national geographic

Wayback Wednesday: Hindenburg Disaster 1937

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Hindenburg Image One
Photo Credit: airships.net

Eighty-three years ago, today, the Nazi German dirigible, the LZ-129 Hindenburg, exploded at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey.

[T]he largest dirigible ever built, [it burst] into flames upon touching its mooring mast […]. There were 35 fatalities (13 passengers and 22 crewmen) from the 97 people on board (36 passengers and 61 crewmen) and an additional fatality on the ground.

The rigid airship, often known as the Zeppelin after the last name of its innovator, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, was developed by the Germans in the late 19th century. [It] had a light framework of metal girders that protected a gas-filled interior [of] highly flammable hydrogen gas, vulnerable to explosion.

Hindenburg Image Two
Photo Credit: Nationaal Archief/Spaarnestad Photo
Nationaal Archief Flickr
Sam Shere
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

On May 3, the Hindenburg left Frankfurt, Germany, for a journey across the Atlantic to Lakehurst’s Navy Air Base. While attempting to moor, […] the airship suddenly burst into flames, probably after a spark ignited its hydrogen core. Rapidly falling 200 feet to the ground, the hull of the airship incinerated within seconds. [M]ost of the survivors suffered substantial injuries.

The disaster was the subject of newsreel coverage, photographs and [radio announcer] Herbert Morrison‘s recorded […] eyewitness reports from the landing field, which were broadcast the next day. He is known for his famous emotional declaration “Oh, the humanity!”

A variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The event shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the abrupt end of [that] era.

Additional Reading & Sources:
Hindenburg Survivors & Crew (Airships website)
LZ-129 Hindenburg: A Detailed History (Airships Website)
The Hindenburg Disaster (Airships Website)
The Hindenburg Disaster (History Channel)
The Hindenburg: Nine Surprising Facts (History Channel)
Hindenburg Disaster (Wikipedia)
Zeppelin (Wikipedia)

British Pathé News Footage

National Geographic Documentary

Song Saturday: Africa (Toto)

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Toto Africa Discogs Image
Image Credit: discogs.com

Changing things a bit. I’ve got Music Mondays and I’ve had Tune Tuesdays (I may return to that) that showcase music by release date, in five year increments (if I can). Early on, I listed number ones, only. There was also my jump into the 30-Day Song Challenge back in December 2018. Now, I’m stretching Saturday out a bit for some music, too…an idea I got from the Nostalgic Italian. I might even stretch it to Sunday, if I take a notion to. It just depends upon my mood. All blogs evolve and, I’m always looking for new and different things.

This is a song on my playlist on my phone. I have a lot of music on my phone…things that I love to hear when I go out for my afternoon and evening walks or, just sitting in my Adirondack chair, watching the sunset. ~Vic

This song came out in the US in October 1982 and is the tenth track from the album Toto IV. Written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, it made it to number one for one week in February 1983.

From Mix Online:

Paich recalls writing Africa on his living room piano.

“Over many years, I had been taken by the UNICEF ads with the pictures of Africa and the starving children. I had always wanted to do something to connect with that and bring more attention to the continent. I wanted to go there, too, so, I sort of invented a song that put me in Africa. I was hearing the melody in my head and, I sat down and played the music in about 10 minutes. And, then, the chorus came out. I sang the chorus out as you hear it. It was like God channeling it. I thought, ‘I’m talented but, I’m not that talented. Something just happened here!'”

Paich, then, proceeded to work on the lyrics for another six months. He brought the skeleton to drummer Jeff Porcaro with the idea of having percussion being an integral part of the composition.

“Jeff got out African sticks with bottle caps that his dad (Joe Porcaro) and Emil Richards (both percussionists) used on National Geographic films. He brought in a marimba and a wooden xylophone kind of thing. This was pre-synthesizer. We didn’t have samples back then. You’re hearing bass marimba, that other instrument and you’re hearing, probably, one of the first loops that was ever done.”

Sadly, Jeff Porcaro passed away nearly ten years later.

I hope you enjoy my Saturday evening submission.