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August 1970








Twelve years after her acting career ended and she left both Hollywood and Broadway and other stages, legendary 1930s actress Frances Farmer dies in Indianapolis at age 56 after a long battle with esophageal cancer. Her moving story is told in the 1982 Jessica Lange film Frances, and in the 1972 book Will There Really Be a Morning?, which was adapted into a TV movie in 1983.
A four-day strike by NFL players requesting improved pension payments and other benefits from team owners ends as players' demands are met.

Completed in 1968, director Nicolas Roeg's project with the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, Performance, is finally released by Warner Bros., its original light tone when pitched turned ominously dark. Most critics savage the violent, intense film starring Jagger as (what else?) a fading rock star, James Fox as a complex killer on the lam, and Mick's then real-life girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg. The violence of Performance turns off many, but in future years its reputation is rehabilitated, validating one lone critic's early description of it as a "perfectly poisonous, cinematic flower." Either way, Jagger draws kudos for his solo soundtrack song, "Memo from Turner."

The Medicine Ball Caravan, featuring the Grateful Dead and hippie-scene people like Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney) of the Hog Farm, becomes rock's first and last movable festival as it leaves San Francisco on a cross-country trek, pulling seven tie-dyed tepees along with it. The caravan will eventually reach the United Kingdom, document itself with an album, and its own rock band, Stoneground, will emerge from it.

Canadian Woodstock, Quebec's first rock festival, ends disastrously: only 10,000 people show up, and only one of twelve scheduled performers appears.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of America's dropping of the atom bomb in Hiroshima, Japan, 20,000 people paying from $5.50 to $8.50 apiece gather at New York City's Shea Stadium for an antiwar rock festival that lasts twelve hours and includes performances by John Sebastian, Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Paul Butterfield, Steppenwolf, Johnny Winter and the cast of "Hair." The attendance is well below expectations, and a similar concert planned for the same day in Philadelphia never happens at all because of legal hassles concerning the concert's length and the rental fee for JFK Stadium.

Meanwhile in California, when 300 hippies gather for a ragtag rally at Disneyland's make-believe City Hall, everybody gets sent home early. Unfurling Viet Cong and marijuana banners, the vocal, longhaired hooligans even tear down the red, white and blue bunting. More than 100 baton-wielding police appear, dispersing the unruly mob and arresting 18 for disturbing the peace. The park sends home its other 30,000 visitors five hours early -- only the second time in its history (the first was for JFK's assassination) that Disneyland shuts down.

The Soviet Union launches Venus probe Venera 7, which lands four months later, becoming the first man-made object to transmit data from the surface of another planet.
Thousands of American youths are refused entry to Canada for the Strawberry Fields Rock Festival in Mosport, Ontario, on grounds that they "failed to produce adequate monies to support themselves" ("a fairly routine action," says an Ottawa immigration official). Over 8,000 Americans make it there anyway.
Bessie Smith, "Empress of Blues" and prime inspiration for Janis Joplin and countless other blues singers, finally gets a stone for her grave in Philadelphia's Mount Lawn Cemetery, courtesy of Joplin. Smith died during a tour on September 26, 1937, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, bleeding to death after she was refused admittance to a whites-only hospital for treatment of injuries she sustained in an auto accident. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Mount Lawn. Her tombstone, which Joplin and a nurse named Juanita Green who met Smith back in the 1930s split the cost of $500 for, features an epitaph written by John Hammond, an executive of her label, CBS Records: THE GREATEST BLUES SINGER IN THE WORLD WILL NEVER STOP SINGING.
In Miami, Florida, Jim Morrison's public lewdness trial opens, 17 months after he was charged with exposing himself onstage. Eventually, he will be found innocent of "lewd and lascivious behavior" but guilty on separate charges of indecent exposure and profanity.
The Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival in Michigan opens with performances by John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton, as well as unscheduled appearances by Johnny Winter and Buddy Guy. The festival's producers pass collection baskets through the audience, hoping to alleviate their estimated $20,000 deficit.
Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot and others appear at a Woody Guthrie memorial concert held at California's Hollywood Bowl.

Janis Joplin gives her last performance at Harvard Stadium.

ESP Disk, the adventurous avant-garde jazz label that printed liner notes in Esperanto, buys exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights to recordings by Charles Manson, currently on trial in the Tate-LaBianca murder case.
Christine Perfect McVie joins Fleetwood Mac, the band co-founded by her husband, John McVie, two months after announcing that she would retire from performing.
Elvis Presley announces the six-date itinerary of his first tour since 1958, to start in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sept. 9 and to end Sept. 14 in Mobile, Ala.

The Top Five
1. "Make It With You" - Bread
2. "(They Long to Be) Close to You" - Carpenters
3. "Spill the Wine" - Eric Burdon & War
4. "War" - Eric Starr
5. "In the Summertime" - Mungo Jerry

Lou Reed, frontman and founder of the Velvet Underground, performs with the band for the last time before leaving the group, at Max's Kansas City.
British singer and pianist Elton John makes his first U.S. appearance at Los Angeles' Troubador, the opening act for American folk artist David Ackles. It's the kickoff of a seventeen-day tour.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer make their world debut at Plymouth Guild Hall, Plymouth, England.
The Isle of Wight Pop Festival begins in England. Jimi Hendrix makes his last public appearance here. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Richie Havens and Joni Mitchell are among those who appear. Hundreds of fans shouting "Music is free!" force their way in, joining the 250,000 already in attendance. During Joni Mitchell's set, a man jumps onstage, grabs the mike, and shouts, "This is just a hippie concentration camp!" Mitchell bursts into tears. The festival ends on August 31.

Marking the 50th anniversary of women's suffrage, a national women's strike brings thousands of marchers to the streets of New York and other cities. In Washington, D.C., where government workers are not permitted to strike, women march on their lunch hour.

While Elvis Presley is performing at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, the hotel receives a threat to kidnap the King. Security is heavily increased and no attempt was made.

Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios in New York City (the first to offer 24-track recording facilities) opens for business. Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder are among the first artists to record there.
The Top Five
1. "War" - Eric Starr
2. "Make It With You" - Bread
3. "(They Long to Be) Close to You" - Carpenters
4. "In the Summertime" - Mungo Jerry
5. "Spill the Wine" - Eric Burdon & War


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