65. The Twenty Top Singers Of All Time


New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, poetry, children’s literature, movies, television, books, and the Arts that this column presents. The section will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.

Educational Website…
Please, also, check out my educational website at aimtjp.wikispaces.com. No www. is needed. If you have any teachers or children in the family, they will enjoy it immensely. There are tons of immediately ready to use ideas in reading, children’s literature, Internet explorations, problem solving, and poetry on the opening screen and in the Public Dropbox. Teachers from throughout the area have contributed creative lessons, creative games, and book talks to the site.

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Movies…Sapphires…The year is 1968. An Australian girl group is singing country and western and getting nowhere professionally. The group needs direction and a mentor. Dave, played by Chris O’Dowd (last seen in Bridesmaids) provides both. He changes their singing and performing style. He gives them Motown, moves, and piano backup. As their manager and protector he is looking for what comes next.

Voila! A newspaper ad asking for performers in Vietnam appears. Vietnam and big break do not sound familiar. Breaks come in all forms. They grabbed this one.

The newly reconstructed girl group tries out in front of the army’s Vietnam Tour selection committee. It is composed of military brass (2) and a brassette (1). Brassette is a word we made up for female army brass. They win the tour gig with a soulful song. Dave takes them to Vietnam to entertain the troops, fall in love, and further understand life’s trials and tribulations….and the meaning of the soul in the songs they are singing. They do cut loose and bring down their military audiences.

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The soundtrack pieces on YouTube from the movie were outstanding. Jessica Mauboy, the group’s lead, will hold your attention with everything she sings.

The movie is based on a true story and the stage play of the same name. The Internet and Google images have some amazing pictures of the original group. The movie looks to be a real sleeper. The Commitments and other groups and bands “making a difference” movies will come to mind. Put this one on your movie schedule and let us know what you think.


Otis Redding And Elvis Presley…Both Otis Redding and Elvis Presley recorded for Stax Records. The big question is did they ever record together, other than a reported eight hour of off the cuff late night session? Everyone says there are recordings of their sessions. Where? Help audiophiles?

Listen to Otis Redding’s Remember Me and It’s Too Late. They are two songs of break-up, Motown, and the Blues that are often overlooked when critics describe his greatest hits. Then listen to I Can’t Turn You Loose, Respect, and Shake to bring you back to life or start your next party.

Rolling Stone Magazine called Otis Redding, at number 8, one of the top twenty singers of all time in their 2008 musical bio-picks titled: The 20 Greatest Singers of All Time. You will be surprised at their selections.

1 | Aretha Franklin
2 | Ray Charles
3 | Elvis Presley
4 | Sam Cooke
5 | John Lennon
6 | Marvin Gaye
7 | Bob Dylan
8 | Otis Redding
9 | Stevie Wonder
10 | James Brown
11 | Paul McCartney
12 | Little Richard
13 | Roy Orbison
14 | Al Green
15 | Robert Plant
16 | Mick Jagger
17 | Tina Turner
18 | Freddie Mercury
19 | Bob Marley
20 | Smokey Robinson

Dinosaurs…Their Extinction…We can all sleep tight tonight! Our worries are over! It is finally official. Dinosaurs were not made to be extinct by an asteroid 67 million years ago. The real culprit was a comet. Don’t jump on me. This was the leading story when AOL opened this morning. We will keep you up to date after all the dust clears from the original collision with the Earth. We will wait till the hole the comet made in Mexico is filled in before continuing this discussion, too. Stay tuned!!!

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Books…Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, illustrations by Bryan Collier…Rosa is a Coretta Scott King award winner and Caldecott Honor book. It is the story of Rosa Parks and how one person can make a difference in our world. There is so much to like in the book from Nikki Giovanni’s description of the events, to Martin Luther King, Jr. words of support, to the memorable last page illustration.


The book choice is a great fit to Salute To Women’s Month and Black History Month, though it is greater fit for every month of the year. When John Carlos held up his black gloved hand at the Olympics award presentation, you could visualize Rosa’s hand as a tired Rosa held on to the bus belt that gave her weary body support when she was standing instead of sitting.

Ad Nikki Grimes to your reading lists, too. She is excellent in everything she does from poetry to story about high school students. Today is “Support A Nikki” Day. The Nicky must be spelled Nikki, though.


Television…Revolution And The VoiceSeason two of the Revolution with Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, and Giancarlo Esposito starts tomorrow on NBC. The Voice with their new line-up begins at nine and is followed by Revolution at ten.


The world is without power and anarchy reigns supreme in Revolution for those of you that have not seen it yet. NBC has a number of past shows on their site. Tracy Spiridakos plays Charlie a teen who is trying to make a difference while finding a way to re-powerize everything. Her mother may be the key1 Or not! As was highlighted in past columns she is the Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) of television. She, also, looks like the cover girl on Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. Tiger Eyes is the best of Judy Blume’s books and a favorite from years ago.

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Brain Power…The Writing Project Continued…Every issue of this column presents in puzzle, game, poetry, or creative writing form some little challenge that will keep you mentally sharp. The top index bar of this column has over one hundred of these creative encounters.  If you teach or are home schooling members of your family, these ideas are perfect for young and old alike. Past columns have recommended that you keep a writing or activity journal. Hopefully, you will rekindle an old love of poetry and writing or discover a new interest and skill. Cancel hang gliding this week and write the beginning of that book you said you were always going to do! Call mom, too!

Polar Writing…Try a Polar Writing activity for today’s challenge. I have placed it on the column in a form you can copy for a home schooled child or classroom of students.


Opposite/Polar/Oxymoron Writing

Katy Perry in talking about her 2009 song ‘I Kissed A Girl’ said she copied the idea (or not) for her line three (boldfaced below) from the beginning of Charles Dickens Tale Of Two Cities. She thanked (or not) her 11th grade English Literature teacher, Sarah Johnson, for the inspiration for her song. She did not, however, share any of the royalties from this mega-hit with her former teacher. The country singer, Jessie James, in her song I Look So Good Without You, said the break-up with her boyfriend made her sad and glad at the same time and listed all the great things she is doing now that her boyfriend is gone.

 This type of poetry and writing has a number of names as you can see from this activities title. Even an oxymoron like cold shrimp or dark light has the same characteristics as the highlighted lines below and the sad and glad above. The concept is designed to pull your mind in two different directions at the same time. It also gives you two opposing choices. The ‘or not’ after a statement of fact, that was presented above, serves the same purpose.

Katy Perry/I Kissed A Girl

I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.
It felt so wrong, it felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight.

Charles Dickens/Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.


Jessie James/I Look So Good Without You

I look so good without you.
Got a new hairdo.
Looking fresh and brand new.
Since you said we were through.

 Read the first chapter of Tale of Two Cities to see if you can pick up any other of Dicken’s literary techniques or ideas about the French Revolution. Compose an ‘Opposites’ of your own like: Donovan McNabb, the strongest of quarterbacks, the most fragile of quarterbacks; Rihanna, the best of divas, the worst of divas; hurricanes, nature at its fiercest, nature at its calmest; Keats, the best of poets, the worst of poets.

Team up with three classmates, writing in the same area, and present your choices as a debate/rap war. Quarterbacks (McNabb, Brady, Flacco, Manning I/II); Divas (Beyonce, Rihanna, Perry, Carey, Madonna); Presidents (Nixon, Ford, Kennedy, Obama, Bush) or…

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, the arts, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a strong foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.

New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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