George Carlin died earlier today (June 22, 2008) in Los Angeles. He was 71 years old. The truly unique and always outspoken American comedian/social commentator/actor, who had a history of heart problems, died of heart failure at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica at approx 6PM today.
Unlike so many comedians who tend to tone down their act as the years slip by or as they become more famous & widely accepted, George Carlin consistently kept his work on the edge by always being brutally honest and darkly satirical as he routinely tackled such targets as religion, culture, politics, and the hypocrisies of America.
The ever anti-establishment Carlin will probably be best remembered for "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV" routine of his (found on his Class Clown album) in which he tested the limits and challenged the government regulated words that dared not be uttered on television (or the radio).
In 1972 in Milwaukee at a show Carlin did this routine, uttering those seven "dirty" words from the stage, resulting in his arrest for disturbing the peace. The same routine, when played on American radio, led to the 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.
Personally, I loved everything he ever did that I got my hands on: records, books and filmed performances-- three video clips of which are included below. One is the aforementioned "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV" from a 1978 concert. Another is the wonderful "Modern Man" from more recent years, in which he does an inspired piece about modern technology (great for mixing over beats because of its poetic flow) and another amazing recent piece - the no-holds-barred "America Is Tyranny" in which Carlin tells it like it really is today in the messed up United States of America.
60 years ago this week on June 21, 1948, at a press conference in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel (former home to such 20th century luminaries as Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Nikola Tesla, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Cole Porter, and former President Herbert Hoover), Columbia Records unveiled their latest concept; the “LP.” This choice in dates was by no means a random selection. Columbia picked the summer solstice because it’s the longest day of the year and “LP” stands for "long playing."
The new “LP’s” played at a speed of 33⅓ rpm, and came in two sizes: 10in (25cm) and 12in (30cm) in diameter and were pressed out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or what we now simply call vinyl. This new material was more durable and much less brittle then the shellac used in the previous 78rpm format. (By the way, ‘shellac’ is a substance obtained from the secretion of a Southeast Asian beetle). The LP’s audio quality was better and the playable length of time for each side increased dramatically. This new format was revolutionary.
Although they released approximately 50 records simultaneously to help push the fledgling LP market, the first popular music catalogue number for a ten-inch LP, CL 6001, was a reissue of the Frank Sinatra 78 rpm album set from 1946, The Voice of Frank Sinatra. (Initially the 12in format was reserved for higher-priced classical recordings and Broadway shows, though that would change just a few years down the road). Not only was The Voice Sinatra’s first studio album, but many music critics claim it holds the distinction of being the first concept album … no way dude!
You can also hear or download my set by clicking here. Thanks to Jayme for recording it.
"Nana de Colores"-Diego Carrasco
"Oye Mi Olelole"-Celina Y Reutilio
"Senor Presidente"-Los Cojolites
"Tres Golopes"-Toto La Moposina
"Oualahila Ar Teninam"-Tinariwen
"Osman Pehlivan"-Arif Sag
"Sonido Amazonico"-Los Mirlos
"Usti, Usti Baba" - Senor Coconut Vs. Kocani Orkestar
"Cumbia"-Columna De Fuego
"Astronautas A Mercurio"-Sonara Casino
"Tifit Hayed"-Wganda Kenya
"Che Che Cole"-Antibalas
"Cumbia Sapuesana"-Aniceto Molina
"Volaron Las Brujas"-Los Erederos De La Cumbia
"Cologiala" - Rodolfo y su Tipica R.A.7
"Bacalo Con Pan"-Irakere
"Rico Suave Bossa Nova"-J Dilla
"Wanda Vidal"-Marcos Valle
"Pe Da Roseira"-Gilberto Gil
"Tive Razao"-Seu Jorge