(Pictured: Whitney Houston, onstage during her 1991 tour.)
January 8, 1992, is a Wednesday. The weather forecast for Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, is for another cloudy day. It will be the 12th straight day without sun in the Twin Cities, the longest such streak in 19 years. At a dinner hosted by Japanese prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa, President George H. W. Bush becomes ill, barfs in the prime minister’s lap, and then faints. A man claiming to be Bush’s physician calls CNN and says that Bush has died; CNN Headline News nearly reports the hoax as fact. Earlier that day in Japan, a homemade bomb is found and disarmed in the residence of American embassy staff. Art Agnos spends his last day as mayor of San Francisco; tomorrow he’ll be replaced by the man who defeated him for reelection last month, former police chief Frank Jordan. The Maryland General Assembly presents a redistricting plan to the governor; it will be challenged in court as a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and new districts will be drawn for the 1994 elections. A U.S. government commission publishes public notice of an upcoming investigation into competitive practices in the international macadamia nut industry. A fire destroys the main lodge and conference center at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, Illinois. Among the big league baseball players signing free-agent deals today: Jamie Moyer with the Cubs, Steve Lyons with the Braves, and Tim Teufel with the Padres. Kathlyn Beatty is born. The first child of actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening will come out as transgender at age 14 and in 2018, will be known as Stephen. French visual artist Nicolas Schoffer dies at age 79.
On TV tonight, ABC airs Dinosaurs, The Wonder Years, Doogie Howser MD, Anything But Love, and the dramatic series Civil Wars. CBS primetime starts with the sitcoms Davis Rules (starring Randy Quaid and Jonathan Winters) and Brooklyn Bridge and continues with Jake and the Fatman and the news magazine 48 Hours. On NBC, Unsolved Mysteries is followed by Seinfeld, Night Court, and Quantum Leap. The top movies at the box office last weekend were Hook, Father of the Bride, Beauty and the Beast, and The Prince of Tides. The Washington Post reports that 1991 was the worst year in history for the concert industry with ticket sales down 25 percent. Touring acts with disappointing results include Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis and the News, Diana Ross, Steve Winwood, and Amy Grant. The highest-grossing tours of the year belonged to the Grateful Dead, ZZ Top, and the Judds, whose farewell tour grossed $22.7 million. Metallica plays the Forum in Los Angeles and John Mellencamp plays the Omni in Atlanta. Lenny Kravitz plays Edmonton and Vanessa Williams appears on Soul Train.
On the current Billboard Hot 100, Michael Jackson’s “Black and White” is in its second week at #1. “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men and “All 4 Love” by Color Me Badd hold at #2 and #3. The former MC Hammer, who started calling himself just Hammer last year, has two hits riding high: “Too Legit to Quit” is at #8 and “Addams Groove,” from the soundtrack of the movie The Addams Family, is at #11. The hottest song within the Top 40 is “Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince and the NPG, up to #19 from #30.
Perspective From the Present: In January 1992, I was working in Clinton, Iowa, a town about 30 miles from where we lived. I was program director of the AM/FM combo and I did the afternoon show on the adult contemporary FM. I’d been working there nearly two years, and would have settled into a comfortable routine. I’d last almost exactly two more years, the last few months of which were anything but comfortable and anything but routine, but that’s a story for another day.