March 21, 1980: Stand by Me

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(Pictured: the Clash onstage, March 1980.)

March 21, 1980, is a Friday. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will boycott the upcoming Summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later in the day, he heads for Camp David. After West Virginia teachers receive only a $950-per-year raise from the legislature, about a quarter of them stage a one-day strike. Wool-handlers in Australia end an 11-week strike. Future soccer star Ronaldinho is born, and Philadelphia crime boss Angelo Bruno dies, shot in the head while sitting in his car.

In Doonesbury today, Mike continues work on Republican congressman John Anderson’s presidential campaign. On daytime TV, Dinah Shore welcomes actress Polly Holliday to Dinah!. Holliday’s new sitcom Flo will premiere on CBS tonight. The Mike Douglas Show features co-host Charlene Tilton and guests including actor James Franciscus and sportscaster Curt Gowdy. Celebrity guests on The $20,000 Pyramid are Joanna Gleason and David Letterman. On CBS tonight, in addition to Flo and an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, it’s the season finale of Dallas, in which J. R. Ewing is shot. The mystery of who shot him, which will not be solved until the November 21 episode, will inspire the widespread TV practice of end-of-season cliffhangers. NBC counterprograms with an episode of Pink Lady and Jeff. It’s a quiet weekend at the movies; Kramer vs. Kramer will top the box-office again.

ZZ Top and the Rockets play Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati; it’s the first rock concert held at the venue since the deaths of 11 people in a stampede at a Who concert the previous December. Rick James plays Cleveland with his opening act, Prince. The Outlaws play at Rutgers University, Van Halen plays Medford, Oregon, and Rush plays Spokane, Washington. Gary Numan plays Brussels, Belgium, and Harry Chapin plays Binghamton, New York.

On the edition of American Top 40 to be broadcast around the country this weekend, “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd knocks “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen out of the top spot to #3. Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer” holds at #2. There’s only one new song in the Top 10, “How Do I Make You” by Linda Ronstadt. Air Supply’s “Lost In Love” is the biggest mover within the 40, up seven spots from #32 to #25. Three new songs within the Top 40 come blazing in: Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” debuts at #27 after entering the Hot 100 at #53 last week; “Hold On to My Love” by Jimmy Ruffin comes in at #31 from #47. “Pilot of the Airwaves” by Charlie Dore is new at #39, up from #50.

Among the debuts on the Hot 100 is “Train in Vain (Stand By Me)” by the Clash at #84. It appears on their album London Calling but is not listed on the sleeve or the label. Despite prominent hand-labeling of the sleeve and the label, a couple of the jocks at WSUP, the student station at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville, will demonstrate themselves pathologically unable to figure out where it is. They will either insist on playing the wrong cut or on not playing “Train in Vain” at all. The station’s program director, an impatient fellow under the best of circumstances, is not amused.

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March 19, 1976: Show Me

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(Pictured: Peter Frampton gives it all he’s got, 1976.)

March 19, 1976, was a Friday. Newspaper readers learn that Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho entered the presidential race yesterday, even though the race is well underway already. Also yesterday, Paul McCartney’s father, James, died at age 73, and the state of Kentucky officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. (It had rejected the amendment in 1865.) Today, closing arguments continue in the bank-robbery trial of heiress Patricia Hearst. Hearst was kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army; within weeks, she had taken the name Tania, became a member of the group, and remained underground until she was arrested in the fall of 1975. In Britain, Buckingham Palace announces the separation of Princess Margaret from her husband, Lord Snowdon. They have been married 15 years and have two children. At the White House, President Ford meets members of the National Newspaper Association and takes questions. After the public announcement of the appointment of diplomat Thomas Gates to head the United States Liaison Office in China, Ford, Gates, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft hold a classified meeting in which they discuss the political signal sent to Chinese leaders by the Gates appointment. In Sierra Madre, California, a bicentennial time capsule is buried under the flagpole of the city’s new police and fire building. The Garden State Rotary Club of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, holds its first meeting.

The Indiana Hoosiers defeat Alabama in the Mideast Regional semifinals of the NCAA basketball tournament. (On Sunday, they will qualify for the Final Four by beating Marquette, and will eventually win the national championship, going undefeated for the year.) Third-ranked UNLV is upset by Arizona, 114-109 in overtime. In Illinois, 16 teams in two classes open the state high school basketball tournament. Tomorrow, Chicago Morgan Park (class AA) and Mt. Pulaski (class A) will win championships. Celebrity guests on the recently renamed $20,000 Pyramid are Soupy Sales and All My Children actress Stephanie Braxton. Panelists on The Hollywood Squares include Bob Newhart, Shirley Jones, Hal Linden, Don Rickles, Jonathan Winters, and Arte Johnson. Joining Brett, Charles, and Richard on Match Game ’76 are Clifton Davis, Patty Duke Astin, and Joyce Bulifant. Programs on NBC tonight include Sanford and Son, The Practice, a sitcom starring Danny Thomas as a physician, and The Rockford Files. Future TV actress Rachel Blanchard and future NBA player Andre Miller are born. Guitarist Paul Kossoff, formerly of Free and currently of Back Street Crawler, dies aboard an airplane flight after years of drug abuse; he was 25.

Bette Midler plays Tarrytown, New York, the Electric Light Orchestra plays Boston, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band plays Kansas City, Kansas, Elvis Presley plays Johnson City, Tennessee, and Bad Company plays Dallas. David Bowie plays Buffalo and the Who plays Denver. On the new Billboard Top 40 that Casey Kasem will count down this weekend, “December 1963” by the Four Seasons and “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen hold at #1 and #2. Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady” are new in the Top 10. The hottest hits within the Top 40 are “Show Me the Way” by Peter Frampton, up 12 places to #25, and “Right Back Where We Started From” by Maxine Nightingale, up 11 places to #14.  A teenager in southern Wisconsin continues his behind-the-wheel driver’s ed instruction in eager anticipation of getting his license within a few weeks; whenever he’s in the car, the radio is always on. And whenever he’s not.

March 14, 1987: Act Up

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(Pictured: Boy George, on stage in 1987.)

March 14, 1987, was a Saturday. In his weekly radio address, President Reagan talks about the changes in his national security team, necessitated by the unfolding Iran-Contra scandal. White supremacists rally in Forsyth County, Georgia, after winning a lawsuit giving them the right to do so. A United Press International story appearing around the country today says that the World Health Organization is reporting a worldwide total of 42,704 AIDS cases, three-quarters of which are in the United States. In Los Angeles, county officials are planning to open several new AIDS testing sites, due in part to a sharp increase in AIDS cases among heterosexuals. In New York City, Larry Kramer and other gay activists form the organization ACT UP. Yesterday, a judge ordered 17-year-old Machelle Outlaw of Goldsboro, North Carolina, readmitted to her Christian school after she was expelled earlier in the week for modeling swimsuits in a department store fashion show. Among the teams winning games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are Indiana, Wyoming, and Notre Dame. Katarina Witt wins the World Figure Skating Championships in Cincinnati. Stu Kulak, recently acquired in a trade, makes his debut with the NHL’s New York Rangers. (He will play in three games for the Rangers before being released.) TV shows on NBC tonight include The Golden Girls and Saturday Night’s Main Event, a pro wrestling show. Lower Prior Lake, in Scott County, Minnesota, records its earliest ice-out—the date on which there’s no more ice on the lake. Pope John Paul II meets the Cremonese soccer team and members of the Moscow Circus.

Wang Chung plays in Denver, and Petula Clark plays the Hamilton Hotel in Itasca, Illinois. In the UK, The Very Best of Hot Chocolate goes to #1 on the album charts. The #1 single in the UK is Boy George’s cover of Bread’s “Everything I Own,” which doesn’t hit in the States. In the States, the #1 single is “Jacob’s Ladder” by Huey Lewis and the News, which doesn’t hit in the UK. “Somewhere Out There” by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram is #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile” is at #3, making it the fifth Top-5 single from her album Control. The achievement matches only her brother Michael’s on Thriller. Rounding out the top 5: last week’s #1 single, “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, and “Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau. For the second week, Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys is Billboard‘s #1 album. Bruce Springsteen’s Live 1975-1985 box set goes platinum only about three months after its release.

Perspective From the Present: I was playing elevator music at KRVR in Davenport, Iowa, and had been doing so since January. It’s likely that I had this Saturday off, and I probably slept late. I worked until 9:00 at night, and The Mrs. and I got into the habit of grabbing a late dinner and going to a midnight movie on Fridays. It’s likely we didn’t get home until something like 3:00 this morning.

Meal at 9, movie at 12, home by 3. The only way we could do that now would be to have breakfast at nine and the movie at noon.

March 7, 1993: Ordinary World

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(Pictured: Duran Duran, 1993.)

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

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

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

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

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

February 29, 1968: Leap Day

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(Pictured: 1968 Grammy winner Boris Karloff.)

(There’s no 29th this year, of course, but I’m not waiting until 2020 to post this. And I have some experience in observing the 29th on the 28th anyway.)

February 29, 1968, is a Thursday. The big headline on the morning papers is about the withdrawal yesterday of former Michigan governor George Romney from the Republican presidential race just two weeks before the New Hampshire primary. In the latest New Hampshire polling, Romney trails former vice-president Richard Nixon 73-19, and he has failed to improve his standing with New Hampshire voters despite a well-financed and strenuous seven-week campaign. The Kerner Commission, formed after riots tore through American inner cities in the summer of 1967, releases its final report. President Lyndon Johnson will be forced to ignore many of its recommendations because the Vietnam War makes it impossible for the country to afford new social programs. Vietnam architect Robert McNamara spends his final day as Secretary of Defense, a post he has held since 1961. Last November, President Johnson announced that McNamara would become head of the World Bank. Clark Clifford takes over the post tomorrow. In the Panama Canal, a traffic record is set with 65 ships making the transit in a single day. In Amarillo, Texas, Western Plaza Mall opens.

In Norway, Leif-Martin Henriksen is born. He joins a brother, born on February 29, 1964, and a sister, born on February 29, 1960. Also born today: future pro football player Bryce Paup and future American Olympic curler Pete Fenson. In Madison, Wisconsin, you can book a weekend room at the Ramada Inn on East Washington Avenue with one double bed for $9, or with two double beds for $14, and cribs are free. The Thursday night top sirloin special at the Goalpost is $3.50, but the smorgasbord at the Golden Rooster is just $2.00.

Late-night talk show host Joey Bishop welcomes Henry Fonda, Sammy Davis Jr., and Lulu, while Merv Griffin’s guests include James Brown and Soupy Sales. On primetime TV tonight: Dragnet, Bewitched, and one of the last episodes of Batman, titled “The Joker’s Flying Saucer.” The Grammy Awards are presented: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles is Album of the Year, but Record of the Year and Song of the Year go to “Up Up and Away.” Bobbie Gentry wins Best New Artist, and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” wins two R&B awards. Boris Karloff and Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois win Grammys for the albums How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Gallant Men, respectively.

The Cowsills are among the artists performing at the Grammy show. Jimi Hendrix plays a Milwaukee club called the Scene. Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman and his group play the Royal Albert Hall in London. Yoko Ono joins them on vocals for one number, “Emotion Modulation (A.O.S),” which is eventually released, although the rest of the show is not. Former Supreme Florence Ballard marries former Motown chauffeur Thomas Chapman. At WCFL in Chicago, the new Sound 10 Survey is released. “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and “Spooky” by the Classics IV run the top for the second straight week. Otis Redding’s “The Dock of the Bay” takes a huge leap from #16 to #7. “I Wish It Would Rain” by the Temptations is also new in the Top Ten at #9. “Just Dropped In” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition moves from #18 to #12. One of the new songs in the top 20 is “Up on the Roof” by Chicago favorite the Cryan Shames.

Some 120 highway miles from Chicago, a future WCFL listener celebrates his second “real” birthday on Leap Day.  There’s a birthday party at some point around the 29th, and home movies are taken. He will look at them 50 years from now and find himself with no words to describe the feeling of watching eight or ten young boys playing party games, eating cake, and mugging for the camera. He recognizes all the faces, and he knows what became of some, but not all, of his best buds from a half-century ago.

February 24, 1980: Closing Ceremony

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(Pictured: Americans Steve Christoff and Mark Johnson celebrate a goal in the 1980 Olympic gold medal hockey game against Finland.)

February 24, 1980, was a Sunday. Two days after stunning the heavily favored Soviet team, the United States hockey team wins the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, with a 4-2 win over Finland. It’s the final day of the games; East Germany leads the medal count with 23, although the Soviets record the most gold medals with 10. Team USA records 12 medals: six goal, four silver, and two bronze. Besides the hockey gold, the other five American gold medals are won by speed skater Eric Heiden. Darrell Waltrip wins the Richmond 400, the third race of the NASCAR season. Two days before the New Hampshire presidential primary, several political commentators say that George Bush, who won the Iowa caucuses in January, is now the front-runner for the Republican nomination. NBC reporter Tom Pettit has suggested that Ronald Reagan, considered the leader of the pack before Bush’s surprise Iowa win, “is politically dead.” On Tuesday, Reagan will win New Hampshire with 50 percent of the Republican vote. On the Democratic side, President Carter will defeat Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy 47 percent to 37 percent.

On TV tonight, ABC broadcasts the closing ceremony from the Winter Olympics. CBS counterprograms the night with 60 Minutes, an hour-long episode of One Day at a Time, Alice, The Jeffersons, and Trapper John M.D. NBC airs the made-for-TV movie Harper Valley P.T.A., based on the 1968 #1 hit by Jeannie C. Riley and starring Barbara Eden. It’s not just the top-rated show of the night, but it wins the ratings for the entire week. Mary Tyler Moore opens on Broadway in Whose Life Is It Anyway?, which will run for 96 performances and earn her a Tony award. Pink Floyd brings The Wall tour to Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Weather Report plays Atlanta. The Jerry Garcia Band plays Stony Brook, New York, John Denver plays Lake Charles, Louisiana, Madness plays the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, and the Ramones play in Paris. The Ramones get a mention in the popular Sunday newspaper insert Parade, in an article headlined “Rock rolls into new wave,” which introduces readers to the “hard-boiled assessments of life” performed by the Ramones, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Blondie, the Knack, the B-52s, the Clash, the Police, and others. “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes is #1 on the Funny Five, part of this week’s Dr. Demento radio show. Also among the five: “Titties and Beer” by Frank Zappa and “Bounce Your Boobies” by Rusty Warren. Tonight’s edition of the King Biscuit Flower Hour features Molly Hatchet and .38 Special.

KQCR, Q-103 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, airs the Weekly Top 30, a syndicated countdown hosted by Mark Elliott, from 9AM til noon. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen is #1 again this week. Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer” is up to #2, and last week’s #2, “Yes I’m Ready” by Teri de Sario and KC, slips to #3. “Working My Way Back to You” by the Spinners blasts to #4 from #14; “Romeo’s Tune” by Steve Forbert is at #5. Another major mover is “Desire” by Andy Gibb, up to #6 from #15. Other hot records include “Him” by Rupert Holmes, up to #12 from #23; “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” by Pink Floyd, making the biggest move of the week, from #27 to #13; and “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar, at #16 from #26. “Refugee” by Tom Petty is the week’s top debut, all the way up at #17. The only other new song among the Top 30 is “Back on My Feet Again” by the Babys at #28.

Perspective From the Present: I watched neither the Miracle on Ice game nor the gold medal hockey game at the Winter Olympics. I most likely missed the gold medal game because I was working my weekend radio gig at KDTH. How I missed the win over the Russians, I don’t remember. I recall other guys in the dorm watching it. Maybe that’s why I didn’t. I liked neither living in the dorm nor the people I had to live with (although my own roommate was OK), and I kept my distance from them as much as I could.

February 18, 1977: Hot Line

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(Pictured: the Sylvers, 1977.)

February 18, 1977, is a Friday. NASA’s new craft, the space shuttle, makes a test flight bolted to a 747. The flight lasts a little over two hours and reaches an altitude of 16,000 feet. In a nod to Star Trek fans, the test vehicle is called the Enterprise. Today’s Washington Post contains a story by Bob Woodward about CIA payments to King Hussein of Jordan. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance continues a tour of the Middle East and meets with Hussein, as well as the president of Lebanon. Seattle’s first Fat Tuesday carnival week celebration gets rowdy, with reports of public intoxication, public drug use, and one case of public sexual intercourse, which attracts a crowd of 100. An exhibition of paintings by Andy Warhol closes in Washington. Character actor Andy Devine, who frequently appeared on TV and in westerns alongside Roy Rogers, Walter Brennan, and John Wayne and possessor of a distinctively scratchy voice, dies at age 71. Harley Race successfully defends his NWA heavyweight wrestling title by defeating Wahoo McDaniel in Richmond, Virginia. Two Japanese astronomers discover a new asteroid, to be named 5017 Tenchi. In Uruguay, a dog is killed by a UFO.

Celebrity guests on The $25,000 Pyramid this week are Joanne Worley and John Schuck. Tonight, the spy series Hunter premieres on CBS-TV, but will be canceled after only eight episodes. (A different show with the same title will run for nine seasons on NBC in the 80s.) Also on TV tonight: The Rockford Files.

Elvis plays Columbia, South Carolina, and KISS plays Madison Square Garden in New York City. Santana and Tower of Power open a two-night stand at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Al Stewart and Wendy Waldman perform in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and the Kinks are at Winterland in San Francisco. The Marshall Tucker Band plays Passaic, New Jersey; in 2007, the show will be released on DVD. In Cincinnati, ELO shares a bill with Steve Hillage and Gentle Giant, and Triumph plays San Antonio. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Greg Kihn Band are together for the third of four nights in Berkeley, California. After nine years in court, Neil Diamond buys the masters of his early recordings on the Bang label.

At WLS in Chicago, “Hot Line” by the Sylvers tops the new music survey that will be out tomorrow. Also on the WLS chart, Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” and “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band make strong moves into the Top 10. Also moving nicely: “Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart from #16 to #11 and “Crackerbox Palace” by George Harrison from #34 to #26 (featuring what will in later years be called a music video, directed by Eric Idle of Monty Python). The single biggest leap belongs to “Boogie Child” by the Bee Gees, from #41 to #31. In southern Wisconsin, a sometime listener to WLS is in love for the first time. Even “Boogie Child” sounds romantic to him.

February 10, 1964: Last Night

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(Pictured: the Beatles onstage at Carnegie Hall, February 12, 1964.)

February 10, 1964, was a Monday. By a vote of 290 to 130, the House of Representatives passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sends it to the Senate. President Lyndon Johnson makes a statement in the Cabinet Room regarding the certification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing the poll tax. The amendment which gained enough states for ratification late last month. Johnson also sends a message to Congress advocating adoption of a public-health program that will be known as Medicare, and he releases a report recommending a new system of satellites for global communication. Two Australian navy ships on maneuvers collide in Jervis Bay; 81 sailors die. Future media personality Glenn Beck is born. The Rotary Club of Dickinson, Texas, holds its first meeting. The Manley Popcorn Machine company, which makes commercial poppers and other concession equipment used in theaters, stadiums, and schools, gets a patent for a new control mechanism.

Guests on The Ed Sullivan Show last night included Terry McDermott, America’s lone gold-medal winner at the just-completed Winter Olympics, held in Innsbruck, Austria, and the Beatles. (Before the show, McDermott, who is a barber, was photographed pretending to cut Paul McCartney’s hair.) Today, the Beatles hold a press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York, where they are presented with gold records for Meet the Beatles and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They will remain in the city until tomorrow, when a snowstorm will force them to take a train to Washington, D.C., for the first date on their American tour, on Tuesday at the Washington Coliseum. On Wednesday, the Beatles will return to New York to play Carnegie Hall. On TV tonight, ABC airs The Outer Limits and Wagon Train; CBS has episodes of I’ve Got a Secret (with special guest Jonathan Winters), The Lucy Show, The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and East Side, West Side, which stars George C. Scott as a New York social worker. Tonight’s episode of the latter is the pilot, which has never been broadcast because some roles were recast with different actors before the series premiered last September. CBS is apparently running it at last because they’ve decided to cancel the show.

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers record an entire album, to be called Free for All. An item in the Harvard Crimson announces that Bob Dylan will be the featured performer on Jubilee Weekend in April. Del Shannon will also appear.  At WIBG in Philadelphia, where DJs Joe Niagara and Hy Lit call themselves the fifth and sixth Beatles, “I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and “I Saw Her Standing There” are co-#1s on the station’s survey. The Beatles are also at #3 with “She Loves You” (tucked in behind Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”), at #13 with “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You,” and at #44 with “My Bonnie,” an old recording with Tony Sheridan. The hottest record on the survey does not belong to the Beatles, however: “Dawn” by the Four Seasons is up to #6 from #34. Others in the top 10 are Major Lance (“Um, Um, Um, Um, Um”), Rick Nelson (“For You”), the Marketts (“Out of Limits”), Andy Williams (“A Fool Never Learns”), the Impressions (“Talking About My Baby”), and the Tams (“What Kind of Fool”). Notable farther down: “My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut” by Donna Lynn (#71) and  “The Boy With the Beatle Hair” by the Swans (#84).

Perspective From the Present: Donna Lynn was 14 in 1964, and she actually got a whole album out of her novelty single. It features chipper-sounding versions of several recently popular songs and something called “I Had a Dream I Was a Beatle,” which sounds almost exactly like “My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut.” The Swans’ “The Boy With the Beatle Hair” was released on Philadelphia’s Cameo label. Both made the Hot 100; Lynn got to #83 and the Swans to #85 , peaking in early March.

But the Beatles proved to have somewhat greater staying power.

February 1, 1968: Hippie Hooray

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(Pictured: Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched, from an episode aired on February 1, 1968.)

February 1, 1968, was a Thursday. Two days ago, North Vietnam began a major offensive in South Vietnam on the holiday known as Tet. In Saigon today, South Vietnamese police chief Nguyen Loc Loan executes Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem while reporters watch. Photographer Eddie Adams captures the pistol shot to the prisoner’s head; the photo will become one of the most famous ever taken. Video of the execution will be broadcast by NBC News tomorrow night. Among his public events today, President Lyndon Johnson sends his annual economic message to Congress and awards the Congressional Medal of Honor to Air Force Major Merlyn F. Dethlefsen for heroism in Vietnam.

The minimum wage in the United States goes up for many workers, from $1.40 to $1.60 an hour. Certain service workers can be paid less; their minimum wage goes from $1.00 to $1.15. In Memphis yesterday, 22 black sewer workers were sent home without pay due to inclement weather while their white supervisors were permitted to stay and get paid. Today, black sanitation workers Echol Cole and Robert Walker, aged 36 and 30, are accidentally crushed to death by the compactor mechanism in their truck. The incidents will lead sanitation workers to go on strike on February 12, a job action eventually supported by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In New Hampshire, former vice president Richard Nixon announces his candidacy for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi announces his retirement, which has been rumored since the Packers won Super Bowl II last month. He will remain as general manager. Former pro golfer Lawson Little, who won the U.S. Open in 1940, dies at age 57. Nine months to the day after her parents’ wedding, Lisa Marie Presley is born. Also born: future actor Pauly Shore and future hockey star Mark Recchi.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Lucy terrorizes the boys. On TV today, Bobby Darin co-hosts The Mike Douglas Show. Guests include actress Geraldine Chaplin and jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Shows on ABC tonight include The Flying Nun, That Girl, and Bewitched, with an episode titled “Hippie, Hippie, Hooray,” in which mistaken identity leads to big laffs when Samantha’s sister Serena becomes a hippie and gets on the front page of the local newspaper. (Elizabeth Montgomery is on the cover of TV Guide as Serena this week.) NBC’s lineup includes Daniel Boone, Ironside, and Dragnet. CBS kicks off primetime with the Western drama Cimarron Strip. Janis Joplin of Big Brother and the Holding Company signs with Columbia Records as a solo performer. The Velvet Underground, whose new album White Light/White Heat was officially released on Tuesday, play an album release party at Aardvark Cinemathique in Chicago. The Grateful Dead plays Seattle. In San Francisco, the Jimi Hendrix Experience plays two shows at the Fillmore with Albert King, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and Soft Machine; the Jefferson Airplane plays the Matrix, the tiny club where they debuted in 1965; the show is recorded and will be released in 2010. Also in San Francisco, the Santana Blues Band wraps up a three-night stand at the Straight Theater. Your $1 ticket also entitles you to see the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita.

In Cleveland, at 3:05 this afternoon, WKYC debuts a format it calls Power Radio, which is intended to better compete with local station WIXY and CKLW from Detroit. The top four songs on WKYC’s new survey are in the same positions as last week: “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat, “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces, “Spooky” by the Classics IV, and “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” by the Foundations. “Bottle of Wine” by the Fireballs blasts to #6 from #17. “Everything That Touches You” by the Association is up 15 spots, from #37 to #22. Also moving fast: “Words” by the Bee Gees, up 12 to #23 and “Tomorrow” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock,” up 10 to #30. The highest-debuting new song on the survey is listed as “Sittin’ on the Dock” by Otis Redding, ranking at #29.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, I was in a new school. In January, I had been among the students moving from the early-2oth-century monolith Lincoln School to the newly built Northside School in our town. Northside was the most modern of buildings—by 1968 standards. Today, it’s the oldest elementary school in town.

One online calculator indicates that the 1968 minimum wage of $1.60 an hour is equivalent to over $11.00 today. Today’s minimum wage of $7.25 would be equivalent to a little over $1.00 in 1968.

(Editor’s note: This is our second 1968 post in the last couple of weeks. I suspect there are going to be more as this year unfolds.)

January 25, 1971: Don’t Just Let That Lie

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(Pictured: Elton John.)

January 25, 1971, was a Monday. In Los Angeles, Charles Manson and three members of his “family,” Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel, are found guilty in the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. They will be sentenced to death, but the sentences will be commuted. Atkins will die in prison in 2009; in 2017, Manson will die; in 2018, Krenwinkel and Van Houten will still be in prison. Ugandan president Milton Obote is attending an international conference in Singapore; at home, General Idi Amin takes control of the government before troops loyal to Obote can arrest him, as the president had ordered. Police officers remain on strike in Milwaukee; they walked off the job on Saturday after contract negotiations with the city broke down. A judge will order the striking officers back to work on Wednesday. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Wisconsin’s “posting” law is unconstitutional. It allows police to forbid the sale of intoxicating beverages to an individual simply by posting announcements in retail liquor establishments that alcohol is not to be served or sold to that person. It’s used in cases when police believe a person puts themselves, their family, or the community at risk by drinking. Sixteen states have such laws on the books; Wisconsin’s has been in place for more than 40 years. Dissident priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan are on the cover of Time magazine. In a diary entry, White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman notes that President Nixon is concerned about what he perceives as a change in attitude toward his administration at Time; Haldeman says Nixon has urged him to develop “a plan for attack on them and not just let that lie.” Elsewhere in the White House, Nixon aide Chuck Colson and another staffer begin compiling a list of anti-Nixon people and organizations, which will eventually be known as the “enemies list.” The United States Senate begins using a new sound system in its chamber today, which will allow senators to be more easily heard.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Schroeder and Lucy talk about what brings people together. Prototypes of a new U.S. dollar coin with the face of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower are struck at the Philadelphia mint. The coin will go into general circulation on November 1. In Martin, Tennessee, the Harlem Globetrotters take the floor against their usual foe, the Washington Generals, although the Generals are wearing an alternate uniform and are called the New Jersey Reds. On this night, the Reds win the game, 100-99. Although official records are scarce, it’s thought to be the first Generals win since 1957. The team will fold in 2015 without winning another.

Shows on TV tonight include The Newlywed Game and the second episode of The Reel Game, which requires contestants to answer questions involving movie clips. Also tonight: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show (featuring a guest appearance by the UCLA Marching Band), Mayberry RFD, The Doris Day Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. In San Francisco, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane welcome a daughter. At first, they name her god (with a lower-case g), but she is later renamed China. In New York City, James Taylor plays two shows at the Fillmore East, and Captain Beefheart plays a theater called Ungano’s. T. Rex plays London. Yes and Iron Butterfly play Copenhagen, Denmark, and the two bands close the show by jamming together.

At WLS in Chicago, Dave Edmunds’ “I Hear You Knocking” holds at #1. Elton John’s “Your Song” is #2. Only one song is new in the Top 10, “1900 Yesterday” by Liz Damon’s Orient Express. It’s at #10, tucked in behind Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Three new songs have cracked the Top 20: “Most of All” by B. J. Thomas, “Watching Scotty Grow” by Bobby Goldsboro, and “We Gotta Get You a Woman” by Runt, at #18, #19, and #20 respectively. The hottest record on WLS is at #21, “Mama’s Pearl” by the Jackson Five, up from #28 the week before.

Perspective From the Present: “1900 Yesterday” is a record we have dug around here since always. And you’re going to want to click that link about the New Jersey Reds beating the Globetrotters. It’s quite a story.