September 26, 1989: The Clincher

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(Pictured: Milli Vanilli. Are they really singing in this picture? Let me answer that question with a question: who cares?)

September 26, 1989, was a Tuesday. The morning newspapers headline stories about forthcoming elections in Nicaragua, in which the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega will try to hang on to power, and about Barbara Bush’s visit to the first school in the nation named for her husband, George Bush Elementary in Midland, Texas. The First Lady learned that the school’s kindergartners have named their classroom’s pet pig after the president, and their hermit crab after vice-president Dan Quayle. Today, the human Quayle arrives in the Philippines for an official visit, hours after Communist rebels kill two Americans at a military base. The Dalai Lama, on a visit to New York, meets with a group of six scholars representing four different branches of Judaism.

“Compatibility of Cervical Spine Braces with MR Imaging: A Study of Nine Nonferrous Devices” by David Clayman, Marcia Murakami, and Frederick Vines, is accepted for publication by the American Journal of Neuroradiology and will be published in the March/April 1990 issue. The Chicago Cubs clinch their second National League Eastern Division championship in five years with a 3-2 win over Montreal. In today’s Calvin and Hobbes strip, Rosalyn the babysitter asks to be paid in advance, and in Dilbert, Dogbert gives dating advice. The new TV season continues with the premiere of Living Dolls on ABC. It’s a spinoff from Who’s the Boss and airs immediately after its parent show, followed by Roseanne. Among the stars of Living Dolls are unknowns Halle Berry and Leah Remini; amid terrible reviews, the show will survive for only 12 episodes. Also on ABC tonight, the Jackie Mason/Lynn Redgrave sitcom Chicken Soup. On CBS tonight: Rescue: 911; on NBC: Matlock.

Paul McCartney plays Drammen, Norway. It’s the first show of his 1989-1990 world tour, which will continue (with a few breaks) through next July. Deborah Harry continues her “Def, Dumb, and Blonde” tour at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut. Tesla plays Rockford, Illinois. After the Rolling Stones played at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, the previous two nights (and turned down an invitation to visit the White House), Bill Wyman and Ron Wood are spotted in a DC club with Republican party chairman Lee Atwater. At WMJQ in Buffalo, New York, the hair-metal ballad “Heaven” by Warrant will hit #1 on the station survey due out tomorrow, taking out “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” by Milli Vanilli. Young MC’s “Bust a Move” is at #2, and the hottest record on the survey, “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson, moves to #3 from #11. Also new in the Top 10: “Listen to Your Heart” by Roxette and “Partyman” by Prince. Debut songs include “Love Shack” by the B52s and “Don’t Know Much” by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.

Perspective From the Present: The Cubs’ pennant-clincher was news enough for me on this day, although the memory of it isn’t nearly so vivid as the 1984 clincher. The Cubs would go on to lose the National League championship series to the San Francisco Giants four games to one; the Giants would lose the famous earthquake-interrupted World Series to the Oakland Athletics. I was working as a beautiful-music DJ in the fall of 1989, so I wasn’t playing any of the big hits of the week, although “Don’t Know Much” would have fit. Nevertheless, it was hard to escape Milli Vanilli, and I admit I rather liked “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You,” long before we knew that Rob and Fab were fraudulent. But the two songs on the air then I’d most like to hear right now are “The Way to Your Heart,” by the Belgian duo Soulsister, on which they create a potent earworm over a backing track Motown’s Funk Brothers would have admired, and Poco’s “Call It Love,” a comeback/throwback that the Eagles would have admired.

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September 17, 1978: Don’t Look Back

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(Pictured: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta attend the premiere of Grease in appropriate attire, 1978.)

September 17, 1978, was a Sunday. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords. The peace agreement was reached after 12 days of secret negotiations mediated by President Jimmy Carter, who will win the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Carter also designates the coming week as National Port Week. The Guttenberg, Iowa, fire department responds to a car fire. In South Middleton, Massachusetts, a man reports seeing six “humanoid figures” in reflective clothing standing beside the road in front of his house; after a few minutes, they walk into the woods and disappear. In LaPorte, Indiana, the new LaPorte Historical Society museum opens. Hurricane Greta strikes Honduras. In Monroe, Wisconsin, local businessman Archie Myers is grand marshal of the Cheese Days parade.

It’s the third Sunday of the NFL season, which has expanded from 14 games to 16 this year; The Oakland Raiders defeat the Green Bay Packers 28-3. Bobby Allison wins the NASCAR Delaware 500. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox defeat the New York Yankees 7-4; New York leads Boston in their division by two and a half games, having made up a 14-game deficit since July. The season will come down to a one-game playoff on October 2, which will be won by the Yankees. Battlestar Galactica premieres on ABC, and the 25th season of The Wonderful World of Disney premieres on NBC. The CBS news show 60 Minutes begins a new segment called “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney.” CBS also airs promos for a new series that will premiere the following night: WKRP in Cincinnati.

AC/DC plays Allentown, Pennsylvania; Little Feat plays Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Black Sabbath plays Kansas City, Missouri, with Van Halen opening; Bob Dylan plays New Haven, Connecticut; Bruce Springsteen plays New York City; saxophonist Dexter Gordon plays San Francisco; Frank Zappa plays Atlanta. On the Billboard Hot 100 dated September 16, 1978, the top five singles are in the same positions as the previous week: “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey is #1, followed by “Three Times a Lady” by the Commodores, “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner, “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John, and “Kiss You All Over” by Exile. The only new entry in the Top 10 is Boston’s “Don’t Look Back,” at #8. The highest-charting new song is Barry Manilow’s “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” at #70, and the biggest mover is Ambrosia’s “How Much I Feel,” moving from #80 to #63 in its third week on.

Perspective From the Present: I attended the Cheese Days parade that afternoon, as Monroe is my hometown. That night, I reluctantly returned to college an hour away, in Platteville, where I was a freshman. I was, like many freshmen, having a difficult time adjusting, and there was at least one Sunday night that fall when I announced to my parents that I wasn’t going back. I always did, though, and I’d eventually start feeling like I belonged. Getting on the air at the campus radio station at the end of the semester helped a lot.

September 11, 1973: Looking Glass

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(Pictured: Ken Norton ducks a punch from Muhammad Ali on September 10, 1973.)

September 11, 1973, was a Tuesday. Headlines this morning include the Nixon Administration’s acknowledgment that American bombers flew missions in support of the government of Cambodia during 1970 and 1971 and kept the missions secret by falsifying records. Today, Senate confirmation hearings continue for Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State; Foreign Relations Committee chairman J. William Fulbright wants more information on Kissinger’s wiretaps of officials and reporters between 1969 and 1971. Also today, armed forces in Chile combine to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende, who reportely commits suicide. In future years, the CIA will acknowledge having had advance knowledge of the coup but no involvement in it and the agency’s claim of non-involvement will be disputed.

Sports fans are talking this morning about Muhammad Ali’s split-decision victory over Ken Norton in last night’s rematch in Los Angeles. Ali had lost a split decision to Norton in March. Fans also look forward to the opening of the NFL regular season this Sunday, and to the tennis Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome on September 20. In May, the 55-year-old Riggs defeated 30-year-old Margaret Court, the #1 ranked female player in the world. Court had accepted Riggs’ challenge after King declined it.

Twelve games are scheduled in Major League Baseball. In the National League East, the St. Louis Cardinals maintain a half-game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates after both teams lose today. Burt Hooton of the Chicago Cubs throws a complete-game 2-0 shutout against the Pirates this afternoon. The Cardinals lose to Montreal at home tonight, 4-1, and they lead the division with a record of 72-and-72. The other National League division leader, Cincinnati, wins, as do American League leaders Baltimore and Oakland. In New York, Gaylord Perry goes the distance for Cleveland in a 7-3 win over the Yankees to run his record on the season to 16-and-19.

On TV tonight, CBS presents the season premieres of Maude and Hawaii Five-O, along with a first-run TV movie, Coffee, Tea, or Me?, starring Karen Valentine as a flight attendant with two husbands, one in Los Angeles and one in London. On ABC, the season premiere of the ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week features Deliver Us From Evil, a plane-hijack drama starring George Kennedy. Following the movie, it’s the season premiere of Marcus Welby, M.D. NBC’s lineup includes the premiere of the detective drama Chase, starring Mitchell Ryan, and another TV movie, Drive Hard, Drive Fast, about a race-car driver who is entranced by a beautiful woman and menaced by a psychopath. Although the movie, which stars Joan Collins, was filmed in 1969, this is its first broadcast.

Bette Midler, with her pianist and musical director Barry Manilow, tapes a performance of three songs, including her recent hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” for broadcast on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson tomorrow night. The Grateful Dead plays at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Frank Zappa plays Liverpool, England. Jethro Tull plays Pittsburgh and Uriah Heep plays Norfolk, Virginia. Uriah Heep’s opening acts tonight are Earth Wind and Fire and Tucky Buzzard, a British band whose albums are produced by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. Uriah Heep has been joined on several other shows this summer by ZZ Top and/or Rory Gallagher. Albums released today include Angel Clare, the first solo album by Art Garfunkel, and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen.

At KHJ in Los Angeles, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy holds the #1 spot on the new survey out today. “Half Breed” by Cher is up to #2. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is #3. There’s not much movement in the Top 10 except for “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John, which leaps to #8 from #16. The only other new song in the Top 10 is “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder, up from #12 to #10. The biggest mover on the chart is “Angie” by the Rolling Stones, up 10 spots to #18. Also making a strong move is “Jimmy Loves Mary Anne” by the Looking Glass, up from #23 to #16. Three songs debut on KHJ’s chart: “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers, “Keep on Truckin'” by Eddie Kendricks, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

(Note to Patrons: if you are interested in more stuff about 1973, click “1973” under “The Times of Our Times” in the right-hand column, and/or visit Tales of ’73 at my other blog.)

September 7, 1988: Need You Tonight

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(Pictured: Michael Hutchence of INXS on stage in 1988.)

September 7, 1988, was a Wednesday. News stories making headlines this morning include yesterday’s successful landing of the Soviet Soyuz 6 spacecraft after a problem with reentry guidance systems caused two earlier landing attempts to be aborted. Forest fires continue to burn in Yellowstone National Park and in Washington State. The Bush and Dukakis campaigns have agreed on two presidential debates this fall; Bush’s preferred dates would fall during the upcoming Summer Olympics and World Series; the Dukakis campaign prefers other dates. Today, remnants of Hurricane Debby are breaking up in the Gulf of California; Debby killed 20 people as she crossed Mexico earlier this week. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Florence intensifies to hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Florence will make landfall in Louisiana on Saturday, causing minor damage but no fatalities. Tonight, an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale rattles parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, and West Virginia. No damage or injuries are reported. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls about 145,000 squeaky duck toys sold by a Massachusetts company. Separation of the vinyl cover from the soft foam inside can present a choking hazard.

The hottest pennant race in the majors is in the American League East, where Baltimore holds a one-game lead over Detroit after both teams win tonight. The majors’ best record belongs to the Oakland A’s, who have a 10 1/2 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League West. The A’s beat Texas 6-3 tonight; Jose Canseco hits his 37th home run. In Chicago tonight, the National League East-leading New York Mets score five in the top of the ninth to tie the Cubs, but Cubs outfielder Rafael Palmeiro triples to open the bottom of the ninth and scores on a single by Damon Berryhill to give the Cubs a 9-8 win. The NL West-leading Dodgers beat the Astros 4-1. Future basketball star Kevin Love is born.

Singer Art Garfunkel continues his Walk Across America, spending tonight in Sadieville, Kentucky. The walk started outside his New York City apartment in 1984. He walks in short segments a few times each year, always picking up where he left off the previous time. He will complete the walk in 1997. AC/DC plays Hamilton, Ontario, and Tangerine Dream plays Radio City Music Hall in New York. Most of tonight’s network TV offerings are repeats. CBS airs Jake and the Fatman, The Equalizer, and Wiseguy. ABC’s lineup is Growing Pains, Head of the Class, Hooperman, The Slap Maxwell Story, and China Beach. NBC has the night’s lone new program, George Schlatter’s Funny People, followed by the movie repeat I Married a Centerfold. The MTV Music Video Awards are broadcast live from Los Angeles. INXS is the big winner: the video for “Need You Tonight” wins Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Editing, and the Viewer’s Choice Award. Prince wins Best Male Video for “U Got the Look”; Suzanne Vega wins Best Female Video for “Luka.” Best New Artist in a Video is Guns ‘n’ Roses for “Welcome to the Jungle.” Michael Jackson wins the Video Vanguard Award. INXS and Guns ‘n’ Roses perform live on the show, as do Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Crowded House, and the Fat Boys, among others. Elton John and Michael Jackson perform from remote locations.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Monkey” by George Michael holds at #1. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses moves up to #2. Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistable” is at #3 followed by Elton John’s “I Don’t Wanna Go on With You Like That” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” by Chicago at #4 and #5 respectively, followed by “Perfect World” by Huey Lewis and the News (#6) and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (#7). “When It’s Love” by Van Halen, “If It Isn’t Love” by New Edition, and “I’ll Always Love You” by Taylor Dayne round out the Top 10. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin in the hottest song on the Top 40, moving from #25 to #15. “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins is the highest debut on the Hot 100 at #52.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I had moved to a new apartment the previous June, in a little bedroom community north of Davenport, Iowa, where I was on the radio. We’d been married five years and had decided maybe it was time to have a baby. Spoiler: we never did. It took us two more years just to decide to get a cat.

September 3, 1970: Groovy Situation

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(Pictured: Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson, on stage in 1970.)

September 3, 1970, is a Thursday. A nationwide manhunt is underway for four men suspected of blowing up the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin 10 days earlier. President Nixon is in California, where he meets a top-level delegation from Mexico and hosts a state dinner. A host of political and diplomatic celebrities attend, along with Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Red Skelton, and other Hollywood stars. Representatives from around the world meet for the first Congress of African People, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia. Illinois adopts a new state constitution. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi dies of colon cancer at age 57; Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson dies of a drug overdose at age 27. Future college and pro basketball player George Lynch is born; so is Jeremy Glick, who will attempt to fight back against the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and die in the crash. A hailstone weighing 1.67 pounds and measuring 5 1/2 inches across is found near Coffeyville, Kansas. It will be the largest ever found anywhere until 2003. The Arcata Union newspaper in California reports that since G and H streets in Arcata were made into a one-way pair, five of the six service stations on the two streets have suffered sharp declines in gasoline sales.

For the first time since September 1963, outfielder Billy Williams is not in the lineup for the Chicago Cubs, breaking a streak of 1,117 straight games played. Without him, the Cubs beat the Phillies, 7-2. In the minor leagues, the 1970 International League regular season ends with the Syracuse Chiefs finishing first. Shows on daytime TV today include 17 soap operas (counting Dark Shadows) and eight game shows. Shows on TV tonight include Family Affair, That Girl, Ironside, This Is Tom Jones, Dragnet, Bewitched, and Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers. At Criteria Studios in Miami, Derek and the Dominoes record “I Am Yours,” “Anyday,” and “It’s Too Late,” which will appear on their forthcoming album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Joni Mitchell tapes an episode of BBC in Concert that will be broadcast in October. Jimi Hendrix plays Copenhagen, Denmark and Led Zeppelin plays San Diego. A triple bill at the Fillmore West in San Francisco features Johnny Winter, Boz Scaggs, and Freddie King.

At WLS in Chicago, “War” by Edwin Starr is #1 again this week; “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago makes a strong move from #7 to #2. New in the Top 10 is “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival at #8. Other big movers: “Julie Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman (#22 to #14) and “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler (#25 to #18). Aboard a Wisconsin school bus, a kid just entering fifth grade at Northside School discovers the best place to sit.

Perspective From the Present: I don’t know for certain whether September 3, 1970, was really the famous day I first sat under the radio speaker on the school bus and my future was set for me. I know it wasn’t long after school started, and I was collecting WLS music surveys by the end of September, so it’s as good as guess as any other.