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.

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May 8, 1988: Anything for You

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(Pictured: Gloria Estefan, onstage circa 1988.)

May 8, 1988, is a Sunday. Today is Mother’s Day. A jury in Seattle, Washington, finds Stella Nickel guilty on two counts of murder for putting cyanide in her husband’s Excedrin capsules. She’s the first person convicted under federal anti-tampering laws passed after the still-unsolved 1982 Tylenol poisonings in Chicago. Wisconsin is hit by 24 tornadoes today, setting a single-day record that will stand until 2005. Eastern Iowa is hit by 22, including an F3 tornado in Clinton County that does $25 million in damage. At Iowa State University in Ames, the annual pre-finals Veishea celebration weekend has been violent; early this morning, students attending a campus bonfire started throwing rocks and bottles at police. Forty-five people were arrested and eight cops hospitalized. It’s the biggest riot at ISU since the Vietnam War. In Hinsdale, Illinois, a fire at a major Illinois Bell switching center knocks out phone service in the Chicago area. Up to a half-million people will be affected over the next few weeks, and Illinois Bell will be strongly criticized for its slow response to the outages. Future porn star Violet Monroe is born. Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein dies at age 80. The New York Times best-seller list for fiction is topped by Robert Ludlum’s The Icarus Agenda, Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Rock Star by Jackie Collins. The nonfiction list is led by Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel, Michael Jackson’s autobiography Moonwalk, and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

This past Friday night, following a National Hockey League playoff game between the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld got into a loud altercation with referee Don Koharski that was captured by TV cameras. The NHL suspended Schoenfeld, but Devils management got a court order permitting him to coach today. Just before today’s game, Koharski and his two fellow officials announce they will not work the game. After an hour-long delay, replacement referees are found. The Devils win the game 3-1 to tie their conference final series at two games each. In the NBA, the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 to win their first-round playoff series three games to two. Michael Jordan of the Bulls leads all scorers with 39 points. His total of 226 points in the series sets an NBA record. In baseball, the Oakland Athletics have the best record in the majors, 23-and-7, after beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 today. The New York Mets are the class of the National League at 21-and-7 after beating Cincinnati 5-1.

At the movies this weekend, the box-office leader is the police drama Colors starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, followed by Beetlejuice. The top new movie is Shakedown, another police drama, starring Peter Weller and Sam Elliott. Tonight’s CBS-TV lineup includes 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote, and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, a remake of the 1954 Humphrey Bogart movie, starring Jeff Daniels and Brad Davis. On ABC, it’s The Wonderful World of Disney, Remembering Marilyn, a special about Marilyn Monroe, and the first part of the made-for-TV movie The Bourne Identity. The FOX lineup includes 21 Jump Street, America’s Most Wanted, Married With Children, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and The Tracey Ullman Show. NBC wins the night, however, with the first part of the science-fiction miniseries Something Is Out There. Pink Floyd plays Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Robert Plant plays Ottawa, Ontario. In Santa Cruz, California, Carlos Santana plays a benefit show for Salvadoran children. Depeche Mode plays Salt Lake City.

On this week’s Billboard Hot 100, “Wishing Well” by Terence Trent D’Arby is the new #1 song. “Anything for You” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine is #2, ahead of “Angel” by Aerosmith at #3. Last week’s #1, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston, is #4 this week. “Shattered Dreams” by Johnny Hates Jazz makes a strong move from #15 to #8. “One More Try” by George Michael jumps from #22 to #14. The highest-debuting song in the Top 40 this week is “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle at #30. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” at #53.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I were living in Davenport, Iowa, although we would move to a small suburb north of there in about a month. I did not usually work my radio job on Sundays, so I wouldn’t have been on the air when tornadoes hit eastern Iowa. I probably wished I was, though.

 

December 12, 1988: The Best That I Got

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(Pictured: kicker Max Zendejas tees it up for the Green Bay Packers early in the 1988 season. He wouldn’t be around for long.)

December 12, 1988, was a Monday. Indiana representative Dan Coats is appointed to the United States Senate by governor Robert Orr. He replaces Dan Quayle, who was elected vice-president with George Bush last month. At the White House, Nancy Reagan leads reporters on a tour of the Christmas decorations for a final time, telling them, “It’s very sentimental.” The Supreme Court rules that the NCAA can suspend University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian for recruiting violations and other irrregularities. The decision is expected to increase the NCAA’s enforcement power. Texas A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill, under suspicion of paying a player to keep quiet about rules violations, resigns from his position. In the NFL yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys broke an 11-game losing streak with a 24-17 win over Washington. Also breaking a losing streak: the Green Bay Packers, who had lost seven in a row. They beat the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, 18-6. Newspapers around the country carry an Associated Press story about a man and woman in Puerto Rico, aged 90 and 70, who were arrested over the weekend for possessing a $45,000 stash of cocaine and heroin. In Mountain View, California, a couple is arrested after their 17-year-old daughter complains to her school counselor that her parents were teaching her how to use cocaine. The girl’s parents believe they’ve done nothing wrong, police say. They believe their daughter would be exposed to cocaine eventually, and they wanted her to learn about it at home.

The movie Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, has its New York premiere. The film will be officially released on Friday. At the box office this past weekend, the top film was the new release Twins, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Other popular movies over the weekend were The Naked Gun, Scrooged, Tequila Sunrise starring Mel Gibson, and the animated Disney film Oliver and Company. The death of actor Richard Castellano is announced. Best known for playing Clemenza in The Godfather and for an Oscar-nomimated role in Lovers and Other Strangers, he died on Saturday at age 55. Organized-crime figure Anthony Provenzano, known as Tony Pro, dies in prison at age 71. On TV tonight, ABC presents MacGyver and Monday Night Football, where the Miami Dolphins beat the Cleveland Browns 38-31. CBS airs Newhart, Kate & Allie, Murphy Brown, Designing Women, and a Christmas episode of Almost Grown, a new dramatic series exploring the life of a married couple during three different periods in their lives, which is co-created by former Rockford Files writer David Chase. NBC’s lineup includes ALF, The Hogan Family, and the made-for-TV movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas starring Hal Holbrook, Nancy Travis, and Eva Marie Saint, which scores the night’s highest rating.

At Z100 in New York City, “Giving You the Best That I Got” by Anita Baker is the #1 song on the new survey out today. Last week’s #1, “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys, falls to #4. In between the two are “Free Bird/Baby I Love Your Way” by Will to Power and “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. New songs in the Top 10 are “How Can I Fall” by Breathe and “Look Away” by Chicago. “I Wanna Have Some Fun” by Samantha Fox and “Two Hearts” by Phil Collins are the hottest songs on the survey, both up seven spots from the previous week. The station’s top three albums are unchanged from the previous week: U2’s Rattle and Hum, Giving You the Best That I Got by Anita Baker, and New Jersey by Bon Jovi.

Perspective From the Present: The Packers were struggling through a season that would see them finish 4-and-12. Despite beating the Vikings on Sunday, they released their kicker, Dean Dorsey, on Tuesday. He had missed an extra point in the game. He was the Packers’ third kicker of the season; they signed a guy named Curtis Burrow for the final game of the season, who promptly missed two of four extra points in a 26-17 win over the Phoenix Cardinals. It was the only NFL game Burrow ever appeared in. I was listening to the game, and one of the misses inspired a favorite radio moment of mine: Packers color commentator Max McGee remarked to his play-by-play partner Jim Irwin, “You know, Jim, they’re running a damn punt-pass-and-kick contest up here every week and they keep bringing the losers in!”

January 20, 1988: Coke in the Morning

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(Pictured: George Harrison,Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Julian Lennon, and Sean Lennon at the induction of the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

January 20, 1988, is a Wednesday. In Arizona, a committee of the State House of Representatives continues hearings into whether Governor Evan Mecham should be impeached. Mecham is under indictment for perjury and has already been the target of a recall drive. He had canceled the state Martin Luther King holiday shortly after his inauguration a year earlier, a move that had cost Arizona millions in canceled convention business, and had been accused of making racist remarks. He will be removed from office on April 4. At the White House, President Reagan greets a group of students from Suitland, Maryland, and briefs a group of civic leaders on American aid to the Nicaraguan contras.

This morning’s New York Times contains a story about Coca-Cola’s upcoming “Coke in the Morning” marketing campaign, an attempt to persuade young adults to get their morning caffeine fix from Coke instead of coffee. Elsewhere in the paper, there’s a feature about actress Elizabeth Taylor and her five-year battle with her weight, which has resulted in the diet book Elizabeth Takes Off.  On TV tonight, ABC’s “dramedy” experiment continues with Hooperman, starring John Ritter, and The Slap Maxwell Story with Dabney Coleman. Also on TV tonight: Highway to Heaven and Magnum. P.I. The Olympic torch, on its way to Calgary, Canada, for the upcoming winter games, reaches Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. In other flaming Canadian news, a giant fireball is seen in the sky over British Columbia, accompanied by sonic booms. Scientists will determine that it was a meteorite, and that portions of it may have reached the ground near Vancouver Island.

Aerosmith plays Coliseum Vancouver, Rush plays Dallas, Yes plays Pensacola, Florida, and Barry Manilow appears on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. At the third annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, the Drifters, the Supremes, Les Paul, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Berry Gordy are honored. Entertainment includes a super-session featuring the inductees along with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Mick Jagger, Ben E. King, Elton John, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, and Little Richard.

George Harrison has the top single on the Billboard Hot 100 dated January 16 with “Got My Mind Set on You,” knocking “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston to #2. “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson is at #3 and “Need You Tonight” by INXS at #4. (In September, “Need You Tonight” will be named Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.) The Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter” and “Could’ve Been” by Tiffany make strong moves into the top 10. The highest-debuting song in the top 40 is “Can’t Stay Away From You” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine at #36. George Michael’s “Father Figure” is the highest-debuting song among the Hot 100 at #49.