(Pictured: Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA, 1976.)
May 13, 1981 is a Wednesday. Some believers in Christian prophecy spend what they think is going to be their last day on Earth. Calculations based on the foundation of Israel on May 14, 1948, indicate to them that the Rapture will take place tomorrow. (It won’t.) In Rome, a crowd of thousands in St. Peter’s Square is shocked when Pope John Paul II is shot by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. The 19th International Symposium on Functional Equations closes in France. Seven people spot a UFO near Denison, Texas. High Point, North Carolina, institutes a new rule forbidding gay and lesbian couples, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples, from occupying public housing in the city.
Pop singer Joan Weber, who hit #1 in 1955 with “Let Me Go Lover,” dies in a New Jersey mental institution at age 45. Future Penthouse Pet of the Year Sunny Leone and future NFL linebacker Shaun Phillips are born. The Los Angeles Dodgers win their third in a row, 8-6 over Montreal; tomorrow, rookie pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela will start against the Expos. His record is 9-and-0 with an earned-run average of 0.22 over 80 innings pitched. At the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, an aspiring DJ and his roommates spend more time watching baseball and barbecuing than studying, even though it’s finals week. At their local Eagle grocery store, fresh bratwurst is $1.58 a pound, a 52-ounce can of pork and beans is $1.09, and a 20-pound bag of charcoal is $3.09. In Doonesbury, Joanie and Rick continue to plan their wedding. On TV tonight: The Greatest American Hero, Diff’rent Strokes, and Real People. The Grateful Dead plays Providence, Rhode Island, U2 plays Santa Monica, California, Rush plays Syracuse, and King Crimson plays Paris. A Swedish magazine publishes a story about the early career of ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog.
At WLS in Chicago, the top four singles on the survey to be released Saturday will be unchanged from the previous week: “Morning Train” by Sheena Easton, “You Better You Bet” by the Who, “Kiss on My List” by Hall and Oates, and “Too Much Time on My Hands” by Styx. (The top five albums will be similarly unchanged, with AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap leading the way; their Back in Black will hold at #8. ) The hottest singles on the new chart are “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, blasting from #23 to #7, “Living Inside Myself” by Gino Vannelli, jumping from #29 to #18, and “For You” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, rising from #33 to #25. The latter, yet another Springsteen cover, is emblematic of how WLS has transformed itself this year, playing a greater variety of rock songs in morning drive and at night and softer stuff during the day.