Sunday, September 23, 2012
Ten Great Songs From One Great Week
The songs the radio played this week in history
September 26-October 2, 1982
Chicago Tylenol Murders - On the morning of September 29, 1982, twelve-year-old Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, died after taking a capsule of Extra-Strength Tylenol. Adam Janus of Arlington Heights, Illinois, died in the hospital shortly thereafter. Adam's brother Stanley of Lisle, Illinois, and sister-in-law Theresa died after gathering to mourn his death, having taken pills from the same bottle. Soon afterward, Mary McFarland of Elmhurst, Illinois, Paula Prince of Chicago, and Mary Reiner of Winfield, also died in similar incidents.
Investigators soon discovered the Tylenol link. Urgent warnings were broadcast, and police drove through Chicago neighborhoods issuing warnings over loudspeakers. As the tampered-with bottles came from different factories, and the seven deaths had all occurred in the Chicago area, the possibility of sabotage during production was ruled out. Instead, the culprit was believed to have entered various supermarkets and drug stores over a period of weeks, removed packages of Tylenol from the shelves, adulterated their contents with solid cyanide compound at another location, and then replaced the bottles. In addition to the five bottles which led to the victims' deaths, three other tampered-with bottles were discovered.
Johnson and Johnson distributed warnings to hospitals and distributors and halted Tylenol production and advertising. On October 5, 1982, it issued a nationwide recall of Tylenol products; an estimated 31 million bottles were in circulation, with a retail value of over US$100 million. The company also advertised in the national media for individuals not to consume any products that contained acetaminophen. When it was determined that only capsules were tampered with, they offered to exchange all Tylenol capsules already purchased by the public with solid tablets.
During the initial investigations, a man named James William Lewis sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million to stop the cyanide-induced murders. Police were unable to link him with the crimes, as he and his wife were living in New York City at the time. He was convicted of extortion, served 13 years of a 20-year sentence, and was released in 1995 on parole. WCVB Channel 5 of Boston reported that court documents, released in early 2009, "show Department of Justice investigators concluded Lewis was responsible for the poisonings, despite the fact that they did not have enough evidence to charge him." Lewis has denied responsibility for the poisonings for several years.
A second man, Roger Arnold, was investigated and cleared of the killings. He had a nervous breakdown due to the media attention, which he blamed on Marty Sinclair, a bar owner. In the summer of 1983, Arnold shot and killed John Stanisha, whom he mistook for Sinclair. Stanisha was an innocent man who did not know Arnold. Arnold was convicted in January 1984 and served 15 years of a 30-year sentence for second-degree murder. He died in June 2008.
In early January 2009, Illinois authorities renewed the investigation. Federal agents searched the home of Lewis in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and seized a number of items. In Chicago, an FBI spokesman declined to comment but said "we'll have something to release later possibly." Law enforcement officials have received a number of tips related to the case coinciding with its anniversary. In a written statement, the FBI explained, This review was prompted, in part, by the recent 25th anniversary of this crime and the resulting publicity. Further, given the many recent advances in forensic technology, it was only natural that a second look be taken at the case and recovered evidence.
In January 2010, both Lewis and his wife submitted DNA samples and fingerprints to authorities. Lewis stated "if the FBI plays it fair, I have nothing to worry about." On May 19, 2011, the FBI requested DNA samples from 'Unabomber' Ted Kaczynski in connection to the Tylenol murders. Kaczynski denied having ever possessed potassium cyanide. The investigation is still under way. The first four Unabomber crimes happened in Chicago and its suburbs from 1978 to 1980, and Kaczynski's parents had a suburban Chicago home in Lombard, Illinois, in 1982, where he stayed occasionally.
#1 Single -- "Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band
#1 Album -- "American Fool" by John Cougar
1789 – The United States Department of War first establishes a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.
1923 – The British Mandate for Palestine takes effect, creating Mandatory Palestine.
1938 – Germany was given permission from France, Italy, and Great Britain to seize the territory of Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia.
1951 – The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, is televised on NBC.
1960 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev disrupts a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly with a number of angry outbursts.
1966 – The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, is introduced.
2008 – Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.
Love Me Tomorrow -- Chicago
The members of Chicago had realized in 1981 that their commercial appeal and image were at an all-time low. So their manager, Jeff Wald suggested they bring in famed producer David Foster to bring new energy to the band. Once they agreed to Foster producing their new album (The band had considered him for 1980's Chicago XIV), Foster radically redefined Chicago's sound for the 1980s, with all of the latest technologies and techniques and introducing the significant use of outside songwriters and studio players. (Four members of Toto lent their expertise to the sessions.) Given the use of the new recording technology on this album, it's fitting that the album cover features the famous band logo grafted onto a silicon computer chip. Of all the band's members, Peter Cetera benefitted most from the stylistic changes, having much in common musically with Foster. Their adult contemporary leanings permeated much of Chicago 16, swaying the band further from their ensemble jazz and rock roots and successfully introducing Chicago to a new and younger audience. The rewards were apparent right away, when the first single from Chicago 16, "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" topped the billboard track - their first #1 since "If You Leave Me Now" in 1977. While the follow up, "Love Me Tomorrow" only made it to #22, it signaled the staying power of the new sound.
Rock This Town -- Stray Cats
The group, whose style was based upon the sounds of Sun Records artists and other artists from the 1950s, were heavily influenced by Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent and Bill Haley & His Comets. The Stray Cats quickly developed a large following in the New York music scene playing at CBGB and Max's Kansas City as well as venues on Long Island. When the Cats heard a rumor that there was a revival of the 1950s Teddy Boy youth subculture in England, the band moved to the UK. They then spearheaded the nascent rockabilly revival, by blending the 1950s Sun Studio sound with modern punk musical elements. After a gig in London, Stray Cats met producer Dave Edmunds, well known as a roots rock enthusiast for his work with Rockpile and as a solo artist. Edmunds offered to work with the group, and they entered the studio to record their self-titled debut album, Stray Cats. They had three UK hits that year with "Runaway Boys", "Rock This Town", and "Stray Cat Strut". The UK follow-up to Stray Cats, Gonna Ball, was not as well-received, providing no hits. Yet the combined sales of their first two albums was enough to convince EMI America to compile the best tracks from the two UK albums and issue an album (Built for Speed) in the U.S. in 1982. The record went on to sell double platinum in the US and Canada and was the No. 2 record on the Billboard album charts for 26 weeks.
Take The L -- The Motels
In March 1978, Martha Davis and lead guitarist Jeff Jourard (formerly of a pre-fame version of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) decided to reform The Motels, after the first incarnation disbanded a couple of years earlier. Extensive auditions resulted in a new line-up of the band being formed Short on funds, the band shared rehearsal space with The Go-Go's at L.A.'s notorious punk basement, The Masque, and they played in Chinatown, at Madame Wong's restaurant/nightclub with such regularity that they were almost considered the house band. The Motels began to draw faithful crowds around the L.A. music scene and on Mother's Day 1979 the group signed with Capitol Records, releasing their debut album The Motels four months later. Their first single, "Closets and Bullets", made no impact on the charts, but their second single release, "Total Control", found its way to the Top 20 in France and the Top 10 in Australia.But it was their fourth LP, All Four One, that MTV promoted heavily that put the band on the national scene.
Steppin’ Out -- Joe Jackson
This song is about the anticipation and excitement of a night out on the town. Jackson wrote and recorded the Night And Day album in New York City, and the first side of the album describes various encounters with the city. "Steppin' Out" is the last song on side one, and takes us on a journey through Manhattan in a taxi. All the tracks on the album segue together, which is a casualty of digital, song by song downloads. The video featured a housekeeper pretending she was a Cinderella figure, and was filmed over one night in the St. Regis Hotel in New York and this being 1982 and with MTV increasing in influence, Jackson made the video, but he wasn't happy about it. He told Time Out in 1984: "Rock'n'roll is degenerating into a big circus, and videos and MTV are very much part of that. People who are seriously interested in making music as an end in itself are going to have to split away and forge a different path." When Jackson's marriage broke he moved to New York to record the LP. The title is from the Cole Porter song and it was tribute to the wit and style of the legendary performer.
Johnny Can’t Read -- Don Henley
Following the breakup of the Eagles, Henley embarked on a solo career. He and Stevie Nicks (his girlfriend at the time) had duetted on her Top 10 Pop and Adult Contemporary hit "Leather and Lace", written by Nicks for Waylon Jennings and his wife Jessie Colter, in late 1981. Henley's first solo album, I Can't Stand Still, was a moderate seller. The single "Dirty Laundry" reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100 at the beginning of 1983 and earned a Gold-certified single for sales of over a million copies in the US. It was Henley's all-time biggest solo hit and was nominated for a Grammy. However, the first single from his debut LP was this one, written about the influence modern technology has on education. Later that year, Henley also contributed "Love Rules" to the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack.
I Found Somebody -- Glenn Frey
Not to be outdone by his Eagles' band mate, Frey released his first solo LP at the same time as Don Henley. Although the biggest hit from No Fun Aloud was "The One You Love", which peaked at #15, "I Found Somebody" was the first release. Ultimately, Frey outshined his former partner in the singles market. However, Henly ruled LP sales and critic reviews. Frey found solo success in the 1980s, especially with two No. 2 hits: the soundtrack songs "The Heat Is On" (from Beverly Hills Cop) and "You Belong to the City" (from the television series Miami Vice, the soundtrack of which stayed on top of the U.S. album charts for 11 weeks in 1985). His other contribution to the soundtrack, "Smuggler's Blues", hit No. 12 on the Hot 100. Frey also contributed the song "Flip City" to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack, and "Part of Me, Part of You" to the soundtrack for Thelma and Louise. He released his first solo album in 20 years, After Hours, featuring covers of pop standards from the 1940s-1960s, in May 2012. During his solo career he had 12 songs in the U.S. Top 100. Eleven of those were written with Jack Tempchin who also wrote "Peaceful Easy Feeling".
I Ran (So Far Away) -- A Flock of Seagulls
This is the opening song of their eponymous album, which is a concept piece about an alien invasion of earth. The song itself describes a person seeing an attractive female - he becomes anxious and wants to run away from his feelings but he can't forget her. Then they are both abducted by the aliens. The imaginative (for the time) video broke the band in the US during the early days of MTV. The video showed the lead singer Mike Score sporting a distinctive hairstyle resembling a seagull in flight. He is in a room covered from floor to ceiling with aluminum foil and also floor mirrors in which you can see the reflection of the cameras.
Don’t Fight It -- Kenny Loggins with Steve Perry
This was one of Kenny Loggins' first melodic style tunes, and it featured Steve Perry in his first non-Journey outings. The two co-wrote it with Dean Pitchford, who would go on to write "Footloose" with Loggins, which was a huge deal because the promise of Loggins doing the theme song helped Pitchford get his screenplay for Footloose made into a movie. Kenny has since sung "Don't Fight It" solo in his concerts. Asked about the cracking whip sound in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Loggins said, "The bullwhip is from the locker where they kept the Indiana Jones soundtrack sounds. We snuck in there and we got the bullwhip and we sampled it." From 1979-85, Loggins recorded 10 consecutive top 40 hits, including his only #1 hit ("Footloose"). A year later, he just missed the top of the charts when "Danger Zone" stalled at #2.
Make Believe -- Toto
1982 marked the beginning of Toto's most successful era. After the disappointing sales of Turn Back, the band was under a great deal of pressure from the record company to produce a new smash record. With Toto IV, the band delivered one of the most commercially successful records of the 80s. The album featured three singles that reached the Top 10 on the Hot 100: "Rosanna", "Africa" and "I Won't Hold You Back". The album also appeared on several worldwide charts, introducing the band to new audiences around the globe. "Africa" topped the charts in February 1983 and was a constant presence on radios around the world, but it was "Rosanna" that earned the band multiple Grammy nominations. Toto IV earned seven Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for "Rosanna", Album of the Year and Producer of the Year. However, the first single released, "Make Believe" was not a big success and it didn't immediately appear that Toto IV would be any more (or less) popular than heir previous LP.
Hold On -- Santana
Mostly known for his amazing guitar work and longevity (his first LP was released in 1969 and his latest was in 2012), Santana did have a number of top 40 hits in his career (both with his band and solo). At the time, "Hold on" was his biggest hit in 11 years and his last top 40 hit until 1999's "Smooth." Over the last 13 years, he has made a new career collaborating with many of today's popular singers. Carlos recently opened a chain of upscale Mexican restaurants called "Maria Maria". It is a combined effort with Chef Roberto Santibañez. They are located in Tempe, Arizona; Mill Valley (now closed); Walnut Creek, Danville, San Diego, California; Austin, Texas; and Boca Raton, Florida. In 2012 Santana released an album Shape Shifter consisting mostly instrumental tracks.
You Can Do Magic -- America
The song was one of two former Argent guitarist Russ Ballard compositions on View from the Ground, the other being "Jody". Ballard wrote both songs specifically for America at the behest of Rupert Perry, A/R vice president for Capitol Records. Ballard also produced the tracks marking a return to record production after a four year hiatus; although Ballard had had earlier hits as a songwriter, "You Can Do Magic" was his first major hit credit as a producer. This song proved a solid comeback vehicle for America whose last Top 40 hit - "Today's the Day" - had occurred in 1976 with the second of their two further appearances on the Hot 100 in Billboard occurring in 1979. "You Can Do Magic" returned the band to the Top 40 with the track reaching #8.The popularity of "You Can Do Magic" was paralleled by the success of the parent View From the Ground album which rose to #41 on Billboard's listing of the top 200 albums, the first time an album by America as a duo (rather than the original trio) had appeared in that chart's upper half.
Valley Girl -- Frank Zappa
This was Zappa's only hit. He was never commercially successful, and often went out of his way to criticize mainstream music. A novelty song, this makes fun of Valley Girl talk, an early '80s trend that started in the San Fernando Valley of California. Teenage girls around the country were saying things like "Gag me with a spoon." It pokes fun at what Zappa believed were spoiled rich girls living in the San Fernando Valley of California. This features Zappa's daughter, Moon Unit, as the Valley Girl. She was 14 when they recorded it and she got a co-writing credit for this with her dad, as she came up with the Valley Girl lines. A California man named Timothy Brownfield sent letters to the FBI threatening to kill Zappa because he thought he stole the lyrics.