Saturday, 8 January 2022

baby bells

Though not coming into force until the first of the year in 1984, the consent decree mandating the breakup and divestiture of the Bell System’s monopoly, vertical integration of telephone services in the US and Canada was finalised on this day in 1982. American Telephone & Telegraph could still provide long-distance services but was subject to competition and could no longer require subscribers—locally use telephonic equipment produced by its subsidiaries. The regional companies were independent and control of the Yellow Pages—the telephone directory—and the research and development branch, Bell Labs, were decentralised and given to the successor holding companies.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

i feel for you

Climbing to first place on the UK singles charts on this day in 1984, singer Chaka Khan’s hit was written by Prince with accompaniment by Stevie Wonder on chromatic harmonica and Grandmaster Melle Mel, whose Ch-ch-ch-chaka-chaka-chaka Khan was originally an editing slip up that the producer decided would stay in.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

shout it to the top!

Reaching its pinnacle on the UK charts on this day in 1984, this Sophisti-Pop ballad by lead Paul Weller was a hit single from The Style Council’s album Our Favourite Shop and was part of the score for Billy Elliot and the soundtrack for the 1985 Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino coming-of-age vehicle Vision Quest. The film is most remembered for a debut performance by Madonna in a local night club—prompting many markets to release it as Crazy for You, her signature piece in the scene.

Friday, 3 September 2021

we move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy

The seductive Sophisti-Pop single from the band’s debut studio album, Diamond Life, was released on this day in 1984 and quickly climbed the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. Sade Adu’s signature hit spoke to the jet-setting, opportunistic nature of globalism reflected and referenced in the refrain about a faithless, aquisitive playboy. No need to ask.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

non piรน andrai

Always appreciative of learning that that the villainized and vilified come down to a matter of apocryphal license, we enjoyed disabusing ourselves of this staple fact of pop-culture (see also) in that there’s no substantiating the feud between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri and their vying for the position of court composer. The narrative was first introduced in a two-act opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov with book by Alexander Pushkin in 1897 with the elder dedicated maestro scheming to poison his younger rival, inspiring the 1984 film Amadeus by Miloลก Forman.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

all night long (all night)

For the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Summer Olympiad this evening in 1984, Lionel Richie gave a live performance of his signature calypso song to a global television audience of some three billion.

Though most of the lyrics are in English, there are some faux patois lines, namely—tam bo il de say de moi ya, hey jambo, jumbo—like Waka, Waka—This Time for Africa from the 2010 World Cup. The modified verses for Team USA leave out we’re going to party, karma, fiesta forever (see previously), the middle term being a Swahili borrowing for feast, banquet and also used in the context of Kwanzaa celebrations.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

555-2368

The single released by session guitarist and song writer Ray Parker Jr as theme to the eponymous film (see previously) on this day in 1984 climbed to the top of the US charts and held that place for three weeks. In the UK, it reached the number two spot in mid-September, staying there for the same amount of time. The Oscar-nominated song lost to Stevie Wonder’s Best Original Song, the ballad for The Woman in Red “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (see also) and was the subject of a lawsuit—settled the following year out of court, Parker accused of having plagiarised the melody of Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want a New Drug” by the band.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

aw:

Dispatched the day before from Cambridge, Massachusetts using the CSNET (Computer Science Network) platform Informatik and economics student Michael Rotert (“rotert@germany”) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology became on this day the first recipient (see also) of an email in West Germany, with project director Werner Zorn on the cc-line. The body read “Wlikomen in CSNET! Michael, This is your official welcome to CSNET.”

Thursday, 15 October 2020

the age of consent

Released on this day by London Records in 1984, the synth-pop trio Bronski Beat’s above titled debut album was in reference to legal and social reforms in much of continental Europe that decriminalised homosexuality and harmonised the age of consent with that for heterosexual relationship, legislation which the United Kingdom did not ascribe to at the time. All members of the band were openly gay and their music contained commentary on politics and gay-related issues. Their one charting song “Smalltown Boy” is featured on the record, an eventual anthem addressing hardships of coming-out and experiencing homophobia, released also as a single earlier in the year.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

sede vacante

With already burgeoning anti-Catholic sentiment channeled and thrust to the next level with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln whose conspirators included Mary Elizabeth Surratt, a practising Catholic and hung by the neck until dead, and her son John Harrison Surratt—fugitive from justice who fled to Europe and briefly served as a Pontifical Zouave (the Papal States’ infantry—pictured in uniform) before being recognised and extradited back to the US, on this day in 1867, America suspended consular relations with the Holy See—diplomacy not to be restored until 1984. In the interim, special envoys and emissaries were appointed to negotiate deals and coordinate participation on specific political and humanitarian issues. Kindred sympathies between Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II both over their shared crusade against Communism and a bond formed after each survived assassination attempts in 1981.