June 8, 1984, is a Friday. Shortly before 1:00 this morning, an F5 tornado strikes Barneveld, Wisconsin, about 30 miles west of Madison. Ninety percent of the village is damaged or destroyed and nine people are killed. Other less-intense tornadoes strike five other locations in south central Wisconsin. The storms are part of a broader severe-weather outbreak that affects eight states. President Reagan is in London for an economic summit. In Boston, the Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 121-103 to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals. With Boston suffering through a heat wave and no air-conditioning in Boston Garden, the courtside temperature at gametime is 98 degrees. The game on CBS is beaten in the TV ratings by a rerun of the ABC detective series Matt Houston. Earlier today, CBS Sports executive Neal Pilson told a group of journalists that of all the pro sports, the NBA is the only one whose ratings have not eroded in recent years.
On the game show Press Your Luck, an episode is broadcast in which contestant Michael Larson figures out a pattern that helps him beat the game; he wins over $110,000 before voluntarily stopping play. (The show had been taped in May.) Producers could find nothing in the rules that let them out of paying him what was then the biggest prize ever won on a TV game show. Jamie Farr and Vicki Lawrence wrap up the week as celebrity guests on the game show Body Language. Other game shows on the air today include Family Feud, The New $25,000 Pyramid (with guest stars Linda Kelsey and Harry Anderson), and The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour.
New in theaters this weekend are Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Sigourney Weaver, and Gremlins. They will compete with the previous weekend’s top attractions, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. In Houston, a concert at the Astrodome billed as the Texxas Jam stars Rush, .38 Special, Ozzy Osbourne, Bryan Adams, and Gary Moore. Billy Joel plays Wembley Arena in London, Joe Jackson plays Kansas City, the Grateful Dead plays Sacramento and David Gilmour plays Chicago. San Francisco morning DJ Dr. Don Rose celebrates his 2,500th show at KFRC.
On the new Cash Box magazine chart due out tomorrow, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper knocks “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” by Deniece Williams from the #1 spot. All but one of the top 10 singles was there last week—the exception is Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” which blasts to #10 from #19 in just its third week on the chart. It replaces “The Longest Time” by Billy Joel, last week’s #10, which falls to #15. Most of the rest of the Top 40 is pretty static, too, except for “Magic” by the Cars, which blasts in at #27 from #42, “Legs” by ZZ Top at #30 from #43, and “Doctor Doctor” by the Thompson Twins at #33 from #49. “When Doves Cry” by Prince is at #39 in just its second week on the chart.
At WKAI in Macomb, Illinois, two months after getting hired, the new guy is working a split shift. He’s on the AM side from 11AM to 1PM and he comes back to tend the automated soft-rock FM from 7 to midnight. He suspects this isn’t going to be the case for long—once the station’s new owner takes over, he expects a better shift and plenty of responsibility to go with it, but the sale isn’t final yet. In years to come, “The Longest Time” will take him back to those night shifts, putting in his time alone in the building at a station in the middle of nowhere, because that’s what young radio guys do.
Here’s Billy Joel’s performance of “The Longest Time” (and some other stuff) at Wembley on that night in 1984.