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Dateline: Events/Headlines - Week of December 15, 1988 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts


In The News

Reversal – Secretary of State George P. Shultz says that the United States is now ready for direct talks with the PLO because Chairman Yasser Arafat has eliminated earlier ambiguities and reservations from his renunciation of terrorism and his acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist.

President-elect Bush chooses former Texas Sen. John Tower as his secretary of defense.

President –elect George Bush picks Jack Kemp as his choice for secretary of housing and urban development. At the same time, Bush delayed plans for naming additional Cabinet appointees amid mounting controversy over the abortion views of leading contender for secretary of health and human services.

 A Pan Am 747 bound for New York with 258 on board crashes into a small Scottish village. The crash in the town of Lockerbie occurred about an hour after takeoff from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Breaking several days of silence, Israeli leader Yitzhak Shamir sharply criticized Washington’s decision to talk with the Palestine Liberation organization and cautioned that the move is straining the U.S.-Israeli alliance.

Yasser Arafat says that the leaders of the PLO “will do our best” to curb all acts of Palestinian terrorism and that the political dialogue begun with the United States will continue.

U.S. Atty. Rudolph Giuliani announces that Drexel Burnham Inc., The fifth largest firm on Wall Street, has agreed in principle to plead guilty to six felony counts and pay $650 million in financial penalties to end a two-year investigation of the firm by federal prosecutors. 

It seems that violence by neo-nazi hate groups or skinheads is increasing. The latest incident took place in Portland, OR. 

Federal Express Corp, the overnight package-deliver company says it has agreed to acquire cargo transport concert Tiger International Inc. for $880 million.


Medical/Health/AIDs news update – December 15, 1988

AIDS researchers at UC San Francisco have isolated two types of AIDS-causing viruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2 from a West African AIDS patient, providing the first definitive proof that both viruses can infect the same individual. 


Technology news – December 15, 1988

Pioneer Electronics has come-up with a digital VCR. The VH-930SD S-VHS hi-fi VCR features four-head HQ circuitry. The device also includes picture-in-picture capability, which allows simultaneous viewing of two video sources on the same screen.  

Philips and Sony have reached agreement on a world standard for CD-Interactive or CD-I format. Philips believes CD-I will be the consumer product of the ‘90’s. The fourth ‘baby of the CD family – after CD audio, CD video, and CD-Rom – CD-I makes possible a combination of all three when hooked up to a television receiver equipped with remote control. More than 40 companies are already committed to producing software for CD-I including Time-Life Books and Rand McNally.


Sports news- December 15, 1988

 In a television first – CBS will get major league baseball, by agreeing to pay slightly more that $1 billion over 4 seasons, 1990 through 1993.


Entertainment/Celebrity news – December 15, 1988

Lavon Muhammad, the ex-legal secretary who calls herself Billie Jean Jackson and who has claimed to be married to singer Michael Jackson, pleads innocent to violating a 2-year-old restraining order instructing her to stay away from his home. She claims she was the inspiration for his hit “Billie Jean” and claims Jackson fathered her 6-year-old twins. 

Passing – Max Robinson, the nation’s first black network television news anchor dies from AIDS. He was 49.

Passing – Sylvester (40) – the popular soul-rock singer and remembered as San Francisco’s “Disco Queen.” Of AIDS.


Music news – December 15, 1988

Bruce Springsteen and estranged wife Julianne Phillips have agreed on a division of joint property and have signed papers to make their divorce final in three months.

R.E.M. has a  new album out on a new label. After years with I.R.S. – they’re with Warner Brothers with “Green.” R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck says the commercial success the band is enjoying isn’t part of a plan or design: “I don’t understand what makes a record a hit enough to understand how to make a hot. On ‘Green’, a lot of the songs don’t have traditional hooks and such. They just go around in circles.”

“Rock rap,” a weekly half-hour show founded a little more than two years ago, can be seen on cable outlets in Manhattan and Long Island. Some of those appearing on the show – Billy Joel, L.L. Cool J., Cissy Houston, Suzanne Vega, Great White, Lisa Lisa, Howard Stern, the Ramones, Yoko Ono, The dean Milkman and more.

 Debbie Gibson, who graduated from high school this year, will have her second Atlantic album, “Electric Youth,” hit stores January 16. She topped the triple-platinum mark with her debut set, “Out of the Blue,” which spawned a string of hit singles including “Only In My dreams,” Shake Your Love,” ad the album’s title track. The new album features all self-penned songs. 

Third time is a charm – “New Kids On The Block” is finally pop – and you can thank radio, specifically PD Randy Kabrich, program director of WRBQ (Q105) Tampa. Released in February, their current album, “Hangin’ Tough,” was languishing for two months at the 35,000 sales with limited airplay on the leadoff single, “Please Don’t Go Girl,” – limited to just 15-20 black stations. Then Kabrich began playing it, and the buzz forced other top-40 FM stations to add the record. With a second single, “The Right Stuff,” out and a sold base established, Columbia Records hopes to continue to build on the New Kids’ resurrection. The group had two prior albums, but they did nothing.

CBS Music Video enterprises is set to release on January 10 – what it hopes could be one of the best-selling music video longforms to date – a 94-minute Michael Jackson video titled “Moonwalker.” It’ll be priced at $24.95.

But wait – CBS Music Video enterprises is releasing Bruce Springsteen’s first longform home videocassette as well – a 100-minute retrospective containing his complete video clip output during the past 10 years. “Bruce Springsteen Video Anthology/1978-88” should be out soon.

“Nick Rocks,” Nickelodeon’s long-running half-hour rock video request show for kids, is being canceled in January. But, the channel isn’t dumping videos and is working on a Sunday morning video show. “Nick rocks” has been running in its after-school time slot for about five years.


Radio news – December 15, 1988

Casey Kasem’s new weekend countdown show for Westwood One – “Casey’s Top 40” begins January 21. When news of Kasem’s decision to leave ABC Radio Network’s “American Top 40” hit the streets last summer, there was speculation that the longer he was off the air, the harder it would be regain his audience. But he has continued to appear weekly as the host of his television countdown program, “America’s top 10,”

After more than 14 years at the station – WWPR New York Program Director Larry Berger is resigning to expand his consultancy and consider other possibilities. Larry took the former WPLJ to the highest ratings of any AOR station besides KMET-FM during the 1970’s.  


Television news – December 15, 1988

Last weeks airing of CBS-TV’s “A Very Brady Christmas” starring the old Brady Bunch gang, brought in a 39 share and a 25.1 rating – good enough for #2 overall.

The Ninth annual Lou Rawls Parade of Stars raised more than $9.4 million in pledges for the United Negro College Fund. More than 50 stars stopped by including Ben Vereen, Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, Neil Sedaka, Ray Charles and Bob Hope. The telethon included taped messages from President Reagan and Michael  Jackson.

MTV is now seen in some 24 countries. The latest is MTV Japan, but there’s also MTV Europe, MTV Australia and MTV Internacionale.


Top daytime TV programs – December 15, 1988

General Hospital

Young and the Restless

One Life to Live

All My Children

Days of Our Lives

As The World Turns

The Price is Right 2

The Guiding Light

Bold and the Beautiful

The Price is Right


Top children’s videos – December 15, 1988

Lady and the Tramp


Mickey Commemorative Edition

Sleeping Beauty

Disney Sing Along” Very Merry Christmas Songs

An American Tail

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too


Top Modern Rock Music Tracks – December 15, 1988  

Charlotte Anne – Julian Cope

Orange Crush – R.E.M.

Angle of Harlem – U2

The Great Commandment – Camouflage

Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys

The Killing jar – Siouxsie and the Banshees

I’m an Adult Now – Pursuit of Happiness

Way Behind Me – the Primitives

In Your room – Bangles

When Love Comes to Town – U2


Top Country Hit Music Singles – December 15, 1988

When You Say Nothing At All – Keith Whitley

A Tender Lie – Restless Heart

Hold Me – K.T. Oslin

Love Helps Those – Paul Overstreet

Change of Heart – The Judds

Mama Knows – Shenandoah

We Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right – Eddie Rabbit

Long Shot – Bailie and the Boys

She’s Crazy For Leaving – Rodney Crowell

Blue Side of Town – Patty Loveless

My Baby’s Gone – Sawyer Brown

Deeper Than the Holler – Randy Travis


Top Contemporary Jazz Music Tracks -  December 15, 1988

Festival - Lee Ritenour

Silhouette – Kenny G.

Don’t Try this At Home – Lee Ritenour

Heart’s Horizon – Al Jarreau

Simple Pleasures – Bobby McFerrin

Close-Up – David Sanborn

Flying Home – Stanley Jordan

If This Bass Could Only talk – Stanley Clarke


Top pop hit music singles in Britain – December 15, 1988

Mistletoe And Wine – Cliff Richard

Especially For You – Kyle Minogue & Jason Donovan

Suddenly – Angry Anderson

Cat Among the Pigeons/Silent Night – Bros

First Time – Robin Beck

Two Hearts – Phil Collins

Crackers International EP – Erasure

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

Missing You- - Chris de Burgh


Top pop hit music singles(top-40) – December 15, 1988

Look Away – Chicago

Giving You The Best That I got – Anita Baker

My Prerogative – Bobby Brown

Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison

I Don’t Want Your Love – Duran Duran

Waiting For A Star To Fall – Boy Meets Girl

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

How Can I Fall? – Breathe

Two Hearts – Phil Collins

In Your Room – Bangles

Finish What Ya Started – Van Halen

Walk On Water – Eddie Money

 The Promise – When in Rome

In Your Room – Bangles

Don’t Rush Me – Taylor Dayne

Spy in the House of Love – Was (Was Not)

I Remember Holding You – Boys Club

Early in the Morning – Robert Palmer

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

Armageddon It – Def Leppard

Desire – U2


Top Music Alums  – December 15, 1988

Cocktail – Soundtrack

Rattle and Hum – U2

Giving You The Best That I Got – Anita Baker

Appetite For destruction – Guns N’ Roses

New Jersey – Bon Jovi

Don’t Be Cruel – Bobby Brown

Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys

Silhouette – Kenny G.

Open Up And Say… Ahh! – Poison

Green – R.E.M.

Till I Love You – Barbara Streisand

Any Love – Luther Vandross

Faith – George Michael

Long Cold Winter – Cinderfella

American Dream – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 

Reach for the Sky – Ratt

No Rest For The Wicked – Ozzy Osbourne

Kick –INXS

OU812 – Van Helen

Shooting Rubberbands At the Stars – Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

…And Justice For All – Metallica

Hold An Old Friend’s Hand - Tiffany 



Billboard’s top new pop music artists for 1988 

Guns N’ Roses

Rick Astley

Terrence Trent D’Arby

Taylor Dayne

Tracy Chapman


Keith Swat

White Lion


Al B. Sure!


Billboard’s top pop music artists of 1988

George Michael

Def Leppard


Michael Jackson

Debbie Gibson

Guns N’ Roes

Whitney Houston

Richard Marx

Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine

Rick Astley

Terrence Trent D’Arby

Steve Winwood



Elton John

Belinda Carlisle

Taylor Dayne

Cheap Trick

Tracy Chapman

John Cougar Mellencamp


Van Halen



Top movies – December 15,  1988


Rain Man

The Naked Gun


Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Torch Song Trilogy

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