Sunday, June 24, 2012

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

June 28-July 4, 1987

Sardasht Chemical Weapons Attack - On June 28, 1987, Iraqi aircraft dropped what Iranian authorities believed to be mustard gas bombs on Sardasht, Iran. in two separate bombing runs on four residential areas. The numbers of victims were initially estimated as 10 civilians dead and 650 civilians injured. Out of a population of 20,000, 25% are still suffering severe illnesses from the attacks. The gas attacks occurred during the Iran–Iraq War, when Iraq frequently used chemical weapons against Iranian civilians and soldiers.

In April 2004, the government of the United States (US) was found by the Tehran Public Court to be liable for the attacks, through its previous support for the government of Saddam Hussein. The US government was ordered to pay $600 million compensation to the victims.

Because Sardasht was not considered a military target, the population was both unprotected and unprepared for a chemical weapons assault. Living close to the border and to the war front, citizens had become accustomed to Iraqi bombardment with conventional weapons. However, people later told physicians that they did not know that the bombs carried chemical weapons; in fact, at first they had been relieved when the bombs did not explode.

Due to the direction of the wind, even the hospital and the convalescent center were contaminated, and the few doctors and nurses who were working there had to leave. Two public baths were used for decontamination of the victims and a small stadium was converted to a 150-bed medical facility. Within the first few hours, about 30 people died, mostly young children and old people, due to severe respiratory problems. Out of 12,000 inhabitants, according to official reports, 8,000 were exposed. Of the 4,500 requiring medical care, 1,500 were hospitalized, 600 of them in Tehran. The other 3,000 were treated as outpatients and discharged. Many of these 3,000 former outpatients left the city for the villages and attempted to treat themselves, using traditional medicines, etc. These people do not have medical records of their exposure and now are having difficulty obtaining government benefits.

Included among the 4,500 casualties requiring medical attention were some of the rescuers.

Casualties up until 2007: altogether 130 people (109 civilians, 21 military and other) have died from the sulfur mustard attack on Sardasht in June 1987. Twenty people died in the first few hours, ten during the evacuation to other cities, and about one hundred more died in hospitals in Iran and Europe during the next month. Of the civilians who died, 39 were under 18 years of age, including 11 under the age of 5. Thirty-four women and girls died.

A year later, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ordered another chemical attack upon the Kurds in Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan. That time, aside from mustard gas, which was used in Sardasht, the bombs included the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX; some sources have also pointed to the blood agent hydrogen cyanide (most of the wounded taken to hospitals in the Iranian capital Tehran were suffering from mustard gas exposure).

Music Charts:

#1 Single -- "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston
#1 Album -- "Whitney" by Whitney Houston

Other Events:

1461 – Edward IV is crowned King of England.
1776 – The Battle of Sullivan's Island ends with the first decisive victory in the American Revolutionary War leading to the commemoration of Carolina Day.
1894 – Labor Day becomes an official US holiday.
1902 – The U.S. Congress passes the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.
1914 – Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, the casus belli of World War I.
1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end in between Germany and the Allies of World War I.
1964 – Malcolm X forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
1967 – Israel annexes East Jerusalem.
1969 – Stonewall Riots begin in New York City marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.
1994 – Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult release sarin gas in Matsumoto, Japan; 7 persons are killed, 660 injured.
1997 – Mike Tyson is disqualified in the 3rd round for biting a piece off Evander Holyfield's ear.
2004 – Sovereign power is handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of that nation.

She Don’t Look Back -- Dan Fogelberg

Following a string of top 40 hits between 1978-1984, Fogelberg took a risk with his next LP, High Country Snows, which was a collection of bluegrass songs that, while popular with his Country fans, was the least successful of his records since his debut LP in 1972. By 1987, Dan returned to his more rock style with the next release, Exiles, which was also a more personal group of songs that focused on his recent divorce. "She Don't Look Back" was the first release from the LP and was the last of his songs to hit the Hot 100.

Mary’s Prayer -- Danny Wilson

Having been initially formed in the early 80's performing under the names Perfect Strangers and then Dream Kitchen, brothers Gary Clark (vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist) and Kit Clark (guitarist) formed a band with friend Ged Grimes in 1984, initially under the name Spencer Tracy. However, after objections from the estate of Spencer Tracy, they changed their name to Danny Wilson, as taken from the 1952 Frank Sinatra film, Meet Danny Wilson. Signed to Virgin Records in 1986, they released the album, Meet Danny Wilson the following year; the lead single, "Mary's Prayer" was initially unsuccessful in the UK, but it eventually became a Top 30 hit in the U.S. later that year. Buoyed by this success it was re-released in 1988, and reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. The band released its second and final album, Bebop Moptop the following year, including the hit single "The Second Summer Of Love", which reached #23. They broke up in 1991.

Luka -- Suzanne Vega

On a 1987 Swedish television special, Vega said: "A few years ago, I used to see this group of children playing in from of my building, and there was one of them, whose name was Luka, who seemed a little bit distinctive from the other children. I always remembered his name, and I always remembered his face, and I didn't know much about him, but he just seemed set apart from these other children that I would see playing. And his character is what I based the song Luka on. In the song, the boy Luka is an abused child - In real life I don't think he was. I think he was just different."

Back In The High Life Again -- Steve Winwood

Winwood played on a number of hits in the '60s and '70s as a session musician and as a member of Traffic, The Spencer Davis Group and Blind Faith. In the '80s, he established himself as a solo artist with songs he wrote with Will Jennings, who put lyrics to Winwood's music. The first album they worked on was Arc Of A Diver in 1981, followed by Talking Back To The Night in 1982 and finally Back In The High Life. Jennings told an interviewer: "We wrote those songs in the fall of '84, and it was a long spell before he got in the studio in New York. We had 'Higher Love' and several other songs, including 'The Finer Things.' And then it was toward the end of my stay over there and we still needed some other songs. I had 'Back in the High Life Again' in this book that I carry with me of titles. I pulled that out and I suddenly found the rest of the song, and I wrote that in about 30 minutes, and left it with Steve to put a melody to. If you listen carefully near the end, you'll hear the voice of James Taylor, one of the musical guests on the LP.

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For -- U2

Before The Joshua Tree, U2 had released four studio albums and were an internationally successful band, particularly as a live act having toured every year in the 1980s. The group's stature and the public's anticipation for a new album grew following their 1984 record The Unforgettable Fire, their subsequent tour, and their participation in Live Aid in 1985. U2 began writing new material in mid-1985 following the Unforgettable Fire Tour. Band manager Paul McGuinness recounted that The Joshua Tree originated from the band's "great romance" with the United States, as the group had toured the country for up to five months per year in the first half of the 1980s. In the lead up to the album sessions, lead vocalist Bono had been reading the works of American writers such as Norman Mailer, Flannery O'Connor, and Raymond Carver so as to understand, in the words of Hot Press editor Niall Stokes, "those on the fringes of the promised land, cut off from the American dream". The Joshua Tree received almost universally positive reviews, the best of U2's career to that point and turned them from a popular band into a legendary one.

Heart And Soul -- T'Pau

T'Pau formed in 1986 in Shropshire, England, taking their name from a Vulcan priestess of the same name in the 1960s sci-fi series Star Trek. Prior to deciding on this name, they were called Talking America on early demos sent to record and publishing companies. This was their first hit. Initially a flop in the UK, it first became a hit in the US, reaching #4 after being featured on a Pepe Jeans advertisement; it repeated the feat in the UK some months later. Their next single, "China in Your Hand", was their biggest UK hit, spending five weeks at number 1. It also reached the top spot in several European countries, but made little impact in America. Their debut album, Bridge of Spies (simply called T'Pau in the US), also reached #1 and went quadruple platinum in the UK. The album produced a total of five hit singles including "Valentine", "Sex Talk" (a new recording of early flop single, "Intimate Strangers"), and "I Will Be with You".

Something So Strong -- Crowded House

Neil Finn (vocals, guitar, piano) and drummer Paul Hester (ex-The Cheks, Deckchairs Overboard) were former members of New Zealand band Split Enz, which spent part of 1975-6 in Australia and several years in England. Originally active from 1985 to 1996, the band has had consistent commercial and critical success in Australia and New Zealand and international chart success in two phases, beginning with their self titled debut album, Crowded House, which reached #12 on the US Album Chart in 1987 and provided the top ten hits, "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong." Although never again reaching the success of their debut album, the band has found international success consistently for the past 25 years.

In Too Deep -- Genesis

This was the fourth track on the multi-platinum LP, Invisible Touch, Genesis's highest-selling album, and was at the height of Collins's popularity as a solo artist. The album yielded five U.S. Top 5 singles: "Throwing It All Away", "In Too Deep", "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", "Land of Confusion" and "Invisible Touch". The title track reached #1 in the United States; the only Genesis song to do so. In July 1987, Genesis became the first band to play four sold out consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium. Genesis was the first band to use Vari*Lite technology,[ and the Prism sound system, all of which are now standard features of arena rock concerts.

Alone -- Heart

This was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. They are a very successful songwriting team who have written several other #1 hits, including "So Emotional," "Like A Virgin" and "Eternal Flame." Most of their songs start with a lyric Steinberg comes up with. Kelly writes most of the music and sings on the demos. After their 1983 album Passionworks, Heart left Epic Records and signed with Capitol, where they had enormous success with soaring ballads like "What About Love" and "These Dreams." The band wrote most of their early hits, which were rockers like "Barracuda" and "Magic Man," but starting with their 1985 album Heart, they got a lot of help from some top songwriters. In addition to Steinberg and Kelly, Heart recorded songs by Diane Warren, Bernie Taupin and Martin Page.

Head To Toe -- Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

Paul Anthony came up with the idea for this. One day when he was working out, his girlfriend screamed that "she loved him from head to toe." Anthony was part of the New York production and songwriting team Full Force, and he brought the song to the rest of the group who added their input. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam were a Harlem R/B trio made up of Lisa Lisa (born Lisa Velez in 1967), Mark Hughes and Alex "Spanador" Moseley. The follow up to this, "Lost In Emotion" was also a #1 hit. All Lisa Lisa hits were written and produced by Full Force, who went on to work with artists as diverse as James Brown and Samantha Fox. Earlier in 1985 Full Force had a #9 hit for themselves in the UK with "Alice, I Want You Just For Me," a homage to the Alice Cramden character of the classic sitcom The Honeymooners.


Moonlighting (Theme) -- Al Jarreau

This song, about night owls who unexpectedly find love with each other, turned out to be one of Jarreau's biggest hits. It is the theme song to the comedy/mystery series Moonlighting, which is the show that made Bruce Willis a household name and gave Cybill Shepherd a career resurgence. Inside the entertainment industry, the show is remembered for the bitter on-set feuding between Willis and Shepherd, both of whom vowed to never work with each other again after the show ended.