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Good News in History, November 25

45 years ago today, The Last Waltz concert by The Band, was filmed by a young Martin Scorsese in San Francisco. It was their farewell concert, and featured an all-star cast of performers who wanted to say goodbye—including Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan.the-last-waltz-poster

The concert, later released as a 3-CD set, took place on Thanksgiving at an old ice-skating rink called the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, lasted five hours–and no one made a mistake. Concert promoter Bill Graham presented the concert on Thanksgiving Day and fed the 5,000 audience members a feast, while a waltz orchestra serenaded them. The Band, which featured mostly Canadians, included Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, and Rick Danko, would never record again. Robbie Robertson authored a new book, entitled Testimony, recalling the days he spent with the group.

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The Scorsese film, which has been called the greatest concert film ever shot, begins with the Band performing the last encore of the evening, a cover version of Marvin Gaye’s “Don’t Do It”. It then flashes back to the beginning of the concert and follows it more or less chronologically, including the backstage banter. The Band is backed by a large horn section and performs many of its hit songs, including “Up on Cripple Creek,” “Stage Fright,” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” WATCH the encore of Dylan’s I Shall Be Released—performed with everyone on stage… (1976)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Percy Sledge, the R&B singer with the No.1 hit ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ was born in Alabama (1940)
  • The Statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina was re-established in Yugoslavia (1943)
  • The Agatha Christie murder-mystery The Mousetrap—about a group of strangers stranded during a snow storm with one of them being a murderer—opened in London, and went on to become the longest continuously-running play in history—still running today, having been performed more than 26,000 times (1952)
  • Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands (1975)
  • Union leader Lech Wałęsa won the first popular election in the history of Poland, a charismatic electrician who encouraged illegal worker boycotts, was jailed for it, but helped topple Communism through nonviolent means—negotiating with Party officials, and called for nationwide strikes that hamstrung the county, and winning the Nobel Peace Prize (1990)
  • Captain Eddie ‘Max’ Stovall III heard a distress call in Port Isabel, Texas, from a stranded freighter carrying a crew of 22 starving Pakistanis and their captain, and commenced delivery of food, water, fuel, and supplies (1998)
  • A Korean Research team announced their use of cord blood stem cells to regrow a spinal cord as patient walks for the first time in 19 years (2004)
Fair Use

37 years ago today, three dozen musicians from the UK gathered in a London studio to record Do They Know It’s Christmas for the sole purpose of raising money to send food to starving families in Ethiopia.

Dreamed up and written by Bob Geldof, music sales for Band Aid, the world’s first charity super-group, raised $14 million. Watch their music video below, starring a young Phil Collins, Sting, Paul McCartney, and Bono.

The updated 2014 version of the song, by Band-Aid 30, raised money for the Ebola crisis. Geldof, who later created Live Aid, updated his song “Do They Know…” to describe the Ebola epidemic (see the video on YouTube). Purchase either of these tunes today and 100% of the money will go toward helping our friends in Africa… (1984)

And, 101 years ago today, the first Thanksgiving Day parade was held—and it wasn’t the Macy’s department store that founded the practice. It was the Gimbels store in Philadelphia.

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That Thanksgiving Day Parade is still being held annually, although, this year amid the pandemic, a parade will not be marching up the parkway. The celebration will be held thanks to video conferencing, still featuring dozens of acts, including marching bands, dance crews, choirs, and celebrities—plus, the all-important giant balloons being filmed for television at iconic locations including The Philadelphia Zoo, Independence Hall, college campuses, and museums. Other segments were pre-taped in Florida, California, Nevada, New York, Alabama, and Tennessee.

Similar to what the Macy’s Day parade is doing on NBC, the oldest parade will air the morning of November 26th starting at 9am to noon on ABC-6, and will conclude with the arrival of Santa. WATCH the best balloons and floats from 2019… (1920)

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