One Day in Your Life: July 13, 1985

Today is the 25th anniversary of Live Aid, the massive famine relief concerts held in London and Philadelphia. I’ve written about the shows at WNEW.com today, but I thought it might be interesting to look here at what else was going on in the world that day. I’ve edited this post since it first went up to fix a typo, and to direct you to this post at Any Major Dude With Half a Heart—AMD attended the London Live Aid show.

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. On network TV, shows running opposite ABC’s edited highlights of Live Aid include Diff’rent Strokes, Gimme a Break, Mama’s Family, and Hunter on NBC, and Airwolf on CBS. A Los Angeles TV station broadcasts the final episode of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, which has run on local TV there since 1981, and ran 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” tops the latest Cash Box chart and the Billboard Hot 100, knocking “Sussudio” by Phil Collins from the top of both charts. There’s not much movement on the Cash Box chart ; just one new entry makes the Top 10, “You Give Good Love” by Whitney Houston. Biggest movers on the Cash Box chart include “Shout” by Tears for Fears, from 23 to 14; their album Songs From the Big Chair is the new Number One album in Billboard, taking out Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams leaps from 43 to 32, and “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner jumps from 48 to 37. The highest-debuting new song on the chart is “You’re Only Human” by Billy Joel, coming in at Number 41.

Perspective From the Present: There’s really not much to recommend the summer of 1985 beyond Live Aid. On that entire Cash Box chart, I count only six songs that I’d consider classics a quarter-century later: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Freeway of Love,” “Summer of ’69,” “The Power of Love” (and you might be able to argue me out of that one), “Walking on Sunshine,” and “Money for Nothing.” The rest of the week’s biggest hits are forgettable—who listens to “Raspberry Beret,” “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” or even “A View to a Kill,” anymore?

The best song on the chart is probably the Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart version of the Impressions’ “People Get Ready.” Rod’s waiting at the station for Jeff’s train to arrive, and when the old friends see each other for the first time, it’s as lovely a moment as was ever captured in a music video.

13 responses

  1. I’m re-uploading my Live Aid mix as we speak (your post alerted me to the date; I thought I still had five days! Thank you).

    Money For Nothing… hell, how I despised that song. And Raspberry Beret is superior to most of the songs you list.

  2. I would submit that “Centerfield,” at No. 44 on the Cash Box chart, is an indisputable classic.

    Is “Getcha Back” the Beach Boys’ last Top 40 single with Brian Wilson?

  3. I’ll second the nomination on “Centerfield,” and I do like “Raspberry Beret.” And looking at the Cashbox chart, I find that for some reason I have some affection for Limahl’s “Neverending Story” and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. Granting the seven you mentioned, that’s still only eleven out of one hundred. A musical desert, indeed.

  4. thomas m long jr | Reply

    I wish I could remember July 13, 1985. I do know I got up and marched to breakfast. I had to march to class and then to lunch. After lunch was physical training ( marching again) and then march to dinner. After some more marching, it was time for bed. That was the coldest summer for me. 1985. I was in Great Lakes doing bootcamp for the Navy. Thanks for letting me know what I missed.

  5. […] else happened that day and what awful music populated the US charts, check out the always enjoyable The Hits Just Keep Coming […]

  6. […] note: My pal jb at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ recommended in a post this week the 1985 collaboration between Stewart and Jeff Beck on the Impressions’ 1965 hit […]

  7. I remember that day well. I worked at a radio station that carried the Live Aid Concert from beginning to end. I was the board operator at the outset beginninig at 6am on that Saturday. It began with a couple of performances from Australia. After I got done at 10am, I went home, intended to get some sleep, but I turned on the TV and watched most of it til the end. A competing radio station was promoting all week how you could watch it on a big screen TV at some rec center. However, during the day, President Reagan underwent surgery and the TV network kept breaking into the TV broadcast repeatedly all day. We sure didn’t shed any tears for that competing station that day.
    What a treat to see The Who, and Led Zeppelin perform! I should’ve taped all of that stuff. It would be worth so much just to myself to this day.

  8. You’re a bit harsh on that chart. In addition to those others have mentioned, what about Madonna’s Crazy for you, Depeche’s People are people, the two Sade tracks? And plenty of others are of interest 25 years later even if they’re not exactly classics (e.g., Madonna’s Angel is ace, second-tier, generic Madonna – fans love it for that reason).

  9. I was born on July 13th 1985.

  10. Bruno Laberthier | Reply

    There’s a newly published novel, THE LESSON TODAY by German writer Ralf Friedrich, that takes place on this day. It declares July 13, 1985, a Joycean day in the life of its protagonist, Mike, who meets his later wife in the streets of Cologne, Germany. Another clou: Mike travels back in time to that particular day, and witnesses LIVE AID on TV screens in pubs (as well as the German contribution on location in front of the cathedral). Mike’s intrigued by Freddie Mercury’s performance — a show he knows all too well from watching the Live Aid DVD over and over again in 2010 (as I sez, it’s a Back-to-the-Future story)

  11. Wot a great day it was i had to wait almost 20yrs to see live aid wen th dvd was realesed which my mum.got me as a prezzie for me to see what happened on th day i was born :)

  12. I was born on this day July 13 1985

  13. The Philadelphia portion of Live Aid was a real mismash, perhaps representative of American pop music of the time. The biggest US acts – Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen (on tour in Europe) were missing – as were legitimate superstars such as Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, and Paul Simon. In their place were numerous British acts (the Led Zeppelin reunion fiasco, Duran Duran, Mick Jagger trying to be a solo star) and a curious assortment of then-oldies acts (Four Seasons, Beach Boys), current hitmakers whose fame faded (Kenny Loggins, Hall and Oates), and a few up and coming acts (Run DMC, Madonna). Patti LaBelle got an extended prime time spot even though I don’t remember her being that popular at the time, but perhaps Dick Clark Productions didn’t know what to do with R&B. The only acts comparable to their British counterparts at the time seem to be Tom Petty and maybe Neil Young.

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