Friday, March 24, 2017

Music Friday: Cher Is Wearing Sonny's Ring in 1965's #1 Hit, 'I Got You Babe'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we zoom back to the summer of 1965 — a time of hippies, bell bottoms, flower power and a chart-topping duo named Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You Babe."

In this love song about a young couple willing to challenge societal norms, Cher famously tells Sonny, "So let them say your hair’s too long / ‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong." In the jewelry reference, Sonny sings, “I got flowers in the spring. I got you to wear my ring.”

Written by Sonny Bono, "I Got You Babe" was the duo's biggest single and signature song. It ascended to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charted in 18 countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

Sonny revealed in a 1966 interview that the song was inspired by first-hand experiences.

"I know what it is like to be kicked around because you dress differently," Sonny told Musical Express. "I know what it is like to see the girl you love hurt because a hotel refuses you admission because of your dress. I know what it is like to have that one person stand by you. There are a lot of other people who have experienced these things and I'm trying to put our feelings into words for everyone."

Despite being named one of the greatest duets of all times by both Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines, "I Got You Babe" was nearly thrown on the scrap heap.

Apparently, Ahmet Ertegun, the head of Atco Records, didn't really care for the song, and was planning to relegate it to the "B" side of Sonny & Cher's single, "It's Gonna Rain."

Even Cher admitted that she was hardly enthusiastic when she sang it for the first time. Sonny agreed to change the key in the bridge to suit Cher's range and then she loved it.

Sonny was sure they had a hit, but Ertegun was still not convinced. Sonny pitched the song to the program director of Los Angeles radio station KHJ. He made a deal that allowed the station to have the song exclusively if they played it once an hour.

The station's listeners couldn't get enough of "I Got You Babe" and Ertegun finally agreed to publish it as the "A" side.

“I Got You Babe” had a key role in the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, as Bill Murray, playing an arrogant TV weatherman, finds himself reliving February 2 in a perpetual time loop. Every morning at exactly six o’clock Murray wakes to the clock-radio playing the Sonny & Cher ditty.

Check out the video of Sonny & Cher performing “I Got You Babe.” The lyrics are below, but you probably already know the words. "They say we're young and we don't know…"

“I Got You Babe”
Written by Sonny Bono. Performed by Sonny & Cher.

[HER:] They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
[HIM:] Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HER:] They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
[HIM:] I guess that’s so, we don’t have a pot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got flowers in the spring I got you to wear my ring
[HER:] And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around
[HER:] So let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
[HIM:] Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got you to hold my hand
[HER:] I got you to understand
[HIM:] I got you to walk with me
[HER:] I got you to talk with me
[HIM:] I got you to kiss goodnight
[HER:] I got you to hold me tight
[HIM:] I got you, I won’t let go
[HER:] I got you to love me so

[BOTH:] I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lucky Pastor Pulls 706-Carat Diamond From a River Bed in Sierra Leone

Using only his bare hands and a sieve, pastor and part-time miner Emmanuel Momoh pulled a 706-carat diamond from the sediment of a river bed in Sierra Leone. About the size of a hockey puck, the diamond is the second-largest ever found in this western African nation and ranks as one of the top-10 largest rough diamonds ever recorded.

Momoh possessed a permit to mine for diamonds along the rivers of Kono in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, according to CNN. Kono is the largest diamond-producing region in the country.

While diamonds are usually found within kimberlite pipes, over time, the pipes can be eroded by rivers and the diamonds will be washed down stream. It is extraordinarily rare to find an alluvial diamond that weighs hundreds of carats.

As is required by Sierra Leone law, Momoh handed his lucky find over to the government. He will be entitled to a portion of the final sale, which could tally into the millions of dollars. The Sierra Leone government is currently having the stone appraised and evaluated.

The Star of Sierra Leone, a 969.9-carat diamond discovered in 1972, was purchased by Harry Winston for $2.5 million. The rough diamond resulted in 17 individual finished gems, 13 of which were rated flawless. The largest finished stone of the group was a pear-shaped gem weighing 53.96 carats.

Winston's seemingly modest purchase price shows just how far diamond valuations have come since 1972.

Just last year, "The Constellation," an 813-carat gem-quality rough diamond, was sold for a record-setting $63 million. Also in 2016, bidding for the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona reached $61 million, but failed to meet the reserve price at Sotheby's London.

Sierra Leone's president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma praised pastor Momoh for his honesty. Miners with less integrity might have been tempted to smuggle the diamond out of the country. Instead, the government will supervise the sale of the stone and distribute the proceeds accordingly.

Said Koroma during a press conference, "I believe a diamond like this should be publicly sold in the country so we know the value of it."

The president wants to be transparent about who will buy the stone, what it will sell for and the amount that is due to the government. Apparently, some of the proceeds are already earmarked to fund development projects nationwide.

Screen captures via YouTube.com. Map by Google Maps.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Australian Mining Company Unearths Five Ultra-Rare Green Diamonds

The Merlin Diamond Mine in Australia's Northern Territory has yielded not one — but five — ultra-rare green diamonds, the largest of which weighs 1.42 carats. The discoveries are noteworthy because barely a handful of green diamonds are introduced to the market each year and the finest-quality ones can fetch upwards of $3 million per carat.

Mining company Merlin Diamonds Ltd. announced that the five diamonds — some described as intense green — were all discovered at the Kaye Pit, about 80km south of Borroloola near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Additional green gems were also pulled from the mine and were being validated as diamonds by independent gemological experts, according to the company.

The green diamond revelations are the latest in a string of good news for the mining operation. Merlin, which was already known for its high-quality, large, super-white gems, discovered a rare blue diamond in December and a 35.26-carat brown diamond in January. Australia's largest diamond, a 104.73-carat stone, also originated at the Merlin Diamond Mine, which was purchased from Rio Tinto in 2004.

When it comes to fancy-colored diamonds, the two rarest colors are red and green. Green diamonds owe their color to the natural radiation present during their formation inside the earth. Green diamonds can range from light mint green to vivid grass green. The value increases with the intensity of the color.

An excellent example of a fancy vivid green diamond is the 5.03-carat "Aurora Green," which sold for $16.82 million at Christie's Hong Kong in May of 2016. It is the most expensive green diamond ever sold at auction and the largest natural fancy, vivid green diamond known to exist.

Credits: Rough diamond image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds Ltd.; Map by Googlemaps; Aurora Green image courtesy of Christie’s.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Music Friday: Justin Bieber Vows to Be Your Platinum, Your Silver, Your Gold in 'As Long As You Love Me'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, platinum, silver and gold take center stage in Justin Bieber's 2012 hit, "As Long as You Love Me," a song about how true love conquers all.

The 23-year-old Canadian-born superstar uses three noble metals to illustrate the power of love.

He vows, "As long as you love me / We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke / As long as you love me / I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold / As long as you love, love me, love me."

One might wonder why an artist with a net worth estimated at $225 million would co-write a song referencing homelessness and going hungry, but Bieber did, in fact, endure a hardscrabble youth being raised by a single mom in low-income housing.

"As Long as You Love Me" is the third track of Bieber's third studio album, Believe. Both the single and the album were huge commercial successes, with "As Long as You Love Me" charting in 20 countries and Believe making its debut at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.

Born in London, Ontario, Canada, in 1994, Justin Drew Bieber loved to perform as a kid. In early 2007, he placed second in a local singing competition. Bieber's mom, Pattie, posted a video of his performance on YouTube, and then added videos of her precocious son singing covers of various R&B songs. By sheer serendipity, a music executive happened upon one of them.

Music legend states that Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on one of Bieber's videos  — thinking he was watching a 20-year-old doing a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect." The impressive performer was, in fact, the 12-year-old Bieber.

Braun tracked down the youngster in Canada, and with the permission of Bieber’s mom, introduced him to singer-songwriter Usher, who soon became his mentor. Bieber was then signed by record executive L.A. Reid and the rest is Bieber history.

Despite his young age, Bieber already has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments. He has sold an estimated 100 million records, making him the best-selling male Canadian artist and one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

He is the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as well as the first artist to surpass 10 billion total video views on Vevo. He has nearly 78.1 million “likes” on Facebook, 92.4 million followers on Twitter and 80.7 million followers on Instagram.

We hope you enjoy the video of Bieber's acoustic version of "As Long As You Love Me." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"As Long As You Love Me"
Written by Nasri Atweh, Rodney Jerkins, Sean Anderson, Andre Lindal and Justin Bieber. Performed by Justin Bieber.

As long as you love me (love me, love me)
As long as you love me (love me, love me)
As long as you love me

I'm under pressure,
Seven billion people in the world trying to fit in
Keep it together,
Smile on your face even though your heart is frowning
But hey now, you know girl,
We both know it's a cruel world
But I will take my chances

As long as you love me
We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
As long as you love, love me, love me
As long as you love, love me, love me

I'll be your soldier, fighting every second of the day for your dreams girl
I'll be your Hova, you can be my Destiny's Child on a stinger
So don't stress, don't cry, we don't need no wings to fly
Just take my hand

As you love me we could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
As long as you love, love me, love me
As long as you love, love me,

I don't know if this makes sense, but you're my hallelujah
Give me a time and place, and I'll rendezvous, and I'll fly you to it,
I'll beat ya there
Girl you know I got you
Us, trust
A couple of things I can't spell without you
Now we are on top of the world, 'cause that's just how we do
Used to tell me sky's the limit, now the sky's our point of view
Man now we stepping out like whoa (oh God)
Camera's point and shoot,
Ask me what's my best side, I stand back and point at you, you
You the one that I argue with, I feel like I need a new girl to be bothered,
But the grass ain't always greener on the other side,
It's green where you water it
So I know we got issues baby true true true
But I'd rather work on this with you
Than to go ahead and start with someone new
As long as you love me

As you love me we could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
As long as you love, love me,
As long as you love, love me

As long as you love me
I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
Love me,
As long as you love, love me,
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love me

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Photographer Delivers Spectacular Northern Lights Marriage Proposal — on His Second Try

Nine months ago, Australian landscape photographer Dale Sharpe planned to pop the question to his photographer girlfriend, Karlie Russell, under the Northern Lights in Iceland. Together, they had shot the colorful Aurora borealis more than 30 times, so Sharpe decided that the Lights would be the perfect backdrop for a surprise marriage proposal.

To maintain the element of surprise, Sharpe cleverly hid a $4,000 diamond engagement ring in a lotion bottle on their trip northward. While making a connecting flight from the Faroe Islands, the couple was forced to cut weight and Russell unknowingly discarded the lotion bottle and her engagement ring.

When Russell told her boyfriend that she offloaded the lotion bottle, he didn't let on that the ring was inside.

“I politely said, ‘That’s OK,’ while internally screaming,” Dale told the Huffington Post. “I couldn’t really tell her and ruin my proposal plan.”

On Monday, March 6, Sharpe and Russell, partners at DK Photography on Australia's picturesque Gold Coast in Queensland, were back on the Arctic Circle, not in Iceland, but in the Lofoten Islands of Norway. Sharpe had saved up to purchase a new ring and the Aurora, it seemed, was ready to reward his persistence.

“It was the most amazing display of color in the Aurora that we’ve ever seen,” Sharpe told the Daily Mail Australia.

“I tricked Karlie into believing we were shooting a selfie & used a torch to light us up for the image," Sharpe noted on the DK Photography Facebook page. "Much to her shock, it wasn't any normal selfie, and much to my shock, she said yes!"

The resulting shot of Sharpe on bended knee popping the question to Russell is breathtaking, so much so that it has caught the attention of high-profile websites, such as Huffington Post, Daily Mail, ABC News and Brides.com.

Sharpe and Russell, who have been dating for seven years, have amassed a gorgeous portfolio. They share a strong passion for landscape, seascape and astrophotography. Their adventures have taken them throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Asia and multiple sites along the Arctic Circle.

Their work — some of it bordering on the surreal — can be seen on Instagram, Facebook, and at their website. The couple has no immediate wedding plans.

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/DK.Photography.com.au; dk-photography.com.au.