It might have taken 25 or so years, but today in 1984, rock ‘n roll finally had it’s female Elvis.
Madonna released, “Like A Virgin” on November 12, 1984 and the promise she had shown on her debut album exploded into a world-wide phenomenon. The girls all wanted to be her and the guys all wanted to… um, pray with her. The album delivered a hailstorm of singles, attitude, looks, sex, hooks, bangles, sneers, necklaces, gyrations, brattiness and innuendo. And then some more sex and attitude. You look back at the singles now and they’re impossibly tame: Like a Virgin, Material Girl, Into the Groove, Angel, Dress You Up… but at the time she represented a huge liberation in Reagan’s America. Prince had hinted that there was a huge party going on, Madonna threw the door open and invited everyone in. AIDS was still a few years away and for those of a certain age, you paid your cover charge and the shit was on.
There’s a 90% chance you were at a place called something like: Heartbreakers, Graffiti’s, Razzmatazz or Club ____. And there’s a billion% chance there was a Madonna song playing every hour.
Appropo of nothing, Charles Manson turned 50 the day “Like A Virgin” came out.
Today in 1602 Sebastian Viscaino landed his ship at, and named, San Diego. I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
William “Pudge” Heffilfinger became the first known professional football player today in 1892. Heffilfinger, who grew up in Minneapolis and played at Yale, was paid $500 to play for Allegheny against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. Heffilfinger recoverd a fumble in the end zone for the game’s only score, Allegheny winning 4-0.
Today in 1993 “The Piano” came out. If you’d have told me while I was watching “Broadcast News” in 1987 that Holly Hunter would be in a movie in six years where there was tons of sex and nudity and that I would still hate it, I’d have said you were high. My critique aside, Hunter won Best Actress and 11-year old Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress. (I’ve never liked any movies about mute pianists, it’s just a thing I have.)
If you would have told me that I would ever like a movie about a Mumbai teen trying to win a game show, I would have told you that it sounded better than a movie about a mute pianist, but it still sounded terrible. “Slumdog Millionaire” was released in selected cities today in 2008 and went on to win Best Picture.
Tom Wolfe’s brilliant take on the times, “A Man in Full,” set mostly in Atlanta, hit the bookshelves today in 1998.
Ann Hathaway (30), who hosted SNL last week, and Ryan Gosling (32) share birthdays today. It’s odd that Gosling has never hosted SNL (and probably never will, too big and actory at this point, although he seems like a guy who does whatever the hell he wants, so we’ll call it a maybe), and it’s also strange that these two, who hit at about the same time, haven’t worked together.
– Bill Hubbell