The Joshua Tree was released thirty-five years ago yesterday, catapulting U2 to superstardom. Inspired by the band’s fascination with the mythical American experience, and their disillusionment with the “real America”, The Joshua Tree is steeped in Irish and American roots music and represented a substantial leap forward for U2 both musically and lyrically. The Joshua Tree was one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums of 1987, winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and selling more than twenty-five million copies worldwide. The album is jam-packed with bangers: #1 hits “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “In God’s Country” and “One Tree Hill”, just to name a few.
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You was released fifty-five years ago today. The album was Aretha Franklin’s commercial breakthrough and featured the #1 smash “Respect”.
Andy Gibb died on this day in 1988, five days after his 30th birthday. Gibb, the younger brother of Bee Gees Barry, Robin and Maurice, found musical success while still in his teens. He recorded three #1 hits in the late 1970s, “I Just Want to Be Your Everything”, “(Love is) Thicker than Water” and “Shadow Dancing”. But fame came with a price – a cocaine addiction – and his career had faltered by the mid-eighties. His family implored him to seek help for his addiction, and by 1988, Gibb seemed to have beaten his cocaine dependence. But years of abuse had left his heart weakened, and two days after his birthday he went to a London hospital complaining of chest pains. Before all the necessary tests could be completed, Gibb slipped into a coma and died. His official cause of death was myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that the doctors directly linked to Gibb’s cocaine abuse.
Happy birthday, Edie Brickell! Brickell first came to prominence in the late 1980s with her band New Bohemians and their top-ten album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars. Brickell continues to record music as a solo artist and with New Bohemians. In 2013, she collaborated with Steve Martin on a bluegrass album titled Love Has Come for You.
Jezebel held its NYC premiere on this date in 1938. Bette Davis’s performance as New Orleans belle Julie Marsden earned her a second Best Actress Oscar in four years; Jezebel was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Score.
The Incredible Hulk premiered on CBS on this day in 1978. Starring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as his angry alter ego, The Incredible Hulk ran for five seasons and was a commercial, if not critical, success. It was certainly a hit in my house!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on this day in 1997. Described by showrunner Joss Whedon as “My So-Called Life meets The X-Files“, the series starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular slayer. The series ran for seven seasons and was a ratings success for the fledgling WB Network. The “Buffyverse” eventually grew to include a spin-off (Angel) and tie-in products like novels, comic books and collectibles.
The Adam Project comes to Netflix tomorrow. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell as Adam Reed, a time-traveling fighter pilot who teams up with his twelve-year-old self to save the future. Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy directed the film, which co-stars Zoe Saldaña and features a 13 Going on 30 reunion, with Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo portraying Adam’s parents.