August 19, 1991, was a Monday. In the Soviet Union, President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest by a group of KGB conspirators. Within a week, Soviet republics will begin to declare their independence; Gorbachev will resign as president on Christmas Day, and the Soviet Union will cease to exist. In the United States, Hurricane Bob makes landfall in southern New England. Six people are killed in Connecticut, and some locations on Cape Cod report wind gusts up to 125 MPH. Damage estimates will range up to $1.7 billion. In the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, riots break out after a Guyanese boy is struck and killed by a car containing a prominent Hasidic Jewish leader. In Gurnee, Illinois, the village board holds its regular meeting, disposing of all business in 57 minutes, and state inspectors visit the sewage treatment plant in Orting, Washington. Sports Illustrated features golfer John Daly on its cover, reporting on his out-of-nowhere victory in the PGA Championship one week before. For the second time this month, Steffi Graf regains the top spot in world ranking among female tennis players from Monica Seles.

The Los Angeles Times reports that singer Billy Preston was arrested yesterday on sex charges involving a 16-year-old boy; he will be sentenced to drug rehab and house arrest. Judas Priest plays Toronto and Phish plays Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Bob Dylan plays Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Primus plays Portland, Oregon. Guns n’ Roses plays Copenhagen, Denmark, and George Thorogood plays suburban Indianapolis. “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” by Bryan Adams is #1 in Cash Box magazine for the third straight week; “Every Heartbeat” by Amy Grant and “P.A.S.S.I.O.N” by the Rythm Syndicate hold at #2 and #3, respectively. Paula Abdul’s “Promise of a New Day” zooms to #8; last week it was at #15, right behind her earlier hit “Rush Rush” at #14. At a tiny radio station in Iowa, the afternoon jock finds a different twofer more to his liking: Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis,” which is at #45 and slipping down the chart, and “Silver Thunderbird,” which is at #65 and moving up.

Perspective From the Present: When Rythm Syndicate deliberately misspelled “rhythm” in their name back in the day, it seemed like a somewhat uncommon twist, but after a generation of creative spelling, it just looks dumb now. Although they had only two hit songs, two members of the group, Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, went on to discover Rihanna, and have coproduced her first three albums. (Their first successful venture was writing Donny Osmond’s 1989 comeback hit “Soldier of Love.”) “P.A.S.S.I.O.N” is catchy, but unmistakably Generic Early ’90s: those synthesized drums, that guitar solo you heard on a dozen records every day, the rapped break in the middle, and on down to the scantily clad dancers and fire pots in the video.

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J.A. Bartlett

Writer, raconteur, radio geek, beer snob. There's more of this pondwater at

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