Sunday, June 23, 2013

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

June 23-29, 1996

Khobar Towers Bombing - (June 25, 1996) The Khobar Towers bombing was a terrorist attack on part of a housing complex in the city of Khobar, Saudi Arabia, located near the national oil company (Saudi Aramco) headquarters of Dhahran on June 25, 1996. At that time Khobar Towers was being used as quarters for foreign military personnel.

A huge truck-bomb was detonated adjacent to Building #131, an eight-story structure housing United States Air Force personnel from the 4404th Wing (Provisional), primarily from a deployed rescue squadron and deployed fighter squadron. In all, 19 U.S. servicemen were killed and 498 of many nationalities were wounded. Although Al-Qaeda has been described by some sources as the likely culprit, the official June 25, 1996 statement by the United States named members of Hezbollah Al-Hejaz (Party of God in the Hijaz) as responsible.

A November 13, 1995 car bombing in Riyadh led the U.S. forces stationed at Khobar Towers to raise the threat condition to THREATCON CHARLIE. Days after the attack, military commanders briefed soldiers and airmen at Khobar that the U.S. had received anonymous communications from an organization claiming to have carried out the Riyadh attack. The attackers claimed their goal was to get the United States' military to leave the country, and that Khobar Towers would be attacked next if troop withdrawal did not begin immediately. It was at this time that surveillance and other suspicious activity near the perimeter fences of Khobar Towers was noted by United States Air Force Security Forces, however, the forces were forbidden by the Saudi government to act in any capacity outside the perimeter of the compound, and the surveillance continued with near impunity.

The attackers were reported to have smuggled explosives into Saudi Arabia from Lebanon. In Saudi Arabia, they purchased a large gas tanker truck and converted it into a bomb. Al-Mughassil, Al-Houri, Al-Sayegh, Al-Qassab, and the unidentified Lebanese man bought a tanker truck in early June 1996. Over a two-week period they converted it into a truck bomb. The group now had about 5,000 pounds of plastic explosives, enough to produce a shaped charge that detonated with the force of at least 20,000 pounds of TNT, according to a later assessment of the Defense Special Weapons Agency. The power of the blast was magnified several ways. The truck itself shaped the charge by directing the blast toward the building. Moreover, the relatively high clearance between the truck and the ground gave it the more lethal characteristics of an airburst.

It was originally estimated by U.S. authorities to have contained 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of explosives. Later the General Downing report on the incident suggested that the explosion contained the equivalent of 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of TNT. The attackers prepared for the attack by hiding large amounts of explosive materials and timing devices in paint cans and 50-kilogram bags, underground in Qatif near Khobar. The bomb was a mixture of gasoline and explosive powder placed in the tank of a sewage tanker truck.

Initially, the attackers attempted to enter the compound at the main checkpoint. When they were denied access by U.S. military personnel, at around 9:43 p.m. local time, they drove a Datsun scout vehicle, another car and the bomb truck, to a parking lot adjacent to building #131. A chain link security fence and a line of small trees separated the parking lot, used for a local mosque and park, from the housing compound. The perimeter of Building #131 was approximately 72 feet from the fence line, with a perimeter road between the fence and building which was often used by military personnel for jogging. The first car entered the parking lot and signaled the others by flashing headlights. The bomb truck and a getaway vehicle followed shortly after. The men parked the truck next to the fence and left in the third vehicle. The bomb exploded three to four minutes later at approximately 9:50 p.m. local time.

An American sentry, Air Force Staff Sergeant Alfredo R. Guerrero, was stationed atop Building #131. He witnessed the men, recognized the vehicles as a threat, reported it to security, and began a floor by floor evacuation of the building. His actions are credited with saving dozens of lives. Many of the evacuees were in the stairwell when the bomb went off. The stairwell was constructed of heavy marble and was located on the side of the building away from the truck bomb, perhaps the safest location in the building. For his actions, Guerrero was awarded the Airman's Medal, the United States Air Force highest peacetime award for valor. Another security measure is thought to have minimized damage; along the security fence were Jersey barriers, concrete barriers commonly used along roadways. These deflected the blast energy upward, and away from the lower floors of the building, perhaps even preventing a total collapse of the structure.

The crater remaining after the truck bomb explosion. Building #131 is on the right. The force of the explosion was enormous. The size of the explosion created an intense dust storm as the forces of the high pressure blast wave and the subsequent vacuum forces caused considerable damage in their own right. Several military vehicles parked to the left side of building #131 suffered no direct impact from debris, but were heavily damaged by the sheer intensity of the shock wave.

It heavily damaged or destroyed six high rise apartment buildings in the complex. Windows were shattered in virtually every other building in the compound and in surrounding buildings up to a mile away. A very large crater, 85 feet wide and 35 feet deep, was left where the truck had been and within a few hours was filling up partially with salt-water from the Persian Gulf, which is less than one mile  away. The blast was felt 20 miles away in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain. In the minutes following the blast, the residents of the complex evacuated severely injured U.S. military personnel from the area. With power out in many of the buildings near #131, the scene was chaotic and tense as little was known about the safety of the area from further attacks. Many residents later gathered in the local dining facility, set up as a triage center, and saw breaking news of the event on large projection televisions intended to bring news of events back home to the troops.

Music Charts:

#1 Single -- "How Do You Want It"/"California Love" by 2Pac featuring K-Ci and JoJo / featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
#1 Album -- "Load" by Metallica

Other Events:

1876 – Battle of the Little Bighorn and the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.
1943 – Jews in the Częstochowa Ghetto in Poland stage an uprising against the Nazis.
1947 – The Diary of a Young Girl (better known as The Diary of Anne Frank) is published.
1948 – The Berlin airlift begins.
1950 – The Korean War begins with the invasion of South Korea by North Korea.
1991 – Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence from Yugoslavia.
2006 – Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, is kidnapped by Palestinian militants.

Tonight, Tonight - Smashing Pumpkins

The video showed the band floating on clouds in the night sky. It is based on the 1902 film Trip to the Moon by George Meiles. His name is the name of the ship at the end of the music video - the S.S. Meiles. This won 6 MTV Music Video Awards: Video of the Year, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction Best Special Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. It was also nominated for Viewer's Choice Award and Best Editing. The line, "And the embers never fade in your city by the lake, The place where you were born" in a reference to Corgan's home city of Chicago. The song has an acoustic reprise on the single where Billy sings the line.

Counting Blue Cars - Dishwalla

This song is about a man who is on a walk with his child. They get into a deep yet child-like conversation about God. This was the only hit for Dishwalla, and it came at a time when "Alternative" music was big, with bands like Collective Soul and Stone Temple Pilots dominating the airwaves. The band's name comes from a Hindi term for a person providing cable television to a neighborhood.

Jealousy - Natalie Merchant

Merchant was lead singer and primary lyricist for 10,000 Maniacs, joining in its infancy in 1981 while she was a student at Jamestown Community College. The group recorded their album Human Conflict Number Five and performed a corresponding Music video at The Hotel Franklin and at Group W Westinghouse studios (Jamestown, New York) in 1982. Merchant sang lead vocals, and later played the piano as well, for seven studio albums. In 1993 she announced that she was leaving the group and then released the solo LP Tigerlilly, which spawned 3 top 40 hits.

Who Will Save Your Soul - Jewel

Jewel wrote this when she was 16. She traveled a lot in those days, and took a trip to Mexico where she hitchhiked around the country. She was amazed to see how many people looked like they were waiting for someone to save them. This was Jewel's first single. It was first released in 1995, and took a long time to find an audience. A year later, as female singer/songwriters like Sheryl Crow, Sara McLachlan, and Alanis Morissette became very popular, radio stations started adding this to their playlists and it became a hit. The album was reissued to meet the demand.

You Learn - Alanis Morrisette


In this song, Morissette points out that everything in life is a learning experience. It's based on the saying "Live and Learn," which is a common way of dealing with negative events and accepting whatever life brings you. Alanis explained on her VH1 Storytellers appearance: "I wrote it during a time that I was very insulated, and had first just moved to L.A. I was prepared for perhaps the first time in my life to focus on things that were negative because I was always encouraged to focus on things that were positive, and that things like confusion and depression and those kinds of things were to be hidden or repressed. Having done that for so many years resulted in an explosion of sorts, so writing Jagged Little Pill was that explosion and a lot of things were very subconscious and that's why everything was relatively urgent."

Give Me One Good Reason - Tracy Chapman

Chapman makes a career out of '60s-style folk-blues rock, making her territory "folk revival," complete with the social and political message that also defined the Flower Power generation. "Give Me One Reason," then, is a straightforward blues love song, with a defiant slant daring you to argue with her to get her to stay. Amongst many signs of popularity, this song has appeared in numerous seasons of the TV show American Idol, selected by contestants as their performance piece.

Just A Girl - No Doubt

When playing this at a Virgin Megastore in Costa Mesa, California, lead singer Gwen Stefani's mother asked her not to swear because their relatives were present. When Gwen swore, her mother refused to speak to her for a week. For years the band was trying to get played on Los Angeles radio station KROQ, but were ignored. Finally KROQ began playing this song, and got massive amounts of requests for it, fulfilling the band's dream.

Missing - Everything But The Girl

This is the signature song of Everything But The Girl, a British duo consisting of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn. They were students at the University of Hull when they met. She was a singer in the pop duo Marine Girls and Ben contributed a photograph to the cover of their LP. They wound up becoming inseparable, forming their own group in 1983 and getting married not long after. The name Everything But The Girl was inspired by an advertising slogan of Turner's Furniture, a popular store in Hull near the university. Watt and Thorn quickly became popular in their native Great Britain and began to gain popularity in the United States in 1990 with the release of the album The Language of Life, which produced singles that got airtime on VH-1. However, their career was almost ended when Watt contracted Churg-Strauss syndrome, an autoimmune disease which can lead to death. Watt ultimately recovered, but the prospect of his death contributed to this song's heartfelt lyrics. "Missing" was initially a minor hit on the pop charts and a bigger one on the Adult Contemporary charts. In 1995, they gave the song to producer Terry Todd, who remixed if for nightclubs. The new release was a big worldwide hit, ultimately peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, many of the band's fans greatly prefer the original release, which is the version that's usually performed now. They continue to record, but have cut back on performing to raise their children, whom they wish to provide with as much of a normal life as possible, which means keeping them out of the limelight.

Big Me - Foo Fighters

This song is about being dumped. Says Dave Grohl: "Girl meets boy, boy falls in love, girl tells him to f--k off!" The video is a takeoff on Mentos commercials. Mentos are mint candies that come in tubes. They are made in Europe, and the commercials had a campy feel that became a big part of pop culture in the US. In each spot, someone gets a moment of inspiration after eating a mint and is then able to overcome some obstacle. In one spot, a woman's car is boxed in, so she gets some burly construction workers to pick it up and move it for her. In another, a kid acts like a roadie to get backstage at a concert. The video shows the band in similar situations, solving problems with the aid of their own special candy called Foo-tos. Unfortunately for The Foo Fighters, Mentos make great projectiles and for years fans would throw the candy at them when they played this.

Follow You Down - Gin Blossoms

Spending ten weeks on Billboard's Top Ten when it was released in 1996, this song was written at the very end of the recording process for the Congratulations... I'm Sorry CD. Songwriter Jesse Valenzuela says, "We were working on the record, and I'd come home at night to my hotel room, and I had those chords, and finished writing by the time we got home. We'd already finished the record, but I had this great song, so I demoed it up and I sent it to my main A&R man, David Andaly, the great David Andaly, and he said, 'Why are you hiding this thing? Let's put it on the record.' So we went and recorded it right away."


Macarena -- Los Del Rio

This was originally released on a local label in Spain in 1993, where it did fairly well. The next year, the American label BMG bought the Spanish label and set out to make "Macarena" a hit in America. They marketed an English language version to dance clubs and cruise ships, then released it as a single in 1995. It was a minor hit until the summer of 1996, when the Macarena dance craze hit America. The song went to #1 in July and stayed there for 14 weeks. Los Del Rio (Antonio Romeo Monge and Rafael Ruiz) are a Spanish flamenco-pop duo. They were inspired to record this on a trip to Venezuela when they spotted a beautiful flamenco dancer named Diana Patricia. When the song became a hit, she became known in Venezuela as "Macarena." This was the first hit for Los Del Rio since 1962 and their only hit in the US.

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