April 22, 1977: Get Next to You

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(Pictured: the Captain and Tennille.)

April 22, 1977, is a Friday. In the morning papers, it’s reported that Social Security recipients will get a 5.9 percent increase effective July 1. Members of Congress and leaders of the postal unions criticize a proposal to cut mail service from six days a week to five. This morning, President Jimmy Carter holds a press conference. He is asked mostly about energy policy, and he suggests that if Congress doesn’t adopt his energy plan, he could use his presidential powers to mandate gas rationing. Shimon Peres becomes acting prime minister of Israel after Yitzhak Rabin steps down. Late last night and early this morning, people in Dover, Massachusetts, claim to have seen an unidentified creature with glowing eyes that will be nicknamed the Dover Demon.

Cleveland TV station WJW-TV becomes WJKW. On TV today, Dinah Shore welcomes Pearl Bailey, Mel Tillis, and Mel Torme and their children to Dinah! Sonny and Cher announce that they will end the current reincarnation of their variety show at the end of the current TV season. David Frost and Richard Nixon tape their final interview to be broadcast this summer. Future FC Barcelona soccer player Mark Van Bommel is born, and former major league pitcher Rube Yarrison, who pitched in 21 games for the Philadelphia Athletics and Brooklyn Dodgers over two seasons in the 1920s, dies. Movies in the theaters include Rocky, Airport 77, Slap Shot, Taxi Driver, and All the President’s Men.

The Grateful Dead plays Philadelphia, Boston plays Greensboro, North Carolina, Rush plays Binghamton, New York, Elvis Presley plays Detroit, AC/DC and Black Sabbath play Goteborg, Sweden, and Pink Floyd opens its “In the Flesh” tour with a show in Miami. At WLS in Chicago, “Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates tops the new survey that will come out tomorrow. “Don’t Give Up on Us” by David Soul makes a strong move from #7 to #2; “Southern Nights” by Glen Campbell moves from #9 to #3. New in the Top 10 is “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer, moving to #8 from #11. The biggest movers are “I Wanna Get Next to You” by Rose Royce, up 11 spots, and “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs and “Can’t Stop Dancin’” by the Captain and Tennille, up nine. The top two albums are unchanged for the sixth straight week: the soundtrack from A Star Is Born is #1 (for the ninth week overall), Hotel California by the Eagles is #2.

In Wisconsin, a high-school junior and his girlfriend (who very much likes the Captain and Tennille, to her boyfriend’s great chagrin) celebrate her birthday. Years later, he won’t be able to remember what they did that night, but it’s enough to guess.

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April 15, 1990: Lead You Back

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(Pictured: Greta Garbo, 1931.)

April 15, 1990, is Easter Sunday. The nuclear-armed nations of India and Pakistan remain nose-to-nose over the disputed province of Kashmir. At Cape Canaveral, preparations continue for the April 24 launch of the space shuttle Discovery, which will deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Eruptions continue at Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska. This series of eruptions will be the second-costliest in American history behind Mt. St. Helens in 1980. The New York Times publishes data showing that the median price of a house in the United States was $95,400 in February. A world record for tallest sand sculpture (17 feet, 5 3/4 inches) is set in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.

Movie icon Greta Garbo dies at age 89, and U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii dies at age 73; future Harry Potter actress Emma Watson is born. The top movies at the box office this weekend are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pretty Woman, The Hunt for Red October, and Ernest Goes to Jail. The Miss Universe pageant is held in Los Angeles; the winner is Miss Norway, Mona Grudt; Miss USA Carole Gist is first runnerup. Payne Stewart wins the MCI Heritage Golf Classic, but Greg Norman continues to lead the world golf rankings; Nick Faldo, who won the Masters last Sunday, is ranked second. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum tops the paperback best-seller lists.

The sketch comedy series In Living Color premieres on Fox. Also on Fox tonight, The Outsiders, a series based on the S. E. Hinton novel, the 21 Jump Street spinoff Booker starring Richard Grieco, and The Simpsons. NBC airs an episode of The Magical World of Disney. In the first-ever Sunday night baseball game broadcast on ESPN, the Montreal Expos beat the New York Mets 3 to 1. On MTV, 120 Minutes features videos by Depeche Mode, the Cure, and Stone Roses. On the radio, The Dr. Demento Show features music and comedy bits about television, but the top song on the weekly Funny Five is, once again, “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes.

Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan play in suburban Detroit. Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour continues its opening stand in Tokyo. Paul McCartney plays Miami, and Fleetwood Mac plays Sydney, Australia. Janet Jackson plays Houston. On the current Billboard Hot 100, the new #1 song is “I’ll Be Your Everything” by Tommy Page, taking out Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back,” which falls to #5. Also among the Top 5: “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” by Jane Child, “All Around the World” by Lisa Stansfield, and “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. The lone new song in the Top 10 is “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway, moving to #6 from #11. The highest-debuting song of the week within the Top 40 is “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” by Heart, which comes in at #26 from #41. Madonna’s “Vogue” makes its Hot 100 debut at #39.

The new jock at a tiny radio station in small-town Iowa has to go back to work tomorrow. He’s been there about three weeks. It’s a job he needed more than he wanted, although it will eventually have its satisfactions.

April 9, 1976: Winners and Losers

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(Pictured: Helen Reddy, circa 1976.)

April 9, 1976, is a Friday. Frisch’s Big Boy Restaurants in the greater Cincinnati area invite you in for fish fillets tonight with fries, salad, and a roll for $1.60. It’s the second day of the major-league baseball season, but only two games were played yesterday; 16 teams open their seasons today, including the Chicago Cubs, who lose to the Cardinals 5-0 in St. Louis. On a trip to Texas, President Ford visits the Alamo in San Antonio during the morning and then goes to Dallas. He throws out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ season opener, staying only for the first inning. In the first pro sports event at the new Seattle Kingdome, Pele scores two goals as the New York Cosmos defeat the Seattle Sounders in pro soccer, 2-1. Folksinger Phil Ochs, most famous for “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” hangs himself; he was 35. A strong earthquake kills eight people in Ecuador. In Nagoya, Japan, a 13-year-old boy takes a series of photos that seem to show a UFO. In Syracuse, New York, the Onondaga County Public Library unveils its new logo. In Madison, Wisconsin, the first edition of a new weekly newspaper, Isthmus, is laid out in the living room of one of its co-founders.

New movies in theaters include All the President’s Men starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford and Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot. On daytime TV, Foster Brooks ends a week co-hosting The Mike Douglas Show; guests today include Gloria Swanson, Frankie Valli, and Geraldo Rivera. The Merv Griffin Show welcomes Kaye Ballard, Jack Jones, comedian Charlie Callas and impressionist Marilyn Michaels. In prime time, the animated special The First Easter Rabbit, featuring the voices of Burl Ives and Robert Morse, airs on NBC, and so does The Rockford Files. CBS airs an episode of Sara, starring Brenda Vaccaro as a schoolteacher in an 1870 Colorado town. She will be nominated for an Emmy, but the show will end after 13 episodes.

Rush plays the Indianapolis Coliseum with special guests Ted Nugent and the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. On separate bills, Genesis and Donovan play New York City. The Electric Light Orchestra and Journey play Huntsville, Alabama. Bruce Springsteen plays Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

The Midnight Special airs on NBC following Johnny Carson. Host Helen Reddy welcomes Fleetwood Mac, who perform a blazing version of their new hit “Rhiannon.” Also on the show, Gary Wright, Barry Manilow, Queen, and Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds, who perform “Fallin’ in Love” with Reddy and their recent hit “Winners and Losers,” and then come back for a second spot doing “Every Day Without You.”

Perspective From the Present: I was equipment manager of the high school baseball team, and we had a scrimmage on that Friday after school. That night, a couple of friends and I went to the local drive-in theater for what I recall as some terrible movies (although I don’t remember what they were), killing time until midnight. The Key Club at my high school was putting on a marathon basketball game that weekend, in which teams signed up to play for an hour at a time from Friday afternoon through Sunday night. I was on a team scheduled to play at midnight and again at 5AM, so the night of April 9 and 10, 1976, marked the first time I ever stayed up all night. Spring break (known to us then as Easter vacation) started on Monday the 12th. On the Tuesday the 13th, I passed my behind-the-wheel test and got my driver’s license; on Wednesday the 14th, the local radio station said they’d hire me for the summer—although they didn’t follow through on that.

An eventful few days, for sure.

April 6, 1982: Freeze-Frame

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(Pictured: the Go-Gos, approaching peak 80-tude.)

April 6, 1982, is a Tuesday. By presidential proclamation issued today, it’s Parliamentary Emphasis Month. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher says she will not resign over her handling of the seizure of the Falkland Islands by Argentina last Friday. A blizzard that blasted the Midwest yesterday rolls east, with heavy snow followed by record cold. Many areas report thundersnow, with cloud-to-ground lightning in the midst of whiteout conditions. Baseball season openers are cancelled from Chicago to New York. One game that is not postponed today is the first-ever regular season Minnesota Twins game in the new Metrodome; the Twins lose to Seattle 11 to 7. The space shuttle Columbia, bolted to a 747, is flown back to the Kennedy Space Center from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico; next Monday, it will be launched on its maiden flight into space. A couple in Somersworth, New Hampshire, opens a trunk that had been stored in a dark basement for at least 20 years; inside they find the mummified bodies of four newborn infants wrapped in newspapers dated 1949 to 1952. The case will never be solved. Former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, the first sitting justice forced to resign (in 1969), died yesterday at age 71. Future pro hockey player Travis Moen is born.

The ABC-TV lineup tonight includes Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, Three’s Company, Too Close for Comfort, and Hart to Hart. CBS has an episode of the adventure series Q.E.D., starring Sam Waterston and set in pre-World War I England, and the theatrical movie Love and Bullets. NBC counters with two animated Easter specials, a repeat of a Steve Martin special, and the premiere of a new variety show called The Shape of Things. The show, which is aimed at a female audience and intends to take a feminist point of view, features the Chippendales dancers as regulars and will last only three episodes amid complaints about its content. Chariots of Fire, which won Best Picture at the Oscars last week, continues to pack ’em in at theaters, as does On Golden Pond, with Best Actor Henry Fonda. The biggest star of the moment, however, is Richard Pryor: Some Kind of Hero was the top-grossing new film of the past weekend, while Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip remained in the top 10. The #1 film overall this past week was Porky’s. No new movies will open on the coming weekend, which is Easter.

The Grateful Dead plays Philadelphia, Ozzy Osbourne plays Providence, Rickie Lee Jones plays Cleveland, Mike Oldfield plays Dunedin, New Zealand, Tommy Tutone plays Minneapolis, and Rush plays Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At WLS in Chicago, the #1 song on the station’s survey dated April 3, 1982, is “I Love Rock & Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, for a fourth week; the Go Go’s Beauty and the Beat album is #1 for an eighth week.  Both the Go Gos and the J. Geils Band have two records in the station’s top 10: “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” are at #2 and #6; “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame” are at #3 and #9. “Freeze Frame” made one of the week’s biggest moves, blasting from #20 to #9, but “Titles” from Chariots of Fire made the biggest, from #45 to #19. Other major moves this week are made by “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone” (#26 to #11), and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” by Rick Springfield (#35 to #23).

Perspective From the Present: I’d been working full-time at KDTH for a couple of months, and if 1982 was the year the station started carrying broadcasts of my then-beloved Chicago Cubs, I probably spent some time running the board during games. They opened in Cincinnati and missed the blizzard. I expect it was cold in my one-bedroom apartment because it was that kind of place, but the rest of that week is gone down the memory hole.

March 27, 1973: Who Do We Think We Are?

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(Pictured: Cabaret stars Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey at the movie’s Paris premiere in September 1972.)

March 27, 1973, was a Tuesday. Newspapers headline the agreement between the United States and North Vietnam that will result in the release of the last prisoners of war from North Vietnam and withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam later this week. But the Nixon Administration has also announced that military operations will continue in Cambodia until Communist forces agree to a cease-fire. Congressional Republicans are demanding that the White House provide more information about the Watergate break-in and operations against the McGovern campaign last year. In meetings today, President Nixon orders aide John Ehrlichman to conduct his own investigation of Watergate, since White House counsel John Dean hasn’t reported the results of the investigation he’s doing. In a conversation with Secretary of State William Rogers, the president places blame for Watergate on Attorney General John Mitchell and Deputy Chief of Staff Jeb Magruder. Among his public events today, Nixon meets with Lindy Boggs of Louisiana, who was elected to the House of Representatives one week ago to fill the seat previously held by her husband. Hale Boggs and Alaska congressman Nick Begich were aboard a plane that disappeared in Alaska last October; both men are presumed dead, although their bodies will never be found.

Playwright Noel Coward died yesterday at his estate in Jamaica; he was 73 years old. Tonight is Oscar night. Cabaret wins eight awards, including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli, Best Supporting Actor for Joel Grey, and Best Director for Bob Fosse. The Godfather wins three, including Best Picture. Marlon Brando is awarded Best Actor, but he is boycotting the ceremony in protest of treatment of American Indians and sends an actress named Sacheen Littlefeather to accept in his place. Dressed in Apache garb, she gives a brief speech declining the award on Brando’s behalf.

In sports, UCLA won its seventh straight NCAA men’s basketball championship last night, defeating Memphis State 87-66 in St. Louis. UCLA’s Bill Walton was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. It’s the first time the national championship game has been held on a Monday following semifinals on Saturday. In the NBA tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 85-84. Wilt Chamberlain of the Lakers plays 46 of the 48 minutes of the game but does not score a single point. Oscar Robertson scores 25 for the Bucks and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 24. It’s the last regular season game for the Bucks, although the Lakers have one more tomorrow, the last day of the regular season. Both the Bucks and Lakers will end up with 60-22 records, but the Boston Celtics have the league’s best record with 68 wins and 14 losses. The American Basketball Association will also end its regular season tomorrow. The league’s top teams going into the playoffs are the Carolina Cougars, Kentucky Colonels, and Utah Stars.

The three TV networks air 16 game shows and 12 soap operas today, including second episodes of The $10,000 Pyramid and The Young and the Restless, both of which premiered yesterday on CBS. At KQV in Pittsburgh, “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight and the Pips takes a mighty leap from #9 to #1 on the station’s latest survey. Last week’s #1, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack falls to #2. “Love Train” by the O’Jays blasts to #6 from #20 the previous week. Three other songs are new in the Top 10: “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by the Spinners, “Danny’s Song” by Anne Murray, and “Call Me” by Al Green. The highest-debuting new song on the survey is “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band” by the Moody Blues at #16. New songs in the Hit Parade Bound section of the survey are Helen Reddy’s “Peaceful,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder, and “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel. Top albums include Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player, No Secrets by Carly Simon, Hot August Night by Neil Diamond, and Who Do We Think We Are by Deep Purple.

Perspective From the Present: At my other blog, I’m doing an intermittent series on 1973, trying to figure out why that year feels like an empty space in my growing-up. This post doesn’t explain much. I would have ridden the bus to school on this morning, heard about the Vietnam agreement and Sacheen Littlefeather on the news. But what I thought or felt or did on that day is gone down the memory hole.

March 21, 1980: Stand by Me

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(Pictured: the Clash onstage, March 1980.)

March 21, 1980, is a Friday. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will boycott the upcoming Summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later in the day, he heads for Camp David. After West Virginia teachers receive only a $950-per-year raise from the legislature, about a quarter of them stage a one-day strike. Wool-handlers in Australia end an 11-week strike. Future soccer star Ronaldinho is born, and Philadelphia crime boss Angelo Bruno dies, shot in the head while sitting in his car.

In Doonesbury today, Mike continues work on Republican congressman John Anderson’s presidential campaign. On daytime TV, Dinah Shore welcomes actress Polly Holliday to Dinah!. Holliday’s new sitcom Flo will premiere on CBS tonight. The Mike Douglas Show features co-host Charlene Tilton and guests including actor James Franciscus and sportscaster Curt Gowdy. Celebrity guests on The $20,000 Pyramid are Joanna Gleason and David Letterman. On CBS tonight, in addition to Flo and an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, it’s the season finale of Dallas, in which J. R. Ewing is shot. The mystery of who shot him, which will not be solved until the November 21 episode, will inspire the widespread TV practice of end-of-season cliffhangers. NBC counterprograms with an episode of Pink Lady and Jeff. It’s a quiet weekend at the movies; Kramer vs. Kramer will top the box-office again.

ZZ Top and the Rockets play Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati; it’s the first rock concert held at the venue since the deaths of 11 people in a stampede at a Who concert the previous December. Rick James plays Cleveland with his opening act, Prince. The Outlaws play at Rutgers University, Van Halen plays Medford, Oregon, and Rush plays Spokane, Washington. Gary Numan plays Brussels, Belgium, and Harry Chapin plays Binghamton, New York.

On the edition of American Top 40 to be broadcast around the country this weekend, “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd knocks “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen out of the top spot to #3. Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer” holds at #2. There’s only one new song in the Top 10, “How Do I Make You” by Linda Ronstadt. Air Supply’s “Lost In Love” is the biggest mover within the 40, up seven spots from #32 to #25. Three new songs within the Top 40 come blazing in: Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” debuts at #27 after entering the Hot 100 at #53 last week; “Hold On to My Love” by Jimmy Ruffin comes in at #31 from #47. “Pilot of the Airwaves” by Charlie Dore is new at #39, up from #50.

Among the debuts on the Hot 100 is “Train in Vain (Stand By Me)” by the Clash at #84. It appears on their album London Calling but is not listed on the sleeve or the label. Despite prominent hand-labeling of the sleeve and the label, a couple of the jocks at WSUP, the student station at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville, will demonstrate themselves pathologically unable to figure out where it is. They will either insist on playing the wrong cut or on not playing “Train in Vain” at all. The station’s program director, an impatient fellow under the best of circumstances, is not amused.

March 19, 1976: Show Me

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(Pictured: Peter Frampton gives it all he’s got, 1976.)

March 19, 1976, was a Friday. Newspaper readers learn that Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho entered the presidential race yesterday, even though the race is well underway already. Also yesterday, Paul McCartney’s father, James, died at age 73, and the state of Kentucky officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. (It had rejected the amendment in 1865.) Today, closing arguments continue in the bank-robbery trial of heiress Patricia Hearst. Hearst was kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army; within weeks, she had taken the name Tania, became a member of the group, and remained underground until she was arrested in the fall of 1975. In Britain, Buckingham Palace announces the separation of Princess Margaret from her husband, Lord Snowdon. They have been married 15 years and have two children. At the White House, President Ford meets members of the National Newspaper Association and takes questions. After the public announcement of the appointment of diplomat Thomas Gates to head the United States Liaison Office in China, Ford, Gates, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft hold a classified meeting in which they discuss the political signal sent to Chinese leaders by the Gates appointment. In Sierra Madre, California, a bicentennial time capsule is buried under the flagpole of the city’s new police and fire building. The Garden State Rotary Club of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, holds its first meeting.

The Indiana Hoosiers defeat Alabama in the Mideast Regional semifinals of the NCAA basketball tournament. (On Sunday, they will qualify for the Final Four by beating Marquette, and will eventually win the national championship, going undefeated for the year.) Third-ranked UNLV is upset by Arizona, 114-109 in overtime. In Illinois, 16 teams in two classes open the state high school basketball tournament. Tomorrow, Chicago Morgan Park (class AA) and Mt. Pulaski (class A) will win championships. Celebrity guests on the recently renamed $20,000 Pyramid are Soupy Sales and All My Children actress Stephanie Braxton. Panelists on The Hollywood Squares include Bob Newhart, Shirley Jones, Hal Linden, Don Rickles, Jonathan Winters, and Arte Johnson. Joining Brett, Charles, and Richard on Match Game ’76 are Clifton Davis, Patty Duke Astin, and Joyce Bulifant. Programs on NBC tonight include Sanford and Son, The Practice, a sitcom starring Danny Thomas as a physician, and The Rockford Files. Future TV actress Rachel Blanchard and future NBA player Andre Miller are born. Guitarist Paul Kossoff, formerly of Free and currently of Back Street Crawler, dies aboard an airplane flight after years of drug abuse; he was 25.

Bette Midler plays Tarrytown, New York, the Electric Light Orchestra plays Boston, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band plays Kansas City, Kansas, Elvis Presley plays Johnson City, Tennessee, and Bad Company plays Dallas. David Bowie plays Buffalo and the Who plays Denver. On the new Billboard Top 40 that Casey Kasem will count down this weekend, “December 1963” by the Four Seasons and “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen hold at #1 and #2. Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady” are new in the Top 10. The hottest hits within the Top 40 are “Show Me the Way” by Peter Frampton, up 12 places to #25, and “Right Back Where We Started From” by Maxine Nightingale, up 11 places to #14.  A teenager in southern Wisconsin continues his behind-the-wheel driver’s ed instruction in eager anticipation of getting his license within a few weeks; whenever he’s in the car, the radio is always on. And whenever he’s not.

March 14, 1987: Act Up

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(Pictured: Boy George, on stage in 1987.)

March 14, 1987, was a Saturday. In his weekly radio address, President Reagan talks about the changes in his national security team, necessitated by the unfolding Iran-Contra scandal. White supremacists rally in Forsyth County, Georgia, after winning a lawsuit giving them the right to do so. A United Press International story appearing around the country today says that the World Health Organization is reporting a worldwide total of 42,704 AIDS cases, three-quarters of which are in the United States. In Los Angeles, county officials are planning to open several new AIDS testing sites, due in part to a sharp increase in AIDS cases among heterosexuals. In New York City, Larry Kramer and other gay activists form the organization ACT UP. Yesterday, a judge ordered 17-year-old Machelle Outlaw of Goldsboro, North Carolina, readmitted to her Christian school after she was expelled earlier in the week for modeling swimsuits in a department store fashion show. Among the teams winning games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are Indiana, Wyoming, and Notre Dame. Katarina Witt wins the World Figure Skating Championships in Cincinnati. Stu Kulak, recently acquired in a trade, makes his debut with the NHL’s New York Rangers. (He will play in three games for the Rangers before being released.) TV shows on NBC tonight include The Golden Girls and Saturday Night’s Main Event, a pro wrestling show. Lower Prior Lake, in Scott County, Minnesota, records its earliest ice-out—the date on which there’s no more ice on the lake. Pope John Paul II meets the Cremonese soccer team and members of the Moscow Circus.

Wang Chung plays in Denver, and Petula Clark plays the Hamilton Hotel in Itasca, Illinois. In the UK, The Very Best of Hot Chocolate goes to #1 on the album charts. The #1 single in the UK is Boy George’s cover of Bread’s “Everything I Own,” which doesn’t hit in the States. In the States, the #1 single is “Jacob’s Ladder” by Huey Lewis and the News, which doesn’t hit in the UK. “Somewhere Out There” by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram is #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile” is at #3, making it the fifth Top-5 single from her album Control. The achievement matches only her brother Michael’s on Thriller. Rounding out the top 5: last week’s #1 single, “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, and “Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau. For the second week, Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys is Billboard‘s #1 album. Bruce Springsteen’s Live 1975-1985 box set goes platinum only about three months after its release.

Perspective From the Present: I was playing elevator music at KRVR in Davenport, Iowa, and had been doing so since January. It’s likely that I had this Saturday off, and I probably slept late. I worked until 9:00 at night, and The Mrs. and I got into the habit of grabbing a late dinner and going to a midnight movie on Fridays. It’s likely we didn’t get home until something like 3:00 this morning.

Meal at 9, movie at 12, home by 3. The only way we could do that now would be to have breakfast at nine and the movie at noon.

March 7, 1993: Ordinary World

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(Pictured: Duran Duran, 1993.)

March 7, 1993, was a Sunday. Headlines on the Sunday papers include reports from Waco, Texas, where state and federal law enforcement officers have surrounded a complex occupied by members of the Branch Davidians, a religious sect led by David Koresh. A raid by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on February 28 resulted in a gun battle that killed four agents and five Davidians. Supreme Court justice Byron White may be considering retirement after 31 years on the court. A retirement would give the new president, Bill Clinton, the chance to make the first Democratic appointment to the court since the Johnson Administration. NBC and CBS lead their evening newscasts with the Waco story; ABC leads with a story on Clinton’s plan to close military bases.

In college basketball, top-ranked North Carolina defeats #6 Duke 83-69 to close the regular season. The game is broadcast on ABC; it will be the final game for analyst Jim Valvano, who has been fighting cancer and will die in April. Six games are played in the NBA today. The league leaders—New York, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix—all have the day off. In Milwaukee, a battle of cellar-dwelling teams finds the Detroit Pistons beating the Bucks 98-91 behind 35 points by Joe Dumars. Six games are played in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks, in their second season in the league, win their 10th game of the year, and their second in a row, beating Edmonton 6-3. They will lose their next 13 straight before getting their final win of the season on April 6 (again over Edmonton), and will end up with a record of 11 wins, 71 losses, and two ties. The first Pennsylvania Nordic Championship ski race takes place at Laurel Ridge State Park. Davey Allison wins the NASCAR Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond.

Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas, tops the box office for the second straight weekend. Last weekend, it knocked Groundhog Day to #2, and it remains at #2 this weekend. Also packing theaters: The Crying Game and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. The top new movie of the weekend is Mad Dog and Glory, starring Robert de Niro, Bill Murray, and Uma Thurman, On TV tonight, ABC airs the family drama Life Goes On, the first episode of the newsmagazine show Day One, and a rerun of the theatrical movie Platoon. NBC airs the reality shows Unsolved Mysteries and I Witness Video. The latter, hosted by John Forsythe, often features video of natural disasters and crime and is sometimes criticized for its content. NBC closes the night with the TV movie Passport to Murder starring Connie Sellecca and Ed Marinaro. Fox airs six 30-minute programs in primetime, including In Living Color, Roc, and Married With Children. On CBS, it’s 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote, and the TV movie The Disappearance of Nora starring Veronica Hamel, which draws the night’s highest rating.

Van Morrison plays Tilburg in the Netherlands, Duran Duran plays Hamburg, Germany, Leonard Cohen plays San Francisco, and Quiet Riot plays Cincinnati. On the Billboard Hot 100, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” has finally been knocked from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after 14 weeks, by “A Whole New World,” a song from the soundtrack of the animated movie Aladdin, sung by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. Nevertheless, Whitney continues to dominate the chart. Her version of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” drops from #4 to #6, and her latest hit, “I Have Nothing,” is the highest debut in the Top 40 at #23. Elsewhere, Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” holds at #3, “Informer” by Snow jumps from #10 to #4, and “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre holds at #5. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Walk Away” by Jade at #9 and “Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi at #10. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Freak Me” by Silk, which is up 19 spots to #21; “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors is up 1o spots to #20. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Houston’s soundtrack from her movie The Bodyguard is #1 for a 13th week. Although it will be taken out next week by Eric Clapton’s Unplugged, it will have three more runs and seven additional weeks at #1 between now and the end of May.

Perspective From the Present: I can do the math, and so I know this was 25 years ago. In my head, it seems like a lot less than that.

February 29, 1968: Leap Day

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(Pictured: 1968 Grammy winner Boris Karloff.)

(There’s no 29th this year, of course, but I’m not waiting until 2020 to post this. And I have some experience in observing the 29th on the 28th anyway.)

February 29, 1968, is a Thursday. The big headline on the morning papers is about the withdrawal yesterday of former Michigan governor George Romney from the Republican presidential race just two weeks before the New Hampshire primary. In the latest New Hampshire polling, Romney trails former vice-president Richard Nixon 73-19, and he has failed to improve his standing with New Hampshire voters despite a well-financed and strenuous seven-week campaign. The Kerner Commission, formed after riots tore through American inner cities in the summer of 1967, releases its final report. President Lyndon Johnson will be forced to ignore many of its recommendations because the Vietnam War makes it impossible for the country to afford new social programs. Vietnam architect Robert McNamara spends his final day as Secretary of Defense, a post he has held since 1961. Last November, President Johnson announced that McNamara would become head of the World Bank. Clark Clifford takes over the post tomorrow. In the Panama Canal, a traffic record is set with 65 ships making the transit in a single day. In Amarillo, Texas, Western Plaza Mall opens.

In Norway, Leif-Martin Henriksen is born. He joins a brother, born on February 29, 1964, and a sister, born on February 29, 1960. Also born today: future pro football player Bryce Paup and future American Olympic curler Pete Fenson. In Madison, Wisconsin, you can book a weekend room at the Ramada Inn on East Washington Avenue with one double bed for $9, or with two double beds for $14, and cribs are free. The Thursday night top sirloin special at the Goalpost is $3.50, but the smorgasbord at the Golden Rooster is just $2.00.

Late-night talk show host Joey Bishop welcomes Henry Fonda, Sammy Davis Jr., and Lulu, while Merv Griffin’s guests include James Brown and Soupy Sales. On primetime TV tonight: Dragnet, Bewitched, and one of the last episodes of Batman, titled “The Joker’s Flying Saucer.” The Grammy Awards are presented: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles is Album of the Year, but Record of the Year and Song of the Year go to “Up Up and Away.” Bobbie Gentry wins Best New Artist, and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” wins two R&B awards. Boris Karloff and Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois win Grammys for the albums How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Gallant Men, respectively.

The Cowsills are among the artists performing at the Grammy show. Jimi Hendrix plays a Milwaukee club called the Scene. Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman and his group play the Royal Albert Hall in London. Yoko Ono joins them on vocals for one number, “Emotion Modulation (A.O.S),” which is eventually released, although the rest of the show is not. Former Supreme Florence Ballard marries former Motown chauffeur Thomas Chapman. At WCFL in Chicago, the new Sound 10 Survey is released. “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and “Spooky” by the Classics IV run the top for the second straight week. Otis Redding’s “The Dock of the Bay” takes a huge leap from #16 to #7. “I Wish It Would Rain” by the Temptations is also new in the Top Ten at #9. “Just Dropped In” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition moves from #18 to #12. One of the new songs in the top 20 is “Up on the Roof” by Chicago favorite the Cryan Shames.

Some 120 highway miles from Chicago, a future WCFL listener celebrates his second “real” birthday on Leap Day.  There’s a birthday party at some point around the 29th, and home movies are taken. He will look at them 50 years from now and find himself with no words to describe the feeling of watching eight or ten young boys playing party games, eating cake, and mugging for the camera. He recognizes all the faces, and he knows what became of some, but not all, of his best buds from a half-century ago.