Friday, March 06, 2020

Music Friday: Hoping to Save His Relationship, Frankie Valli Points to a 'Little Chip of Diamond'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Frankie Valli makes a last-ditch attempt to save a failing relationship in his 1965 hit, "Let's Hang On!".

As the song begins, we learn that Valli's significant other is looking to "call it quits," but the falsetto-crooning frontman of The Four Seasons makes his case by pointing to the diamond ring on her finger.

He sings, "That little chip of diamond on your hand / Ain't a fortune, baby, but you know it stands (for the love) / A love to tie and bind us (such a love) / We just can't leave behind us / Baby (don't you go) / Baby (oh no no) / Baby, stay-ay."

Composed by Bob Crewe, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, "Let's Hang On!" was one of The Four Seasons' most memorable tunes, ascending to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Sixteen years later, Barry Manilow released his rendition of the song, but it only got to #32 on the Hot 100 chart.

According to music historians, the popularity of "Let's Hang On!" stems from several unique devices in the arrangement.

The first is Valli's three-line introduction: "There ain't no good in our goodbye-in' / True love takes a lot of tryin' / Oh I'm cryin'."

The next is the use of two fuzz guitars (with one musician playing high notes and the other playing low notes).

Still another is Valli's extreme falsetto, and the last is the use of backing vocals that provide counterpoint to Valli's main phrasing.

Founded in 1960, The Four Seasons included four Newark, N.J., natives: Bob Gaudio, Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi. The origins of the group are chronicled in the long-running Broadway musical, Jersey Boys.

The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and are credited with selling more than 100 million records. The 85-year-old frontman is still touring, with upcoming stops in Thousand Oaks, CA; Windsor, Ontario; Orillia, Ontario; Las Vegas, NV; Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY; Kingston, NY; and Port Chester, NY.

Trivia: Frankie Valli's real name is Frank Castelluccio. The inspiration for his stage name came from the female country singer Texas Jean Valley.

Please check out the audio track of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons singing "Let's Hang On!". The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Let's Hang On!"
Written by Bob Crewe, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell. Performed by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

There ain't no good in our goodbye-in'
True love takes a lot of tryin'
Oh I'm cryin'

Let's hang on to what we've got
Don't let go, girl, we've got a lot
Got a lot of love between us
Hang on, hang on, hang on to what we got
Dooh doo, dooh doo, dooh doo

You say you're gonna go and call it quits
Gonna chuck it all and break our love to bits (breaking' up)
I wish you'd never said it (breakin' up)
Oh no, we'll both regret it

That little chip of diamond on your hand
Ain't a fortune, baby, but you know it stands (for the love)
A love to tie and bind us (such a love)
We just can't leave behind us
Baby (don't you go)
Baby (oh no no)
Baby, stay-ay

Let's hang on to what we've got
Don't let go, girl, we've got a lot
Got a lot of love between us
Hang on, hang on, hang on, to what we've got
Dooh doo, dooh doo, dooh doo

There isn't anything I wouldn't do
I'd pay any price to get in good with you (patch it up)
Give me a second turnin' (patch it up)
Don't cool off while I'm burnin'

You've got me cryin' dyin' at your door
Don't shut me out, ooh let me in once more (open up)
Your arms I need to hold you (open up)
Your heart, oh girl I told you
Baby (don't you go)
Baby (oh no no)
Baby, stay

Let's hang on to what we've got, girl
Don't let go, girl, we've got a lot
Got a lot of love between us
Hang on, hang on, hang on, to what we've got
Dooh doo, dooh doo, dooh doo

Credits: Screen capture via

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Here’s One More Reason for Proposal Procrastinators to Finally Put a Ring on It

Despite the best of intentions, many young suitors let the winter season slip away without proposing to the loves of their lives. They couldn't gather enough courage on Christmas Day (the single most popular time of the year to pop the question) and missed a wonderful opportunity on New Year's Eve. Then, Valentine's Day came along and, once again, the day passed with no glittering diamond and no pledge of eternal love.

For those needing a little more motivation, the calendar is about to deliver another fabulous reason for lovers to take a deep breath, get down on one knee and change their lives forever. Friday, March 20 is National Proposal Day.

Conceived by John Michael O’Loughlin decades ago as a perfect time for procrastinators to finally ask for their partners’ hand in marriage, National Proposal Day has slowly become an accepted part of our holiday lexicon.

O’Loughlin was motivated to push for this special day after watching his cousin wait years for a proposal that never came. He felt that a day earmarked for proposals would put a fire under some partners who have waited a bit too long to pop the question.

O’Loughlin scheduled National Proposal Day to fall on the first day of spring, which also represents the vernal equinox (the special time of the year when day and night are equal lengths across the globe). O’Loughlin reasoned that the vernal equinox symbolizes “the equal efforts of the two required to comprise the successful marriage.”

(The first day of spring generally falls on March 20, but due to 2020 being leap year, spring will arrive on March 19).

Of course, the autumnal equinox — another perfectly balanced day — carries the same symbolism as the spring version, so there is a second National Proposal Day set for the first day of fall, September 22.

National Proposal Day is promoted as a worldwide event, and O’Loughlin encourages romantic couples to meet up with like-minded friends via social media using #proposalday or #NationalProposalDay.

O’Loughlin clarified that March 20 doesn’t have to end with a proposal. Couples can use it, instead, to spark a conversation about their future together.

WeddingWire’s recently published “Newlywed Report” revealed that 8% of the year's marriage proposals occur during the month of March. We're guessing that a great portion of those will be slated for March 20.

Credit: Image by

Monday, March 02, 2020

Stanford Scientists Transform Fossil Fuel Molecules Into Pure Diamond

A new study from Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory reveals how — with the right amount of pressure and a modest amount of heat — a substance found in crude oil and natural gas can be transformed into pure diamond. The findings were published February 21 in the journal Science Advances.

“Starting with these building blocks, you can make diamond more quickly and easily, and you can also learn about the process in a more complete, thoughtful way than if you just mimic the high pressure and high temperature found in the part of the Earth where diamond forms naturally,” said Wendy Mao, a Stanford mineral physicist who heads the lab where the study’s experiments were performed.

The research team began with three types of powder refined from petroleum. The odorless, slightly sticky powders resemble rock salt, but with atoms arranged in the same spatial pattern of those that make up diamond crystal. Unlike diamond, which is pure carbon, the powders (called diamondoids) also contain hydrogen.

The diamondoid samples were guided into a small pressure chamber called a diamond anvil cell, which pressed the powder between two polished diamonds. With a turn of a screw, the device mimicked the intense pressure found deep within the Earth. After squeezing the diamondoid samples and blasting them with a laser, a second, cooler laser beam was used to help shape the resulting diamond. Finally, results were examined through a battery of tests and computer models, which helped to explain how the transformation had unfolded.

“A fundamental question we tried to answer is whether the structure, or number of cages, affects how diamondoids transform into diamond,” said study senior author Yu Lin, a staff scientist in the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The three-cage diamondoid, called triamantane, was found to reorganize itself into diamond with little energy.

At 1160 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature of red-hot lava) plus 20 gigapascals, a pressure hundreds of thousands of times greater than Earth’s atmosphere, triamantane’s carbon atoms snap into alignment and its hydrogen scatters, falling away. The transformation was both immediate and direct.

If you can make even small amounts of this pure diamond, then you can dope it in controlled ways for specific applications,” said Lin.

Throughout history, diamond has served as a powerful symbol of love, power, and beauty. Natural diamonds form hundreds of miles beneath the Earth's surface, under extreme heat and pressure that causes carbon to crystalize. Those seen above ground were likely propelled upwards through ancient volcanic eruptions.

For more than 60 years, scientists have been turning various substances into synthetic diamonds through methods involving massive amounts of energy and time. The Stanford researchers sought to find a simpler method.

“We wanted to see just a clean system, in which a single substance transforms into pure diamond — without a catalyst,” said the study’s lead author, Sulgiye Park, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford Earth.

According to the study, the mechanisms for this transformation will be important for scientific and industrial applications. This is because diamond’s physical properties of extreme hardness, optical transparency, chemical stability, and high thermal conductivity make it particularly valuable for medicine, industry, technology and biological sensing.

“What’s exciting about this paper is it shows a way of cheating the thermodynamics of what’s typically required for diamond formation,” said Stanford geologist Rodney Ewing, a co-author on the paper.

The minute sample size inside a diamond anvil cell makes this approach impractical for synthesizing much more than the specks of diamond that the Stanford team produced in the lab, Mao added.

“But now we know a little bit more about the keys to making pure diamonds,” she said.

Credit: Image by Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 / CC BY-SA.