Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ten Great Songs From One Great Week
The songs the radio played this week in history

June 12-18, 1994

The O.J. Simpson Murders -- At 12:10 am on June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown (Simpson) and Ronald Goldman were found murdered outside Brown's Bundy Drive condo in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.  Nicole Brown and O.J. Simpson had divorced two years earlier. Evidence found and collected at the scene led police to suspect that O.J. - a Hall of Fame running back for the NFL's Buffalo Bills, as well as a Hollywood actor and celebrity - was the murderer. Nicole had been stabbed multiple times in the head and neck with defense wounds on her hands. The wound through her neck was gaping, through which the larynx could be seen and vertebrae C3 was also incised.

Lawyers convinced the LAPD to allow Simpson to turn himself in at 11 am on June 17, 1994 even though the double murder charge meant no bail and a possible death penalty verdict if convicted. Over 1,000 reporters waited for Simpson at the police station, but he failed to appear. At 2 pm, the Los Angeles Police Department issued an all-points bulletin. At 5 pm Robert Kardashian, a Simpson friend and one of his defense lawyers, read a rambling letter by Simpson to the media. In the letter Simpson sent greetings to 24 friends and wrote, "First everyone understand I had nothing to do with Nicole's murder ... Don't feel sorry for me. I've had a great life. To many, this sounded like a suicide note, and the reporters joined the search for Simpson. According to Simpson lawyer Robert Shapiro, also present at Kardashian's press conference, Simpson's psychiatrists agreed with the suicide note interpretation; on television the attorney appealed to Simpson to surrender.

At around 6:20 pm, a motorist in Orange County saw Simpson riding in his white Bronco, driven by his friend, A. C. Cowlings, and notified police. The police then tracked calls placed from Simpson on his cellular telephone. At 6:45 pm, a police officer saw the Bronco, going north on Interstate 405. When the officer approached the Bronco with sirens blaring, Cowlings yelled that Simpson was in the back seat of the vehicle and had a gun to his own head. The officer backed off, but followed the vehicle at 35 miles per hour, with up to 20 police cars participating in the chase. For some time a Los Angeles News Service helicopter piloted by Bob Tur and contracted by KCBS had exclusive coverage, but over 20 helicopters joined the chase; the high degree of media participation caused camera signals to appear on incorrect television channels. Radio station KNX also provided live coverage of the slow-speed pursuit. USC sports announcer Pete Arbogast and station producer Oran Sampson contacted former USC coach John McKay to go on the air and encourage Simpson to end the pursuit. McKay agreed and asked Simpson to pull over and turn himself in instead of committing suicide. He responded to the pleas from McKay and other friends by stating that he was "just gonna go with Nicole". Simpson's friend Al Michaels interpreted his actions as an admission of guilt.

All Big Three television networks and CNN as well as local news outlets interrupted regular programming, with 95 million viewers nationwide. While NBC continued coverage of Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden, the game appeared in a small box in the corner while Tom Brokaw as anchorman covered the chase. The chase was covered live by ABC News anchors Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters on behalf of ABC's five news magazines, which achieved some of their highest-ever ratings that week. Domino's Pizza later reported "record sales" of pizza delivery during the televised chase.

Thousands of spectators and on-lookers packed overpasses along the procession's journey waiting for the white Bronco. In a festival-like atmosphere, some had signs urging Simpson to flee. They and the millions watching the chase on television felt part of a "common emotional experience", as they wondered if O.J. would commit suicide, escape, be arrested, or engage in some kind of violent confrontation. Whatever might ensue, the shared adventure gave millions of viewers a vested interest, a sense of participation, a feeling of being on the inside of a national drama in the making. Simpson reportedly demanded that he be allowed to speak to his mother before he would surrender. The chase ended at 8:00 pm at his Brentwood home, 50 miles later, where his son Jason ran out of the house to greet him. After remaining in the Bronco for about 45 minutes, leaving at the conclusion of the 1994 NBA Finals, Simpson was allowed to go inside for about an hour; a police spokesman stated that he spoke to his mother and drank a glass of orange juice, resulting in laughter from the reporters. Shapiro arrived and a few minutes later, Simpson surrendered to authorities. In the Bronco the police found "$8,000 in cash, a change of clothing, a loaded .357 Magnum, a passport, family pictures, and a fake goatee and mustache."

Music Charts:

#1 Single -- "I Swear" by All-4-One
#1 Album -- "The Sign" by Ace of Base

Other Events:

1665 – England installs a municipal government in New York City (New Amsterdam).
1939 – The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.
1942 – Holocaust: Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday.
1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers is murdered in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi by Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith.
1967 – The United States Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia declares all U.S. state laws which prohibit interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.
1978 – David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer in New York City, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings.
1987 – At the Brandenburg Gate U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
1990 – Russia Day – the parliament of the Russian Federation formally declares its sovereignty.
2009 – A disputed election in Iran leads to wide ranging protests in Iran and around the world.

Until I Fall Away -- Gin Blossoms

This was the Gin Blossoms' third single from their second LP New Miserable Experience, which was their first commercially successful record. In February 1992, while still working to complete it, founding member and lead guitarist/songwriter Doug Hopkins drank heavily and grew increasingly stubborn and disillusioned with the process. Faced with the prospect of being dropped by their label, the band terminated Hopkins and replaced him with Scott Johnson. The album was completed and the first single released from it was Hopkins' song "Hey Jealousy". It would reach #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the achievement would be overshadowed by Hopkins' suicide on December 4, 1993. The following year, another song penned by Hopkins, "Found Out About You", would also reach #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and climb to #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks. The band took their name from a photo of W.C. Fields which bore the caption "W.C. Fields with gin blossoms", referring to what appeared to be the actor's gin-ravaged nose, but was actually a skin condition known as rosacea.

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm -- Crash Test Dummies

The song tells the story of three children whose strange experiences seem normal to them. The theme is the strength of the family unit. They began as a cover group while lead singer Brad Roberts studied to be a professor in English literature. Roberts played guitar in the group but did not sing because he thought his voice was too deep. A vocal coach convinced him that he had a good, distinctive voice, and Roberts' deep baritone made this stand out on the radio. Even today, very few people sing as low as he does on rock records. In 2000, Roberts was nearly killed in a car accident, but escaped with a broken arm before his car exploded. The band is named after the devices used to test the effects of car accidents on humans. They once toured with Alanis Morissette, who might consider this ironic.

Crazy -- Aerosmith

This is about a guy whose girlfriend packs up her stuff and leaves, and just how much he misses her. In the video. Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler teamed up to be runaway school girls who have the time of their lives on the road. "Crazy" was the second highest chart performance for the band out of all the singles for Get a Grip ("Cryin'" was the highest charting of the 6 singles off the LP). The song also earned the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1994. This was the band's second Grammy win for Get a Grip and third Grammy award overall. The video for "Crazy" was selected #23 in VH1's Top 100 Music Videos of All Time.

Shine -- Collective Soul

"Shine" is a song by post-grunge band Collective Soul, and it was the lead single from their 1993 debut album Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid. The song would remain the band's most well known song and a hallmark of '90s alternative rock. It became the #1 Album Rock Song of 1994 and won a Billboard award for Top Rock Track. Due to the song's lyrical themes, particularly the mention of "heaven", Collective Soul was often early on regarded as a Christian band. Frontman Ed Roland elaborated, "I remember around the time ["Shine" came out] getting into an argument with a writer who said, 'You're a Christian band.' I said, 'No, we're not.' 'Well, you have the word heaven in your song.' And I said, 'Well, so does Led Zeppelin. I don't remember anyone saying they were a Christian band.'" He went on to stress that such classification would unite the bandmates' beliefs and that a particular doctrine can not speak for all its members. Roland did note, however, his religious background and the fact that his father is a Southern Baptist minister but that this does not justify a Christian label.

Can You Feel The Love Tonight -- Elton John

This was featured in the Disney movie The Lion King, when the main character, Simba the lion, falls in love with his childhood friend Nala, to the dismay of his friends Timon and Pumba. The song was almost cut from the movie because it was not working with the scene, but Elton convinced the producers to leave it in. The Lion King soundtrack sold over 10 million copies, as Elton wrote the music and Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. Rice made a name for himself putting lyrics to showtunes by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Elton contributed most of the songs on The Lion King soundtrack, including "Circle Of Life," a Top-20 hit in the US. and UK. "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" peaked at #4 on the Hot 100, marking his 24th song to reach the top 10.

Mr. Jones -- Counting Crows

"Mr. Jones" is Marty Jones, a friend of lead singer Adam Duritz. Before Duritz joined Counting Crows, they were in a band together called The Himalayans. This was written by Duritz and guitarist David Bryson. On an episode of VH1's Storytellers, Adam explained: "It's really a song about my friend Marty and I. We went out one night to watch his dad play, his dad was a Flamenco guitar player who lived in Spain, and he was in San Francisco in the mission playing with his old Flamenco troupe. And after the gig we all went to this bar called the New Amsterdam in San Francisco on Columbus and we got completely drunk. And Marty and I sat at the bar staring at these two girls, wishing there was some way we could go talk to them, but we were too shy. We kept joking with each other that if we were big rock stars instead of such loser, low-budget musicians, this would be easy. I went home that night and I wrote a song about it. I joke about what it's about, that story. But it's really a song about all the dreams and all the things that make you want to go into doing whatever it is that seizes your heart, whether it's being a rock star or being a doctor or whatever. Those things run from 'all this stuff I have pent up inside of me' to 'I want to meet girls because I'm tired of not being able to.' It is a lot of those things, it's about all those dreams, but it's also kind of cautionary because it's about how misguided you may be about some of those things and how hollow they may be too. Like the character in the song keeps saying, 'When everybody loves me I will never be lonely,' and you're supposed to know that that's not the way it's gonna be. I knew that even then. And this is a song about my dreams."

Black Hole Sun -- Soundgarden

"Black Hole Sun" is the name of a sculpture found in Seattle. It's in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill. It looks kind of like a huge, black doughnut and it's aimed so you can see the Space Needle through the middle of it. The song itself is about surrealism and imagery. Like John Lennon, Chris Cornell wrote this song for the sake of playing around with words, but he song doesn't really carry message. The album debuted at #1 in the US and did a lot better than their previous album, which peaked at #39. This got a lot of radio play because the alternative, "grunge" sound was popular at the time and Top-40 radio stations were playing a lot of songs by artists like Pearl Jam and The Stone Temple Pilots.

Stay, I Missed You -- Lisa Loeb

In an interview with Lisa Loeb, she explained: "At the time I was having arguments with my boyfriend, who was actually my co-producer as well - we made records together. And then I go off into some other areas: I remember somebody close to me was going through severe, severe depression. A lot of times in my songs, I get into some phase where I describe some other situation, and there's a whole verse in there about somebody who is very, very depressed. But yeah, it was a story about a breakup I was going through, and that situation where it's gotten into your head too much. Partially because somebody else is telling you that you're only hearing what you want to, and that puts you in a little bit of a tailspin. It puts me in a little bit of a tailspin, because you can't figure out what's actually real, are you only seeing things through your own eyes? Are you actually seeing things the way that they really are, or are you making things up? And at what point do you know whether you're seeing things the way that they really are?"

Don't Turn Around -- Ace of Base

"Don't Turn Around" was the third, and final, top 5 hit for the Gothenburg, Sweden band. In 1987, following a number of years as part of a new romantic and punk covers band called G Konrad, Jonas Berggren formed a band with two friends, Johnny Lindén and Niklas Tränk for a school project; his sisters Linn and Jenny joined as singers. The band went through numerous name changes to help their fortunes, however the band continued to struggle to gain any recognition, partly due to the preference of heavy metal over techno in their hometown. It was another song that was to help Ace of Base's career take off internationally. After hearing Swedish top 20 hit "Another Mother" by Kayo, the band decided that was exactly the sound they wanted to create. They contacted the song's producer Denniz PoP and sent him a demo of a song called "Mr Ace". Coincidentally, the tape got stuck in the cassette tape player in his car, so he was forced to listen to it over and over again, which helped him decide to produce the track. The song became "All That She Wants", a dark fusion of dub-reggae with pop which became the band's trademark sound. On release in October 1992, it quickly climbed to #1 on the Danish chart while the previous single was still sitting at #2. Keen to rush out an LP for the Christmas market, Mega Records pressed the band for an album and it was hastily recorded, mixed, and released within a few weeks.

Loser -- Beck

The chorus of "Soy un perdedor" is Spanish for "I'm a loser." Beck got the idea for this song from his friend who always called him "Loser," and he decided to write it into a chorus of a song as a joke. He didn't think anything would ever come of it. Beck recorded this in 1993 after the owner of Bongload Records spotted him in Los Angeles and offered him some studio time. Beck was broke at the time and playing local coffeehouses to make a living. Alternative and college radio stations in the Los Angeles area started playing this, which prompted Geffen Records to sign Beck. They rerecorded it in 1994 and released it as his first single on the label. This created an image for Beck as strange slacker who went against the establishment.


Return To Innocence -- Enigma

This was the lead single from The Cross of Changes, the second album from the electronica/new age music act Enigma. The song was an international hit, topping the charts in over 12 countries including Greece, Norway, Sweden and Ireland and reaching the Top 10 in many other territories. The song was based on a native Taiwanese chant by a Taiwanese tribesman Kuo Ying-nan and his wife Kuo Hsiu-chu, who had recorded the track in Paris in 1988 during a cultural exchange. The sampled chanting was the subject of a series of lawsuits and the case was finally settled out of court in 1999 for an undisclosed amount of money. As a result the two Taiwanese Amis singers to this day receive 100% of the royalties for the song. The song's drum beat was sampled from the Led Zeppelin song "When the Levee Breaks." The song was used to promote several types of media in the mid 1990s, including being used in a television commercial to advertise the 1996 Summer Olympics.

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