Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Ten Great Songs From One Great Week
The songs the radio played this week in history
June 9-15, 1985
Hijacking of TWA #847 -- TWA Flight 847 was an international flight, which was hijacked by members of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, on Friday morning, June 14, 1985, after originally taking off from Cairo. The flight was en route from Athens to Rome and then scheduled to terminate in London. The passengers and crew endured a three-day intercontinental ordeal. Some passengers were threatened and some beaten. Passengers with Jewish-sounding names were moved apart from the others, and U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem was tortured and murdered. His body was thrown onto the tarmac. Dozens of passengers were held hostage over the next two weeks until released by their captors after some of their demands were met.
The Boeing 727, was piloted by 58-year-old Captain John Testrake and departed at 10:10 am, carrying 153 passengers and crew, including flight engineer Benjamin C. Zimmermann, co-pilot Philip G. Maresca, and flight attendant Uli Derickson. It was commandeered shortly after takeoff by two German-speaking Lebanese men who had smuggled pistols and grenades through the Athens airport security. One was later identified as Mohammed Ali Hamadi, who was later captured and sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany.
The plane was diverted from airspace over Greece to the Middle East and made its first stop, for several hours, at the Beirut International Airport in Lebanon, where 19 passengers were allowed to leave in exchange for fuel. During this time, Lebanon was in the midst of a civil war, and Beirut was divided into sectors controlled by different militias. That afternoon, the aircraft continued on to Algiers, Algeria, where 20 passengers were released during a five-hour stop before heading back to Beirut that night. Beirut International Airport, surrounded by a Shia neighborhood, had no perimeter security and nearby residents could simply drive onto the runway. During this stop, the hijackers identified a U.S. Navy diver, Robert Stethem, among the passengers. They beat him, shot him in the right temple, and dumped his body out of the plane onto the ramp. Seven American passengers, alleged to have Jewish-sounding surnames, were taken off the jet and held hostage somewhere in Beirut.
Nearly a dozen armed men joined the hijackers before the plane returned to Algiers the following day, where an additional 65 passengers were released. It returned to Beirut for a third time, landing on Sunday afternoon, 16 June, and remained there. The initial demands of the hijackers included: the release of the "Kuwait 17," those involved in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, the release of all 766 mainly Lebanese Shias transferred to Israel in conjunction with Israel's immediate withdrawal from Lebanon (a pullout had been underway since January and was already virtually complete), international condemnation of Israel and the United States. and condemnation of the March 8th (1985) car bombing in the Beirut suburb of Bir al Abed earlier that year. The Greek government released the accomplice, Ali Atwa, and in exchange the hijackers released eight Greek citizens, including Greek pop singer Demis Roussos. By Monday afternoon, June 17, most of the hostages had been taken from the plane and held hostage somewhere in Beirut. These 40 remaining hostages were held by Nabih Berri, the chief of the Amal militia and the Minister of Justice in the fractured Lebanon cabinet. One of the hostages was released when he developed heart trouble. The other 39 remained captive until 30 June, when they were driven to Syria. The hostages then boarded a U.S. Air Force C-141B Starlifter cargo plane and flew to Rhein-Main AB, West Germany. Over the next several weeks, Israel released over 700 Shia prisoners, while maintaining that the prisoners' release was not related to the hijacking.
The iconic image of this hijacking was a photograph showing a gun being held to the pilot's head, sticking out of the cockpit window, while he was being questioned by reporters. The scene was staged by a teenaged security guard left by the hijackers to hold the crew after all other hostages had either been released or taken into captivity elsewhere in Beirut. The teenager actually unloaded the gun before staging the scene, as he wanted to be on television. Flight attendant Uli Derickson was widely credited with calming the hijackers and saving the lives of many passengers. Because her German was the only common language with the hijackers, who spoke poor English, she acted as translator and liaison for most of the ordeal. Notably, she defused a tense situation in Algiers when airport officials refused to refuel the plane without payment by offering her own Shell Oil credit card, which was used to charge about $5,500 for 6,000 gallons of jet fuel, for which she was reimbursed. She also hid the passports of Jewish passengers so they could not be singled out.
The 1988 made-for-TV film The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story was directly based on this event.
#1 Single -- "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears For Fears
#1 Album -- "Around the World in a Day" by Prince and the Revolution
1648 – Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts colony.
1777 – The Stars and Stripes is adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.
1940 – World War II: Paris falls under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.
1947 – A supposed UFO crash lands in Roswell, New Mexico
1959 – The first daily operating monorail system in the Western Hemisphere, opens to the public at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
1982 – The Falklands War: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrender to British forces, ending the war.
1994 – A riot occurs in Vancouver, British Columbia, after the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup from Vancouver, causing an estimated C$1.1 million, thus forcing 200 arrests and injuries. One person is also left with permanent brain damage.
Possession Obsession -- Daryl Hall and John Oates
This song was yet another hit for the popular duo, but it's a departure from their typical sound. For one thing, it's fronted by John Oates, who usually let Daryl Hall take the lead on stage. The lyrics are a melding of romantic angst and pop psychology, indicating that possessiveness and jealousy in a romance are self-defeating. He sings of being obsessive-compulsive towards other people. Considered the top duo of the '80, with 13 top 10 hits in the decade by then, their enormous popularity began to wane sharply and they would only have one more song crack the top 10.
You're Only Human (Second Wind) -- Billy Joel
After Billy Joel attempted suicide back in 1970 (by drinking furniture polish), it failed to kill him and he wrote the song "Tomorrow is Today" as the suicide note. Later on he was asked if he could write a song that could help prevent teenage suicide. Joel agreed, but the first recording concerned him because it had a dreary and depressing tone that he thought might give troubled teens the wrong message. As result he created a new version with bouncy, joyous beats and lyrics about personal forgiveness and optimism for life. During the song, Joel noticeably hesitates with one of the verse lines and laughs after it. He decided to keep this mistake in the recorded version because it seemed to be proof of his personal fallibility, as in the line "You probably don't want to hear advice from someone else - But I wouldn't be telling you if I hadn't been there myself."
Not Enough Love In The World -- Don Henley
This song was the third single of the multi-platinum album Building The Perfect Beast. The LP was highly regarded by critics worldwide, and considered one of the finest works of music in the decade. The first single off the LP was "Boys Of Summer," which peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 and it gave Henley a presence on video that he didn't have for his first solo work. Henley, of course, was an original member of The Eagles, and along with Glenn Frey, wrote and recorded numerous hit singles and albums. While Frey excelled at writing hit songs (he reached the top 40 seven times as a solo artist, including two songs that peaked at #2), Henley drew the most success as an album artist, as all 4 of his solo LPs reached the top 20.
Power Of Love -- Huey Lewis and the News
This was featured in the movie Back to the Future and included on the soundtrack. Along with Stephen Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, music supervisor Bones Howe lobbied Lewis to write and record a song with a time theme for the movie - Lewis said that he had "a great idea" for a song called "Nick of Time." The producers and director (Zemeckis) loved it, but other commitments kept Lewis from delivering "Nick of Time" to Back to the Future - Patti LaBelle ended up singing it over the end titles of another film, Brewster's Millions. The producers of Back To The Future were upset about losing "Nick of Time," but Lewis assured them that he had a better song for the end of the film: "Back in Time." This was the first of three #1 hits for the group. The others were "Stuck With You" and "Jacob's Ladder."
Heaven -- Bryan Adams
In a December 2003 interview, composer Jim Vallance said he co-wrote this song with lyricist Bryan Adams for "a dreadful film called A Night In Heaven, about a male stripper, which was released in 1983." The film may have been third rate but the song was deservedly a monster hit. "Heaven" received only limited airplay when it was first released. However, a year and a half later, Adams re-released as the third single off of the multi-platinum Reckless LP. Six singles were released from the album: "Run to You," "Somebody," "Heaven," "Summer of '69," "One Night Love Affair," and "It's Only Love." All six singles made the top 15 on the Hot 100, a feat that at the time had been accomplished previously only by Michael Jackson's Thriller. "Heaven"was the most successful of the singles, as it reached #1.
The Search Is Over -- Survivor
This was written by Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, who were Survivor's primary songwriters. In an interview, Peterik said, "The Search Is Over" started as a title in my notebook. A lot of times, I'll write down a phrase that just sounds like something. I may have gotten it from the news - the search is over for the missing whatever. A lot of times, you don't know what the title means until you live it or someone you know lives it. It wasn't about my life as much as a friend of mine who had a girlfriend - really a play pal throughout their growing up years - and never thought it could be anything more than that. It was looking him straight in the face that this was the girl of his destiny, and he looked everywhere to find that dream girl only to come back to the sandbox. This couple is still married and going strong. It became kind of an allegory to looking for what is obvious; having it in your hand and you being too close to even realize it." As a teenager, Peterik formed The Ides Of March and wrote their hit "Vehicle." While he was with Survivor, he also wrote several hit songs for .38 Special, including "Hold On Loosely" and "Caught Up In You." He left Survivor in 1996 and continues to record with The Ides Of March.
You Give Good Love -- Whitney Houston
With production from Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, and Narada Michael Walden, Houston's debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years" while The New York Times called the album "an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent". Arista Records promoted Houston's album with three different singles from the album in the US, UK and other European countries. In the UK, the dance-funk "Someone for Me", which failed to chart in the country, was the first single while "All at Once" was in such European countries as the Netherlands and Belgium, where the song reached the top 5 on the singles charts, respectively. In the US, this soulful ballad was chosen as the lead single from Houston's debut to establish her in the black marketplace first. Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit, but in the US, it gave her first major hit as it peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 chart, and No. 1 on the Hot R/B chart. At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts. The third US single, "How Will I Know", peaked at No. 1 and introduced Houston to the MTV audience thanks to its video. Houston's subsequent singles from this, and future albums, would make her the first African-American female artist to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV.
Smuggler’s Blues -- Glenn Frey
Frey played a bad guy on the TV show Miami Vice in 1985 in an episode based on this song. It was good timing for Frey, who wrote a song about drug smuggling at a time when Miami Vice was looking for ideas. The show had lots of musical connections. Singer Sheena Easton also acted on the show, and the show's stars, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, both released albums (Johnson had a Top 10 hit with "Heartbeat"). One episode featured Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight." "Smuggler's Blues" was originally recorded for the LP The Allnighter, which was his second solo album. However, the first single ("Sexy Girl") only had a short stay on the charts and the LP was floundering. Along came Miami Vice and Frey was back in business.
Sussudio -- Phil Collins
On a 1997 episode of VH1 Storytellers, Collins said: "The lyrics are based on this schoolboy crush on this girl at school. It's happening with my daughter now, she's 8 years old and she loves this boy, but she won't tell him, like in the lyrics this boy loves her but they don't talk about it... how do they know? 'I know she likes me, I know she likes me, doesn't know my name, doesn't know I exist, but I know she likes me'... So that's what the song is about, so "sussudio" became a name for this person, and since it's become a name for a horse. My older daughter's got a horse called Sussudio, and I'm sure there are children all over the world with the name Sussudio, so I apologize for that."
Everything She Wants -- Wham!
Upon release, "Last Christmas" took the majority of the attention and airplay as it was appropriate in early December as Christmas approached. However, the presence of an equally-billed flip side meant that radio stations had something else to play once "Last Christmas" had lost its topicality. A five-minute song (there also exists a six-and-a-half-minutes-long version with an added bridge), "Everything She Wants" is written from the angle of a man rapidly approaching desperation at the material demands of his partner which seem to be coming to a head, despite the amount of work he does to keep her happy. In a twist, the second verse takes the story a step further by revealing that the woman is pregnant but the man cannot find any happiness in the announcement because of the extra pressure a baby will put upon him. The song reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, and became the third number-one song in a row from 1984's Make It Big album. Wham! would go on to have two more number-one hits in the UK before splitting at their height in 1986.
The Goonies ’R’ Good Enough -- Cyndi Lauper
This song was recorded for the 1985 film The Goonies, which came from the Steven Spielberg camp, and was directed by Richard Donner. Lauper had a quirky sound that fit well with the film, but for promotional purposes, Cyndi was pushed into playing the part of a ditzy girl by her record label. Lauper's then boyfriend/manager convinced her to get involved with pro wrestling, as he thought it would help promote her career. There was a 2-part video that was shot for this song which featured many popular pro-wrestlers of the day, including Andre the Giant, Captain Lou Albanno, and the Iron Shiek. The videos also featured Steven Spielberg, part of The Goonies cast, and - hidden among the video's cast - there are some "girl pirates" who are the (then completely unknown) Bangles.