May 20, 1989: Forever Your Girl

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(Pictured: young Gilda, circa 1970.)

May 20, 1989, is a Saturday. It’s the last day of National Osteoporosis Prevention Week. Pro-democracy protests continue in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square; Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping declares martial law, and Chinese authorities pull the plug on TV networks covering the protests. Former Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner dies of ovarian cancer at age 42. Steve Martin hosts the season finale of SNL that night with musical guest Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; the show pays tribute to Gilda by showing “Dancing in the Dark,” a 1977 dance sketch with Martin. Michael Jordan hits two free throws with four seconds left to give the Chicago Bulls a 113-111 win over the New York Knicks, wrapping up the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals four games to two. Infielder Manny Trillo, who played 17 seasons for seven teams, appears in his final major-league game — the Cincinnati Reds release him a week later. In English soccer, Liverpool defeats Everton 3-2 in extra time to win the F.A. Cup. Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence wins the Preakness Stakes over rival Easy Goer by a nose. William E. Thomas catches a world-record-tying weakfish in Delaware Bay that weighs 19 pounds, two ounces.

On TV tonight: Cops, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the horror anthology Freddy’s Nightmares, and The Munsters Today. Stevie Nicks is the subject of a cover story in this week’s edition of the British music newspaper Record Mirror. Phish plays a high school gym in Northfield, Massachusetts; Nitzer Ebb plays Detroit; Big Country plays Scarborough, England; Cinderella plays Lexington, Kentucky; Pink Floyd plays Monza, Italy; and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays San Diego.

The new Billboard Hot 100 is topped by “Forever Your Girl” by Paula Abdul. Also in the Top 5: “Real Love” by Jody Watley at #2, last week’s #1, “I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi at #3, Donny Osmond’s “Soldier of Love” at #4, and soap star Michael Damian’s cover of the David Essex hit “Rock On” at #5. The highest-debuting song within the 40 is Donna Summer’s “This Time I Know It’s for Real” at #28. Milli Vanilli’s “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” is new at #30. Debuting on the Hot 100 at #62 is a throwback—the Doobie Brothers’ “The Doctor,” which features original Doobies lead vocalist Tom Johnston and sounds like “China Grove” turned sideways. At a radio station in Iowa, a jock who would pay cash money for the privilege of playing one Doobie Brothers record instead of the Anne Murray, Andy Williams, and Barbra Streisand records he has to play all day begins to realize that just maybe what he’s doing with his life isn’t what he should be doing with his life.

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