Yesterday In Pop Music History (12-8-2015)


Thirty five years ago Tuesday (December 8, 1980), it was actualy a Monday night. Many of us were watching the Monday night game between the Patriots and Dolphins when Howard Cosell gave the shocking news to the USA.
“Yes, we have to say it,” Howard announced, “Remember this is JUST a football game no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC news in New York City. John Lennon…outside of his apartment building on the west side of New York City….the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles…shot twice in the back…rushed to Roosevelt Hospital…dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that newsflash…”
Five to six days later on “American Top 40,” Casey Kasem gave one of his greatest tributes ever on many of the show’s affiliates. Here is Casey’s salute to John Lennon in its entirety…
“Last Monday night, as the world knows, John Lennon died. His fans had known him as the Beatle who did the most of the talking. He was witty…and he made us laugh. He was deep…and he made us think.  He had vision and he made us see. And together with Paul, George and Ringo, he made all that great Beatle music. Even after they separated 10 years ago, the Beatles continued individually to add to what they’d already given us. But John felt the pressures of having been…a Beatle. He was sensitive to the public’s expectations of ‘more’ and ‘better’ from him. And it became too much. He ran from it…on a course that he said was suicidal.
 Then, in 1975, Yoko led him back. She convinced him that there was more to John Lennon than being a Beatle. So John set out to discover what that was. He took over full-time care of their infant son, Sean, letting Yoko take responsibility for managing the family investments. And that’s how it went for the Lennons…for five years, until the time was right for John to make another album, which he recently did. A few days ago, he died. But John died having discovered who he was: John Lennon, husband to Yoko, father to Sean. Yoko, I hope you can take comfort in that. And, Sean, when you’re old enough to begin wondering why people love the Beatles and your father so much, they’ll be millions of us around to explain it to you.”
Then, Casey played song #4, “(Just Like) Starting Over”…
Casey’s heartwarming tribute climaxed one of the most hectic days in the history of AT40’s then-parent company, Watermark. On the day after Lennon was murdered (Tuesday, December 9, 1980), Watermarkers knew changes had to be made in the show that had already been recorded and sent out to affiliates. The original vinyl records of that December 13, 1980 show included a feature in Hour One about posthumous Top 40 hits. In Hour Four, there a very upbeat intro and outro by Casey to John’s latest hit. After all, when the show was being originally taped, John Lennon was still alive.
Fortunately, the two segments that needed to be changed were on opposite sides of the same vinyl record. A new emergency replacement record was quickly made. The posthumous Top 40 hits feature was edited out on one side, including the tease. On the other side, Casey’s upbeat intro and outro were replaced by the tribute. Then, the emergency replacement disc was overnighted to all the affiliate stations. Not all of them got it. For instance, in Cleveland, G98 (WGCL) played the original version of the show. 
Almost forgotten in all the rush was how “Lady” by Kenny Rogers was #1 for its fifth of six weeks. 
For much more on John Lennon…
P.S. John Lennon gave us so much incredibly great music, like this posthumous #1 hit on the Cash Box pop chart…
I rate “Woman” by John Lennon as the second greatest song of all time that’s dedicated to a woman.



Preview YouTube video John Lennon Woman


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