May 30, 1978: In Through the Out Door

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May 30, 1978, was a Tuesday. America returns to work after the Memorial Day weekend. President Carter gets his wakeup call at 5AM, then meets with Cabinet officers and greets West German president Helmut Schmidt, all before 9AM. He spends the rest of his day attending events surrounding a NATO summit in Washington. It’s primary election day in Arkansas, where state attorney general Bill Clinton wins the Democratic nomination for governor over four challengers, receiving nearly 60 percent of the vote. The Washington Bullets tie the NBA Finals at two games each with a 120-116 win over the Seattle Supersonics in overtime. Dennis Johnson of the Sonics leads all scorers with 33; Bob Dandridge leads Washington with 23. Because of a previously scheduled event at the Seattle Coliseum, the game is moved to the Kingdome, and it draws a record crowd of over 39,000. Top English soccer club Manchester United completes a two-game series in the United States, beating the North American Soccer League Tulsa Roughnecks 2-1. Two days earlier, Manchester United lost to the NASL’s defending champion, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 2-1. Future major league utility man Rico Washington, who will appear in 14 games for the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals, is born. Pioneering movie art director Ben Carre, who designed the catacombs for the original Phantom of the Opera and the Mount Rushmore backdrop in North by Northwest, dies at age 94. In Wisconsin, Monroe High School holds graduation ceremonies.

On TV today, the lineup of game shows includes Card Sharks, Hollywood Squares, The $20,000 Pyramid, The Price Is Right, High Rollers, Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune. Soaps include The Edge of Night, Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, All My Children, The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, The Doctors, The Guiding Light, Another World, and General Hospital. Tonight, CBS airs the NBA Finals. NBC presents two specials, Dan Haggerty Goes to the Circus and Country Night of Stars, which is hosted by Crystal Gayle and Eddy Arnold. ABC presents Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company, Carter Country, and a Barbara Walters interview special. Her guests are Burt Reynolds, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Landon. Bruce Springsteen plays Boston Music Hall, the Stranglers play Stafford, England, and Alvin Lee plays Houston. Black Sabbath plays Coventry, England, with Van Halen opening. In Bremen, West Germany, David Bowie tapes a performance that will be broadcast on the TV program Musikladen later this year. Grace Slick of Jefferson Starship is profiled in the Washington Post Style section. In Stockholm, Sweden, Led Zeppelin goes into the studio to begin work on what will eventually be titled In Through the Out Door.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “With a Little Luck” by Paul McCartney and Wings holds at #1 for a second week. There’s not much movement among the Top 10; Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing” makes the biggest move, from #6 to #4, and only one song is new among the Top 10: George Benson’s “On Broadway” at #10. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, moving from #26 to #19. Six new songs debut in the Top 40; the highest is “Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson at #33. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is “Grease” by Frankie Valli at #69. At #99, “I Go Crazy” by Paul Davis is in its 40th and final week on the Hot 100, which is the longest run in history to this point. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack tops the album chart for the 19th week in a row. Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary #1 is “Even Now” by Barry Manilow. On the Billboard country chart, the #1 song is “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” by the Statler Brothers.

Perspective From the Present: I have more to say about my high-school graduation at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ today. It seemed cosmically appropriate to me for the #1 song that day to be “With a Little Luck,” given its opening lines: “With a little luck we can help it out / We can make this whole damn thing work out.” I took it then a reference to whatever was behind the door we were walking through on that night. Forty years removed from that night, the question of whether the whole damn thing really did work out is up to each of us in the Class of ’78 to answer for ourselves.

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