October 23: Sing, Sing a Song

On October 23, 2001, Apple released the iPod into the world. The snazzy little device cornered the market within three years, and 220 million iPods had been sold by fall of 2009. Sales of the iPod dropped earlier this year, perhaps because folks with iPods already in one hand want a new gadget like the iPad in the other. The Center for Disease Control warns, however, that long-term exposure to high volume on MP3 devices can cause damage. For instance, if you listen to your MP3 while you mow your lawn, you could damage your hearing within 15 minutes, according to some reports. Despite declining sales and possible hearing loss for the most enthusiastic users, the iPod hasn’t dropped into mere memory. In fact, now on its ninth birthday, there’s Nano, Touch, and Shuffle in addition to the Classic iPod.

The man who wrote “Thanks for the Memory” died on this date in 1942. Ralph Rainger and 11 other passengers and crew on an American Airlines DC-3 were killed in a collision with an Air Force bomber in the skies over California. The DC-3 lost its rudder at an altitude of 9000 feet. The B-34 landed safely, and the pilot was later acquitted on manslaughter charges in a court martial. Ralph Rainger’s song was originally talked-sung by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross in the film The Big Broadcast of 1938 and became the theme song of Bob Hope, for whom Burbank renamed the airport in 2003. For a discussion of this and other film songs, see THIS Fresh Air piece.

Speaking of songs, don’t forget to vote HERE for the Space Shuttle’s wake-up songs for the astronauts on STS-133, which launches next week. Lofty Ambitions will be there!

Another Ralph Rainger song: “I Wished on the Moon”

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