October 11, 1958: Tea for Two

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(Pictured: Buddy Holly with fellow Crickets Joe Mauldin and Jerry Allison, 1958.)

October 11, 1958, was a Saturday. Catholics around the world are mourning the death of Pope Pius XII, who died on Thursday after 19 years as Supreme Pontiff. Yesterday, his body lay in state in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Today, NASA, the newly formed American space agency, launches its first satellite, Pioneer 1, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecraft, developed by the Air Force, is intended to fly by the moon, but engine problems will cause controllers to shoot for Earth orbit instead. That attempt will fail also, and on Monday, Pioneer 1 will burn up in the atmosphere on reentry. The launch is broadcast live on WLTV in Jacksonville. In her syndicated newspaper column My Day, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt has been writing about her recent trip to the Soviet Union. In today’s column, she tells about her recent visit with Yekaterina Furtseva, the highest-ranking female member of the Supreme Soviet. (Today is Mrs. Roosevelt’s 74th birthday.) In Orfordville, Wisconsin, a farmer from rural Monroe and a schoolteacher from rural Brodhead get married. They will go to Yellowstone National Park for their honeymoon, getting as far as Cuba City, Wisconsin, on their wedding night.

In a clash of college football titans this afternoon, #3 Army beats #4 Notre Dame 14-2. Top-ranked Auburn beats Kentucky 8-0 while #2 Oklahoma loses its annual showdown with Texas 15-14. Ohio State, which was ranked #1 in preseason polls but has slipped to #5 despite winning its first two games, beats Illinois 19-13. Among the other Big Ten results, Wisconsin blows out Purdue 31-6 and Iowa beats Indiana 34-13. Baseball fans are waiting to learn whether New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel will return for an 11th season next year. The Yankees won the World Series this past Thursday afternoon, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the defending champion Milwaukee Braves in seven games. (Stengel does indeed return, and he will manage the Yankees through 1960.)

Prime-time TV is packed with westerns tonight, including Wanted: Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, and the debut episode of Cimarron City, starring George Montgomery, Audrey Totter, and John Smith, set on the Oklahoma frontier in the 1890sAlso airing tonight: Perry Mason, The Gale Storm Show, The Perry Como ShowSteve Canyon, and The Lawrence Welk Show. The latter has been broadcast with stereo sound in several American cities since its season premiere in September; ABC says the stereo broadcast will soon expand to 75 markets covering 80 percent of the country. Viewers will get one side of the stereo broadcast on TV and the other from tuning in the radio. Also on ABC, The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show is broadcast live from Atlanta with guests including Sam Cooke, Danny and the Juniors, and Conway Twitty. The Ku Klux Klan has threatened to disrupt the show over Cooke’s appearance, so National Guard troops are on standby against trouble. In the UK, the sports show Grandstand premieres on the BBC. Showing a mix of live events and highlights, it will run until 2007.

The Biggest Show of Stars tour, which is playing 17 cities in 17 days, reaches Columbus, Ohio, on the ninth day. Stars include Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, the Coasters, Dion and the Belmonts, and others. On the new Fabulous Forty Survey at KFWB in Los Angeles, “It’s All in the Game” by Tommy Edwards and “Tears on My Pillow” by Little Anthony and the Imperials hold at #1 and #2 for another week. Bandleaders Cozy Cole and Tommy Dorsey are in the Top 10 with “Topsy Part 2” and “Tea for Two Cha Cha” respectively, at #3 and #5. “Bird Dog” by the Everly Brothers is #4. Three songs are new in the Top 10: “It’s Only Make Believe” by Conway Twitty, “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day, and “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by the Teddy Bears. The biggest mover on the chart is “Non Dimenticar” by Nat King Cole, up 21 spots to #17 in its second week on. The highest debut is “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper at #21.

Perspective From the Present: Stereo sound was new, having been launched by the major record labels late in 1957. One review of September’s Lawrence Welk season premiere said, “The stereo sound under this setup, where the speakers and sound systems are unbalanced, is not very good, but it’s a gimmick that helps rivet attention to the show’s sound.” Read more about the first year of stereo here.

The farmer and the schoolteacher became my parents, and today is their 60th wedding anniversary. We’ll have a family celebration this weekend.


October 7, 1976: Hope Springs Eternal

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(Pictured: Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford debate, 1976.)

October 7, 1976, is a Thursday. At last night’s second Ford/Carter debate, President Ford said there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Today, Ford’s campaign unveils a new ad touting the president’s biography. Hua Kuo-Feng is named chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, succeeding Mao Tse-Tung, who died last month. In a meeting with the foreign minister of Argentina, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gives indications that the United States will not oppose Argentina’s “dirty war” against its own people. Gary Gilmore is convicted of murder in Utah; he will insist on a speedy execution by firing squad, and in January 1977, become the first person to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was banned by the Supreme Court in 1972. Future actress Rachel McAdams, future singer Taylor Hicks, and future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Charles Woodson are born. Hank Aaron, baseball’s all-time home run king, joins the Atlanta Braves’ front office after retiring as a player. High-school football fans in Monroe, Wisconsin, look forward to tomorrow night’s game despite the fact that their team is mired in a losing streak; hope nevertheless springs eternal because the team opened the season in September with two straight wins, equaling their total over the two previous seasons.

Connie Stevens is this week’s cohost on The Mike Douglas Show. Burt Reynolds is today’s guest. On the competing daytime show Dinah!, Dinah Shore’s guests include Sid Caesar and Marsha Mason. Shows on TV tonight include the NBC sci-fi series Gemini Man and the CBS crime drama Barnaby Jones. Elton John appears on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone. In the cover story, he reveals his bisexuality. Frank Sinatra plays Hartford, Connecticut, Neil Diamond plays Fort Worth, Texas, and Lynryd Skynyrd plays Spokane, Washington.

At KYA in San Francisco, “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees is #1 again this week; “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry holds at #2. Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” jumps from #11 to #5; in Cash Box, it’s the highest-debuting record on the magazine’s chart for over a year, coming on the Top 100 at #48. Three new songs debut on the KYA survey: “Rock’n Me” by the Steve Miller Band, “You Are My Starship” by Norman Connors, and “Still the One” by Orleans. The station adds three songs to its playlist: “Nadia’s Theme” by Perry Botkin Jr., “Just to Be Close to You” by the Commodores, and “Muskrat Love” by the Captain and Tennille. “Muskrat Love” is the biggest mover within the Cash Box survey, up 29 spots to #31. The Captain and Tennille’s TV variety show is new on ABC, with its fourth episode scheduled for this coming Monday night. Guests will include Leonard Nimoy, Rita Moreno, and the cast of What’s Happening!! In its first three episodes, the show has already scored guest appearances by Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, and Redd Foxx.

October 2, 1970: Fun Company

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(Pictured: Martha and John Mitchell, 1970. He’s the Attorney General of the United States; she’s his eccentric and outspoken wife.)

October 2, 1970, was a Friday. A plane carrying 36 members of the Wichita State University football team and a crew of four, en route to a game in Utah, crashes in Colorado. Only nine survive. (Six weeks later, a plane carrying 75, including 37 members of the Marshall University football team, will crash in West Virginia, killing everyone aboard.) Future talk-show host and actress Kelly Ripa is born. Martha Mitchell, wife of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, is on the cover of Life magazine. Inside, an article on Saturday morning TV features a photo of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. President Nixon travels from Zagreb to Madrid, continuing a foreign tour that has taken him to Rome and will also take him to the UK and Ireland. Nixon accepts a key to the city of Madrid and attends a state dinner given by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. A conference sponsored by American Library Association and the U.S. Office of Education Bureau of Libraries and Educational Technology closes in Warrenton, Virginia. Papers presented at the conference include “Broad Bandwidth Telecommunications Systems” and “World Wide Information Networks.” The National League and American League championship series are set to begin tomorrow, although probably with minor-league umpires, as major-league umpires are on strike in a contract dispute with baseball owners. Billy Martin is hired as manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Shows on ABC tonight include The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family (an episode titled “The Sound of Money,” featuring an actress named Farrah Fawcett credited as “Pretty Girl”). This Is Tom Jones features Zero Mostel, Diahann Carroll, and the Ace Trucking Company. On NBC, guest stars on Name of the Game are Barbara Feldon and Mickey Rooney. In London, the Monty Python comedy troupe films an episode titled “The Attila the Hun Show” that will be broadcast in November. Derek and the Dominoes play Nottingham, England. At KADI in St. Louis (“The Fun Company, 96FM”), several records are outperforming their national chart number, including “As the Years Go By” by Mashmakhan, “Our World” by Blue Mink, and “Holy Man” by Diane Kolby, a Christian pop tune that will reach the Top 20 in St. Louis, Denver, and the Twin Cities. Up at the top, however, KADI is in step with the rest of the country: The top five are “Lola” by the Kinks, Three Dog Night’s “Out in the Country,” “All Right Now” by Free, “Candida” by Dawn, and “Look What They’ve Done to My Song” by the New Seekers. In Wisconsin, “Candida” is the first song a new Top 40 listener really loves.

Perspective From the Present: A lot of Christian-pop crossovers you can hear as generic love songs. Not “Holy Man.” There’s no way to hear it as anything but a love song to Jesus, and a borderline-erotic love song at that, although the part where she sings to him, “You’re the one who knows when I will die” is not so much erotic as it is creepy. But you’ll have to judge for yourself.

September 26, 1989: The Clincher

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(Pictured: Milli Vanilli. Are they really singing in this picture? Let me answer that question with a question: who cares?)

September 26, 1989, was a Tuesday. The morning newspapers headline stories about forthcoming elections in Nicaragua, in which the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega will try to hang on to power, and about Barbara Bush’s visit to the first school in the nation named for her husband, George Bush Elementary in Midland, Texas. The First Lady learned that the school’s kindergartners have named their classroom’s pet pig after the president, and their hermit crab after vice-president Dan Quayle. Today, the human Quayle arrives in the Philippines for an official visit, hours after Communist rebels kill two Americans at a military base. The Dalai Lama, on a visit to New York, meets with a group of six scholars representing four different branches of Judaism.

“Compatibility of Cervical Spine Braces with MR Imaging: A Study of Nine Nonferrous Devices” by David Clayman, Marcia Murakami, and Frederick Vines, is accepted for publication by the American Journal of Neuroradiology and will be published in the March/April 1990 issue. The Chicago Cubs clinch their second National League Eastern Division championship in five years with a 3-2 win over Montreal. In today’s Calvin and Hobbes strip, Rosalyn the babysitter asks to be paid in advance, and in Dilbert, Dogbert gives dating advice. The new TV season continues with the premiere of Living Dolls on ABC. It’s a spinoff from Who’s the Boss and airs immediately after its parent show, followed by Roseanne. Among the stars of Living Dolls are unknowns Halle Berry and Leah Remini; amid terrible reviews, the show will survive for only 12 episodes. Also on ABC tonight, the Jackie Mason/Lynn Redgrave sitcom Chicken Soup. On CBS tonight: Rescue: 911; on NBC: Matlock.

Paul McCartney plays Drammen, Norway. It’s the first show of his 1989-1990 world tour, which will continue (with a few breaks) through next July. Deborah Harry continues her “Def, Dumb, and Blonde” tour at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut. Tesla plays Rockford, Illinois. After the Rolling Stones played at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, the previous two nights (and turned down an invitation to visit the White House), Bill Wyman and Ron Wood are spotted in a DC club with Republican party chairman Lee Atwater. At WMJQ in Buffalo, New York, the hair-metal ballad “Heaven” by Warrant will hit #1 on the station survey due out tomorrow, taking out “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” by Milli Vanilli. Young MC’s “Bust a Move” is at #2, and the hottest record on the survey, “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson, moves to #3 from #11. Also new in the Top 10: “Listen to Your Heart” by Roxette and “Partyman” by Prince. Debut songs include “Love Shack” by the B52s and “Don’t Know Much” by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.

Perspective From the Present: The Cubs’ pennant-clincher was news enough for me on this day, although the memory of it isn’t nearly so vivid as the 1984 clincher. The Cubs would go on to lose the National League championship series to the San Francisco Giants four games to one; the Giants would lose the famous earthquake-interrupted World Series to the Oakland Athletics. I was working as a beautiful-music DJ in the fall of 1989, so I wasn’t playing any of the big hits of the week, although “Don’t Know Much” would have fit. Nevertheless, it was hard to escape Milli Vanilli, and I admit I rather liked “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You,” long before we knew that Rob and Fab were fraudulent. But the two songs on the air then I’d most like to hear right now are “The Way to Your Heart,” by the Belgian duo Soulsister, on which they create a potent earworm over a backing track Motown’s Funk Brothers would have admired, and Poco’s “Call It Love,” a comeback/throwback that the Eagles would have admired.

September 17, 1978: Don’t Look Back

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(Pictured: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta attend the premiere of Grease in appropriate attire, 1978.)

September 17, 1978, was a Sunday. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords. The peace agreement was reached after 12 days of secret negotiations mediated by President Jimmy Carter, who will win the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Carter also designates the coming week as National Port Week. The Guttenberg, Iowa, fire department responds to a car fire. In South Middleton, Massachusetts, a man reports seeing six “humanoid figures” in reflective clothing standing beside the road in front of his house; after a few minutes, they walk into the woods and disappear. In LaPorte, Indiana, the new LaPorte Historical Society museum opens. Hurricane Greta strikes Honduras. In Monroe, Wisconsin, local businessman Archie Myers is grand marshal of the Cheese Days parade.

It’s the third Sunday of the NFL season, which has expanded from 14 games to 16 this year; The Oakland Raiders defeat the Green Bay Packers 28-3. Bobby Allison wins the NASCAR Delaware 500. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox defeat the New York Yankees 7-4; New York leads Boston in their division by two and a half games, having made up a 14-game deficit since July. The season will come down to a one-game playoff on October 2, which will be won by the Yankees. Battlestar Galactica premieres on ABC, and the 25th season of The Wonderful World of Disney premieres on NBC. The CBS news show 60 Minutes begins a new segment called “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney.” CBS also airs promos for a new series that will premiere the following night: WKRP in Cincinnati.

AC/DC plays Allentown, Pennsylvania; Little Feat plays Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Black Sabbath plays Kansas City, Missouri, with Van Halen opening; Bob Dylan plays New Haven, Connecticut; Bruce Springsteen plays New York City; saxophonist Dexter Gordon plays San Francisco; Frank Zappa plays Atlanta. On the Billboard Hot 100 dated September 16, 1978, the top five singles are in the same positions as the previous week: “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey is #1, followed by “Three Times a Lady” by the Commodores, “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner, “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John, and “Kiss You All Over” by Exile. The only new entry in the Top 10 is Boston’s “Don’t Look Back,” at #8. The highest-charting new song is Barry Manilow’s “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” at #70, and the biggest mover is Ambrosia’s “How Much I Feel,” moving from #80 to #63 in its third week on.

Perspective From the Present: I attended the Cheese Days parade that afternoon, as Monroe is my hometown. That night, I reluctantly returned to college an hour away, in Platteville, where I was a freshman. I was, like many freshmen, having a difficult time adjusting, and there was at least one Sunday night that fall when I announced to my parents that I wasn’t going back. I always did, though, and I’d eventually start feeling like I belonged. Getting on the air at the campus radio station at the end of the semester helped a lot.

September 11, 1973: Looking Glass

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(Pictured: Ken Norton ducks a punch from Muhammad Ali on September 10, 1973.)

September 11, 1973, was a Tuesday. Headlines this morning include the Nixon Administration’s acknowledgment that American bombers flew missions in support of the government of Cambodia during 1970 and 1971 and kept the missions secret by falsifying records. Today, Senate confirmation hearings continue for Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State; Foreign Relations Committee chairman J. William Fulbright wants more information on Kissinger’s wiretaps of officials and reporters between 1969 and 1971. Also today, armed forces in Chile combine to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende, who reportely commits suicide. In future years, the CIA will acknowledge having had advance knowledge of the coup but no involvement in it and the agency’s claim of non-involvement will be disputed.

Sports fans are talking this morning about Muhammad Ali’s split-decision victory over Ken Norton in last night’s rematch in Los Angeles. Ali had lost a split decision to Norton in March. Fans also look forward to the opening of the NFL regular season this Sunday, and to the tennis Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome on September 20. In May, the 55-year-old Riggs defeated 30-year-old Margaret Court, the #1 ranked female player in the world. Court had accepted Riggs’ challenge after King declined it.

Twelve games are scheduled in Major League Baseball. In the National League East, the St. Louis Cardinals maintain a half-game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates after both teams lose today. Burt Hooton of the Chicago Cubs throws a complete-game 2-0 shutout against the Pirates this afternoon. The Cardinals lose to Montreal at home tonight, 4-1, and they lead the division with a record of 72-and-72. The other National League division leader, Cincinnati, wins, as do American League leaders Baltimore and Oakland. In New York, Gaylord Perry goes the distance for Cleveland in a 7-3 win over the Yankees to run his record on the season to 16-and-19.

On TV tonight, CBS presents the season premieres of Maude and Hawaii Five-O, along with a first-run TV movie, Coffee, Tea, or Me?, starring Karen Valentine as a flight attendant with two husbands, one in Los Angeles and one in London. On ABC, the season premiere of the ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week features Deliver Us From Evil, a plane-hijack drama starring George Kennedy. Following the movie, it’s the season premiere of Marcus Welby, M.D. NBC’s lineup includes the premiere of the detective drama Chase, starring Mitchell Ryan, and another TV movie, Drive Hard, Drive Fast, about a race-car driver who is entranced by a beautiful woman and menaced by a psychopath. Although the movie, which stars Joan Collins, was filmed in 1969, this is its first broadcast.

Bette Midler, with her pianist and musical director Barry Manilow, tapes a performance of three songs, including her recent hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” for broadcast on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson tomorrow night. The Grateful Dead plays at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Frank Zappa plays Liverpool, England. Jethro Tull plays Pittsburgh and Uriah Heep plays Norfolk, Virginia. Uriah Heep’s opening acts tonight are Earth Wind and Fire and Tucky Buzzard, a British band whose albums are produced by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. Uriah Heep has been joined on several other shows this summer by ZZ Top and/or Rory Gallagher. Albums released today include Angel Clare, the first solo album by Art Garfunkel, and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen.

At KHJ in Los Angeles, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy holds the #1 spot on the new survey out today. “Half Breed” by Cher is up to #2. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is #3. There’s not much movement in the Top 10 except for “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John, which leaps to #8 from #16. The only other new song in the Top 10 is “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder, up from #12 to #10. The biggest mover on the chart is “Angie” by the Rolling Stones, up 10 spots to #18. Also making a strong move is “Jimmy Loves Mary Anne” by the Looking Glass, up from #23 to #16. Three songs debut on KHJ’s chart: “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers, “Keep on Truckin'” by Eddie Kendricks, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

(Note to Patrons: if you are interested in more stuff about 1973, click “1973” under “The Times of Our Times” in the right-hand column, and/or visit Tales of ’73 at my other blog.)

September 7, 1988: Need You Tonight

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(Pictured: Michael Hutchence of INXS on stage in 1988.)

September 7, 1988, was a Wednesday. News stories making headlines this morning include yesterday’s successful landing of the Soviet Soyuz 6 spacecraft after a problem with reentry guidance systems caused two earlier landing attempts to be aborted. Forest fires continue to burn in Yellowstone National Park and in Washington State. The Bush and Dukakis campaigns have agreed on two presidential debates this fall; Bush’s preferred dates would fall during the upcoming Summer Olympics and World Series; the Dukakis campaign prefers other dates. Today, remnants of Hurricane Debby are breaking up in the Gulf of California; Debby killed 20 people as she crossed Mexico earlier this week. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Florence intensifies to hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Florence will make landfall in Louisiana on Saturday, causing minor damage but no fatalities. Tonight, an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale rattles parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, and West Virginia. No damage or injuries are reported. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls about 145,000 squeaky duck toys sold by a Massachusetts company. Separation of the vinyl cover from the soft foam inside can present a choking hazard.

The hottest pennant race in the majors is in the American League East, where Baltimore holds a one-game lead over Detroit after both teams win tonight. The majors’ best record belongs to the Oakland A’s, who have a 10 1/2 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League West. The A’s beat Texas 6-3 tonight; Jose Canseco hits his 37th home run. In Chicago tonight, the National League East-leading New York Mets score five in the top of the ninth to tie the Cubs, but Cubs outfielder Rafael Palmeiro triples to open the bottom of the ninth and scores on a single by Damon Berryhill to give the Cubs a 9-8 win. The NL West-leading Dodgers beat the Astros 4-1. Future basketball star Kevin Love is born.

Singer Art Garfunkel continues his Walk Across America, spending tonight in Sadieville, Kentucky. The walk started outside his New York City apartment in 1984. He walks in short segments a few times each year, always picking up where he left off the previous time. He will complete the walk in 1997. AC/DC plays Hamilton, Ontario, and Tangerine Dream plays Radio City Music Hall in New York. Most of tonight’s network TV offerings are repeats. CBS airs Jake and the Fatman, The Equalizer, and Wiseguy. ABC’s lineup is Growing Pains, Head of the Class, Hooperman, The Slap Maxwell Story, and China Beach. NBC has the night’s lone new program, George Schlatter’s Funny People, followed by the movie repeat I Married a Centerfold. The MTV Music Video Awards are broadcast live from Los Angeles. INXS is the big winner: the video for “Need You Tonight” wins Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Editing, and the Viewer’s Choice Award. Prince wins Best Male Video for “U Got the Look”; Suzanne Vega wins Best Female Video for “Luka.” Best New Artist in a Video is Guns ‘n’ Roses for “Welcome to the Jungle.” Michael Jackson wins the Video Vanguard Award. INXS and Guns ‘n’ Roses perform live on the show, as do Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Crowded House, and the Fat Boys, among others. Elton John and Michael Jackson perform from remote locations.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Monkey” by George Michael holds at #1. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses moves up to #2. Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistable” is at #3 followed by Elton John’s “I Don’t Wanna Go on With You Like That” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” by Chicago at #4 and #5 respectively, followed by “Perfect World” by Huey Lewis and the News (#6) and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (#7). “When It’s Love” by Van Halen, “If It Isn’t Love” by New Edition, and “I’ll Always Love You” by Taylor Dayne round out the Top 10. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin in the hottest song on the Top 40, moving from #25 to #15. “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins is the highest debut on the Hot 100 at #52.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I had moved to a new apartment the previous June, in a little bedroom community north of Davenport, Iowa, where I was on the radio. We’d been married five years and had decided maybe it was time to have a baby. Spoiler: we never did. It took us two more years just to decide to get a cat.

September 3, 1970: Groovy Situation

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(Pictured: Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson, on stage in 1970.)

September 3, 1970, is a Thursday. A nationwide manhunt is underway for four men suspected of blowing up the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin 10 days earlier. President Nixon is in California, where he meets a top-level delegation from Mexico and hosts a state dinner. A host of political and diplomatic celebrities attend, along with Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Red Skelton, and other Hollywood stars. Representatives from around the world meet for the first Congress of African People, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia. Illinois adopts a new state constitution. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi dies of colon cancer at age 57; Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson dies of a drug overdose at age 27. Future college and pro basketball player George Lynch is born; so is Jeremy Glick, who will attempt to fight back against the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and die in the crash. A hailstone weighing 1.67 pounds and measuring 5 1/2 inches across is found near Coffeyville, Kansas. It will be the largest ever found anywhere until 2003. The Arcata Union newspaper in California reports that since G and H streets in Arcata were made into a one-way pair, five of the six service stations on the two streets have suffered sharp declines in gasoline sales.

For the first time since September 1963, outfielder Billy Williams is not in the lineup for the Chicago Cubs, breaking a streak of 1,117 straight games played. Without him, the Cubs beat the Phillies, 7-2. In the minor leagues, the 1970 International League regular season ends with the Syracuse Chiefs finishing first. Shows on daytime TV today include 17 soap operas (counting Dark Shadows) and eight game shows. Shows on TV tonight include Family Affair, That Girl, Ironside, This Is Tom Jones, Dragnet, Bewitched, and Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers. At Criteria Studios in Miami, Derek and the Dominoes record “I Am Yours,” “Anyday,” and “It’s Too Late,” which will appear on their forthcoming album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Joni Mitchell tapes an episode of BBC in Concert that will be broadcast in October. Jimi Hendrix plays Copenhagen, Denmark and Led Zeppelin plays San Diego. A triple bill at the Fillmore West in San Francisco features Johnny Winter, Boz Scaggs, and Freddie King.

At WLS in Chicago, “War” by Edwin Starr is #1 again this week; “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago makes a strong move from #7 to #2. New in the Top 10 is “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival at #8. Other big movers: “Julie Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman (#22 to #14) and “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler (#25 to #18). Aboard a Wisconsin school bus, a kid just entering fifth grade at Northside School discovers the best place to sit.

Perspective From the Present: I don’t know for certain whether September 3, 1970, was really the famous day I first sat under the radio speaker on the school bus and my future was set for me. I know it wasn’t long after school started, and I was collecting WLS music surveys by the end of September, so it’s as good as guess as any other.

August 30, 1968: Can’t Win a War

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(Pictured: Senator Eugene McCarthy speaks to protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on August 29, 1968. Comedian/activist Dick Gregory is to his right.)

August 30, 1968, was a Friday. Newspapers this morning headline the Democratic National Convention, which adjourned last night. Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine was chosen as Hubert Humphrey’s running mate; an effort to nominate Georgia state senator Julian Bond failed, as Bond is only 28 years old and therefore ineligible to serve as president. In his acceptance speech last night, Humphrey vowed to end the war in Vietnam, saying “The policies of tomorrow need not be limited by the policies of yesterday.” Speaking of the violence in the streets of Chicago he said, “Neither mob violence nor police brutality has any place in America.” Senator Eugene McCarthy told protesters in Chicago yesterday that he can support neither Humphrey nor Republican nominee Richard Nixon. Instead, he will work on behalf of Senate candidates opposed to America’s war policy. Today, the University of Michigan’s Michigan Daily reports student disgust at the outcome of the convention. One says it may represent a turning point in student activism: “They can’t win a war with the cops at this point.”

NBC and CBS lead their evening newscasts with convention and campaign coverage; ABC leads with the kidnapping of Stanley Stalford, Jr., the four-year-old son of Beverly Hills banker Stanley Stalford, snatched by a home invader yesterday. The Stalford family has agreed to pay the $250,000 ransom demanded by the kidnapper. The boy will eventually be rescued. In Vietnam, African American soldiers being held in a stockade at Long Binh riot. About 200 of them burn buildings and beat white inmates and guards. It will take a week to restore order. Actor William Talman, who played the part of D.A. Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason from 1957 to 1966, dies of lung cancer at age 53. Six weeks ago, he filmed an anti-smoking public service announcement for the American Cancer Society. Yesterday, Major General Ulysses S. Grant III, grandson of the Civil War general and president, died at age 87. In the majors, pitchers Catfish Hunter, Ferguson Jenkins, and Tom Seaver get wins in games today; Gaylord Perry takes a loss. All four will eventually be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Grateful Dead open a two-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Sons of Champlin. The Doors play Merriwether Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, and Ten Years After plays the Marquee Club in London. Johnny Cash performs at the Grand Ole Opry. In a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Jimi Hendrix writes the liner notes for his forthcoming album Electric Ladyland. At WGEM in Quincy, Illinois, Jack Henry plays the hits on the Teentime show tonight from 7:30 til 10:30. Listeners who call in requests and dedications will speak to Teentime secretaries Kathy and Debbie, whose pictures are on the station’s Popometer Review this week. “1-2-3 Red Light” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company is the new #1 song in Quincy, taking out “Born to Be Wild.” The Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Afternoon” is up from #10 to #4. One of the songs new in the Top 10 is “You Got the Love” by Professor Morrison’s Lollipop, up to #9 from #27 last week. The highest debuting record on the survey is the Beatles’ brand-new “Hey Jude” backed with “Revolution” at #16.

Perspective From the Present: The official release date of “Hey Jude” was August 26, but WNAP in Indianapolis, KMEN in San Bernardino, and KPOI in Honolulu charted it before then. WGEM was among dozens of stations charting it in the days shortly following. Professor Morrison’s Lollipop was a group from New Jersey that made #88 on the Hot 100 with “You Got the Love,” a Kasenetz-Katz production on the White Whale label. It made the Top 10 in Indianapolis, Louisville, and Omaha, along with Billings, Montana; Jackson, Tennessee; and Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The WGEM survey in this week contained one fabulously obscure record, “People It’s Raining” by Melon Fields. The Internet knows practically nothing about it. Its only listings at ARSA are on surveys from WGEM, so I’m pretty sure Melon Fields was a local Illinois/Missouri act.

Visit The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ this week for more about the music, and other stuff, from this week in 1968.

August 28, 1968: People Got to Be Free

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(Pictured: police drag away a protester at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.)

August 28, 1968, was a Wednesday. After delegates to the Democratic National Convention vote down a proposed peace plank in the party platform, protests continue in downtown Chicago. Tonight, the city’s police superintendent orders streets cleared, and police attack protesters with clubs and tear gas. TV cameras film about 17 minutes of the melee, which takes place while candidates’ names are being placed in nomination; protesters chant “the whole world is watching.” During his speech nominating Senator George McGovern, Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut denounces “Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago,” which prompts Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to shout an obscenity-laden response from the Illinois delegation. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey wins the nomination on the first ballot. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern also receive votes, as do New York favorite-son candidate Channing Phillips, North Carolina governor Dan Moore, and Senator Ted Kennedy. University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant gets 1.5 delegate votes; Alabama governor George Wallace gets one-half vote, as does Georgia Democratic Party chairman James H. Gray.

Before convention coverage begins on the networks tonight, their evening newscasts devote a great deal of time to events in Chicago. The second-biggest story on this day is from Czechoslovakia, which was invaded by the Soviet Union one week ago to crush the so-called “Prague Spring” liberalization movement. After being arrested and sent to Moscow last week, Czech leader Alexander Dubcek returned to Prague yesterday, promising to curtail his reforms. In a few months, he will be removed as First Secretary and replaced by a Communist hardliner. The networks also report on the assassination in Guatemala City of John Gordon Mein, U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, shot fleeing from rebels who had kidnapped him, and on the health of former president Dwight Eisenhower, who suffered his sixth heart attack earlier this month.

Thirteen games are played in the majors today, including three doubleheaders. The Cubs split with the Dodgers, the Reds take two from the Mets, and the Braves sweep the Phillies. In Detroit, the American League-leading Tigers beat the Angels 6-1; Denny McLain pitches a complete game to run his season record to 26-and-5. The Cardinals continue to lead the National League after an 8-1 win over the Pirates. Bob Gibson also pitches a complete game and gets his 19th win.

The New York Times publishes a death notice for Lamont Washington, who played the role of Hud in the New York production of Hair. He died yesterday of burns and internal injuries sustained trying to escape an apartment fire on August 10. The Grateful Dead plays San Francisco, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience plays Providence, Rhode Island. The Jefferson Airplane plays Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Who plays Santa Monica, California. In Hollywood, Elvis Presley finishes work on the movie Charro, which will be released next spring. In Nashville, singer Tammy Wynette is working at the Quonset Hut Studio with producer Billy Sherrill and a group of top session players. They record a song she and Sherrill finished writing earlier tonight, but Wynette dislikes her performance and will later ask Sherrill not to release it. He will do so anyway. “Stand by Your Man” will become one of country music’s most iconic hits.

At KOIL in Omaha, “People Got to be Free” by the Rascals takes over the #1 spot from Jose Feliciano’s “Light My Fire,” which slips to #2. “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream is #3. KOIL’s most-requested song of the week, “1-2-3 Red Light” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, moves to #7 from #16. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” is also new in the Top 10. The station charts 50 records; the biggest mover on the chart is “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley, up 13 spots to #32. New songs on the list include the Beatles’ “Revolution,” “I Met Her in Church” by the Box Tops, and a cover of “Like a Rolling Stone” by bluegrass pickers Flatt and Scruggs.

Perspective From the Present: This day could very well have been my first day of third grade, but there’s no way to know for sure. I do remember that we watched convention coverage from Chicago at our house that night, and we saw the rioting in the streets. I wish I could remember what I thought about it, or what my parents said about it, but after a half-century, there’s no way to know for sure about that, either.

Read more about events of 1968 this week at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’. Watch for another 1968 post here on Thursday.