July 8 – Ziegfeld, Oklahoma!, R.E.M.

1907

1912 poster

Chicago-born impresario Florenz Ziegfeld stages his first Ziegfeld Follies.
 
It’s an elaborate theatrical production called The Jardin De Paris — on the roof of the New York Theater. Held annually, the lavish revues include many top entertainers of the day … and always the Ziegfeld girls.
 
Decades later Ziegfeld talks newspaper tychoon William Randolph Hearst into building him the art-deco Ziegfeld Theatre, which opens Feb. 2, 1927. (*)
 
The show goes on until 1931. 1946 film Ziegfeld Follies commemorates the era with a cavalcade of stars like Fred Astaire, Fanny Brice (the only original Follie) and Judy Garland. Trailer 
Johnston: Glorifying the American Girl  ▷Ziegfeld 101▹

1958

The RIAA gives its first gold record for an album — awarded for $1million in sales — for the soundtrack LP of the 1955 film Oklahoma!. Opening clip 
 
The film’s music is created by actor/singer Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones (later the momma of The Partridge Family) and the cast. The hit musical by the powers Rodgers and Hammerstein had premiered on Broadway in 1943, running for 2200 performances!
 
By 1992 the album has gone multi-platinum. The film wins Academy Awards for its score and for its sound recording. Film clip  Hugh Jackman 

1981

Athens, Georgia alt-rock/new-wave band R.E.M. (aka ‘Hornets Attack Victor Mature‘) releases its first single, Radio Free Europe.
Live on Letterman 
 
A 1983 re-release on I.R.S. Records gets the band its first chart single (US#78) … and helps debut album Murmur climb to US#36. Rolling Stone names it 83’s best album (over Thriller and Synchronicity!). Perfect Circle 
 
R.E.M. is inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2007.
 
 ( Website ▷REM Gallery▹

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