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The Rolling Stones get place in Alabama history

You can’t always get what you want, unless you are Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

To mark the 45th anniversary of the “rock and roll heaven” recording sessions with the Rolling Stones, a historical marker will be unveiled on December 5, 2014.

The ceremony will take place in Florence at the sight of the former Holiday Inn on South Court Street. The hotel served as home for the band while they recorded some of their biggest hits.

“Wild Horses”, “Brown Sugar” and “You Gotta Move” were laid down during the sessions and all three tracks appeared on the album Sticky Fingers in 1971.

Guitarist Jimmy Johnson engineered the sessions and will be present at the unveiling next week.

“The Stones’ visit was a major turning point,” says Johnson, “I am very excited about the marker and appreciate the state support for our efforts to preserve and promote Muscle Shoals Music.”

The historical marker was made by the Alabama Tourism Department.

Everyone is invited to come out and be a part of history.

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First trailer for the movie “Selma” is released

The first movie trailer for the Oprah Winfrey’s film “Selma” is being released to the public. The two-and-a-half minute long teaser video follows Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. on his journey for racial equality and the attempt to march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the city for which the movie is named.

The 1965 attack on the bridge by white Alabama State Troopers upon unarmed blacks and their white supporters as they attempted to march to Montgomery earned it the name “Bloody Sunday”. The event is credited with being a crucial moment that led President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Historians basically say there’s three pivotal points in American history, the American revolution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement,” says Brian Jones at the Alabama Tourism Department. “To actually go and walk in the footsteps and actually be where history happens, you have to come to Montgomery, you have to come to Selma.”

While the movie looks at the civil rights event that happened on the bridge, it also focuses on the relationships among King, President Johnson, and Alabama Governor George Wallace.

Jones is excited about the impact the movie can make on those who are not-so familiar with the events.

The timing of the movie’s release could have a major impact on Montgomery’s plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march. Already, major preparations are underway for a big crowd. This movie hitting theaters just two months before could bring even more people in.

“It’s sort of like a living invitation for people to come back and not only value the history, but to see where Alabama and to see where Montgomery is today.” Jones says.

Filming for the movie took place in both Selma and Montgomery in June with Winfrey and Cuba Gooding, Jr. taking major roles. More than 700 people took part in the filming as the Alabama cities were transformed back to a 1960s setting for the movie.

The movie is expected to be released in January 2015, just prior to the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”.

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Red Mountain Park opens new outdoor adventures November 8

Red Mountain Park is now taking reservations for two new outdoor adventures, The Kaul Adventure Tower and the Kaul Mega Zip. The 80-feet tall Kaul Adventure Tower consists of eight “lanes” that contain rappelling, traditional rock climbing with hand-holds, and leaf climbing to the top of a giant beanstalk—this one-hour adventure can be concluded with an exhilarating Mega Zip once you reach the very top should you choose. Guests can also experience the Mega Zip separately. The Mega Zip is a 1,300-feet long zip thrill that allows guests to fly through the sky head first like Superman or in traditional zip style with feet leaving the platform first. Zippers start from 80 feet in the air with speeds reaching as fast as 30 mph and can enjoy this adventure on their own or race side by side with another brave adventurer—the Mega Zip has side-by-side zip lanes.

The cost is $30 per person for 1 hour of climbing and rappelling on the Kaul Adventure Tower and $20 to Mega Zip; adventurers can experience both for just $50. Both activities are extremely unique-nowhere else in the world contains this exact adventure combination. Guests can begin making their reservations immediately by visiting www.redmountainreservations.or

Barber Motorsports Park adds new track and skidpad

The Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Barber Motorsports Park have a new addition.

The Barber Proving Grounds, located adjacent to the current Barber track, will bring more events to the park that include product debuts, corporate outings and events, safety instruction, driver schools and autocross and kart events. Mercedes-Benz is the first customer for the new addition, using it for its employee “Brand Immersion Experience.”

“This new addition should draw more people to Birmingham and Alabama to visit, spend money, generate economic impact and have a great time,” said George Barber, the park’s founder. “It’s all about helping create a better Birmingham and Alabama.”

The Proving Grounds consists of a new track area and wet/dry skidpad.
Primarily asphalt, the track spans 24 feet in width and can be configured to a variety of lengths up to more than a mile.

The 150-foot-by-350-foot wet/dry skidpad allows drivers, notably test drivers of new factory products, to test traction limits under a variety of conditions.

Equipped with a banked bowl design that evokes the banked track at Daytona, the track’s design allows users to test vehicles’ limits in controlled environments.

The track joins one of the premier road courses in North America for car and motorcycle racing, along with the Barber Motorsports Museum, which contains the largest motorcycle collection in the world with more than 1,400 vintage and modern motorcycles.

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‘Sweet Home Alabama’ voted Greatest Song Ever Written about Alabama

The polls are closed, folks. For the past three weeks Yellowhammer News readers have been voting for the greatest song ever written about Alabama. It was a brutal battle between old songs and new songs, classic favorites and unexpected underdogs. Plenty were worthy, but there could only be one winner.

Today, we finally have a champion.

Let’s take a look back at the final round.
“My Home’s in Alabama” by Alabama vs. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

It seemed obvious that these two songs would be facing off, and the race was the closest we’d seen throughout this series. In fact, after several days of voting, the two songs had each received exactly 50 percent of the vote. It doesn’t really get much closer than that. But “Sweet Home” pulled away over the weekend. The final tally was 51.1% to 48.9%.

“My Home’s in Alabama” is a sweeping ballad about following dreams, wandering, and eventually finding your way back home. It’s generally considered the song that propelled the band Alabama into stardom. In the beginning we hear the singer reminisce about his days as a young boy in Alabama, but we quickly follow him as he begins a journey across the country trying to make a name for himself in the music industry. No matter where he goes, he always remembers his home and dreams of the day when he’ll make it back to Alabama. “My Home’s in Alabama” is slow and thoughtful–the sound of spending one too many nights on the road.

“Sweet Home Alabama,” on the other hand, is a celebration of the South. Without a doubt, this is the most culturally important song ever written about Alabama–or any state, really. The intro guitar lick is immediately recognizable and infectious. It’s the sound of being on the lake with a cooler packed full of beer. Play this anthem at a party and everyone will be singing it at the top of their lungs within seconds.

Of course, the common thread throughout these songs is the idea of Alabama as home. I’ve only lived in the Yellowhammer State for about two months, but what I’ve noticed more than anything is the pride Alabamians have in their home state.

These songs are so intimately woven into Alabama culture not just because they’re catchy and fun to sing, but because they remind people that Alabama is so much more than just a geographic place to live. Alabamians living elsewhere might be drawn to “My Home’s in Alabama” while Alabama residents might find the celebratory tone of “Sweet Home Alabama” more relatable. But at the end of the day, both songs are saying the same thing: Alabama is indeed home — a sweet, sweet home.

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