Friday, February 07, 2020

Music Friday: Joan Baez Recounts a Call From Bob Dylan in 1975's 'Diamonds & Rust'

Welcome to Music Friday when we feature classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, folk music legend Joan Baez recounts an unexpected phone call from former lover Bob Dylan in her hauntingly beautiful 1975 ballad, "Diamonds & Rust."

Baez and Dylan had been in a relationship 10 years earlier, and Dylan's call sparks a cascade of memories — both uplifting and heartbreaking — that are symbolically reflected in the title of the song and the following lyrics...

She sings, "Ten years ago / I bought you some cufflinks / You brought me something / We both know what memories can bring / They bring diamonds and rust."

Baez goes on to tell the story of the "unwashed phenomenon" and "original vagabond" who strayed into her arms. She sweetly recalls how his eyes were bluer than robin's eggs. She also explains how he seemed "temporarily lost at sea" and how she did her best to keep him unharmed. Sadly, the relationship wasn't reciprocal and the couple parted ways.

When Dylan placed the surprise call to Baez in 1974, she sensed his life was "heading straight for a fall." Music historians believe this was a time when Dylan's marriage was on the rocks and he was looking to rekindle his relationship with Baez.

But, as we see in the last line of the song, Dylan's outreach is strongly rebuked. With nothing left to give him, she sings, "It's all come back too clearly / Yes I loved you dearly / And if you're offering me diamonds and rust / I've already paid."

Often regarded as one of her best compositions, "Diamonds and Rust" topped out at #5 on the Billboard U.S. Adult Contemporary chart and #14 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. It was also the title song of Baez's gold-selling album, which was released in 1975.

When introducing "Diamonds & Rust" at live performances, Baez describes Dylan as "by far, the most talented and crazy person I've ever worked with."

Joan Chandos Baez, who was born in Staten Island, N.Y., in 1941, is best remembered for her folk music performances of the 1960s, which included 14 songs at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. After 60 years of performing, Baez announced her retirement in 2019.

Please check out the audio track of Baez performing "Diamonds & Rust." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamonds & Rust"
Written and performed by Joan Baez.

Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid

Credit: Image by Rowland Scherman [Public domain].

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Domino's Is Giving Away a Pizza-Slice Engagement Ring Topped With Diamonds and Rubies

Pizza lovers looking to pop the question this Valentine's Day have an opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind, pizza-slice engagement ring topped with bubbly diamond "cheese" and ruby "pepperoni."

Via its Twitter page, Domino's Australia made this punny announcement on Monday: "Does someone have a 'pizza' your heart? We're giving one lucky pizza lover the chance to pop the question with this diamond pizza slice engagement ring!"

In order to win, contestants must submit a 30-second video detailing how they will involve pizza in their proposal. The entry form is here...

Fabricated in 18-karat white and yellow gold, the ring has a value of AU$9,000, which is equivalent to about US$6,000.

In a pun-packed description of the contest, Domino's wrote, "Think you've found your slice of heaven and are ready to say, 'I cheese you'? We're giving one lucky pizza lover the chance to make a truly dough-mantic proposal this Valentine’s Day."

The clever design features a triangular "slice" of yellow gold pizza garnished with three pieces of ruby "pepperoni" of varying sizes and six smaller accent diamonds that look like bubbling cheese. One might describe the ring as diamond "en-crust-ed."

“Pizza is made to be shared with the ones we love," Domino’s chief marketing officer Allan Collins told, "so this year we want to honor that with something really special and help create the greatest, if not the cheesiest, proposal ever!”

This is not the first time the worldwide Domino's chain has promoted a pizza ring in the lead-up to Valentine's Day. In 2017, Domino’s in the UK celebrated the romantic season by giving away a one-of-kind, 22-karat pizza-themed engagement ring topped with four diamond "pepperoni" slices.

Domino’s own study revealed that 72% of Brits were planning to eat in on Valentine’s Day, with 6% of men planning to pop the question during the meal. The company's Facebook page said the engagement ring promotion was "probably the most taste-ful way to seal the deal, ever!

Founded in 1960, Domino’s has 16,500 stores in 85 countries. The company employs 400,000 and generates annual sales of $13.5 billion. That’s a lot of pizza.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Domino’s.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Original Concept for the NFL's Vince Lombardi Trophy Was Sketched on a Napkin in 1966

When Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head after last night’s 31-20 defeat of the San Francisco 49ers in Miami, he was celebrating with a 6.7-pound sterling silver icon whose unique shape was sketched on the back of a cocktail napkin by Tiffany & Co. design chief Oscar Riedener in 1966.

Handcrafted out of sheets of silver in a painstaking process that takes four months, the Vince Lombardi Trophy stands 20.75 inches tall and depicts a football in a kicking position on a tapered three-sided stand. The words “Vince Lombardi Trophy” along with the "LIV" Roman numerals of the year’s Super Bowl are engraved on the piece. Also on the base is the emblem of the National Football League.

Each year, the trophy is awarded right after the big game in an elaborate ceremony, but it eventually makes its way back to Tiffany's hollowware shop in Parsippany, N.J., to be engraved with the names of the participating teams, the date, location of the Super Bowl game and the game’s final score. The winning team gets to keep the trophy.

On the day of the Super Bowl, CBS Sunday Morning co-host Tony Dokoupil spoke with Tiffany artisans and silversmiths about how the iconic trophy comes together. In the video, below, we watch a "master spinner" heating sheets of sterling silver to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit until it is soft enough to shape. He then works the material on a lathe until it looks like a football.

Next, a silversmith hammers the delicate designs on the ball's seams, including the laces, using a technique called chasing. Meanwhile, another master silversmith cuts and solders the three-sided base and then bathes it in acid to clean the silver for polishing and final assembly.

According to the official Pro Football Hall of Fame website, then-commissioner Pete Rozelle was tasked with coming up with a trophy for the first-ever AFL-NFL Championship Game, which would take place in January of 1967. Former NFL Executive Director Don Weiss, in his book The Making of the Super Bowl, said Rozelle wanted the trophy to be aligned with his vision of everything about the game being first class.

Rozelle contacted Tiffany & Co., which arranged a meeting with its head of design, Riedener. Ironically, the designer was a native of Switzerland and knew nothing about American football. After the meeting with Rozelle, Reidener visited the New York headquarters of the famous toy store FAO Schwartz and bought a football. The next morning he put the ball on his kitchen table, opened a box of cornflakes and stared at the football while eating his breakfast.

Upon finishing his cornflakes, he used a pair of scissors to cut up the empty box, transforming it into a three-sided trophy base atop which the football could sit.

At lunch a few of days later with Rozelle and a delegation from Tiffany’s, Riedener drew a sketch of his design on a cocktail napkin. Rozelle liked it and the rest is history.

The "World Championship Game Trophy" was officially renamed in 1970 to honor the memory of Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, who led his team to victory in the first two Super Bowls.

At today's spot price of silver, the precious metal content of the Vince Lombardi Trophy is worth just shy of $2,000. The Pro Football Hall of Fame reports that the value of the trophy is in excess of $10,000, but other outlets put that value at $50,000 or more.

Check out CBS Sunday Morning's feature story below...

Credits: Screen captures via Sunday Morning.