January 25, 1977: Feel Like Dancing

(Pictured: Kris Kristofferson, Barbra Streisand, and producer Jon Peters at the premiere of A Star Is Born in December 1976.)

January 25, 1977, is a Tuesday. The weather across the country is generally pretty good for the depths of winter, although Cleveland and Detroit get some snow. Among many actions during his first week in office, President Carter continues to address natural gas shortages around the country, and he has rescinded President Ford’s order lifting price controls on gasoline. Top administration officials must now drive themselves to work instead of taking government limousines. Today, Budget Director Bert Lance announces a plan to award taxpayers a $50 rebate for each exemption they claim, to help stimulate the ecomomy. The Senate confirms Griffin Bell as Carter’s attorney general, and Joseph Califano is sworn in as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In Racine, Wisconsin, teachers go on strike. Movie stuntman Dale Van Sickel dies at age 69, and in Waterloo, Wisconsin, an early-morning house fire kills three children aged 3, 8, and 10.

The National Hockey League all-star game is played in Vancouver; the Wales Conference team beats the Campbell Conference team 4-3. At the Prange-Way department store in Madison, Wisconsin, bicentennial glassware is closeout priced—six 15-ounce glasses for $2.99, one dollar off. A local appliance store invites customers to a demonstration of the new Litton microwave oven. About an hour south of Madison, a farm wife with three sons aged 16, 14, and 10, not known for being an early adopter of new technology, will soon get one for her kitchen.

Led Zeppelin announces an upcoming American tour, set to open in Texas at the end of February. (Dates will be postponed when Robert Plant comes down with laryngitis.) Queen plays Ottawa, Ontario; KISS plays Terre Haute, Indiana; ELO is at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section appears at the Bottom Line in New York City. Tom Waits appears on the daytime TV show Dinah!, where he performs “Step Right Up” from his album Small Change. David Brenner co-hosts The Mike Douglas Show this week; today, guests include Phyllis Diller, actor David Doyle, and film director Dino DeLaurentiis. On primetime TV, NBC’s lineup includes Police Story, and CBS airs episodes of  M*A*S*H, One Day at a Time, and Kojak, but most viewers are watching the third episode of Roots, which ABC has scheduled on eight straight nights to get it over with, fearing it will be a ratings disaster.

On the Billboard Hot 100 dated January 22, 1977, “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder” hits #1. “Car Wash” by Rose Royce is at #2, and last week’s #1, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer, is #3. New in the top 10 are “New Kid in Town” by the Eagles at #7, “Blinded by the Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band at #9, and “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary Macgregor at #10. (The latter two each make 10-place jumps from the previous week.) Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen,” from the movie A Star Is Born,” makes the biggest move within the top 40, up to #20 from #35. The highest debut within the 40 is “Dancing Queen” by ABBA at #33.

To read more about the music of January 1977, click here.

January 23, 1986: When the Going Gets Tough

(Pictured: the space shuttle Challenger peers through the fog as it crawls toward the launch pad.)

January 23, 1986, is a Thursday. In men’s college basketball, Minnesota beats Wisconsin 67-65 in Madison. Tomorrow, three Minnesota players will be arrested for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman at a hotel after the game. Minnesota will forfeit its scheduled game against Northwestern on Sunday, and coach Jim Dutcher will resign over the incident. Scientists examining photos of Uranus taken by the Voyager II spacecraft discover a new moon orbiting the planet, which will be named Bianca. The launch of the space shuttle Challenger is postponed for a second straight day. It will be postponed three more times before being launched on Tuesday, when it will explode 73 seconds into its flight, killing the crew. The New York Times reports that claims by Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos that he was a guerrilla resistance leader during the World War II Japanese occupation of the Philippines are false. The federal government reported yesterday that the economy grew in 1985 at the slowest rate since the recession year of 1982. In Gainesville, Florida, police dog Gero is killed in the line of duty while attempting to apprehend an armed robbery suspect. In today’s Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin tries a new plan to get out of going to school.

In Los Angeles, Luther Vandross has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving after a crash earlier this month that killed one person and injured four others. In December, he will plead no contest and get probation. The first class is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Alan Freed, Sam Phillips, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmy Yancey, Robert Johnson, and John Hammond. The Beatles are ineligible because by rule, inductees must be at least 25 years removed from their first hit record. Three days before the Super Bowl, the opposing quarterbacks, Jim McMahon of the Chicago Bears and Tony Eason of the New England Patriots, appear on the Today Show along with NFL wives and NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. On TV tonight, ABC airs the movie Grease 2 and 20/20; NBC’s lineup includes The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, and Hill Street Blues; CBS airs Magnum P. I., Simon and Simon, and Knots Landing.

AC/DC plays Edinburgh, Scotland, and Hot Tuna plays Boston. Motley Crue plays Essen, Germany, and KISS plays St. Louis. Aerosmith plays Reno, Nevada, and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays Utica, New York. At WKTI in Milwaukee, the station’s new music survey comes out tomorrow. “Burning Heart” by Survivor leaps to #1, displacing “Goodbye” by Night Ranger. The biggest mover in the Top 10 is “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston, moving from #7 to #2. New in the Top 10 are “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” by Billy Ocean at #8 and “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister at #9. The biggest mover within the station’s Top 30 is “These Dreams” by Heart (#26 to #19). Also moving up big are “Life in a Northern Town” by Dream Academy (to #12 from #18) and “Nikita” by Elton John (to #23 from #29). The highest debuting new song of the week is “The Sweetest Taboo” by Sade at #26.

Perspective From the Present: In January 1986, I had just begun doing the morning show on WKAI in Macomb, Illinois. My partner and I weren’t being coached by anybody, and whatever entertaining stuff we came up with was mostly by accident. My working day was usually over between 12:30 and 1:00. The Mrs. was selling advertising for a regional magazine, so I’d get home in the afternoon to a quiet house and usually take a nap. Eventually, I started taking my phone off the hook in the afternoons. In later years I’ve realized that my career was never the same after deciding to do that.

January 20, 1988: Coke in the Morning

(Pictured: George Harrison,Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Julian Lennon, and Sean Lennon at the induction of the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

January 20, 1988, is a Wednesday. In Arizona, a committee of the State House of Representatives continues hearings into whether Governor Evan Mecham should be impeached. Mecham is under indictment for perjury and has already been the target of a recall drive. He had canceled the state Martin Luther King holiday shortly after his inauguration a year earlier, a move that had cost Arizona millions in canceled convention business, and had been accused of making racist remarks. He will be removed from office on April 4. At the White House, President Reagan greets a group of students from Suitland, Maryland, and briefs a group of civic leaders on American aid to the Nicaraguan contras.

This morning’s New York Times contains a story about Coca-Cola’s upcoming “Coke in the Morning” marketing campaign, an attempt to persuade young adults to get their morning caffeine fix from Coke instead of coffee. Elsewhere in the paper, there’s a feature about actress Elizabeth Taylor and her five-year battle with her weight, which has resulted in the diet book Elizabeth Takes Off.  On TV tonight, ABC’s “dramedy” experiment continues with Hooperman, starring John Ritter, and The Slap Maxwell Story with Dabney Coleman. Also on TV tonight: Highway to Heaven and Magnum. P.I. The Olympic torch, on its way to Calgary, Canada, for the upcoming winter games, reaches Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. In other flaming Canadian news, a giant fireball is seen in the sky over British Columbia, accompanied by sonic booms. Scientists will determine that it was a meteorite, and that portions of it may have reached the ground near Vancouver Island.

Aerosmith plays Coliseum Vancouver, Rush plays Dallas, Yes plays Pensacola, Florida, and Barry Manilow appears on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. At the third annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, the Drifters, the Supremes, Les Paul, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Berry Gordy are honored. Entertainment includes a super-session featuring the inductees along with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Mick Jagger, Ben E. King, Elton John, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, and Little Richard.

George Harrison has the top single on the Billboard Hot 100 dated January 16 with “Got My Mind Set on You,” knocking “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston to #2. “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson is at #3 and “Need You Tonight” by INXS at #4. (In September, “Need You Tonight” will be named Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.) The Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter” and “Could’ve Been” by Tiffany make strong moves into the top 10. The highest-debuting song in the top 40 is “Can’t Stay Away From You” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine at #36. George Michael’s “Father Figure” is the highest-debuting song among the Hot 100 at #49.

January 14, 1986: Party All the Time

(Pictured: Moonlighting stars Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.)

January 14, 1986, is a Tuesday. President Reagan issues proclamations for Save Your Vision Week, National Poison Prevention Week, and a National Day of Prayer, issues an executive order extending the deadline for the final reports of the National Committee on Space, and hosts a state dinner for the president of Ecuador. The Voyager II spacecraft sends back more pictures from its flyby of the planet Uranus. The New York Times quotes AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci as saying that by 1996, three to five million Americans will be HIV positive and a million will have died of AIDS. (In 1996, the actual number of deaths is estimated at 362,000.) Actress Donna Reed dies of cancer at age 64.

Running back Craig James is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, after the New England Patriots qualified for the AFC championship game against the Miami Dolphins. Last Sunday, the Patriots beat Miami and the Chicago Bears beat Los Angeles to qualify for the Super Bowl, which will be played on January 26. The first player taken in today’s baseball amateur draft is pitcher Jeff Shaw by the Cleveland Indians; the second player taken is outfielder Moises Alou by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pitcher Curt Schilling is chosen in the second round by the Boston Red Sox. He will be traded while still in the minors, and will not pitch for the Red Sox until 2004. On TV tonight: Growing Pains, Moonlighting, the detective show Riptide, and the Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes All-Star 50th Anniversary Celebration, produced by Lorne Michaels.

AC/DC plays Whitley Bay, England and Reba McEntire joins the Grand Ole Opry. Smokey Robinson releases the album Smoke Signals. KISS plays Norfolk, Virginia, with opening act W.A.S.P. Lionel Richie’s “Say You Say Me” continues to top the Billboard Hot 100; “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy holds at #2. New in the Top 10 are “Talk to Me” by Stevie Nicks and “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits.” Wham’s “I’m Your Man” jumps from #20 to #14. New in the Top 40 are “Living in America” by James Brown, “The Sun Always Shines on TV” by a-ha, Dream Academy’s “Life in a Northern Town,” “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister, and “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora. A Top-40 station in western Illinois is playing all of them, although the morning jock wonders precisely why anybody thought “Party All the Time” was a good idea.

January 9, 1987: Uh-Oh

(Pictured: Carly Simon, 1987.)

January 9, 1987, is a Friday. Controversy over the Iran-Contra Affair, which was first revealed late last November, continues to boil. Newspaper reports indicate that Israel had passed word to the United States that Iran would release American hostages held there in exchange for the resumption of arms shipments, and that President Reagan had been notified the previous September that Israel had sold arms to the Nicaraguan contras. In business news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 2,000 for the first time in history yesterday. Arthur Lake, the actor who played Dagwood in a series of films based on the Blondie comic strip, and Pete Lucia, former drummer in Tommy James and the Shondells, die. Singer Paolo Nutini is born. The first modern simulator ride, “Star Tours: The Adventures Continue,” opens at Disneyland. The ride cost twice as much money, $32 million, as it took to build the whole park in 1955.

The most popular movies in theaters this weekend are The Golden Child, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Crocodile Dundee, and Little Shop of Horrors. ABC-TV leads off its night with episodes of Webster and Mr. Belvidere; CBS airs Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Dallas, and Falcon Crest; NBC’s lineup includes new episodes of Miami Vice and Crime Story. Some viewers in the Newtown, Connecticut, area may have trouble seeing anything. Housatonic Cable reported this week that repairs to existing lines needed after a recent blizzard have slowed the installation of new lines.

Ratt plays Detroit, Metallica plays Holstebro, Denmark, Iron Maiden plays Pittsburgh, and Triumph plays Toronto. At KKHT in Houston, the new #1 single is “Stay the Night” by Benjamin Orr of the Cars, which knocks “Is This Love” by Survivor to #2. Four records each make seven-place jumps into the top 10: “Someday” by Glass Tiger, “At This Moment” by Billy Vera and the Beaters, Madonna’s “Open Your Heart,” and “Falling in Love (Uh-Oh)” by the Miami Sound Machine. Other major movers on the chart include “Shake You Down” by Gregory Abbott and “Coming Around Again” by Carly Simon. In Davenport, Iowa, the new jock at KRVR wraps up his first week on the air, voice-tracking elevator music from 3 to 9PM. He’s getting used to new co-workers and a new daily routine, and he hasn’t had much time to think about whether he’s made a good move. There will be time for that later.

Perspective From the Present: That week, The Mrs. and I were settling into our new place, in a giant apartment complex at the intersection of  two busy streets in Davenport. We would have preferred to live in part of an old house, as we’d done briefly right after we got married, but we couldn’t find one we liked. The complex seduced us with a pool and a clubhouse—which neither of us ever set foot in, as it turned out. Our unit was advertised as having a fireplace, although it was actually a free-standing woodstove in the corner that heated up like the mouth of Hell with just a couple of sticks of firewood, and we ended up not using it much. We didn’t get to know our neighbors very well either, because people seemed to move in and out frequently. For a while, we shared a bedroom wall with a couple who were very loudly—and frequently—in love. We never actually saw them, so we never knew what they looked like, how old they were, or anything else about them except for their remarkable sexual appetite, which led us to nickname the guy the “pagan love beast.” After a year and a half, we moved on, part of a stretch that saw us with six addresses in five years, the sort of thing newlyweds and young disc jockeys did then, and do now.

January 4, 1970: Final Edition

(Pictured: members of the Kansas City Chiefs carry coach Hank Stram off the field after defeating Oakland to win the last AFL championship.)

January 4, 1970, is a Sunday. The NFL and AFL hold their championship games: In the NFL, Minnesota defeats Cleveland 27-7. In the AFL, Kansas City defeats Oakland 17-7. It is the final game in the AFL’s 10-year history; later in the year, the two leagues will merge. In two weeks, Kansas City will win the AFL’s second straight Super Bowl. The New York Times reports on a claim by statisticians that the December 1969 lottery of birthdays to determine priorities for the military draft, the first such lottery held since World War II, was not entirely random; the later in the year the birthday, the less likely it would be selected. News reports say that the proposed Apollo 20 mission to the moon, scheduled for 1974, has been canceled. Later in the year, Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 will be canceled as well. Future astronaut Chris Cassidy is born.

Transit fares in New York City increase from 20 cents a ride to 30 cents. It’s one of the stories broadcast on WCBS-AM, which has continued to air the syndicated program Music ‘Til Dawn even after going all news in 1967. Today, the show airs for the final time. It has run in various markets across the country since 1953. On WUHY in Philadelphia, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead is interviewed, and peppers his comments with the words “shit” and “fuck.” The FCC, which has been monitoring the station after earlier complaints, will declare the language indecent and fine the station $100. The BBC airs an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. CBS-TV airs the final edition of the documentary series The 21st Century after 13 seasons. Also on CBS, guests on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour are Walter Brennan, Joey Heatherton, and Norm Crosby. On Bonanza, Ben Cartwright attempts to help a recently widowed circus midget make a new start in Virginia City.

Who drummer Keith Moon accidentally runs over his bodyguard outside a pub in Hatfield, England. In Studio 2 at Abbey Road, the Beatles hold their final recording session to do several takes of overdubs for “Let it Be,” including the addition of guitar, brass, strings, and backing vocals by Paul and George. Fleetwood Mac wraps up a three-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Also playing at the Fillmore: the Byrds. At WLOF in Orlando, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” tops the survey for another week, holding off “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by B. J. Thomas, which zooms from #9 to #2. New in the Top 10 are “Jingle Jangle” by the Archies and “Venus” by the Shocking Blue. Also on the WLOF chart, up five spots from #30 to #25: “American Moon” by Bobby Dimple with the Lunar Ladies Chorus, the Lipple Kutie Kids, and the Hutch Davie Diggers Band. Written by Bob Crewe, it’s a song celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing, and was featured in a musical called Heart’s Delight Follies ’69. The show never made it to Broadway, which may not be all that hard to understand.