Friday 3 May 2024

riptide (11. 536)

Released as the second single from the titular eighth studio album from Robert Palmer was originally intended to be a duet with Chaka Khan but her vocal contributions were removed due to contractual obligations with another label, the song made it to number one on the US charts on this day in 1986. Reminiscent of the concept music video for Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin’s vision for Benny and the Jets, the noted homage also references the work of Patrick Nagel and with several tributes to follow.

Thursday 8 February 2024

the tough get rough (11. 333)

Starting a four-week run on the top of the UK singles charts on this day in 1986, the Billy Ocean song was the theme of The Jewel of the Nile, the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner vehicle and sequel to 1984’s Romancing the Stone. A global hit, it was eventually unseated by Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” the accompanying video was initially refused by Top of the Pops for the cast’s lip-syncing, not being members of the Musicians Union, with Danny DeVito’s miming as a saxophonist, like the August rendition of “You Can Call Me Al,” considered a violation of the guild’s rules for non-member performers.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

with so many light years to go and things to be found (to be found) (11. 168)

Hitting number one on the UK singles chart (a feat repeated and sustained in over twenty five other national markets) on this day in 1986, the song by the Swedish rock group Europe was inspired by Space Oddity and with a keyboard riff that lead singer Joey Tempest had had experimented with for six years (and surely carried in his head the whole time though we are glad he does not have to endure that earworm alone any longer), it was originally conceived as a concert-opener before being expanded and limned as a complete tune. 


one year ago: the Irish Free State (1922), Finnish independence, assorted links to revisit, stock price charting plus seasonally obscure terminology

two years ago: a reconstructed fable

three years ago: passive immunity, the bust of Nefertiti, the Encyclopedia Britannica plus the Villon Song

four years ago: greatest hits by decade—all the way back to prehistory plus the Washington Post waltz

five years ago: more links to enjoy


Wednesday 30 August 2023

we walk the line and try to see (10. 972)

Lead single from his fourth solo studio album, “Back in the High Life,” and with supporting vocals from Chaka Khan, on this day in 1986 Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” rose to the top of the US charts, his first superlative and later garnering two Grammy awards. The percussion flourishes by session musician John “JR” Robinson were moved to the beginning of the song experimental and became one of the most iconic drum intros of the genre.

Wednesday 26 July 2023

you could have an aeroplane flying if you bring your blue sky back (10. 906)

Via our faithful chronicler, we learn that on this day in 1986 Peter Gabriel’s lead single from his fifth studio album So (“In Your Eyes,” “Big Time”) topped the US charts and peaked at number four in the UK, displacing the hit by his former bandmates of Genesis’ as number one. The dance-rock funk fusion was nominated for three Grammy awards and other accolades, including for its artfully crafted music video featuring stop motion animation and modelling clay figures. The backing vocalists are P P Arnold, Chyna Whyne and Dee Lewis. The introductory and closing solo is a synthesised Japanese bamboo flute called a shakuhachi (ๅฐบๅ…ซ)—which was a “preset” instrument in many electronic keyboards of the era.


one year ago: exploring the Inner Hebrides and the Isle of Skye

two years ago:  the history of Home Office, Jesus’ grandmother, the linoleum patterns of Hazel Dell Brown plus “book-drunk

three years ago: Esperanto Day, the end of segregation in the US armed forces (1948) plus assorted links to revisit

four years ago: the medals for the Tokyo Games will be reclaimed from e-waste, hairball headdresses plus a cute, retired shipping mascot

five years ago: assorted links worth revisiting, a look back at 1988 plus lone trees in fields

Wednesday 19 July 2023

she has a built in ability to take everything she sees (10. 893)

On this day in 1986, the lead single from the eponymous thirteenth studio album (also including “Tonight, Tonight” and “The Land of Confusion”) from Genesis topped the charts in the US with former band member Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer at number two. The lead singer’s decision to leave for a solo career a decade prior caused Phil Collins, drummer, to take over the role.


one year ago: a ferry from Amsterdam to England, the 1980 Summer Games plus crossing into Scotland

two years ago: the island of Vindรถn

three years ago: the Upping of the Swans plus a drive through the Rhรถn

four years ago: the 1981 G7 summit, aria infuriate plus a new adaptation of Cats

five years ago: assorted links worth revisiting

Wednesday 5 July 2023

it’s janet—ms jackson if you’re nasty (10. 858)

Third studio album by the artist, considered to be a genre-defining masterwork fusing funk, disco and R&B, the semi-autobiographical Control began a two-week run at the top of US charts on this day back in 1986. This breakthrough record, establishing her credentials independent from her siblings and firing her father, the Jackson Family patriach, as her manager, would go on to win Grammies for production and choreography as well as superlative industry accolades, as well being inspirational and aspirational for other artists. The dancing for the below video accompanying “Nasty” was directed by Paula Abdul, securing her an MTV Video Music Award, narrating a recent event when Jackson was being stalked and stood up to their harassment until they backed down.


one year ago: Saint Zoe of Rome plus the Nansen passport for the stateless and displaced (1922)

two years ago: the magic of piers and docks and other points of departure 

three years ago: the first Thomas Cook excursion (1841), a fantasy music festival generator plus assorted links to revisit

four years ago: an instant, farm-free source of protein plus a plan to plant a trillion trees

five years ago: a visit to Sirmione 

Tuesday 8 November 2022

turning and returning to some secret place to hide (10. 282)

Written by Tom Whitlock and Giorgio Moroder (also to his credit, “Danger Zone”) and performed by the new wave band Berlin for Top Gun, the Oscar award winning song climbed to the top of the UK singles chart on this day in 1986, holding that position for four weeks. Also topping the charts in the US, the Netherland, Ireland and Belgium, it repeated its performance in Britain with Peugeot’s October 1990 advertising campaign coinciding with the movie screened on ITV. The producers were so pleased with this addition to the sound track that they reshot the romantic scenes with Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis to showcase the tune. The accompanying music video (interspersed with scenes from the movie) features Terri Nunn walking in a windswept aircraft boneyard—part of the Mojave Air & Space Port, at night.

Tuesday 23 August 2022

black ribbon day (10.081)

Officially the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism and broadly for all who suffered under authoritarian regimes, this day was chosen for its observance as the anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, a treaty of non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which contained a secret protocol that partitioned Europe into spheres of influence. To counter historic revisionism and Russia’s categorical denial of the deal which held until 1941 as well as grave crimes, twenty one Western cities, organised chiefly by Central and Eastern European refugees living in Canada, staged the first memorial in 1986, spreading to the Baltics three years later with the Cold War-era protests eventually leading to revolution. In 2019, the European Parliament adopted the resolution to enshrine (reaffirming the formal designation of 2008) the annual observance to broadly condemn the propaganda and disinformation that would deny or glorify totalitarianism and undermines liberal democracies.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

section 28

With echoes of Florida’s current controversial Don’t Say Gay Bill and in effect until 2003 (Scotland dropped the series of laws in 2000 as one of Holyrood’s first items of business as a newly devolved parliament), the government of Margaret Thatcher introduced and enacted legislative measures that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities on this day in 1988, causing many support groups to fold or severely curtail their activities. Named after the amendment to the Local Government Act of 1986, the language stated that municipal authorities shall not “intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality or promote the teaching in any maintained [public] school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

Saturday 14 May 2022

a show with everything but yul brenner

After previews and the critically-acclaimed release of a concept album, the musical collaboration by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjรถrn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice had its premiere in London’s West End on this day in 1986, depicting geopolitical tensions of the Cold War through the lens of a tournament between two grandmasters of the game, loosely based on the game careers of Bobby Fischer (Murray Head) and Anatoly Karpov (Tommy Kรถrberg) whose stakes were reflective of the sentiment of the era and the Reagan, Thatcher Doctrine of the mid-80s. Songs include of course “One Night in Bangkok.” Full-length bootleg recording of the original cast below.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

und er lebt in der groรŸen stadt, es war in wien, war vienna wo er alles tat

The lead single from the artist’s third studio album with the eponymous title Falco 3 peaked on the UK charts on this day in 1986, holding top position for several weeks after hitting number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 at the end of March—still holding the sole German language title to have this achievement (99 Luftballons by Nena made it to the number two spot). Inspired by the popularity of the film Amadeus, the Neue Deutsche Welle number was initially released as an eight-minute version called the “Salieri Mix” before being trimmed to the more usual song length.

Thursday 23 December 2021


On this day in 1986, the Zeche (Coal Mine Industrial Complex) Zollverein in the city of Essen ceased operations, workers leaving for Christmas break not to return, due to dwindling output that did not justify the high maintenance costs, among the last mining and coking facilities in operation in the Ruhrgebiet. The campus, built in the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) style, is considered an architectural and engineering masterwork and the conserved landmark, Shaft 12, was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage registry in 2001.

Thursday 11 November 2021


silent haitch: the voicing of this letter is “still a significant shibboleth”—a look at h based on modern usage and notes on wh by Alfred Leach  

kinship and pedigree: genealogical mapping shows historic spread and retreat of surnames for British Isles and much of Europe 

rural free delivery: a superb, thematic collection of vintage picture postcards—via Things Magazine  

zeta reticulans: a tarot deck from Miguel Romero features the history of UFOlogy  

ั‚ะต ัะฐะผั‹ะต ะบะฐั€ั‚ะธะฝะบะธ: collection of avant-garde children’s book illustrations from the USSR 

retromod: Hyundai brings back its 1986 luxury Grandeur with a fully electric powertrain 

trebuchet: another start-up envisions flinging satellites into space via spinning centrifuge—see previously  

get lost losers: a rock band flotilla entertaining the cargo crews stuck in the seemingly insurmountable backlog waiting to unload containers at the ports of Los Angeles

agent of chaos: agnotology, the study of deliberate spreading of confusion

Wednesday 25 August 2021


the dance of the proletariat: a cultural revolutionary ballet 

reefer madness: an excerpt from “Cocaine, the Princess of Perdition” (1939)  

beef and dairy network: a 1986 board game called “Grade Up to Elite Cow” 

music to moog by: Melbourne’s Electronic instrument museum  

old growth: an anthology of the most memorable trees in the literary canon  

ambiguate: a notable lacuna, lexical gap for a word that ought to have been formed 

rhythm is a dancer: a comprehensive dance music archive covering the recent past—via Things Magazine

Tuesday 2 June 2020


Via The Morning News that finally piqued my curiosity, I am regretting now not having before having checked out the Hood Internet’s on-going series of year-in-song reviews.
These audio-visual remixes and transitions are really quite fantastic and resoundingly nostalgic brief romps and am working through the back-catalogue (1986 is also particularly good) and looking forward to more instalments.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

worms against nuclear killers

Recently declassified documents obtained by the investigative team at Muckrock details how NASA dealt with the one of the early infections by a computer worm and arguably one of the first acts of political hacktivism, though the timing might be coincidental, back in October 1989.
Unidentified hackers from Melbourne, some contend Julian Assange (previously) was also involved but he has never attested to this claim, had infiltrated a computer system shared by the space agency and the US Department of Energy (which also has oversight for America’s nuclear arsenal) just as the shuttle was preparing to ferry up the plutonium-powered Galileo space probe. With the Challenger disaster (28 January 1986) still fresh in people’s minds, there was concern and public protests over the launch, fearing an accident that could spread fall-out over Florida. Instead of the accustomed start-screen, workers were greeted with the pictured message and led to believe that files were being deleted though no actual lasting harm was done. The subheading, “You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war,” is a lyric from a Midnight Oil song, an Australian activist rock band with a strong stance against nuclear proliferation. More to explore at the link up top.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

gavel-to-gavel coverage

On this day, four decades ago, the US cable and satellite television network C-SPAN first televised congressional proceedings from the floor of the House of Representatives.
The first member featured on the debut broadcast was then-Tennessee representative Al Gore. It was not until June of 1986, however, before the Senate permitted a live-feed that remained independent and wholly out of their control. I have fond memories of watching legislating in progress for hours on end and had it gently explained to me that classical music actually was not piped into the chambers during a vote (I thought that was a nice alternative to muzak or the general din) but that it was rather the doing of the programming manager during a call-in.