August 12, 1977: Who Loved Me

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(Pictured: space shuttle Enterprise in flight on August 12, 1977.)

August 12, 1977, is a Friday. The first space shuttle orbiter, Enterprise, makes its first free flight (unbolted from a 747) over Edwards Air Force Base in California. NASA also launches the first High Energy Astronomy Observatory satellite to study cosmic rays. Following the victory of a secessionist party in national elections, riots break out in Sri Lanka. President Carter writes Congress a letter spelling out his position on the Panama Canal Treaty, which will give the canal to Panama if ratified. Future football star Plaxico Burress is born. Gene Littler leads after the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California. He will lose to Lanny Wadkins in a sudden-death playoff on Sunday.

On TV, The Merv Griffin Show features a tribute to Jack Benny, with five of Benny’s radio and TV cast members. Celebrity guests on The $10,000 Pyramid are Lucie Arnaz and Bill Cullen. On CBS tonight, it’s the second episode of A Year at the Top, a sitcom starring Paul Shaffer and Greg Evigan as musicians who make a pact with the devil in exchange for one year of success. It will be canceled after three more episodes. Elvis Presley tries to get a print of Star Wars to watch with his daughter Lisa Marie, but he cannot, so he settles for The Spy Who Loved Me instead. In four days, Presley will die. Johnny Winter plays St. Petersburg, Florida. KISS plays Seattle with Cheap Trick opening, and Peter Frampton plays Minneapolis. In Santa Cruz, California, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Neil Young play a benefit for the United Farm Workers. Tonight’s edition of The Midnight Special is hosted by the Bay City Rollers, and it features ELO, KC and the Sunshine Band, England Dan and John Ford Coley, and Roger Daltrey.

Legendary DJ Cousin Brucie Morrow does his final show on WNBC in New York; he’s leaving the air to become co-owner of a station group. At WISM in Madison, Wisconsin, “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb holds at #1. “Higher and Higher” by Rita Coolidge is right behind, and “Best of My Love” by the Emotions makes a strong move from #7 to #3. New songs in the Top Ten include “Just a Song Before I Go” by Crosby Stills and Nash and “Easy” by the Commodores. The fastest mover on the survey is “Swayin’ to the Music” by Johnny Rivers, up to #18 from #25. The highest-debuting new song on the chart is the London Symphony Orchestra’s version of the Star Wars theme, at #26. Also debuting are songs by Carly Simon (“Nobody Does it Better”), the Bee Gees (the live version of “Edge of the Universe”), and a Canadian band called Driver (“New Way to Say I Love You”).

In a small town south of Madison, a young radio geek awaits the return of his girlfriend from a month in Europe. He is supposed to go to the airport in Chicago with her parents to pick her up today, but when her return is delayed until tomorrow, he goes out with friends tonight. When he gets home around midnight, there’s a phone message saying that the plane is coming in very early on Saturday morning, and if he wants to ride along to Chicago, he needs to be ready to leave town by 2AM. And he will be.


August 5, 1976: What’s Happening

(Pictured: a cast shot from What’s Happening!!, 1976.)

August 5, 1976, is a Thursday. In Wisconsin, it’s a pleasant summer day with cooler weather on the way tonight. Governor Patrick Lucey announces that he will appoint University of Wisconsin law professor Shirley Abrahamson to the state Supreme Court as the first female justice. She will serve as Chief Justice from 1996 until 2015, and will retire after the 2019 elections at age 84. A lube, oil, and filter for most American cars at Firestone stores in Madison costs $5.88; Goodyear shops will do it for $4.88. In Washington, President Ford welcomes Olympic hero Jesse Owens and his wife to the White House and presents Owens with the Medal of Freedom. Ford also meets with members of the Pennsylvania delegation to the upcoming Republican National Convention, hoping to keep the support of the state’s delegates despite rival Ronald Reagan’s selection of Pennsylvania Republican senator Richard Schweiker as his potential running mate. Officials are still trying to figure out what mysterious disease has sickened and killed attendees at the American Legion convention in Philadelphia. Today, they’ve ruled out swine flu.

Ohio State’s athletic director decries recent reports of recruiting violations in its football program as “the worst kind of character assassination.” The merger between the National Basketball Association and the rival American Basketball Association, announced in June, becomes official today. Four ABA franchises, the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs, join the NBA; players from the Kentucky Colonels and St. Louis Spirits are dispersed among the existing NBA clubs. Future major-league outfielder Bobby Kielty is born. On TV tonight, What’s Happening!! premieres on ABC, right after a Welcome Back Kotter rerun. NBC counterprograms with It’s OK, a special starring the Beach Boys with special guests Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

Elvis Presley wraps up a three-night stand in Fayetteville, North Carolina, before taking a three-week break on his current tour. Jean-Luc Ponty plays Austin, Texas, and the Eagles play Portland, Oregon. The Doobie Brothers play Norfolk, Virginia, and Jethro Tull opens a two-night stand in Chicago. At WLS in Chicago, “Afternoon Delight” hit #1 on the survey dated July 31, just ahead of “Rock and Roll Music” by the Beach Boys and last week’s #1 song, “Got to Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles, which falls to #3. “Get Closer” by Seals and Crofts is new in the Top 10 at #10. “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” by Lou Rawls takes a mighty leap from #23 to #12; moving from #27 to #19 is “Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine, a spoken-word weeper that currently tops the nation’s country chart. There’s little movement on the WLS album chart: nine of last week’s Top 10 albums are still in the top 10, although they’ve shuffled around a bit; the Beatles’ Rock and Roll Music is still at the top. New at #10 is Spitfire by the Jefferson Starship, up from #31. The Beach Boys’ 15 Big Ones soars to #13 from #33.

A reluctant 16-year-old farmer and radio addict has been clocking a few hours on a tractor every day this week, but not on this day. He looks forward to tomorrow night’s softball game, and once the hay is made, to spending a few days in Madison next week with his cousin. A family trip to Chicago and to the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee are also coming up. The family has to squeeze as much into August as possible, because summer is fleeting.

August 1, 1969: Are You Kidding?

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(Pictured: Joe Namath of the New York Jets, who probably wouldn’t have traded places with anyone else either.)

August 1, 1969, was a Friday. On his foreign tour, President Nixon has already visited the Phillippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. He starts today in New Delhi, India, before moving on to Lahore, Pakistan. He meets privately with the Pakistani president in the afternoon, then hosts a dinner for the American traveling party before turning in for the night. He will visit Romania and the United Kingdom before returning home next week. The Nixon trip leads all three network TV newscasts tonight. All three also cover an unfolding murder mystery in southeastern Michigan, where five young women have been found dead in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti since March. Also today, three California newspapers receive nearly identical letters claiming responsibility for three recent murders there. In years to come, the incident will represent the beginning of the Zodiac case—a mystery that will be unsolved 49 years later. In the Gulf of Mexico off St. Petersburg, Florida, 13-year-old Robert Wamser is attacked by a shark while swimming in three feet of water. He is in fair condition after surgery.

The College All-Star Game is played in Chicago. The annual game matches a team of top college football stars against the defending NFL champions. This year that’s the New York Jets, who upset the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl last January. Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who had retired in the offseason due to controversy over his investment in a New York City nightclub and un-retired just two weeks ago, is booed during the pregame introductions. A few high-profile college stars, including O. J. Simpson of USC, skip the game, preferring not to risk injury. The outcome is in doubt with two minutes to go, but the Jets hang on to win, 26-24. In baseball, the National and American Leagues are in their first season of divisional play. The hottest race is in the National League West, where Houston and Cincinnati are on winning streaks; five of the six teams in the division are now within 3 1/2 games of the lead, which is held by Atlanta. In the National League East, the Cubs have a seven-game lead on the Mets. In the American League, Baltimore is on cruise control in the East with a 14-game lead over Detroit; in the West, Minnesota leads Oakland by 3 1/2. The Twins win tonight’s showdown with the Orioles 4-3 despite leaving 15 runners on base.

The Atlantic City Pop Festival opens today; the three-day event features Iron Butterfly, Procol Harum, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Byrds, Janis Joplin, and lots of others. Tonight, the Beach Boys play the Schaefer Summer Music Festival in New York City. In Los Angeles, the Summer Shower of Stars series at the Hollywood Bowl features Blood Sweat and Tears. Led Zeppelin plays Santa Barbara, California, with openers Jethro Tull and Fraternity of Man. Elvis Presley continues an engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, his first concerts in eight years. Earlier in the day, he holds a press conference, at which he’s asked whether his return has anything to do with the success of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck; how he likes fatherhood and what his life is like at Graceland; about his movie career and whether he dyes his hair; and finally, if there’s anyone he’d rather be. His response: “Are you kidding?”

At KTKT in Tucson, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” by Jackie de Shannon is the new #1, knocking “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans to #2. “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder is #3. “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones vaults to #4 from #12 last week. Other major movers include “We Got More Soul” by Dyke and the Blazers, up to #9 from #16, Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay,” up to #15 from #26, and “True Grit” by Glen Campbell, up to #20 from #38. The hottest record in Tucson, however, is “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash, which is up 23 spots this week to #12.

Perspective From the Present: I was nine years old and I looked at the newspaper regularly, but apart from the sports, I wouldn’t have cared about much of what I saw in it. On this day, I was probably looking forward to visiting my cousin for a few days. We exchanged multi-day overnight visits every summer. I remember the date of my 1969 visit for an odd reason: the Tate/LaBianca murders happened the next weekend, and I saw the story in the paper while I was there.

July 27, 1986: Somebody Like You

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(Pictured: Nancy Wilson of Heart with then-husband Cameron Crowe, David Furnish, and Elton John, 2006.)

July 27, 1986, is a Sunday. Greg LeMond becomes the first American to win the Tour de France. Investors in a potential NBA franchise in Orlando, Florida, announce that if they are granted the franchise, the team will be called the Magic. For only the third time in baseball history, two pitchers who have won 300 games face each other in the same game. Don Sutton and the California Angels beat Tom Seaver and the Boston Red Sox, 3-0. Several people in Malaysia report seeing a red sphere hovering over a field. A three-foot-tall humanoid gets out of it and walks around, leaving footprints behind. In Texas, the Clear Lake High School Class of 1976 holds its 10-year reunion. By presidential proclamation, it’s the first day of National Nuclear Medicine Week. President Reagan also signs the Commercial Vehicle Motor Safety Act, which tightens the licensing requirement for commercial drivers. For the fifth time since they were adopted in 1970, the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society amends its bylaws.

Rock critic Cameron Crowe and Heart co-leader Nancy Wilson get married. (They will divorce in 2010.) Queen plays in Budapest, and Stevie Nicks plays in Portland, Maine. Miles Davis plays in Italy. The Ramones play in Minneapolis, and Lou Reed plays in Philadelphia. The Cure plays in San Francisco. During the show, a fan climbs on stage and repeatedly stabs himself in the chest; the crowd cheers, believing it’s part of the show. Richie Havens plays Santa Cruz, California. Bob Dylan plays Denver. Howie Mandel guests on Dr. Demento’s syndicated radio show. On the Billboard Hot 100, with the new #1 hit “Sledgehammer,” Peter Gabriel dethrones his old bandmates, Genesis, whose “Invisible Touch” had topped the listing the previous week and is now at #3. Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” from the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun, sits between them at #2. New entries in the Top 10 are “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna at #6, “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle at #9, and “Modern Woman” by Billy Joel at #10. The biggest move within the Top 40 is made by Bananarama’s cover of “Venus,” up to #23 from #34. Only two songs are new in the Top 40: “Words Get in the Way” by the Miami Sound Machine at #37 and “Yankee Rose” by David Lee Roth at #40. The single biggest mover within the Hot 100 is “Somebody Like You” by .38 Special, up 23 places to #66, although Billy Ocean’s “Love Zone” is at #65 in its first week on.

Perspective From the Present: In 2007, I was invited to write a guest post about the life of a radio DJ at Got the Fever, a site maintained by longtime blog friend Kevin, and I chose to write about 1986, and especially that summer. I think I have probably rehashed a lot of it at my other blog in more recent times, but if you’d like to read that original post, it’s right here.

July 24, 1983: Every Breath You Take

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(Pictured: George Brett, second from right, is restrained by umpires after being called out in what will be known as the Pine Tar Game.) 

July 24, 1983, is a Sunday. The nation is suffering through a record heat wave. Over 80 people have died so far, 38 of them in St. Louis. A front-page story in the New York Times says that the Pentagon wants to double the number of military advisors assisting rebels trying to overthrown the government of Nicaragua. The State Department says 90 Russians have been expelled from Western countries for spying so far this year. The Times continues to cover the aftermath of the recent Diana Ross concert in Central Park. On Thursday night, Ross attracted a crowd estimated at up to 400,000, but her show was cut short by a severe thunderstorm. After the rescheduled Friday night performance, what the Times calls “bands of roving youths” robbed and harassed departing concertgoers and other people in the park. Attacks were reported in Columbus Circle and Times Square, and the famed restaurant Tavern on the Green was “invaded.”

In sports, George Brett of the Kansas City Royals hits a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to give the Royals a 5-4 lead over the Yankees in New York. But Brett is called out and the home run erased when the umpires rule that Brett’s bat has too much pine tar on it. (Pine tar is a sticky substance used to improve a player’s grip; there’s a rule about how far up the bat pine tar can extend.) Brett is the third out, so the Yankees win the game. The Royals protest the ruling. American League officials will side with them, counting the home run and ordering that the game be resumed in the top of the ninth. That won’t happen until August 18, after two lawsuits and an injunction, with the Royals winning 5-4. Tim Richmond wins the NASCAR Like Cola 500. Laurent Fignon of France wins the Tour de France.

On TV tonight, CBS airs 60 Minutes and two episodes of One Day at a Time along with The Jeffersons, Newhart, and Trapper John, M.D. NBC has the adventure series Voyagers!, an episode of Six Pack, starring Don Johnson as a race car driver who befriends a group of orphans, and the TV movie Sex and the Married Woman. ABC’s night opens with Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, followed by Matt Houston and the made-for-TV movie Rooster, starring Paul Williams and Pat McCormick as mismatched detectives. HBO airs a concert special starring Billy Joel. Jaws 3D tops the movie box office for the weekend; last week’s box-office champ, the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive, drops to #2; Return of the Jedi is #3. Other new movies opening this weekend include Class, a younger-man/older woman comedy starring Rob Lowe and Jacqueline Bisset, and Mr. Mom starring Michael Keaton. Opening next weekend: National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Meat Loaf plays Poughkeepsie, New York, ZZ Top opens a two-night stand in New Haven, Connecticut, and Blue Oyster Cult plays Pasadena. Duran Duran plays Birmingham, England and Journey plays Phoenix. The Little River Band plays Roanoke, Virginia, Steve Winwood plays Costa Mesa, California, and a triple bill starring Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Fastway plays Houston. One day after headlining an all-day bill at Comiskey Park in Chicago with the Fixx, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Simple Minds, Ministry, and A Flock of Seagulls, the Police move on to St. Louis.

At WKTI in Milwaukee, the Police hit “Every Breath You Take” and “1999” by Prince hold at #1 and #2 on the station survey. “Our House” by Madness zooms from #10 to #3; that’s the biggest jump on the survey, although “Maniac” by Michael Sembello is also up seven spots, from #25 to #18. Two songs are new within the Top 10: “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” by Michael Jackson at #8 and “Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash at #9. Four songs debut on the station’s Top 30; the highest is “Human Touch” by Rick Springfield at #26.

Perspective From the Present: I wish I could remember exactly how The Mrs. and I, married less than four months, spent this particular Sunday. Watching the Cubs on TV maybe, or maybe back in my hometown for the county fair, which would have been going on that weekend. We were on the threshold of change, but we didn’t know it yet. We had jobs we liked, a roof over our heads, Like Cola in our fridge—and the unconscious optimism of newlyweds everywhere, sure that everything would work out for the good, somehow, because why wouldn’t it?

July 19, 1979: Shakeup

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(Pictured: members of Cheap Trick onstage, circa 1979.)

July 19, 1979, is a Thursday. Four days after what will be known as the “malaise” speech, President Jimmy Carter shakes up his cabinet: Benjamin Civiletti will replace Griffin Bell as Attorney General; Patricia Harris will move from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare; G. William Miller will become Secretary of the Treasury. Secretary of Energy James Schlesinger announces his resignation. (The next week, Carter will replace his Secretary of Transportation.) In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas overthrow the Somoza government. Gene Roddenberry and Harold Livingstone complete the original shooting script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Linebacker Tom Cousineau, drafted first overall by the Buffalo Bills in last spring’s NFL draft, signs with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League for double the money Buffalo is offering. Future St. Louis Cardinals pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel is born. Major league baseball resumes play after the All-Star break; the Milwaukee Brewers win their seventh game in a row, 3-2 over Toronto.

Joan Baez performs at the Lincoln Memorial and leads a candlelit human-rights march to the White House. President Carter goes to the White House fence to meet with some of the marchers; Baez attempts to reach him on the phone later that night, but he’s on his way to bed and doesn’t take the call. Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Spyro Gyra play the Montreux Jazz Fest. Ian Hunter plays the Dallas Palladium. AC/DC plays San Diego. Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps is released. The Jackson Five open a short American tour in Pittsburgh.

Despite the proliferation of disco on the nation’s record charts, rockers are still much in evidence. The Billboard Hot 100 dated July 14, 1979, includes Cheap Trick (“I Want You to Want Me” at #8), John Stewart (“Gold,” with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, at #10), Supertramp (“The Logical Song” at #11), Van Halen (“Dance the Night Away” at #15, Peter Frampton (“I Can’t Stand It No More” at #17), and Gerry Rafferty (“Days Gone Down” at #18) among the Top 20. Also among the Top 40: Poco, KISS, Kansas, Joe Jackson, and the Doobie Brothers. Up and coming outside the Top 40: the Knack, the Charlie Daniels Band, the Cars, Blackfoot, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, the Who, and Triumph.

At the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, an aspiring radio DJ is living by himself in a mostly deserted dorm, attending summer school during the week and working his paying radio gig on the weekends. He is taking a TV engineering class widely believed by those sharing his major to be one of the toughest courses they are required to take. He is one of but two students in the class; because of that, it’s impossible to do most of the team-oriented activities the course requires. Nevertheless, the course isn’t canceled, and because he will show up more often than his lone classmate, he will get an A and she will get a B. Neither will learn much TV engineering.

July 11, 1991: Right Here, Right Now

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(Pictured: a multiple exposure of the 1991 total solar eclipse, taken in Mexico.)

July 11, 1991, is a Thursday. Headlines this morning include the inauguration of Boris Yeltsin as the first popularly elected president of Russia yesterday. A total solar eclipse is visible in Hawaii, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. Totality, which occurs this afternoon, lasts six minutes and 53 seconds. It will be the longest solar eclipse until the year 2132. During the eclipse, a UFO is sighted over Mexico City. The eclipse leads all three network newscasts tonight. Other stories covered include contentious hearings into the nomination of Robert Gates to be CIA director, and the controversy over the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. CBS reports on a music industry agreement to tax digital audio tape and equipment that makes “mirror image” copies. In Washington, the National Women’s Political Caucus celebrates its 20th anniversary. Among those on the dais tonight are Washington mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, former representatives Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and author Betty Friedan.

In major-league baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays, who have the American League’s best record, open their lead in the Eastern Division to six games over the Boston Red Sox by beating Texas 2-0. The National League’s best record belongs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat Cincinnati 10-6. Elsewhere, the fourth-place Milwaukee Brewers get a 5-1 win over the equally woebegone Chicago White Sox. Bill Wegman pitches a complete game for the Brewers. After tying the game in the bottom of the ninth on a home run by George Bell, the Chicago Cubs lose to Houston 6-4 in 11 innings. Both teams are largely out of the National League race.

The New England Journal of Medicine carries a report by a neurologist about a patient who suffers seizures when she hears the voice of Entertainment Tonight co-host Mary Hart. Fox airs new episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and The Simpsons tonight. It’s the second summer that the network has tried to get more eyeballs on some of its shows by putting new episodes up against reruns on the other networks. The Simpsons noses out The Cosby Show in the ratings, but 90210 is beaten by the night’s ratings leader, Cheers. Also on NBC tonight, A Different World, Wings, and L.A. Law. ABC airs a Sea World special, an episode of Gabriel’s Fire, a detective drama starring James Earl Jones, and the newsmagazine Primetime Live. CBS trails with the reality show Top Cops, the drama The Trials of Rosie O’Neill starring Sharon Gless, and Candid Camera. On late-night TV tonight, Arsenio Hall’s guests are actor Patrick Swayze and rock band Nelson. Jay Leno fills in for Johnny Carson and welcomes actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, comedian Paul Provenza, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. Schwarzenegger’s latest movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is #1 at the box office this week. It will be #1 after the coming weekend as well, withstanding the challenge of new releases Point Break (starring Swayze), Boyz N the Hood, and the reissue of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

Alice Cooper plays Irvine, California, and Stevie Nicks plays Dallas. Garth Brooks plays Calgary, Alberta, and Keith Jarrett plays London. Paul Simon plays Firenze, Italy, and Guns ‘n’ Roses plays Denver. On the new Billboard Hot 100 that comes out on Saturday, “Rush Rush” by Paula Abdul and “Unbelievable” by EMF hold at #1 and #2. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones is up to #3 from #5. Big movers within the Top 40 include “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, up to #12 from #20, and “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” by Bryan Adams, up to #14 from #31. “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz is up to #18 from #25. Four songs are new in the Top 40 including “3AM Eternal” by the KLF and “Crazy” by Seal. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is “Time, Love, and Tenderness” by Michael Bolton at #59. Also debuting this week are “You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses and “Unforgettable,” a manufactured duet between Natalie Cole and her late father, Nat.

In Clinton, Iowa, a radio DJ and program director shows up for work, for another day of the usual routine, summer festivals, summer promotions, and day-to-day odds and ends. If he’s started wondering whether there’s life after radio—and he will, before too much more time has passed—the feeling is still buried.

July 5, 1975: Trippy and Weird

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(Pictured: Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe pose before the Wimbledon final, 1975.)

July 5, 1975, is a Saturday. Arthur Ashe upsets Jimmy Connors to become the first black Wimbledon champion. President Ford begins the day at Camp David, where he meets with Indonesian president Suharto. Ford later returns to Washington, where he attends his daughter Susan’s 18th birthday party for eight minutes, although he later stops by the small dinner party (nine guests) being held in her honor at the White House. Future pro hockey player Chris Gratton is born; former major league pitcher Joe Kiefer, who appeared in 16 games for the White Sox and Red Sox during three scattered seasons in the 1920s, dies. The Cape Verde Islands are granted independence from Portugal. In Madison, Wisconsin, McFarland Realty Company invites you to an open house at 5702 Bartlett Lane, four bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, finished basement, fenced yard, asking price $39,600. Saturday night diners in Madison have a wide variety of options, from a seven-ounce tenderloin for $2.39 at the Nitty Gritty to an eight-ounce lobster tail at Murphy’s for $5.95. Movies playing in town include Jaws, The Wind and the Lion, French Connection 2, and Russ Meyer’s Super Vixens.

Tony Orlando and Dawn are on the cover of TV Guide. An inside spread gives viewers a first look at the new series Space: 1999, set to premiere in the fall. NBC repeats an episode of The Midnight Special, where host Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons welcome Freddy Fender, Orleans, and the Hollies. Bob Marley plays San Francisco. Pink Floyd plays Knebworth, England; the show will eventually be bootlegged as Trouble in Knebworth. Also playing at Knebworth today: Captain Beefheart, the Steve Miller Band, and Roy Harper (who sings “Have a Cigar” with Pink Floyd). The Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa hosts Florida Jam, starring ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, the Marshall Tucker Band, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, War, KISS, Pure Prairie League, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Promoters have hired female karate and judo experts as a security team; tickets are $12 at the gate. In Madison, tickets are on sale for next Tuesday’s concert at the Dane County Coliseum starring Eric Clapton and Santana: $6 in advance, $7 day of the show.

At WLS in Chicago, “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille zooms from #7 to #1, knocking last week’s #1, “Wildfire” by Michael Murphey, to #2. Making big moves into the Top 10 are “The Hustle” by Van McCoy and “Listen to What the Man Said” by Wings. The top three albums are unchanged from the previous week: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John, Chicago VIII, and BTO’s Four Wheel Drive.

Perspective From the Present: Memories of this summer always include my favorite cousin, a year younger than me. Every summer we’d spend a few days in Madison with him and he’d spend a few days on the farm with us. During my visit in the summer of 1975, we went to the movies a lot. It must have been sometime around July 5 that we saw Jaws at the Esquire Theater—I remember standing in line outside to get in. We must also have seen Tommy during the same week. I was terribly disappointed by it, but he loved how trippy and weird it was. And that was the kind of thing that would have obsessed him by then. I don’t know if he was actually using drugs yet—he was 14 and I never saw him do it—but he was fascinated by the drug culture, and he eventually did partake. His chemical of choice would become alcohol.

After one last summer of reciprocal visits in 1976, we would see each other only on holidays at Grandma’s house, and eventually he stopped showing up for those. I would see him only a handful of times in the intervening years, but I heard stories about his troubles. The last time I saw him was when Grandma died in 1994, and he was in fairly terrible shape that day. In the spring of the next year, we got the call that he had died, at age 34.

June 28, 1978: Life and Times

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(Pictured: Joe Walsh on stage in the summer of 1978.)

June 28, 1978, was a Wednesday. The Supreme Court rules that affirmative action programs are legal but racial quotas are not, and is ordering the University of California Medical School to admit Allan Bakke, who claimed he suffered from “reverse discrimination” because he is white. All three networks lead their evening newscasts with the Bakke decision; other stories covered by all three newscasts include the mob-related murder of five men found in the basement of the Blackfriars Club in Boston and the wedding of Monaco’s Princess Caroline to entrepreneur Phillippe Junot, both today. At the White House, President Carter has an extremely busy day of meetings, but his workday ends early enough for a late-afternoon tennis game with the First Lady, followed by dinner with his sons and their wives, and a viewing of the movie The Cheap Detective in the White House theater. In Scottsdale, Arizona, actor Bob Crane appears in a dinner theater production called Beginner’s Luck and afterward goes out on the town with a friend, John Carpenter. At some point early tomorrow morning, Crane will be strangled and beaten to death. It will be 14 years before Carpenter is arrested for the crime, although he will be acquitted at trial. Forty years from now, the case will remain unsolved.

Division leaders in baseball are the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers in the American League and the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants in the National League. The Orioles and Rangers lose today, but the Phillies win and the Giants split a doubleheader with San Diego. On TV tonight, CBS airs The Carol Burnett Show and the movie Rancho Deluxe, a 1974 western comedy starring Jeff Bridges. On NBC, it’s The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, the interview show Headliners With David Frost featuring guests Warren Beatty, Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, and Gerry Rafferty, and an edition of NBC Reports on advances in mental health treatment, hosted by Tom Snyder. ABC’s lineup includes Eight Is Enough, Charlie’s Angels, and an ABC News Closeup special talking with young criminals about why they commit crimes and how they choose their victims.

Tonight, in Monroe, Wisconsin, an aspiring radio DJ just out of high school spins tunes at the local roller rink. Weather Report plays Tokyo, the Rolling Stones play Memphis, and Barry Manilow plays Providence, Rhode Island. At WHB in Kansas City, Manilow’s “Copacabana” and the Stones’ “Miss You” are among the hottest songs of the week on the station’s new survey: “Miss You” moves from #28 to #13 and “Copacabana” from #39 to #27. Also hot in Kansas City: “My Angel Baby” by Toby Beau, up 15 spots to #11, and “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh, up 12 to #15 this week. “Love Will Find a Way” by Pablo Cruise and “Three Times a Lady” by the Commodores debut at #18 and #19 on the station’s Top 40. “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb takes over the #1 spot on the chart, knocking Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” to #2. “It’s a Heartache” by Bonnie Tyler holds at #3. The O’Jays and Heatwave are new in the Top 10 with “Use Ta Be My Girl”(#4) and “The Groove Line” (#7).

Perspective From the Present: I’d forgotten about the roller rink job until recently. It was my first paying DJ job, on Wednesday nights during the summer of 1978. The place had a fairly bodacious sound system and a decent library of music. The owner even took out an ad in the local newspaper advertising his disco night and mentioned me by name. Needless to say, I was possessed with visions of grandeur, imagining the local celebrity I was about to become, and the girls I was going to mesmerize.

The first night, five people showed up. They were girls, at least. But they were all 13 years old or younger. I am not sure we ever attracted more than five people on any given night, or that they were ever older than 13. Wednesdays, it seems, were not big nights for people to go roller skating, and no publicity, bodacious sound, or famous local DJ was going to change that.

I doggedly did a DJ show for the first few weeks, although eventually I’d simply track a disco album and go play pinball in the game room. At the end of each night, I’d get paid in cash, out of the till and off the books—a sum that worked out to less than minimum wage. It was neither fair nor legal, but I was so young and so naive that it never occurred to me to say so.

June 23, 1984: Mr. Success

(Pictured: Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen onstage in the summer of 1984.)

June 23, 1984, was a Saturday. In his weekly radio address, President Reagan touts higher-than-expected economic growth figures, lower inflation, and the large percentage of small businesses planning to hire new workers. According to a government report, 12,219 Americans died for various reasons during the week that ends today. Over 1,400 of them were in New York City, 486 each in Chicago and Los Angeles, and 24 in Madison, Wisconsin.

It is the final weekend of regular season play in the United States Football League; the Arizona Wranglers clinch a playoff berth with a 35-10 win over the Los Angeles Express in a game broadcast on ESPN. Los Angeles had already qualified for the playoffs. Five more games will be played tomorrow and one on Monday night before the postseason starts next weekend. NBC’s Game of the Week features the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. The Cubs come back from a six-run deficit and tie the game 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth on a Ryne Sandberg home run. Cardinal Willie McGee, who has already hit for the cycle and been named Player of the Game by NBC, singles in two runs in the top of the 10th to give the Cardinals an 11-9 lead. In the bottom of the 10th, Sandberg ties the game again with a second home run off Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter. The Cubs win it in the bottom of the 11th on a RBI single by Dave Owen, 12-11. A museum dedicated to former home run king Roger Maris is dedicated at West Acres Mall in Fargo, North Dakota.

Today’s episode of American Bandstand includes a performance by Slade and a video by R.E.M. On TV tonight, ABC wins the ratings battle with T. J. Hooker, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. CBS airs an episode of Mama Malone, a sitcom about an Italian-American woman who hosts a TV cooking show from her apartment in Brooklyn, and the 1978 theatrical film The Fury, a thriller about a government project that kidnaps children for a psychic warfare program. On NBC, Diff’rent Strokes, Silver Spoons, and Mama’s Family are followed by Mr. Success, the pilot episode for a TV series starring James Coco that was not picked up by the network, and an episode of The Rousters, an adventure series about modern-day bounty hunters descended from Wyatt Earp, which stars Chad Everett, Mimi Rogers, and Jim Varney. Connie Sellecca is on the cover of TV Guide.

Soupy Sales appears at the Bottom Line in New York City in a show that will include “uncensored outtakes” from his TV shows, and Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden. Van Halen plays Omaha, Nebraska, and the Grateful Dead plays Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are preparing for the opening of the Born in the USA tour next week, the Boss asks a lifeguard at the hotel where he and his band are staying if she would show them around town tonight. She takes them to a club called the Village, where they end up playing an impromptu 35-minute set. At B96 in Chicago, Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” holds at #3 on the station’s new survey, behind “The Reflex” by Duran Duran and “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger, which remain at #1 and #2 again this week. “When Doves Cry” by Prince leaps from #11 to #4. Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” is the only other new song in the Top 10, at #9. Rod Stewart’s “Infatuation” makes the biggest move within the station’s top 40, up to #23 from #32 last week. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. is up to #26 from #34. (Ghostbusters has been the top movie at the box office since its release two weekends ago.)

In Macomb, Illinois, a local radio DJ who is also a crazed Cub fan has to shut off the Cubs/Cardinals game after Sandberg’s first home run so he can go to work. When he gets to the station, he starts recording the Cubs radio broadcast so he can listen to the end of the game later in the evening, when he’ll have some downtime. And later that night, he does.