11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun  1. Doctors and health officials are discouraging a revival of “measles parties,” popular in the 1950s and ’60s. (Learn more at ABC News) 2. The release of water vapor causes the distinctive sound of corn popping.  (Learn more at Los Angeles Times) 3. A 1967 performance on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour left Pete Townsend deaf in one ear. (Learn more at AARP) >> Register for Life@50+ Digital Experience. New AARP RealPad included! Learn More 4. …

Rod McKuen: 10 Things You Might Not Know About the Pop Poet

Literary critics never had much love for Rod McKuen, who passed away on Jan. 30 at age 81 in Beverly Hills. Not that it mattered to his legions of fans. McKuen’s volumes of poetry, including Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows and Listen to the Warm, sold 60 million copies. In addition, McKuen was a prolific songwriter whose lyrics were interpreted by performers ranging from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Johnny Cash. His own gravelly, breathy recording of “Jean,” which he composed for …

‘Stairway to Heaven’ and 5 Other Alleged Song Ripoffs

For boomers who grew up playing air guitar to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” it’s mind-blowing to think that the 1971 classic rock standard might actually have been copied from another song. Lawyers for the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California reportedly are planning to file a suit claiming that the opening riff in “Stairway” was ripped off from Spirit’s considerably less famous 1968 song “Taurus.” Thanks to a helpful YouTuber, you can listen to a comparison between …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. At Kennedy Elementary School in Dubuque, Iowa, the oldest member of the band is 79. (Learn more at Twincities.com) 2. Your brain is over the hill at age 24. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Johnny Cash can still have a No. 1 album 11 years after he died. (Learn more at AARP) 4. A new app adjusts your body rhythm to beat jet lag. (Learn more at Newsweek) 5. Scientists say they’ve manufactured blood for people. (Learn more at Gizmodo) >> Sign …

New Johnny Cash CD Latest in Line of Posthumous Hit Albums

Johnny Cash‘s newly released CD Out Among the Stars debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. That might seem like a pretty impressive performance, especially considering that the artist himself passed away back in 2003. But Cash is just the latest in a string of deceased performers who’ve released hot-selling records after their demise. Here are a few: Buddy Holly, The Buddy Holly Story (1959). Released just a month after …

Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland: 5 Facts About ‘Little Boy Blue’

If I had a million dollars I’d give you every, a-every dime Just to hear you call me, “Bobby,” one more time. That’s what Bobby “Blue” Bland sang in his trademark 1958 single, “Little Boy Blue,” which unveiled his trademark vocal style: a restrained, silky-smooth crooner’s delivery, punctuated at the right moment by a high-pitched, pleading squall. It fused the earthy raw power of rural blues singers such as Robert Johnson with the jazz-inflected urbanity of Nat King Cole. And …