Remember MTV “Unplugged?” Who Was The First To Sell Music Out This Series? Pop Culture History Music.

Mr. Pop History – When it debuted back in 1990, MTV “Unplugged” was loved by music critics. Artists singing their songs the acoustic way – and it really made for some interesting song translation. But, Paul McCartney became the first artist to release his MTV appearance when Capitol put out “Unplugged” The Official Bootleg” in the summer of 1991.

By the summer of 1992 – that success spurred “Unplugged” CD success by the likes of Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton and Sting. It was sticking – and there was much more to come!

Gary West –

What Were The Top Music (For Purchase) Websites… In 1999? Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – Back then, there were no such things as downloads, so music sites were really retail stores that shipped CD’s and tapes. But – it’s a good question and a little fascinating. 1999 was also the year this site began as www.pophistorynow.

Of the top 20 retail websites – two were music. One was (1.2 million unique visitors) and the other was (with 432 thousand unique visitors).

The top retail websites in 1999 (just in case you wanted to know) were: with about 4.5 million unique visitors with about 4 million unique visitors with 1.8 million unique visitors with 1.5 unique visitors with 1.5 unique visitors with 1.2 unique visitors

Gary West –  and

Rap/Hip Hop And Loading Up Tracks With Guest Rappers – You Always See “Featuring.” Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – As far as I can trace, this trend, which still continues, began with the 1990 album, “Fear of a Black Planet.” A Public Enemy album, it featured Big Daddy and Ice Cube as guests. That was over 20 years ago.

Complete solo albums in hip hop and rap are not all that common. This, because of the practice of loading up guest rappers.

Gary West – www.mrpopculture and

Entertainment Themed Restaurants – Hard Rock Cafe vs. Planet Hollwyood

Mr. Pop History – The first was Hard Rock Cafe back in 1971. It began a trend of “themed” franchise restaurants.

Planet Hollywood came along in 1991. Soon as Planet Hollywood came along – and it seemed, both with bitter rivals. Soon came some lawsuits that had to do with proprietary marketing and such.

Planet Hollywood, unlike Hard Rock – suffered from a bad reputation of not-so-good food. Hard Rock Cafe was known for its trendy patrons and of course, rock ‘n’ roll motif.

When Did Compact Discs Begin To Outsell Cassette Tapes? Pop. Culture. History.

Mr. Pop History – 1990 was the last year cassette tapes outdid Compact Discs in prerecorded music sales – 48.4% for cassettes vs. 42.5% for Compact Discs. From there – it was downhill.

Of course today – Compact Discs are starting to become passe. It’s getting around the 50% level – as compared to downloaded music.

Was There Ever A Movie Called “Red Dragon: The Curse of Hannibal Lecter?” Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History -The answer is yes and no. NBC wanted to re-run an airing of “Manhunter; but, in order to capitalize on a new theatrical movie called, “Silence of the Lambs” – they changed the original name  from “Manhunter” – to “Red Dragon: The Curse of Hannibal Lecter.” The reason… you guessed it, was to capitalize on the character and the popularity of “Lamb.”

This was back in 1991. NBC had already run “Manhunter” in 1989 – with OK ratings – but this time – it didn’t want to take a chance. It’s amazing and the only time in pop history this was ever done.

Dean Martin Dies… This Week In 1995 – News and Pop The Week Of December 25, 1995… 16 years ago.

A partial shutdown of the government enters its third week. The House approvesa bill that would return 280 thousand federal workers to their jobs. Congress and the White House still have work to do to balance the budget. In a surprise move,House Speaker Newt Gingrich throws his support behind the plan.

The U.S Army completes a ribbon pontoon bridge and now NATO troops can cross over the flooded Sava Riverinto Bosnia from Croatia – to beginenforcing the Dayton, Ohio peaceaccord. The temporary bridge spansmore than 3 football fields.

The FDA approves a new therapy that useslight to destroy cancerous throat tumors sobig, that even swallowing is difficult. Photofrin is the first of a new type of cancertreatment called photodynamic therapy, inwhich patients get a drug to make their tumorslight sensitive. The light then kills cancer cells.One drawback – patients are susceptible tosevere sunburns for 30 days. Up until now,lasers would chip-away at the tumor, butthroat tumors are known to grow large in size, even lasers became useless.

German authorities order CompuServe to shutdown access to more than 200 Internetnewsgroups deemed indecent and offensive. It’s the first case involving government censorship of a commercial online service. CompuServe reluctantlycomplies. Some of the newsgroups in question contain child pornography andother sexually explicit materials. The cutoff directly affects all 4 millionCompuServe subs in the U.S. and 146 other countries. Some fear the action is a precedent.

Best selling books -Politically Correct Holiday Stories – James Finn-Garner…The Christmas Box – Richard Paul Evans…Five days In Paris – Danielle Steel…The Horse Whisperer – Nicholas Evans
More Books  -
The Tiger In The Grass – Harriet Doerr…The Lost World – Michael Crichton…In The Cut – Susanna Moore…The Road Ahead – Bill Gates…Charles Kuralt’s America – Charles Kuralt… The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra…Miss America – Howard Stern…Lincoln – David Herbert Donald…Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

Passing – singer/actor Dean Martin (Dino Paul Crocetti) (78) dies at his Beverly Hills Home of acute respiratory failure. Known as the “chief-deputy” to the chairman of the board in Sinatra’s “Rat Pack,” Martin started out as a solo singerin records and radio. (He did a 15-minute late-afternoon show on WMCA in NewYork City in the late 40′s.) Teaming up with Jerry Lewis, the pair wasunstoppable in movies and as a night-club act from 1946-1956. As a solo artist,Martin scored on the charts during this period with huge hits on Capitol Records -hits like “Return To Me,” “That’s Amore,” “Memories Are Made of This” and “Volare.” After the pair split up in 1956, Martin continued his recording and moviecareer, often appearing in dramas such as “The Young Lions” in 1958, “Some Came Running” in 1959 and “Rio Bravo” in 1959. The late 50′s and early 60′s saw Martin team with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and JoeyBishop for several movies and nightclub appearances (esp in Las Vegas) as “The Rat Pack.” In the middle of the Rock n Roll British invasion – he scored a #1record with “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” and other top-10 records during the mid-60′s “The Dean Martin” variety show, was one of the top television shows through the 60′s and into the 70′s.

Some Dean Martin quotes through the years- “Two of the greatest turnin’ points in my career were, first, meetin’ Jerry Lewis. Second, leaving Jerry Lewis. I became a realactor because of these two things.” About acting – “And if any actor tells you it’s tough, tell ‘em they ‘re full of beans … To become half a success in what you do, you have to enjoy it or else you become a griper. The good Lord gave me a talent and I’ll use it until I run dry.” “I like people. I love what I am doing and Ithink people can tell that. You know more men want to see me than girls. You know why? I never sing to the girl. I figure that some guy is paying the bill and here I am singing to his girl, then he’s gong to get threatened. I don’t flirt with the girls like Wayne Newton does. I sing over their heads”

Martin’s second wife – onetime Orange Bowl queen Jeanne Beigger – “I married him knowing nothing about him. I divorced him 23 years later and I still know nothing about him.” Condolences – Frank Sinatra – “Dean was my brother -not through blood but through choice. Our friendship has traveled down many roads over many years and therewill always be a special place in my heart and soul forDean. He has been like the air I breathe, always there, always close by.” Jerry Lewis, according to his manager Joe Stabile is “completely shattered and grief stricken.”

Said comedian Alan King: “I am going to have a drink right now for him.”Goodbye Dino – Jerry Lewis, closing his tributeto his longtime partner said – “Rest well and don’t forget to short-sheet my bed when I get there.” Also paying tributes to the superstar at his funeral – Shirley MacLaine andRosemary Clooney. Other attendees included Barbara Sinatra (Frank couldn’t make it and was said to be too overwrought to attend), Angie Dickinson, Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Robert Stack, Tony Danza, Edie Adams and Cyd Charisse. Las Vegas hotels including the Sands, Stardust and Flamingo dimmedtheir lights on Thursday evening for 10 minutes, in Martin’s memory.

Tech news -

The first wiretap on the Internet leads to three arrests on charges of illegallyselling and manufacturing electronic devices and cellular telephone cloning.Secret Service Agent Brian Gimlett tells a news conference that the governmentfollowed the alleged mastermind of the operation – Bernhard Bowitz, on theInternet, documenting his worldwide equipment sales.

Television News -

Turner Broadcasting System Inc launches its eighth cable network this week – the CNNfn business channel. Says Lou Dobbs, CNNexecutive vice president and veteran business journalist – “We’re not going to be pretentious, but aim to be entertaining and fun, presenting eventhe absurdities of business. There is no monolithic market authority that has asole handle on the truth and we won’t pretend there is. We’ ll have psychics and astrologers as well as hard empiricalists. We’re  not trying to be hip, we’re trying to be human.” Its rival, CNBC, targets hard-core investors with serious talkingheads. CNBC is doing well financially. Advertising revenue has swelled to $110million this year – up from $40 million in 1993. The channel will make $80 million in profit for its parent – General Electric Company.

Television ratings -Monday Night Football – 17/8 ER – 17.1 Seinfeld – 16.8 Frasier – 16.6 Caroline in the City -14.6 NYPD Blue – 14.5 Friends – 14.4 Coach – 14.2 Home Improvement -13.6 Grace Under Fire - 13.1 Single Guy – 12.7 Wings – 12.7 The John Larroquette Show – 12.6 NewsRadio – 12.5 Movie – Eye of the Stalker – 12.0 Roseanne – 11.5 Dateline NBC (Tues) – 11.3 PrimeTime Live – 11.0 Hudson Street – 10.8 Family Matters – 10.5 20/20 – 10.5 Ellen – 10.2 The Naked Truth – 10.1 Kathie Lee/Home For Christmas – 10.0 Law & Order – 9.9

Saturday Night television -CBS – Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, Touched By An Angel, Walker, Texas Ranger   NBC – Movie (My Girl), JAG   ABC – The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Maybe This Time, Movie   Fox – Cops, Cops, America’s Most Wanted  A&E – At the Improve Biography, Movie(Monty Python &The Holy Grail) Comedy Central – Stand-Up, Offisides, Comics Kill, Dr Katz,The Critic, Ben Stiller, Exit 57 Sci-Fi Channel – Max Headroom, Twilight Zone, Tales of theDarkside, Movie(Nightflyers) TNN – Backstage, Grand Ole Opry, Statler Brothers, Ralph Emery on the Record with Mel Tillis, Charlie Daniels Talent Roundup

A& E Biography – Dean Martin

Top Albums This Week In 1995 -

Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness -Smashing Pumpkins

Something To Remember – Madonna

 R. Kelly – R. Kelly

Liquid Swords – Genius/GZA

Waiting to Exhale – Soundtrack

Tigerlily – Natalie Merchant

Dogg Food – The Dogg Pound
Jagged Little Pill – Alanes Morissette

Alice In Chains – Alice in Chains

Oscar & Steve – Mandy Patinkin

Insomniac – Green Day

Fresh Horses – Garth Brooks

Presidents of the USA – Presidents of the USA

Four – Blues Traveler

Fresh Horses – Garth Brooks

Home – Deep Blue Something

Sixteen Stone – Bush

More Albums This Week -

The Ghost of Tom Joad -Bruce Springsteen…Nirror Ball – Neil Young…To Bring You My Love – PJ…HarveyPost – Bjork…Elastica – Elastica

Top Albums In 1995

Cracked Rear View – Hootie &The Blowfish

CrazySexyCool – TLC

Jagged Little Pill – AlanisMorissette

The Hits – Garth Brooks

Waiting To Exhale – soundtrack

Anthology 1 – The Beatles

Top Videos for 1995

The Lion King

Forrest Gump


Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

The Mask

The Santa Clause

Angels In The Outfield


The Barney Series
At the movies this week in 1995 -

Toy Story

Waiting To Exhale – Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett

Jumanji – Robin Williams

Heat – Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro

Father of the Bride Part II – Steve Martin, Diane Keaton

 Grumpier Old Men – Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

 Sudden Death – Jean-Claude Van Damme

 Sabrina – Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond

Cutthroat Island – Geena Davis, Matthew Modine

An American President – Michael Douglas, AnnetteBening

Casino – Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone

Tom and Huck – Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Brad Renfro

Sense & Sensibility – Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant

Dracula Dead and Loving – Leslie Nielson

Week of December 25, 1995 as compiled by Gary West for and

Top Video Games – Christmas of 1999. This Week In Pop History.

Mr. Pop History – Today it’s wii, PS3 and X360. But – remember when? Game and game technology from not so long ago.  Here they are by request. From December of 1999:

Hot – Sega, Nintendo and Sony are beating forecasts as the video game industry is booming! Here are the top console video games:

Donkey Kong 64 – Nintendo 64
WWF Wrestlemania 2000 – Nintendo 64
Tomorrow Never Dies 007 – PlayStation
Pokemon Snap – Nintendo 64
NBA Live 2000 PlayStation
Tony Hawks Pro Skater – PlayStation
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – PlayStation
Toy Story 2 – PlayStation
Spyro the Dragon – PlayStation
Spyro the Dragon 2 – PlayStation

Why Was William Shatner Chosen For Those Priceline Ads? Pop. Culture. History.

Mr. Pop History – Bill Shatner and Priceline go together like ham and eggs. Shatner was up against the other finalist – Bill Cosby – and at stake – spokesperson for a new kind of online service – a reverse auction service called Priceline.

This was back in 1997. The reason why Shatner was chosen, according (then) Chief Marketing Officer Brett Keller – that Shatner was “futuristic” in his persona. “Anyone holding a credit card aged 18 to 95 had heard of William Shatner and knew who he was.” And, part of the deal – was payment in Priceline stock (which later, Shatner had made a small fortune.)

The first Priceline TV spots – in 1998 – featured Shatner as a lounge singer, belting out such tunes as “Bust a Move,” and “Aquarius” along with his own lyrics. Funny – and it made a big impact.

WCIU-TV Chicago – An Amazing History – More Than Any Other TV Station In Pop History.

Mr. Pop History – It always amazes me – the history of this once near-death TV station – has survived and thrived. WCIU-TV in Chicago – was originally licensed to UHF-Channel 26. In its early years, it broadcast:
1) Business features and news direct from the Chicago Board of Trade. A first.
2) Black, ethnic programming. In fact – back in 1970 – radio news announcer Don Cornelius pitched a great idea for a hourlong afternoon dance show called “Soul Train” – originally with no sponsors.
3) Other programming for Italian, Latino and Polish audiences was once produced and featured on the channel.
4) Then, the station broadcast in Spanish for a time – featuring programming from Univision.
5) During the 1990′s – the station went mainstream English independent competing with the likes of WGN-TV and today – is still doing well in that capacity.
6) Speaking of WGN-TV, WCIU cut a deal to carry sports programming featured on WGN – when it could not. That included the Cubs and White Sox.

I don’t know of any other TV station with this kind of pop history. WCIU-TV in Chicago – amazing!