March 9 — This day in GenX history taught us the meaning of “With or Without You” …
U2 released The Joshua Tree in 1987, for the first time exploring America through foreign eyes. The album was the band’s fifth and its first to go no. 1. Eight of its next nine would be no. 1 in Ireland, seven of nine in the US. Centering on the Joshua Tree because of its symbolic ability to survive in a desert, the album gave us the only two U2 singles that hit no. 1 in the US: “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
We learned to live without a hip-hop icon when Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace was shot to death OTD in 1997. Shortly after the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur in September 1996, rumors circulated the Biggie may have had something to do with it, one reporting alleging that he purchased the gun used by Southside Crips to shoot Shakur. Biggie denied this and the following February hired additional security for fear of his own safety. While leaving a party, he and his entourage stopped at a red light. A black Impala stopped alongside, and the driver drew a 9mm pistol and put four shots into Wallace, the final one being fatal. About two weeks later, his ironically titled album Life After Death hit the shelves and peaked at no. 1. Smalls is best known for “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems,” released that July.
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“The Boz,” Brian Bosworth (1965), turns 56 today. One of the more hyped players coming out of college, he was taken in the 1987 supplemental draft out of Oklahoma by the Seahawks. His mohawk, ripped jersey, and brashness drew a lot of attention, and he became best known for getting steamrolled by Bo Jackson on a clash at the goal line in a “Monday Night Football” game in 1987. At least he owned it. Afterward he told reporters of the Jackson play, “He ran my butt over.” Bosworth retired after the 1989 season due to shoulder injuries and went on to some low-budget action movies. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.