September 28, 1970: Don’t You Know

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: a group of travelers arrives at the airport in Rome on September 28, 1970.)

September 28, 1970, was a Monday. It’s the first day of the fall semester at Kent State University in Ohio, where four anti-war protesters were killed by National Guardsmen in May. Folk singer Phil Ochs headlines a memorial event that includes speeches by civil rights activist Dr. Ralph Abernathy and Thomas Grace, a student wounded in May. Last week, the Scranton Commission investigation into the shootings determined that even if the Guardsmen believed they were in danger, the situation did not call for lethal force. Thirty-two Americans taken hostage three weeks ago in a series of airplane hijackings in the Middle East arrive in Cyprus on their way home; six more former hostages are free in Jordan but yet to start for home. Time‘s cover story this week is about Palestinian guerillas and the Jordanian civil war. Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser dies of a heart attack at age 52 and is succeeded by Anwar Sadat; author John Dos Passos dies at age 74. Running for reelection in California, Governor Ronald Reagan visits a Honda car plant in Gardena. President and Mrs. Nixon visit Pope Paul VI during their trip to Rome. Also in Rome today: the Rolling Stones, who arrive from Vienna for a concert tomorrow night.

This week’s Sports Illustrated features a cover foldout with pictures of major league managers Danny Murtaugh of Pittsburgh, Leo Durocher of the Chicago Cubs, and Gil Hodges of the New York Mets. Inside, the magazine reports on the controversy surrounding eight black football players at Syracuse University who have been suspended for the season over their discrimination complaint against the university. In today’s Peanuts strip, Lucy wonders why Schroeder never gives her flowers. On TV tonight, ABC’s second broadcast of Monday Night Football stars the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who race to a 31-0 lead in the second quarter on the way to beating the Baltimore Colts, 44-24. The Colts will lose only one more game this season on their way to a Super Bowl win. Major sponsor Ford promotes the new 1971 Mustang, LTD, Maverick, and Torino models among the game’s commercials. CBS counters with Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show, Mayberry RFD, The Doris Day Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. NBC’s lineup includes The Red Skelton Show (new on NBC after 19 seasons on CBS), Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and the theatrical movie The Lost Man, a 1969 film starring Sidney Poitier as a revolutionary on the run from the police.

Findings of a coroner’s inquest into the death of Jimi Hendrix on September 18th are announced in London. Hendrix choked to death while intoxicated on barbiturates. Badfinger plays at Eastern Washington College in Cheney, Washington; Yes plays at Aberystwyth University in Wales. The Moody Blues play the Spectrum in Philadelphia. At WDBQ in Dubuque, Iowa, “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond spends another week at #1 according to the station’s new music survey. New in the Top 10 are “Joanne” by Michael Nesmith, “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler, and “Indiana Wants Me” by R. Dean Taylor. The biggest mover on the chart is “Candida” by Dawn. Among the new songs on the survey are the latest hits by Mark Lindsay, Melanie, and Linda Ronstadt, along with last week’s Premier Single, “Don’t You Know” by Beefcake.

Perspective From the Present: Moody Blues flutist Ray Thomas fell off a stage platform just before the Spectrum show, breaking two toes—and his flute. He asked if anyone in the audience happened to have a flute he could use, and someone did. Whether this happened on September 28 or the night before isn’t clear; neither is it clear whether the Moodys played on back-to-back nights at the Spectrum or just one, and whether Thomas asked for a replacement flute on the first night or the second night. As for the band Beefcake, our friend Larry Grogan suspects it may be made up of songwriters Chris Arnold, David Martin, and Geoff Morrow, who recorded under several different names, and who wrote dozens of songs for acts from Elvis on down, including “Can’t Smile Without You,” made famous by Barry Manilow.

And as for the bigger hits from the fall of 1970, you know how I am about all that.

(Programming note: because I have written about many, many October days over the years, this blog will be busy in the coming month. You should subscribe, in the right-hand column, if you haven’t already.)

Advertisements

September 25, 1966: Brand New Model

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: the Supremes on stage, 1966.)

September 25, 1966, was a Sunday. A Minnesota man is being held for questioning in the murder of Valerie Percy, the 21-year-old daughter of U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois earlier this month. (Fifty-one years later, the case will remain unsolved.) People from Virginia to Wisconsin are still abuzz over the unexplained bright lights seen in the sky early yesterday morning. NASA says it ejected chemicals into the atmosphere as part of a missile test, and the lights must have had something to do with that.  In the Chicago suburb of Alsip, the village holds an open house to show off the new garage built to house its municipal vehicles. Newspapers around the country carry the first ad for the Chevrolet Camaro, a brand-new model for 1967, which will go on sale on Thursday.

Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Wrigley Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Holtzman will lose the no-hitter and the shutout but win the game 2-1. The losing pitcher is Sandy Koufax, who also pitches a complete game. The game takes one hour and 50 minutes to play. The Dodgers will clinch the National League pennant this week; the Cubs will finish dead last with 103 losses; after the Dodgers lose the World Series, Koufax will retire. The American League cellar-dwellers, the New York Yankees, finish their home schedule with a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in front of a crowd of about 16,000; the previous Thursday, attendance for a game against the White Sox was announced as 413. Jim Stevens, who played two games for the Washington Senators in 1914, dies in Baltimore at age 77, and Army PFC Gary Dopp of Almond, Wisconsin, is killed in Vietnam. The Green Bay Packers win their third game of the season, beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-13.

On TV tonight, ABC airs the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai and almost 28.5 million homes tune in. It’s the highest rated movie in TV history, and a good thing, too. ABC paid a record $2 million to Columbia Pictures for the right to show it. NBC has Bonanza and The Andy Williams Show, with special guests Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. On CBS, Ed Sullivan welcomes the Supremes and Ethel Merman.  In Wisconsin, a first-grader is watching The Ed Sullivan Show on the new color TV at his grandparents’ house when he is called to the telephone—a very rare occurrence. It’s his father, who tells him that his new baby brother was born today.

At the Empire Theater in Liverpool, the Rolling Stones are on their biggest tour of Britain to date, headlining with the Yardbirds, and Ike and Tina Turner. Because it’s a Sunday, the bands play shows. The Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Muddy Waters wrap up a three-day stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco with an afternoon show. The Kinks play Vienna, Austria. Gordon Lightfoot wraps up a three-night stand at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a venue that seats 150 people. At WLS in Chicago, the top 3 songs on the latest Silver Dollar survey are unchanged from the previous week: “Cherish” by the Association, “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, and “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes (which they perform on The Ed Sullivan Show tonight). New in the top 10 is “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys; the biggest movers are “Mr. Dieingly Sad” by the Critters and “Cherry Cherry” by Neil Diamond. Among the new songs on the survey this week: “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops and “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers.

Perspective From the Present: My four-year-old brother and I were rousted in the wee hours of what was probably Saturday morning to go along when Dad took Mother to the hospital. He parked the car at curbside and took her in, leaving us in the back seat by ourselves. (It was a different time.) Sleepily, my brother asked me, “What’s going on?” “Mom’s gonna have a baby,” I told him. I remember being quite proud to have a baby brother. He’s still my baby brother today, and although he’s not nearly as cute as he used to be, his own kids have made up for it.

And sweet fancy Moses, the music in September 1966. Unbelievable.

September 21, 1982: I Got the Shaft

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Frank Zappa sits for a portrait, 1982.)

September 21, 1982, was a Tuesday. It is the first observance of World Peace Day. Following last night’s NFL game (a 27-19 Green Bay Packers win over the New York Giants), players go on strike. The impasse will last 57 days before games resume in November. In San Francisco, the iconic cable car system closes for a renovation project. The project will be completed in June 1984. In Lebanon, Amin Gemayel is elected president, succeeding his brother Bashir, who was elected last month but was assassinated before he could take office. Reagan has announced that in response to the ongoing crisis in Lebanon, U.S. Marines will be sent back to Beirut as peacekeepers. Today, Reagan meets with American negotiators about to depart for arms reduction talks in Geneva and Vienna, and he appoints six members to the Board of Trustees of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, including actors Cary Grant and Dina Merrill. He also speaks at a fundraising luncheon for Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Emery of Maine.

Fifteen games are played in the majors, including two doubleheaders in New York, where the Yankees split with Cleveland and the Mets split with Montreal. Attendance for the latter is announced at 2,251. At the end of the day’s action, the California Angels lead the American League West by two games over Kansas City; the Milwaukee Brewers lead the AL East by two over Baltimore. Division leaders in the National League are Los Angeles in the West and St. Louis in the East. The Cardinals lose to the Phillies tonight 5-2 as Phillies ace Steve Carlton wins his 21st game.

Frank and Moon Zappa appear on Good Morning America to discuss the “Valley Girl” phenomenon. Cartoon Express premieres on USA Network. It’s a daily late-afternoon block of Hanna-Barbera reruns, and will air in various forms until 1996. The network TV lineups tonight are almost entirely reruns: ABC airs Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company, Too Close for Comfort, and Hart to Hart; CBS shows The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie and the theatrical movie Hero at Large, starring John Ritter. On NBC, a two-hour episode of Father Murphy, starring Merlin Olsen, is followed by a news special called The Man Who Shot the Pope, about the 1981 attack on John Paul II and its possible terrorist connections. Later on NBC, Johnny Carson welcomes actor Richard Harris and comedian Charlie Callas. Callas fails to get many laughs, so Carson whistles a “bomb” sound, and in response, Callas gives him a shove that’s intended to be playful. Johnny doesn’t take it that way, and tells Callas on the air that he will never be invited back on the show. And he won’t be.

The Grateful Dead play Madison Square Garden, Van Halen plays Oklahoma City, Rush plays Salt Lake City, the Go Gos play Lakeland, Florida, and Judas Priest plays Chicago. The Harvard Crimson publishes a review of Elvis Costello’s latest album, Imperial Bedroom. In the Los Angeles Times, critic Robert Hilburn takes a nostalgic look back at the Whisky A Go-Go; the legendary nightspot closed on Sunday night. In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown has a question for Linus.

At WBEN in Buffalo, the top four songs on the station’s survey are unchanged from the previous week: “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar, “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” by Melissa Manchester, “Jump to It” by Aretha Franklin, and “I Keep Forgettin'” by Michael McDonald. “Love Come Down” by Evelyn “Champagne” King debuts at #5. The only other song new in the Top 10 is “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne. “Heart Attack” by Olivia Newton-John and “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond are both up 14 spots for the week, sitting at #11 and #12. Halfway across the country at KDTH in Dubuque, Iowa, the afternoon jock is not playing any of these. His show is more likely to feature the nation’s current #1 country hit, “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)” by Jerry Reed.

(Note from the proprietor: e-mail subscribers to this blog and followers on Twitter and Tumblr received an early draft of this post yesterday in error. Should you happen to walk under my office window, please be aware that hot garbage in the form of my new laptop may come flying out of the window at any moment.)

September 16, 1987: Just Can’t Stop

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Michael Jackson on stage, 1987.)

September 16, 1987, is a Wednesday. A front-page story in the New York Times details the growing plagiarism scandal surrounding Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden’s committee is holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court appointee Robert Bork. Pope John Paul II continues a visit to the United States; today, he’s in Los Angeles, where he celebrates mass at Dodger Stadium and stresses the need for religious communities to draw together “in a common concern for man’s earthly welfare, especially world peace.” President Reagan speaks on the steps of the Capitol at “A Celebration of Citizenship,” as school children across the country celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution. The mayors of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Hsin Tien, Taiwan, sign a sister-city proclamation. National Football League players and owners are eyeball-to-eyeball in a labor dispute; in six days, the players will go on strike, resulting in the cancellation of one week’s games and the playing of three others with replacement players. Bob Boone of the California Angels appears in his 1,919th game at catcher, which is a major league record.

Calvin and Hobbes decide to secede from their family. On CBS-TV tonight, it’s the premiere of Wiseguy, starring Ken Wahl. On NBC, the final season of St. Elsewhere begins. The New York Times reports that investment firm Smith Barney is dropping John Houseman from its TV ads; for several years, Houseman has told viewers that Smith Barney makes money the old fashioned way: “they ear-r-r-r-r-n it.” The current edition of Variety includes the obituary of TV star Lorne Greene (Bonanza), who died last week at age 72. Films set to open this coming weekend include Fatal Attraction, Hellraiser, and The Pick-Up Artist. Top movie last weekend: Stakeout, starring Emilio Estevez and Richard Dreyfuss.

Pink Floyd plays Cleveland, Boston plays Nashville, and Bob Dylan plays Nuremberg, Germany, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers opening. The Grateful Dead plays Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Dead’s biggest hit single to date, “Touch of Grey,” is at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. That chart is topped by Los Lobos and Michael Jackson, sitting at #1 and #2 for the second consecutive week with “La Bamba” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” is at #3, followed by Whitesnake and “Here I Go Again”at #4. Madonna is in the Top 10 with “Who’s That Girl” (#9) and she also has the highest debuting song on the Hot 100 with “Causing a Commotion,” which comes in at #41. Also in the top 10: Huey Lewis and the News (“Doing It All for My Baby” at #7) and “When Smokey Sings” by ABC (#8), which cleverly incorporates the main riff from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ 1970 hit “Tears of a Clown.” Smokey himself is at #21 with “One Heartbeat.”

Perspective From the Present: During the week of October 3, “One Heartbeat” would reach #10 and become Smokey Robinson’s final Top 10 hit to date. “La Bamba” would be knocked from the #1 spot the next week by “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Although Michael Jackson’s Bad had been released two weeks before, it didn’t knock the La Bamba movie soundtrack from #1 until the week of September 26. Such were the limitations of chart methodology in the pre-Soundscan era. Bad was, nevertheless, the album absolutely everyone was talking about 30 years ago this month, and Michael-mania was raging anew. It was so pervasive that even my radio station—which played elevator music—briefly made room for “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

September 11, 1985: Twice a Day

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Pete Rose follows through on his 4,192nd hit. The catcher is Bruce Bochy, who would go on to manage in the majors, winning three World Series in five years with the San Francisco Giants.)

September 11, 1985, was a Wednesday. Headlines in the morning papers include a request by the Reagan Administration to raise the federal debt ceiling to an unprecedented $2.078 trillion in October. Also yesterday, incumbent mayors Ed Koch in New York and Coleman Young in Detroit won primary elections. In such heavily Democratic cities, winning the primary is tantamount to winning the general election. A Colorado resident named Dennis Whiles turns himself into immigration authorities in San Pedro, California. His real name is Georg Gaertner, and during World War II, he escaped from a camp for German prisoners of war in New Mexico, a secret he kept from his wife of 21 years until recently. His surrender is timed to coincide with the release of a book he co-wrote about his experience; authorities say that his lengthy marriage means he probably won’t be deported. A wire-service story reports on a survey that says 50 percent of career women are dissatisfied with the frequency of their sex lives. The psychologist conducting the survey also says that women “like the idea of starting and finishing the day in a warm, emotional way.” This prompts the Los Angeles Times to headline the story, “Career Women Tell Survey They’d Like Sex Twice a Day.”

Tonight, in the bottom of the first inning at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Pete Rose of the Reds singles off Eric Show of the San Diego Padres. It’s Rose’s 4,192nd hit, breaking the all-time record held by Ty Cobb. The Reds go on to win 2-0. On TV tonight, CBS airs an episode of I Had Three Wives, a short-run series starring Victor Garber as a private eye whose ex-wives—a lawyer, an actress with martial arts skills, and a reporter—help him solve cases. It’s followed by the TV movie Brass, an unsold pilot, starring Carroll O’Connor as the NYPD’s chief of detectives. ABC carries the sci-fi movie J. O. E. and the Colonel followed by a rerun of Hotel with guest star Elizabeth Taylor. NBC airs Highway to Heaven followed by the premiere of the new series Hell Town, starring Robert Blake, and the news program American Almanac, hosted by Roger Mudd. The Fall Preview edition of TV Guide is on sale in stores with listings for the week of September 14.

On the current Billboard Hot 100, “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” by John Parr is #1, taking over the top spot from “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News, which falls to #2. “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner and “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin have pulled a similar trade of positions at #3 and #4. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams holds at #5. The biggest mover within the Top 10 is “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, moving to #6 from #10. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins and “Pop Life” by Prince. Ready for the World’s song “Oh Sheila” moves from #26 to #18, the biggest move within the Top 40. The only other song new to the Top 20 is “Dress You Up” by Madonna at #17. Five songs are new in the Top 40; the highest debut is Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart” at #32. New at #33 is “Dancing in the Street,” a record Mick Jagger and David Bowie made for Live Aid in July. Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover” is new on the Hot 100 all the way up at #43.

Perspective From the Present: I saw Rose tie Cobb’s record against the Cubs the preceding Sunday. I was at the height of my obsessive baseball fandom in 1985, although it would have been tempered by September. The Cubs had crashed at mid-season, losing the whole starting rotation to injuries and dropping 12 games in a row at one point, and were now firmly mired in fifth place. On this particular night, they beat the last-place Pirates 3-1. I don’t know if I watched, but if I had, I would likely have seen Rose’s record-setting hit. Nationally televised regular-season games were still relatively rare, but local broadcasters could pick up the Cincinnati TV feed whenever Rose came to bat.

September 7, 1967: Good Morning World

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Paul Revere and the Raiders.)

September 7, 1967, is a Thursday. The weather forecast for the northern half of the United States and the Pacific Coast is for fair skies, with rain possible across the south and into the Rocky Mountains. In Madison, Wisconsin, the predicted high is 79. President and Mrs. Johnson are at the LBJ Ranch in Texas through the weekend while Congress is on its Labor Day recess. The United Auto Workers launched a strike against Ford late last night; up to 159,000 union workers in 25 states may ultimately be affected by the strike. The strike will last for 68 days; workers at GM and Chrysler will stage brief walkouts as well. A million students in six states are idled by teachers’ strikes.

Walgreens stores in the Chicago area invite you to “save big on beer”: locally brewed Van Merritt is just 79 cents for a six-pack of cans. You can get a six-pack of Old Style in bottles for 92 cents or Budweiser in cans for $1.05. At the start of play today, four teams are in a virtual tie for first place in the American League: the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have identical records of 78-61; the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are percentage points behind with identical records of 79-62. Tonight, the Twins and Red Sox both win, while the White Sox and Tigers are idle; the result leaves the Twins ahead of the Red Sox by .001; the Tigers and White Sox trail by one-half game. In the National League, the Cardinals, Cubs, and Giants all win; St. Louis maintains an 11-and-a-half game lead over the Cubs and Giants.

Two new TV series premiere opposite one another tonight: on ABC, Sally Field stars in The Flying Nun; on CBS, it’s the western Cimarron Strip starring Stuart Whitman. Several other new fall shows have already premiered this week, including Good Morning World, a sitcom set in a Los Angeles radio station, and He & She, starring Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss. (They have been a married couple in real life since 1961; 50 years from now, they will still be married.) New fall series to premiere this weekend include The Mothers-In-Law, The High Chaparral, and The Carol Burnett Show. Crime dramas Ironside and Mannix will debut next week. Also this weekend, NBC will air Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, starring the comedy team in a fast-paced variety special. The show’s high rating will prompt NBC to make it a regular series in January.

On the new survey coming out tomorrow at WLS in Chicago, Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” holds for another week at #1, just ahead of “Come Back When You Grow Up” by Bobby Vee and “Light My Fire” by the Doors. At #4 it’s “The Letter” by the Box Tops, up from #22 the week before. Two other songs are new in the Top 10: “I Had a Dream” by Paul Revere and the Raiders at #8 and “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, up to #10 from #24 last week. Also in the Top 10: local favorite the Cryan’ Shames with “It Could Be We’re in Love,” “Never My Love” by the Association, “Reflections” by Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the double-A-sided hit “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Words” by the Monkees. There are 12 new songs on the survey this week: the highest debut is “Little Ole Man” by Bill Cosby at #20. WLS DJs Art Roberts and Larry Lujack will make personal appearances tomorrow night. Roberts will be the MC of a show at the Holiday Ballroom; Lujack will MC a record hop at Notre Dame High School and later, a show at the Rivoli Ballroom.

Perspective From the Present: I have recently been watching episodes of He & She on YouTube. It was a sophisticated, adult sitcom, a predecessor of shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and several years ahead of its time, which helps to account for its demise after one season. A half-century later, it’s definitely worth watching.

Also: In September 1967, I had just started the second grade at Lincoln School, in Miss Jones’ class, although I would transfer to the newly opened Northside School in January. My second-grade report card includes the notation that I listen attentively and am considerate of others only some of the time, and there is also a note that says I need to work on expressing myself better in writing.