December 31, 1993: I Will Always Love You

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Whitney Houston.)

December 31, 1993, was a Friday. Eastern states from the Great Lakes to New England are digging out after a snowstorm yesterday. Erie, Pennsylvania, got 10 inches, and some locations in Maine recorded over a foot. Funeral services are pending for Irving “Swifty” Lazar, a Hollywood agent who represented stars from Humphrey Bogart to Madonna, who died yesterday at age 86. On Christmas Eve, in Humboldt, Nebraska, transgender teen Brandon Teena was raped by two men angry to learn he was born female. He reported the crime to police, who released his assailants without charges. Tonight, Teena and a friend are murdered by the two men. The case will inspire the 1999 movie Boys Don’t Cry. ABC airs its usual Friday night lineup: Family Matters (which tops the evening’s ratings), Boy Meets World, Step by Step, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, and 20/20. CBS sandwiches a clip show titled Great TV Moments between repeats of Diagnosis Murder and Picket Fences. NBC opens the night with a broadcast of the annual Orange Bowl parade and follows it with the TV movie Love Can Be Murder, starring Jaclyn Smith as a private detective who has to solve the murder of the ghost (Corbin Bernsen) who haunts her office. Fox airs repeats of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and The X-Files.

Four college football bowl games are played today, including California’s 37-3 Alamo Bowl win over Iowa in San Antonio. Eight games will be played tomorrow, including a showdown between Florida State and Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Florida State is #1 in the Associated Press poll; Nebraska is #1 in the coaches’ poll. The winner will have the inside track on the undisputed national championship. (FSU will win the game 18-16.) Also tomorrow: the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Wisconsin makes its first trip to the game since 1963 to meet UCLA. Demand from Wisconsin fans has ticket prices soaring: tickets with a face value of $46 have been selling for $300.

Barbra Streisand opens a two-night stand at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It is the first stop on a 26-date concert tour, and her first live performance in 20 years. Weird Al Yankovic plays Disney World and Phish plays the Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts. Billy Joel plays Nassau Coliseum on Long Island and the Grateful Dead plays Oakland. Radio stations around the country count down the top hits of 1993. Billboard magazine’s chart is topped by “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, which did 14 weeks at #1 from late November 1992 through this past February. It’s from the year’s #1 album, the soundtrack from the movie The Bodyguard. Breathless by Kenny G is #2 on the year-end album chart; Unplugged by Eric Clapton is #3. The #1 country single of the year is “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson. The top adult-contemporary hit of 1993 is by Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight: “Love Is.”

Perspective From the Present: December 31, 1993, was the final day of my full-time career in radio. I did my station’s year-end countdown that afternoon without thinking anything was out of the ordinary, but on Monday, January 3, wearing my Wisconsin Rose Bowl sweatshirt, I showed up for work and got fired. My boss had decided to start the new year by getting rid of the burnout case—which I definitely was. As it turned out, he did me a favor, forcing me into decisions that ended up changing my life for the better. Although I would take two other full-time jobs, one at the end of 1994 and another one in 2013, neither one of them was meant to be, so I gave them back. After this day, I would never be a radio guy in quite the same way again.

Programming Announcement: When I started this blog in January 2017, I thought it had a shelf-life of two years. I figured that was how long it would take to repeat all of the One Day in Your Life posts I’d written at my other blog, and after I’d done that, I’d stop posting here. But as the second year draws to a close, I find that I have a few old posts left over, and new One Day in Your Life posts are my favorite thing to write. So this blog will remain a going concern at least through the end of 2019, as long as I’m still here to write and you’re still there to read. 

Thank you for reading and happy new year.

Advertisements

March 7, 1993: Ordinary World

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Duran Duran, 1993.)

March 7, 1993, was a Sunday. Headlines on the Sunday papers include reports from Waco, Texas, where state and federal law enforcement officers have surrounded a complex occupied by members of the Branch Davidians, a religious sect led by David Koresh. A raid by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on February 28 resulted in a gun battle that killed four agents and five Davidians. Supreme Court justice Byron White may be considering retirement after 31 years on the court. A retirement would give the new president, Bill Clinton, the chance to make the first Democratic appointment to the court since the Johnson Administration. NBC and CBS lead their evening newscasts with the Waco story; ABC leads with a story on Clinton’s plan to close military bases.

In college basketball, top-ranked North Carolina defeats #6 Duke 83-69 to close the regular season. The game is broadcast on ABC; it will be the final game for analyst Jim Valvano, who has been fighting cancer and will die in April. Six games are played in the NBA today. The league leaders—New York, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix—all have the day off. In Milwaukee, a battle of cellar-dwelling teams finds the Detroit Pistons beating the Bucks 98-91 behind 35 points by Joe Dumars. Six games are played in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks, in their second season in the league, win their 10th game of the year, and their second in a row, beating Edmonton 6-3. They will lose their next 13 straight before getting their final win of the season on April 6 (again over Edmonton), and will end up with a record of 11 wins, 71 losses, and two ties. The first Pennsylvania Nordic Championship ski race takes place at Laurel Ridge State Park. Davey Allison wins the NASCAR Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond.

Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas, tops the box office for the second straight weekend. Last weekend, it knocked Groundhog Day to #2, and it remains at #2 this weekend. Also packing theaters: The Crying Game and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. The top new movie of the weekend is Mad Dog and Glory, starring Robert de Niro, Bill Murray, and Uma Thurman, On TV tonight, ABC airs the family drama Life Goes On, the first episode of the newsmagazine show Day One, and a rerun of the theatrical movie Platoon. NBC airs the reality shows Unsolved Mysteries and I Witness Video. The latter, hosted by John Forsythe, often features video of natural disasters and crime and is sometimes criticized for its content. NBC closes the night with the TV movie Passport to Murder starring Connie Sellecca and Ed Marinaro. Fox airs six 30-minute programs in primetime, including In Living Color, Roc, and Married With Children. On CBS, it’s 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote, and the TV movie The Disappearance of Nora starring Veronica Hamel, which draws the night’s highest rating.

Van Morrison plays Tilburg in the Netherlands, Duran Duran plays Hamburg, Germany, Leonard Cohen plays San Francisco, and Quiet Riot plays Cincinnati. On the Billboard Hot 100, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” has finally been knocked from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after 14 weeks, by “A Whole New World,” a song from the soundtrack of the animated movie Aladdin, sung by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. Nevertheless, Whitney continues to dominate the chart. Her version of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” drops from #4 to #6, and her latest hit, “I Have Nothing,” is the highest debut in the Top 40 at #23. Elsewhere, Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” holds at #3, “Informer” by Snow jumps from #10 to #4, and “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre holds at #5. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Walk Away” by Jade at #9 and “Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi at #10. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Freak Me” by Silk, which is up 19 spots to #21; “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors is up 1o spots to #20. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Houston’s soundtrack from her movie The Bodyguard is #1 for a 13th week. Although it will be taken out next week by Eric Clapton’s Unplugged, it will have three more runs and seven additional weeks at #1 between now and the end of May.

Perspective From the Present: I can do the math, and so I know this was 25 years ago. In my head, it seems like a lot less than that.