November 11, 1979: Sure Know Something

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Bob Marley onstage in Chicago on November 14, 1979.)

November 11, 1979, was a Sunday. One week after Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the Ayatollah Khomeini calls President Jimmy Carter “an enemy of humanity” and strongly rejects Pope John Paul II’s offer to mediate the crisis. After attending church this morning, Carter spends the entire afternoon talking with advisors and cabinet members one at a time, although he takes a break late in the afternoon for a 20-minute jog with the First Lady. His working day ends with a formal meeting on the situation in Iran. After relaxing in the White House theater with the 1958 western The Big Country, the Carters retire for the night. The Iran hostage crisis leads the network evening news broadcasts. Other top stories tonight include train derailments in Canada and Florida, a nursing-home fire in Ohio that left 14 people dead and two missing, and Veterans Day observances around the country. The New York Times reports a poll that says looking back over the last five years, Americans are far more likely to believe the country is worse off today than it’s better, and most expect further decline.

In the National Football League today, the Pittsburgh Steelers run their record to 9-and-2, blowing out Kansas City 30-3 behind three touchdown passes by Terry Bradshaw. Houston, San Diego, and Denver all win and are 8-and-3. The Dallas Cowboys will look for their NFC-leading ninth win in the Monday night game against Philadelphia. Among the also-rans, the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 19-7 in a game played in Milwaukee. Packers quarterback David Whitehurst throws two touchdown passes but also three interceptions; the Packers miss two extra points. Both teams are now 4-and-7. In yesterday’s college games, top-ranked Alabama squeezed past LSU 3-0; the other top teams in action, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Southern California, all won. Also yesterday, Wisconsin snapped a three-game losing streak with a 28-3 home win over Northwestern. The Badgers are 3-and-7; Northwestern is 1-and-9.

On this week’s Dr. Demento Show, the #1 song on the Funny Five is “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from the movie Monty Python’s Life of Brian, which is currently in theaters. Top new movies at the box office this weekend are the re-release of the 1971 musical Fiddler on the Roof and The Rose starring Bette Midler. Shows on TV tonight include Salvage 1, a science-fiction series starring Andy Griffith as the owner of a company that collects space junk. Also tonight: Mork and Mindy, Archie Bunker’s Place, One Day at a Time, Alice, and Trapper John, M.D. The Eagles play the Omni in Atlanta, ABBA plays Wembley Arena in London, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play New York City, and Leonard Cohen plays Hannover, Germany. The Who plays Brighton England, and Bob Marley and the Wailers play Madison, Wisconsin, with Betty Wright opening. Led Zeppelin plays Knebworth, England, and Talking Heads play Amherst, Massachusetts.

At KELI in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the top four songs are in the same positions as last week: “Heartache Tonight” by the Eagles, “Babe” by Styx, the Commodores’ “Still,” and “Dim All the Lights” by Donna Summer. Donna’s duet with Barbra Streisand, “No More Tears,” is #5. “Please Don’t Go” by KC and the Sunshine Band moves up to #6 from #10 a week ago. Led Zeppelin’s “All My Love” is at #7; like many stations, KELI is playing it like a single even though it has not been officially released as one. The biggest mover on the KELI chart is “Sure Know Something” by KISS, up seven spots to #18. (It peaked on the Hot 100 at #47 a couple of weeks ago.) “Confusion” by ELO is up five to #25.

Perspective From the Present: My brother and I were at the Bob Marley show in Madison. He drew about 3,500 fans to the Coliseum; it would normally have seated upwards of 11,000 for a concert, but was in a more intimate configuration on that night. (Still, he drew about double the capacity of Madison’s venerable Orpheum Theater, where he had played in May 1978.) My brother was a senior in high school and I was a sophomore in college. Our musical tastes did not match much (and still don’t), but we were both listening to a lot of Bob Marley at that moment. It was an experience I’m glad we were able to have together, and it’s one of the shows I am gladdest to have seen. I found a bootleg recording of it a few years ago, which is quite a treasure.

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