FRIDAY 13TH – History and Legend

At dawn on Friday, 13 October 1307, King Philip IV ordered Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. The arrest warrant started with the phrase:

“God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the kingdom.”


Philip IV

Founded around 1118 as a monastic military order devoted to the protection of pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land following the Christian capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, the Knights Templar quickly became one of the richest and most influential groups of the Middle Ages, thanks to lavish donations from the crowned heads of Europe, eager to curry favor with the fierce Knights. By the turn of the 14th century, the Templars had established a system of castles, churches and banks throughout Western Europe. It was this astonishing wealth that would lead to their downfall.

In September 1307, secret documents were sent by King Philip IV of France by couriers throughout the country. The papers included lurid details and whispers of black magic and scandalous sexual rituals. They were sent by King Philip IV, an avaricious monarch who for years had attacked the Lombards (a powerful banking group) and France’s Jews (who he had expelled so he could confiscate their property for his depleted coffers).

Due to his lavish lifestyle, Philip was deeply in debt to the Templars and decided the best way to deal with that debt is to destroy the Knights.


Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, burned at the stake in Paris, France on March 18, 1314.

At daybreak on Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of Templars in France were simultaneously arrested by agents of Philip the Fair, to be later tortured into admitting heresy in the Order. The Templars were supposedly answerable only to the Pope, but Philip used his influence over  Clement V, to disband the organization. Pope Clement did attempt to hold proper trials, but Philip used the previously forced confessions to have many Templars burned at the stake before they could mount a proper defense.

In the days and weeks that followed that fateful Friday, more than 600 Templars were arrested, including Grand Master Jacques de Molay, and the Order’s treasurer. But while some of the highest-ranking members were caught up in Philip’s net, so too were hundreds of non-warriors; middle-aged men who managed the day-to-day banking and farming activities that kept the organization humming. The men were charged with a wide array of offenses including heresy, devil worship and spitting on the cross, homosexuality, fraud and financial corruption.

Claims were made that during Templar admissions ceremonies, recruits were forced to spit on the Cross, deny Christ, and engage in indecent kissing; brethren were also accused of worshiping idols, and the order was said to have encouraged homosexual practices. The Templars were charged with numerous other offences such as financial corruption, fraud, and secrecy. The Templars were accused of idolatry and were suspected of worshipping either a figure known as Baphomet or a mummified severed head they recovered, amongst other artifacts, at their original headquarters on the Temple Mount that many scholars theorize might have been that of John the Baptist.


Pope Clement V

The legend of the Friday 13th Curse was cemented by events that followed. Within a month, Pope Clement V died in torment of a disease thought to be lupus. Clement was described as shedding tears of remorse on his death-bed for his three great crimes: the poisoning of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor, and the ruin of the Templars and Beguines.

Eight months later Philip IV, at the early age of forty-six, perished by an accident while hunting. Such stories were rife among the people, whose sense of justice had been scandalized by the whole affair. Philip’s death was spoken of as a retribution for his destruction of the Templars. Within 14 years the throne passed rapidly through Philip’s sons, who died relatively young, and without producing male heirs. By 1328, his male line was extinguished, and the throne had passed to the line of his brother, the House of Valois, wiped from history. 

ESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS SONGS – All others are superfluous

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – DARLENE LOVE

The song was written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry (Phil Spector also is co-credited). Love was given a demo of it over phone performed by them. She went on to record the song in studio, which became a big success over time and one of her signature tunes.

Beginning in 1986 and continuing for 29 years, Darlene Love performed the song annually on the final new episode before Christmas of Late Night with David Letterman (NBC, 1986–92) and Late Show with David Letterman (CBS, 1993–2014), 28 times in all. The exception was in 2007, when Love was unable to perform due to the Writers’ Strike, a repeat of her 2006 performance was shown instead.

In December 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs, noting that “nobody can match Love’s emotion and sheer vocal power.”

“Christmas Time Is Here” – VINCE GUARALDI TRIO

“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown.

Originally written and performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio for 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, this lovely wistful melody falls on you like a light snow.

“Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” – AMY GRANT

This Christmas carol first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems. As it is known in the modern era, it features lyrical contributions from Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, two of the founding ministers of Methodism, with music adapted from “Vaterland, in deinen Gauen” by Felix Mendelssohn.

In 1840, one hundred years after the publication of Hymns and Sacred Poems Mendelssohn composed a cantata which English musician William H. Cummings adapted to fit the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Amy Grant’s version is unparalleled. 

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”- BING CROSBY (or JUDY GARLAND)

Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Garland’s version may be the most famous, but Bing’s version is the best. 

“Holly Jolly Christmas.” BURL IVES

Also known as “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas, and written by Johnny Marks in 1962, the song was featured in the 1964 Rankin Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which Burl Ives voiced the narrator, Sam the Snowman. The song has since become one of the Top 25 most-performed “holiday” songs ever. 


Published in 1833, by William Sandys, this hymn originated from an English folk song performed by Middle Age minstrels. The lyrical reference to ships sailing into Bethlehem may be the three camels used by the Magi, as camels are frequently referred to as “ships of the desert.”

This version is performed by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple, and his wife Candance Knight, and their retro Renaissance-style band, and it is superb. 

‘In Dulce Jubilo’ – Mike Oldfield

This a traditional Christmas carol dating from the Middle Ages. Subsequent translations into English only increased its popularity. This instrumental arrangement by English musician Mike Oldfield, most famous for his epic “Tubular Bells”, used to great creepy effect in the film “The Exorcist, reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1976. This perfectly captures the 1970s:  a progressive-folk rock version of a carol that dates to the 14th century, performed a man who composed the soundtrack for one of the creepiest movies ever. The band Mannheim Steamroller also recorded a version for their 1988 Christmas album A Fresh Aire Christmas, using a dulcimer as the main instrument. 

“Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” DEAN MARTIN

Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in July 1945 during a California heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions than what they were living through. Despite the lyrics making no mention of any holiday, the song has come to be regarded as a Christmas song  due to its winter theme, being played on radio stations during the Christmas season and having often been covered by various artists on Christmas-themed albums. 

 “Linus and Lucy” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Written by San Francisco jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, the song first appeared in A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).  Named for the fictional siblings Linus and Lucy van Pelt, it has become the most recognizable pieces by Vince Guaraldi, and has gained status as the de facto theme song of the Peanuts franchise. It is impossible not to be joyful while listening to this song.

“The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” ANDY WILLIAMS

Written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle, it was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album. In the issue of Billboard magazine dated November 28, 2009, the list of the “Top 10 Holiday Songs (Since 2001)” places the Williams recording at number five.


Ronnie Spector’s sensual vocals are capable of melting all the snow in the world as she purrs about getting cozy beneath a blanket on a sleigh ride while her fellow Ronettes ‘ring-a-ling-a-ling-a-ding-dong-ding’ in the background. The Boston Pops version is probably the popular version that most of us hear on the radio. 

“Run, Run Rudolph” CHUCK BERRY

 First released by Chess Records in time for Christmas 1958, this exuberant rocker – co-written by Johnny Marks of ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ fame – is quintessential Berry.  The best Christmas driving song. Made more famous in the Home Alone movie. 

“Winter Wonderland” RAY CHARLES (or DARLENE LOVE)

Written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and lyricist Richard B. Smith. Smith, a native of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was reportedly inspired to write the song after seeing Honesdale’s Central Park covered in snow. Smith had written the lyrics while being treated for tuberculosis in the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton.

The song was originally recorded by Himber and his Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra at RCA in 1934. At the end of a recording session with time to spare, RCA suggested arranging “Winter Wonderland” with its own orchestra, which included Artie Shaw.

The Charles version is  a smooth jazzy workout, as only Charles could pull off. The Darlene Love version is just … perfect. 

“You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” THURL RAVENSCROFT

Originally written and composed for the 1966 cartoon special Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  The lyrics were written by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, the music was composed by Albert Hague, and the song was performed by Thurl Ravenscroft, who for more than 50 years, he was the uncredited voice of Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. His booming bass gave the cereal’s tiger mascot a voice with the catchphrase “They’re g-r-r-r-eat!!!!”

Because Ravenscroft was not credited in the closing credits of the special, it is often mistakenly attributed to Boris Karloff, who served as narrator and the voice of the Grinch in the special but who himself could not sing.


Excerpts from the book Wicked Charleston, Vol. II: Prostitutes, Politics & Prohibition

chas election short history
1876 Election

Leading up to the election, there were problems in Charleston. The Democrats considered the Reconstruction Republican government nothing more than a slave revolt, a challenge to their traditional white authority. They had created the Red Shirts, a white paramilitary group, to intimidate Republican, particularly, black voters. Wearing a red shirt became a source of pride and resistance to Republican rule for white Democrats in South Carolina. Women sewed red flannel shirts and other garments of red. It also became fashionable for them to wear red ribbons in their hair or about their waists. Young men adopted the red shirts to express militancy after being too young to have fought in the Civil War. The duly-elected Republicans, considered the Red Shirts and the less organized Ku Klux Klan as threats to the legal government. The federal government considered South Carolina to be just short of open rebellion.

The Port Royal Standard and Commercial (Oct. 5, 1876) wrote in an editorial:

“The entire Democratic party of the State is fully armed and organized . . . more dependence is placed in the shotgun than argument.”

The Democrats needed a man who could break the hold the Republicans had on state government, a man who could defeat the incumbent Republican, David Henry Chamberlain. Wade Hampton III was that man. Hampton was former Confederate Lt. General, from one of the richest families in South Carolina, and was one of the largest slave owners in the state before the war. His Republican opponent, Chamberlain, running for a second term, was born in Massachusetts and served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army with the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a regiment of black troops. In 1866, Chamberlain had moved to South Carolina and quickly got involved in politics.

hampton - chamberlain

On Monday, October 16, 1876, a massacre took place at the Brick Church in Cainhoy outside of Charleston. During a Democratic meeting in the country, blacks began shooting from ruined houses and behind oaks at the assembled Democrats. Most of the white men were unarmed and those who were had nothing more powerful than pistols. Five whites and one black were killed, and twenty more were wounded. Most of the dead were mutilated and some of the wounded were not found until the next day, also maimed and mutilated, and left to die.  

On Election Day, at 3:00 p.m., at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets, E.W.M. Mackey was reading election news to a large crowd of Negroes. He finished and walked into the News and Courier offices on Broad Street. He got into a discussion with several white men who were watching the Courier’s election bulletin board. As they discussed the election, one of the men struck Mackey in the face; there was a scuffle and one shot was fired from a small French derringer. Negroes on the street rushed to the intersection of Meeting & Broad and shouted that Mackey had been killed. Less than five minutes later a mob of fifty Negroes was charging down Broad Street. The white men fired guns from the south side of Broad. The Negroes retreated to the north side, past City Hall. The police dispersed the crowd quickly and some of the black police went inside the Guard House and came out carrying Winchester rifles. They opened fire on the whites in the street.

The first victims were George E. Walter, a local businessman, and his son Endicott. They were returning from dinner to their office on Adger’s Wharf, walking on the north side of Broad in front of the courthouse. Endicott was killed and his father severely wounded. Dr. Cassimer Patrick, standing next to a column of St. Michael’s church, was also shot. Soon more than 1000 Negroes were in the street, carrying sticks and clubs. They stormed the front doors of the Guard House, shouting “Give us the guns!”

Red Shirts pose at the polls_0

Red Shirts at the polls

The police sent word to Citadel Green, where U.S. troops were quartered. By 5:30 p.m. five hundred men had assembled, organized and together with the U.S Army, they brought the city under control, four hours after the riot began. The next day, all stores were closed, and schools were suspended. Rifle club members and the U.S. Army had every intersection guarded. The casualty of this riot included: one killed, twenty-two men shot or beaten, including two policemen. News and Courier editor Francis Dawson was also injured, shot through his calf as he rode through the mob on Broad Street.

The riot delayed the election returns in Charleston. On November 10, 1876, the final tally came in: Wade Hampton (D): 92,261; Chamberlain (R) 91,127. It appeared that Hampton had defeated Chamberlain by less than 1200 votes. However, each party claimed victory, accusing the other of fraud.


Benjamin R. Tillman, an Edgefield County farmer, was born August 11, 1847, the youngest of eleven children. When Ben was two his father died of typhoid fever and his mother assumed management of the farm as well as the family inn-keeping business. 

Young Ben helped his mother run the Inn and managed the farm, which included sixty-eight slaves. He enlisted in the Confederate army in 1864. However, an abscess in his left eye socket became inflamed and in October 1864 a doctor removed his eye and he was released from military duty.

Tillman learned politics during Reconstruction. He hated Republicans and Negroes who were not subservient. He supported any candidate who wished to “redeem” the state from Republican rule. Tillman became commander of the Sweetwater Saber Club and conducted a small-scale war against Negroes which included harassment and assault. He was involved in the execution of a black state senator, Simon Coker. Two of Tillman’s men executed Coker as he was kneeling with a shot to the head. A second shot was needed just in case he was playing possum”.  Tillman believed that the death of two blacks for the death of one white man was not enough payment.  Evidently, seven was enough, for that was how many were blacks Tillman said should be killed in retaliation of the death of a white man. 

Tillman helped elect Wade Hampton in 1876 as part of the Red Shirts and believed that a reformed Republican was no better than a corrupt Republican. They were both guilty of trying to endow blacks, something Tillman could not accept. He worked hard to rid South Carolina of the Republican / Yankee rule. Tillman admitted that the red shirt campaign was “a settled purpose to provoke a riot and teach the Negroes a lesson [by] having the whites demonstrate their superiority by killing as many of them as was justifiable.”


Ben Tillman

However, Tillman was soon disillusioned by Hampton and the Red Shirts; he believed they had formed an aristocratic cabal of conservative politicians and governed for the interests of antebellum low country planters and Charleston merchants. Tillman believed the interests of common poor white farmers in the upcountry and mill workers were being ignored. At the State Agricultural and Mechanical Society he lambasted state government as being General This and Judge That and Colonel Something Else”.  Tillman said Governor Hampton was responsible for all the problems in the state except “the 1885 hurricane and 1886 earthquake.”

Tillman began to attract statewide attention through his diatribes against blacks, bankers and aristocrats who he claimed were running and ruining the state. Tillman believed that farmers were butchering the land by renting to ignorant lazy Negroes.  He called the graduates of the College of South Carolina (University of South Carolina) drones and vagabonds”. He decried the fact that only eight statewide politicians were farmers. He called for the establishment of an agricultural college due to the failure of the College of South Carolina to produce statesmen necessary to rebuild our shattered common-wealth”. He said the college’s agriculture department produced theorists and cranks – book farmers.  Thus a separate college was needed. It became Clemson University.

Tillman claimed that “up to the period of Reconstruction, South Carolina never had real popular government.” The parish system of government gave the preponderance of seats in the Assembly to the low country. It insured the absolute domination of the city of Charleston. A prouder, more arrogant, or hot-headed ruling class never existed.”

During the 1890 campaign for governor, Tillman was invited to Charleston to speak. Tillman hated Charleston, but he knew the city controlled the most powerful political machine in the state. Many who lived in the upcountry were more conservative and religious and looked down on Charleston. Ben Robertson wrote in Red Hills and Cotton (1942) that Charleston had been hard on us for a hundred and ten years. Charleston was “a worldly place . . . sumptuous, with the wicked walking on every side.”

 Tillman addressed a crowd of several thousand from the steps of City Hall and called the crowd they were cowards for submitting to the tyranny of elite rule. He began thus:

You Charleston people are a peculiar people. If one-tenth of the reports that come to me are true, you are the most arrogant set of cowards that ever drew the free air of heaven. You submit to a tyranny that is degrading you as white men . . . If anybody was to attempt that thing in Edgefield, I swear before Almighty God we’d lynch him . . . You are the most self-idolatrous people in the world. I want to tell you that the sun doesn’t rise and set in Charleston.

   Over the next hour he called Charleston the “the greedy old city”. He derided the citizens as “broken-down aristocrats” who viewed the world through “antebellum spectacles” and who marched backwards when they marched at all”.  He denounced “that niggerdom of the low country. Then he went after Francis Dawson, editor of the News and Courier.

You are binding yourselves down in the mire because you are afraid of that newspaper down the street. Its editor bestrides the state like a colossus, while we petty men, whose boots he ain’t fit to lick, are crawling under him . . . He is . . . clinging around the neck of South Carolina, oppressing its people and stifling reform.

The next day in the paper Francis Dawson described Tillman as the leader of the adullamites, a people who carry pistols in the hip pockets, who expectorate upon the floor, who have no tooth brushes and comb their hair with their fingers.”

As blacks began to lose their grip on political power, violence against them increased. Lynchings throughout the state became commonplace. Any white woman who accused a black man of rape was essentially giving him a death sentence. The Newberry Herald considered rape of a white woman by a black man too serious to merit the niceties of a legal trial.  Elizabeth Porcher Palmer wrote that she hoped it (lynching) would have a good effect”. In 1889, a mob of whites stormed the Barnwell County jail and murdered eight black prisoners accused of murdering a white man.

During the period of 1882-1930, there were over 150 lynchings in South Carolina, only six of the victims were white. During the 1890s four of the state’s congressional delegation had killed someone. Pistols were considered part of a man’s uniform – rich or poor, black or white. A state judge called South Carolina “an armed camp in a time of peace”. One of Tillman’s goals was the disenfranchisement of blacks.  He stated that

We do not intend to submit to Negro domination and all the Yankees from Cape Cod to hell can’t make us submit to it . . . we of the South have never recognized the right of the Negro to govern white men, and we never will.

After winning the 1890 election for governor, Tillman supported his long-time State House colleague John Ficken for mayor of Charleston. Ficken was Charleston-born, graduated from the College of Charleston, served in the Confederate government, and studied law at the University of Berlin. He was a member of the local Democratic establishment, as were his closest friends. Together, they built up a strong coalition of uptown working-class labor groups. They exploited the long-simmering hostility toward the Broad Street Ring, run by local elites and gentry. Ficken was elected mayor in November 1891. His police chief was an upcountry friend of Gov. Tillman, Elmore Martin. Tillman, already disdained by most white elite Charlestonians, was now viewed with hostility.

In 1894 Tillman ran for the U.S. Senate. He called President Grover Cleveland “an old bag of beef” and was elected by a large majority. In 1902, Sen. Tillman physically attacked the other South Carolina Senator, John McLaurin. The two men fought on the Senate floor. Tillman ended up with a busted nose and McLaurin had open wounds on his face.  Tillman was officially censured by the Senate.  Even though he publicly apologized, he later claimed in a letter that his constituents were delighted”.  Tillman refused to change his crude manners or rough language. He claimed it was the only to combat Republican rascality and Democratic imbecility”.  Religious people complained about his profanity. He admitted it could not be controlled and from his viewpoint it was not a defect. He thought it was harmless against the drunkenness and adultery of other politicians. Gambling, smoking and drinking were worse vices than swearing. He was called the “Huck Finn of the Senate” and is now considered by historians to be one of the worst characters to ever serve in the United States Senate.

JOHN P. GRACE – The 1911 Revolution

John Patrick Grace was born on December 30, 1874. His father died when he was still a child, and he helped support his family by carrying milk deliveries from a cow that his mother kept. Ironically, one of Grace’s accomplishments as mayor was the outlawing of cows in the city for sanitary reasons. Grace left high school to start his own business and started a law practice in 1902. He ran for the South Carolina Senate in 1902 but lost and lost again in 1904 when he ran for county sheriff and again in 1908 in a race for the United States Senate.

Grace ran for mayor of Charleston in 1911 against businessman Tristram T. Hyde who was supported by the powerful “Broad Street Ring,” the traditional elite Charleston white business and political establishment. The Post And Courier actively campaigned against Grace, urging folks to “prevent dishonesty by voting for Hyde.”

Grace campaigned on a platform to modernize Charleston. Mildred Cram had recently written: “Charleston has resisted the modern with fiery determination … caught in a dream of the romantic past.” Grace understood that the elite underestimated the anti-Broad Street sentiment among Charleston’s white working-class voters; they wanted to embrace the future. During his speeches Grace called the Charleston elites “perjurers, thieves, aristocratic phonies and broken down social climbers.” His campaign against the establishment also included the Prohibition Drys, who wanted to outlaw liquor sales in the state.


On election day, Nov. 7, 1911, while Hyde remained in his headquarters, Grace spent the day visiting every polling place shaking hands. Fistfights broke out at several polling places, and a Grace supporter was arrested. Grace received 2,999 votes to 2,805 for Hyde. He called it “the Revolution of 1911.”  One of his first acts was a large street improvement program, paving, new sidewalks, curbs and drains. Major streets were paved with asphaltic concrete.

In 1913 Mayor Grace testified that Charleston had 250 Blind Tigers (illegal saloons) for a population of about 60,000 inhabitants. He bragged that he had instituted a system where the city fined each liquor operator and bordello $50 every three months. Mayor Grace claimed that it was a fair system. “If I wanted, I could fine them every time they sell a drink,” he said. He made no effort to shut down saloons and bordellos. The fines provided thousands of dollars for the city treasury. In fact, without the liquor and prostitution fines, the city budget would have been in the red. The mayor rarely ordered raids on Blind Tigers, and then it was “just for show.” He claimed that “Blind Tigers are too much of the web of life to close them down.”

In 1915, Hyde challenged Grace again, who was now considered an out-of-control radical populist by the Charleston elites. Grace was called “the mayor of graft” due to his relationship with the liquor trade. His response: “It’s the government’s job to prevent crime, not sin.” There was also an anti-Catholic campaign aimed at Grace. 

Supported by former Mayor R. Goodwyn Rhett, Hyde won by 14 votes. Grace demanded a recount with representative of both campaigns guarding the sealed ballot boxes. On October 15, a recount was held in a small room on the southwest corner of King St. and George St. Police were on hand to keep order, but as the counting began, armed partisans of both campaigns rushed into the room. Shots were fired and Sidney J. Cohen, a young Evening Post reporter, was killed. Two ballots boxes were hurled out a window onto the street, with the ballots scattered on the breeze. Hyde was declared the winner, 3,109 to 3,081 and Grace conceded. He later stated that Sheriff Martin, a tool of the Broad Street Ring, “was willing and eager to have the streets of Charleston drenched with blood of her defenseless people it that would secure the election of Hyde.” He claimed that Martin’s deputies had instigated the shooting and tossed the ballots out to ensure there was no accurate recount.

That same year the Drys won a state-wide referendum ending all legal sale of alcohol within the state, four years before national prohibition took effect. However, the referendum did not repeal the “Gallon-a-Month” law, which permitted the importation into the state one gallon per person per month.


In 1919, Grace and Hyde squared off again for the third consecutive election. It was the closest mayoral race in the city’s history: 3,421 – 3,420, with Hyde as the winner. Grace challenged hundreds of ballots and managed to get 36 of them removed, which gave the election to Grace. He allowed the brothels to reopen, and in response to Naval officials complaining about the high rate of venereal disease, Grace instituted medical exams for prostitutes. 

The 1923 mayoral election between Grace and Thomas P. Stoney was a wild affair. Stoney, a successful lawyer, had the support of the Broad Street political ring. He appealed to women voters by asking two women to run on his slate. He was a good speaker, entertaining with a good sense of humor. 

Mayor Grace linked Stoney with the anti-Catholic KKK. Stoney called Grace a corrupt political boss who was hated elsewhere in the state. Two days before the election, Governor McLeod ordered the National Guard to assist the police in keeping order at the polls. This killed any chance of a Grace victory, since Grace’s political machine was masterful at poll manipulation. Grace called the use of soldiers “military despotism.” 

William Watts Ball wrote that: 

“Outsiders gaze upon a Charleston election with wonderment, sometimes with merriment.” An election in Charleston was “a scene of reveling, and immorality, a debasing struggle of bribery, corruption and intrigue.”

Stoney became the youngest mayor in Charleston history at age 34. He and his Broad Street law partners wielded large influence; they could promise any bootlegger immunity from prosecution as long as they were willing to pay the proper fees.

marks books - wicked 2 cover (hi res)

Available from Amazon.


CLARK MILLS STUDIO – Charleston’s Forgotten National Landmark

Clark Mills (born December 13, 1810) was a self-taught American sculptor who resided in Charleston from 1837 to 1848 at 51 Broad Street. The four-story building was occupied by Mrs. C.P. Huard and Mr. Erastus Bulkley. When Mrs. Huard moved out, Mills rented the space, resided there and used part of the building as a studio. He created his marble bust of John C. Calhoun on that site.

mills and calhoun bust

Left: Clark Mills, courtesy of Library of Congress. Right: Marble bust of John C. Calhoun


51 broad street

               51 Broad Street, two views. Left: 1950s, courtesy of Library of Congress.                      Right: 2018, Photo by author.

Mills left Charleston in 1848 and moved to Washington, D.C., established a studio at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and opened a foundry outside the city. In 1852, Mills created the first equestrian statue that was cast in the United States, the famous statue of Major Andrew Jackson that stands today in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. The statue was unveiled on January 8, 1853, the 38th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.  Senator Stephen A. Douglas was the keynote speaker and, according to newspaper accounts, more than 20,000 people attended the unveiling.


Equestrian statue of Major Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.  Photo by author.

Mills’ true importance is not in the aesthetic value of his work, but in his brilliance as an engineer. He built his own foundry and pioneered new techniques in the casting of bronze. His mastery of the dynamics of the unbalanced Jackson Statue solved an engineering problem that had confounded artists and engineers before him.

In 1860, Mills won the contract to cast the Statue of Freedom, designed by Thomas Crawford. The Statue of Freedom is a colossal bronze standing figure 19 12 feet tall and weighed approximately 15,000 pounds. She currently stands 288 feet above the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol.

statue of freedom

Statue of Freedom, cast by Clark Mills

Due to the immense popularity of the Jackson statue, Congress commissioned Mills in 1860 to create an equestrian statue of Lt. Gen. George Washington. Mills original design called for an elaborately high pedestal with three tiers of relief panels and smaller equestrian statues of Washington’s generals. However, due to the economic conditions during the Civil War, those plans were not executed.  


Lt. Gen. George Washington Statue in Washington Circle, Washington, D.C. 

In 1865 Mills made a life-cast of Abraham Lincoln’s head. He died on January 12, 1883, and was honored during World War II, when the United States liberty ship (cargo) SS Clark Mills was named in his honor.

On December 21, 1965, his studio at 51 Broad Street was named a National Landmark on October 15, 1966, it was listed on the National Register.   




JUNE 13, 1777. That afternoon, a French vessel sailed into Town Creek at North Island, Georgetown, South Carolina. On board was the 19-year old Marquis de Lafayette, who had purchased the ship for the voyage to American colonies. Lafayette, along with other French noblemen, had all been promised commissions in the “Armies of the States” by Silas Deane, American agent in Paris.  

lafayette - color

Marquis de Lafayette

Local plantation owner, Major Benjamin Huger (pronounced “hue-gee), a French Huguenot, welcomed the young Frenchmen to his home before they proceeded north to join the American army. During the stay at the plantation, Lafayette met Huger’s 3-year old son, Francis Kinloch. As a result of that brief meeting, seventeen years later Francis Huger participated in an odd, swashbuckling episode during a plot to liberate Lafayette from an Austrian prison.  

AUGUST 10, 1792. Lafayette was serving as general of the Northern Army in France, when an angry crowd in Paris, consisted of citizens and soldiers, attacked the Tuileries Palace where King Louis XVI resided. The King’s guards were killed, forcing the royal court to flee, where they became prisoners of the Assembly. The king was “temporarily removed from his duties,” and the Assembly passed a decree calling for Lafayette’s arrest as a traitor. Hoping to take refuge in a neutral country he escaped to Austria where he was promptly arrested and sent to Prussia for confinement.

French exiles in London, outraged by the arrest, sent Dr. Justus Erich Bollman to Prussia as their agent to negotiate for Lafayette’s release. Dr. Bollman had already acquired a reputation as a man who enjoyed adventure by smuggling the Comte de Narbonne, France’s ex-minister of war, to England, leading some to claim he was the basis of the fictional hero, the Scarlet Pimperenel, an English aristocrat who rescues French nobles.

scarlet pimp

1793. Bollman arrived in Berlin and appealed for Lafayette’s freedom. Lafayette was being held at Prison Magdeburg in Saxony but was moved to a prison on the Neisse River along the borders of Prussia, Poland and Czechia (modern Czech Republic), and then moved to an undisclosed location in Austria. The Austrian emperor considered Lafayette personally responsibly responsible for the downfall of Louis VXI, and was determined to keep him hidden. 


Map of the area in which Bollman searched for Lafayette: Prussia, Saxony, Austria, Czechia, etc …

Meanwhile, Bollman travelled to Magdeburg only to discover Lafayette gone. Three months later, after searching across Prussia and Austria, Bollman arrived in Olmutz, the Monrovian section of Austria, part of Czechia. He checked into the Golden Swan and in the taverns and cafes, Bollman heard the citizens talk about increased security at the prison due to the “recent arrival of some important prisoners.” It was reported that even the guards were forbidden to talk to the new prisoners who were locked behind two doors, one wood, the other iron. Bollman became convinced that Lafayette was one of the “important prisoners” and made friends with the prison physician, Dr. Heberlein. Patiently cultivating his friendship with Haberlein, the doctor at some point confirmed Lafayette was indeed imprisoned at Olmutz. 

olmutz prison

Prison at Olmutz

Bollman convinced Haberlein to deliver messages to Lafayette, thinking they were simply encouraging notes. Unbeknownst to the doctor, Bollman was writing secret messages with one of the oldest forms of disappearing ink – lemon juice.

To allay suspicions, Bolllman eventually moved on to Vienna, where he met a young American, Francis Kinloch Huger. In 1794, Huger had completed his studies in England, and before returning home to enroll in medical school, he decided to travel across Europe and witness the effects of the war between France and her neighbors. Throughout his journeys he heard rampant speculation about Lafayette’s whereabouts. In Vienna he met Bollman, and according to Huger’s later recollections, he had a conversation with Bollman about Lafayette’s fate, and told the doctor of the Frenchman’s visit to his family home in 1777. It was then he learned of Bollman’s mission to rescue Lafayette.

Huger listened as Bollman traced the events of the past few years. He told of finding Lafayette and revealed he had not been in Hungary at all during the past week, but in Olmütz, working out the details of an escape. He had contacted Lafayette through Dr. Haberlein, and had worked out a plan.

For his health, every second day, Lafayette was driven into the countryside under close guard. In one of his return messages to Bollman, Lafayette wrote, in lemon juice in the margins of a letter:

We are in a phaeton, nobody with me but the corporal – who, by the by, is afflicted with a rupture – and a clumsy driver … Have a trusty man with you. Stop the driver. I engage to frighten the little cowardly corporal with his own sword. Bring a third horse. I will not have the least difficulty to jump on a led horse of your man …


19th century Phaeton

Bollman informed Lafayette that when all was ready, he would wait beside the road and, when Lafayette’s carriage passed, Bollman would make a signal with a handkerchief. That would be the signal that the rescue attempt would be made two days later.  

When Bollman laid out the details of the plan, Huger immediately agreed. He later wrote, “I saw an opportunity to restore liberty to a man who at my own age had risked everything for me.” To Huger it was a simple matter of family honor, and American pride.

NOVEMBER 5, 1794. Bollman and Huger checked into the Golden Swan in Olmutz, and the next morning, they were sitting on their horses. As Lafayette’s carriage roll past, Bollman wave his handkerchief.

NOVEMBER 8, 1794. That Saturday morning, Bollman and Huge checked out of the Golden Swan. They sent a servant by carriage ahead to the village of Hoff, twenty-miles down the road. The servant was to wait for their arrival. They then sat by the road, awaiting Lafayette’s carriage. They had decided against bringing three horses, thinking it may arouse suspicion. Instead, Huger had acquired a horse trained to carry two riders. The plan was to let Lafayette ride alone on Bollman’s horse while they followed on the other.

As they were riding down the road, within sight of the prison fortress, and with peasants working in the fields on either side, Lafayette’s phaeton appeared. The corporal sat beside Lafayette, the driver sat in front, and another soldier rode behind the carriage. Bollman and Huger continued down the road a short distance, then turned and trotted after the carriage. When it halted by the roadside, they also stopped and watched as Lafayette and the corporal got out, began walking through a field, and then paused, engaged in conversation.

Huger and Bollman spurred their horses, galloping up as Lafayette pulled the corporal’s sword out of its sheath. However, the “little cowardly corporal,” as described by Lafayette, failed to be frightened; he grabbed the sword blade, cutting his hands, and yelled for help. The peasants looked up, but merely watched the struggle; the driver also, for some reason, failed to respond. He merely sat there. Only the mounted soldier took action, riding back toward the fortress, shouting and waving his hat to attract the attention of the sentries on the walls of the fortress, which was some distance off but still visible across the flat plain.

Lafayette struggled with the corporal over possession of the sword. Bollman leapt from his horse, and tossed the reins to Huger. Frightened, the horse lurched and it galloped away. Bollman pulled the corporal away from Lafayette, but the little man seized Lafayette by the cravat, and gripped his neck within his bloody hands.  

Huger joined the fight, and managed to pull the bloody hands away from the general’s throat. Bollman and Huger dragged the corporal down, pinning him and pushing a handkerchief into his mouth.

Huger then shouted to Lafayette to take his horse and “get to Hoff,” the village where the servant had been sent. The general mounted and started to trot away, then stopped, apparently unwilling to leave the two behind. Waving him on, Huger anxiously repeated “get to Hoff!” and the marquis rode off. Bollman and Huger conferred for a moment and then released the corporal, who took off on foot.

A peasant boy managed to stop Bollman’s frightened horse and was returning with the prize when Huger spotted him. He and Bollman mounted it and took off after Lafayette. Unfortunately Bollman’s horse, was was not trained for double riders, and he bucked Bollman. When urged faster than a trot, he gave a buck that dumped Bollman, who was then unable to climb back up. Huger dismounted and helped his companion into the saddle and told Bollman to take the horse and follow Lafayette. He would follow on foot.

Huger ran along a road leading to the mountains pursued by three men running after him. He hoped to reach the mountains and slip into Prussian Silesia, but was soon overtaken by a peasant on horseback who had joined the chase. Seeing that it was impossible to escape, Huger gave himself up to the horseman. The three on foot joined them, and Huger was escorted back to Olmütz, where he was turned over to General D’Arco, the commandant of the fortress, for examination. Huger answered the questions truthfully and in some detail, telling of his meeting with Bollman and the events surrounding the escape itself. He said he felt justified in what he had done: “I did not think of harming any one; and I was assured that it was the purpose of M. Lafayette to cross immediately to America and not to mix himself any more in the affairs of the Empire.”

D’Arco noted at the end of the transcript of the examination: “The culprit was turned over by the military authorities to the ordinary Olmütz court, put in irons, as a criminal, and held in the strictest custody.” Huger’s possessions were taken, iron cuff put around one ankle, another around a wrist. He was then chained to the wall over the wooden bench that served as his bed.

Lafayette, meanwhile, was alone in an unfamiliar area. Complicating matters further, Bollman had never told Lafayette what escape route they would follow. During the confusion resulting from the corporal’s resistance, Lafayette had misunderstood Huger’s shouted order for him to “get to Hoff.” Not recognizing the name of the city, he thought the American had simply told him to “get off.” Separated and lost, the general reached a fork and chose the road leading him away from Hoff and the waiting coach and servant.

Covered with mud and blood from the fight, Lafayette rode into a village and offered two thousand crowns for a fresh horse. The large sum, his accent, and his disheveled appearance aroused suspicion, and he was taken into custody, where the mayor insisted he be taken to Olmütz.

Bollman was the only one to reach Hoff. Not finding Lafayette there, he guessed that the general had gotten lost. Crossing the border into Silesia, he searched for Lafayette, hoping he had been able to make it into Prussia along a different route. A week later, Bollman, too, was arrested, and after two weeks he was taken to Olmütz to join Huger.

In the meantime the civil examination of Huger had begun. Since Huger spoke no German, a Professor Passi, a tutor employed by a Russian nobleman living in the vicinity of Olmütz, served as interpreter.

JANUARY 5, 1795 . Huger managed to smuggle letters out to Thomas Pinckney, former governor of South Carolina, who was then the American minister in London. He first wrote him on, asking Pinckney to write his mother and closing with the plea “Don’t forget us.”

In South Carolina Huger’s family wrote to George Washington, asking that the President intervene to obtain his freedom. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering informed them that the President was concerned, but “the cause of Mr. Huger’s confinement would render an application delicate and difficult, the United States having no public functionary in the Austrian dominions….”

FEBRUARY 1795. Huger and Bollman were kept in solitude for three months and brought separately before the tribunal for examination. The judges determined the two had worked independently of any local help and for the sole purpose of freeing Lafayette. The charges were reduced to “forcing a military post,” and after that they were allowed a little more freedom and better food. But the examinations continued, this time on the revised charge.

In Olmütz the prisoners had more influential help. It seems that their interpreter,  Passi’s, regular employer, was Count Mitrowsky, was sympathetic to their cause. He gave Passi the money necessary to bribe the judges, and when Bollman and Huger were found guilty the sentence was unusually light: one month’s labor in irons, followed by banishment from Austria. With a little more encouragement from Mitrowsky the judges reduced the sentence to fourteen days’ further confinement and banishment. Eight months after the attempted rescue Huger and Bollman were released. Passi had made all the necessary arrangements for them, and they hurried across the border.

Bollman sailed with Huger to the United States in 1796.

Dr. Francis Kinloch Huger

1797. Huger finished work on his degree, graduating from the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to South Carolina, married one of Thomas Pinckney’s daughters, and divided his time between his plantation on the Santee River and a summer home in Statesburg, choosing the life of a rice farmer instead of that of a doctor. He served as member of the South Carolina House of Representative and in the South Carolina Senate. He also studied artillery engineering and was commissioned as a colonel of artillery during the War of 1812.

SEPTEMBER 19 1797. Napoleon Bonaparte invaded the Austria, and soon was negotiating their surrender. The French general demanded the release of Lafayette and the others at Olmütz as a condition to a peace settlement. Lafayette was freed September 19, five years after his arrest along the frontier.


Lafayette, captive in Ormutz

1805. Bollman became an agent of Aaron Burr, serving the former Vice President as a land promoter but soon became entangled in Burr’s alleged scheme to establish a western empire in the Louisiana Territory. In late 1806, shortly after delivering an incriminating message from Burr to General James Wilkinson, Bollman was arrested and—for the second time in twelve years—imprisoned. He declined Jefferson’s offer of a pardon on the ground that it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, but regained his freedom when the case against Burr failed to stand up. In his later years he wrote several pamphlets on the banking systems of the United States and England; he died in Jamaica in 1821.

1824. Lafayette arrived in America for a tour that took him to every part of the country. After landing in New York City contacted Huger by letter, Referring to him as “my dear deliverer,” Lafayette asked him to join his party in New York. Huger did so and then accompanied the general to Yorktown for special ceremonies there.

Huger joined Lafayette during his visit to South Carolina. Meeting in Columbia, they traveled together to Charleston. Auguste Levasseur, a member of Lafayette’s traveling party, wrote:

At the dinner, at the theatre, and the ball, in short everywhere, the name of Huger was inscribed with that of Lafayette …

This story of an American who was sent to prison in an attempt to rescue Lafayette had such romantic appeal that it was mentioned in many of the popular accounts of the general’s life that appeared in the mid-1820’s. The event was turned into a popular play, entitled Lafayette, or the Castle of Olmütz, that, much like Hollywood today, played fast and loose with the facts, which greatly amused Huger.

FEBRUARY 14, 1855. Huger died in Charleston. Whenever he was asked about his role in the Lafayette escape he always relied,  “I simply considered myself the representative of the young men of America, and acted accordingly.”




My criteria: The song had to be specifically written for the film in question. “Singing In The Rain” may have been the title song of a classic movie, but it was written for the film Hollywood Revue of 1929 NOT for the 1951 musical starring Gene Kelly.

The songs also had be at least twenty years old, which gives us enough time to track its longevity. It’s one thing for a song to be popular for a moment, but after twenty years, you can began to judge the quality of its vintage.

So, here’s my list, in alphabetical order.

A Hard Day’s Night  – The Beatles (From A Hard Day’s Night)

a_hard_days_night_singleThe first of two Beatles songs on this list. The idea for the song came from one of Ringo Starr’s malapropisms. Lennon wrote the song in one day, and it was recorded in three hours. Lennon shared vocals with McCartney (who could reach the high notes in the bridge – “When I’m hooome!”). Musically, the song opens with George Harrison’s iconic Rickenbacker 12-string “mighty chord” and features one of Harrison’s greatest early guitar solos. The song closes with Harrison playing an arpeggio of the opening chord for the fade-out.  A classic early Beatles rocker.

All Over The World – ELO (From Xanadu)

elo-electric-light-orchestra-jeff-lynne-7-single-p-s-all-over-the-world_29570885From a movie so bad, it inspired the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards to mock the worst from Hollywood. However, as bad as it is (and it’s pretty awful) the music is consistently excellent, mainly thanks to the involvement of Jeff Lynne who wrote five songs for the film. John Lennon, shortly before his death, committed on how much he liked “All Over the World.” The song became a Top 20 hit in America, and was famously well used in the Simon Pegg sci-fi comedy Paul. Forty years later, it is still a concert highlight for Jeff Lynne.

Beauty and the Beast – Angela Lansbury (From Beauty and the Beast)

beauty and beastThis beautiful classic poetic ballad was written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken, specifically for the Disney film. They encouraged Lansbury to “sing it as she saw it.”  Lansbury was worried that her aging voice was not up to the challenge but recorded her version in one take, which wound up being used in the final film. Producer Don Hahn recalled that the actress simply “sang ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from beginning to end and just nailed it.”

East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed (From Smokey and the Bandit)

jerry-reed-east-bound-and-down-rca-gold-standardWritten by Jerry Reed and Dick Feller, the song was a massive hit for Reed (#2 Country Charts; #3 Billboard Pop). During filming, Hal Needam, director of “Smokie and the Bandit”, commented that he didn’t have any music for the film. Two days later, Reed came back with three songs that were used in the movie unchanged, including ‘East Bound and Down.’

Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor (From Rocky III)

survivor-eye-of-the-tiger-7-single--2_25581322“Eye of the Tiger” is the song for the most famous work-out montage of all time, and is still the greatest tune to run up art museum steps to.

The song was written by Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik, and recorded at the request of  Sylvester Stallone, after Queen denied him permission to use “Another One Bites the Dust”, the song Stallone originally intended as the Rocky III theme.

Footloose – Kenny Loggins (From Footloose)

footloose_soundtrack_1984Co-written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins, the song spent three weeks at number one, March 31—April 14,1984 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was the first of two number-one hits from the film. Billboard ranked it at the No. 4 song for 1984.

Freddie’s Dead – Curtis Mayfield (From Super Fly)

freddies deadThe first single from the 1972 soundtrack album for the film Super Fly. The single was released before the Super Fly album, and in fact before the film itself was in theaters. The song peaked at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.

The song laments the death of Fat Freddie, a character in the film who is run over by a car.

Like most of the music from the Super Fly album, “Freddie’s Dead” appears in the film only in an instrumental arrangement, without any lyrics. The song’s music is featured prominently in the film’s opening sequence and also recurs at several other points. The arrangement is driven by a strong bass line, wah wah guitars, and a melancholy string orchestration.

“Freddie’s Dead” was ruled ineligible for the Academy Award for Best Original Song because its lyrics are not sung in the film.

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr (From Ghostbusters)

According to Parker, he was approached by the film’s producers to create a theme song for the film, though he only had a few days to do so and the film’s title seemed impossible to include in any lyrics. However, when watching television late at night, Parker saw a cheap commercial for a local service that reminded him that the film had a similar commercial featured for the fictional business. This inspired him to write the song as a pseudo-advertising jingle that the business could have commissioned as a promotion.

When the theme song of Ghostbusters was released, Huey Lewis sued  plagiarism, stating that Parker’s song was too similar to Lewis’s “I Want a New Drug.” Lewis had initially been approached to compose the main theme song for the film. The parties ultimately settled out of court.

It also contains footage from the film and features cameos from many celebrities of the day, all of whom exclaim the song’s “Ghostbusters!” refrain when shown.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland (From Meet Me In St. Louis)

have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas-judy-garland-220x220The first of two Judy Garland appearances on this list. Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, the was introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis.  On Christmas Eve, Judy Garland’s character, Esther, sings the song to cheer up her despondent five-year-old sister, Tootie, played by Margaret O’Brien.  In 2007 it was ranked as the third most performed Christmas song and is a bone fide classic American song.

Help! – The Beatles (From Help!)

helpWritten by John Lennon (with help from Paul McCartney.) According to Lennon’s cousin and Stanley Parkes, “Help!” was written after Lennon “came in from the studio one night. ‘God,’ he said, ‘they’ve changed the title of the film: it’s going to be called ‘Help!’ now. So I’ve had to write a new song with the title called ‘Help!’” Lennon later recounted: “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help.”

It is ranked at #29 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. ‘ It is considered by critics as the first crack in the protective shell Lennon had built around his emotions during the Beatles’ rise to fame, and an important milestone in the development of his songwriting style.

Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings (From Live and Let Die)

live and let dieEven before the movie began filming, Bond producers invited Paul McCartney to write the theme song utilizing the title. McCartney asked to be sent a copy of Ian Fleming’s novel. “I read it and thought it was pretty good. That afternoon I wrote the song and went in the next week and did it … It was a job of work for me in a way because writing a song around a title like that’s not the easiest thing going.”

The producers wanted to have someone else perform it, but McCartney insisted that if they wanted the song, McCartney’s version was to be used over the opening credits. Produced by the legendary George Martin, it is now considered to be the best of the Bond themes. McCartney often wins the throw-in-an-extra-preposition-and-call-it-art award for the line, “And in this ever changing world in which we live in.”

Mrs. Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel (From the Graduate)

robinson“Mrs. Robinson” became the duo’s second chart-topper, hitting number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaking within the top 10 of multiple other countries. In 1969, it became the first rock song to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

While recording their fourth LP, Bookends (1968) Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel pitched the song to director Mike Nichols after he had rejected two other songs intended for the film.

They had been working on a track titled “Mrs. Roosevelt“, about former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt and performed it for Nichols. He was ecstatic about the song, later commenting, “They filled in with dee de dee dee de dee dee dee because there was no verse yet, but I liked even that.” Garfunkel later expanded upon the song’s placement in The Graduate:

“Paul had been working on what is now ‘Mrs. Robinson’, but there was no name in it and we’d just fill in with any three-syllable name. And because of the character in the picture we just began using the name ‘Mrs. Robinson’ to fit […] and one day we were sitting around with Mike talking about ideas for another song. And I said ‘What about Mrs. Robinson.’ Mike shot to his feet. ‘You have a song called “Mrs. Robinson” and you haven’t even shown it to me?’ So we explained the working title and sang it for him. And then Mike froze it for the picture as ‘Mrs. Robinson’.

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head – B. J. Thomas (From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)

b.j. thomas – raindrops keep falling on my headWritten by Hal David and Burt Bacharach it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.. In the film version of the song, B.J. Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than normal. Billboard Magazine also ranked the song 15th on its Top 50 Movie Songs of All Time list in 2014.

Thomas, who In 1968, was a run-of-the-mill moderately successful country-pop singer when he was offered the song for the movie, which changed his life. In 2011, he recounted:

“The song, initially when it came out, I believe it was October of 1969, the movie didn’t come out until December, it did get some bad reviews. It was a very unique and different sounding song, Bacharach and David never had any qualms about trying to do anything different, or push the envelope so to speak. So nowadays, it sounds pretty tame, but back then, radio resisted it to some degree. But, when the movie came out it hit hugely and sold about 200,000 to 300,000 records a day [and continued selling] for about three years.”

On December 3, 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that the single would be inducted into the 2014 Grammy Hall Of Fame.

Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland (From the Wizard of Oz)

judy_garlandComposed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg for the movie The Wizard of Oz and sung by Judy Garland. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became Garland’s signature song.

The song was deleted from the film after a preview because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer and producer Mervyn LeRoy thought it “slowed down the picture.” Thankfully, it was reinstated. One of the greatest songs of the 20th century.

Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog (From The Muppet Movie)

Written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher who were tasked with writing the songs for The Muppet Movie. For the song that became “Rainbow Connection”, Jim Henson told them that the opening scene should feature Kermit the Frog by himself, singing and playing the banjo. Williams and Ascher wrote most of the song fairly quickly at Williams’ house, but got stuck trying to think of appropriate words for the part in the chorus that eventually became the phrase “the rainbow connection”; they were looking for a way to tie in the chorus to the song’s theme of rainbows. As they sat down for dinner with Williams’ then-wife, Kate Clinton, they explained to her their predicament of looking for a phrase that would provide “a rainbow connection”, then realized, in the course of explaining the problem to her, that the phrase “the rainbow connection” would itself be a good fit.

The song has been described as on “which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short, green Judy Garland. ‘Rainbow Connection’ serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that ‘Over the Rainbow’ served in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters’ driving urge for something more in life.”

(Theme from) Shaft – Issac Hayes (From Shaft )

isaac-hayes-theme-from-shaft-1971“Who’s the black private dick, that’s a sex machine to all the chicks? / (Shaft!) Ya damn right”

Written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, the song made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is considered by some to be one of the first disco songs. The funkiest song on this list, with one of the greatest bass lines ever. Can ya dig it? Shut yo mouth!

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees (From Saturday Night Fever)

bee_gees_stayin_aliveThe greatest disco song ever? Possibly. This song, and the rest of the soundtrack, pushed a mediocre movie into the stratosphere, and turned John Travolta into a movie star.

The Bee Gees were asked to write songs for a proposed movie that did not have a title; in fact, all they were told was it was based on New York magazine cover story about discomania.

They wrote “Stayin’ Alive” over the course of a few days. The track was finished, with Maurice Gibb laying down a bass line similar to the guitar riff, Barry Gibb and Alan Kendall on guitar riffs.. Barry sings falsetto on the whole song, except on the line “life’s going nowhere, somebody help me.”

Due to the death of drummer Dennis Bryon’s mother in the middle of the song’s sessions, they took two bars from the drum track of the already-recorded “Night Fever” track, rerecorded them as a recurrent loop on a separate tape, and proceeded with sessions for “Stayin’ Alive”. This accounts for the unchanging rhythm throughout the song.

We Don’t Need Another Hero – Tina Turner (From Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome)

tinaThis classic power ballad, written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, who had written Turner’s massive comeback hit the year before What’s Love Got To Do With It”, were able to repeat the success with this song, giving Turner a second massive worldwide hit (#2 America). Co-starring with Mel Gibson in the 3rd of the Mad Max blockbuster, also helped ignite her career.

When Doves Cry – Prince (From Purple Rain)

prince-when-doves-cryThe lead single from his 1984 album Purple Rain, Prince performs all vocals and plays all instruments on the track. It was a worldwide hit, and his first American number one single, topping the charts for five weeks. It is unusual due to the fact there is no bass line in the song, unheard of in a 1980s dance track. After Prince’s death in 2016, the song re-entered the Billboard Top Ten and has become one of his most iconic songs.