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Song of the Day for November 28: "Fifteen Feet of Pure Snow" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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The stories and photos of the snow storm of 1950 have been passed down from generation to generation. Pictures of snow draping cars until they disappear. Snapshots of drifts as high as buildings.

The extratropical cyclone, which attacked the eastern portion of the United States on November 25, 1950, was called the Appalachian Storm and the Storm of the Century. It started over North Carolina before Thanksgiving, then rushed north through West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio before moving up the Eastern Seaboard.

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Sheldon Zoldan
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1950s major snowfall in Youngstown, Ohio
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Sheldon Zoldan
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1950s major snowfall in Youngstown, Ohio

Record-low November temperatures spread across the South. Louisville, Kentucky and Asheville, North Carolina recorded temperatures of minus-one degree. Hurricane-force winds struck New York, Connecticut and New England.

But snow was the star of this storm. Sixty-two inches fell on Coburn Creek, West Virginia. Thirty inches fell on Pittsburgh; Steubenville, Ohio dug out of 44 inches of snow and 25-foot high snow drifts. More than 6.1 million people lived in areas that received at least 18 inches of snow.

The snowstorm was ranked the worst of 217 Ohio Valley storms analyzed by National Center for Environmental Information scientists. The 1950 storm ranks as the Northeast’s ninth-worst among 211 analyzed.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Fifteen Feet of Pure Snow” wasn’t a 1950 Storm of the Century history lesson. Cave wrote the song for their 2001 album, "No More Shall We Part." It became their second single off the album.

The meaning of the song is up for interpretation. Some believe it’s about cocaine. Others believe the song is about the difficulty of living under Soviet rule. The music video opens with the Russian words “Former Central Committee of the Kazakh Communist Party.

Song of the Day is the creation of Sheldon Zoldan, former editor of The News-Press in Fort Myers, and special to WGCU.