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Looking back in time

There’s something mesmerizing about a stack of old newspapers.

No matter how little time you intend to spend looking through the yellowed-pages, it’s easy to get caught up in those little glimpses of the past. Before you know it, the few minutes you had intended to spend looking at them has turned into 30, 40 or even more.

A reminder of that came not too long ago when Janice Kiaski, our community editor, returned from vacation with a folder filled with various pages she had found while going through the extensive collection of old clippings that had been compiled by her late mother, Ruth Hout.

Among the items in the folder were clippings and sections that covered many years, in no particular order.

One that really stood out, though, was a copy of the Tempo entertainment section that was included in our Saturday editions.

This one was dated Dec. 15, 1979, and it offers an interesting glimpse of Steubenville and the surrounding world of some 41 years ago.

There were advertisements for Home Furniture and Treasure Island and long-gone entertainment and nightspots, including the Aquanaut, the Fountain, Hollywood Lanes, All American Lanes, the White House and Skateland.

Included in the weekly section were television listings for the week, and a glance at the lineups offered by the talk shows certainly captures what we were interested in.

Joining Johnny Carson on the “Tonight Show” that week was a lineup that included Rich Little, Robert Blake, Mac Davis, David Letterman, Fred Astaire and Al Hirt. Dick Cavett’s daily talk show on PBS had guests including Diana Rigg, and Tom Snyder’s “Tomorrow” featured one of the then-hottest celebrity chefs, Jacques Pepin, as well as Paul and Linda McCartney.

Like any good entertainment publication of the time, Tempo included the listing of Billboard’s hot singles and top LPs, and it’s interesting that several of the songs and albums on the list are still able to hold the attention of listeners.

For example: No. 9 on the top LP list was “Damn the Torpedoes” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which was not only a critical success but included two of Petty’s staples that receive a lot of play to this day, “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Refugee.”

No. 8 was the Fleetwood Mac classic “Tusk,” and No. 3 was “Cornerstone” by Styx, which included “Babe.” The No. 1 album that week was “The Long Run” by the Eagles, which included “Heartache Tonight.”

Also on the list were “On the Radio — Greatest Hits Volumes I and II” from Donna Summer, No. 2; “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants” by Stevie Wonder, No. 4; “Greatest” from the Bee Gees, No. 5; “In Through the Out Door” from Led Zeppelin, No. 6; “Wet” from Barbra Streisand, No. 7; and “Midnight Magic” from the Commodores, No. 10.

Several of the hot singles remain familiar, including “Ladies Night” by Kool & the Gang, which held No. 9; “Babe,” which held the No. 3 spot and helped power Styx to the No. 3 spot on the album chart; “Do That to Me One More Time,” by the Captain and Tennile, which held No. 6; and “Still” by the Commodores, which held the No. 5 spot. The Lionel Richie-penned song was one of the reasons why his band also held the No. 10 spot on the album chart.

No. 2 belonged to “Please Don’t Go” by K.C. & the Sunshine Band; at No. 4 was Wonder’s “Send One Your Love,” which came from the No. 4 album on the chart; No. 7 was “You’re Only Lonely,” by J.D Souther; and No. 8 was “No More Tears,” a collaboration by Streisand and Summer.

That leaves just No. 10 and No. 1, and if only these two songs could change places ….

Supertramp’s “Take the Long Way Home” was in the 10th spot, and No. 1 belonged to Rupert Holmes and “Escape (The Pina Colada Song.)”

It’s another example of something that we’ve always known — pop culture remains as fickle today as it ever has been — and a friendly reminder — 41 years from now, it’s likely that someone will look back at us and wonder, “What could they possibly have been thinking?”

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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