August 19, 1991: Every Heartbeat

(Pictured: Amy Grant, 1992.)

August 19, 1991, was a Monday. In the Soviet Union, President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest by a group of KGB conspirators. Within a week, Soviet republics will begin to declare their independence; Gorbachev will resign as president on Christmas Day, and the Soviet Union will cease to exist. In the United States, Hurricane Bob makes landfall in southern New England. Six people are killed in Connecticut, and some locations on Cape Cod report wind gusts up to 125 MPH. Damage estimates will range up to $1.7 billion. In the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, riots break out after a Guyanese boy is struck and killed by a car containing a prominent Hasidic Jewish leader. In Gurnee, Illinois, the village board holds its regular meeting, disposing of all business in 57 minutes, and state inspectors visit the sewage treatment plant in Orting, Washington. Sports Illustrated features golfer John Daly on its cover, reporting on his out-of-nowhere victory in the PGA Championship one week before. For the second time this month, Steffi Graf regains the top spot in world ranking among female tennis players from Monica Seles.

The Los Angeles Times reports that singer Billy Preston was arrested yesterday on sex charges involving a 16-year-old boy; he will be sentenced to drug rehab and house arrest. Judas Priest plays Toronto and Phish plays Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Bob Dylan plays Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Primus plays Portland, Oregon. Guns n’ Roses plays Copenhagen, Denmark, and George Thorogood plays suburban Indianapolis.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” by Bryan Adams is #1 for the fourth straight week; “Every Heartbeat” by Amy Grant is #2. There’s precious little movement in the Top 40. “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch makes the biggest move, from #35 to #25; “My Name Is Not Susan” by Whitney Houston moves from #36 to #29. The highest debut within the Top 40 belongs to Huey Lewis and the News: “It Hit Me Like a Hammer” is at #35. Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” is new at #39.

Perspective From the Present: I have been told that in radio music research, 90s music doesn’t test as well with listeners as 70s and 80s music does, even among those who grew up in the 90s. That doesn’t mean there were no good singles on the radio, however. There are several on this chart. Two of them are “The Motown Song” by Rod Stewart and “Everybody Plays the Fool” by Aaron Neville. Both of them were far different on the singles than they were on their respective albums: On Rod’s album Vagabond Heart,”The Motown Song” name-checks the Temptations and brings them aboard for backup vocals, then buries them in the mix. (The single, which is also the version used on the video, is much, much better.) The album version of “Everybody Plays the Fool” is a limp momentum killer on the radio, while the 45/video version is remixed to amp up the energy, and makes it a much better record.

Also remaining really good and/or essential after all these years: “Hard to Handle” by the Black Crowes, “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty, “Walking in Memphis” and “Silver Thunderbird” by Marc Cohn, and “Losing My Religion” by REM. Largely forgotten but still remaining pretty good: “Power of Love”/”Love Power” by Luther Vandross.

August 15, 1973: Tantrums

(Protesters march against the TV show Maude and its abortion-themed episodes, 1973.)

(This is a brand-new, never-before-seen-anywhere post.)

August 15, 1973, was a Wednesday. In June, Congress passed a bill cutting off funding for American operations in Vietnam after August 15, ending direct military involvement in the war. Today, the final American air combat missions of the war are flown over Cambodia, and the aircraft carrier Constellation leaves harbor in the Gulf of Tonkin, where American ships have operated since 1964. President Nixon gives a nationally televised address on the Watergate affair. He insists he had no prior knowledge of the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters or of any coverup, and he suggests that tapes of his Oval Office conversations are covered by executive privilege. He also criticizes Congress for “a continued backward-looking obsession with Watergate.” An Associated Press survey in 12 major cities finds that the price of eggs has risen in eight of them. The largest increase was in Los Angeles, where a dozen eggs, which cost 69 cents on July 31, cost 88 cents this week. Major candymakers including Hershey and Curtiss are deciding whether to raise prices or further decrease the size of their products due to the rising price of raw cocoa beans. Hershey’s famous 10-cent chocolate bar was reduced in size by 0.12 ounces in January.

In major league baseball, a Baltimore win coupled with a Detroit loss puts the Orioles in first place in the American League East by one-half game. In the West, Kansas City expands its lead over idle Oakland to one game with a win over Cleveland. St. Louis and Los Angeles are divisional leaders in the National League. This afternoon, the Chicago Cubs lose to the Atlanta Braves 15-1. It’s their 10th straight loss. (The streak will reach 11 before the team finally gets a win on Friday.)

Nixon’s Watergate speech delays or pre-empts scheduled network programming: The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Dan August, and Cannon on CBS; Adam-12, The Wednesday Mystery Movie, and SEARCH on NBC; and the sitcom Love Thy Neighbor, the TV movie Duel, and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law on ABC. Last night, CBS repeated a controversial episode of the sitcom Maude, in which the title character, played by Beatrice Arthur, considers whether to get an abortion. Twenty-five of the 198 CBS affiliates did not carry the show, including stations in Milwaukee, Boston, New Orleans, and Seattle. The United States Catholic Conference has been pressuring CBS affiliates not to the air the rerun. When the episode was originally broadcast in November 1972 (when abortion was legal in New York State, where Maude is set, but before January’s Supreme Court national ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade), only two stations refused to carry it. A second abortion episode is scheduled for next week.

The Illinois State Fair continues in Springfield, where Bobby Goldsboro will perform two shows tonight at the grandstand. In Chicago, WCFL runs newspaper ads for its upcoming live broadcast of Chicago’s sold-out show at Chicago Stadium on Sunday night, which will be hosted by afternoon DJ Larry Lujack. On the latest Super CFL Survey, “Get Down” by Gilbert O’Sullivan is #1, knocking “Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters to #2. “Diamond Girl” by Seals and Crofts makes a strong move from #12 to #5. “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings is even hotter, jumping from #18 to #7, the single biggest move on the survey. Also new in the Top 10: “Uneasy Rider” by the Charlie Daniels Band. Also making strong upward moves: “Are You Man Enough” by the Four Tops and “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk, both up eight spots. New songs within the Top 40 are “My Maria” by B. W. Stevenson and “Loves Me Like a Rock” by Paul Simon.

Perspective From the Present: I would probably have watched the Nixon speech that night, and Maude the night before—although I doubt I knew what an abortion was, and the Maude episode did not use the word. I would have been suffering along with the Cubs, who were as sick of losing as their fans. On Tuesday, pitcher Ferguson Jenkins had a bat-throwing tantrum after being pulled in the fifth inning of the ninth loss in the streak, 5-1 to Atlanta at Wrigley Field. It was the last summer I played Little League baseball, at which I was even more inept than the Cubs. As one hot day followed another, I eagerly listened to the radio, reluctantly did farm work and took saxophone lessons, and certainly looked forward to returning to school—the eighth grade—in a couple of weeks.

August 8, 1974: Fate

(Pictured: Stills, Young, Nash, and Crosby onstage in the summer of 1974.)

August 8, 1974, was a Thursday. Britain, Greece, and Turkey begin a second round of negotiations in Geneva over the fate of Cyprus, which had been invaded by Turkey last month after a Greek-backed coup overthrew the island nation’s government. New Yorkers are buzzing about stuntman Phillippe Petit, who eluded security at the World Trade Center and walked a tightrope between the two towers yesterday. In Wenatchee, Washington, investigation and cleanup continue after a railroad tank car explosion killed two and injured 66 on Tuesday. Illinois governor Dan Walker draws the first winning numbers in the new Illinois State Lottery at the State Fair in Springfield. In Georgia, Savannah State College holds its 110th commencement exercises.

Howie Pollet, star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1940s, dies at age 53, and Nuremberg defendant Baldur von Schirach, one-time head of the Hitler Youth, dies at age 66. Future MMA fighter Mike Budnik is born. National Football League players continue a strike that began last month over a rule restricting player movement from team to team. The inaugural season of the World Football League continues; reports today claim that the league’s robust attendance figures are inflated and the vast majority of fans get in free; tonight in Jacksonville, over 43,000 watch the hometown Sharks get a last-second win over the Hawaiians 21-14. In today’s Peanuts strip, Sally channels Theodore Roosevelt to ward off a playground bully. The People’s Republic of Congo issues a stamp commemorating the joint Apollo-Soyuz space mission that will take place in 1975. In Washington, the design of what will become the Hart Senate Office Building is approved. Vice-President Gerald Ford awards the Congressional Medal of Honor to Army Lieutenant Loren Hagen of Fargo, North Dakota; Hagen was killed in action in 1971 and his father accepts the medal.

President Nixon is up before 4AM meeting with aides and making phone calls. He arrives in the Oval Office at 9AM, gets a haircut at 10:15, and spends the rest of the day in brief meetings and calls with staffers, attorneys, and members of Congress, pausing at 5:30 to veto an ag bill. At 8 in the evening, he meets with a large congressional delegation, and at 9:01 Eastern time goes on TV to announce that he will resign the next day. Network primetime schedules are disrupted by the resignation news; earlier in the day, the three broadcast networks scheduled 18 game shows and 13 soap operas, although resignation news preempted some of them. Liza Minnelli plays the Great Allentown Fair in Allentown, Pennsylvania; her show is delayed so that Nixon’s resignation speech can be broadcast over the sound system. Joni Mitchell plays Pine Knob Music Theater in suburban Detroit, where she announces Nixon’s resignation to the crowd.

Johnny Cash plays Las Vegas, and Crosby Stills Nash and Young play Jersey City, New Jersey. An unknown California rock band called Van Halen plays another of its regular gigs at Gazzari’s in West Hollywood. At WCFL in Chicago, “Annie’s Song” by John Denver is #1, knocking “Rock Your Baby” by George McCrae to #3. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John is at #2. The hottest record on the chart is “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies, leaping to #5 from #16. Also new in the top 10: “Wild Thing” by Fancy at #10. Also making a big move: “Machine Gun” by the Commodores, from #24 to #14. The #1 album at WCFL is Elton John’s Caribou. WCFL afternoon jock Larry Lujack is pictured on the back of the station’s survey alongside ads for Cruz Garcia Real Sangria and Unguentine aerosol for sunburn.

Perspective From the Present: I spent much of the resignation week with my grandparents, who had sold their farm and moved to town earlier in the year. I devoured the newspapers and watched everything that was on TV, including Nixon’s speech on the night of the 8th and the coverage of his departure the next day. Although I was only 14, I knew what I was seeing was like nothing else in American history, traumatic and sad but at the same time an example of the way the world is supposed to work: great wrongs do not go unpunished, and those who perpetrate them get the comeuppance they deserve, one way or another. It doesn’t work that way anymore, and it didn’t always work that way then, either. In 1974, however, it did.

August 3, 1979: Completely Freaked Out

(Pictured: Yaphet Kotto, Sigourney Weaver, and Ian Holm in Alien, 1979.)

August 3, 1979, was a Friday. Headlines on the morning papers include a government report that blames operator error for the Three Mile Island nuclear accident last spring. Investigators say that operators interfered with automated safety procedures that would have minimized the accident if left alone. Also in today’s headlines: New York Yankees catcher, team captain, and 1976 American League Most Valuable Player Thurman Munson died in a private plane crash yesterday in Ohio. He was 32. Today’s Yankees game against the Baltimore Orioles goes on as scheduled at Yankee Stadium. The Orioles win 1-0. Also today, President Jimmy Carter swears in Patricia Harris as his new Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Harris moves over from the top position in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Harris move is part of the cabinet shakeup Carter launched on July 18. Provincial elections are held in Iran to select members for a new national council to advise Ayatollah Khomeini and other leaders. Many major parties and candidates have dropped out, calling the elections “undemocratic and unlawful.”

On Navy Pier at Chicago’s lakefront, Chicagofest opens its 10-day run. The second edition of the annual festival was in jeopardy for a while earlier this year after cost overruns in 1978, but Mayor Jane Byrne was forced to back down from her proposal to replace the fest with a series of smaller neighborhood festivals. There are eight stages, each representing a different genre. Tonight, the rock stage is headlined by Jay Ferguson, the jazz stage by McCoy Tyner, the folk stage by Tom Paxton, and the country stage by the Dirt Band. Muddy Waters plays the blues stage, and he is joined by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as the Blues Brothers. Main stage headliners during the fest include Bobby Vinton, a triple bill of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Fats Domino, the Charlie Daniels Band with Dr. Hook, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson on separate nights, Shaun Cassidy, Helen Reddy with Jim Stafford, and Chicago with Orleans. Several Chicago radio stations will broadcast from the festival, and The Mike Douglas Show will be taped at Chicagofest on weekdays. Over 100,000 advance tickets have been sold at $3.50 each. Admission at the gate will be $5.

Future actress Evangeline Lilly is born. The Muppet Movie, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and North Dallas Forty, starring Nick Nolte, open in theaters this weekend. So do The Amityville Horror and The Wanderers, which is advertised with a pull quote from a Newsweek review calling it “Grease with brass knuckles.” During the day, the three broadcast networks air 11 soaps and 10 game shows along with repeats of Laverne and Shirley, All in the Family, and M*A*S*H. Shows on TV tonight include Diff’rent Strokes, Hello Larry, The Rockford Files, and Welcome Back Kotter. Following the late local news, ABC shows 15 minutes of highlights from the PGA Championship golf tournament. (Ben Crenshaw holds a one-shot lead after the second round; he will lose a three-hole playoff to Australian David Graham on Sunday.) ABC follows the golf with a repeat of highlights from California Jam II, a rock concert held in March 1978, starring Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Heart, Foreigner, and others.

At WLS in Chicago, “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer hold at #1 and #2 on the survey that will come out tomorrow. At #3, Cheap Trick swaps positions with Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff,” now at #4. No song among the station’s top 12 moves more than one position up or down. The biggest mover within the survey is “My Sharona” by the Knack, up 15 spots to #16. (The debut album from the Knack is new at #1, knocking Cheap Trick at Budokan to #3; Supertramp’s Breakfast in America holds at #2.) Barbra Streisand’s “The Main Event/Fight,” the title song from her current movie with Ryan O’Neal, is up to #24 from #38. “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” by Dr. Hook is up to #30 from #41.

Perspective From the Present: I have written elsewhere that in the summer of 1979 I worked Saturdays and Sundays at KDTH in Dubuque and bunked with a couple of college friends on Saturday nights. One weekend—and we might as well call it the weekend that started on Friday, August 3—we went to see Alien, which had been in theaters all summer. It was the first movie we’d ever seen with a soundtrack in stereo. When the alien sneaked up on somebody from behind and we heard the sound behind us before we saw it, we were completely freaked out. Moviegoers take such effects for granted now, but when they were new, well, damn.

July 31, 1976: A Laugher

(Pictured: a streaker interrupts the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Montreal on July 31, 1976, because of course he did.)

July 31, 1976, was a Saturday. In Colorado, a foot of rain falls in the mountains, causing a flood in Big Thompson Canyon that kills 150 people. Barry Manilow plays Philadelphia, where health officials are struggling to figure out what mysterious disease sickened over 200 people and killed 34 during an American Legion bicentennial gathering a few days earlier. It’s been nicknamed “legionnaire’s disease.” NASA releases a photo taken by the Viking Mars probe before it landed on July 20. It seems to show a face on the Martian surface, but NASA says it’s merely a rock formation and nothing mysterious. A UFO is sighted in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Louisiana adopts petrified palm wood as its official state fossil. The Montreal Olympics are coming to an end, as an East German marathoner wins the gold in the final event of the games, and six athletes, five Romanians and a Russian, defect to Canada. The Green Bay Packers play the earliest preseason game in their history, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-16. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the first game in their history, losing to the Los Angeles Rams, 26-3. Future pro football player Marty Booker is born.  NBC airs the first-season finale of its new weekend late-night show, NBC’s Saturday Night, hosted by Kris Kristofferson. (His wife, Rita Coolidge, is the musical guest.) Sketches include “Samurai General Practitioner” and “Gynecologist Blind Date,” with Kristofferson and Jane Curtin. Other TV programs on the air that night include the syndicated soap Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and The Invasion of Johnson County, a western starring Bill Bixby.

Elvis Presley, on his last tour, plays Hampton Roads, Virginia. Eric Clapton plays London. Jethro Tull plays Tampa, Florida. On the Billboard singles chart dated July 31, “Kiss and Say Goodbye” by the Manhattans is spending its second week at #1; “Love Is Alive” by Gary Wright is #2; Starbuck’s “Moonlight Feels Right” is at #3; At #4 it’s “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band. The Beatles and the Beach Boys are back-to-back at #7 and #8, with “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Rock and Roll Music,” the first time both bands have been in the Top 10 at the same time since 1966. New in the Top 40 are “Say You Love Me” by Fleetwood Mac, “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry, “Who’d She Coo” by the Ohio Players, “Shake Your Booty” by KC and the Sunshine Band, and War’s “Summer.” Two versions of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” are bubbling under the Top 40—one is the 1967 original, the other is a new recording from the hit movie of the same name. New on the Hot 100 that week: “Still the One” by Orleans and “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. George Benson’s Breezin’ tops the album chart.

Perspective From the Present: The Green County Fair was going on in my hometown that week, and on Saturday night I would certainly have been there. And I was probably in a pretty good mood. The previous night, our Church League softball team had enjoyed a rare laugher, a 16-to-1 victory over Washington Township. I found time to listen to American Top 40 on that weekend, probably on Sunday night, probably on WROK from Rockford, Illinois—and I would probably have had to try and pick out the last few songs through the static after the station cut its power at sundown. I had been rooting for “I’ll Be Good to You” by the Brothers Johnson, a favorite song of the moment, to reach #1. Maybe you had to be a 16-year-old Top 40 geek to feel the clanging sense of disappointment when it dropped to #9 this week after being stuck at #3 for two weeks, destined never to make the top.

July 24, 1966: Soldiers

(Pictured: National Guardsmen on patrol in Cleveland after rioting in July 1966.)

(Most posts at this blog have previously appeared in some form at either The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ or Popdose. Here’s a brand-new post that’s never appeared anywhere before. Find others here.)

July 24, 1966, was a Sunday. Newspaper headlines this morning include President Lyndon Johnson’s speaking tour stops yesterday in Indiana and Illinois, during which he addressed the recent race riots in Chicago and Cleveland and defended his administration’s policy in Vietnam. National Guardsmen have been patrolling Chicago’s troubled west side since July 15th; the last units will be sent home from the area tonight. Johnson was accompanied on his trip by Democratic officials facing reelection in the fall. Richard Speck, accused of murdering eight student nurses in Chicago on July 13, remains hospitalized after attempting suicide while hiding out after the murders.

Also yesterday, actor Montgomery Clift died at age 45 after suffering a heart attack in his New York apartment. Today, pro golfer Tony Lema is killed when his private plane crashes into a golf course near Chicago. Lema is 32. Al Geiberger wins the PGA Championship in Akron, Ohio, by four shots over Dudley Wysong. Sixteen games are played in the majors today, including six doubleheaders. The American League-leading Baltimore Orioles lose to the Chicago White Sox 4-0; their lead over the Detroit Tigers is 12 games. The National League race is much tighter. The Pittsburgh Pirates maintain a one-game lead over San Francisco after both teams win today; the Los Angeles Dodgers gain ground with a doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets, 5-0 and 6-0, but they remain 2 1/2 games behind.

In Peanuts today, for the first time in the strip’s history, the World War I flying ace enjoys a root beer at a sidewalk cafe. The fiction best-seller list is topped by Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. On TV tonight, CBS opens prime-time with Lassie and My Favorite Martian, followed an Ed Sullivan Show repeat from February starring the Supremes, the Dave Clark Five, Stiller and Meara, and Allan Sherman. Perry Mason, Candid Camera, and What’s My Line follow Ed on CBS. NBC airs The Wonderful World of Disney, Bonanza, and The Wackiest Ship in the Army. On ABC, its Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The FBI, and The Pony Soldier, a 1952 Western set in Canada starring Tyrone Power and Cameron Mitchell.

The Newport Folk Festival closes with performances by Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, and Pete Seeger. Other headliners on the four-day bill included Judy Collins, Chuck Berry, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Skip James, and Phil Ochs. The Rolling Stones, touring in support of their album Aftermath, play an afternoon show in San Bernardino, California, before going on to play two shows in Bakersfield, California, that night. The Animals and Herman’s Hermits play New Orleans. At KSTP in Minneapolis, Don DuChene does an afternoon show featuring Barbra Streisand, Count Basie, Herb Alpert, Bob Newhart, and others. At the Top 40 stations across town, WDGY and KDWB, “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells tops both stations’ surveys. The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” is at #2 on KDWB; WDGY charts only “Paperback Writer” and lists it at #5. “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, “The Pied Piper” by Crispian St. Peters, “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham, and “Hungry” by Paul Revere and the Raiders are in the Top 10 on both stations. The hottest songs at WDGY are “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb, up to #15 from #30, and “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV, debuting in the Top 3o at #16. At KDWB, “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” is the biggest mover within the Top 40, zooming to #7 from #36 the week before. “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful is up 18, to #15 from #33.

Perspective From the Present: At our house, Lassie was a frequent viewing choice on Sundays, but we rarely missed The Wonderful World of Disney. We had to be on our way to bed when Bonanza came on, and for many years I couldn’t hear that familiar theme song without remembering how it felt to have to go to bed before I wanted to.

July 16, 1971: Stone Age

(Pictured: planet Earth in the summer of 1971, photographed from Apollo 15.)

July 16, 1971, was a Friday. Life magazine reports on the three Soviet Soyuz 11 cosmonauts who died during re-entry on June 29; consumer advocate Bess Myerson is on the cover. Preparations continue for the Apollo 15 moon mission, which will launch in 10 days. Maryann Grelinger of Kansas City, Missouri, sends President Nixon a telegram in response to the announcement yesterday that he will visit China. It says, “Have fun in Red China. Hope they keep you.” At the Western White House in San Clemente, Nixon meets with the National Security Council to discuss the Middle East and South Asia. Demographers estimate that the population of the world has passed the four billion mark. Future actor Corey Feldman is born. During his year in Vietnam, radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, writes his parents nearly every day, sometimes more than once. Today he writes another letter. Jeanne M. Holm, director of Women in the Air Force, is promoted to brigadier general, becoming the first woman in the U.S. military with that rank.

NBC Nightly News reports the discovery of the Tasaday, a Stone Age people living in an isolated part of the Philippines. (Years later, some anthropologists accuse the discoverers of the Tasaday of perpetrating a hoax.) A paper titled “Fiber Digestion in the Beaver” is accepted for publication by the Journal of Nutrition. New movies for the weekend include The Hunting Party starring Candice Bergen and Gene Hackman and The Devils, directed by Ken Russell and originally given an X rating before cuts were made. Top movies already out include Shaft, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Creedence Clearwater Revival plays in Boston. Duke Ellington plays at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Top 40 fans are enjoying a harmonic convergence of great radio records and superb summer songs pumping out of AM radios everywhere. At WLS in Chicago, Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” tops the chart for a fourth week; James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” (which King wrote, and on which she plays) holds at #2.

Also charting near the top this week: “Don’t Pull Your Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, “Draggin’ the Line” by Tommy James, “Sooner or Later” by the Grass Roots, and “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” by the Fortunes. Classic one-hit wonders are afoot, like “Funky Nassau” by Beginning of the End, and “Rings” by Cymarron. The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” is in its first week on the chart. An eleven-year-old music fanatic in southern Wisconsin lives with the radio on every waking moment, absorbs it all, and will never forget it.

July 13, 1985: Good Enough

(Pictured: the Wembley Stadium throng at Live Aid.)

July 13, 1985, is a Saturday. President Reagan undergoes colon surgery, so for the first time in American history, a president hands over power to his vice president temporarily. George H.W. Bush is acting president for approximately eight hours while Reagan is under general anesthesia and in recovery. Public health officials in New Mexico are concerned about an outbreak of plague among cats, while celebrity watchers are abuzz over speculation that Britain’s Princess Diana might be pregnant. (She isn’t.) Two planes collide at an air show in Niagara Falls, New York, killing one pilot. Boy Scout Troop 180 of Yankton, South Dakota, is on a canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters, which will last until July 21. In a pregame ceremony, the New York Yankees retire the numbers of Roger Maris (9) and Elston Howard (32). Future major-leaguer and ESPN commentator John Kruk hits an inside-the-park home run while playing in the minor leagues for Las Vegas. Joe Aguirre, who played football for the Washington Redskins in the 1940s, dies at age 67. Future Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, who will play for his country in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, is born.

The animated Disney film Pinocchio is released on home video for the first time. Shows on TV tonight include The Paper Chase, which is airing on Showtime after being canceled by CBS four years previously. ABC airs edited highlights from Live Aid, two giant benefit concerts held today in London and Philadelphia. NBC counters with Diff’rent Strokes, Gimme a Break, Mama’s Family, and Hunter on NBC. CBS airs an episode of Airwolf. A Los Angeles TV station broadcasts the final episode of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, which has run on local TV there since 1981, and in national syndication from 1982 to 1984.

The Grateful Dead opens a two-night stand at the county fairgrounds in Ventura, California, and Queensryche plays Irvine, California. Depeche Mode plays Brest, France, and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays the Hague in the Netherlands. Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, knocking “Sussudio” by Phil Collins from the top. There’s little movement within the Top 10, although Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” (#9) and “The Goonies ‘R Good Enough” by Cyndi Lauper (#10) replace Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” and Madonna’s “Angel.” Biggest movers include “Shout” by Tears for Fears (#23 to #14) and “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart (#29 to #20). Three songs are new within the Top 40: “Rock Me Tonight” by Freddie Jackson (#35), “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams (#38), and “State of the Heart” by Rick Springfield (#40). “You’re Only Human” by Billy Joel is the highest debut of the week on the Hot 100, coming in at #50.

Perspective From the Present: I didn’t realize what a big deal Live Aid was going to be until that day, and I spent much of that afternoon at my radio station airing reports from the venues. That night, The Mrs. and I set up a second TV set in our crummy little one-bedroom apartment so we could watch the live MTV broadcast on cable and the rebroadcast highlights of the day on ABC.

You should read this 30th anniversary Live Aid retrospective by the Dude from Any Major Dude With Half a Heart, who attended the London show.

July 9, 1977: Going Away

(Pictured: 1977 British Open competitors Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.)

July 9, 1977, is a Saturday. Alice Paul, a leading figure in the votes-for-women movement in the early 20th century and author of the Equal Rights Amendment, dies at age 92, as does anthropologist and author Loren Eiseley, age 69. An Illinois woman, Cathleen Crowell, tells police she was raped and picks her attacker out of a police mug book; the man, Gary Dotson, will be convicted two years later. In 1985, Crowell will admit she made up her story, and in 1988, Dotson will become the first person exonerated by DNA evidence. At the IGA Foodliner in Cass City, Michigan, round steak is $1.19 a pound, a twin-pack of Pringles potato chips is 69 cents, and iceberg lettuce is 39 cents a head. In the third round of the British Open, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson both shoot 65 to tie for the tournament lead. (Tomorrow, Watson will birdie the final hole to win the championship.) Future actor Milo Ventimiglia is born. CPO Sharkey star Don Rickles is on the cover of TV Guide. Ben E. King and the Average White Band play the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, as do Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. The San Francisco Kool Jazz Festival features Natalie Cole, Wild Cherry, and Tavares, and Chicago plays Alpine Valley near Milwaukee. A Wisconsin teenager attends an emotional going-away party for several of his classmates who will be leaving the next morning for a month in Europe.

Perspective From the Present: On American Top 40 that weekend, Casey Kasem counted ’em down as usual. Although the show is not quite all killer and no filler, it’s close. Of the top 20, only a couple songs are ones nobody needs to hear again (“Love’s Grown Deep” by Kenny Nolan and the Rocky theme “Gonna Fly Now”). On the bottom half of the list, once you take out the country crossovers (“Luckenbach, Texas,” which I like, and “Lucille,” which I do not), you’re left with only a couple of dogs—although one of them is the execrable “Telephone Man.” While some of what’s left is burned beyond recognition—“Margaritaville,” I’m lookin’ at  you—a batting average of .800 is pretty good for a show on the edge of the disco era, although your mileage may vary.

Casey remarks that Marvin Gaye’s former #1 hit “Got to Give It Up,” which is sitting at #6 this week, is only the fourth #1 single of the rock era to be recorded live. Presumably this means “live in concert” as opposed to “live in one studio take” because the other three songs Casey mentions, Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips,” Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling,” which I wrote about at Popdose way back when, and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver, are all concert recordings. Except “Got to Give It Up” isn’t live; it was on Gaye’s Live at the London Palladium, but it’s a studio cut with live ambiance provided by some guests at the recording session.

When Casey introduces the week’s #1 song, “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day, he says it’s only the third “fantasy song” in history to reach the #1 position. He defines fantasy as magical things that couldn’t happen in the real world, and mentions Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” (also written by O’Day) and Elton John’s recent cover of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” as the other two. This strikes me as a pretty thin reed to grasp in search of a factoid. I can think of several #1 hits that are fanciful: “The Night Chicago Died” is a fictional story set on “the east side of Chicago,” a place that doesn’t exist; there was never any such thing as “Crocodile Rock”; and if America’s “A Horse With No Name” isn’t a fantasy, I’ll eat my hat.

On the subject of that going-away party: every person has a few days and/or nights in life that remain indelible for all time, that we will not, cannot, must not forget. That night is one of a very few in mine.

July 7, 1972: When the Music’s Over

(Pictured: George McGovern meets the people—a whole lot of them—in the summer of 1972.)

July 7, 1972, was a Friday. Congressmen Gerald Ford of Michigan and Hale Boggs of Louisiana conclude a trip to China. On a visit to North Vietnam, Jane Fonda is photographed in the gunner’s seat of a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. The first female FBI agents since 1927, Susan Roley and Joanne Pierce, are sworn in, and the state of Pennsylvania graduates its first state-trooper class to contain women. In the women’s final at Wimbledon, Billie Jean King defeats Evonne Goolagong. In Baltimore, Club Hippo opens its doors; at its closing in 2015, it will be the oldest gay bar in the country still operating under its original name. Democratic presidential nominee-apparent George McGovern appears on the cover of Life magazine in advance of the Democratic National Convention, which will begin on July 10; the magazine also contains a photo of Russian chess champion Boris Spassky, who is waiting in Iceland for American opponent Bobby Fischer to show up for their world championship match. In Alabama, Lieutenant Governor Jere Beasley is acting governor for a final day. Beasley became acting governor on June 5 because Governor George Wallace was recovering from an assassination attempt in a Maryland hospital; state law required the lieutenant governor to take over if the sitting governor was out of the state for more than 20 days.

The movie Deliverance premieres in theaters. The last of 267,787 Cadillacs produced in the 1972 model year rolls off the assembly line. The Council of Wisconsin Librarians is officially formed. Montreal Expos outfielder Ken Singleton returns to the lineup for the first time in over a week, wearing a special uniform because he is allergic to some of the material in the Expos’ regular uniform. He drives in three runs and leads the Expos over San Francisco, 7-2. Future football players Michael Westbrook and Darnay Scott, future basketball star Lisa Leslie, and future slasher-film actress Heather Kafka are born.

B.B. King plays Yankee Stadium and the Rolling Stones play Knoxville, Tennessee. That same day, back in England, the Stones appear on The Old Grey Whistle Test, with a 1966 filmed performance of “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow.” Miles Davis completes recording sessions for his album On the Corner, to be released in December. At 1AM, New York’s WCBS-FM plays “When the Music’s Over” by the Doors and goes silent for five hours. At 6AM, DJ Johnny Michaels plays “Runaround Sue” by Dion to launch the first all-oldies radio station. At WLS in Chicago, “Song Sung Blue” by Neil Diamond holds at #1, just ahead of Billy Preston’s “Outa-Space,” “The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr., and “Nice to Be With You” by Gallery. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers and “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose are up to #5 and #6, each making five-place jumps from last week. “Living in a House Divided” by Cher makes a strong move to #16 from #23.

Perspective From the Present: One night during the high summer of 1972—and we might as well call it Friday, July 7—I went on a campout with three of my best friends at the time. We took two pup tents and went into the woods behind one guy’s house, although we decided that the woods were a bit too scary, so we pitched our tents in an adjacent hay field, and then stayed up all night behaving like 12-year-olds. We listened to WLS for something like 14 straight hours, and that meant the week’s top songs over and over—often enough for me to associate several of them with that night forever after.