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April 1970








The London Magistrate's Court hears arguments on John Lennon's indecency summons for his exhibition of erotic lithographs in January.

Donovan's A Gift from a Flower to a Garden and Bobby Sherman's "Easy Come, Easy Go" both go gold.

Rolling Stone reports that Joe Cocker has recruited a new band including Leon Russell. The extravaganza promptly hits the road billed as the Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour. A live double-album of the tour is released in August, peaking at #2 and spending 53 weeks on the album chart. "The Letter," a song taken from the LP that was a #1 hit for The Box Tops only three years earlier, is released on Apr. 18 and reaches #7.

Rolling Stone reports that due to increasing litigation by musicians' obscene comments, gestures and acts during many rock concerts, performance contracts now often carry anti-obscenity clauses. Another report details the rapid rise in cocaine consumption and distribution, noting that in 1967, 22 kilos of the drug were confiscated by government agents, but in 1970, 10.5 kilos were confiscated in one week alone.

Janis Joplin reunites with Big Brother & the Holding Company for a concert at San Francisco's Fillmore West.

FM broadcasters hold their first convention in Chicago. The three-day confab attests to FM's growing prominence: 2,417 stations today versus 789 a decade ago. More are coming aboard every day, as album-oriented rock (AOR) supplants the three-minute single. As rock takes off, the superior sounding FM becomes an increasingly powerful force on the dial, with advertisers turning its way.

A New York Times article defends rock music as "the most popular of creative arts today."

In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, U.S. chess master Bobby Fisher is defeated by the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky, who claims the world chess title.

Oscars go to Midnight Cowboy (Best Picture, Director and Writing), John Wayne (Best Actor, for True Grit), Maggie Smith (Best Actress, for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and Burt Bacharach & Hal David (Best Song, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
At a concert in Boston, Doors singer Jim Morrison asks the audience if "anyone wants to see my genitals," just after a brief power failure.
Paul McCartney announces a "temporary break with the Beatles," citing "personal differences" and adding that he will no longer record with John Lennon; his move is linked to disapproval of Yoko Ono and of Beatles financial advisor Allen Klein.

Peter Green, founding member and guitarist with Fleetwood Mac, anounces he will leave the band on May 25 to devote himself to "what God would have me do."

Nice organist Keith Emerson and ex-King Crimson bassist-vocalist Greg Lake are reportedly auditioning drummers for a new trio in London. With the addition of ex-Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, of course, they'll become art-rock supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

America's third moon mission, Apollo 13, is launched. Two days later, a serious equipment malfunction depletes all power and oxygen from the main capsule, threatening the lives of the crew and aborting the mission. The crew manages to orbit the moon and returns safely to Earth on Apr. 17.

The Top Five
1. "Let It Be" - The Beatles
2. "ABC" - Jackson Five
3. "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" - John Lennon
4. "Spirit in the Sky" - Norman Greenbaum
5. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel

Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and the album Chicago Transit Authority both go gold.
Milwaukee Buck Lew Alcindor (soon to adopt the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) is voted NBA Rookie of the Year.
George Goldner, New York City music entrepeneur, dies of a heart attack at age fifty-two. A longtime backer of doo-wop who released the Flamingos' classic "I Only Have Eyes for You," Goldner was one of the great music industry moguls of the 1950s and a cofounder of the Red Bird Record label (Shangri-Las, Dixie Cups) with producers Phil Spector and Shadow Morton and songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. He had previously co-founded Roulette Records.
Johnny Cash performs at the White House at the invitation of President Richard M. Nixon but refuses to oblige the president by singing "Welfare Cadillac" or "Okie from Muskogee," which are not his songs; he does, however, comply with an executive request for his Number One hit, "A Boy Named Sue."

Paul McCartney releases his first solo album, McCartney, further fueling rumors of an imminent Beatles breakup.
The Reverend Daniel Berrigan is hailed at the America is Hard to Find Rock Festival at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The festival ends April 19 with a rock Mass.
Elvis Presley's "The Wonder of You," which was recorded live at his last performance in Las Vegas, is released. It will become another of The King's ballad standards over the decades and peak at #9 on the Top 100 singles charts.

New York Times reports that Catholic and Protestant youth groups have adopted the Yellow Submarine as a religious symbol.
Blues guitarist Earl Hooker dies of tuberulosis in Chicago at age forty. Aside from playing on many Fifties and Sixties Chicago blues sessions, he also made the LP Hooker & Steve with Steve Miller.
Raising awareness of environmental issues, the green-and-white ecology flag is hoisted high in New York City's Central Park and across the country, as thousands mark the first Earth Day. Students in Oklahoma City also buried a gasoline engine, and in Washington, and motorists in Tacoma shared the road with a procession of horseback riders. Still, some saw subversion. "It's replacing the anti-Vietnam War movement as the thing to do," said one member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Despite the handful of naysayers, the environmental movement only grew, getting an extra boost the next year with the formation of Greenpeace.
Norman Greenbaum's single "Spirit in the Sky" goes gold. His only other claim to fame is the cult novelty tune "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago," which he recorded in the late Sixties with Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band.
Invited by Tricia Nixon, daughter of the president, to a White House tea party for alumni of Finch College, Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane shows up in a fishnet see-through blouse with "escort" Abbie Hoffman. Hoffman, on trial for conspiring to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, is turned away at the gate, and Slick leaves with him, without having either met Ms. Nixon or introducing her to tea laced with LSD, as she suggested she might do. As the couple departs, Hoffman drapes a flag with a marijuana leaf over a White House fence. "We're coming back July Fourth," Abbie shouts, "with 100,000 people!"
After playing a concert in Raleigh, North Carolina, where men in the crowd taunted the interracial band with racial insults, Pacific Gas and Electric is shot at as its van leaves the club. Four bullets hit the vehicle, but no one is hurt.

Chicago blues piano giant
Otis Spann, a longtime member of Muddy Waters' band, dies of cancer in Chicago at age forty. Among his best-known tunes were "Bertha," Off the Hook" and "Two Bugs and a Roach."

An explosive story about widespread corruption in the New York City police department featuring a contribution from NYPD detective Frank Serpico is published in The New York Times.

The Top Five
1. "ABC" - Jackson Five
2. "Let It Be" - The Beatles
3. "Spirit in the Sky" - Norman Greenbaum
4. "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" - John Lennon
5. "American Woman"/"No Sugar Tonight" - Guess Who

A May Day Rock Festival planned at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, is threatened by suits from the state of Illinois and S.I.U. Illinois State Attorney R. E. Richman and architect/ author/ philosopher Buckminster Fuller urge hospitality for the festival.
George Harrison says the Beatles will reunite eventually and announces plans for his first post-Beatles solo LP.

"Cambodiazation" of the Vietnam War escalates as a combined force of 20,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops crosses Cambodia's border. The next day, President Nixon officially announces his intention to send U.S. forces there. Critical reaction to this widening of the conflict is immediate and severe, as UN Secretary General U Thant warns of its engulfing effect on all of Southeast Asia, and 11 major university newspapers call for a nationwide moratorium in protest.


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