Happy National Chocolate Day! We certainly can't have Halloween without chocolate, so the timing of this holiday is fortuitous. Chocolate has its origins in the seed (or bean) of the Theobrama Cacao tree. Like pumpkins (which we've discussed a couple times this month,) the tree and its seeds were first cultivated by our neighbors to the South in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
The first record of Europeans learning of cacao came during a meeting of Spanish explorers and Montezuma of the Aztecs in 1519. They noted a drink made from cacao that Montezuma drank in huge quantities. The explorers brought cacao beans home with them and their popularity soon spread across Europe.
While chocolate candy dates back before the 19th century, the first proper chocolate bar didn't arrive until 1847. British confectioner, Joseph Fry discovered how to combine cocoa, sugar, and cocoa powder into a form that could be pressed into bars. These first chocolate bars were quite bitter by today's standards, but in 1875 Swiss chocolate-maker Daniel Peters and Henri Nestle added evaporated-milk to create milk chocolate. The world has never been the same since!
Today's musical selection has nothing to do with chocolate, but we're getting down to the last few days before Halloween and this song deserves to be very near the top of our Halloween playlist. It comes to us from The Cure and their 1989 album, "Disintegration."
Though their 8th studio LP was a deliberate attempt to veer away from their recent commercial success and back toward their roots in Gothic Rock, the record ended-up being their most popular as it went double-platinum in the United States. It produced a #2 single on the Billboard Hot-100 in "Lovesong," but that's not the tune we're after today.
Our track for today was more popular on American college radio and certainly got more airplay from me in that setting than "Lovesong." It's been sampled in later years by a few different artists including Just Jack's haunting 2002 song, "Snowflakes" and came with an award-winning music video very worthy of Halloween. It's called "Lullaby" and it's just been added to the 31-Days of Halloween playlist. Happy listening! -Kristen
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