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Diving back into history may be delightful or dismaying. KNKX's Nick Morrison delivers a daily dose of it with his signature humor and skepticism. Here's what happened on this day.

March 3: Recording "Minnie The Moocher" and an aviation record

Steve Fossett
Eduardo Di Baia
American balloonist Steve Fossett inspects his craft, the Solo Spirit, at the Malvinas soccer stadium in Mendoza, Argentina, Aug., 7, 1998. Among Fossett's aviation records, he completed the first nonstop solo flight around the world in 2005. Fossett died in a plane crash in 2007.

MARCH 3 — On this day in 1845, a German mathematician named Georg Cantor was born. He came up with something called "set theory" which I can’t begin to understand—something about transfinite numbers and degrees of infinity. I’m sure we’re all better off thanks to his hard work, but I want nothing to do with it. Let’s go for something more graspable by normal brains...

March 3 is also the date that a guy named Steve Fossett completed the first nonstop solo flight around the world. This was in 2005. It took him over two and a half days to make the flight from Salina, Kansas…back to Salina, Kansas. My question is this: “What was the use?” I mean, Steve was a filthy rich commodities trader and could of course, spend his money any way he wanted. Still, I think I’m in the majority when I say that if I were a filthy rich commodities trader, I’d want to fly from Salina, Kansas to Fiji or someplace like that…and maybe just stay there. No offense to Kansas.

When singer/bandleader, Cab Calloway recorded "Minnie The Moocher" on this day in 1931, he probably didn’t know it’d follow him to his grave, but it sort of did. And by all indications, Cab wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a HUGE success.

When the song was released later that year, it sold like hotcakes—over a million units. And I suppose it ‘sells’ to this day. Calloway certainly had to sell it every time he got onstage, sometimes twice. Once to open the show, once to close the show. Fans just couldn’t get enough of the old ‘hi-dee-ho.’ A lot of folks today were introduced to Cab Calloway and "Minnie The Moocher" in the 1980 John Landis film, The Blues Brothers. Calloway performs with exuberance, as if he’d just thought it up.

In researching this song, I learned that Calloway also recorded a disco version of the song in the late 1970s. I listened to it so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s the original:

Nick began working at KNKX as a program host in the late 1980’s and, with the exception of a relatively brief hiatus, has been with the station ever since. Along with his work as a Midday Jazz host, Nick worked for several years as KNKX’s Music Director. He is now the station’s Production Manager and also serves as a fill-in host on KNKX’s jazz and blues programs.

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