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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 1970

I think that the Tuesday Timeline feature has quickly become one of my favourite theme days for this blog.  Not only do I have fun covering a whole array of topics that I had never considered before, but it’s also fun to look back on what happened in history on any given day.

I’ll just come out with it.  Today we’re going back in time to March 27, 1970.  I haven’t done a Tuesday Timeline feature that took place in the 1970s before, so I figured that it was better late than never.

But, first of all, like every other edition of the Tuesday Timeline, we’re going to take a look back on other events and happenings that took place on this date.

1871 – The first international rugby match between England and Scotland is played in Edinburgh

1886 – Geronimo surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars

1890 – A tornado strikes Louisville, Kentucky, killing 76, and injuring 200

1915 – Typhoid Mary is quarantined after being discovered as the first healthy carrier of disease in the United States

1958 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes Premier of the Soviet Union

1964 – “The Good Friday Earthquake” occurs near Anchorage, Alaska, killing 125 people.  With a magnitude of 9.2, it was the most powerful earthquake in American history

1975 – Construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline system begins

1981 – Twelve million walk off their jobs for four hours in Poland after a warning strike is issued by the Solidarity movement

1993 – Jiang Zemin is appointed President of the People’s Republic of China

1998 – The FDA approves Viagra as a treatment for male impotence

2002 – Hollywood loses two legends, as both Milton Berle and Dudley Moore pass away on this date ten years ago

2009 – A suicide bomber kills 48 people at a mosque in Pakistan

Wow...who knew that March 27th was such a depressing and gloomy day in history?  Well, aside from the creation of Viagra, that is?

Don’t worry.  This blog will be focusing on a happy subject.  For this blog entry will focus on the birth of someone famous.

First things first, I should note that today happens to be my sister’s birthday, and Dawn, I doubt you’re reading this, but happy birthday!  But, no, she isn’t the subject of the blog.  She was born in 1966.

And, the subject doesn’t involve these famous faces either, but a happy birthday to...

...Michael York, Andrew Farriss (INXS), Jann Arden, Dave Koz, Quentin Tarentino, Xuxa, Talisa Soto, Kevin Corrigan, Pauley Perrette, Elizabeth Mitchell, Nathan Fillion, Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson, Brenda Song, and Jessie J.

For today’s blog topic though, we’re going to examine the career of a songbird that was born 42 years ago today.  Her road to stardom may have been filled with hardships, a troubled marriage, and a breakdown, but she seems to be happy and back on top with a new marriage, twin children, and a singing career that boasts five Grammy Awards, eighteen number one singles on the Billboard Charts, and holding the record for most time spent at the top of the charts of all time.

Oh, look.  Here’s one of her songs right now.

ARTIST:  Mariah Carey
SONG:  Vision of Love
ALBUM:  Mariah Carey
DATE RELEASED:  May 15, 1990

Would you believe that Mariah Carey was just two months into her twenties when this song was released?  Would you believe that this was Mariah Carey’s first song release?  Would you believe that this song was the first in a chain of #1 hits that included one #1 song for almost every year of the 1990s?

Well, believe it.  All these statements are in fact true.  Mariah Carey being the featured Tuesday Timeline subject is also true.

Mariah Carey was born in Huntington, New York on March 27, 1970.  Her name came from the song “They Call the Wind Mariah” from the 1951 Broadway musical “Paint Your Wagon”.  Her mother was Irish American, and her father was of African American and Venezuelan descent.  Mariah often spoke of the hardships that stemmed from being a child of mixed race, stating that her mother’s side of the family disowned her for marrying a man of colour.  Mariah’s parents tried to make the marriage work, but due to the hardships caused by their community, as well as personal struggles in the marriage, they divorced when Mariah was just three.

Mariah ended up staying with her mother, and as a result of this, her relationship with her father eventually ceased to exist.  To cope with the stress of it all, Mariah would sneak a radio underneath the covers of her bed, listen to the music and try to find some inner peace by singing.

When Mariah was growing up, she did very well in music, art, and literature, and by the time she was in high school, she had already started to write and sing her own songs.  But, nobody really knew of her aspirations, as Carey had opted to keep it a secret through school.  Her mother, of course, encouraged her to pursue a musical career, and once suggested that Mariah study to become an opera singer.  But while Mariah enjoyed opera, she wanted to go in a different direction.

It wouldn’t be until the late 1980s that Mariah’s career would take off.  After completing a four song demo tape with friends Ben Margulies and Gavin Christopher, Mariah Carey would send copies to various record labels in between waitressing gigs, but she didn’t have much success at first.  She was introduced to rising pop star Brenda K. Starr during this time though, and this meeting would end up changing Carey’s life forever.

In November 1987, Carey ended up attending a record executive gala with Starr.  Carey met dozens of executives, but it was Tommy Mottola, head of Columbia Records, who took home her demo tape that night.  After listening to just two songs while driving home from the party, he was so enamored by her voice that he turned right around and headed back to the party, only to find that Carey had already left.

It took a couple of weeks for Mottola to track down Carey, but once he had, he signed her on the spot, and plans to record her debut, self-titled album immediately began.  Throughout 1989, Tommy helped Mariah produce her album by bringing in top musical producers such as Ric Wake, Narada Michael Walden, and Rhett Lawrence...though Mariah also brought aboard her longtime friend Ben Margulies on the project as well, as Margulies had written several of the songs that appeared on Mariah Carey’s debut (including “Vision of Love”).

Mariah’s first album was released on June 12, 1990, and it started off slow in sales.  But after Mariah appeared on the Grammy Awards, sales skyrocketed, and the album spawned four consecutive #1 singles.  And, that was only the beginning.  Mariah would end up having a total of eighteen #1 singles through her career, a feat tied only by Elvis Presley.  The eighteen #1 hits that Mariah had included the following;

Vision of Love (1990), Love Takes Time (1990), Someday (1991), I Don’t Wanna Cry (1991), Emotions (1991), I’ll Be There (1992), Dreamlover (1993), Hero (1993), Fantasy (1995), One Sweet Day (1995), Always Be My Baby (1996), Honey (1997), My All (1998), Heartbreaker (1999), Thank God I Found You (2000), We Belong Together (2005), Don’t Forget About Us (2005), and Touch My Body (2007).

And, here’s a little bit of trivia about some of these songs.

“I’ll Be There” was a song that was exclusive to Mariah’s “MTV Unplugged” album.  The album came about after Mariah appeared on the program to dispel rumours that she was only a ‘studio artist’ who wasn’t capable of hitting the high notes in live performances.  Needless to say, she proved her critics wrong.

1993’s “Hero” was meant to be included in the film “Hero” starring Geena Davis and Dustin Hoffman, but Tommy Mottola insisted that the song shouldn’t be given away for someone else to sing.  He wanted it to be a Mariah Carey song.  It paid off.  It topped the charts in late 1993 for four weeks.

1995’s “One Sweet Day” holds the record for being at the top of the charts the most consecutive weeks.  The single, which Mariah recorded with Boyz II Men was a number one hit for a record-breaking SIXTEEN weeks!

And, 1999’s Heartbreaker really showed us that Mariah could poke fun at herself as well.  With Mariah playing two different characters, and the video using a stunt double, a contribution by Jay-Z, and a cameo by Jerry O’Connell, the video helped the song become Mariah’s fourteenth number one hit.

These were some of Mariah’s finest moments, but she also had a lot of hardships along the way.  Aside from her early childhood which was filled with a single mother trying to make ends meet, and her early struggles with getting her name out there (the inspiration for the song “Make It Happen”), Mariah’s had some very public struggles as well. 

Eventually, Tommy Mottola became more than Mariah’s record producer.  He would also become Mariah’s husband.  The two tied the knot in 1993, despite the couple’s 21 year age difference.  However, just five years later, Mariah and Tommy divorced, with Mariah claiming that creative differences and Mottola’s controlling nature were the reasons behind the split.  The split reflected in her music, with her 1997 album “Butterfly” taking on a new style of singing, and her music videos portrayed Mariah more sexually than before.

But Mariah’s lowest point would come during the summer of 2001.  During that period, Mariah had switched record labels (from Columbia to Virgin Records), and she had signed on to work on the film project “Glitter” as well as recording the soundtrack for the same movie.  At this time, her relationship with Luis Miguel had just ended.  As a result of Mariah’s heavy workload as well as pressure from the media, Mariah started acting in an erratic fashion.  After a bizarre appearance on Total Request Live on July 19, 2001, Mariah was hospitalized for exhaustion following a physical and emotional breakdown just one week later.

The hospital stay forced the movie and soundtrack release to be delayed while Carey recovered.  The soundtrack was eventually released on September 11, 2001, but due to the 9/11 attacks, the release was obviously overshadowed.  And when the film was released just ten days later, it bombed at the box office, and Mariah Carey was nominated for a Golden Raspberry and won for Worst Actress in 2002.

Between the failure of the film, and the fact that the “Glitter” soundtrack was the worst-selling album of Mariah Carey’s career, people wondered if Mariah Carey would ever find her way back on top again.

The answer, of course, is yes.

With the release of the album “The Emancipation of Mimi”, it served as a renaissance period for Carey, and she earned her first #1 hit in five years as a result.  And, in 2008, Carey found love once again.  This time, she married Nick Cannon, ten years her junior, and current host of America’s Got Talent.  And, in 2011, Mariah Carey became a mother, giving birth to twins Morocco and Monroe on April 30 (the same day as their wedding anniversary).

I think that there’re a couple of lessons that we can learn from Mariah Carey.  First, you can’t give up on your dreams.  Even if your dreams seem impossible, you might end up being in the right place at the right time one day, and they’ll come true when you least expect it.  This happened for Mariah Carey, and it can happen to all of us if we really take the bull by the horns.

Secondly, it is possible to come back from the depths of rock bottom.  Certainly, 2001 was not a great year for Mariah Carey, as she hit a professional and personal low.  But, it’s amazing that just ten years later, Carey would become a wife and mother, who has had a second chance to make it in the music business.

I think no matter what, Mariah Carey will always be a force to be reckoned with in the world of music.  Certainly, her voice will always be one of a kind.

That’s our look back on March 27, 1970.

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