November 15, 1995: A Good Idea at the Time

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(Pictured: Monica Lewinsky dodges the paparazzi, 1996.)

November 15, 1995, was a Wednesday. Today is the first full day of a federal government shutdown, necessitated after President Clinton vetoed a Republican spending bill. About 800,000 federal workers are affected. A temporary spending bill will resolve the impasse on November 19, but the dispute between Clinton and House Republicans, led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, will flare up again next month and result in a further shutdown that lasts through the holidays. In Lynnville, Tennessee, a town of about 300 people in the central part of the state 35 miles from the Georgia border, a 17-year-old student at Richland High School kills two people and wounds another with a high-powered rifle. The space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian Mir space station. It’s the second shuttle mission to Mir, although no crew members are exchanged this time; the purpose of the link-up is to deliver equipment to Mir. Among the Atlantis crew members is Canadian Chris Hadfield, making his first flight into space. It’s been announced that Princess Diana will discuss her life, including her relationship with estranged husband Prince Charles, in a TV interview to be broadcast in Britain on Monday night. At the White House tonight, an informal birthday party is held for an assistant to the Chief of Staff. At the party, an intern named Monica Lewinsky flirts with the president by showing him the straps of the thong she is wearing. Later that night, he invites her into a study adjacent to the Oval Office, where they have a sexual encounter.

There is no winner in tonight’s Powerball drawing. The estimated jackpot for the next drawing on Saturday is $44 million. Ten games are played in the NBA tonight. The Denver Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns 137-127 in triple overtime; the Chicago Bulls run their record to 6-and-1 with a 113-94 victory over the winless Cleveland Cavaliers. Scottie Pippen leads all scorers with 27 points. In today’s Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin schools his mother on the subject of honesty. In today’s Dilbert, the staff discusses recent accomplishments.

Tonight, ABC’s TV lineup includes Ellen, The Drew Carey Show, and Grace Under Fire, which will be the highest-rated show of the night. Also on ABC tonight: The Naked Truth, a sitcom set at a tabloid newspaper, and the newsmagazine Prime Time Live. NBC airs the adventure series seaQuest DSV, Dateline NBC, and Law and Order. On CBS, it’s Dave’s World starring Harry Anderson as newspaper columnist Dave Barry, and Bless This House, a domestic comedy starring Andrew Dice Clay. Also on CBS tonight are the primetime soap Central Park West and the legal drama Courthouse. Fox has Beverly Hills 90210 and Party of Five; the WB, which went on the air in January and has expanded its schedule this fall, airs episodes of Sister Sister, The Parent ‘Hood, The Wayans Bros., and Unhappily Ever After. ABC announced today that it’s pulling the critically acclaimed Murder One from its schedule after tomorrow night’s broadcast. The show has struggled in the ratings against NBC’s ER, the top-rated show on television. Murder One will return in January in a slot currently occupied by Monday Night Football. An ABC executive says of the original scheduling, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

On the Billboard Hot 100, the top six songs are in the same positions as last week: “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey is #1, followed by “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, “Runaway” by Janet Jackson, “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal, Groove Theory’s “Tell Me,” and “As I Lay Me Down” by Sophie B. Hawkins at #6. There’s not much movement anywhere else in the Top 40 either, although two songs make high Hot 100 debuts: “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins at #28 and “Beautiful Life” by Ace of Base at #30. The oldest record on the Hot 100 is “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler, at #17 in its 34th week on. Smashing Pumpkins’ latest album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, knocking Carey’s Daydream to #2. Two other albums hit the Top 10 in their first week of release: Ozzmosis by Ozzy Osbourne and The Greatest Hits Collection by Alan Jackson.

In Iowa, a guy in his mid-30s commutes from his home just north of Davenport to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, one hour away. He’s in his second semester back at school, pursuing a teaching certificate and enjoying student life immensely. It beats the hell out of going to work every day.


October 29, 1971: A Space in Time

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(Pictured: Duane Allman.)

October 29, 1971, was a Friday. News headlines this morning include the British Parliament’s vote yesterday to join the European Common Market. An Associated Press story appearing in newspapers around the country today discusses the political future of Vice President Spiro Agnew. There’s been speculation that President Nixon might want to replace Agnew in 1972 with Treasury Secretary and former Texas governor John Connally. Agnew wants Nixon to decide “in a cold and practical political way” whether to keep him. Agnew also says he believes Nixon can’t make a decision yet. In Macon, Georgia, guitarist Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band dies in a motorcycle accident. In Winona, Minnesota, future actress Winona Ryder is born. Seven games are played in the National Basketball Association tonight. After seven straight wins to open the season, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks lose their first, 125-114 to the Boston Celtics. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the former Lew Alcindor, who has adopted his new name with the new season, leads all scorers with 43 points. Dave Cowens leads the Celtics with 37.

On TV tonight, ABC presents The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, The Odd Couple, and Love American Style. After the late local news on ABC, guests on The Dick Cavett Show include United Nations ambassador George Bush, U.S. senator Edmund Muskie, and actress Gloria Swanson. CBS starts its night with a sitcom set during Prohibition, The Chicago Teddy Bears, and the crime drama O’Hara: US Treasury starring David Janssen. Also on CBS tonight: the TV movie Murder Once Removed starring John Forsythe and Barbara Bain. NBC’s highlight tonight is a special celebrating the October 1 opening of Walt Disney World in Florida, which stars Julie Andrews, Glen Campbell, Jonathan Winters, and Buddy Hackett, with a special appearance by Bob Hope.

In Orono, Maine, Sampson’s Supermarkets have special prices on ham (58 cents a pound), pork chops (68 cents a pound), and oysters (99 cents a pound. A 50-pound bag of #1 winter keeper potatoes is $1.49. In Bowling Green, Ohio, the Big N department store is having an anniversary sale, with albums priced at $3.99 including A Space in Time by Ten Years After, Master of Reality by Black Sabbath, and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by the Moody Blues. Sale eight-tracks are priced at $2.27, including Iron Butterfly’s Ball and Cream’s Wheels of Fire. At Discount Records in Carbondale, Illinois, albums priced at $5.99 or higher are one-third off today only, including Chicago at Carnegie Hall, Cahoots by the Band, Steve Miller’s Rock Love, and Meddle by Pink Floyd. Customers can pre-order the forthcoming album by Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On. The student newspaper at the University of Cincinnati reports that fewer rock concerts may be coming to campus in the future due to financial losses at past shows. The university’s cultural events coordinator says, “This whole rock business is not very stable or very ethical.” For example, a Jethro Tull concert scheduled on campus for November 12 had to be rescheduled when a promoter scheduled Three Dog Night for an appearance in town the very same night. The Ike and Tina Turner Revue will play the university’s fieldhouse tonight; Tull plays Portland, Maine.

At WRKO in Boston, “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves” by Cher and “Imagine” by John Lennon hold at #1 and #2. “Theme From Shaft” by Isaac Hayes is up to #3. Chicago’s “Questions 67 and 68” is up to #4 from #10, and two other songs make big moves to reach the Top 10: “Baby I’m-a Want You” by Bread (to #9 from #19) and “Two Divided by Love” by the Grass Roots (to #10 from #17). They take the places of “I’d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After (down to #17 from #9) and “Yo Yo” by the Osmonds (down to #20 from #7). Two songs debut in the Top 30: “Behind Blue Eyes” by the Who and “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone. WRKO’s top albums are John Lennon’s Imagine, Santana III, and Cat Stevens’ Teaser and the Firecat.

Perspective From the Present: I was two months into the sixth grade at Northside School, in Mr. Schilling’s class. He was a very large, very loud, and—I am guessing now—very young man. Academic subjects are pretty easy for me; I get all A’s in the first quarter of the year except in math. I do less well in art, music, and physical education, and a note on my report card says I need to improve my self-control.

I already know I want to be on the radio someday.

October 11, 1958: Tea for Two

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(Pictured: Buddy Holly with fellow Crickets Joe Mauldin and Jerry Allison, 1958.)

October 11, 1958, was a Saturday. Catholics around the world are mourning the death of Pope Pius XII, who died on Thursday after 19 years as Supreme Pontiff. Yesterday, his body lay in state in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Today, NASA, the newly formed American space agency, launches its first satellite, Pioneer 1, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecraft, developed by the Air Force, is intended to fly by the moon, but engine problems will cause controllers to shoot for Earth orbit instead. That attempt will fail also, and on Monday, Pioneer 1 will burn up in the atmosphere on reentry. The launch is broadcast live on WLTV in Jacksonville. In her syndicated newspaper column My Day, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt has been writing about her recent trip to the Soviet Union. In today’s column, she tells about her recent visit with Yekaterina Furtseva, the highest-ranking female member of the Supreme Soviet. (Today is Mrs. Roosevelt’s 74th birthday.) In Orfordville, Wisconsin, a farmer from rural Monroe and a schoolteacher from rural Brodhead get married. They will go to Yellowstone National Park for their honeymoon, getting as far as Cuba City, Wisconsin, on their wedding night.

In a clash of college football titans this afternoon, #3 Army beats #4 Notre Dame 14-2. Top-ranked Auburn beats Kentucky 8-0 while #2 Oklahoma loses its annual showdown with Texas 15-14. Ohio State, which was ranked #1 in preseason polls but has slipped to #5 despite winning its first two games, beats Illinois 19-13. Among the other Big Ten results, Wisconsin blows out Purdue 31-6 and Iowa beats Indiana 34-13. Baseball fans are waiting to learn whether New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel will return for an 11th season next year. The Yankees won the World Series this past Thursday afternoon, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the defending champion Milwaukee Braves in seven games. (Stengel does indeed return, and he will manage the Yankees through 1960.)

Prime-time TV is packed with westerns tonight, including Wanted: Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, and the debut episode of Cimarron City, starring George Montgomery, Audrey Totter, and John Smith, set on the Oklahoma frontier in the 1890sAlso airing tonight: Perry Mason, The Gale Storm Show, The Perry Como ShowSteve Canyon, and The Lawrence Welk Show. The latter has been broadcast with stereo sound in several American cities since its season premiere in September; ABC says the stereo broadcast will soon expand to 75 markets covering 80 percent of the country. Viewers will get one side of the stereo broadcast on TV and the other from tuning in the radio. Also on ABC, The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show is broadcast live from Atlanta with guests including Sam Cooke, Danny and the Juniors, and Conway Twitty. The Ku Klux Klan has threatened to disrupt the show over Cooke’s appearance, so National Guard troops are on standby against trouble. In the UK, the sports show Grandstand premieres on the BBC. Showing a mix of live events and highlights, it will run until 2007.

The Biggest Show of Stars tour, which is playing 17 cities in 17 days, reaches Columbus, Ohio, on the ninth day. Stars include Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, the Coasters, Dion and the Belmonts, and others. On the new Fabulous Forty Survey at KFWB in Los Angeles, “It’s All in the Game” by Tommy Edwards and “Tears on My Pillow” by Little Anthony and the Imperials hold at #1 and #2 for another week. Bandleaders Cozy Cole and Tommy Dorsey are in the Top 10 with “Topsy Part 2” and “Tea for Two Cha Cha” respectively, at #3 and #5. “Bird Dog” by the Everly Brothers is #4. Three songs are new in the Top 10: “It’s Only Make Believe” by Conway Twitty, “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day, and “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by the Teddy Bears. The biggest mover on the chart is “Non Dimenticar” by Nat King Cole, up 21 spots to #17 in its second week on. The highest debut is “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper at #21.

Perspective From the Present: Stereo sound was new, having been launched by the major record labels late in 1957. One review of September’s Lawrence Welk season premiere said, “The stereo sound under this setup, where the speakers and sound systems are unbalanced, is not very good, but it’s a gimmick that helps rivet attention to the show’s sound.” Read more about the first year of stereo here.

The farmer and the schoolteacher became my parents, and today is their 60th wedding anniversary. We’ll have a family celebration this weekend.

September 11, 1973: Looking Glass

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(Pictured: Ken Norton ducks a punch from Muhammad Ali on September 10, 1973.)

September 11, 1973, was a Tuesday. Headlines this morning include the Nixon Administration’s acknowledgment that American bombers flew missions in support of the government of Cambodia during 1970 and 1971 and kept the missions secret by falsifying records. Today, Senate confirmation hearings continue for Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State; Foreign Relations Committee chairman J. William Fulbright wants more information on Kissinger’s wiretaps of officials and reporters between 1969 and 1971. Also today, armed forces in Chile combine to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende, who reportely commits suicide. In future years, the CIA will acknowledge having had advance knowledge of the coup but no involvement in it and the agency’s claim of non-involvement will be disputed.

Sports fans are talking this morning about Muhammad Ali’s split-decision victory over Ken Norton in last night’s rematch in Los Angeles. Ali had lost a split decision to Norton in March. Fans also look forward to the opening of the NFL regular season this Sunday, and to the tennis Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome on September 20. In May, the 55-year-old Riggs defeated 30-year-old Margaret Court, the #1 ranked female player in the world. Court had accepted Riggs’ challenge after King declined it.

Twelve games are scheduled in Major League Baseball. In the National League East, the St. Louis Cardinals maintain a half-game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates after both teams lose today. Burt Hooton of the Chicago Cubs throws a complete-game 2-0 shutout against the Pirates this afternoon. The Cardinals lose to Montreal at home tonight, 4-1, and they lead the division with a record of 72-and-72. The other National League division leader, Cincinnati, wins, as do American League leaders Baltimore and Oakland. In New York, Gaylord Perry goes the distance for Cleveland in a 7-3 win over the Yankees to run his record on the season to 16-and-19.

On TV tonight, CBS presents the season premieres of Maude and Hawaii Five-O, along with a first-run TV movie, Coffee, Tea, or Me?, starring Karen Valentine as a flight attendant with two husbands, one in Los Angeles and one in London. On ABC, the season premiere of the ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week features Deliver Us From Evil, a plane-hijack drama starring George Kennedy. Following the movie, it’s the season premiere of Marcus Welby, M.D. NBC’s lineup includes the premiere of the detective drama Chase, starring Mitchell Ryan, and another TV movie, Drive Hard, Drive Fast, about a race-car driver who is entranced by a beautiful woman and menaced by a psychopath. Although the movie, which stars Joan Collins, was filmed in 1969, this is its first broadcast.

Bette Midler, with her pianist and musical director Barry Manilow, tapes a performance of three songs, including her recent hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” for broadcast on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson tomorrow night. The Grateful Dead plays at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Frank Zappa plays Liverpool, England. Jethro Tull plays Pittsburgh and Uriah Heep plays Norfolk, Virginia. Uriah Heep’s opening acts tonight are Earth Wind and Fire and Tucky Buzzard, a British band whose albums are produced by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. Uriah Heep has been joined on several other shows this summer by ZZ Top and/or Rory Gallagher. Albums released today include Angel Clare, the first solo album by Art Garfunkel, and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen.

At KHJ in Los Angeles, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy holds the #1 spot on the new survey out today. “Half Breed” by Cher is up to #2. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is #3. There’s not much movement in the Top 10 except for “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John, which leaps to #8 from #16. The only other new song in the Top 10 is “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder, up from #12 to #10. The biggest mover on the chart is “Angie” by the Rolling Stones, up 10 spots to #18. Also making a strong move is “Jimmy Loves Mary Anne” by the Looking Glass, up from #23 to #16. Three songs debut on KHJ’s chart: “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers, “Keep on Truckin'” by Eddie Kendricks, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

(Note to Patrons: if you are interested in more stuff about 1973, click “1973” under “The Times of Our Times” in the right-hand column, and/or visit Tales of ’73 at my other blog.)

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.

August 30, 1968: Can’t Win a War

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(Pictured: Senator Eugene McCarthy speaks to protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on August 29, 1968. Comedian/activist Dick Gregory is to his right.)

August 30, 1968, was a Friday. Newspapers this morning headline the Democratic National Convention, which adjourned last night. Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine was chosen as Hubert Humphrey’s running mate; an effort to nominate Georgia state senator Julian Bond failed, as Bond is only 28 years old and therefore ineligible to serve as president. In his acceptance speech last night, Humphrey vowed to end the war in Vietnam, saying “The policies of tomorrow need not be limited by the policies of yesterday.” Speaking of the violence in the streets of Chicago he said, “Neither mob violence nor police brutality has any place in America.” Senator Eugene McCarthy told protesters in Chicago yesterday that he can support neither Humphrey nor Republican nominee Richard Nixon. Instead, he will work on behalf of Senate candidates opposed to America’s war policy. Today, the University of Michigan’s Michigan Daily reports student disgust at the outcome of the convention. One says it may represent a turning point in student activism: “They can’t win a war with the cops at this point.”

NBC and CBS lead their evening newscasts with convention and campaign coverage; ABC leads with the kidnapping of Stanley Stalford, Jr., the four-year-old son of Beverly Hills banker Stanley Stalford, snatched by a home invader yesterday. The Stalford family has agreed to pay the $250,000 ransom demanded by the kidnapper. The boy will eventually be rescued. In Vietnam, African American soldiers being held in a stockade at Long Binh riot. About 200 of them burn buildings and beat white inmates and guards. It will take a week to restore order. Actor William Talman, who played the part of D.A. Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason from 1957 to 1966, dies of lung cancer at age 53. Six weeks ago, he filmed an anti-smoking public service announcement for the American Cancer Society. Yesterday, Major General Ulysses S. Grant III, grandson of the Civil War general and president, died at age 87. In the majors, pitchers Catfish Hunter, Ferguson Jenkins, and Tom Seaver get wins in games today; Gaylord Perry takes a loss. All four will eventually be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Grateful Dead open a two-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Sons of Champlin. The Doors play Merriwether Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, and Ten Years After plays the Marquee Club in London. Johnny Cash performs at the Grand Ole Opry. In a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Jimi Hendrix writes the liner notes for his forthcoming album Electric Ladyland. At WGEM in Quincy, Illinois, Jack Henry plays the hits on the Teentime show tonight from 7:30 til 10:30. Listeners who call in requests and dedications will speak to Teentime secretaries Kathy and Debbie, whose pictures are on the station’s Popometer Review this week. “1-2-3 Red Light” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company is the new #1 song in Quincy, taking out “Born to Be Wild.” The Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Afternoon” is up from #10 to #4. One of the songs new in the Top 10 is “You Got the Love” by Professor Morrison’s Lollipop, up to #9 from #27 last week. The highest debuting record on the survey is the Beatles’ brand-new “Hey Jude” backed with “Revolution” at #16.

Perspective From the Present: The official release date of “Hey Jude” was August 26, but WNAP in Indianapolis, KMEN in San Bernardino, and KPOI in Honolulu charted it before then. WGEM was among dozens of stations charting it in the days shortly following. Professor Morrison’s Lollipop was a group from New Jersey that made #88 on the Hot 100 with “You Got the Love,” a Kasenetz-Katz production on the White Whale label. It made the Top 10 in Indianapolis, Louisville, and Omaha, along with Billings, Montana; Jackson, Tennessee; and Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The WGEM survey in this week contained one fabulously obscure record, “People It’s Raining” by Melon Fields. The Internet knows practically nothing about it. Its only listings at ARSA are on surveys from WGEM, so I’m pretty sure Melon Fields was a local Illinois/Missouri act.

Visit The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ this week for more about the music, and other stuff, from this week in 1968.

August 28, 1968: People Got to Be Free

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(Pictured: police drag away a protester at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.)

August 28, 1968, was a Wednesday. After delegates to the Democratic National Convention vote down a proposed peace plank in the party platform, protests continue in downtown Chicago. Tonight, the city’s police superintendent orders streets cleared, and police attack protesters with clubs and tear gas. TV cameras film about 17 minutes of the melee, which takes place while candidates’ names are being placed in nomination; protesters chant “the whole world is watching.” During his speech nominating Senator George McGovern, Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut denounces “Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago,” which prompts Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to shout an obscenity-laden response from the Illinois delegation. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey wins the nomination on the first ballot. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern also receive votes, as do New York favorite-son candidate Channing Phillips, North Carolina governor Dan Moore, and Senator Ted Kennedy. University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant gets 1.5 delegate votes; Alabama governor George Wallace gets one-half vote, as does Georgia Democratic Party chairman James H. Gray.

Before convention coverage begins on the networks tonight, their evening newscasts devote a great deal of time to events in Chicago. The second-biggest story on this day is from Czechoslovakia, which was invaded by the Soviet Union one week ago to crush the so-called “Prague Spring” liberalization movement. After being arrested and sent to Moscow last week, Czech leader Alexander Dubcek returned to Prague yesterday, promising to curtail his reforms. In a few months, he will be removed as First Secretary and replaced by a Communist hardliner. The networks also report on the assassination in Guatemala City of John Gordon Mein, U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, shot fleeing from rebels who had kidnapped him, and on the health of former president Dwight Eisenhower, who suffered his sixth heart attack earlier this month.

Thirteen games are played in the majors today, including three doubleheaders. The Cubs split with the Dodgers, the Reds take two from the Mets, and the Braves sweep the Phillies. In Detroit, the American League-leading Tigers beat the Angels 6-1; Denny McLain pitches a complete game to run his season record to 26-and-5. The Cardinals continue to lead the National League after an 8-1 win over the Pirates. Bob Gibson also pitches a complete game and gets his 19th win.

The New York Times publishes a death notice for Lamont Washington, who played the role of Hud in the New York production of Hair. He died yesterday of burns and internal injuries sustained trying to escape an apartment fire on August 10. The Grateful Dead plays San Francisco, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience plays Providence, Rhode Island. The Jefferson Airplane plays Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Who plays Santa Monica, California. In Hollywood, Elvis Presley finishes work on the movie Charro, which will be released next spring. In Nashville, singer Tammy Wynette is working at the Quonset Hut Studio with producer Billy Sherrill and a group of top session players. They record a song she and Sherrill finished writing earlier tonight, but Wynette dislikes her performance and will later ask Sherrill not to release it. He will do so anyway. “Stand by Your Man” will become one of country music’s most iconic hits.

At KOIL in Omaha, “People Got to be Free” by the Rascals takes over the #1 spot from Jose Feliciano’s “Light My Fire,” which slips to #2. “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream is #3. KOIL’s most-requested song of the week, “1-2-3 Red Light” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, moves to #7 from #16. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” is also new in the Top 10. The station charts 50 records; the biggest mover on the chart is “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley, up 13 spots to #32. New songs on the list include the Beatles’ “Revolution,” “I Met Her in Church” by the Box Tops, and a cover of “Like a Rolling Stone” by bluegrass pickers Flatt and Scruggs.

Perspective From the Present: This day could very well have been my first day of third grade, but there’s no way to know for sure. I do remember that we watched convention coverage from Chicago at our house that night, and we saw the rioting in the streets. I wish I could remember what I thought about it, or what my parents said about it, but after a half-century, there’s no way to know for sure about that, either.

Read more about events of 1968 this week at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’. Watch for another 1968 post here on Thursday.

August 16, 1985: Live Every Moment

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(Pictured: REO Speedwagon in the summer of 1985.)

August 16, 1985, was a Friday. The lead story on all three network newscasts tonight is reaction to a major speech by South African President P. W. Botha, who made no promises of any policy changes by the country’s apartheid government. Nevertheless, Reagan administration officials say the speech contained principles that could help bring an end to apartheid; Democrats in Congress suggest that a South Africa sanctions bill likely would pass, and probably with enough support to override a presidential veto. Another of the stories covered by all three networks is the aftermath of Monday’s toxic chemical leak at a Union Carbide plant in West Virginia. NBC Nightly News closes its broadcast with a profile of New York real estate developer Donald Trump. New York City’s utility companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for electricity during a ferocious heat wave. Several downtown buildings suffered power failures yesterday, and Mayor Ed Koch urged businesses to close and send their employees home. Authorities actually tried to keep people from entering Lower Manhattan by closing streets and reversing incoming traffic lanes on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, causing massive traffic jams. Today, the remnants of Hurricane Danny, which made landfall in Louisiana yesterday, cause a tornado outbreak in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.

A full schedule of games is played in the majors. In Chicago this afternoon, the Cubs blow a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth only to push across a run in the bottom of the inning on a bunt single by Chris Speier to win 6-5. The St. Louis Cardinals take a one-game lead in the National League East when they beat Montreal 6-1 and the New York Mets lose to Pittsburgh 7-1. NFL training camps are open; a full schedule of preseason games will be played on Sunday. New movies opening this weekend include Volunteers, starring Tom Hanks and John Candy, the zombie comedy Return of the Living Dead, and Year of the Dragon. Older releases still packing theaters include Back to the Future, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

In Malibu, California, Madonna and Sean Penn get married, on Madonna’s 27th birthday. Celebrities attending include Tom Cruise, Cher, Carrie Fisher, David Letterman, and Christopher Walken. The Replacements play New York City and R.E.M. plays Toronto. Whitney Houston plays Houston, Texas, and Diana Ross plays Denver. Joan Armatrading plays Salt Lake City and Jane’s Addiction plays Hollywood. Donny and Marie Osmond play Salinas, California. Marie is a guest on this weekend’s edition of the syndicated TV show Solid Gold. Tonight’s network TV lineup is mostly reruns. On ABC, it’s Webster, Mr. Belvidere, Benson, an episode of Off the Rack, a sitcom set in in a Los Angeles garment manufacturing company starring Ed Asner and Eileen Brennan, and a special called World’s Funniest Commercial Goofs. CBS starts its night with The Dukes of Hazzard, then repeats the 1982 TV movie Not Just Another Affair, which stars Victoria Principal as a marine biologist trying to maintain her virginity until her wedding night despite being engaged to a randy lawyer played by Gil Gerard. NBC airs Knight Rider, an episode of a short-lived variety series The Motown Revue Starring Smokey Robinson, and Miami Vice, the highest-rated show of the night.

On the American Top 40 show that will be heard around the country this weekend, “Shout” by Tears for Fears spends another week at #1. “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News moves from #5 to #2, leapfrogging “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart and “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” by Sting. Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” makes the week’s biggest move, up eight from #25 to #17. “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang is up seven spots, from #22 to #15. Six songs are new in the Top 40. The highest debut belongs to “Live Every Moment” by REO Speedwagon at #35. “Dress You Up” by Madonna makes its Hot 100 debut at #36.

In Macomb, Illinois, a young radio guy prepares for another weekend. Earlier this month, he and his Mrs. drove an hour-and-a-half to Peoria on a Tuesday night to see Huey Lewis and the News with the Neville Brothers. Today, his ticket stub is tacked to the bulletin board in the kitchen of the couple’s one-bedroom basement apartment. Thirty-three years later, he suspects he might still have it somewhere, because a memento from such a fine night doesn’t get thrown away.

August 1, 1969: Are You Kidding?

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(Pictured: Joe Namath of the New York Jets, who probably wouldn’t have traded places with anyone else either.)

August 1, 1969, was a Friday. On his foreign tour, President Nixon has already visited the Phillippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. He starts today in New Delhi, India, before moving on to Lahore, Pakistan. He meets privately with the Pakistani president in the afternoon, then hosts a dinner for the American traveling party before turning in for the night. He will visit Romania and the United Kingdom before returning home next week. The Nixon trip leads all three network TV newscasts tonight. All three also cover an unfolding murder mystery in southeastern Michigan, where five young women have been found dead in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti since March. Also today, three California newspapers receive nearly identical letters claiming responsibility for three recent murders there. In years to come, the incident will represent the beginning of the Zodiac case—a mystery that will be unsolved 49 years later. In the Gulf of Mexico off St. Petersburg, Florida, 13-year-old Robert Wamser is attacked by a shark while swimming in three feet of water. He is in fair condition after surgery.

The College All-Star Game is played in Chicago. The annual game matches a team of top college football stars against the defending NFL champions. This year that’s the New York Jets, who upset the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl last January. Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who had retired in the offseason due to controversy over his investment in a New York City nightclub and un-retired just two weeks ago, is booed during the pregame introductions. A few high-profile college stars, including O. J. Simpson of USC, skip the game, preferring not to risk injury. The outcome is in doubt with two minutes to go, but the Jets hang on to win, 26-24. In baseball, the National and American Leagues are in their first season of divisional play. The hottest race is in the National League West, where Houston and Cincinnati are on winning streaks; five of the six teams in the division are now within 3 1/2 games of the lead, which is held by Atlanta. In the National League East, the Cubs have a seven-game lead on the Mets. In the American League, Baltimore is on cruise control in the East with a 14-game lead over Detroit; in the West, Minnesota leads Oakland by 3 1/2. The Twins win tonight’s showdown with the Orioles 4-3 despite leaving 15 runners on base.

The Atlantic City Pop Festival opens today; the three-day event features Iron Butterfly, Procol Harum, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Byrds, Janis Joplin, and lots of others. Tonight, the Beach Boys play the Schaefer Summer Music Festival in New York City. In Los Angeles, the Summer Shower of Stars series at the Hollywood Bowl features Blood Sweat and Tears. Led Zeppelin plays Santa Barbara, California, with openers Jethro Tull and Fraternity of Man. Elvis Presley continues an engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, his first concerts in eight years. Earlier in the day, he holds a press conference, at which he’s asked whether his return has anything to do with the success of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck; how he likes fatherhood and what his life is like at Graceland; about his movie career and whether he dyes his hair; and finally, if there’s anyone he’d rather be. His response: “Are you kidding?”

At KTKT in Tucson, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” by Jackie de Shannon is the new #1, knocking “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans to #2. “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder is #3. “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones vaults to #4 from #12 last week. Other major movers include “We Got More Soul” by Dyke and the Blazers, up to #9 from #16, Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay,” up to #15 from #26, and “True Grit” by Glen Campbell, up to #20 from #38. The hottest record in Tucson, however, is “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash, which is up 23 spots this week to #12.

Perspective From the Present: I was nine years old and I looked at the newspaper regularly, but apart from the sports, I wouldn’t have cared about much of what I saw in it. On this day, I was probably looking forward to visiting my cousin for a few days. We exchanged multi-day overnight visits every summer. I remember the date of my 1969 visit for an odd reason: the Tate/LaBianca murders happened the next weekend, and I saw the story in the paper while I was there.

July 24, 1983: Every Breath You Take

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(Pictured: George Brett, second from right, is restrained by umpires after being called out in what will be known as the Pine Tar Game.) 

July 24, 1983, is a Sunday. The nation is suffering through a record heat wave. Over 80 people have died so far, 38 of them in St. Louis. A front-page story in the New York Times says that the Pentagon wants to double the number of military advisors assisting rebels trying to overthrown the government of Nicaragua. The State Department says 90 Russians have been expelled from Western countries for spying so far this year. The Times continues to cover the aftermath of the recent Diana Ross concert in Central Park. On Thursday night, Ross attracted a crowd estimated at up to 400,000, but her show was cut short by a severe thunderstorm. After the rescheduled Friday night performance, what the Times calls “bands of roving youths” robbed and harassed departing concertgoers and other people in the park. Attacks were reported in Columbus Circle and Times Square, and the famed restaurant Tavern on the Green was “invaded.”

In sports, George Brett of the Kansas City Royals hits a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to give the Royals a 5-4 lead over the Yankees in New York. But Brett is called out and the home run erased when the umpires rule that Brett’s bat has too much pine tar on it. (Pine tar is a sticky substance used to improve a player’s grip; there’s a rule about how far up the bat pine tar can extend.) Brett is the third out, so the Yankees win the game. The Royals protest the ruling. American League officials will side with them, counting the home run and ordering that the game be resumed in the top of the ninth. That won’t happen until August 18, after two lawsuits and an injunction, with the Royals winning 5-4. Tim Richmond wins the NASCAR Like Cola 500. Laurent Fignon of France wins the Tour de France.

On TV tonight, CBS airs 60 Minutes and two episodes of One Day at a Time along with The Jeffersons, Newhart, and Trapper John, M.D. NBC has the adventure series Voyagers!, an episode of Six Pack, starring Don Johnson as a race car driver who befriends a group of orphans, and the TV movie Sex and the Married Woman. ABC’s night opens with Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, followed by Matt Houston and the made-for-TV movie Rooster, starring Paul Williams and Pat McCormick as mismatched detectives. HBO airs a concert special starring Billy Joel. Jaws 3D tops the movie box office for the weekend; last week’s box-office champ, the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive, drops to #2; Return of the Jedi is #3. Other new movies opening this weekend include Class, a younger-man/older woman comedy starring Rob Lowe and Jacqueline Bisset, and Mr. Mom starring Michael Keaton. Opening next weekend: National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Meat Loaf plays Poughkeepsie, New York, ZZ Top opens a two-night stand in New Haven, Connecticut, and Blue Oyster Cult plays Pasadena. Duran Duran plays Birmingham, England and Journey plays Phoenix. The Little River Band plays Roanoke, Virginia, Steve Winwood plays Costa Mesa, California, and a triple bill starring Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Fastway plays Houston. One day after headlining an all-day bill at Comiskey Park in Chicago with the Fixx, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Simple Minds, Ministry, and A Flock of Seagulls, the Police move on to St. Louis.

At WKTI in Milwaukee, the Police hit “Every Breath You Take” and “1999” by Prince hold at #1 and #2 on the station survey. “Our House” by Madness zooms from #10 to #3; that’s the biggest jump on the survey, although “Maniac” by Michael Sembello is also up seven spots, from #25 to #18. Two songs are new within the Top 10: “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” by Michael Jackson at #8 and “Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash at #9. Four songs debut on the station’s Top 30; the highest is “Human Touch” by Rick Springfield at #26.

Perspective From the Present: I wish I could remember exactly how The Mrs. and I, married less than four months, spent this particular Sunday. Watching the Cubs on TV maybe, or maybe back in my hometown for the county fair, which would have been going on that weekend. We were on the threshold of change, but we didn’t know it yet. We had jobs we liked, a roof over our heads, Like Cola in our fridge—and the unconscious optimism of newlyweds everywhere, sure that everything would work out for the good, somehow, because why wouldn’t it?