Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Covers of “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

The battle for love, or finding out what love is, has been fought and a winner is being declared. Two amazing female artists, Tina Arena and Wynonna Judd, put out some awesome vocals to earn their place in the winner’s circle, singing one of the all-time great love songs by Foreigner, “I Want to Know What Love Is”.

It was a pretty decent battle actually. Most voters really like the song. Some folks knew right away who they were going to choose and others wavered a bit, trying to decide which one to pick for the win. That’s how it was for me too. I thought both versions were incredible, all the way around: powerful vocals, musical quality, background vocals & harmonies, the emotional delivery…these two had it all and both came together to bring us two fantastic covers of this incredible song.

I listened to both versions several times and thought to myself how I could easily have each of them playing on a continuous loop and really never get tired of hearing them because every time I listened to each song, I found something new to appreciate. It was a tough call for me to make but in the end I chose Wynonna Judd’s version.

A tally of the votes shows Wynonna Judd as the clear winner, capturing 7 of the 11 votes. But Tina Arena had quite a respectable showing with 4 votes overall. Speaking on the toss-up I had in determining my vote, the final tally could’ve easily been Wynonna with 6 and Tina with 5. So there you go.

The prize is awarded to WYNONNA JUDD as the winner in this battle for Foreigner’s love song “I Want to Know What Love Is”. 

In searching for covers of this song, I found one that I almost used in this battle but I felt pretty strongly that had I chosen to use this version, it might not have been a close race. Considering how popular this artist is, it might’ve been a blowout. You’ll have to tell me. So I’ll close now with yet another fantastic version of “I Want to Know What Love Is by one of the biggest-selling artists in music history: Mariah Carey.

Give a listen to her version and let me know what you think. Would you have voted for Mariah over either or both of the others? Or would your vote have stayed the same?

 

As always, thanks for participating in my battle. See you next month, on March 15, for my next battle!

 

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Mondays’ Music Moves Me: A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs – the PURPLE edition

It’s Monday’s Music Moves Me time and today is a Freebie theme so I am continuing with my series A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs. Today’s playlist is the PURPLE edition, featuring my favorite songs with purple in the title. Here is my Purple playlist, followed by information and fun facts on each of the songs. And to learn what the color purple means, see the color interpretation at the end of the post. Enjoy!

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze” is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and released as the second record single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience on March 17, 1967. As a record chart hit in several countries and the opening number on the Are You Experienced debut American album, it was many people’s first exposure to Hendrix’s psychedelic rock sound.

The song features his inventive guitar playing, which uses the signature Hendrix chord and a mix of blues and Eastern modalities, shaped by novel sound processing techniques. Because of ambiguities in the lyrics, listeners often interpret the song as referring to a psychedelic experience, although Hendrix described it as a love song.

Hendrix claimed this was inspired by a dream where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him. At one point, Hendrix wrote the chorus as “Purple Haze, Jesus Saves,” but decided against it.

Hendrix claimed this had nothing to do with drugs, but it’s hard to believe they weren’t an influence. The lyrics seem to vividly portray an acid trip, and Hendrix was doing plenty of drugs at the time.

Hendrix wrote the lyrics on the day after Christmas in 1966. He wrote a lot more than what made it to the song. The track was developed at a press function that he attended at East London’s Upper Cut Club, run by the former boxer Billy Walker. Hendrix launched into the scorching riff in the club’s compact dressing room and every head turned. “I said, write the rest of that,” said Chandler. “That’s the next single!” It was premiered live on January 8,1967, in Sheffield in the north of England.

Jimi and producer Chas Chandler used some unusual studio tricks to get the unique sound. To create the background track that sounds distant, they put a pair of headphones around a microphone and recorded it that way to get an echo effect.

When the recording was sent to Hendrix’s American label, a note said, “deliberate distortion, do not correct.”

The track was the penultimate song Hendrix played in concert, on September 6, 1970, days before his death.

In March 2005, Q magazine ranked “Purple Haze” at number one in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever!” The song placed at number two on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time” list, which noted that the song “unveiled a new guitar language charged with spiritual hunger and the poetry possible in electricity and studio technology”. It also appears at number 17 on the magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list, with the comment that “it launched not one but two revolutions: late-Sixities psychedelia and the unprecedented genius of Jimi Hendrix”. Author and music critic Dave Marsh called it the “debut single of the Album Rock Era”. In 1995, “Purple Haze” was included as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”. NPR named the song to its list of the “100 Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century” in 2000. In 2008, it was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which “honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance”.

In addition to the audio cut I included in my playlist, here is an early music video of Jimi Hendrix performing “Purple Haze”.

Purple Rain by Prince – “Purple Rain” is a song by Prince and The Revolution. It is the title track from the 1984 album of the same name, which in turn is the soundtrack album for the 1984 film of the same name, and was released as the third single from that album. The song is a combination of rock, R&B, gospel, and orchestral music. It reached number 2 in the United States for two weeks, and it is considered to be one of Prince’s signature songs. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1984, shipping one million units in the United States, and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry in 2013.

Following Prince’s death in 2016, the song rose to number one on the US and UK iTunes Charts, allowing “Purple Rain” to re-enter the Billboard Hot 100 at number 17, later reaching number four. It also re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 6, making it two places higher than its original peak of number 8. Originally peaking at number 12 in France, “Purple Rain” reached number one on the national singles chart. In the United States, it has sold an additional 1,186,215 copies after becoming available as digital downloads.

“Purple Rain” was originally written as a country song and intended to be a collaboration with Stevie Nicks.  According to Nicks, she received a 10-minute instrumental version of the song from Prince with a request to write the lyrics, but felt overwhelmed. She said: “I listened to it and I just got scared. I called him back and said, ‘I can’t do it. I wish I could. It’s too much for me.'” At a rehearsal, Prince then asked his backing band to try the song: “I want to try something before we go home. It’s mellow.” According to Lisa Coleman, Prince then changed the song after Wendy Melvoin started playing guitar chords to accompany the song: “He was excited to hear it voiced differently. It took it out of that country feeling. Then we all started playing it a bit harder and taking it more seriously. We played it for six hours straight and by the end of that day we had it mostly written and arranged.”

Prince explained the meaning of “Purple Rain” as follows: “When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple… purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain.”

It was not the first time that the phrase “purple rain” appeared in the lyrics of a song. In November 1965, “Purple Rain Drops” was released as the B-side of “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” which became a Top Ten hit for Stevie Wonder. The phrase appears again in the 1972 song: Top Ten-charting “Ventura Highway” by America. The latter song was written by Dewey Bunnell. The title track of Prince’s preceding album, 1999, included similar references to a doomed ending under a purple sky (“…could have sworn it was Judgment Day, the sky was all purple…”).

The song was written for the Purple Rain film, but it served Prince very well in concert, where it was often his showstopper. He retained many of the visual elements from the movie performance in his shows, which isn’t much of a stretch – the concert scenes were filmed at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis, where Prince often performed.

On the tour to promote the album (conveniently called the “Purple Rain World Tour”), Prince’s band, The Revolution, would play the intro to this song for about eight minutes while Prince underwent a costume change before emerging in fresh duds to complete the performance.

Apparently Prince had concerns that “Purple Rain” might be too similar to Journey’s hit ballad “Faithfully.” The song’s composer, Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, recalled to Billboard magazine that the Purple Legend rang him up at Columbia Records’ office in Los Angeles. “I want to play something for you, and I want you to check it out,” Prince told him. “The chord changes are close to ‘Faithfully,’ and I don’t want you to sue me.”

Cain had no problem with the song he heard. “I thought it was an amazing tune,” the Journey musician said. “I told him, ‘Man, I’m just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you’re that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it’s gonna be a hit.'”

Prince provided one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime moments when he performed this song in the rain at the 2007 game between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears. After blasting through bits of several songs, he slowed things down for a sensuous rendition of “Purple Rain.” The stadium turned dark, and purple lights glistened through raindrops as Prince enraptured the crowd with a silhouetted guitar solo that produced a stunning visual. Colts fans will remember the game, but for the rest of us, Prince’s performance on the field was the highlight.

Prince admitted the success of the film and its music was overwhelming. “In some ways Purple Rain scared me,” he noted in The Observer. “It’s my albatross and it’ll be hanging around my neck as long as I’m making music.”

This was the last song Prince played live; it was the closing number at his April 14, 2016 concert at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, which was his last, as he died a week later.

Purple Heather by Van Morrison – “Purple Heather” is from Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison’s seventh studio album Hard Nose the Highway, released in 1973.

It is Morrison’s second solo album to contain songs not written by him. The last song on the album, “Purple Heather” is the traditional “Wild Mountain Thyme” written by F. McPeake as a variant of Robert Tannahill’s “The Braes of Balquhidder”, and re-arranged by Morrison.

“Wild Mountain Thyme” (also known as “Purple Heather” and “Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?”) is a Scottish folk song written by Francis McPeake I, who wrote the song for his wife. Francis McPeake is a member of a well-known musical family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The lyrics and melody are a variant of the song “The Braes of Balquhither” by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill (1774–1810). Tannahill’s original song is about the hills (braes) around Balquhidder near the Scottish village Lochearnhead. It was first published in Robert Archibald Smith’s Scottish Minstrel (1821–24).

Unless you’re a fan of Van Morrison, you probably haven’t heard this song. His Hard Nose the Highway album, on which “Purple Heather” appears, didn’t get great critical reception. According to Ritchie Yorke, the Australian-born author and music journalist who published Morrison’s biography, Into the Music in 1975, the album enjoyed rave reviews at the time of release. He cited one dissenting critic Charlie Gillett, who wrote in Let It Rock: “The trouble with Hard Nose the Highway is that although the music is quite often interesting, it doesn’t have a convincing emotional basis…Despite the lack of inspiration and of melodic focus, the record is attractive to listen to. But Van Morrison has set high standards for himself and Hard Nose the Highway doesn’t live up to them.”

Stephen Holden in his 1973 Rolling Stone review said: “Hard Nose the Highway is psychologically complex, musically somewhat uneven and lyrically excellent. Its surface pleasures are a little less than those of St. Dominic’s Preview and a great deal less than those of Tupelo Honey, while its lyric depths are richer and more accessible than those of either predecessor. The major theme of Hard Nose is nostalgia, briefly but firmly counter-pointed by disillusion.”

Later assessments in The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1979) and The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992) were less generous. In the former, Hard Nose was listed as Morrison’s only one-star album to date; reviewer Dave Marsh called it “a failed sidestep, a compromise between the visionary demands of Morrison’s work and his desire for a broad-based audience.” In the later edition, Paul Evans called the record the “vaguest and weakest” of Morrison’s 1970s output.

In the opinion of biographer Erik Hage, “Hard Nose the Highway seems to have suffered a lot of unnecessary criticism—many commentators consider it his worst and most uninspired album—perhaps because it followed such a remarkable run of LPs, and because two truly forward-thinking albums had come before and after it (1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview and 1974’s Veedon Fleece).”

Even so, I really like the song. Hopefully you all will too. (BTW, Rod Stewart also did a cover of this song).

Purple Sky by Kid Rock – “Purple Sky” is from Born Free, the eighth studio album by American musician Kid Rock. It was released on November 16, 2010 with the title track as its lead single. Unlike Rock’s other albums, this album does not contain any profane lyrics. Imagine that!

The album was produced by Rick Rubin featuring several high-profile artists such as T.I., Sheryl Crow, and Bob Seger. This is Kid Rock’s first album not to receive a Parental Advisory sticker (due to its lack of profanity) and is his first all-country album. Kid Rock describes it as “very organic blues-based rock and roll”.

“Purple Sky” was written by R. J. Ritchie, Marlon Young and Jason Boland. The song is an adaptation of “Telephone Romeo,” a track from Pearl Snaps, a 1999 Country album by Jason Boland & the Stragglers. Kid Rock explained to Billboard magazine: “That was started by Jason Boland, a country singer Oklahoma/Texas guy. I always enjoyed his stuff. I found that song, it was called ‘Telephone Romeo,’ it wasn’t quite there yet. I switched it around and made it about what I perceived to be a relationship about the girl you grow up next door to, she’s really the one you’re supposed to be with, but you’ve got to go out and see it all first yet to realize that.”

Purple People Eater novelty song – “The Purple People Eater” is a novelty song written and performed by Sheb Wooley, which reached no. 1 in the Billboard pop charts in 1958 from June 9 to July 14, reached no. 12 overall in the UK singles chart and topped the Australian charts.

“The Purple People Eater” is the novelty song to end all novelty songs. It’s one of the few rare cases where a pure novelty made it to #1 on the charts, for one thing. It’s also unusually long-lived, popping up again and again in cartoons, TV commercials, YouTube videos, and film soundtracks.

The song is notable for a confused impression people tend to get from it, which may be intentional. The creature’s full description is “a one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater,” but the lyrics make it clear that this is a creature who eats purple people. Yet whenever anyone is asked to depict the figure, they invariably make the creature itself purple, suggesting that it will eat people of any old color. It’s a natural impression to get considering the hail of adjectives. Incidentally, we also know that it isn’t a one-eyed creature who eats “one-horned flying purple people,” because the lyrics also have the creature “playing rock ‘n’ roll music through the horn in his head,” and also it is the creature, itself, who flies because the lyrics say it “came down to Earth and lit in a tree.”

“The Purple People Eater” tells how a strange creature (described as a “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater”) descends to Earth because it wants to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. The premise of the song came from a joke told by the child of a friend of Wooley’s; Wooley finished composing it within an hour.

The creature is not necessarily purple, but rather it eats purple people:

I said Mr Purple People Eater, what’s your line?

He said eating purple people, and it sure is fine

But that’s not the reason that I came to land

I wanna get a job in a rock ‘n roll band

The creature also gives an additional reason for choosing not to eat the narrator, because the narrator is “so tough”.

The ambiguity of the song was present when it was originally played on the radio. In responses to requests from radio disc jockeys, listeners drew pictures that show a purple-colored “people eater”.

The voice of the purple people eater is a sped-up recording, giving it a voice similar to, but not quite as high-pitched or as fast, as Mike Sammes’s 1957 “Pinky and Perky”, or Ross Bagdasarian’s “Witch Doctor”, another hit from earlier in 1958; and “The Chipmunk Song” which was released late in 1958. (The Chipmunks themselves eventually covered “Purple People Eater” for their 1998 album The A-Files: Alien Songs.) The same technique used to make the high voices (speeding up the recording – especially successful for The Chipmunks), is also used to produce the tinny sounding saxophone solo at the end.

The song shouts out to current novelty hits of the time, such as The Royal Teens’ “Short Shorts” and The Champs’ “Tequila” (both from 1958). Apparently, the creature is also a fan of Little Richard, as he sings something resembling “Tutti Frutti”(from 1955) about 1:30 in.

According to Wooley, MGM Records initially rejected the song, saying that it was not the type of music with which they wanted to be identified. An acetate of the song reached MGM Records’ New York office. The acetate became popular with the office’s young people. Up to 50 people would listen to the song at lunchtime. The front office noticed, reconsidered their decision, and decided to release the song.

The Sheb Wooley version crossed to the Billboard R&B listings, and while it did not make Billboard’s country chart, it reached #4 on the Cashbox country listing.

Wooley re-recorded the song in 1979 under the title “Purple People Eater” and it was released on the King label.

The song and character were used as the basis for the Disney Channel film in 1988. In Purple People Eater, a young boy plays the song and accidentally summons the creature itself, who then befriends him on an adventure. Neil Patrick Harris plays the boy, who later went on to play Doogie Howser M.D. The cast also includes Ned Beatty, Shelley Winters, Thora Birch, Little Richard, Chubby Checker and Wooley himself.

Deep Purple by Donnie & Marie Osmond – “Deep Purple” was the biggest hit written by pianist Peter DeRose*, who broadcast, 1923 to 1939, with May Singhi as “The Sweethearts of the Air” on the NBC radio network. “Deep Purple” was published in 1933 as a piano composition. The following year, Paul Whiteman had it scored for his suave “big band” orchestra that was “making a lady out of jazz” in Whiteman’s phrase. “Deep Purple” became so popular in sheet music sales that Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1938.

The second most popular version, which hit number one on the U.S. pop charts (the 100th song to do so) in November 1963 and also won that year’s Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Record, was recorded by Nino Tempo & April Stevens (who are brother and sister). It remained in the Top 40 for twelve weeks and was #1 on the Hot 100 the week before John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This version of the song is notable for April Stevens’ speaking the lyrics in a low and sweet voice during the second half of the song while her brother sings. According to the Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, when the duo first recorded the song as a demo, Tempo forgot the words, and Stevens spoke the lyrics to the song to remind him. The record’s producers thought Stevens’ spoken interludes were “cute” and should be included on the finished product, but according to Stevens, her brother was not as easily convinced: “He didn’t want anyone talking while he was singing!”

Another brother-and-sister team (and the one that is featured in my playlist), Donny and Marie Osmond, revived “Deep Purple” in 1975 and took it into the Top 20 on the U.S. and Canadian pop charts. It peaked at #14 in March 1976 on the Billboard Hot 100, with Marie intoning the balmy lyrics during the break as April Stevens had done in the version with Nino Tempo.

Donny and Marie’s “Deep Purple” was a yet bigger Adult Contemporary hit. It peaked at number eight on both the U.S. and Canadian charts. The song spent 23 weeks on the pop chart, far longer than any other song by the Osmond family. “Deep Purple” is ranked as the 42nd biggest U.S. hit of 1976.

FUN FACT: *The British rock band Deep Purple got their name from Pete DeRose’s hit as it was the favorite song of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s grandmother; she would also play the song on piano.

 

That’s it for the PURPLE edition in my Kaleidoscope of Color Songs series. Are you a purple fan? Do you know what the color purple means? According to Bourn Creative’s Color Meaning Blog Series:

Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.

The color purple is a rare occurring color in nature and as a result is often seen as having sacred meaning. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are considered delicate and precious.

The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.

Purple is associated spirituality, the sacred, higher self, passion, third eye, fulfillment, and vitality. Purple helps align oneself with the whole of the universe.

 

What do you think of the color? What is your favorite purple song? Please let me know in the Comments section. Thanks for coming by today. Stay tuned for the next installment of my Kaleidoscope of Color Songs series in two weeks.

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.

 

 

Dogs are Great for Ingenuity

Found this on the Dodo and thought it was clever and funny. The pictures are the best. The main point for me is the fact that when you share your life with dogs, your creative muscles sure get flexed. I know I’ve had many moments of inspiration and ingenuity in the midst of sheer exasperation. I’m hoping that one of these days I’ll actually come up with a money-making idea that I can patent and get rich from… Here’s to hope!

And now, here’s an idea that some of you might find helpful. It wouldn’t work with my greyhounds, but for those of you with small dogs, I think it’s quite brilliant:

Dog Hates Getting His Nails Clipped, So His Dad Comes Up With An Idea

All it took was an old purse and an X-Acto knife 😂

PUBLISHED ON 02/13/2018

BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Valentine’s Edition: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS by Foreigner

Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day! I’m keeping the Love theme going with today’s Battle of the Bands featuring “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. 

A quick refresher because it’s been since (yikes!) November that I had a battle here. I’ll introduce the song and feature two contenders doing cover versions. You give a listen and then vote in the Comments section on which cover version you like better (and if you care to share, let me know why you made that choice). Then I’ll be back in 6 days to post the battle results. Stephen McCarthy pretty much runs the battle hop (although he denies that) so if you’re interested in participating, get in touch with him over at his place.

Now, let’s get started:

This amazing Foreigner power ballad is one of my all-time favorite love songs. The very nature of power ballads are that they are an emotional style of music that often deal with romantic and intimate relationships, and to a lesser extent, war (protest songs), loneliness, death, drug abuse, politics and religion, usually in a poignant but solemn manner. (Example: Wind of Change by the Scorpions and several U2 songs). Ballads are generally melodic enough to get the listener’s attention.

“I Want to Know What Love Is” is plenty melodic. It was one of the several songs I featured in my Monday’s Music Moves Me post of favorite Rock Love Songs. But I didn’t share all that I learned about the song in that post. Here’s another interesting tidbit relayed by Mick Jones, who in 1976 formed Foreigner with Ian McDonald and recruited lead singer Lou Gramm; he also co-produced all of the band’s albums and co-wrote most of their songs with Gramm. And Jones wrote the band’s most successful single, “I Want to Know What Love Is”:

Foreigner recorded for Atlantic Records, and their 1981 album 4 spent more weeks at #1 than any album released by the label. Ahmet Ertegun, who was the head of Atlantic, cried when he first heard this song. Mick Jones explains: “Part of my dream at the beginning was to be on Atlantic Records, because of the heritage: all the R&B stars of the ’50s, people like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. It meant so much to me and my growing up in music. So it meant a lot to have Ahmet Ertegun, who had been a part of that magical era and a person who I respected and looked up to, come into the studio. I took him aside and I said, ‘I have a song to play you, Ahmet.’ I took him into the studio, and we just sat there in two chairs, and I put the song on. Halfway through I looked over and indeed, there were tears coming out of his eyes. I thought, Whoa, this is a major moment for me. I’ve been able to impress this man who has heard some of the best, and produced some of the best music in the world. And here he is, and I’ve reached him emotionally. By the end of the song we were both in tears. Wonderful moments like that, they’re just very meaningful.”

Indeed, Foreigner’s song is meaningful. Here is their #1 hit “I Want to Know What Love Is” for your enjoyment only; Don’t vote on this one. The battle contenders are below. Foreigner’s song features backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir affiliated with the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Dreamgirls star Jennifer Holliday, and featured keyboard work by Thompson Twins frontman Tom Bailey. The choir also appears in the song’s music video. You can read more about the choir’s moving involvement in the making of the music video at my Best Rock Love Songs post.

Now, on to today’s battle:

Battle Contenders:

Tina Arena – “I Want to Know What Love Is” was covered by Australian singer Tina Arena and her recording was released as a single in 1998 from her album In Deep. Arena’s version of the song was produced by Foreigner band member Mick Jones, who wrote the song. This version of the song includes a previously unrecorded bridge between the second and third choruses, specifically written for Tina Arena by Mick Jones.

The song peaked at #13 in France and finished 60th on the end-of-year chart of 1999.

This is a magnificent cover:

 

Another fabulous cover by:

Wynonna Judd – “I Want to Know What Love Is” was covered by American country singer Wynonna Judd and her recording was released in August 24, 2004 from her album What the World Needs Now Is Love as fourth single. Wynonna’s version of the song was produced by Narada Michael Walden, known for his work with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and George Michael, and Wynonna. This version of the song was included in a popular Brazilian soap opera, Senhora do Destino.

In the US, Wynonna’s version peaked at #14 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. On the Hot Dance Club Songs of Billboard, it debuted at #50 and peaked at #12. It is also her first single to chart in Sweden, where it debuted at #67 and peaked at #15.

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! I’ll be back on the 21st to post the results. Until then, let us know if you know what love is

 

Who Doesn’t Love Peanuts? Charles M. Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000)

Charles M. Schulz with Snoopy

I was a bit late getting my 4M post up yesterday and that was how the rest of the day progressed. I stayed behind all day. And so I didn’t get to go through all of my email until this morning and that’s when I found a cool classic video tribute post in my Best Classic Bands daily email subscription. Yesterday was the 18-year anniversary of the passing of the great Charles M. Schulz, America’s most influential cartoonist best known for his creation of the Peanuts comic strip. They gave him a nod of remembrance by featuring this fun parody video of the Peanuts Gang performing The Who’s Baba O’Reily:

(If you’d like to see more videos of the Peanuts Gang performing classic rock songs, check out the works of Garren Lazar who has created a slew of fun performance videos).

This cute video intrigued me to spend a few minutes looking into the life of Charles M. Schulz and I came across a wonderful New York Times “On This Day” post of an extensive obituary article of Charles Schulz that appeared on February 14, 2000. I’d usually copy and paste it here but it’s very lengthy so I’ll simply provide this link and urge you to check it out. It’s a fabulous glimpse into the life of the man who gave us Peanuts.

Here is an image of the final Peanuts comic strip in which Charles Schulz announces his retirement, which was scheduled to post on Sunday, February 13, 2000. Amazingly, he died the night before it published.

Final Sunday strip, which came out February 13, 2000: a day after the death of Charles M. Schulz

On second thought, I’ll just go ahead and paste the whole NYT obituary article right here for you…just in case the link source ever disappears…

On This Day
February 14, 2000

OBITUARY

Charles M. Schulz, ‘Peanuts’ Creator, Dies at 77

By SARAH BOXER

Charles M. Schulz, the creator of ”Peanuts,” the tender and sage comic strip starring Charlie Brown and Snoopy that is read by 355 million people around the world, died in his sleep on Saturday night at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif., just hours before his last cartoon ran in the Sunday newspapers. He was 77.

The cause of death was colon cancer, said Paige Braddock, creative director for Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates.

Mr. Schulz drew ”Peanuts” for nearly half a century. He swore that no one else would ever draw the comic strip and he kept his word. For years he drew ”Peanuts” with a hand tremor. He finally put down his pen when he received a diagnosis of colon cancer after abdominal surgery in November.

His last daily strip ran on Jan. 3. His last Sunday page, which ran yesterday, carried a signed farewell in which he said, ”Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy . . . how can I ever forget them. . . .” His wife, Jeannie, said, ”He had done everything he wanted.”

Lynn Johnston, a friend of Mr. Schulz and the creator of ”For Better or for Worse,” told The Associated Press, ”It’s amazing that he dies just before his last strip is published.” Such an ending, she said, was ”as if he had written it that way.”

She recalled something Mr. Schulz told her as she sat in the hospital with him last year: ”You control all these characters and the lives they live. You decide when they get up in the morning, when they’re going to fight with their friends, when they’re going to lose the game. Isn’t it amazing how you have no control over your real life?” But, Ms. Johnston said, ”I think, in a way, he did.”

The life of ”Peanuts” and Charles Schulz were completely intertwined. ”The strip and he were one,” said Patrick McDonnell, who draws the cartoon ”Mutts.” ”He put his heart and soul into that strip.” ”Peanuts,” which reached readers in 75 countries, 2,600 papers and 21 languages every day, made Mr. Schulz very rich. The ”Peanuts” strips, merchandise and product endorsements brought in $1.1 billion a year. And Mr. Schulz was said to have earned about $30 million to $40 million annually.

His saga of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and Linus ”is arguably the longest story ever told by one human being,” Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, observed on the PBS ”NewsHour” with Jim Lehrer, longer than any epic poem, any Tolstoy novel, any Wagner opera. In all Mr. Schulz drew more than 18,250 strips in nearly 50 years.

Jules Feiffer, the cartoonist and playwright, said that the ”Peanuts” characters endure because they were the first real children in the comics pages, ones with doubts and anxieties. And there were a lot of them. ”Linus, Lucy, Charlie Brown — these interesting little people formed a repertory company,” he said.

A Long-Running Ensemble ActThe cast of ”Peanuts” changed remarkably little. It included Charlie Brown, a wishy-washy boy with a tree-loving kite and a losing baseball team; Snoopy, an unflappable beagle with a fancy inner life; Lucy, a fussbudget with a football and a curbside psychiatric clinic; Linus, a philosophical blanket-carrier; Sally, Charlie Brown’s romantic little sister; Schroeder, a virtuoso on the toy piano and a Beethoven devotee; Peppermint Patty, a narcoleptic D-minus student; and, in later years, Woodstock, a small, expressive but speechless bird.

Mr. Schulz remembered waking up in the night many years ago and thinking, ”Good grief, who are all these little people? Must I live with them for the rest of my life?” The answer was yes.

Charles Monroe Schulz, the son of Carl Schulz, a barber, like Charlie Brown’s father, and the former Dena Halverson, was born in Minneapolis on Nov. 26, 1922. Young Charles was nicknamed Sparky after the horse Spark Plug in the comic strip ”Barney Google.” He had a black-and-white dog named Spike (memorialized in the character of Snoopy’s skinny Western brother).

He wanted to be a cartoonist as a child and practiced by drawing Popeye. ”Someday, Charles, you’re going to be an artist,” a kindergarten teacher told him after looking at his drawing of a man shoveling snow. His ambition was to do a comic strip as good as George Herriman’s ”Krazy Kat,” but Mr. Schulz also admired Picasso, Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. Snoopy kept a van Gogh and a Wyeth in his doghouse.

The hurts of Mr. Schulz’s early years provided a lifetime of material. At Central High School in St. Paul, he flunked Latin, English, algebra and physics. ”Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” accepted one of his drawings when he was 15 — a picture of Spike illustrating ”a hunting dog that eats pins, tacks and razor blades” — but the cartoons he drew for his high school yearbook were rejected. Mr. Schulz remembered his failures more vividly than his successes.

After his high school graduation he took a correspondence course from Art Instruction Inc., but before he could start a career he was drafted into the Army. He left for boot camp only days after his mother died of cancer. (Mr. Schulz later suggested that this coincidence might have been the reason for his lifelong hatred of travel.) During World War II, from 1943 to 1945, Mr. Schulz served in France and Germany and became a staff sergeant in the 20th Armored Division. He once refused to toss a grenade into an artillery emplacement because he saw a little dog wander into it.

After the war he tried various odd jobs: lettering the comics at a Catholic magazine called Timeless Topix; drawing a weekly cartoon called ”Li’l Folks,” the precursor to ”Peanuts,” for the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and selling occasional spot cartoons to The Saturday Evening Post.

He also taught at Art Instruction Inc. There he fell in love with a redhead, Donna Johnson, and proposed marriage. She turned him down and married a fireman instead. He never forgot. Ms. Johnson became the Little Red-Haired Girl, Charlie Brown’s unrequited love, who was often talked about but never seen in the strip. Mr. Schulz married Joyce Halverson in 1949; the marriage ended in divorce.

”You can’t create humor out of happiness,” Mr. Schulz said in his 1980 book, ”Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Me.”

”I’m astonished at the number of people who write to me saying, ‘Why can’t you create happy stories for us? Why does Charlie Brown always have to lose? Why can’t you let him kick the football?’ Well, there is nothing funny about the person who gets to kick the football.”

The strip’s start was bittersweet. In 1949 Mr. Schulz submitted some of his ”Li’l Folks” comic strips to United Feature Syndicate. The syndicate liked the strip but insisted on calling it ”Peanuts” because ”Li’l Folks” was too similar to the name of another strip. ”I was very upset with the title,” Mr. Schulz once said, ”and still am.”

On Oct. 2, 1950, the first ”Peanuts” strip was published. It depicted two children sitting on the sidewalk discussing Charlie Brown: ”Well, here comes ol’ Charlie Brown!” . . . ”Good ol’ Charlie Brown” . . . ”Yes, sir! Good ol’ Charlie Brown.” And then, as Charlie Brown passes them, ”How I hate him!”

That year seven newspapers bought ”Peanuts,” and Mr. Schulz earned $90 a week in royalties. But by 1953 the cartoon was a hit and he was earning $30,000 a year. In 1955 (and again in 1964) the National Cartoonists Society awarded Mr. Schulz the Reuben for being the outstanding cartoonist of the year. He received the Yale Humor Award in 1956 and the School Bell Award from the National Education Association in 1960.

Unrequited Love With Roots in Real Life”Peanuts” was based on repetition and predictability. As Mr. Schulz put it, ”All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away.” One of the few innovations Mr. Schulz introduced was allowing Snoopy (after eight years) to stand on two feet and to have his thoughts written out in balloons.

Snoopy could always be counted on to nap, fantasize and wonder when his next meal would arrive. Charlie Brown, the round-headed blockhead (named after one of Mr. Schulz’s childhood friends, not after the cartoonist himself), could always be counted on to persevere despite constant failure. He once held onto the string of a kite that was stuck in a tree for eight days running, until the rain made him stop. At the time it was the longest run of immobility for any cartoon character. His first home run came after nearly 43 years of strike outs, on March 30, 1993.

No adult ever appeared in ”Peanuts,” though in television specials there were occasional wah-wah sounds denoting the voices of teachers and parents. As Mr. Schulz once put it, ”Well, there just isn’t room for them.” Curses never got worse than ”Aaugh!” ”Good grief,” ”Rats!” ”Curse you, Red Baron!” or a knot of lines scrunched up in frustration.

The strips were just the beginning. In 1952 Mr. Schulz started turning out ”Peanuts” books: ”Peanuts,” ”More Peanuts,” ”Good Grief, More Peanuts!” ”Good Ol’ Charlie Brown,” ”Happiness Is a Warm Puppy” and dozens more. New compilations rolled off the presses every year for decades.

Eventually ”Peanuts” was translated into Serbo-Croatian, Malay, Chinese, Tlingit, Catalan and 15 other languages. Books came out with titles like, ”Het Grote Snoopy Winterspelletjes-Boek” and ”Du Bist Sub, Charlie Braun.”

The 1960’s brought animated ”Peanuts” television specials. The first was ”A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which Mr. Schulz wrote in one weekend with Lee Mendelson. Accompanied by Vince Guaraldi’s jazz piano, animated by Bill Melendez and unassisted by any laugh track, ”A Charlie Brown Christmas” was shown on CBS in 1965 (and still runs every winter). It won an Emmy and a Peabody. Many more television specials followed, including ”It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Five of the specials won Emmys. There were also ”Peanuts” feature films, including ”A Boy Named Charlie Brown.”

The takeoffs came rolling in. In 1966 the Royal Guardsmen wrote a rock song, ”Snoopy and the Red Baron.” In 1967 a musical, ”You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” was produced Off Broadway. (A 1999 revival on Broadway won two Tony Awards.) ”Peanuts Gallery,” a concerto, was composed by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1997. Mr. Schulz received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. In 1990 his work was shown at the Louvre; the gala had Snoopys in couture.

Many pundits tried to put their finger on the ”Peanuts” spell and they generally rambled on in a vaguely philosophical vein. Umberto Eco, who wrote the introduction to the first Italian ”Peanuts” book, referred to Mr. Schulz’s work as ”poesie interrompue,” or interrupted poetry, and, using Freud, Beckett, Adler and Thomas Mann to back him up, said, ”These children affect us because in a certain sense they are monsters; they are the monstrous infantile reductions of all the neuroses of a modern citizen of the industrial civilization.”

In an essay called ”Peanuts: The Americanization of Augustine,” Arthur Asa Berger, a scholar of popular culture, observed that Mr. Schulz was ”a mirthful moralist” and a master of Freudian humor, humor that ”serves to mask aggression.”

Mr. Berger called Snoopy ”an existential hero in every sense of the term,” a dog who ”strives, with dogged persistence and unyielding courage, to overcome what seems to be his fate — that he is a dog.” He is ”a bon vivant, he participates in history, he has an incredible imagination, he is witty, he expresses himself with virtuosity in any number of ways (eye movements, ear movements, tail movements, wisecracks, facial expressions) and he is superb as mimic and dancer.”

The most concerted attempt to bring ”Peanuts” to heel philosophically came in the 1960’s when Robert L. Short, a minister, wrote two books on ”Peanuts” theology, ”The Gospel According to Peanuts” (1964) and ”The Parables of Peanuts” (1968). The Rev. Short saw signs of original sin in the ”Peanuts” children, who were unable ”to produce any radical change for the better in themselves — or in each other.” He saw ”the hazard of worshiping deities” demonstrated in Linus’s belief in the Great Pumpkin. And he called Snoopy ”a typical Christian,” a flawed character who is nonetheless good: ”He is lazy, he is a ‘chow hound’ without parallel, he is bitingly sarcastic, he is frequently a coward,” Mr. Short wrote. But he is ”a hound of heaven.”

If the ”Peanuts” characters left themselves open to the maunderings of philosophers, ministers and analysts, they were even more vulnerable to toy, card, book and clothing manufacturers.

The licensing madness began in 1958 when the first plastic Snoopy and Charlie Brown came out. In 1960 Hallmark began printing ”Peanuts” cards and party goods. Then came sweatshirts and pajamas, thermoses and lunch boxes. Plush Snoopy came in 1965. Woodstock slippers, Lucy picture frames, Charlie Brown music boxes followed. Mr. Schulz vetted all products for appropriateness and rejected some: baby wipes for aesthetic reasons, ashtrays, vitamins, sugary breakfast cereals, ice skates and tennis rackets.

There were commercials too. In 1957 the ”Peanuts” characters started selling Ford Falcons. For 15 years they worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Snoopy was the official mascot of NASA, and in 1969 NASA’s lunar excursion module on the Apollo 11 mission was called Snoopy. The command module was Charlie Brown.

A Menagerie Of MerchandisingBy 1999 there were 20,000 different new products each year adorned by ”Peanuts” characters. In 1994 Mr. Schulz was inducted into the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association Hall of Fame. Jim Davis, the creator of the cartoon ”Garfield,” who is no stranger to commercialization, said, ”Schulz created the industry as far as cartooning and licensing go.”

When asked whether he minded his characters selling merchandise, Mr. Schulz said, ”I don’t think there’s such a thing as going commercial with a comic strip because a comic strip is a commercial right from the beginning.” It is there to sell newspapers, he said.

In 1989 Forbes listed the cartoonist among the ten wealthiest entertainers, earning $32 million a year.

Nonetheless his lifestyle remained simple. Mr. Schulz, who hated to travel, said he would have been happy living his whole life in Minneapolis. But ”I had a restless first wife,” so they moved to Sebastopol, Calif., and he set up his studio in Santa Rosa. In 1969, after the local ice rink closed, he and his wife, Joyce, built a new one, the Redwood Empire Ice Skating Arena. ”Because of Snoopy’s hockey playing,” Mr. Schulz explained, ”I have to keep in the game. So I bought an arena.”

Charles and Joyce Schulz had five children, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1972. He said, ”I don’t think she liked me anymore, and I just got up and left one day.” A year later he met Jeannie Clyde at the ice rink and married her.

Mr. Schulz’s workday typically began with a trip in his Mercedes (license plate WDSTK1, after Woodstock) down from the hills near where he lived, breakfast at the ice rink’s Warm Puppy Snack Bar, a trip to his stone-and-redwood studio at One Snoopy Place to draw his strip, lunch at the ice rink, more work in the afternoon in his studio and dinner at a restaurant with his wife.

While his small staff dealt with the commercial end of the business, he attended only to drawing. He used a yellow legal pad for sketching and drew with an Esterbrook Radial pen. He would start doodling until something funny happened. He never took suggestions from anyone (though he did draw on conversations, newspapers, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, and his children’s antics.

”Drawing a daily comic strip is not unlike having an English theme hanging over your head every day for the rest of your life,” he once said. He could do a strip an hour and six strips a day, but preferred not to. He generally kept three months ahead of publication and never took more than ten days off at a time, and then only reluctantly.

”Peanuts” continued to appear when Mr. Schulz had quadruple-bypass heart surgery in 1981. And it was only under orders from United Feature that he took off for five weeks in 1997 for his 75th birthday.

Jeannie Schulz once said that all the characters in ”Peanuts” are parts of her husband. ”He’s crabby like Lucy, diffident like Charlie Brown. There’s a lot of Linus — he’s philosophical and wondering about life.” Like Schroeder, he loved classical music, though he preferred Brahms to Beethoven. And like Snoopy, he was a war buff. Snoopy had all of World War I covered. But Mr. Schulz knew all the World War II battlegrounds and was the head of a capital fund-raising campaign for the National D-Day Memorial.

He was a member of the Church of God, where he was a Sunday school teacher and administrator and would occasionally deliver the Sunday sermon.

People described Mr. Schulz as looking like a druggist. He found Garry Trudeau’s ”Doonesbury” and Walt Kelly’s ”Pogo” too political, but he admired the work of Cathy Guisewite, the cartoonist who draws ”Cathy,” and Ms. Johnston, of ”For Better or for Worse.” His favorite ice cream flavor was vanilla.

Mr. Schulz is survived by his wife, a philanthropist, and his children: Meredith Hodges, who raises mules in Loveland, Colo.; Charles Jr. (called Monte), a novelist in Nevada City, Calif.; Craig, a private pilot in Santa Rosa; Amy Johnson, a homemaker with nine children in Alpine, Utah; and Jill Schulz Transki, who runs an in-line skating business with her husband in Santa Barbara, Calif. He is also survived by two stepchildren, Brooke Clyde, a lawyer in Santa Rosa, and Lisa Brockway, a homemaker in Ashland, Oregon; and 18 grandchildren.

Personal Anxieties Shared With MillionsDespite his large family and large success he was a melancholy man who worried and was often lonely, depressed and plagued by panic attacks, features that Rheta Grimsley Johnson brought out in her 1989 biography ”Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz.” Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister, put it well in a school report on night and day: ”Daytime is so you can see where you’re going. Nighttime is so you can lie in bed worrying.”

Mr. Schulz had a white terrier named Andy, played golf (12 handicap), tennis (for a while with Billie Jean King) and bridge. But he was most devoted to hockey and ice skating. He was a right-handed shot.

He hated cats, coconut and sleeping away from home. And he never forgot a slight. Ms. Johnston once said, ”He’s bitter about the little red-haired girl who didn’t marry him, he’s bitter about his divorce, he’s bitter about getting old.” And he was bitter about the lack of recognition cartoonists get. This is what he said about cartooning: ”It will destroy you. It will break your heart.”

The creator of one of the least troubled dogs of all time, Mr. Schulz compared his own panic to that of a dog ”running frantically down the road pursuing the family car.” The dog ”is not really being left behind,” he said, ”but for that moment in his limited understanding, he is being left alone forever.”

As Mr. Schulz got older he began to think about the end of his strip. His hand quavered, but he knew that he did not want anyone else to draw the cartoon. ”Everything has to end,” he once said. ”This is my excuse for existence. No one else will touch it.” In November he was hospitalized for colon cancer and started chemotherapy. On Dec. 14 he announced that his strip would end. But thoughts of death had long since seeped into his strip. ”After you’ve died, do you get to come back?” Linus once asked Charlie Brown. He replied, ”If they stamp your hand.”

Mr. Schulz always felt for the little man and the little animal. He once said that his philosophy of life could be found in the Gospel of St. Luke: ”It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

Intertwined Lives: Complex ‘Peanuts’ Personalities and Their Creator 

Charlie Brown Also known as Blockhead, Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, Chuck, Charles and Mr. Sack (which he was briefly called when he wore a sack over his head at camp to cover up a rash that looked like the stitching on a baseball).
First appearance Oct. 2, 1950.
Named for Charles M. Schulz’s acquaintance, Charlie Brown. (As Mr. Schulz remembered the namesake, ”He was a very bright young man with a lot of enthusiasm for life. I began to tease him about his love for parties and I used to say, ‘Here comes good ol’ Charlie Brown, now we can have a good time.’ ”)

Sister Sally

Unrequited love The Little Red-Haired Girl.
True friends Linus, various pen pals (beginning on Sept. 1, 1958).
Accomplishments Had numerous footballs pulled from under him by Lucy, beginning on Nov. 16, 1952. Managed baseball team that never won. Hit one home run, on March 30, 1993. (”Winning is great, but it isn’t funny,” Mr. Schulz explained.) Lost many kites to vicious trees. Served as camp president when he was known as Mr. Sack.
Traits Round-headed, plain, gentle, decent, optimistic, unpopular, anxious.

Snoopy 
Also known as World War I Flying Ace, Sugar Lips (he wished).
First appeared Oct. 4, 1950.
Born Daisy Hill Puppy Farm.
Owner Charlie Brown.
Siblings Spike, Belle, Marbles, Olaf, Andy.
Adopted by NASA, as a promotional stunt in 1968.
Accomplishments Walking on hind feet, thinking thoughts and sleeping on a pitched-roof doghouse, starting in 1960. (”There were other events, but the best thing I ever thought of was Snoopy using his own imagination,” Mr. Schulz said. ”I don’t recall how he got on top of the doghouse, but the first time he fell off, the strip ended with his saying, ‘Life is full of rude awakenings.’ ”) Battled the Red Baron from his Sopwith Camel doghouse, beginning on Oct. 10, 1965, often shouting his fighting words, ”Curse you, Red Baron.”
Occupations Surgeon (in order to wear green booties), artist, lawyer, beagle scout with bird troop, skating coach and, beginning on July 12, 1965, novelist (published ”It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” in 1971) and more than 100 other roles.
Traits Epicurean, worldly, debonair, confident, fanciful, insistent about supper.

Lucy Van Pelt 
Also known as Fussbudget and once called ”Crab grass on the lawn of life” by Linus.
First appearance March 3, 1952.
Inspiration Mr. Schulz’s daughter Meredith. (”We called our oldest daughter, Meredith, a fussbudget when she was very small.”)
Brothers Linus, Rerun
Unrequited love Schroeder (smitten on May 30, 1953).
Accomplishments Pulling numerous footballs out from under Charlie Brown, beginning on Nov. 16, 1952; ran curbside psychiatric clinic for five cents a visit, beginning on March 27, 1959; master of the short psychiatric session.
Famous words spoken to Snoopy on April 25, 1960, ”Happiness is a warm puppy.”
Traits Crabby, vain, loud, bossy, lousy outfielder.

Linus Van Pelt 
Also known as Sweet Babboo (by Sally).
First appearance Sept. 19, 1952.
Inspiration ”Linus came from a drawing that I made one day of a face almost like the one he now has,” Mr. Schulz said. ”I experimented with some wild hair.”
Named for Linus Maurer, a friend of Mr. Schulz’s.
Siblings Lucy and Rerun.
Mother Someone who puts strange notes in his lunch box.
Friend Charlie Brown.
Beloved teacher Miss Othmar.Accomplishments Carried his blanket everywhere, starting on Jan 1, 1955. (Mr. Schulz remembered, ”I did not know then that the term ‘security blanket’ would later become part of the American language.”) Sat in many a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin with no results, starting on Oct. 28, 1959, when he confused Halloween with Christmas. Knew when to quote St. Paul and other religious figures. Patted birds on head. Traits Philosophical, loyal, self-possessed, literate, adept with blanket on ball field.

Peppermint PattyAlso called ”Sir” (by Marcie), Patricia Reichardt (her real name).
First appearance Aug. 22, 1966.
Inspiration ”A dish of candy that was sitting around the house,” Mr. Schulz said.
Unrequited love Charlie Brown (Chuck).
True friend Marcie.
Accomplishments Earned many D-minuses; slept in every possible position on desk in front of Marcie in school and dreamed unhelpful dreams; once entered an ice-skating competition (coached by Snoopy) that turned out to be a roller-skating competition.
Traits Unruly hair, good athlete, tomboy.

SchroederFirst appearance May 30, 1951.
Inspiration ”A toy piano which we had bought for our oldest daughter, Meredith, eventually became the piano which Schroeder uses for his daily practicing,” Mr. Schulz said. Why Beethoven? ”It is funnier that way. My favorite composer is Brahms — I could listen to him all day — but Brahms isn’t a funny word, Beethoven is.”
Accomplishments Played Beethoven on toy piano with black keys painted on. Fended off Lucy’s amorous overtures.
Traits Focused, serious, handsome, single-minded.

Spike 
First appearance Aug. 13, 1975.
First mention Aug. 4, 1975.
Named for Mr. Schulz’s first dog. BrotherSnoopy.
Residence Lonely desert.
Nearest town Needles, Calif.
Friends Cactuses.
Accomplishments Lying on rocks; snuggling with tumbleweeds; brief stint in infantry.
Traits Tired eyes, droopy mustache, bored, blase.

Woodstock 
First appearance April 4, 1967.
Named June 22, 1970. ”For some time, a flock of birds had hung around Snoopy’s house,” Mr. Schulz said. ”One of them, particularly scatterbrained and clumsy, finally eclipsed the others.”
Friend Snoopy and various birds.
Accomplishments Birdbath hockey; camping; hiking; marshmallow roasts.Traits Communicating in tick marks, which Snoopy could understand.

Rerun 
First appearance March 26, 1973.
First mention May 23, 1972.
Named May 31, 1972.
Siblings Lucy and Linus.
Accomplishments Softening Lucy’s temper and surviving many rides in his mother’s dangerous bicycle seat. ”His only fear is being the passenger on one of his mother’s bicycle-riding errands,” Mr. Schulz said. ”Somehow, Rerun is the only witness to her riding into grates and potholes.”
Traits Often mistaken for Linus, but wore overalls and was more skeptical; longed for a dog of his own and occasionally borrowed Snoopy.

Marcie 
First appearance June 18, 1968, when she met Peppermint Patty at camp.
Best friend Peppermint Patty, whom she called Sir ”out of admiration and misguided manners,” Mr. Schulz said.
Accomplishments Sat behind Peppermint Patty at school and shared homework and test answers with her.
True love Charles (Charlie Brown).
Traits Glasses, brainy, naive, not sportive.

Little Red-Haired Girl 
First mention Nov. 11, 1963.
First appearance Never. Once seen in silhouette on May 25, 1998.
Inspiration Mr. Schulz’s ”real-life love for red-haired Donna Johnson, whom I courted when I was a young man in Saint Paul. She chose someone else as I was about to propose to her, and that broke my heart.”
Accomplishments Winning Charlie Brown’s heart.
Traits Never seen, often missed, cute.

Franklin 
First appearance July 31, 1968; he met Charlie Brown at the beach. (”They’d never met before because they went to different schools,” Mr. Schulz said of Franklin, an African-American character, ”but they had fun playing ball so Charlie Brown invited Franklin to visit him.”
Accomplishments Center fielder on baseball team. Quoted the Old Testament and talked about his grandfather.
Traits No anxieties or obsessions.

Sally 
First appearance Aug. 23, 1959.
Born May 26, 1959.
Named June 2, 1959.
Brother Charlie Brown.
Unrequited love Linus (Sweet Babboo).
Traits Romantic; flipped-up hair.

Pigpen 
First appearance July 13, 1954.
Accomplishments Remained dirty. Mr. Schulz called Pigpen a ” ‘human soil bank’ who raises a cloud of dust on a perfectly clean street and passes out gumdrops that are invariably black. . . . Whether in a driving rain or falling snow, Pigpen always leaves a cloud of dust behind him as he walks.”
Traits Awe-inspiring dirtiness.

Thank you Charles M. Schulz, for giving us Peanuts!

-photo from the Charles M. Schulz Museum