She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.
While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.
So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?
For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.
The year was 1988. Seventy-two thousand people gathered—along with 600 million more watching along on their televisions—to see headliner Stevie Wonder as part of Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert.
However, technical difficulties (or perhaps some divine timing) rendered Wonder unable to perform his act. Chapman had already played a three-song set earlier in the afternoon, and yet she agreed to step up to the microphone.
Armed with nothing but herself and a guitar, the shy and stoic Chapman captivated everyone to silence. And the rest is history.
Using just a simple story, “Fast Car” conveyed a million different themes—the challenges of class and poverty, seeking escape from a small town and yearning for freedom and new opportunity. It’s easy to see why some find the song heartbreaking, while others find it hopeful.
After the Mandela gig, the song became a worldwide hit, earning Chapman Grammy awards and shooting her to stardom. What’s more, she introduced a new wave of socially-conscious music filled with gentle, yet brutally truthful introspection. Since that fateful day, her name is forever synonymous with a quiet revolution. We are quite lucky to get to experience it so many years later.
Talk about acting quickly!
Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?
It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.
But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.
"I realized that the woman was unconscious and dizzy, colliding with the wall, with the window," Molina told NBC, "it was something like God protected me in that moment." The fact that he made it across four lanes of traffic and continued to run next to a speeding car without getting himself hurt is a miracle in itself. But the true feat was that with the assistance of another driver, Molina was able to get the car stopped.
The hero told NBC that he hopes to meet the woman he helped save one day. Molina was honored by his mayor and the Dominican Consulate in Boston for his heroic actions.
Watch the heart pounding video below:
No, you're probably not losing your hearing.
It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.
So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.
They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.
But with today's technology, microphones are so small they can be strapped just about anywhere on an actor. This allows the actor to move about the set freely and speak at a normal volume without worrying that their words won't be picked up. So then why can't we hear them? Turns out it's super complicated…and also not.
"A lot of people will ask, 'Why don't you just turn the dialogue up?' Like, 'Just turn it up.' And...if only it were that simple," Kendrick said before explaining, "If you have your dialogue that's going to be at the same volume as an explosion that immediately follows it, the explosion is not going to feel as big. You need that contrast in volume in order to give your ear a sense of scale."
Sure, you may be thinking, well that kinda explains it, but why do the music and other cinematic noises sound like they're beating on your eardrum while the dialogue sounds like the actors are whispering every line? That doesn't seem very balanced. There's more to it, and again, it falls back onto technology.
In the video, they explain how our televisions are too thin to hold large speakers facing in the correct direction, and until this video, it didn't dawn on me that the speakers to my television are indeed in the back. No wonder we can't hear. The actors are quite literally talking to our walls.
And there's more. Check out the full explanation in the video:
"If you and your partner (both) are unable or unwilling to do these 3 things consistently forever, you won’t make it."
Being in a relationship can be difficult at times. Learning someone else's quirks, boundaries, and deep views on the world can be eye-opening and hard. But usually, the happy chemicals released in our brain when we love someone can cause us to overlook things in order to keep the peace.
Jayson Gaddis, a relationship expert, took to Twitter to rip off people's rose-colored glasses and tell them to forego marriage. Honestly, with the divorce rate in this country being as high as it is, he probably could've stopped his tweet right there. Don't get married, the end. Many people would've probably related and not questioned the bold statement, but thankfully he followed up with three things you must be willing to do before going to the chapel.
Before going into his reasons for why he tells people not to get married, Gaddis explained that he is a person that "LOVEs being married." I mean, it would probably make him a pretty weird relationship expert if he hated relationships, so it's probably a good thing he enjoys being married. Surely his spouse appreciates his stance as well.
So why does he tell unsuspecting people not to get married? "Because a long-term partnership might be one of the hardest paths out there. It will confront everything about you and your partner. Your relationship skills will be tested. And all your unresolved childhood trauma will come to the surface," Gaddis wrote.
Unresolved childhood trauma can become a major problem in relationships because oftentimes our trauma is present in how we react to conflict or relationship strain. According to Kaytee Gillis, LCSW-BACS, childhood trauma manifests in relationships in multiple ways including fear of abandonment, being easily irritated, constantly arguing or avoiding conflict at all costs.
\u201cNever, ever get married. Unless you are willing to do these 3 things.\u201d— Jayson Gaddis (@Jayson Gaddis) 1675182104
It's not unwise to tuck that bit of information in your pocket if you're thinking about a long-term relationship, and Gaddis bringing this to the forefront will certainly benefit someone. That's not to say you can't be in a relationship if you have trauma; Gaddis is simply suggesting that you be aware of your traumas and how they may show up in the course of a relationship.
He then went on to get into his actual list of things couples should be willing to do before they get married in order to have a successful marriage.
"Learn. Learn about you, learn about them. Never stop learning about yourself and each other in the context of your relationship," he wrote, which falls right in line with his pre-numbered suggestions.
Now, the second suggestion may have people quickly raising an eyebrow, especially if they don't like conflict. Gaddis suggested embracing "conflict, adversity and challenges" and getting "very very good at repairing it and working it through 100% of the time."
\u201cSomething about long-term partnership invites us to face everything unloved and unprocessed in our psychology, neurobiology, and mammalian wiring. It is, at its core, a spiritual path.\u201d— Jayson Gaddis (@Jayson Gaddis) 1675182104
That's a good one. Conflict resolution is a skill and committing to sharpening it and using it every single time could save some relationships. The third may help preemptively alleviate some unforeseen power struggles and I'm here for it.
"Share leadership and collaborate. Being teammates about everything and sharing the load together is crucial. Be honest about how hard it is to share leadership and get better at it," Gaddis tweeted before elaborating further in the thread.
The author and relationship expert bluntly stated that if both people can't agree to do those three suggestions, then the couple would not survive. Gaddis rounded out the Twitter thread by explaining that unless you're ready to work on yourself and commit to the three things listed, you should stay single.
Ouch. Harsh words, but it's better to come from a behavior and relationship expert than anyone else.
All she wanted to do was help others.
In a 1954 documentary short, humanitarian Helen Keller expressed that her greatest regret in life was being unable to speak clearly. But given that she could not see or hear, her speech was quite remarkable.
Keller was born in 1880 and, at the age of 18 months, contracted an unknown illness that left her deaf and blind. But with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she was able to overcome her disabilities and become an outspoken advocate for the voiceless and oppressed.
Throughout her life, Keller advocated for peace, women’s rights and the worker’s rights movement. She was a devout socialist and an early member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Her most lasting work was with the American Foundation for the Blind, which she joined in 1924 and would work for over 40 years. Over that time, she visited 35 countries, met with world leaders, and advocated for improved healthcare and education for those with vision loss.
However, even though her efforts changed the lives of millions, she always thought she could do more if she spoke more clearly. But her inability to do so gave her a greater understanding of the human condition.
"It is not blindness or deafness that bring me my darkest hours. It is the acute disappointment in not being able to speak normally," she said. "Longingly I feel how much more good I may have done, if I had only acquired normal speech. But out of this sorrowful experience, I understand more fully all human striving, thwarted ambitions, and the infinite capacity of hope."
Heart, John Bonham's son and a full choir came together for the epic tribute.
When Billboard and Rolling Stone pull together their "Best Songs of All Time" lists, there are some tunes you know for sure will be included. Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is most definitely one of them.
It has everything—the beauty of a ballad, the grunginess of a rock song, the simple solo voice, and the band in full force. "Stairway to Heaven" takes us on a musical journey, and even people who aren't necessarily giant Led Zeppelin or classic rock fans can't help but nod or sing along to it.
Of course, it's also been so ubiquitous (or overplayed, as some would claim) to become a meme among musicians. Signs saying "No Stairway to Heaven" in guitar stores point to how sick of the song many guitarists get, and when Oregon radio station KBOO told listeners they would never play the song again if someone pledged $10,000, Led Zepelin singer Robert Plant himself called in and gave the donation.
Musicians can often tire of performing their songs over and over again, but it's a different story when someone else puts their spin on it. And at a Led Zeppelin tribute concert at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 2, 2012, rock legends Heart and the son of John Bonham, Led Zeppelin's original drummer who passed away in 1980 at age 32, performed a rendition of "Stairway to Heaven" that brought the surviving members of the band to their feet—and to tears.
It helps that Heart's Ann Wilson had been a huge fan of the song since she was 19 and that her voice has a similar quality to Plant's. But what makes this performance so epic is the contrast between its simple beginnings and huge, full climax with an orchestra and full choir wearing bowler hats (a touching shout out to Bonham, who famously wore one) behind the band.
It's quite a ride to see the audience grow more and more excited as the song builds and to see Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones clearly awed at their own music being performed with such excellence. As one commenter quipped, "I think this is the first time Led Zeppelin was feeling what people felt listening to them all their lives."
It's definitely worth a watch. Enjoy: