(Pictured: the Stones onstage in Chicago, November 1981.)
January 1, 1982, is a Friday. At midnight, CNN launches a second channel known as CNN2, later to be renamed Headline News. The top story in the news regards the ongoing unrest in Poland and resistance to martial law, which was declared on December 13. Solidarity labor union chief Lech Walesa has been detained by Polish authorities, and American officials don’t know if he’s negotiating with those authorities. Peruvian diplomat Javier Perez de Cuellar takes over as Secretary-General of the United Nations, succeeding Kurt Waldheim. He will serve until 1991. The Justice Department announces that it will resume negotiations with AT&T in hopes of resolving its seven-year attempt to break up the company without going to court. Air-traffic controllers’ union chief Robert Poli has resigned, in hopes it might help persuade President Reagan to rehire the 11,500 striking controllers fired last August, but a spokesman says the president will not change his position. The Reagans welcomed the New Year at a party in Palm Springs, California. The 17-game college football bowl season ends with five games today. Clemson, ranked #1 in the latest poll, claims the national championship with a 22-15 win over #4 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Sixth-ranked Texas will be named national runner-up after beating #3 Alabama 14-12 in the Cotton Bowl. In the Sugar Bowl, Pittsburgh is a 24-20 winner over #2 Georgia. Penn State wins the Fiesta Bowl over USC 26-10; in the Rose Bowl, Washington shuts down Iowa 28-0.
In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown philosophizes about new years. The top movie at the box office is Sharkey’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds. Other big hits include Modern Problems starring Chevy Chase, Absence of Malice starring Paul Newman and Sally Field, the Warren Beatty film Reds, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, which has been out since last June. Victor Buono, famed for playing King Tut in the 1960s Batman TV series, dies at 43. On TV tonight, the first episode of The McLaughlin Group airs on PBS. With ABC and NBC carrying bowl games, CBS counters with episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. McLean Stevenson and Eddie Murphy are Johnny’s guests on the Tonight Show. Billy Idol plays a Boston club called the Channel, and Chuck Berry plays the Roxy in West Hollywood with Tina Turner. The show is filmed and broadcast in November 1982. Ozzy Osbourne plays Phoenix. The Michael Stanley Band concludes a two-night stand at Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland; the hometown heroes set an attendance record at the venue, drawing in excess of 40,000 people over the two nights.
In Chicago, WLS has seen out the old year by counting down the Big 89 of 1981, topped by the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” “I Love You” by the Climax Blues Band ranked #2, and “Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special came in at #3. The year’s top album was Hi Infidelity by REO Speedwagon; three singles from the album were among the Big 89: “Keep On Lovin’ You (#21), “Take It on the Run” (#27), and “Don’t Let Him Go” (#77). Paradise Theater by Styx is was the #2 album for the year. “Don’t Let It End” and “Too Much Time on My Hands” both made the Big 89, at #9 and #33 respectively. On the regular weekly chart at WLS, Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates hold at #1 and #2. “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band takes a big leap from #8 to #3. The hottest record on the chart is “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall and Oates, blasting from #36 to #13 this week. The highest debut of the week is “Oh No” by the Commodores at #28. The #1 album, for the eighth week, is IV by Foreigner.
Perspective From the Present: On New Year’s Day 1982, I board-opped the radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl on KDTH in Dubuque. The night before, I’d done the New Year’s Eve countdown, but I don’t remember much about it, apart from having shared an illicit split of champagne at midnight with the guy board-opping the New Year’s Eve countdown on the FM station. After work, I must have gone home to my college apartment in Platteville, where I would have been alone. The Mrs., who was not yet The Mrs., was at the annual New Year’s Eve overnight bacchanal with the rest of the group of my friends known as the Crew. A New Year never comes in that I don’t think of those parties, and those people. All these years later, we still see each other now and then.