Disco Demolition Night (1979)

The most infamous promotion in American sports history went down at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in July 12, 1979 where fans took advantage of 98 cent tickets to more than triple that year’s average attendance. After two radio DJs riled up the crowd with chants of “Disco Sucks” they blew up a box of disco records. The crowd went nuts, destroying seats and urinals, ripping up the field and lighting bonfires in the outfield. After a seeming eternity the police showed up on horseback and cleared the scene.

The Night Disco Died

ChicagoMag.com, 7.5.16

Joe Theismann’s Brutal Compound Fracture on MNF

If you were watching the Redskins play the Giants on “Monday Night Football” in November of 1985 then you remember the play. Star quarterback Joe Theismann receives a flea-flicker toss and looks downfield. The Giants’ fearsome pass rush causes him to step up in the pocket before a flying Lawrence Taylor brings him down, snapping his leg in two places. It remains one of the most notorious sports injuries in American history.

The Oral History of Joe Theismann’s Broken Leg

Washingtonian.com, 9.29.15

“Winds of Change” (1991) is a Poignant Relic of Post-Cold War, Post-Apartheid Hope

The Scorpions aren’t known for their nuanced appraisal of sociopolitical realities, but their iconic power ballad “Winds of Change” (1991) and the accompanying heavily politicized video are beautiful odes to a naive hope for a better world ahead.

Scorpions’ ‘Wind of Change’: The Oral History of 1990’s Epic Power Ballad

RollingStone.com, 9.2.15

 

BlackBerry Solved Smartphone Email But Failed to Capitalize

BlackBerrys were one of the most ubiquitous of the early smartphones, its most devoted business users fatiguingly deriding them as “crackberries.” It’s Canadian founders experienced the heady days of the early Internet boom, but RIM’s story is ultimately one of what could have been.

The Rise and Fall of BlackBerry: An Oral History

Bloomberg.com, 12.9.13

Les Grossman: Tom Cruise’s Wildly Profane Redemption Song

The Les Grossman part in Tropic Thunder (2008) was added late because the screenwriting team thought they needed another villain besides a 12-year-old Asian drug kingpin. Tom Cruise was originally targeted for the lead ultimately played by Ben Stiller, but agreed to play Grossman and he played the part to the max: an iconically demonic portrayal of a Hollywood studio boss with many incredible one-liners–most of which are completely unrepeatable in decent company.

The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History

Grantland.com, 7.30.15

 

The Rise of Johnny Football

This 2012 article provides a history of Johnny Manziel’s football career as his legend grew in Texas as a prep star and then as a freshman at Texas A & M. Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman and later was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Manziel’s pro career has been a disaster thus far due to recurring off-the-field problems.

The Oral History of Johnny Football

SI.com, 12.10.12

VH1’s “Pop-Up Video” Pioneered the Internet’s Snarky, Meta Voice

Pop-Up Video premiered in 1996 over the objections of music purists who thought annotated music videos were the harbinger of the apocalypse. The annotations were written in a distinct style that could either lampoon or laud the video or just provide facts loosely tied to the video content.

‘The Internet Before The Internet’: How ‘Pop-Up Video’ Changed The Way We Devour Pop Culture

Uproxx.com, 10.28.16