Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Another teacher video from Liz's workshop. Here's a link if you're having trouble viewing it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Hit Song Recorded in Odessa!

From the Odessa American:

Studio used by duo still standing in 2011

Some people could say 1969 was a great year, if not the best year, for music — a culmination of the ’60s.

Creedence Clearwater Revival released “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Proud Mary.” The Who introduced the world to the “Pinball Wizard,” and Led Zeppelin showed they had a “Whole Lotta Love” to give.

The Beatles’ “Come Together,” and “Get Back” came out in ’69, as did Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” and the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” all of which spent time as the No. 1 song in America.

While those songs enjoyed success in their runs at the top of the chart, there was one song by a duo that spent more time at No. 1 than any of the four.

And Odessa has the honor of being the place that song was recorded.

In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans spent six weeks at the top of the charts, from July 6, 1969, until Aug. 16, 1969, after being ousted from the top spot by the Rolling Stones.

Reigning during the time of Star Trek, the song was also No. 1 during the Apollo 11 moon landing July 20, 1969, and was at the top of the charts during the first two days of the Woodstock festival.

But the story about how the song came to be is still passed as lore among the Odessa music community.

Trans Global Productions Inc., located at 5600 Dixie Blvd., used to be a recording studio owned by Tommy Allsup before he sold it to current owner Bob Bailey. Allsup was the producer of the hit song and remembered when the track was recorded.

Allsup, 76, is also famous for playing guitar with Buddy Holly and losing the coin flip to Richie Valens on Feb. 2, 1959, before the famous plane crash that killed Holly, Valens and J.P “The Big Bopper” Richardson after a performance in Clear Lake, Iowa.

“(Zager and Evans) were performing at places like the Ramada Inn during their circuit tour and would come in and record some tracks,” Allsup said. “One time when they came in, I told them, ‘Let’s cut that weird song.’ ”

The weird song was “In the Year 2525,” and Bailey, the owner of Trans Global Productions Inc., said the band would perform it live and get a good reception from the crowd.

“People would walk up to them and ask them ‘Where can we buy this?’ ” Bailey said.

Recording only three tracks during their session, Allsup said he overdubbed some parts of “2525,” such as the strings section, using people from West Texas.  Allsup said some students from Permian High School were used when the section was recorded.

“I wrote up the string section and handed it to them,” Allsup said. “The violins were played by kids back in 1968.”

Former Band Director J.R. McEntyre said 1968 was a great year for the band, and some of the players went on to be professionals, but he wasn’t aware of any students who participated in the recording, so they must have done the recording on their own time.

Producing only 1,000 copies on their own label Truth Records, the band sent a few records around the state, where it gained popularity, Bailey said. Eventually, a copy of the record made it to RCA Records where the duo signed a deal and produced their only album.

Bailey has a copy of one of the first 1,000 produced records, and a copy of the RCA record hanging on a wall in his office.

“(RCA) subdued the horns and strings but other than that, the pressings are almost identical,” Bailey said.

Allsup said the band went on to sell more than a million records that year.

“Back then, a million was a lot,” Allsup said. “That was something reserved only for Elvis and the Beatles.”

The song was the band’s only hit, and they failed to crack the Top 100 again. The closest they got was their follow up song, “Mr. Turnkey,” which peaked at No. 106.

Radio disk jockey J. Michael Scott with Classic Rock 102 said he recently played the track during the station’s “45 at 1:45” segment, but it’s not a highly requested song. The segment is usually reserved for one-hit wonders or much older songs.

“I’m sure I’ll play it again,” Scott said. “I think people should know (the song’s history.)”

Why the song became so popular is not known. The futuristic sounding music is not as dark as the lyrics, which repeat with the first verse toward the end, hinting that humans have been through the cycle of technological advancements before.

Bailey recalled the song being a “cool little tune” when he first heard it.

“I think the story drove home,” Bailey said. “It takes you along an idea and circled back at the end. It just seemed like it was possible.”

Scott said it was important for people to know the history of the song, especially since most stories about the song don’t indicate it was recorded in Odessa.

“They’ll say it was popularized in Odessa, but that’s not true,” Scott said.

Allsup said he doesn’t know why the song became so popular and to this day does not understand what people saw in the song.

“No one can take away the fact that it was a hit,” Allsup said. “But it wasn’t the best song of 1969.”

Here's the link if you can't see the video.


Only one song stayed at No. 1 longer in 1969 than “In the Year 2525,” which held the position 35 days. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension was No. 1 for 41 days in April and May.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Differentiated Instruction

Liz will be teaching first grade this year. She went to a workshop today and they showed this video. Enjoy!
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