➦In 1877...Thomas Edison made his first recording of a human voice. On the recording Edison recited, “Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.” Edison recordings were made on tin foil and could sustain replaying only a few times. Nevertheless, Edison’s little machine was an immediate sensation, widely demonstrated and covered by the press.
After the initial excitement around his invention, Edison turned from work on his “talking machine” to improve the electric light bulb. He would not work on the phonograph again until the late 1880s, when wax cylinders replaced tin foil as his recording medium.
Sound recording instruments before Edison’s did exist, but they were not intended to replay what had been recorded. Notable among these was Frenchman Leon Scott’s phonautograph.
Inspired by Edison’s work with sound recording, other inventors sought to improve the phonograph. Among the most noted were Alexander Graham Bell and Emile Berliner. Bell and his associates experimented with disc and cylinder recordings and their graphophone, which employed wax cylinder records, became a popular dictating machine. Berliner had commercial success with disc records and the machine to play them—the gramophone.
Over the years, technology has greatly changed the way Presidents deliver the State of the Union address. We've moved from broadcast radio to television, and now the Internet. Here's a timeline of some of the digital "firsts" when it comes to the State of the Union address:
- President Calvin Coolidge in 1923: First radio broadcast of the address
- President Harry Truman in 1947: First televised broadcast of the address
- President George W. Bush in 2002: First live webcast on the Internet of the address
- President Barack Obama in 2011: First to live-tweet the address
In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) spoke on the telephone to the instrument’s inventor, Alexander Graham Bell. Two years later, Hayes had his own telephone in the White House, but the invention was so new that very few homes or offices in Washington had phones, so Hayes had few people to talk to. In fact, the president’s telephone number was "1".
➦In 1943...the prestigious hour-long drama show “Theatre Guild On the Air” began an almost ten-year run, debuting on CBS radio. For much of its run it was known as “The United States Steel Hour” first on ABC and then NBC radio, before moving to TV in 1953.
➦In 1957... Elvis Presley visited Memphis radio station WDIA 1070 AM where he met two of his music idols, R&B singers Little Junior Parker and Bobby “Blue” Bland.
➦In 1960...Gene Autry was attending the baseball winter meetings hoping to secure a broadcasting contract for KMPC, his Los Angeles radio station. The “Singing Cowboy” wound up as the owner of the expansion Los Angeles Angels (when no one came forward to bid for the team, Autry made a bid of his own). The team became the showpiece for KMPC.
➦In 1963...The Beatles issued their first of seven Christmas recordings featuring several renditions of the traditional carol "Good King Wenceslas" and individual messages from the four, ending with a closing chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo".
➦In 1971… John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band released the single “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” with the Harlem Community Choir, was released in North America.
➦In 1980...BBC Radio aired a telephone interview with John Lennon in which he said he most enjoyed living in New York City because people there left him alone.
➦In 1988... Singer Roy Orbison suffered a fatal heart attack while on a visit to his mother near Nashville. He was aged just 52. His biggest hit was the million-selling No. 1 song “Oh, Pretty Woman.” During his heyday in the early 1960’s he had 27 straight records make the charts. He had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Earlier in 1988 Orbison had joined the superstar collaboration the Traveling Wilburys.
➦In 1993...actor Don Ameche died of prostate cancer at age 85. The movie star was first a star of bigtime radio, with such program credits as Betty & Bob, Grand Hotel, First Nighter, The (Battling) Bickersons, & the Charlie McCarthy Show. On TV the Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show ran just one season.
➦In 1994...WRKS NYC changed to a classic soul format
St. John is best known for the 42 years he spent in the New York City radio market working for WPLJ, WNEW-FM, WAXQ and WCBS FM. He can now be heard on SiriusXM Radio '60s on 6 Weekdays 3PM to 7 PM ET and on Classic Rewind Weekends 6PM to midnight ET. St. John has done television voice-over work, including announcing for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve from 2000 to 2010.
St. John is known for his conversational on-air style interspersed with bits of music trivia, along with "Collectible Cuts" from his extensive record library. He has been called a "walking encyclopedia" when it comes to his knowledge of music. St. John has interviewed many musicians.
➦In 2015…Washington D.C. sports talk host Ken Beatrice, who hosted a call-in show for 23 years, first on WMAL between 1973 and 1995 later on WTEM from 1995 to 2000, died of complications from pneumonia at age 72.
- Actor Patrick Bauchau (“The Pretender,” “Carnivale”) is 82.
- Country singer Helen Cornelius is 79.
- Actor James Naughton (“Hostages,” “Planet of the Apes”) is 75.
Singer Frank Beverly of Maze is 74.
Ashley Madekwe is 39
- Actor JoBeth Williams is 72.
- Actor Tom Hulce is 67.
- Actor Kin Shriner is 67.
- Talk show host Wil Shriner is 67.
- Drummer Rick Buckler of The Jam is 65.
- Singer Tish Hinojosa is 65.
- Country singer Bill Lloyd of Foster and Lloyd is 65.
- Comedian Steven Wright is 65.
- Guitarist Peter Buck of R.E.M. is 64.
- Drummer David Lovering of The Pixies is 59.
- Guitarist Ben Watt of Everything But the Girl is 58.
- Actor Janine Turner (“Strong Medicine,” “Northern Exposure”) is 58.
- Director Judd Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” ″Knocked Up”) is 53.
- Keyboardist Ulf “Buddha” Ekberg of Ace of Base is 50.
- Actor Lindsay Price (“Splitting Up Together”) is 44.
- Actor Ashley Madekwe (”Revenge,” “Salem”) is 39.
- Bassist Jacob Chesnut of Rush of Fools is 31.