April 15, 1990: Lead You Back

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(Pictured: Greta Garbo, 1931.)

April 15, 1990, is Easter Sunday. The nuclear-armed nations of India and Pakistan remain nose-to-nose over the disputed province of Kashmir. At Cape Canaveral, preparations continue for the April 24 launch of the space shuttle Discovery, which will deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Eruptions continue at Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska. This series of eruptions will be the second-costliest in American history behind Mt. St. Helens in 1980. The New York Times publishes data showing that the median price of a house in the United States was $95,400 in February. A world record for tallest sand sculpture (17 feet, 5 3/4 inches) is set in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.

Movie icon Greta Garbo dies at age 89, and U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii dies at age 73; future Harry Potter actress Emma Watson is born. The top movies at the box office this weekend are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pretty Woman, The Hunt for Red October, and Ernest Goes to Jail. The Miss Universe pageant is held in Los Angeles; the winner is Miss Norway, Mona Grudt; Miss USA Carole Gist is first runnerup. Payne Stewart wins the MCI Heritage Golf Classic, but Greg Norman continues to lead the world golf rankings; Nick Faldo, who won the Masters last Sunday, is ranked second. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum tops the paperback best-seller lists.

The sketch comedy series In Living Color premieres on Fox. Also on Fox tonight, The Outsiders, a series based on the S. E. Hinton novel, the 21 Jump Street spinoff Booker starring Richard Grieco, and The Simpsons. NBC airs an episode of The Magical World of Disney. In the first-ever Sunday night baseball game broadcast on ESPN, the Montreal Expos beat the New York Mets 3 to 1. On MTV, 120 Minutes features videos by Depeche Mode, the Cure, and Stone Roses. On the radio, The Dr. Demento Show features music and comedy bits about television, but the top song on the weekly Funny Five is, once again, “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes.

Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan play in suburban Detroit. Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour continues its opening stand in Tokyo. Paul McCartney plays Miami, and Fleetwood Mac plays Sydney, Australia. Janet Jackson plays Houston. On the current Billboard Hot 100, the new #1 song is “I’ll Be Your Everything” by Tommy Page, taking out Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back,” which falls to #5. Also among the Top 5: “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” by Jane Child, “All Around the World” by Lisa Stansfield, and “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. The lone new song in the Top 10 is “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway, moving to #6 from #11. The highest-debuting song of the week within the Top 40 is “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” by Heart, which comes in at #26 from #41. Madonna’s “Vogue” makes its Hot 100 debut at #39.

The new jock at a tiny radio station in small-town Iowa has to go back to work tomorrow. He’s been there about three weeks. It’s a job he needed more than he wanted, although it will eventually have its satisfactions.

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February 10, 1990: Knocked Out

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(Pictured: Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.)

February 10, 1990, is a Saturday. South African president F. W. de Klerk announces that Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years, will be released tomorrow. In Tokyo (where it’s already tomorrow), Buster Douglas knocks out heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. On the South Pacific island of Java, a volcano named Mt. Kelud erupts. NASA’s Galileo probe flies by the planet Venus, taking advantage of the gravity of the solar system’s inner planets to whip it toward its ultimate destination, Jupiter. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, two gunmen open up in a bowling alley, killing four and wounding three more. Decades later, the crime will remain unsolved. The Idaho lottery gives away a $2 million jackpot.

NBC-TV’s lineup tonight includes The Golden Girls, a Columbo TV movie called Agenda for Murder, and Saturday Night Live hosted by Quincy Jones. Eric Clapton plays the Royal Albert Hall in London with a full orchestra. The second part of the show features a two-movement piece called “Concerto for Electric Guitar.” Phish plays Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and Diana Ross plays Detroit. Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” knocks Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 1o0. Also in the Top 10: Rod Stewart’s “Downtown Train” (#3), “Janie’s Got a Gun” by Aerosmith (#4), “What Kind of Man Would I Be?” by Chicago (#6), and Janet Jackson’s “Escapade” (#9). The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles (#39 to #28). The highest debut within the Hot 100 is Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville’s duet on “All My Life” (#47), the followup to “Don’t Know Much,” which is in its 20th week on the Hot 100 and still at #34.

In Iowa, a radio jock shows up for his Saturday shift as usual. It had been a late night the night before—a bunch of his colleagues had gotten together to bid farewell to a couple of sales reps who had been fired earlier in the week. What he doesn’t know as he arrives is that he’s about to join them.

Perspective From the Present:  My shift was supposed to end at 6:00 that day; when the PD showed up at 5:45, there was only one reason why he’d be there on a Saturday. (The story is told in detail here.) I was out of work for about six weeks (unemployed on my 30th birthday, as it turned out); the job I found turned out to be fun for three years, if not especially remunerative. And my radio career went on.