Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hank Snow – "I'm Moving On" (1950)

You just wouldn't listen 
Or pay me no mind
Now I'm moving on

I’ve moved on a number of times in my life.  Next year, I’ll be moving on from being a lawyer to being retired.

In 1977, I moved to Washington, DC to work at the Federal Trade Commission after graduating from law school.  Just a few blocks north of my office was the flagship Hecht Company department store at 7th and F Streets N.W.  

The Hecht Company building in 1925
The Hecht store was in a handsome seven-story building that had been built in 1925.  I went there every couple of weeks my first few years in Washington – mostly to eat in the store’s restaurant with friends from work.

Hecht opened a new store (which is now a Macy’s) a few blocks away from the old one in 1985.  By that time, 7th Street – once the main shopping street in Washington – had fallen on hard times.  Half the buildings in the neighborhood were vacant, and the others were mostly occupied by sketchy businesses.  (I remember a dollar store, a donut shop, a big-and-tall men’s clothing store, and an adult video/sex toy emporium.)

The Hi-Boy Donut Shop (circa 1977)
The neighborhood started to come back in 1997, when the Verizon Center (originally the MCI Center) opened.  It’s the 20,000-seat home of Washington’s NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals, and is also the site for major concerts, the circus, “Disney on Ice,” an annual week-long horse show, and so on.  

Once the Verizon Center opened, Penn Quarter (as the area is now called) became the happening restaurant and bar neighborhood in DC.    

The old Hecht Company store – which is directly across F Street from the arena – was suddenly a very desirable piece of property.  The building was renovated after years of sitting vacant, and my law firm became the its first tenant in 2003.  

Next February, I'll be moving on to my firm's new building at 600 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.:

Our move will leave about half of our current building (now called Terrell Place) vacant.

The building’s owners have spent a pretty penny renovating it in hopes of attracting a new tenant or tenants to take over the space that we’re leaving empty.

The most dramatic change they’ve made was a complete redo of the building’s spacious lobby.  

A company called ESI Design turned the largest wall in the lobby into a “media canvas” by covering that surface (which is 13 feet high and 80 feet wide) and several other first-floor surfaces with 1700 square feet of LED television screens.  

Here’s a video that shows what the lobby looks like now:

From the ESI Design website:

The displays include three content modes – “Seasons,” “Color Play,” and “Cityscape” – offering a selection of scenes that can be programmed with varying durations and sequences, ensuring that tenants never see the same scene even if they arrive and leave at the same time every day.

The “Season” mode shows the lifecycle of the iconic Washington, DC cherry trees. In the “Spring” phase, as people pass by the screens, their movement causes the trees to blossom until eventually their petals fall off; when people pause in the lobby, they trigger butterflies to flutter.

Here are photos showing the progression from early spring to winter:

The first leaves emerge

Cherry blossoms



“Color Play” shows algorithmically-generated patterns of multi-color threads which spread across the walls, weaving a tapestry that reflects the activity of Terrell Place.

The abstract “Color Play” displays are my favorites:

“City Scape” pays homage to the city of Washington, DC with iconic architecture, statuary and transportation scenes that are brought to life by people passing by.

I think the “City Scape” displays are the least successful, mostly because the images (which are somewhat cliched) are not integrated and continuous, but instead are a series of images that have been joined together somewhat unnaturally.   

The “media canvas” has been working for several months now – long enough for me to become a little bored by the constant repetition of the same content.  I’d love it if there was more variety.

*     *     *     *     *

Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On,” which was released in 1950, held on to the #1 spot on the Billboard country singles chart for 21 consecutive weeks – a feat that was unsurpassed until 2013, when Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” stayed atop that chart for 22 weeks.

“I’m Moving On” is a great song.  It’s no surprise that it’s been covered by almost everyone who’s anyone – including Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, the Everly Brothers, Roy Acuff, the Box Tops, Elvis Presley, Tina Turner,  Steppenwolf, Emmylou Harris, and Johnny Cash.  But no one did it better than Hank Snow.

Here’s “I’m Moving On”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. My favorite version is by Emmylou Harris--there are several live-performance videos on You Tube. Emmylou is one of those singers who doesn't have to dress like a Hollywood Blvd. "pavement princess" to have the audience "flying around in formation without aircraft". She gets extra points because she, Dr. Demento and I share a birthday. Speaking of Dr. Demento, have you ever heard Homer & Jethro's version?