May 7, 1992: Red Hot

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(Pictured: the cast of Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, and Jeanne Tripplehorn, photographed on May 7, 1992.)

May 7, 1992, is a Thursday. Funeral services are pending for actress and femme fatale Marlene Dietrich, who died yesterday in Paris at age 90. Today, a freak snowstorm strikes the Carolinas and East Tennessee, dropping three to five feet of snow in some mountainous areas. State legislatures in Michigan and New Jersey ratify the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, thereby making it the law of the land. The amendment forbids Congressional pay raises to take effect until after the election following their passage. It was originally proposed as one of 12 amendments in 1789 but was ratified by only six states at the time. It lay mostly dormant until 1983, when a Texas college student began writing legislators suggesting that the amendment could still be ratified. Also today, the space shuttle Endeavour takes off on its maiden voyage, on a mission to capture and redeploy a communications satellite.

Eight teams are still alive as the NBA playoffs continue. Portland beats Phoenix and the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks in games tonight. Utah plays Seattle and Boston plays Cleveland tomorrow. The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are also down to the final eight. Boston beats Montreal and the New York Rangers beat Pittsburgh tonight. Tomorrow, Vancouver plays Edmonton and Chicago plays Detroit. Eleven games are played in the majors today. The Pittsburgh Pirates still have the best record in baseball, 19-and-8, even after a 4-2 loss at home to Atlanta; Braves pitcher Tom Glavine runs his record to 5-and-1 with the win. The Toronto Blue Jays have the American League’s best record, 21-and-9; tonight, Dave Winfield’s ninth-inning grand slam gives the Jays an 8-7 win over Seattle.

John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief leads the New York Times Best Sellers List for fiction; Gloria Steinem’s Revolution From Within is #1 on the nonfiction list. For the past three weeks, the same three movies have swapped positions atop the box-office rankings: Basic Instinct, White Men Can’t Jump, and Beethoven. This weekend’s lackluster slate of new openings, including Crisscross with Goldie Hawn and Wild Orchid 2, won’t dislodge them. On TV tonight, NBC airs The Cosby Show, A Different World, Cheers, Wings, and L.A. Law. On Fox, it’s The Simpsons, In Living Color, and Beverly Hills 90210. CBS presents the reality show Top Cops and a repeat of the 1989 theatrical movie Sea of Love starring Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin. ABC follows an episode of Columbo with the news show Prime Time Live.

Weezer plays Club Dump in Los Angeles and Lou Reed plays Denver. Bob Dylan plays Berkeley and Cher plays Wembley Stadium in London. Metallica plays Boise and Pearl Jam plays Bozeman, Montana. After a show in Japan, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante quits the band and flies home to Los Angeles. The group will cancel or postpone tour dates until July, and Frusciante will remain out of the band until 1998. On the Billboard Hot 100, “Jump” by Kris Kross is in its second week at #1. The rest of the Top Five are “Save the Best for Last” by Vanessa Williams, “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen (popular again after being featured in the movie Wayne’s World), and “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue. “Tears in Heaven” is in its third week at #1 on the adult contemporary chart. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Adrenalize by Def Leppard, which debuted at #1 three weeks ago, still holds the #1 spot. Other top albums include Human Touch by Bruce Springsteen, the Wayne’s World soundtrack, Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nevermind by Nirvana, and Ropin’ the Wind by Garth Brooks.

Perspective From the Present: At some point in late May or early June of 1992 The Mrs. and I, who had been working as party DJs for a couple of years, got assigned to a high-school graduation party. We were not hip to what the Class of ’92 was into, and what they were into mostly was Kris Kross and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was one of the first times we ever looked back across the Generation Gap from the far side of it.

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January 8, 1992: Nuts

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(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.