Thursday, December 31, 1964: Bracero program

The Mexican Farm Labor Program, also known as the Bracero Program, was the result of a series of agreements between Mexico and the United States in response to the demand for agricultural labor during World War II. ... The Mexican workers were called braceros because they worked with their arms and hands (bracero comes from the Spanish brazo, or arm). The bilateral agreement guaranteed prevailing wages, health care, adequate housing, and board. ... Nationally, the Bracero Program continued until December 31, 1964, with nearly 4.5 million Mexicans making the journey during the program's twenty-two year existence. Braceros entered the United States under six-month to twelve-month contracts and were assigned to regions throughout the country. ... Once the contract expired, each bracero was required to return to Mexico and sign another contract in order to return to the United States to work. 

-- Text from "Bracero Program" (The Oregon Encyclopedia): @
-- Image from "Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964" (Smithsonian Institution): @

* Bracero History Archive: @
* "Los Braceros" (www.farmworkers.org): @
* "Los Braceros: Strong Arms to Aid the U.S.A." (KVIE, Sacramento, Calif.): @
* "Bracero Program" (Texas State Historical Association): @
* "Bracero Program" (University of Texas): @
* "Bracero Program Establishes New Migration Patterns" (Oakland Museum of California): @
* "Braceros: History, Compenstion" (Rural Migration News, University of California Davis): @
* "The Bracero Program and Its Aftermath: An Historical Summary" (State of California, 1965): @
* "Opportunity or Exploitation: The Bracero Program" (National Museum of American History): @
* "Bracero program ends ... who'll harvest?" (Associated Press): @
* "Mexico Immigrant Labor History" (PBS): @ 


1964: Baby boom

The U.S. Census Bureau defines baby boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964. (Chart from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; red lines indicate boom years.)
* National Association of Baby Boomers: @
* California Booming (San Diego State University): @
* Boomer Cafe: @
* Boomer Project: @
* "Boomer Statistics" (from Baby Boomer Headquarters): @
* "Postwar 'Baby Boom' Travels Through Adulthood" (Associated Press, 1977; note that this story defines the boom years as 1946-1961): @
* "Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty" (Howard Smead, 2000): @
* "Boomer Nation" (Steve Gillon, 2004): @ 
* "Baby Boom: People and Perspectives" (2010): @ 


December 1964: Bob Hope in Vietnam

The comedian, who had entertained U.S. troops during World War II and the Korean War, makes his first USO tour of military bases in Vietnam. Segments from the trip were shown on NBC the following January during "The Bob Hope Christmas Special." Hope would continue the holiday tours until 1972.
     -- Stars and Stripes photo from Tan Son Nuht Airport

* "Bob Hope brings Christmas cheer to troops in Vietnam" (Stars and Stripes, December 26, 1964): @
* "The Bob Hope Show; Christmas Day - 1964; Vinh Long, Vietnam" (vinhlongoutlaws.com): @
* "Hope Indomitable" (Associated Press, December 25): @
* Video from Da Nang Air Base (no sound): @
* Video from Camp Enari (no sound): @
* Front and back covers from "On The Road To Vietnam" (1965): @ and @
* Audio from Bien Hoa: @
* "Bob Hope's Vietnam Christmas Tours" (www.history.net): @
* "On the Road: USO Shows -- Bob Hope and American Variety" (Library of Congress): @
* "Entertaining Troops" (www.bobhope.com): @
* Excerpt from "Bob Hope: A Life in Comedy" (William Robert Faith, 1982): @


1964: Year in review

Top stories of the year, from the Associated Press (link to story: @)

1. Political campaign and election.
2. Khrushchev's ouster.
3. Civil rights
4. Alaska earthquake
5. Viet Nam
6. Red China's A-bomb.
7. Warren report.
8. Violence in Congo
9. President's legislative program.
10. Legislative reapportionment.

From United Press International (link to story: @)

1. Johnson landslide.
2. Khrushchev deposed.
3. Civil Rights act becomes law.
4. War in Viet Nam; U.S. retaliates in Tonkin Bay.
5. Communist China detonates its first nuclear device.
6. Goldwater captures GOP nomination.
7. Negro rioting in northern cities.
8. Warren report finds Oswald alone planned and executed JFK assassination.
9. U.S. surgeon general finds cigarettes a health hazard.
10. Vatican Council ratifies new church practices and attitudes.

* "There Was Steady Progress in Sticky 1964" (Associated Press): @
* "Events of 1964" (Summaries and audio, United Press International): @
* "Year in Review" (newsreels; from Journal TV): @
* "Review of 1964" (newsreel; from British Pathe): @
* Billboard Top 100 songs (www.bobborst.com): @
* "1964: The World 50 Years Ago" (photos; from The Atlantic): @
* "The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964 -- The Beginning of the 'Sixties' " (Jon Margolis, 1999): @ 


December 1964-February 1965: Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound'

On December 5, 1964, The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Spector and produced by Spector, first appears on the Billboard music charts at No. 124. It would spend two weeks at No. 1 in February 1965. (In 1999, BMI listed the song as the one most often played on American radio and television in the 20th century, with some 8 million plays.)

     The term "Wall of Sound" became associated with this song in particular and Spector's dense, layered production in general. Time magazine described it in the February 19, 1965 issue, before the term "Wall of Sound" took hold: "Spector Sound, as it's called in the industry, is marked by a throbbing, sledgehammer beat, intensified by multiplying the usual number of rhythm instruments and boosting the volume. Spectral orchestration, undulating with shimmering climaxes, is far more polished, varied and broadly rooted than the general run of rock 'n' roll. In Lovin' Feelin', Spector used two basses, three electric guitars, three pianos, a harpsichord, twelve violins, a ten-voice chorus and four brawny percussionists. His vocalists, a pair of 23-year-old white Californians who call themselves the Righteous Brothers, imitate the Negro gospel wail, a sound that Spector prizes as the 'soulful yearning that every teen-ager understands.' "

     The term itself was not new, having been used in the 19th century to describe Richard Wagner's Bayreuth Festspielhaus opera house and in the 1950s to describe Stan Kenton's jazz band.  According to the book "He's a Rebel" (linked below), it became shorthand for Spector's production style after Andrew Loog Oldham, manager and producer of The Rolling Stones, took out advertisements in British music magazines praising "Lovin' Feelin'." (The article above, by Derek Johnson for the New Musical Express issue of July 31, 1964, shows the term used to describe another Spector record.)

* "Bill Medley on Phil Spector" (JazzWax, 2012): @
* Article from The Pop History Dig: @
* Earlier post on "Blue-eyed soul": @
* "The First Tycoon of Teen" (Tom Wolfe, January 1965): @
* "The Sound Flowed Out of Old Music Streams" (Life magazine, May 21, 1965): @
* "He's a Rebel: Phil Spector, Rock and Roll's Legendary Producer" (Mark Ribowsky, 1989): @
* "Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings" (David N. Howard, 2004): @
* "The Producer as Composer: Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music" (Virgil Moorefield, 2005): @
* "Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector" (Mick Brown, 2007): @
* "Rolling Stoned" (Andrew Loog Oldham, 2011): @
* "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop" (Bob Stanley, 2013): @ 

Blog archive


Follow: @