January 18, 2019

23 Vintage Photos of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s and 1970s

The Mothers of Invention were an American rock band from California. Formed in 1964, their work is marked by the use of sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows.

Originally an R&B band called the Soul Giants, the band’s first lineup included Ray Collins, David Coronado, Ray Hunt, Roy Estrada and Jimmy Carl Black. Frank Zappa was asked to take over as the guitarist following a fight between Collins and Coronado, the band’s original saxophonist/leader. Zappa insisted that they perform his original material, and on Mother’s Day in 1964, changed their name to the Mothers. Record executives demanded that the name be changed, and so “out of necessity,” Zappa later said, “we became the Mothers of Invention.”


After early struggles, the Mothers earned substantial popular commercial success. The band first became popular playing in California’s underground music scene in the late 1960s. Under Zappa’s helm, it was signed to jazz label Verve Records as part of the label’s diversification plans. Verve released the Mothers of Invention’s d├ębut double album Freak Out! in 1966, featuring a lineup including Zappa, Collins, Black, Estrada and Elliot Ingber. Don Preston joined the band soon after.

Under Zappa’s leadership and a changing lineup, the band released a series of critically acclaimed albums, including Absolutely Free, We’re Only in It for the Money and Uncle Meat, before being disbanded by Zappa in 1969. In 1970, he formed a new version of the Mothers that included Ian Underwood, Jeff Simmons, George Duke, Aynsley Dunbar and singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (formerly of the Turtles, but who for contractual reasons were credited in this band as the Phlorescent Leech & Eddie). Later adding another ex-Turtle, bassist Jim Pons, this lineup endured through 1971, when Zappa was injured by an audience member during a concert appearance.

Zappa focused on big-band and orchestral music while recovering from his injuries, and in 1973 formed the Mothers’ final lineup, which included drummer Ralph Humphrey, trumpeter Sal Marquez, keyboardist/vocalist George Duke, trombonist Bruce Fowler, bassist Tom Fowler, percussionist Ruth Underwood and keyboardist/saxophonist Ian Underwood. The final album using the Mothers as a backing band, Bongo Fury (1975), featured guitarist Denny Walley and drummer Terry Bozzio, who continued to play for Zappa on non-Mothers releases.










When Bodybuilding Was Outlawed: Vintage Photographs Capture Bodybuilding Scene in the USSR in the 1970s and ’80s

Back in the 1960-70s the government of the USSR strictly forbid the opening of bodybuilding gyms. Simply put, they didn’t accept “kulturizm” (Russian word for bodybuilding).

According to Russia Beyond, it all began in the 1960s, when cinemas across the Soviet Union were screening the Spanish-Italian film Hercules, where the title role was played by Steve Reeves. By today’s standards, his physique would not cause a sensation in the bodybuilding world, but for people in the USSR it was impressive. Hercules was seen by 36 million people and it spurred many men to get in shape.

A year later Soviet bodybuilders were blessed with new icon in Gojko Mitic, a Yugoslav actor and gymnast who rose to fame as a noble Red Indian in films produced in the GDR. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, everyone wanted to be like Gojko. And even a state ban on his films didn’t change this.

On the 15th of January 1970, the Department of Sport of the USSR issued an order. The document prohibited the training, promotion and development of not only kulurizm (bodybuilding), but also women’s football, karate, the card game bridge and classes on the hatha yoga system. The main argument for the ban concerned mysticism and alien ideology, while undermining the authority of local forms and methods of physical education.

But, despite the ban, enthusiasts pursued their interests at their own risk and continued to hold contests. Severodvinsk had become one of the centers of these activities thanks to Alexander Lemehov and Vladimir Humelev – the two brightest representatives of USSR bodybuilding.










The London Milkman: The Story Behind One of the Most Iconic Images of the Blitz

As photography had become part of people's daily lives during the inter-war period, numerous iconic images were taken of the Second World War, creating an album of hope and horror, of atrocities and valor. The one that perhaps represented the fighting spirit of well-mannered Great Britain most clearly was the famous picture taken by a photographer called Fred Morley on October 9, 1940, depicting a milkman going about with his daily business amidst the rubble in London.

A milkman delivering milk in a London street devastated during a German bombing raid. Firemen are dampening down the ruins behind him. (Photo by Fred Morley/Getty Images)

The raid that took place that night was the 32nd in a row, the United Kingdom being mercilessly bombed night after night. The raid was also the one that saw a bomb make a direct hit on St Pauls Cathedral in London ― one of the city’s most recognizable buildings ― but, and with God's help perhaps, it failed to detonate.

Prior to this attack, the Cathedral had been bombed on December 29, 1940, when yet another famous photograph was created by a Daily Mail reporter, one which was soon dubbed the “War's greatest picture”. It depicts St. Paul's Cathedral, surrounded in smoke, just after a bombing raid. The monumental building stands tall and proud and, most importantly, undamaged. This was the sort of story and image, desperately needed in those times, that the press was urged to create.

St Paul's Cathedral, rising above the bombed London skyline, is shrouded in smoke during the Blitz. The photograph was taken from the roof of the Daily Mail offices in Fleet Street.

On the other hand, the image was also used by the German propaganda machine, but this time to stress the level of destruction the Luftwaffe had caused to the enemy.

The Battle of Britain, which was one of the early turning points in the war, relied heavily on the defiance and morale of both the British soldiers and its citizens, who gave their best to withstand the terrifying bombing raids and rapidly deteriorating living conditions.

Thus the photograph of a milkman casually strolling through the ruins as he delivers milk became an unofficial symbol of the defiant British character.

At the time, the photograph helped boost the morale of the millions of British citizens who became ever more prepared to repel the Nazi war machine.  However, decades later it was revealed that the image was actually staged.

During the bombing raids, the British censors were working desperately to keep the nation calm by forbidding to authorize images depicting the scale of destruction which was being caused by the Luftwaffe. Since most of the photos taken by reporters were rejected, Morley had to figure out how to please the censors, but again to show the truth of what was happening in London.

On the October morning, he arrived at the scene to witness firefighters struggling to contain the fire caused by the bombing. The rubble was all around him. Since he couldn’t bear to let this go unnoticed by the press, Fred Morley devised a plan to override the censorship.

Office workers make their way to work through debris after a heavy air raid

He had seen a milkman in the area and asked him if he could borrow his coat and a crate full of milk bottles. Morley’s assistant then took the recognizable white coat and posed with the crate as his boss took pictures.

The result was an image that became a part of the collective memory of the war. The image appeared spontaneous while depicting the stoicism of the British working man who casually continues with his day job, undisturbed by the threat of destruction from above. The power of the message the photo conveyed was recognized by the British censors, who decided to print it in the newspapers.

Even though the photo was staged, its role in raising the spirit of the British people during a time when it was uncertain whether or not the island would be able to deter the enemy was priceless and its timing was perfect.

(via War History Online, photos © Fred Morley)



January 17, 2019

Fascinating Photos That Capture Everyday Life of Cuba in the 1970s

These fascinating photos were taken by Manel Armengol that show everyday life of Cuba in 1976.

Cuba, Matanzas, 1976. An old colonial street of Santa Clara. A sign marks the headquarters of the Workers' Social Circle

Cuba, Matanzas, 1976. Colorful masks announcing the Carnival in a square in Matanzas

Cuba, Matanzas, 1976. Political slogan 'To decide and govern with the people's power' on top of a colonial building

Cuba, Matanzas, 1976. Pool and garden of a national tourism resort in Cuba

Cuba, Matanzas, 1976. Two buses at avenue with colonial buildings





Mugshots of Civil Rights Activist Freedom Riders in Jackson, Mississippi During the Summer of 1961

Extraordinary courage stepped up to bigotry in America during the summer of 1961. The acts of bravery came not from soldiers in battle or politicians taking a stand. No, in this case, the valor came from everyday Americans – civilians concerned about the state of their country. Eventually, there would be hundreds of them, acting over a five month period. They came from all over the U.S. They were black and white; liberal and conservative; Catholic, Protestant, and Jew. Many were college students; some from the seminary. They came to lend their presence and put their bodies on the line. Their actions were innocent and non-violent. All they set out to do was ride on a bus – or rather, insure that a person of any color could ride on a bus from one state to another. They were called “Freedom Riders.”

Before it was all over more than 60 “Freedom Rides” would criss-cross the South between May and November of 1961. At least 436 individuals would ride buses and trains to make their point. However, a number of the “freedom riders” were physically assaulted, chased, and/or threatened by white mobs, some beaten with pipes, chains and baseball bats. Many of the riders were also arrested and jailed, especially in Mississippi. Yet these arrests became part of the protest – and in this case, a badge of honor.

For those arrested were not criminals. Far from it. They were among America’s finest heroes. Yes, America has a long line of heroes, and none more honorable than those who fought and died in military conflicts – from the Revolutionary War through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Those heroes occupy a special and honored place. Yet few heroes stand taller on the domestic front than those who came from the civilian population during the 1961 civil rights “freedom rides.”

Below are some of the mugshots of the “Freedom Rides” after being arrested for protesting in Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. Most of them were sent to the brutal Parchman Prison in Mississippi.










30 Brilliant Vintage Postcards That Show Everyday Life of West Berlin From Between the 1950s and 1970s

West Berlin was the name of the western part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. It was the American, British, and French occupied sectors that were created in 1945.

In many ways it was integrated (joined) with West Germany, but it was not a part of West Germany or East Germany. The Soviet sector became East Berlin, which East Germany claimed as its capital. The Western Allies never recognized this claim. They said that the whole city was still under four-power occupation. The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 surrounded West Berlin.

These vintage postcards are of West Berlin from between the 1950s and ’70s.










Incredible Colorized Photos of Ireland's Civil War (1923-24)

The Irish Civil War was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence and accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire.

The civil war was waged between two opposing groups, Irish republicans and Irish nationalists, over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The forces of the Provisional Government (which became the Free State in December 1922) supported the Treaty, while the Republican opposition saw it as a betrayal of the Irish Republic (which had been proclaimed during the Easter Rising). Many of those who fought on both sides in the conflict had been members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the War of Independence.

The Civil War was won by the Free State forces, who benefitted from substantial quantities of weapons provided by the British Government. The conflict may have claimed more lives than the War of Independence that preceded it, and left Irish society divided and embittered for generations.

These war-time photographs were colourized by photographer and colourist John O'Byrne from Rathangan, Kildare, Ireland that show the Irish conflict which led to thousands of deaths and prisoners of war.

Irish Free State Army soldier in firing position inside a badly damaged house. His rifle is pointed through a hole in the wall of a room and debris is lying on the ground and a door has been kicked off its hinges. The treaty also stipulated that members of the new Irish parliament would have to take the following Oath of Allegiance: "I... do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established, and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V, his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of nations"

Free State Soldiers take a break from fighting on the street in Dublin possibly during the fighting of the four courts where wounded men are being tended to while others catch their breath. The Irish Civil War was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence and came alongside the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire. The civil war was waged between two opposing groups, Irish republicans and Irish nationalists, over the Anglo-Irish Treaty

Irish Free State Army officers and men outside the Royal Hotel in Limerick. Some are smoking and one is sporting an injured arm. The group includes two clergymen and some civilians. The hotel was fortified with a barricade, wire and sandbags. The forces of the Provisional Government - which became the Free State in December 1922 - supported the Treaty, while the Republican opposition saw it as a betrayal of the Irish Republic, which had been proclaimed during the Easter Rising. Many of those who fought on both sides in the conflict had been members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the War of Independence

A man in civilian clothes reaching up with cigarettes to Irish Free State Army soldiers in a spirit merchant's truck as locals stand by watching

An unmounted officer stands with a drawn sword held at shoulder height in a sword drill under the supervision of Captain Flanagan and Captain Nolan at McKee Barracks Dublin






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