July 27, 1986: Somebody Like You

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(Pictured: Nancy Wilson of Heart with then-husband Cameron Crowe, David Furnish, and Elton John, 2006.)

July 27, 1986, is a Sunday. Greg LeMond becomes the first American to win the Tour de France. Investors in a potential NBA franchise in Orlando, Florida, announce that if they are granted the franchise, the team will be called the Magic. For only the third time in baseball history, two pitchers who have won 300 games face each other in the same game. Don Sutton and the California Angels beat Tom Seaver and the Boston Red Sox, 3-0. Several people in Malaysia report seeing a red sphere hovering over a field. A three-foot-tall humanoid gets out of it and walks around, leaving footprints behind. In Texas, the Clear Lake High School Class of 1976 holds its 10-year reunion. By presidential proclamation, it’s the first day of National Nuclear Medicine Week. President Reagan also signs the Commercial Vehicle Motor Safety Act, which tightens the licensing requirement for commercial drivers. For the fifth time since they were adopted in 1970, the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society amends its bylaws.

Rock critic Cameron Crowe and Heart co-leader Nancy Wilson get married. (They will divorce in 2010.) Queen plays in Budapest, and Stevie Nicks plays in Portland, Maine. Miles Davis plays in Italy. The Ramones play in Minneapolis, and Lou Reed plays in Philadelphia. The Cure plays in San Francisco. During the show, a fan climbs on stage and repeatedly stabs himself in the chest; the crowd cheers, believing it’s part of the show. Richie Havens plays Santa Cruz, California. Bob Dylan plays Denver. Howie Mandel guests on Dr. Demento’s syndicated radio show. On the Billboard Hot 100, with the new #1 hit “Sledgehammer,” Peter Gabriel dethrones his old bandmates, Genesis, whose “Invisible Touch” had topped the listing the previous week and is now at #3. Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” from the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun, sits between them at #2. New entries in the Top 10 are “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna at #6, “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle at #9, and “Modern Woman” by Billy Joel at #10. The biggest move within the Top 40 is made by Bananarama’s cover of “Venus,” up to #23 from #34. Only two songs are new in the Top 40: “Words Get in the Way” by the Miami Sound Machine at #37 and “Yankee Rose” by David Lee Roth at #40. The single biggest mover within the Hot 100 is “Somebody Like You” by .38 Special, up 23 places to #66, although Billy Ocean’s “Love Zone” is at #65 in its first week on.

Perspective From the Present: In 2007, I was invited to write a guest post about the life of a radio DJ at Got the Fever, a site maintained by longtime blog friend Kevin, and I chose to write about 1986, and especially that summer. I think I have probably rehashed a lot of it at my other blog in more recent times, but if you’d like to read that original post, it’s right here.


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?

July 19, 1979: Shakeup

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(Pictured: members of Cheap Trick onstage, circa 1979.)

July 19, 1979, is a Thursday. Four days after what will be known as the “malaise” speech, President Jimmy Carter shakes up his cabinet: Benjamin Civiletti will replace Griffin Bell as Attorney General; Patricia Harris will move from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare; G. William Miller will become Secretary of the Treasury. Secretary of Energy James Schlesinger announces his resignation. (The next week, Carter will replace his Secretary of Transportation.) In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas overthrow the Somoza government. Gene Roddenberry and Harold Livingstone complete the original shooting script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Linebacker Tom Cousineau, drafted first overall by the Buffalo Bills in last spring’s NFL draft, signs with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League for double the money Buffalo is offering. Future St. Louis Cardinals pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel is born. Major league baseball resumes play after the All-Star break; the Milwaukee Brewers win their seventh game in a row, 3-2 over Toronto.

Joan Baez performs at the Lincoln Memorial and leads a candlelit human-rights march to the White House. President Carter goes to the White House fence to meet with some of the marchers; Baez attempts to reach him on the phone later that night, but he’s on his way to bed and doesn’t take the call. Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Spyro Gyra play the Montreux Jazz Fest. Ian Hunter plays the Dallas Palladium. AC/DC plays San Diego. Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps is released. The Jackson Five open a short American tour in Pittsburgh.

Despite the proliferation of disco on the nation’s record charts, rockers are still much in evidence. The Billboard Hot 100 dated July 14, 1979, includes Cheap Trick (“I Want You to Want Me” at #8), John Stewart (“Gold,” with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, at #10), Supertramp (“The Logical Song” at #11), Van Halen (“Dance the Night Away” at #15, Peter Frampton (“I Can’t Stand It No More” at #17), and Gerry Rafferty (“Days Gone Down” at #18) among the Top 20. Also among the Top 40: Poco, KISS, Kansas, Joe Jackson, and the Doobie Brothers. Up and coming outside the Top 40: the Knack, the Charlie Daniels Band, the Cars, Blackfoot, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, the Who, and Triumph.

At the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, an aspiring radio DJ is living by himself in a mostly deserted dorm, attending summer school during the week and working his paying radio gig on the weekends. He is taking a TV engineering class widely believed by those sharing his major to be one of the toughest courses they are required to take. He is one of but two students in the class; because of that, it’s impossible to do most of the team-oriented activities the course requires. Nevertheless, the course isn’t canceled, and because he will show up more often than his lone classmate, he will get an A and she will get a B. Neither will learn much TV engineering.

July 11, 1991: Right Here, Right Now

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(Pictured: a multiple exposure of the 1991 total solar eclipse, taken in Mexico.)

July 11, 1991, is a Thursday. Headlines this morning include the inauguration of Boris Yeltsin as the first popularly elected president of Russia yesterday. A total solar eclipse is visible in Hawaii, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. Totality, which occurs this afternoon, lasts six minutes and 53 seconds. It will be the longest solar eclipse until the year 2132. During the eclipse, a UFO is sighted over Mexico City. The eclipse leads all three network newscasts tonight. Other stories covered include contentious hearings into the nomination of Robert Gates to be CIA director, and the controversy over the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. CBS reports on a music industry agreement to tax digital audio tape and equipment that makes “mirror image” copies. In Washington, the National Women’s Political Caucus celebrates its 20th anniversary. Among those on the dais tonight are Washington mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, former representatives Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and author Betty Friedan.

In major-league baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays, who have the American League’s best record, open their lead in the Eastern Division to six games over the Boston Red Sox by beating Texas 2-0. The National League’s best record belongs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat Cincinnati 10-6. Elsewhere, the fourth-place Milwaukee Brewers get a 5-1 win over the equally woebegone Chicago White Sox. Bill Wegman pitches a complete game for the Brewers. After tying the game in the bottom of the ninth on a home run by George Bell, the Chicago Cubs lose to Houston 6-4 in 11 innings. Both teams are largely out of the National League race.

The New England Journal of Medicine carries a report by a neurologist about a patient who suffers seizures when she hears the voice of Entertainment Tonight co-host Mary Hart. Fox airs new episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and The Simpsons tonight. It’s the second summer that the network has tried to get more eyeballs on some of its shows by putting new episodes up against reruns on the other networks. The Simpsons noses out The Cosby Show in the ratings, but 90210 is beaten by the night’s ratings leader, Cheers. Also on NBC tonight, A Different World, Wings, and L.A. Law. ABC airs a Sea World special, an episode of Gabriel’s Fire, a detective drama starring James Earl Jones, and the newsmagazine Primetime Live. CBS trails with the reality show Top Cops, the drama The Trials of Rosie O’Neill starring Sharon Gless, and Candid Camera. On late-night TV tonight, Arsenio Hall’s guests are actor Patrick Swayze and rock band Nelson. Jay Leno fills in for Johnny Carson and welcomes actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, comedian Paul Provenza, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. Schwarzenegger’s latest movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is #1 at the box office this week. It will be #1 after the coming weekend as well, withstanding the challenge of new releases Point Break (starring Swayze), Boyz N the Hood, and the reissue of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

Alice Cooper plays Irvine, California, and Stevie Nicks plays Dallas. Garth Brooks plays Calgary, Alberta, and Keith Jarrett plays London. Paul Simon plays Firenze, Italy, and Guns ‘n’ Roses plays Denver. On the new Billboard Hot 100 that comes out on Saturday, “Rush Rush” by Paula Abdul and “Unbelievable” by EMF hold at #1 and #2. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones is up to #3 from #5. Big movers within the Top 40 include “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, up to #12 from #20, and “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” by Bryan Adams, up to #14 from #31. “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz is up to #18 from #25. Four songs are new in the Top 40 including “3AM Eternal” by the KLF and “Crazy” by Seal. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is “Time, Love, and Tenderness” by Michael Bolton at #59. Also debuting this week are “You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses and “Unforgettable,” a manufactured duet between Natalie Cole and her late father, Nat.

In Clinton, Iowa, a radio DJ and program director shows up for work, for another day of the usual routine, summer festivals, summer promotions, and day-to-day odds and ends. If he’s started wondering whether there’s life after radio—and he will, before too much more time has passed—the feeling is still buried.

July 5, 1975: Trippy and Weird

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(Pictured: Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe pose before the Wimbledon final, 1975.)

July 5, 1975, is a Saturday. Arthur Ashe upsets Jimmy Connors to become the first black Wimbledon champion. President Ford begins the day at Camp David, where he meets with Indonesian president Suharto. Ford later returns to Washington, where he attends his daughter Susan’s 18th birthday party for eight minutes, although he later stops by the small dinner party (nine guests) being held in her honor at the White House. Future pro hockey player Chris Gratton is born; former major league pitcher Joe Kiefer, who appeared in 16 games for the White Sox and Red Sox during three scattered seasons in the 1920s, dies. The Cape Verde Islands are granted independence from Portugal. In Madison, Wisconsin, McFarland Realty Company invites you to an open house at 5702 Bartlett Lane, four bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, finished basement, fenced yard, asking price $39,600. Saturday night diners in Madison have a wide variety of options, from a seven-ounce tenderloin for $2.39 at the Nitty Gritty to an eight-ounce lobster tail at Murphy’s for $5.95. Movies playing in town include Jaws, The Wind and the Lion, French Connection 2, and Russ Meyer’s Super Vixens.

Tony Orlando and Dawn are on the cover of TV Guide. An inside spread gives viewers a first look at the new series Space: 1999, set to premiere in the fall. NBC repeats an episode of The Midnight Special, where host Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons welcome Freddy Fender, Orleans, and the Hollies. Bob Marley plays San Francisco. Pink Floyd plays Knebworth, England; the show will eventually be bootlegged as Trouble in Knebworth. Also playing at Knebworth today: Captain Beefheart, the Steve Miller Band, and Roy Harper (who sings “Have a Cigar” with Pink Floyd). The Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa hosts Florida Jam, starring ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, the Marshall Tucker Band, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, War, KISS, Pure Prairie League, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Promoters have hired female karate and judo experts as a security team; tickets are $12 at the gate. In Madison, tickets are on sale for next Tuesday’s concert at the Dane County Coliseum starring Eric Clapton and Santana: $6 in advance, $7 day of the show.

At WLS in Chicago, “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille zooms from #7 to #1, knocking last week’s #1, “Wildfire” by Michael Murphey, to #2. Making big moves into the Top 10 are “The Hustle” by Van McCoy and “Listen to What the Man Said” by Wings. The top three albums are unchanged from the previous week: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John, Chicago VIII, and BTO’s Four Wheel Drive.

Perspective From the Present: Memories of this summer always include my favorite cousin, a year younger than me. Every summer we’d spend a few days in Madison with him and he’d spend a few days on the farm with us. During my visit in the summer of 1975, we went to the movies a lot. It must have been sometime around July 5 that we saw Jaws at the Esquire Theater—I remember standing in line outside to get in. We must also have seen Tommy during the same week. I was terribly disappointed by it, but he loved how trippy and weird it was. And that was the kind of thing that would have obsessed him by then. I don’t know if he was actually using drugs yet—he was 14 and I never saw him do it—but he was fascinated by the drug culture, and he eventually did partake. His chemical of choice would become alcohol.

After one last summer of reciprocal visits in 1976, we would see each other only on holidays at Grandma’s house, and eventually he stopped showing up for those. I would see him only a handful of times in the intervening years, but I heard stories about his troubles. The last time I saw him was when Grandma died in 1994, and he was in fairly terrible shape that day. In the spring of the next year, we got the call that he had died, at age 34.

July 31, 1976: A Laugher

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(Pictured: a streaker interrupts the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Montreal on July 31, 1976, because of course he did.)

July 31, 1976, was a Saturday. In Colorado, a foot of rain falls in the mountains, causing a flood in Big Thompson Canyon that kills 150 people. Barry Manilow plays Philadelphia, where health officials are struggling to figure out what mysterious disease sickened over 200 people and killed 34 during an American Legion bicentennial gathering a few days earlier. It’s been nicknamed “legionnaire’s disease.” NASA releases a photo taken by the Viking Mars probe before it landed on July 20. It seems to show a face on the Martian surface, but NASA says it’s merely a rock formation and nothing mysterious. A UFO is sighted in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Louisiana adopts petrified palm wood as its official state fossil. The Montreal Olympics are coming to an end, as an East German marathoner wins the gold in the final event of the games, and six athletes, five Romanians and a Russian, defect to Canada. The Green Bay Packers play the earliest preseason game in their history, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-16. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the first game in their history, losing to the Los Angeles Rams, 26-3. Future pro football player Marty Booker is born.  NBC airs the first-season finale of its new weekend late-night show, NBC’s Saturday Night, hosted by Kris Kristofferson. (His wife, Rita Coolidge, is the musical guest.) Sketches include “Samurai General Practitioner” and “Gynecologist Blind Date,” with Kristofferson and Jane Curtin. Other TV programs on the air that night include the syndicated soap Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and The Invasion of Johnson County, a western starring Bill Bixby.

Elvis Presley, on his last tour, plays Hampton Roads, Virginia. Eric Clapton plays London. Jethro Tull plays Tampa, Florida. On the Billboard singles chart dated July 31, “Kiss and Say Goodbye” by the Manhattans is spending its second week at #1; “Love Is Alive” by Gary Wright is #2; Starbuck’s “Moonlight Feels Right” is at #3; At #4 it’s “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band. The Beatles and the Beach Boys are back-to-back at #7 and #8, with “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Rock and Roll Music,” the first time both bands have been in the Top 10 at the same time since 1966. New in the Top 40 are “Say You Love Me” by Fleetwood Mac, “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry, “Who’d She Coo” by the Ohio Players, “Shake Your Booty” by KC and the Sunshine Band, and War’s “Summer.” Two versions of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” are bubbling under the Top 40—one is the 1967 original, the other is a new recording from the hit movie of the same name. New on the Hot 100 that week: “Still the One” by Orleans and “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. George Benson’s Breezin’ tops the album chart.

Perspective From the Present: The Green County Fair was going on in my hometown that week, and on Saturday night I would certainly have been there. And I was probably in a pretty good mood. The previous night, our Church League softball team had enjoyed a rare laugher, a 16-to-1 victory over Washington Township. I found time to listen to American Top 40 on that weekend, probably on Sunday night, probably on WROK from Rockford, Illinois—and I would probably have had to try and pick out the last few songs through the static after the station cut its power at sundown. I had been rooting for “I’ll Be Good to You” by the Brothers Johnson, a favorite song of the moment, to reach #1. Maybe you had to be a 16-year-old Top 40 geek to feel the clanging sense of disappointment when it dropped to #9 this week after being stuck at #3 for two weeks, destined never to make the top.

July 24, 1966: Soldiers

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(Pictured: National Guardsmen on patrol in Cleveland after rioting in July 1966.)

(Most posts at this blog have previously appeared in some form at either The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ or Popdose. Here’s a brand-new post that’s never appeared anywhere before. Find others here.)

July 24, 1966, was a Sunday. Newspaper headlines this morning include President Lyndon Johnson’s speaking tour stops yesterday in Indiana and Illinois, during which he addressed the recent race riots in Chicago and Cleveland and defended his administration’s policy in Vietnam. National Guardsmen have been patrolling Chicago’s troubled west side since July 15th; the last units will be sent home from the area tonight. Johnson was accompanied on his trip by Democratic officials facing reelection in the fall. Richard Speck, accused of murdering eight student nurses in Chicago on July 13, remains hospitalized after attempting suicide while hiding out after the murders.

Also yesterday, actor Montgomery Clift died at age 45 after suffering a heart attack in his New York apartment. Today, pro golfer Tony Lema is killed when his private plane crashes into a golf course near Chicago. Lema is 32. Al Geiberger wins the PGA Championship in Akron, Ohio, by four shots over Dudley Wysong. Sixteen games are played in the majors today, including six doubleheaders. The American League-leading Baltimore Orioles lose to the Chicago White Sox 4-0; their lead over the Detroit Tigers is 12 games. The National League race is much tighter. The Pittsburgh Pirates maintain a one-game lead over San Francisco after both teams win today; the Los Angeles Dodgers gain ground with a doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets, 5-0 and 6-0, but they remain 2 1/2 games behind.

In Peanuts today, for the first time in the strip’s history, the World War I flying ace enjoys a root beer at a sidewalk cafe. The fiction best-seller list is topped by Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. On TV tonight, CBS opens prime-time with Lassie and My Favorite Martian, followed an Ed Sullivan Show repeat from February starring the Supremes, the Dave Clark Five, Stiller and Meara, and Allan Sherman. Perry Mason, Candid Camera, and What’s My Line follow Ed on CBS. NBC airs The Wonderful World of Disney, Bonanza, and The Wackiest Ship in the Army. On ABC, its Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The FBI, and The Pony Soldier, a 1952 Western set in Canada starring Tyrone Power and Cameron Mitchell.

The Newport Folk Festival closes with performances by Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, and Pete Seeger. Other headliners on the four-day bill included Judy Collins, Chuck Berry, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Skip James, and Phil Ochs. The Rolling Stones, touring in support of their album Aftermath, play an afternoon show in San Bernardino, California, before going on to play two shows in Bakersfield, California, that night. The Animals and Herman’s Hermits play New Orleans. At KSTP in Minneapolis, Don DuChene does an afternoon show featuring Barbra Streisand, Count Basie, Herb Alpert, Bob Newhart, and others. At the Top 40 stations across town, WDGY and KDWB, “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells tops both stations’ surveys. The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” is at #2 on KDWB; WDGY charts only “Paperback Writer” and lists it at #5. “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, “The Pied Piper” by Crispian St. Peters, “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham, and “Hungry” by Paul Revere and the Raiders are in the Top 10 on both stations. The hottest songs at WDGY are “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb, up to #15 from #30, and “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV, debuting in the Top 3o at #16. At KDWB, “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” is the biggest mover within the Top 40, zooming to #7 from #36 the week before. “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful is up 18, to #15 from #33.

Perspective From the Present: At our house, Lassie was a frequent viewing choice on Sundays, but we rarely missed The Wonderful World of Disney. We had to be on our way to bed when Bonanza came on, and for many years I couldn’t hear that familiar theme song without remembering how it felt to have to go to bed before I wanted to.

July 16, 1971: Stone Age

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(Pictured: planet Earth in the summer of 1971, photographed from Apollo 15.)

July 16, 1971, was a Friday. Life magazine reports on the three Soviet Soyuz 11 cosmonauts who died during re-entry on June 29; consumer advocate Bess Myerson is on the cover. Preparations continue for the Apollo 15 moon mission, which will launch in 10 days. Maryann Grelinger of Kansas City, Missouri, sends President Nixon a telegram in response to the announcement yesterday that he will visit China. It says, “Have fun in Red China. Hope they keep you.” At the Western White House in San Clemente, Nixon meets with the National Security Council to discuss the Middle East and South Asia. Demographers estimate that the population of the world has passed the four billion mark. Future actor Corey Feldman is born. During his year in Vietnam, radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, writes his parents nearly every day, sometimes more than once. Today he writes another letter. Jeanne M. Holm, director of Women in the Air Force, is promoted to brigadier general, becoming the first woman in the U.S. military with that rank.

NBC Nightly News reports the discovery of the Tasaday, a Stone Age people living in an isolated part of the Philippines. (Years later, some anthropologists accuse the discoverers of the Tasaday of perpetrating a hoax.) A paper titled “Fiber Digestion in the Beaver” is accepted for publication by the Journal of Nutrition. New movies for the weekend include The Hunting Party starring Candice Bergen and Gene Hackman and The Devils, directed by Ken Russell and originally given an X rating before cuts were made. Top movies already out include Shaft, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Creedence Clearwater Revival plays in Boston. Duke Ellington plays at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Top 40 fans are enjoying a harmonic convergence of great radio records and superb summer songs pumping out of AM radios everywhere. At WLS in Chicago, Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” tops the chart for a fourth week; James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” (which King wrote, and on which she plays) holds at #2.

Also charting near the top this week: “Don’t Pull Your Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, “Draggin’ the Line” by Tommy James, “Sooner or Later” by the Grass Roots, and “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” by the Fortunes. Classic one-hit wonders are afoot, like “Funky Nassau” by Beginning of the End, and “Rings” by Cymarron. The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” is in its first week on the chart. An eleven-year-old music fanatic in southern Wisconsin lives with the radio on every waking moment, absorbs it all, and will never forget it.

July 13, 1985: Good Enough

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(Pictured: the Wembley Stadium throng at Live Aid.)

July 13, 1985, is a Saturday. President Reagan undergoes colon surgery, so for the first time in American history, a president hands over power to his vice president temporarily. George H.W. Bush is acting president for approximately eight hours while Reagan is under general anesthesia and in recovery. Public health officials in New Mexico are concerned about an outbreak of plague among cats, while celebrity watchers are abuzz over speculation that Britain’s Princess Diana might be pregnant. (She isn’t.) Two planes collide at an air show in Niagara Falls, New York, killing one pilot. Boy Scout Troop 180 of Yankton, South Dakota, is on a canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters, which will last until July 21. In a pregame ceremony, the New York Yankees retire the numbers of Roger Maris (9) and Elston Howard (32). Future major-leaguer and ESPN commentator John Kruk hits an inside-the-park home run while playing in the minor leagues for Las Vegas. Joe Aguirre, who played football for the Washington Redskins in the 1940s, dies at age 67. Future Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, who will play for his country in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, is born.

The animated Disney film Pinocchio is released on home video for the first time. Shows on TV tonight include The Paper Chase, which is airing on Showtime after being canceled by CBS four years previously. ABC airs edited highlights from Live Aid, two giant benefit concerts held today in London and Philadelphia. NBC counters with Diff’rent Strokes, Gimme a Break, Mama’s Family, and Hunter on NBC. CBS airs an episode of Airwolf. A Los Angeles TV station broadcasts the final episode of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, which has run on local TV there since 1981, and in national syndication from 1982 to 1984.

The Grateful Dead opens a two-night stand at the county fairgrounds in Ventura, California, and Queensryche plays Irvine, California. Depeche Mode plays Brest, France, and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays the Hague in the Netherlands. Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, knocking “Sussudio” by Phil Collins from the top. There’s little movement within the Top 10, although Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” (#9) and “The Goonies ‘R Good Enough” by Cyndi Lauper (#10) replace Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” and Madonna’s “Angel.” Biggest movers include “Shout” by Tears for Fears (#23 to #14) and “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart (#29 to #20). Three songs are new within the Top 40: “Rock Me Tonight” by Freddie Jackson (#35), “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams (#38), and “State of the Heart” by Rick Springfield (#40). “You’re Only Human” by Billy Joel is the highest debut of the week on the Hot 100, coming in at #50.

Perspective From the Present: I didn’t realize what a big deal Live Aid was going to be until that day, and I spent much of that afternoon at my radio station airing reports from the venues. That night, The Mrs. and I set up a second TV set in our crummy little one-bedroom apartment so we could watch the live MTV broadcast on cable and the rebroadcast highlights of the day on ABC.

You should read this 30th anniversary Live Aid retrospective by the Dude from Any Major Dude With Half a Heart, who attended the London show.

July 9, 1977: Going Away

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(Pictured: 1977 British Open competitors Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.)

July 9, 1977, is a Saturday. Alice Paul, a leading figure in the votes-for-women movement in the early 20th century and author of the Equal Rights Amendment, dies at age 92, as does anthropologist and author Loren Eiseley, age 69. An Illinois woman, Cathleen Crowell, tells police she was raped and picks her attacker out of a police mug book; the man, Gary Dotson, will be convicted two years later. In 1985, Crowell will admit she made up her story, and in 1988, Dotson will become the first person exonerated by DNA evidence. At the IGA Foodliner in Cass City, Michigan, round steak is $1.19 a pound, a twin-pack of Pringles potato chips is 69 cents, and iceberg lettuce is 39 cents a head. In the third round of the British Open, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson both shoot 65 to tie for the tournament lead. (Tomorrow, Watson will birdie the final hole to win the championship.) Future actor Milo Ventimiglia is born. CPO Sharkey star Don Rickles is on the cover of TV Guide. Ben E. King and the Average White Band play the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, as do Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. The San Francisco Kool Jazz Festival features Natalie Cole, Wild Cherry, and Tavares, and Chicago plays Alpine Valley near Milwaukee. A Wisconsin teenager attends an emotional going-away party for several of his classmates who will be leaving the next morning for a month in Europe.

Perspective From the Present: On American Top 40 that weekend, Casey Kasem counted ’em down as usual. Although the show is not quite all killer and no filler, it’s close. Of the top 20, only a couple songs are ones nobody needs to hear again (“Love’s Grown Deep” by Kenny Nolan and the Rocky theme “Gonna Fly Now”). On the bottom half of the list, once you take out the country crossovers (“Luckenbach, Texas,” which I like, and “Lucille,” which I do not), you’re left with only a couple of dogs—although one of them is the execrable “Telephone Man.” While some of what’s left is burned beyond recognition—“Margaritaville,” I’m lookin’ at  you—a batting average of .800 is pretty good for a show on the edge of the disco era, although your mileage may vary.

Casey remarks that Marvin Gaye’s former #1 hit “Got to Give It Up,” which is sitting at #6 this week, is only the fourth #1 single of the rock era to be recorded live. Presumably this means “live in concert” as opposed to “live in one studio take” because the other three songs Casey mentions, Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips,” Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling,” which I wrote about at Popdose way back when, and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver, are all concert recordings. Except “Got to Give It Up” isn’t live; it was on Gaye’s Live at the London Palladium, but it’s a studio cut with live ambiance provided by some guests at the recording session.

When Casey introduces the week’s #1 song, “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day, he says it’s only the third “fantasy song” in history to reach the #1 position. He defines fantasy as magical things that couldn’t happen in the real world, and mentions Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” (also written by O’Day) and Elton John’s recent cover of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” as the other two. This strikes me as a pretty thin reed to grasp in search of a factoid. I can think of several #1 hits that are fanciful: “The Night Chicago Died” is a fictional story set on “the east side of Chicago,” a place that doesn’t exist; there was never any such thing as “Crocodile Rock”; and if America’s “A Horse With No Name” isn’t a fantasy, I’ll eat my hat.

On the subject of that going-away party: every person has a few days and/or nights in life that remain indelible for all time, that we will not, cannot, must not forget. That night is one of a very few in mine.