RICH AT HEART - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We here at the American Treasure Tour blog love stories, and we have plenty of them!  The best kind of stories, we think, are the true ones.  Fact, as they say, is often stranger than fiction.  That's why we like to talk about the objects in our collection, because every single one of them has a story behind it.  Take, for example, the records hanging in the Music Room.  Not only do they tell the story of the artists - the names of the musicians may come from family tradition while the people themselves have their own stories - but they also suggest stories about the production of the records.  We can't, of course, go into all of that, so we will stick with snippets of the lives of the musicians for now.  Maybe one day, we will delve deeper.

Charlie Rich is the subject of today's blog, as his album Fully Realized, hangs proudly among the collection.  Rich was an interesting guy.  Born in rural Arkansas to cotton farmers, he learned about gospel music in church and blues by sharecroppers before going off to school on a football scholarship.  Once an injury knocked him off the field, he took up jazz and R&B.  Moving to Memphis, he recorded at Sun Records, where dabbled in rock and country.  He struggled until his 1974 breakout song, "The Most Beautiful Girl" placed him square into the country genre.  Fully Realized was one of no-less-than eleven albums Rich released in 1974, which turned out to be his biggest as well.

QUESTION:  In 1975, Rich announced the award for Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Awards.  Visibly intoxicated, he used a lighter to burn the envelope containing the winner's name.  Who was it?
A)  John Denver
B)  Johnny Cash
C)  Johnny Paycheck
D)  John Lennon

Very few snowstorms can be considered so terrible that they have actually been named.  On this day in 1922, approximately 22,400 square miles of the northeast United States were covered in around twenty inches of snow in what became known as the Knickerbocker Storm, so named because of a Washington, D.C. theater that could not handle the extra weight of the snow.  Its roof collapsed, killing 98 and wounding 133 more.  

Born in 1912, Jackson Pollock lived only forty-four years, but in that time he made an indelible imprint on the American artistic landscape.  Most notable were his "drip paintings," for which he often allowed the paint to literally drip off his brush, or he flung the paint at his canvas. Critics condemned him as meaningless and random chaos, and praised them as the rawest form of personal expression.  Like his art or not, it is on display in some of the world's most prestigious art museums today, so he definitely did something right.

QUOTE:  Painting is self-discovery.  Every good artist paints what he is. - Jackson Pollock

ANSWER:  A)  John Denver.  It is believed Rich felt Denver's sound was too "pop" to justify such an important country music award.  This display proved to be the beginning of a downward spiral in Rich's career, though.