February 10, 1990: Knocked Out

(Pictured: Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.)

February 10, 1990, is a Saturday. South African president F. W. de Klerk announces that Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years, will be released tomorrow. In Tokyo (where it’s already tomorrow), Buster Douglas knocks out heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. On the South Pacific island of Java, a volcano named Mt. Kelud erupts. NASA’s Galileo probe flies by the planet Venus, taking advantage of the gravity of the solar system’s inner planets to whip it toward its ultimate destination, Jupiter. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, two gunmen open up in a bowling alley, killing four and wounding three more. Decades later, the crime will remain unsolved. The Idaho lottery gives away a $2 million jackpot.

NBC-TV’s lineup tonight includes The Golden Girls, a Columbo TV movie called Agenda for Murder, and Saturday Night Live hosted by Quincy Jones. Eric Clapton plays the Royal Albert Hall in London with a full orchestra. The second part of the show features a two-movement piece called “Concerto for Electric Guitar.” Phish plays Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and Diana Ross plays Detroit. Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” knocks Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 1o0. Also in the Top 10: Rod Stewart’s “Downtown Train” (#3), “Janie’s Got a Gun” by Aerosmith (#4), “What Kind of Man Would I Be?” by Chicago (#6), and Janet Jackson’s “Escapade” (#9). The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles (#39 to #28). The highest debut within the Hot 100 is Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville’s duet on “All My Life” (#47), the followup to “Don’t Know Much,” which is in its 20th week on the Hot 100 and still at #34.

In Iowa, a radio jock shows up for his Saturday shift as usual. It had been a late night the night before—a bunch of his colleagues had gotten together to bid farewell to a couple of sales reps who had been fired earlier in the week. What he doesn’t know as he arrives is that he’s about to join them.

Perspective From the Present:  My shift was supposed to end at 6:00 that day; when the PD showed up at 5:45, there was only one reason why he’d be there on a Saturday. (The story is told in detail here.) I was out of work for about six weeks (unemployed on my 30th birthday, as it turned out); the job I found turned out to be fun for three years, if not especially remunerative. And my radio career went on.