One Day in Your Life: May 8, 1984

May 8, 1984, is a Tuesday. The Soviet Union announces that it will boycott the upcoming Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Gary Hart wins Democratic presidential primaries in Ohio and Indiana; Walter Mondale wins Maryland and North Carolina. An American clergyman, Benjamin Weir, is kidnapped in Beirut; he will be freed in 16 months as part of the Reagan Administration’s covert arms-for-hostages swap with Islamic militants. The going rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rises to 15.5 percent; the prime interest rate is now 12.5 percent. Congressional Gold Medals are awarded to Harry Truman (in honor of his 100th birthday today), Lady Bird Johnson, and author Elie Wiesel. Tonight, the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers start their game at 7:00. They’ll still be playing at 1AM when the game is suspended after 17 innings; it will be finished on the night of the 9th with the Sox finally winning 7-6 in 25 innings, the longest game in American League history. Kirby Puckett gets four hits in his major-league debut with the Minnesota Twins. He will be named the American League Rookie of the Year at season’s end, and will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. Top movies at the box office: Breakin’, Sixteen Candles, Romancing the Stone, and Police Academy. Set to open this coming weekend: The Natural and Firestarter. On TV tonight, Joanie and Chachi get married on a special hour-long episode of Happy Days. Also on TV tonight: The A-Team.

The New York Times reports that Larry Stock, who wrote “Blueberry Hill,” has died at age 87. The Grateful Dead plays Eugene, Oregon, and INXS plays Hamburg, Germany. Rush opens the Grace Under Pressure tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Cure plays London. Album releases today include the compilation Legend by Bob Marley and the Wailers and Roger Waters’ The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins tops the Cash Box singles chart for a third week; Lionel Richie’s “Hello” holds at Number Two. Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherrie” leaps from 20 to 11. Other strong upward movers from the chart: “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper (33 to 20) and “The Reflex” by Duran Duran (42 to 30). “Stay the Night” by Chicago is the highest-debuting new song in the Top 100 at Number 57.  Also new: Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” (at 73), “King of Suede” by Weird Al Yankovic (at 87), and “I Can Dream About You” by Dan Hartman (at 89). At a small radio station in Illinois, the new guy is working part-time nights; he will eventually graduate to a full-time gig, a split shift that has him working the noon hour and nights. It’s the sort of thing you can do when you’re 24 years old, you really need the job—and you really love radio.

Perspective From the Present: Less than three years into the video age, the form had already developed its own clichés. Nearly all of the videos linked above require you to wait through a scene-setting prelude before getting to the music. This particular cliché often revealed that being able to sing is not the same as being able to act (Steve Perry, I’m talkin’ to you), although the material they’re given (whoever scripted the “Oh Sherrie” video, I’m talkin’ to you) doesn’t always help.

One More Thing: I’ll be revisiting the topic of radio’s consolidation/automation mania next week, if time permits. Until then, let Jerry Del Colliano shock, amaze, and appall you with this.


3 responses

  1. I love how the intro of the “Oh, Sherrie” video attempts to mock the practice of doing a cheesy, conceptual video — and then figures: “let’s just go right ahead a make one anyway…” while presumably believing they’re not actually doing it, and that their joke took.

  2. If I had a dime for every time “Oh Sherrie” was shown on MTV that spring/summer…

  3. 1984 was not only a breakout year for MTV, but for cable TV as well. Remember how USA Network captialized on a “1984” George Orwell theme? They had “Ray Bradbury Theatre” and othe sci-fi programs, plus a new music program callled “Radio 1990.” It was an exciting time in the music and entertainment industry. And to think we got everything we needed on cable TV with just 35-40 channels at $21.99 a month! How did we survive?!

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