July 15, 1979, was a Sunday. In the Soviet Union, it’s Metallurgist’s Day. With gasoline prices skyrocketing again and his approval rating at 25 percent, President Jimmy Carter delivers a prime-time address in which he addresses the energy situation, but also what he perceives as a crisis of confidence on the part of the American people. The speech will be remembered as the “malaise speech,” even though Carter never uses the word. His approval ratings will rebound before cratering again later in the week, when he will fire half of his cabinet. In Australia, souvenir hunters descend on the southwestern desert to find pieces of Skylab, which crashed there three days before.
The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum and Sophie’s Choice by William Styron top the New York Times Best Seller List for fiction; The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet by Herman Tarnower and Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin lead the nonfiction list. The Chicago Tribune reports that 2.3 million copies of John Irving’s The World According to Garp have been sold since its publication in 1978. The top movie at the box office this weekend is Alien starring Sigourney Weaver. A tropical storm that will be named Claudette forms in the Atlantic Ocean. Ten days from now, it will drop 43 inches of rain on Alvin, Texas, in just 24 hours—a single-day American rainfall record that will still stand in 2009. Alvin is the hometown of baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan, who will be the starter for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Seattle. Horseshoe Canada, the governing body for the game of horseshoe pitching, is created in Ottawa. Jerilyn Britz wins the U.S. Women’s Open golf championship.
Rick Garberson, drummer for the Akron, Ohio-based band the Bizarros, dies of carbon monoxide poisoning. Funeral services are held in Los Angeles for Minnie Riperton, the pop singer who died on July 12. Harry Chapin plays a show in Los Angeles, Devo plays Buffalo, and Ian Hunter plays Kansas City. Cheap Trick and Graham Parker share a bill in Chicago. Van Halen plays Midland, Texas, the Allman Brothers Band plays Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Cars play Columbus, Ohio. On the Cash Box magazine chart for the week, “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward is Number One for a third straight week. Four other disco records are in the top 10. A young disc jockey in Dubuque, Iowa (who is attending summer school classes at college when he’s not working), considers himself lucky to be playing none of them, although what he’s playing instead is nothing to get very excited about: Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes in Me” (#7), “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” by Dr. Hook (#12), and “Shadows in the Moonlight” by Anne Murray (#27), to name a few. He’s learning that the “real” world of radio is a lot different than the college world of radio. It’s not nearly as much fun.
Here’s Dr. Hook on The Midnight Special doing “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman.” The guy with the eye-patch and the maracas is not a random dude who eluded security—it’s co-frontman Ray Sawyer. Believe it or not, kids, this once was hip.