May 21, 1985: A Recall

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(Pictured: adoring fans reach out and touch Billy Ocean, 1985)

May 21, 1985, was a Tuesday. By presidential proclamation, it is National Maritime Day, honoring the American merchant marine. It is also National Medical Transcriptionist Week. At the White House, Ronald Reagan meets with the president of Honduras. The Associated Press reports that the gross national product is expanding at the slowest rate since the 1981-82 recession. Hundreds of members of the Church of Scientology, including John Travolta, picket the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, to protest a $39 million fraud judgment against the church. In Orange, California, Patti Frustaci gives birth to the first set of septuplets ever born in the United States. (One is stillborn; three more will die.) Also born: future big-league pitcher Andrew Miller and Mutya Buena, future member of the Sugababes and collaborator with Amy Winehouse. Also dying: 10 people in Newton Falls, Ohio, killed by a tornado.

Ford Motor Company issues a recall on the 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis, the 1985 Mercury Capri, and the 1982 Ford Escort. The World Series of Poker wraps up in Las Vegas; Bill Smith wins $700,000 at the final table. A European patent is granted for an annular clamping member, which is used to attach a gear or pulley to a shaft, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws out a Georgia law making sodomy a crime. On TV tonight, there’s the sitcom Hail to the Chief, about the first female president, played by Patty Duke. The made-for-TV movie Do You Remember Love? stars Joanne Woodward as a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, and an episode of the PBS documentary series Frontline looks at the challenges facing America’s growing senior-citizen population. The top-grossing theatrical movie of the week is Code of Silence starring Chuck Norris. Also in theaters: Beverly Hills Cop, Mask, Desperately Seeking Susan, Witness, Amadeus, The Care Bears Movie, and The Killing Fields.

The Eagles’ 1974 album On the Border is released on CD for the first time. Madonna plays St. Paul with the Beastie Boys opening. Three Dog Night plays Kansas City. Eric Clapton plays Toronto. Stephen Stills plays Davis, California. Phil Collins plays Hampton, Virginia. “Everything She Wants” by Wham is the new #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, bumping “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds to #2. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears and “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer are at #3 and #4, up six spots each from last week. Two new songs move into the Top 10: “Suddenly” by Billy Ocean at #8 and “Things Can Only Get Better” by Howard Jones at #10. They replace “We Are the World” by USA for Africa (now at #14) and “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge (now at #17). New in the Top 40: “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran (#36), “Oh Girl” by Boy Meets Girl (#39), and “Lucky in Love” by Mick Jagger (#40).

In a small college town in Illinois, which is emptying out as the students leave for the summer, the young program director of the local Top 40 station is hearing almost all of these records several times a day, but he doesn’t mind. For the first time since graduating from college, he’s got the kind of job he really wants, and it feels like the sky’s the limit.


2 thoughts on “May 21, 1985: A Recall

  1. “Lucky In Love” features contributions from Jeff Beck, Sly & Robbie, Herbie Hancock, Elton John’s longtime percussionist Ray Cooper, and Chuck Leavell, among others.
    Proof — if anyone needs it — that loading all the chops and/or starpower you can onto a three-minute pop song doesn’t guarantee success.


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