June 17, 1972: Too Late

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(Pictured: John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and Jimmy Page, on stage in the summer of 1972.)

June 17, 1972, was a Saturday. President Nixon signs the Public Buildings Amendments of 1972, but notes that a couple of provisions are unconstitutional. Earlier in the day, five burglars are arrested inside the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., suspected of having broken into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. In Boston, nine firefighters die when a section of the burning Hotel Vendome collapses. The Libertarian Party holds its first national convention in Denver; the American Mathematical Society holds its 695th meeting in Seattle. Rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun retires from NASA, and the United States ends its occupation of Okinawa, which had gone on since 1945. Tropical Storm Agnes moves into the southeastern Caribbean. Tomorrow it will become a hurricane, and for the next week will drop heavy rain on the East Coast. Severe flooding will occur in New York and Pennsylvania. Total damage from Hurricane Agnes will be estimated at $3 billion, and 120 people will die. Pop singer Julie London, now one of the stars of Emergency!, is on the cover of TV Guide. WNEW-TV in New York City shows Island of Lost Souls as this week’s Creature Feature, while WPIX counters with a Chiller Theater presentation of Killers From Space.

As the final event of a weeklong religious revival, a giant Christian music festival is held in downtown Dallas; its headliners include Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Organizers claim it attracts 200,000 people. Elvis Presley plays two shows, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, at Chicago Stadium. The Grateful Dead, with Pigpen McKernan onstage for the last time and New Riders of the Purple Sage opening, plays the Hollywood Bowl, Muddy Waters plays Montreux, and Led Zeppelin plays Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. The Eagles, whose debut album is officially released today, open for Jethro Tull in Las Vegas.

At WAVZ in New Haven, Connecticut, their Hit Power survey for the week lists 60 songs, and the sap quotient is high: “The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr. tops the list; Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, Jimmy Osmond, and Wayne Newton are also on the air. But there’s classic soul aplenty to take the curse off: “Oh Girl” by the Chi-Lites, “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers, and “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose, all in the Top 10. The hottest record on the survey, leaping from #31 to #16, is “People Make the World Go Round” by the Stylistics. The highest debuting new single of the week is “Tumbling Dice” by the Rolling Stones, from the nation’s top album, Exile on Main Street, which had been dropped from the station’s survey the week before but is back on again.

In Wisconsin, a 12-year-old boy just out of the sixth grade is playing Little League baseball with more enthusiasm than talent, and doing farm work with no enthusiasm at all. What he really loves is the radio. For him, it really is too late to turn back now.


June 14, 1994: Questioning

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(Pictured: a crowd gathers outside the condo belonging to Nicole Brown-Simpson on June 13, 1994.)

June 14, 1994, was a Tuesday. Headlines this morning include the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson, wife of O. J. Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, who were found stabbed early yesterday. Police have already questioned the ex-football star as a potential witness. President Clinton and the First Lady were questioned separately under oath on Sunday as part of the special counsel’s investigation of the Whitewater land deals in Arkansas. Some questions involved the death of former aide Vincent Foster. A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, has ruled that victims of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill can seek damages for negligence from Exxon and the ship’s captain, Joseph Hazelwood. A fireball was seen in the sky across the northeastern United States and in Canada last night; a meteorite that landed on a farm in Quebec is the largest ever recorded in Canada, weighing 2.3 kilograms. Today, Erie, Pennsylvania, is flooded after getting three inches of rain in about two hours.

Much of tonight’s primetime TV lineup is reruns. On ABC, it’s Full House, Roseanne (the top-rated show of the night), Coach, NYPD Blue, and the sitcom Phenom, about a teenage tennis star being raised with two siblings by a single mom. CBS repeats an episode of Rescue 911 and the TV movie My Son Johnny starring Michele Lee and Ricky Schroder. On NBC, After the Headlines is a new where-are-they-now special about recent newsmakers hosted by Kathleen Sullivan; it’s followed by two episodes of The John Larroquette Show and a new edition of Dateline NBC. The Fox lineup includes South Central, Roc, and two episodes of Tales From the Crypt.

At Madison Square Garden in New York, the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, beating the Vancouver Canucks in the deciding seventh game of the final. After the game, Canucks fans riot in downtown Vancouver, resulting in about $1.1 million in damage. The Canucks will not return to the Cup final until 2011, when they will again lose in seven games, and their fans will again riot. Madison Square Garden will be the scene of the NBA Finals tomorrow night. It’s Game 4 between the Knicks and the Houston Rockets; the Rockets lead the series 2-1. Pitcher Monte Weaver, who won 71 games in a nine-year major league career spent mostly with the Washington Senators during the 1930s, dies one day short of his 88th birthday. Composer, conductor, and arranger Henry Mancini dies of pancreatic cancer at age 70.

The Grateful Dead play Seattle, Phish plays Des Moines, and Danzig plays Philadelphia. The first Bluegrass Night at the Ryman is held in Nashville, starring Bill Monroe and Alison Krauss. On the Billboard Hot 100, “I Swear” by All 4 One is in the fourth of what will be 11 straight weeks at #1; a country version of the song by John Michael Montgomery is at #84. Madonna’s “I’ll Remember” and “Any Time Any Place” by Janet Jackson hold at #2 and #3. “Don’t Turn Around” by Ace of Base is #4. The Ace of Base album The Sign spends a second week at #1, its first at the top since the week of April 2. Although six other albums will have longer runs at #1 in 1994, Billboard will rank The Sign as the year’s #1 album.

Perspective From the Present: At some point in June of 1994, I got a part-time radio job at KRVR in Davenport, Iowa, the station that had fired me in 1990. Although it was staffed by then with several brand-name jocks who’d been in the market a long time, it was not an especially good station, largely btecause A) adult contemporary music at that moment was pretty terrible and B) the station was running a very soft, very white version of the format. It privileged bland records by rock stars (such as Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia”) and beat-free AC sludge (epitomized by the inexplicable, 15-years-out-of-date success of “Beautiful in My Eyes” by Joshua Kadison). In 1995, KRVR would change format to classic rock. All the full-timers would get fired, but we part-timers did not.

If you watched The John Larroquette Show, chances are good you haven’t forgotten it. The former Night Court star played the recovering-alcoholic manager of a bus station in St. Louis, and it was, at least during the first season that wrapped in the spring of 1994, one of the darkest (and best) comedies ever on television. It’s never been released on DVD and isn’t on an official streaming site, but some episodes are available at YouTube.

June 8, 1976: Happy Days

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(Pictured: Shirley, the Fonz, and Laverne.)

June 8, 1976, is a Tuesday. A heat wave continues in the Midwest. At an appearance last night in Bowling Green, Ohio, President Ford was momentarily stunned by an exploding flash bulb. Among his appointments today, Ford gets a briefing on the Teton River Dam collapse in Idaho last Saturday, meets the attorney general of Mexico, and greets finalists in the National Spelling Bee. It’s also the final primary day of the 1976 campaign, with contests in California, Ohio, and New Jersey. Jimmy Carter will not clinch the nomination, but he will win enough delegates to make him the prohibitive favorite. On the Republican side, Ronald Reagan wins California, but Ford takes Ohio. There’s no Republican contest in New Jersey.

ABC’s Tuesday night lineup includes Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and a 1968 theatrical movie called Prudence and the Pill. CBS counters with a repeat of Really Rosie, an animated adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children’s book starring the voice of Carole King. Also in the CBS lineup tonight, Good Times and M*A*S*H. NBC’s shows include the trucker drama Movin’ On and Police Woman starring Angie Dickinson. Future pro tennis player Lindsay Davenport is born, and former NBA player, coach, and general manager Bob Feerick dies at age 56. The major-league baseball amateur draft begins. Pitcher Floyd Bannister is taken first overall by the Houston Astros. Future Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson, and Wade Boggs are selected in later rounds, as are pitcher Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell. In Wisconsin, a baseball fan with more interest than ability attends his first softball practice of the summer. The church league season begins on Friday night.

AC/DC plays Portsmouth, England, Bob Marley plays Dusseldorf, Germany, and the Eagles play Seattle. At WLS in Chicago, “Silly Love Songs” holds the #1 position on the singles chart; the four songs behind it were also in the top five last week, but have shuffled positions: “Shannon” by Henry Gross, “Happy Days” by Pratt & McClain, “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross, and “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian. New in the top 10 is “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop. The biggest moves on the chart belong to “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy (#44 to #33), “Takin’ It to the Streets” by the Doobie Brothers (#34 to #25) and “More More More” by the Andrea True Connection (#35 to #27).

The softball player knows that there will be hay to make in a day or so, which means he will be expected to spend his mornings and long afternoons driving a tractor in the heat. There’s no radio on the tractor, but it doesn’t matter. All the songs that matter are in his head.

June 4, 1966: A Share of Problems

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(Pictured: Gemini 9 astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. The two would also fly to the moon on Apollo 10; Cernan would be the last American to walk on the moon, aboard Apollo 17.)

June 4, 1966, was a Saturday. Today, the New York Times carries a three-page anti-Vietnam ad signed by hundreds of college professors; yesterday, a group of about 20 students walked out of commencement exercises at Amherst College to protest an honorary degree given to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Astronauts Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford are in orbit aboard Gemini 9, which was launched yesterday. The mission has had its share of problems: Cernan and Stafford are the backup crew, flying because astronauts Elliott See and Charlie Bassett were killed in an airplane crash in February; a scheduled May 17 launch was postponed when an unmanned vehicle that would be part of a docking exercise was lost in a launch failure. On this mission, the unmanned vehicle launched properly but the docking mechanism on it failed. (Docking maneuvers will be a critical part of any upcoming mission to the moon.) Tomorrow, Cernan will take a two-hour spacewalk, the second ever by an American, although it will be plagued by technical problems also. Gemini 9 will return safely to Earth on Monday. Civil rights activist James Meredith begins what he calls his March Against Fear, intending to walk 220 miles through Mississippi, to challenge the climate of intimidation and fear among black Mississippians registering to vote. Tomorrow, Meredith will be hit by three loads of buckshot and spend three weeks in the hospital. In northeastern Wisconsin, two F2 tornadoes strike near the Oconto county community of Gillett. Future opera singer Cecelia Bartoli is born.

Yesterday, Amberoid won the Belmont Stakes. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Kauai King finished fourth to continue the drought of Triple Crown winners going back to 1948. In major league baseball today, the Cleveland Indians retain a half-game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the American League; both teams win today, although the second game on Baltimore’s doubleheader against the Kansas City A’s will be suspended by curfew in the top of the 12th; the Orioles will win the completed game tomorrow. The National League-leading San Francisco Giants lose to Philadelphia 6-1; Giants starter Juan Marichal gets the loss, his first of the season after winning 10 straight.

Andy Griffith is on the cover of TV Guide. Guests on today’s American Bandstand are Roy Orbison and the Sunrays. In San Francisco, the Grateful Dead plays the Fillmore and the Jefferson Airplane plays the Civic Center. In London, the Yardbirds work in the studio on an album that will be released in July and called Roger the Engineer.

The teen magazine KRLA Beat dated June 4 shows “A Groovy Kind of Love” by the Mindbenders atop the KRLA Tunedex, but a record store survey published by the station, also dated June 4, shows the #1 song in Los Angeles as “Searchin’ for My Love” by Bobby Moore, which does not appear among the 40 songs on the Tunedex list shown in KRLA Beat. Both show “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones at #3, although the survey also lists the B-side, “Stupid Girl.” Other songs found in the Top 10 of one or the other: “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge, “Along Comes Mary” by the Association, “Hey Joe” by the Leaves, “My Little Red Book” by Love, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, “Monday Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas, “Funny How Love Can Be” by Danny Hutton, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” by the Walker Brothers, “Double Shot” by the Swingin’ Medallions, “Dirty Water” by the Standells, “Hold On I’m Comin'” by Sam and Dave, and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield. Variations in the two surveys are likely because KRLA Beat is a national publication and goes to press well before its street date.

Perspective From the Present: “Searching for My Love” by Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces would get to #27 on the Hot 100. Danny Hutton’s “Funny How Love Can Be” bubbled under at #120. The song would eventually see the Hot 100 in a version by the English studio group First Class; Hutton would make it as one of the three lead singers in Three Dog Night. On the same page of KRLA Beat showing the Tunedex are head shots of the station’s DJs: Dave “the Hullabalooer” Hull, Bob Eubanks, Dick Biondi, Johnny Hayes, “Emperor” Bob Hudson, Casey Kasem, Charlie O’Donnell, and Bill Slater—enough major broadcasting talent to fill a Hall of Fame.

May 30, 1978: In Through the Out Door

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May 30, 1978, was a Tuesday. America returns to work after the Memorial Day weekend. President Carter gets his wakeup call at 5AM, then meets with Cabinet officers and greets West German president Helmut Schmidt, all before 9AM. He spends the rest of his day attending events surrounding a NATO summit in Washington. It’s primary election day in Arkansas, where state attorney general Bill Clinton wins the Democratic nomination for governor over four challengers, receiving nearly 60 percent of the vote. The Washington Bullets tie the NBA Finals at two games each with a 120-116 win over the Seattle Supersonics in overtime. Dennis Johnson of the Sonics leads all scorers with 33; Bob Dandridge leads Washington with 23. Because of a previously scheduled event at the Seattle Coliseum, the game is moved to the Kingdome, and it draws a record crowd of over 39,000. Top English soccer club Manchester United completes a two-game series in the United States, beating the North American Soccer League Tulsa Roughnecks 2-1. Two days earlier, Manchester United lost to the NASL’s defending champion, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 2-1. Future major league utility man Rico Washington, who will appear in 14 games for the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals, is born. Pioneering movie art director Ben Carre, who designed the catacombs for the original Phantom of the Opera and the Mount Rushmore backdrop in North by Northwest, dies at age 94. In Wisconsin, Monroe High School holds graduation ceremonies.

On TV today, the lineup of game shows includes Card Sharks, Hollywood Squares, The $20,000 Pyramid, The Price Is Right, High Rollers, Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune. Soaps include The Edge of Night, Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, All My Children, The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, The Doctors, The Guiding Light, Another World, and General Hospital. Tonight, CBS airs the NBA Finals. NBC presents two specials, Dan Haggerty Goes to the Circus and Country Night of Stars, which is hosted by Crystal Gayle and Eddy Arnold. ABC presents Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company, Carter Country, and a Barbara Walters interview special. Her guests are Burt Reynolds, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Landon. Bruce Springsteen plays Boston Music Hall, the Stranglers play Stafford, England, and Alvin Lee plays Houston. Black Sabbath plays Coventry, England, with Van Halen opening. In Bremen, West Germany, David Bowie tapes a performance that will be broadcast on the TV program Musikladen later this year. Grace Slick of Jefferson Starship is profiled in the Washington Post Style section. In Stockholm, Sweden, Led Zeppelin goes into the studio to begin work on what will eventually be titled In Through the Out Door.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “With a Little Luck” by Paul McCartney and Wings holds at #1 for a second week. There’s not much movement among the Top 10; Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing” makes the biggest move, from #6 to #4, and only one song is new among the Top 10: George Benson’s “On Broadway” at #10. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, moving from #26 to #19. Six new songs debut in the Top 40; the highest is “Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson at #33. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is “Grease” by Frankie Valli at #69. At #99, “I Go Crazy” by Paul Davis is in its 40th and final week on the Hot 100, which is the longest run in history to this point. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack tops the album chart for the 19th week in a row. Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary #1 is “Even Now” by Barry Manilow. On the Billboard country chart, the #1 song is “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” by the Statler Brothers.

Perspective From the Present: I have more to say about my high-school graduation at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ today. It seemed cosmically appropriate to me for the #1 song that day to be “With a Little Luck,” given its opening lines: “With a little luck we can help it out / We can make this whole damn thing work out.” I took it then a reference to whatever was behind the door we were walking through on that night. Forty years removed from that night, the question of whether the whole damn thing really did work out is up to each of us in the Class of ’78 to answer for ourselves.

May 25, 1977: Hello Stranger

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(Pictured: Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in Smokey and the Bandit.)

May 25, 1977, is a Wednesday. Nine people die in a fire at the Evarard Baths, a popular gay bathhouse in New York City. The business has operated since 1888. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Fahd concludes a visit to the United States, and President Carter briefly speaks to reporters at a departure ceremony. Tomorrow Carter will hold a formal press conference. Carter also speaks at a dinner for Democratic members of Congress at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The government of China lifts a decade-old ban on the works of Shakespeare. In Big Timber, Montana, the local IGA food store is ready for the forthcoming Memorial Day weekend with rib steaks for $1.69 a pound, old-fashioned frankfurters for $1.29 a pound, 31-ounce cans of Van Camp’s pork and beans for 49 cents, and Columbia beer for $1.25 a six-pack or $5 a case.

In major-league baseball, Rod Carew gets five hits and the American League West-leading Minnesota Twins amass 24 hits altogether in a 13-5 win over the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a doubleheader. The Twins also take the nightcap 9-2. AL Eastern Division leader Baltimore splits a doubleheader with Kansas City. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead the National League West with the best record in baseball, lose to the Houston Astros 7-6. (They’re now 31-and-11.) The Eastern Division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates are idle. There’s no action in the NBA Finals tonight; the Philadelphia 76ers lead the Portland Trail Blazers 1 game to none, with Game 2 set for tomorrow night. On TV tonight, it’s the final episode of The Brady Bunch Hour, a variety show starring the actors from the sitcom. In today’s Doonesbury strip, Rick and Joanie negotiate the next stage of their lives now that Joanie has graduated from law school.

The movie Star Wars opens in theaters. Smokey and the Bandit is set for release on Friday. Led Zeppelin opens a four-night stand at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, and the Grateful Dead plays Richmond, Virginia. In New York City, Joan Baez plays the Palladium and Devo plays Max’s Kansas City. Elvis Presley performs in Rochester, New York. The Clash play Brighton, England.

On the current Billboard Hot 100, “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder is at  #1. “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer, last week’s #1, is at #2. “Couldn’t Get It Right” by the Climax Blues Band is at #3. Two new songs have blasted into the Top 10: “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, from the week’s #1 album, Rumours, is at #6 from #14 a week ago; “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti is at #7 from #21 the week before. Also new in the Top 10: “Lucille” by Kenny Rogers, at #10, up from #12. “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs, in its 11th week on the Hot 100, spends a second consecutive week at #11. The 14-place move of “Gonna Fly Now” is the biggest within the Top 40, but two other records take nine-place jumps: “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day (at #19 from #28) and “Jet Airliner” by the Steve Miller Band (at #30 from #39). The biggest leap of any song in the Hot 100 is made by the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane,” moving from #73 to #53 in its second week on the chart. Five songs are new in the Top 40; the highest debut is “High School Dance” by the Sylvers at #35. The highest debut on the Hot 100 belongs to Barbra Streisand’s “My Heart Belongs to Me,” coming in at #52. Barbra also has the oldest record on the Hot 100, “Evergreen,” at #83 in its 24th week on. “Hello Stranger” by Yvonne Elliman is #1 on the adult-contemporary chart. The #1 country song is “Luckenbach, Texas” by Waylon Jennings.

Perspective From the Present: School was just about out in Monroe, Wisconsin, as I finished my junior year of high school. I had landed a job at a gas station managed by a friend’s father, which meant I wouldn’t have to do farm work in the summer. My girlfriend and I were very happy. Today, the songs from the end of May play in my head and my heart whenever I want to hear them, without the need for a radio.

May 20, 1989: Forever Your Girl

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(Pictured: young Gilda, circa 1970.)

May 20, 1989, is a Saturday. It’s the last day of National Osteoporosis Prevention Week. Pro-democracy protests continue in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square; Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping declares martial law, and Chinese authorities pull the plug on TV networks covering the protests. Former Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner dies of ovarian cancer at age 42. Steve Martin hosts the season finale of SNL that night with musical guest Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; the show pays tribute to Gilda by showing “Dancing in the Dark,” a 1977 dance sketch with Martin. Michael Jordan hits two free throws with four seconds left to give the Chicago Bulls a 113-111 win over the New York Knicks, wrapping up the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals four games to two. Infielder Manny Trillo, who played 17 seasons for seven teams, appears in his final major-league game — the Cincinnati Reds release him a week later. In English soccer, Liverpool defeats Everton 3-2 in extra time to win the F.A. Cup. Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence wins the Preakness Stakes over rival Easy Goer by a nose. William E. Thomas catches a world-record-tying weakfish in Delaware Bay that weighs 19 pounds, two ounces.

On TV tonight: Cops, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the horror anthology Freddy’s Nightmares, and The Munsters Today. Stevie Nicks is the subject of a cover story in this week’s edition of the British music newspaper Record Mirror. Phish plays a high school gym in Northfield, Massachusetts; Nitzer Ebb plays Detroit; Big Country plays Scarborough, England; Cinderella plays Lexington, Kentucky; Pink Floyd plays Monza, Italy; and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays San Diego.

The new Billboard Hot 100 is topped by “Forever Your Girl” by Paula Abdul. Also in the Top 5: “Real Love” by Jody Watley at #2, last week’s #1, “I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi at #3, Donny Osmond’s “Soldier of Love” at #4, and soap star Michael Damian’s cover of the David Essex hit “Rock On” at #5. The highest-debuting song within the 40 is Donna Summer’s “This Time I Know It’s for Real” at #28. Milli Vanilli’s “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” is new at #30. Debuting on the Hot 100 at #62 is a throwback—the Doobie Brothers’ “The Doctor,” which features original Doobies lead vocalist Tom Johnston and sounds like “China Grove” turned sideways. At a radio station in Iowa, a jock who would pay cash money for the privilege of playing one Doobie Brothers record instead of the Anne Murray, Andy Williams, and Barbra Streisand records he has to play all day begins to realize that just maybe what he’s doing with his life isn’t what he should be doing with his life.

May 13, 1981: Prophecy and Transformation

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(Pictured: Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA, 1976.)

May 13, 1981 is a Wednesday. Some believers in Christian prophecy spend what they think is going to be their last day on Earth. Calculations based on the foundation of Israel on May 14, 1948, indicate to them that the Rapture will take place tomorrow. (It won’t.) In Rome, a crowd of thousands in St. Peter’s Square is shocked when Pope John Paul II is shot by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. The 19th International Symposium on Functional Equations closes in France. Seven people spot a UFO near Denison, Texas. High Point, North Carolina, institutes a new rule forbidding gay and lesbian couples, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples, from occupying public housing in the city.

Pop singer Joan Weber, who hit #1 in 1955 with “Let Me Go Lover,” dies in a New Jersey mental institution at age 45. Future Penthouse Pet of the Year Sunny Leone and future NFL linebacker Shaun Phillips are born. The Los Angeles Dodgers win their third in a row, 8-6 over Montreal; tomorrow, rookie pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela will start against the Expos. His record is 9-and-0 with an earned-run average of 0.22 over 80 innings pitched. At the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, an aspiring DJ and his roommates spend more time watching baseball and barbecuing than studying, even though it’s finals week. At their local Eagle grocery store, fresh bratwurst is $1.58 a pound, a 52-ounce can of pork and beans is $1.09, and a 20-pound bag of charcoal is $3.09. In Doonesbury, Joanie and Rick continue to plan their wedding. On TV tonight: The Greatest American Hero, Diff’rent Strokes, and Real People. The Grateful Dead plays Providence, Rhode Island, U2 plays Santa Monica, California, Rush plays Syracuse, and King Crimson plays Paris. A Swedish magazine publishes a story about the early career of ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog.

At WLS in Chicago, the top four singles on the survey to be released Saturday will be unchanged from the previous week: “Morning Train” by Sheena Easton, “You Better You Bet” by the Who, “Kiss on My List” by Hall and Oates, and “Too Much Time on My Hands” by Styx. (The top five albums will be similarly unchanged, with AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap leading the way; their Back in Black will hold at #8. ) The hottest singles on the new chart are “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, blasting from #23 to #7, “Living Inside Myself” by Gino Vannelli, jumping from #29 to #18, and “For You” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, rising from #33 to #25. The latter, yet another Springsteen cover, is emblematic of how WLS has transformed itself this year, playing a greater variety of rock songs in morning drive and at night and softer stuff during the day.

May 8, 1988: Anything for You

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(Pictured: Gloria Estefan, onstage circa 1988.)

May 8, 1988, is a Sunday. Today is Mother’s Day. A jury in Seattle, Washington, finds Stella Nickel guilty on two counts of murder for putting cyanide in her husband’s Excedrin capsules. She’s the first person convicted under federal anti-tampering laws passed after the still-unsolved 1982 Tylenol poisonings in Chicago. Wisconsin is hit by 24 tornadoes today, setting a single-day record that will stand until 2005. Eastern Iowa is hit by 22, including an F3 tornado in Clinton County that does $25 million in damage. At Iowa State University in Ames, the annual pre-finals Veishea celebration weekend has been violent; early this morning, students attending a campus bonfire started throwing rocks and bottles at police. Forty-five people were arrested and eight cops hospitalized. It’s the biggest riot at ISU since the Vietnam War. In Hinsdale, Illinois, a fire at a major Illinois Bell switching center knocks out phone service in the Chicago area. Up to a half-million people will be affected over the next few weeks, and Illinois Bell will be strongly criticized for its slow response to the outages. Future porn star Violet Monroe is born. Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein dies at age 80. The New York Times best-seller list for fiction is topped by Robert Ludlum’s The Icarus Agenda, Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Rock Star by Jackie Collins. The nonfiction list is led by Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel, Michael Jackson’s autobiography Moonwalk, and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

This past Friday night, following a National Hockey League playoff game between the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld got into a loud altercation with referee Don Koharski that was captured by TV cameras. The NHL suspended Schoenfeld, but Devils management got a court order permitting him to coach today. Just before today’s game, Koharski and his two fellow officials announce they will not work the game. After an hour-long delay, replacement referees are found. The Devils win the game 3-1 to tie their conference final series at two games each. In the NBA, the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 to win their first-round playoff series three games to two. Michael Jordan of the Bulls leads all scorers with 39 points. His total of 226 points in the series sets an NBA record. In baseball, the Oakland Athletics have the best record in the majors, 23-and-7, after beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 today. The New York Mets are the class of the National League at 21-and-7 after beating Cincinnati 5-1.

At the movies this weekend, the box-office leader is the police drama Colors starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, followed by Beetlejuice. The top new movie is Shakedown, another police drama, starring Peter Weller and Sam Elliott. Tonight’s CBS-TV lineup includes 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote, and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, a remake of the 1954 Humphrey Bogart movie, starring Jeff Daniels and Brad Davis. On ABC, it’s The Wonderful World of Disney, Remembering Marilyn, a special about Marilyn Monroe, and the first part of the made-for-TV movie The Bourne Identity. The FOX lineup includes 21 Jump Street, America’s Most Wanted, Married With Children, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and The Tracey Ullman Show. NBC wins the night, however, with the first part of the science-fiction miniseries Something Is Out There. Pink Floyd plays Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Robert Plant plays Ottawa, Ontario. In Santa Cruz, California, Carlos Santana plays a benefit show for Salvadoran children. Depeche Mode plays Salt Lake City.

On this week’s Billboard Hot 100, “Wishing Well” by Terence Trent D’Arby is the new #1 song. “Anything for You” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine is #2, ahead of “Angel” by Aerosmith at #3. Last week’s #1, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston, is #4 this week. “Shattered Dreams” by Johnny Hates Jazz makes a strong move from #15 to #8. “One More Try” by George Michael jumps from #22 to #14. The highest-debuting song in the Top 40 this week is “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle at #30. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” at #53.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I were living in Davenport, Iowa, although we would move to a small suburb north of there in about a month. I did not usually work my radio job on Sundays, so I wouldn’t have been on the air when tornadoes hit eastern Iowa. I probably wished I was, though.


May 3, 1979: Minute by Minute

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(Pictured: Woody and Keef, 1979.)

May 3, 1979, is a Thursday. It’s Election Day in Britain. The Conservative Party wins a majority in the House of Commons, which will make Margaret Thatcher prime minister. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is hit by severe thunderstorms; 37 people are injured and damage will be estimated at $5 million. Twenty-five tornadoes rumble across northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and southwest Arkansas. President Jimmy Carter nominates John Macy to be the head of the new Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was created by executive order in March, and speaks to the National Council of the League of Women Voters. Carter also attends a news briefing on public land preservation in Alaska and is made an honorary member of an Alaskan Native American tribe. The East Room ceremony is also attended by the Secretary of the Interior and Theodore Roosevelt IV, environmentalist and great-grandson of the 26th president. Magazine editor Charles Angoff, who worked at H. L. Mencken’s American Mercury, The Nation, and The American Spectator, dies at age 76. Future screenwriter Emily V. Gordon is born.

Movies on TV tonight include The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, the second reunion movie for the sitcom cast, and Ike: The War Years, about General Dwight Eisenhower, who is played by Robert Duvall. This morning, Duvall was a guest on Good Morning America, talking about the movie. Also on TV tonight: Mork and Mindy and the last episode of Highcliffe Manor, a sitcom parody of Gothic horror movies starring Shelley Fabares, canceled after only three episodes. Jazz trumpeter Clark Terry performs at Buffalo State University and Yes plays Calgary, Alberta. Van Halen plays Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the Grateful Dead plays Charlotte, North Carolina. The Moody Blues play Hollywood, Florida, and the Jacksons perform in St. Petersburg. Journey plays the University of Oregon in Eugene, and Chuck Mangione performs at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. The New Barbarians, a band featuring Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, plays Cincinnati. A couple of weeks earlier, the New Barbarians played two charity shows in Ottawa, Ontario, to fulfill Richards’ probation for a heroin posession charge last year. They were joined by the rest of the Rolling Stones. “This is Keith’s thing,” Charlie Watts said that night. “We just all thought that it would be a good idea to come.”

At WLS in Chicago, depending how you count them, as much as half of the station’s Top 45 singles list is made up of disco records. “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart is the new #1. “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers moves up to #2, just ahead of Frank Mills’ instrumental “Music Box Dancer.” Last week’s #1, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, is #4. Only one song is new in the Top 10: “Heart of Glass” by Blondie at #7. The biggest mover on the chart is “Blow Away” by George Harrison, leaping from #37 to #24. Cher’s “Take Me Home” is up 11 spots to #23. The top album of the week is Minute by Minute by the Doobie Brothers, in its fourth week at #1. The debut album by Dire Straits is #2 again this week, and there’s little movement among the rest of the Top 10, which includes Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, Pieces of Eight by Styx, and Cheap Trick at Budokan.

Perspective From the Present: This would have been the last week of classes before finals at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I was finishing up Radio Production, Freshman Composition, English Literature, and Intermediate French, as well as a bowling class for physical education credit. I don’t remember a solitary thing about the Freshman Comp or English Lit courses, the names of the professors, the stuff I wrote or read, none of it. I’d had four years of high-school French without becoming especially fluent, and the Intermediate course was a struggle. By May I would have been phoning it in, if I was still bothering to attend at all. I ended up with a C, which was a minor miracle.

I got a B in Radio Production.

(HERC’s Hideaway has a lot more detail on the singles and albums on the WLS survey this week, so go check it out.)