What’s a great way to relax and turn off the brain after a long work week? I’ve been known to find some fun things posted online that teach me something, but not work-related.

#1. Watch and listen to this video, and, if you’re old enough, take a trip back in time. (If you aren’t old enough, imagine your parents or grandparents). We’re walking into Montgomery Ward, Wolf and Dessaur, Hills, Gimbles or any number of department stores around the country. You’re making your way through clothes, shoes and cameras on the way to the snack bar or soda fountain, and this music is playing in the background.

You’re familiar with services like Muzak (just purchased by Mood) which now offer a variety of formats to businesses via satellite. From the 30s through the 80s, many stores played music from Seeburg jukeboxes. Seeburg jukeboxes rotated through records that ran at 16 r.p.m. There were versions for both in-store and industrial uses, to keep customers and factory workers awake and on the job. Many people still collect and restore these devices. We may think some of the versions of pop songs are horrible, or, we might decide we actually like them!

#2. You’ve no doubt heard songs in languages other than English and maybe even tried to sing along without really knowing the words, let alone what they mean. Here’s how it sounded when a South American band sang the 1960s Kinks hit “A Well Respected Man” on an Argentine version of “American Bandstand”. Making the lyrics sound as close as possible to the English ones without actually knowing them, the teens in the audience loved it!

#3 I lived briefly in Quincy, a few blocks from the Mississippi River in Western Illinois. I commuted to work at a radio station in Hannibal, MO. One day in March the Illinois state offices and schools were closed for a holiday I had never heard of called Casimir Pulaski Day. What I didn’t know is that there’s a pop song commemorating the occasion. Who’d have thunk?

#4. You know the familiar beginning to “I Love Lucy” the classic TV show that has been running in syndication for decades. What I learned on YouTube was that the original audiences saw a different open, with Lucy and Desi as cartoon characters, and you’d see Lucy and Desi promoting Phillip Morris cigarettes in the open and even in the body of the show as part of the script. Of course, there was the famous Phillip Morris bellboy. I’m not one to try to reach almost 60 years back in time to try to apply 2013 standards about smoking to a 1950s TV show, but I did find this information interesting. If you’ve researched 1950s and 1960s television, you know that even The Flintstones smoked. Incidentally, Desi and Lucy made sure their production company owned the filmed versions of the show, and invented the rerun. Embed is disabled with this video but you can watch it here: http://youtu.be/WrvHYUXo–o?t=11s

#5. What if you had a band in West Palm Beach, Florida, during the height of Beatlemania? Why you’d reinvent yourselves as The American Beetles and tour South America! That’s exactly what this band did, scoring hit records and TV appearances all over Latin America. Some very rare recordings are on YouTube, some as The Razor’s Edge. .

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