Minority Moments in Pop Culture: Marvin Gaye Singing Star Spangled Banner
at ’83 NBA All Star Game
In this podcast we have fun exploring some of the unique moments in American pop culture that featured, highlighted or happened to, through or because of a connection with a minority culture or group. Most everybody knows the big stuff: Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Caesar Chavez, Bruce Lee, Shirley Chisholm, Rita Moreno, etc. Those icons are in a class by themselves and chiseled into our culture
We are going to look for little things that will make you say, “Hmmm, I didn’t know that or thanks for reminding me”. Our first show features the Marvin Gaye’s culturally impacting live performance of the National Anthem at the 1983 NBA All Star Game. It opened the door for other celebrities to from Roseanne Barr to Whitney Houston to put their unique stamp on our Anthem. Listen in for other intersecting tidbits about Marvin Gaye and this unique Minority Moment in Pop Culture
In the Spring of 1967, deep cultural seeds were being planted that would germinate in ’68 an ’69 and then mature and linger over the ’70’s, 80’s and ’90s.
Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the US army and becomes a mainstream social pariah. Full redemption comes to him as a Parkinson’s afflicted man lights the torch with a shaking hand body. The first electric car is launched by Westinghouse. Electric cars are mainstream in 2010. Barbara Walters prominence rises on the today show. This daughter of the owner of the famed, “Latin Quarter” venue would become a TV icon in the 80’s and launch a talk staple named, “The View”. Herb Alpert, Aretha, The Temptations and Lou Rawls are carving out their entertainment turf. Rowan and Martin and The Smothers Brothers are redefining TV. Twiggy is creating “The Waif” look that would remain desirable until the Bulimia of Karen Carpenter.
During the summer of 1976, people thought that the title fo the song was about “making mid-day whoopie” (thanks Newlywed Game), when they heard the song, Afternoon Delight. This catchy little earworm reached number one during the week that America was celebrating a 200 year anniversay. According to Billboard Chart HIstorian, Fred Bronson, the song was actually named after a great meal at a restaurant. That is certainly different than the. first top-ten hit ever recorded by a porn star, “More More More”, by Andre True. How do you like it….
Bruce Jenner was an Olymian and Nadia was the first 10 in Gymnastics. Atari was a “Breakout” hit and it’s creators, Wozniak and Jobs were still unknown to the world. John Lennon was allowed to stay in the U.S. The last slide rule was made and mercy sakes alive, we were about to start a CB convoy!
Jeopardy with new host, Alex Tribek, was coming back on the air after an absence of many years. Captain Kangaroo says, “Goodbye” and Vanessa Williams is crowned, “Miss America”. Purple Rain is making Prince, a king! Mary Lou Retton is Queen of the Olympics. Richard Burton passes away at only 58 years of age! Jerry Fallwell says Michael Jackson is a passing and inappropriate fad that will not last. Ghostbusters and the Karate kid are kicking butt at the movies. VCRSs are ruling the land and we are starting to feel the first cultural tugs pulling us away from analog and into the digital age. “
Springtime, It happens every Salem and “The Marlboro Man”, were regular slogans on TV as cigarette ads were still allowed. 8-track tapes were new to the land and the Empire State residents were concerned that the new World Trade Center, would block and disrupt TV signals. Jimmy Hendrix, makes his debut at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. Chuck Berris, added “The Family Game” to his existing stable of “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game”–all precursors to the best game show of all time: “The Gong Show”! Over 75% of African American homes had at least one of these items: Jet Magazine, Ebony Magazine, a James Brown Record or an Aretha Franklin record. If you were at the movies you were checking out Sydney Poitier with, “To Sir With Love” with a Lulu of a song or were hanging out “Barefoot in the Park” with Cat Ballou who was soon to be “Hanoi Jane” and later a fitness guru and Mrs. Ted Turner!
The United States was still at war in Vietnam. The Mai Lai Massacre is alive in the press as an American soldier is convicted of mass murder. Archie Bunker, was just getting started and Ali-Frazier was about to be chiseled into American history. And how did a Marijuana reference “one toke over the line”, get past the sensors and get played on AM radio? Central Florida gets on the map and D.B. Cooper, takes the money and runs (or drops) out of sight. The last puff of cigarette commercials are aired as we say goodbye to the Marlboro man on TV for the last time. A U. S. Building is bombed and our reaction was much different than what would happen on 9/11 a generation later.
The world was at war as Desert Storm was just starting and names like Colin Powell and Schwartzkoff would soon be part of every newscast. MTV was the king of music. AIDS had unfortunately claimed more than 100,000 live in the U.S. Sony Handycam was introduced that week and would soon take over the “Camcorder” as the leader in consumer video. A position it would hold until the camera phone decades later. Cheers, Designing Women and A Different World ruled the airwaves. Delta Burke was suing the producers and Lisa Bonet was getting married to Mrs. Willis’ son! Wolfgang Puck and the new McLean Burger from McDonalds were fighting for taste-bud supremacy!
MC Hammer, Portable lie CD Players, this kid named Clinton is a long-shot for the presidency.
Muhammad Ali had just made Howard Cosell say, “Down goes, Frazier! Down goes, Frazier! Down goes, Frazier! Zingy Stardust had matured with, FAME. Saturday Night had two Live shows launching at the same time. The one without Cosell would last over 40 years. The wars had just begun between Beta and VHS. The Service Academies were just admitting the first female students and Disco was about to become the way we like it-uh-huh-uh-huh! Sunset Sam had yet to emerge on MTV. The mid-to-late ’70s were the end of analog and the beginning of digital. Goodnight John-Boy had beaten out Flip Wilson in the ratings and Fred was coming to Join Elizabeth!
New icons were on the horizon. Barack Obama is sworn in on that date and Lady Gag arrived at the Billboard #1 chart position. Paul Blart was busy being a Mall Cop at the movies and Sully was landing a plane on the Hudson river that week. Steve Jobs was taking medical leave and everyone knew something was wrong with his health. The Pope went on You Tube and Father Quido Sarducci, stayed in retirement as he was not offered the Ed Mcmahan chair next to the pope. Netflix said that “streaming is the new thing and iTunes removed copyright protection from your purchases. There was a lot going on when Lady Gaga went #1 for the first time and Russia turned off the gas on the Ukraine!