1916, and the signing of an executive order by President Woodrow Wilson, that it was formally designated as such. In March 1931, Congress passed an act confirming Wilson’s presidential order, and on March 3 President Hoover signed it into law.

In Memoriam: Lauren Bacall

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LAUREN BACALL, included in the National Portrait Gallery's "American Cool" exhibition.  Artist: Alfred Eisenstaedt 1949 (printed 2013) Pigmented ink jet print Sheet: 48.3 × 33cm (19 × 13") Image: 40.3 × 27.9cm (15 7/8 × 11")

LAUREN BACALL, included in the National Portrait Gallery’s “American Cool” exhibition, through September 7, 2014. Artist: Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1949 (printed 2013). Pigmented ink jet print.

Born: September 16, 1924, The Bronx, New York City, NY

Died: August 12, 2014, New York, NY

Lauren Bacall was definitely cool.

Each generation has certain individuals who bring innovation and style to a field of endeavor while projecting a certain charismatic self-possession. Lauren Bacall is one of the figures selected for the National Portrait Gallery‘s “American Cool” exhibition.

Ms. Bacall was 89 and a longtime resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Launched by a Harper’s Bazaar cover when she was a 19-year-old model, the former Betty Joan Perske, born to Jewish immigrants in New York City, was signed by Warner Bros. in 1943.

Whatever she may have lacked in acting experience, the willowy teen made up for with a certain grace that was made camera-ready by the great director Howard Hawks. Lauren Bacall, as she had been renamed, modeled her character in 1944’s adaptation of a Hemingway novel, To Have and Have Not, after Hawks’s stylish wife, Nancy “Slim” Keith, and delivered the immortal line to the grizzled Humphrey Bogart, who was 25 years her senior: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

A star was born. So was a legendary off-screen romance with and marriage to Humphrey Bogart, with whom she made four films.

Other memorable roles that made Ms. Bacall a Hollywood legend were The Big Sleep (1946), Key Largo (1948), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

Once Bacall left Hollywood for New York in the late ’50s, she found a new career working on Broadway, where, despite her raspy singing voice, she won Tony Awards for the musicals Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). 

In my opinion, she was one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in Hollywood. She had ‘The Look’ — cool and mysterious — and she had the sound, courtesy of that irresistibly low and throaty voice.

Thanks for the memories, Lauren.

 

In Memoriam: Robin Williams

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RobinWilliams

Robin Williams by Michael Dressler. Color photograph, 1979. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine

Born: July 21, 1951, Chicago, IL   Died: August 11, 2014, Tiburon, CA

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has installed a photograph of celebrated American comedian and actor Robin Williams today. The work is in the first-floor gallery where the museum memorializes the passing and celebrates the lives of people represented in the museum’s collection. The photograph above was taken for Time magazine by Michael Dressler in 1979.

Thanks for all the laughs, Robin. God bless and may you rest in peace.

Williams was a madcap genius in performances of all types of entertainment, from stand-up to feature films. Known initially as a comedian, he surprised with his ability to play serious dramatic roles. His breakthrough came in the 1970s TV comedy Mork and Mindy; as the alien Mork, much of Williams’ dialogue was improvised, as would be the case in most of his comedic roles. Once established, Williams worked tirelessly in show business, going on to appear in many feature films, including Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993); he won an Oscar for his role as the psychologist in Good Will Hunting (1997). He played Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009). He also did voice over work in animated films and returned to television with The Crazy Ones (2013-14).

Happy 238th Birthday, America!

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This patriotic postcard is the handiwork of Ellen H. Clapsaddle, a prolific designer renowned for her creative holiday cards. Postmarked in 1910, the postcard was published by International Art Publishing Co.

This patriotic postcard is the handiwork of Ellen H. Clapsaddle, a prolific designer renowned for her creative holiday cards. Postmarked in 1910, the postcard was published by International Art Publishing Co.

For more vintage postcard art by Ellen H. Clapsaddle, click here.

A Memorial Day Tribute

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Since the early days of the Revolutionary War, American soldiers have been writing letters that shared their fears, hopes for the future, and love with those who waited anxiously behind. From Bunker Hill to Fallujah, Americans have written hundreds of millions of war letters. On a more personal level, these correspondences provide a tangible connection to the past and humanize our men and women in uniform, capturing their distinct personalities, experiences and aspirations.

Download the AARP Publications iPad App from iTunes for more.

Behind the Logo

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How observant are you? You’ll never look at these logos the same way again!

There is a dancing bear above the "BLE". Toblerone chocolate bars originated in Berne , Switzerland , whose symbol is the bear. It features the animal on its flag and coat-of-arms.

Toblerone: There is a dancing bear above the “BLE”. Toblerone chocolate bars originated in Berne, Switzerland, whose symbol is the bear. It features the animal on its flag and coat-of-arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you see the arrow between the "E" and "x" (in white)?

FedEx: Do you see the arrow between the “E” and “x” (in white)?

 

 

 

 

 

The world's most famous bike race. The "R" in "Tour" is a cyclist. The yellow circle is the front wheel of a bicycle, the "O" is the back wheel.

Le Tour de France: The world’s most famous bike race. The “R” in “Tour” is a cyclist. The yellow circle is the front wheel of a bicycle, the “O” is the back wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northwest Airlines. The circle is a compass. The arrow in the upper left corner is pointing..? North West of course!

Northwest Airlines. The circle is a compass. The arrow in the upper left corner is pointing..? North West of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hershey's Kisses: The gap between the "K" and the "I" is a sideways chocolate kiss.

Hershey’s Kisses: The gap between the “K” and the “I” is a sideways chocolate kiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tostitos: The 2nd and 3rd "T's" are two people sharing (or fighting over) a  tortilla and a bowl of salsa.

Tostitos: The 2nd and 3rd “T’s” are two people sharing (or fighting over) a tortilla and a bowl of salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon.com: The arrow means Amazon has everything from A to Z.

Amazon.com: The arrow means Amazon has everything from A to Z.

 

 

 

 

Baskin Robbins: See the " 31" embedded in the " BR"? Thirty one-derful flavors!

Baskin Robbins: See the ” 31″ embedded in the ” BR”? Thirty one-derful flavors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodwill Industries: The smiley half face is also a 'g".

Goodwill Industries: The smiley half face is also a “g”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milwaukee Brewers: The emblem for the Milwaukee Brewers.  Baseball glove forms an "M" and a "B". This Logo was designed by a college student.

Milwaukee Brewers: The emblem for the Milwaukee Brewers. The baseball glove forms an “M” and a “B”. This logo was designed by a college student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium: See the gorilla and lioness (in white) facing each other?

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium: See the gorilla and lioness (in white) facing each other?

Power of 50 — Boomer TV

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Fifty years ago this month, Jeopardy! came on the air. 1964 became a landmark year for other TV show debuts. Here’s a sneak peek from the soon-to-be-published AARP Bulletin for iPad, March 2014.

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