There were three song references in our December 2017 issue. Guessing just one would have been enough to win our contest, but overachiever Steve Davison of Liftec Inc. correctly guessed all three:
Elvis Presley needs no introduction, so we won't give him one. Instead, we'll just tell you that his song "Blue Christmas" first appeared on Elvis' Christmas Album, released in 1957. Noting the LP's mix of rock, blues, American standards, and gospel, the AllMusic Guide calls the album "quite simply still one of the best holiday albums available." It was Presley's very first holiday album and only the fourth-ever Elvis long-player. It debuted on Billboard's Christmas singles chart in 1964 and reached the number 1 spot. "Avoiding a Blue Christmas" was the title of Chief Editor David Maloney's December "BigPicture" column on how retailers and carriers tweaked their systems to deal with peak holiday season volumes.
Country singer Johnny Paycheck was born Donald Eugene Lytle on May 31, 1938 in Greenfield, Ohio. (He changed his legal name to Johnny Paycheck in 1963, according to The New York Times.) He first learned guitar at age six and was entering talent contests by the time he was nine. His career started in earnest in the 1950s, but he only became known to non-country fans with his 1977 hit "Take this job and shove it." That's the song we referred to in the title of our interview with John Seidl: "Take this ELD and love it!" (Check out that interview to learn why ELDs might end up benefiting everyone.) Paycheck had lived a hard life. As a teenager, he left home to ride around the country on freight trains. He joined the Navy soon after, but within six months was court-martialed for assaulting an officer; he spent two years in military prison. In the '70s, country music's marketing division caught up with him and he became known as part of the Outlaw Country movement. His career was inconsistent due to problems with drinking and violent behavior. (At one point, while in prison for assault, he performed in a concert there with Merle Haggard.) He died of respiratory failure in 2003 at age 64.
Singer Ethel Merman (pictured at top) is well known for her brassy, belting delivery, most often heard in her performances in Broadway musicals. Her heyday started around 1930 and continued through the end of the '50s. Like Johnny Paycheck, the former Ethel Agnes Zimmerman started performing as a child; she entertained at military camps during World War I. After she graduated high school, she became a secretary but continued to sing in nightclubs and on vaudeville stages, eventually building a successful career. She debuted on Broadway in 1930 in George and Ira Gershwin's musical "Girl Crazy," singing one of her best-known songs, "I got rhythm." She went on to appear in many other musicals, including "Anything Goes," "Hello, Dolly!" and "Gypsy." The song "There's no business like show business" was written for the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" and became a theme song of sorts for Merman. The print title of our December case study on footwear maker Clark was titled "There's no business like shoe business." "There's no business like show business" was also the name of one of the 20 or so movie musicals that Merman appeared in. The movie also starred Marilyn Monroe. (You can watch a trailer for the movie below.) Merman died in 1984.
JANUARY-ISSUE DEADLINE IS TODAY
Think you've guessed which headline in our January issue refers to a song title? Submit your answer to email@example.com by midnight Pacific time tonight, Feb. 15. For hints, turn to page 9 of our January print issue, our digital edition, or our mobile version. If you guess correctly, you'll be entered into our drawing for a sampler pack of Joey Kramer's Rockin' & Roastin' Organic Coffee.