Category Archives: One Day in Your Life

March 27, 1973: Who Do We Think We Are?

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(Pictured: Cabaret stars Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey at the movie’s Paris premiere in September 1972.)

(Here’s the first of a few repeats of One Day in Your Life posts from the now-defunct One Day in Your Life blog, as promised earlier in the week.)

March 27, 1973, was a Tuesday. Newspapers headline the agreement between the United States and North Vietnam that will result in the release of the last prisoners of war from North Vietnam and withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam later this week. But the Nixon Administration has also announced that military operations will continue in Cambodia until Communist forces agree to a cease-fire. Congressional Republicans are demanding that the White House provide more information about the Watergate break-in and operations against the McGovern campaign last year. In meetings today, President Nixon orders aide John Ehrlichman to conduct his own investigation of Watergate, since White House counsel John Dean hasn’t reported the results of the investigation he’s doing. In a conversation with Secretary of State William Rogers, the president places blame for Watergate on Attorney General John Mitchell and Deputy Chief of Staff Jeb Magruder. Among his public events today, Nixon meets with Lindy Boggs of Louisiana, who was elected to the House of Representatives one week ago to fill the seat previously held by her husband. Hale Boggs and Alaska congressman Nick Begich were aboard a plane that disappeared in Alaska last October; both men are presumed dead, although their bodies will never be found.

Playwright Noel Coward died yesterday at his estate in Jamaica; he was 73 years old. Tonight is Oscar night. Cabaret wins eight awards, including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli, Best Supporting Actor for Joel Grey, and Best Director for Bob Fosse. The Godfather wins three, including Best Picture. Marlon Brando is awarded Best Actor, but he is boycotting the ceremony in protest of treatment of American Indians and sends an actress named Sacheen Littlefeather to accept in his place. Dressed in Apache garb, she gives a brief speech declining the award on Brando’s behalf.

In sports, UCLA won its seventh straight NCAA men’s basketball championship last night, defeating Memphis State 87-66 in St. Louis. UCLA’s Bill Walton was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. It’s the first time the national championship game has been held on a Monday following semifinals on Saturday. In the NBA tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 85-84. Wilt Chamberlain of the Lakers plays 46 of the 48 minutes of the game but does not score a single point. Oscar Robertson scores 25 for the Bucks and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 24. It’s the last regular season game for the Bucks, although the Lakers have one more tomorrow, the last day of the regular season. Both the Bucks and Lakers will end up with 60-22 records, but the Boston Celtics have the league’s best record with 68 wins and 14 losses. The American Basketball Association will also end its regular season tomorrow. The league’s top teams going into the playoffs are the Carolina Cougars, Kentucky Colonels, and Utah Stars.

The three TV networks air 16 game shows and 12 soap operas today, including second episodes of The $10,000 Pyramid and The Young and the Restless, both of which premiered yesterday on CBS. At KQV in Pittsburgh, “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight and the Pips takes a mighty leap from #9 to #1 on the station’s latest survey. Last week’s #1, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack falls to #2. “Love Train” by the O’Jays blasts to #6 from #20 the previous week. Three other songs are new in the Top 10: “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by the Spinners, “Danny’s Song” by Anne Murray, and “Call Me” by Al Green. The highest-debuting new song on the survey is “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band” by the Moody Blues at #16. New songs in the Hit Parade Bound section of the survey are Helen Reddy’s “Peaceful,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder, and “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel. Top albums include Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player, No Secrets by Carly Simon, Hot August Night by Neil Diamond, and Who Do We Think We Are by Deep Purple.

March 25, 1985: You Like Me

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(Pictured: Dynasty star Diahann Carroll.)

March 23, 1985, was a Monday. The lead story on all three network newscasts tonight concerns the fatal shooting of an American soldier by a sentry near a Soviet military post in East Germany. Major Arthur D. Nicholson was on an espionage patrol near the post. The United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France agreed after World War II to permit certain types of intelligence operations, although all four admit trying to bend the rules. The United States has lodged a protest and says the Soviet account of what happened is incorrect. It’s the first diplomatic crisis to erupt since Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet leader. The networks also report on the Reagan Administration’s efforts to persuade Congress to increase funding for the MX missile system. CBS reports on a controversial teacher competency test mandated in Arkansas. Governor Bill Clinton defends the test, while teachers’ unions are critical. CBS and NBC both report on a court decision in Chicago prohibiting night baseball at Wrigley Field. Mayor Harold Washington defends the decision, while some people fear it may eventually result in the Cubs moving out of the city. In college basketball, the field is set for this weekend’s Final Four after games on Saturday and Sunday. Georgetown, Memphis State, St. John’s, and Villanova will play in the national semifinals on Saturday, with the championship game one week from tonight.

Diahann Carroll, whose career has been revitalized by her role in Dynasty, is on the cover of TV Guide. Tonight, ABC nearly doubles the ratings of its competitors with a Barbara Walters special featuring interviews with Neil Diamond, Barbara Mandrell, and Boy George, and the 57th Academy Awards. CBS counters with its regular Monday-night lineup of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Kate and Allie, Newhart, and Cagney and Lacey. NBC shows the Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way But Loose. At the Oscars, Best Picture nominees are Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, and A Soldier’s Story. F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce both get Best Actor nominations for Amadeus; Sally Field is nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Places in the Heart. All of the Best Original Song nominees were significant pop hits: “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” “Footloose,” “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” and “Ghostbusters.” Among the winners: Amadeus, Abraham, Field (who, during her acceptance speech, exclaims “You like me! You really like me!”), and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

Billy Joel and supermodel Christie Brinkley, who were married on a yacht in New York Harbor on Saturday, are on their honeymoon in an undisclosed location. The Grateful Dead plays Springfield, Massachusetts, and Deep Purple plays East Rutherford, New Jersey. U2 plays Richfield Coliseum in suburban Cleveland, and Julian Lennon plays Austin, Texas. At WBBM-FM in Chicago, “We Are the World” by USA for Africa vaults from #7 to #1, displacing “Material Girl” by Madonna, which falls to #2. Madonna is also at #8 with “Crazy for You,” up from #23. Several other stars have two songs on the chart: Wham, with “Careless Whisper” at #5 and “Everything She Wants,” which debuts at #29; the Time, with “Jungle Love” at #15 and “The Bird” at #24; Foreigner, with “That Was Yesterday” at #18 and “I Want to Know What Love Is” at #22; and David Lee Roth, with “California Girls” at #25 and the new “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” at #37.

Perspective From the Present: On April 1, Villanova would upset Georgetown in the NCAA men’s basketball final by a score of 66-64 to become the lowest-seeded team (#8) ever to win the title. And as March turned to April, “We Are the World” was the song everyone wanted to hear. In small-town Illinois, my radio station was happy to give it to them.

Note to Patrons: This is a new One Day in Your Life post. Now through the end of May, while we’re all sitting at home hoping not to get sick, I’m gonna bust out some extra content, including ODIYL posts that appeared for the first time at the now-defunct ODIYL site but never here. The repeats will run intermittently, sometimes outside my usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting schedule, although the first one will go up on Friday.

Beyond that, you can expect a lot of activity here, new stuff and repeats, for as long as the crisis lasts, because what else do I have to do?

February 28, 1960: Let It Be Me

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(Pictured: Team USA and the Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics, February 27, 1960.)

February 28, 1960, is a Sunday. This afternoon, closing ceremonies are held at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. One day after a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Soviet Union, the United States wins the gold medal in ice hockey, scoring six third-period goals to beat Czechoslovakia, 9-4. The only other event held today is ski jumping. The Soviets won the medal race with 21, including seven gold; the United States takes 10 medals, three of which are gold. In addition to the hockey gold, Americans David Jenkins and Carol Heiss won gold in men’s and women’s figure skating.

The New York Times publishes a brief item on an order issued by top Air Force brass regarding unidentified flying objects. They are to be treated as “‘serious business’ directly related to the nation’s defense.” Also today, newspapers report on the first test of the 1960 presidential campaign, the New Hampshire primary, one week from Tuesday. Also in the Sunday papers: stories on Friday’s surprise announcement by Britain’s Princess Margaret that she plans to marry a commoner, photographer Antony Armstrong Jones, and on the demolition of Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, which began this past week. On a visit to Los Angeles, Dr. Martin Luther King speaks at three different churches. Tomorrow, he will return to Montgomery, Alabama, and surrender to authorities on a charge of perjury regarding purportedly fraudulent tax returns. In Vancouver, British Columbia, future model Dorothy Stratten is born. In rural Wisconsin, after the cows are milked tonight, a young farm couple goes to the hospital for the birth of their first child, whose due date was last Thursday.

At Southern States Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richard Petty wins today’s NASCAR race on the half-mile dirt track. It’s his first NASCAR win. Three games are played in the National Basketball Association today. The league-leading Boston Celtics get 27 points each from Bill Russell and Bob Cousy and 26 from Bill Sharman to beat the New York Knicks 129-125. The Philadelphia Warriors come from behind to beat the Detroit Pistons 113-111; Warriors’ rookie sensation Wilt Chamberlain plays all 48 minutes and scores 23 points. Also today, the Western-Division leading St. Louis Hawks beat the last-place Cincinnati Royals 122-105. The NBA’s other two teams, the Syracuse Nationals and Minneapolis Lakers, are idle today. Two games are played in the National Hockey League: the Chicago Black Hawks beat Detroit 5-2 and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat New York 5-3.

On TV tonight, the networks roll out a number of westerns: Colt .45, Maverick, The Lawman, The Rebel, and The Overland Trail. Not quite a western is The Alaskans, an adventure show starring Roger Moore. Ed Sullivan welcomes Bobby Darin, Connie Francis, Della Reese, and a couple of his regular guests, comedians Corbett Monica and Senor Wences. On What’s My Line, panelists include Arlene Francis and Ben Gazzara, and the mystery guest is singer Peggy Lee. Other shows on TV tonight include Lassie, General Electric Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Loretta Young Show.

At WOKY in Milwaukee, “Wild One” by Bobby Rydell takes over the #1 position on the new Hit Parader Survey, knocking “Handy Man” by Jimmy Jones to #2. “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves, “Harlem Nocturne” by the Viscounts, and “Theme From A Summer Place” by Percy Faith make strong moves within the Top 10; “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” is concluding its first week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also in the WOKY Top 10: Jack Scott’s “What in the World’s Come Over You,” “Teen Angel” by Mark Dinning, “Let It Be Me” by the Everly Brothers, the Four Preps’ “Down by the Station,” and “Beatnik Fly” by Johnny and the Hurricanes. Elsewhere on the chart: Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea,” “Running Bear” by Johnny Preston, “El Paso” by Marty Robbins, and Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love.”

Perspective From the Present: Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy won their New Hampshire primary races in undramatic fashion. Martin Luther King would be freed on bail after returning home and acquitted of perjury charges during a spring trial. Richard Petty would win 199 more times before retiring in 1992 as the greatest stock-car racer of them all. Wilt Chamberlain would be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and its Most Valuable Player for the 1959-60 season. In 1980, Dorothy Stratten would become Playboy‘s Playmate of the Year and be murdered by her estranged husband. “Theme From A Summer Place” would spend nine weeks at #1 in Billboard. And I would be born on the 29th, four days late and a little behind ever since.

January 18, 1995: Hammer and Nails

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(Pictured: a shock-rock summit. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, front left, hangs with Marilyn Manson, behind Reznor, and the rest of Manson’s band, backstage at a 1995 TV taping.)

(A rare Saturday post, by request. If there’s a date you’d like to get the ODIYL treatment, get in touch.)

January 18, 1995, was a Wednesday. ABC and CBS lead their evening news broadcasts with the continued legal maneuverings in advance of O. J. Simpson’s trial for murder. He’s accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman last summer. NBC leads with stories about an earthquake in Kobe, Japan, that caused widespread damage and thousands of deaths, and a far smaller quake in Oklahoma City; the Simpson case is covered after the first commercial break. Controversy continues over the ethics of newly installed House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s $4.5 million book deal with Harper Collins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Gingrich is also under fire for comments he made about women being unfit to serve in combat: “females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections.” Volunteers in 71 countries are monitoring their various forms of news media to see what’s being reported and how, and to draw conclusions about media and gender. The first report of the Global Media Monitoring Project will be published in September. Studies will be done every five years; in 2020, over 100 countries will be involved.

Two graduate students at Stanford, who have maintained a directory of places that can be visited by computers connected to the World Wide Web, formally register the domain name In New Orleans, Celeste Keys is born, three months after her twin brother Timothy, who arrived prematurely last October. Ninety-five days between twins is the longest span on record. Also born today is future NFL running back Leonard Fournette. Colorful major league umpire Ron Luciano, who retired in 1980, dies at age 57. Charles Baskerville, a member of the R&B trio Shep and the Limelites, dies at age 59.

Eight games are played in the National Basketball Association. The league’s top team, the Orlando Magic, runs its record to 31-and-7 with a 108-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Shaquille O’Neal scores 42 for the Magic. David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs also scores 42 tonight in a 111-110 loss to Charlotte. Play will resume in the National Hockey League on Friday following the settlement of the labor dispute that led owners to lock out the Players Association last October. NHL teams will play a 48-game regular season.

Among the choices for midweek moviegoers are Legends of the Fall starring Brad Pitt, Nobody’s Fool starrring Bruce Willis and Paul Newman, and Dumb and Dumber. ABC wins the TV ratings race tonight with episodes of Sister Sister, All-American Girl (starring Margaret Cho), Roseanne, Ellen, and the news magazine Prime Time Live. NBC airs episodes of The Cosby Mysteries, Dateline NBC, and Law and Order. CBS starts the night with the Designing Women spinoff Women of the House and Hearts Afire, both set in Washington D.C. and produced by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason. They’re followed by two sitcoms from Murphy Brown creator Diane English, Double Rush and Love and War. CBS ends its night with an episode of Northern Exposure. FOX has episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and Party of Five.

The Eagles play Sacramento on the Hell Freezes Over tour. R.E.M. plays Sydney, Australia, and Nine Inch Nails plays Milwaukee. A Nine Inch Nails show scheduled for Moline, Illinois, tomorrow night will be cancelled due to a 15-inch snowstorm. There’s been controversy about the show since it was announced last December. Religious groups object to the band’s songs and images, and to the fact that Nine Inch Nails refers to those used for the crucifixion of Jesus. Later this week, a local Baptist preacher will tell the local newspaper, “We have had several people pray that the Lord do something to stop it, and I feel that he has done what he has done.” One newspaper story about the cancellation is headlined, “Blizzard Hammers Nails.” The show is not rescheduled.

Perspective From the Present: We were living in Davenport, Iowa, across the Mississippi River from Moline at this time, although I don’t remember the Nine Inch Nails controversy at all. I had other stuff on my mind: this day would have been my second day back in college at the University of Iowa, pursuing a teaching certificate. (I seem to recall that I got there and back, an hour commute on the interstate, on the blizzard day.) I wrote about the music of this week back in 2015; that post is here.

December 31, 1969: That’s the Way It Is

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(Pictured: Jimi with Noel Redding, 1969.)

December 31, 1969, was a Wednesday. Although the crime won’t be discovered until next week, union leader Jock Yablonski, his wife, and their daughter are murdered tonight in their Pennsylvania home. Earlier this month, Yablonski lost a controversial election for the presidency of the United Mine Workers union to the current president, Tony Boyle. Vice President Spiro Agnew, currently on a tour of the Phillippines, will make a brief stop in Vietnam tomorrow to meet with President Thieu and American soldiers. Vietnam continues under a New Year’s truce, although each side charges the other with violating it. The Army orders that SSgt. David Mitchell be court-martialed for intent to murder 30 civilians in Vietnam at My Lai. He’s the second soldier bound over for trial, after Lt. William Calley. Tonight, NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report airs a feature on the mating habits of college students amid the growing number of co-ed dormitories. Another NBC story discusses the perception that long hair equates with degeneracy, rebellion, and disrespect for American ideals. ABC concludes its evening news broadcast with commentary by anchors Frank Reynolds and Howard K. Smith bidding farewell to the 1960s. Reynolds closes the broadcast by saying, “And that’s the way it is . . . good night Walter, good night Chet, good night David, and happy new year everybody.”

The college football postseason continues tonight with the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl in the Houston Astrodome, where the University of Houston defeats Clemson 36-7. Four of the season’s 11 bowl games will be played tomorrow. Undefeated Texas will try to claim the national championship with a win over Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. Notre Dame has changed its no-bowl-games policy and is playing in one for the first time since 1925. Also tomorrow: Penn State vs. Missouri in the Orange Bowl, USC vs. Michigan in the Rose Bowl, and Arkansas vs. Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl. Four games are played in the National Basketball Association tonight. Among them, the Milwaukee Bucks get 35 points from Lew Alcindor, 32 from Flynn Robinson, and 28 from Bob Dandridge to defeat the San Diego Rockets 143-126. Elvin Hayes leads the Rockets with 26 points.

Even though it’s New Year’s Eve, the TV networks roll out first-run episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, Medical Center, Hawaii Five-O, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Room 222, Then Came Bronson, and The Virginian. Jimi Hendrix and his Band of Gypsys open a two-night stand at the Fillmore East in New York City with two shows. After a countdown to the new year, Hendrix and the band play “Auld Lang Syne.” After the show, Jimi goes to a bar in Greenwich Village, where he jams with the James Cotton Blues Band.

The top movie of 1969 is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Although it’s been out only since late October, it’s outdistanced the year’s other top films, which include the Disney comedy The Love Bug, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, True Grit, and Goodbye Columbus. Only four books led the New York Times‘ weekly list of fiction best-sellers this year: The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes, in which government agents pursue Nazi-era secrets; Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth; The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann; and Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. The year’s top nonfiction books include Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) by Dr. David Reuben, and The Sensuous Woman, by an author identified only as “J.” On television, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In ended the 1968-69 season at #1 and is on its way to leading the ratings for the 1969-70 season now in progress. Other top-rated shows this year include Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Mayberry RFD, and Gomer Pyle USMC, which ended its five-season run in May second only to Laugh-In in the ratings. Around the country tonight, radio stations spotlight their top hits of 1969.

Perspective From the Present: The Yablonskis were murdered on the orders of Tony Boyle, who eventually died in prison. David Mitchell was cleared of charges in the My Lai massacre. Texas was voted college football’s national champion by the Associated Press after its come-from-behind 21-17 win over Notre Dame, although other voting bodies awarded titles to Nebraska and Ohio State.

After watching the Bluebonnet Bowl at my grandparents’ house, to which we were usually packed off on New Year’s Eve so our parents could celebrate my father’s December 31 birthday and the new year, I watched the last 10 seconds of 1969 tick away on the clock that sat next to Grandpa’s chair in the living room. As it hit midnight I said to myself, “Now it’s 1970.”

Buckle up, kid. The next 10 50 years are gonna be quite a ride.

December 6, 1969: Let It Bleed

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(Pictured: Mick and Keef perform on the barely raised stage at Altamont.)

(A version of this post has appeared at this blog previously, and at the late One Day in Your Life site. This version has been revised quite a bit.)

December 6, 1969, was a Saturday. In what is billed as college football’s “game of the century,” #1 Texas comes from two touchdowns behind to defeat #2 Arkansas 15-14. President Richard Nixon attends the game in Fayetteville, Arkansas, along with congressman and future president George H. W. Bush. There are two pro football games today. In the AFL, Joe Namath throws two touchdown passes and the New York Jets hold off a late rally to beat the Houston Oilers 34-26. In the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Chicago Bears 42-21. The Bears’ record falls to 1-11-1; the 49ers are 3-7-2. Sonny Liston is knocked out by Leotis Martin in Las Vegas; George Foreman fights on the undercard. The University of Dayton opens its new arena with a basketball game against Bowling Green. Future actress Torri Higginson and future stripper Alyssa Alps are born. The man who kidnapped Cindy Birdsong of the Supremes and two friends earlier this week turns himself in to police.

Kids’ shows on TV this morning include The Pink Panther, H. R. Pufnstuf, The Banana Splits, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, and Cattanooga Cats. Tonight, NBC airs a Hallmark Hall of Fame special titled The Littlest Angel starring Johnnie Whittaker. It’s followed by the 1965 theatrical movie The Hallelujah Trail, a comedic western starring Burt Lancaster. ABC’s lineup includes The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The Lawrence Welk Show, and the variety show Hollywood Palace. CBS starts with The Jackie Gleason Show, followed by the special With Love From Hollywood starring Ann-Margret and her guest Lucille Ball, and ends with episodes of Petticoat Junction and Mannix.

Jethro Tull plays the Fillmore East in New York City, Led Zeppelin plays in France, and Pink Floyd plays in Wales. Bill Cosby performs in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Monkees, now down to a trio of Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith, play Salt Lake City. Ten Years After plays Copenhagen and Janis Joplin plays Charlottesville, Virginia. The Rolling Stones, whose new album Let It Bleed was officially released yesterday, conclude their American tour at Altamont Speedway in California with Santana, the Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and the Grateful Dead. Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, with Eric Clapton and George Harrison on guitar, play the Empire Theater in Liverpool. It’s Harrison’s first performance in his hometown since 1965. Tomorrow’s show in London will be recorded and released next year as Delaney and Bonnie and Friends on Tour With Eric Clapton.

At WSPT in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, “Holly Holy” by Neil Diamond is #1 this week, replacing “And When I Die” by Blood Sweat and Tears, which falls to #3. “Take a Letter Maria” by R. B. Greaves is #2. Four songs are new in the Top 10, including “Someday We’ll Be Together” by the Supremes, which will be the last Hot #100 #1 of 1969, and “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by B. J. Thomas, which will be the first Billboard #1 song of 1970. Other songs more popular in central Wisconsin than they are in other places include “Morning Dew” by the Las Vegas group Sound Foundation, Chicago favorites the Cryan Shames with “Rainmaker,” and “Ready to Ride” by Southwind, country-rockers from Los Angeles, featuring singer/guitarist John “Moon” Martin.

Perspective From the Present: Studying events from late 1969 from 50 years’ distance, the sensation of an impending ending is impossible to ignore. It may have felt that way at the time, just a little. Everyone knew how momentous the 1960s had been, and if a person had a sense of mingled relief that the decade was ending and nagging fear that the 1970s might be even wilder, nobody could have blamed them. Looking back now, certain songs popular in the last couple of months of the year give me an end-of-days vibe—“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” “Eli’s Coming,” “Fortunate Son,” “Yesterme, Yesteryou, Yesterday,” “Cherry Hill Park,” “Baby It’s You”—but that’s cherry-picking. There were just as many songs not dark at all: “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Backfield in Motion,” “Down on the Corner,” “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Jam Up Jelly Tight,” and on and on.

On this particular day, I watched the Texas-Arkansas game, and I would probably have looked in on the pro football games, too. I did not feel like the end of days was coming. What was coming was Christmas, and nine-year-old me looked forward to it like Ralphie Parker.

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