July 20, 1982, is a Tuesday. In London, two IRA car bombs kill 11 people and injure over 50. In Paris, two buildings associated with Israeli business interests are bombed. A pro-Palestinian group is suspected. In the United States, President Reagan nominates former major-league pitcher and congressman Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell to be assistant secretary of agriculture. Reagan and the First Lady attend a reception marking the establishment of the James S. Brady Presidential Foundation, which is designed to give assistance to the families of any person wounded in assassination attempts against high federal officials or presidential candidates. The Seattle Times reports that the city’s mayor is refusing to participate further in FEMA’s ongoing planning for evacuation of the city in case of nuclear war, claiming that the city should not “lend credence to the dangerous idea that a nuclear war is a manageable emergency.” The Federal Reserve Board lowers the prime interest rate from 16.5 percent to 16 percent. Future Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams and future pro-hockey player Antoine Vermette are born. During the third inning of a baseball game at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, a 21-year-old fan commits suicide by jumping out of the red seats to a deck 35 feet below. The Reds lose to Pittsburgh, 3-1. (The next day, the last-place Reds will fire their manager.) Eight days before launch, the crew of the fifth space shuttle mission holds a press conference. The musical Windy City, by legendary bubblegum producer Tony Macaulay and British comedy writer Dick Vosburgh, opens in London.
The Rolling Stones play Nice, France, and the Ramones play in New York. The Pat Metheny Group plays in St. Louis. Lou Rawls and Taste of Honey play Columbia, Maryland, and the Talking Heads play Milan, Italy. At KDTH in Dubuque, the new afternoon show host, who took over in February, has already noticed one perk of being a full-time jock, as opposed to the part-time role he held for the previous three years—he is not responsible for the care and feeding of FRED*, the room-sized automation system that runs the Top 40 format on sister station D93, Dubuque’s top-rated radio station. D93’s Dubuqueland Hit List for the week is topped by Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” which takes over the top spot from “Caught Up in You” by .38 Special. Major movers on the survey this week include “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, which jumps to Number 4 from Number 10 and “Hold Me” by Fleetwood Mac, which moves from 15 to 9. D93 charts just 28 records because that’s all there’s room for on the pre-printed survey form when the list is hammered out on the program director’s IBM Selectric typewriter. And although the program director religiously types it up every week, the KDTH afternoon guy will not remember seeing it distributed around town.
Perspective From the Present: Man, did this musical summer ever suck. MTV was on the air, but it hadn’t reached the critical mass that would spark a revolution in pop music the next year. As a result, the Top 40 was still dominated by major stars of the 70s: Kansas, Steve Miller, Fleetwood Mac, Toto. Yes, a lot of the acts that would later be considered quintessentially 80s—Journey, Survivor, Hall and Oates, John Mellencamp, Genesis, and the Go-Gos—were on the chart. However, in this particular week, few of them, established stars or new, were doing their best work. As a result, there’s nothing here that begs me to post it as an mp3, either because I don’t have it in my library, you probably already have it in yours, or I don’t give a damn about it. So if you have a request from the D93 chart, leave it in the comments, and if I’ve got it, I’ll post it early next week.
*FRED: acronym for “fucking ridiculous electronic device.” I am fairly sure that some of the people on the staff who used the term didn’t know what it meant.