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April 1978








Paul Simon and Peter Frampton go to Philadelphia to see the Philadelphia Fury -- the North American Soccer League team of which they and Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman own parts -- open its season against the Washington Diplomats.

Blondie's "Denis," a remake of Randy and the Rainbows' 1963 hit "Denise," tops the New Musical Express British pop chart.
Soap operas invade prime time as Dallas introduces J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) and his oil-rich family on the show's CBS debut. The first successful primetime soap since Peyton Place, it catches the zeitgeist with over-the-top, big-budget melodrama, and oozes high fashion, high stakes, and high jinks galore. Its audience builds slowly but surely and by the 1981-82 season it will become the most popular series on American television, spawning spinoff Knots Landing as well as a host of imitators (Dynasty, Flamingo Road, Secrets of Midland Heights, etc.)
Blues guitar giant B.B. King, joins famed defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey for a rap session and concert for inmates of Norfolk Prison in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of their ongoing duties as co-chairmen of FAIRR (Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recreation). Portions of the Norfolk concert are shot by ABC-TV for inclusion on a subsequent episode of Good Morning America.

It's a rather strange night at the Oscars. When outspoken Palestinian rights activist Vanessa Redgrave wins best supporting actress for Julia, she peppers her acceptance speech with politics and her refusal "to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums." The bewildered audience gasps, alternately booing or applauding. The tension in the room lightens considerably when perky Debby Boone sings "You Light Up My Life," the eventual winner for Best Song.

Donna Summer's "Last Dance," which she performed in the 1978 disco-based comedy Thank God It's Friday, wins an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 51st annual Academy Awards.
NBC's four-part miniseries Holocaust: The Story of the Family Weiss debuts.
Carl Sagan wins the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for The Dragons of Eden.
Arista Records releases the Patti Smith Group's single "Because the Night," coauthored by Smith and Bruce Springsteen. The song will become Smith's only charting single, reaching #13 later this year, and will also be covered by Springsteen in concerts.

Over forty rock & roll performers petition
President Carter to end America's commitment to nuclear power. Some of the performers -- including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Carly Simon, the Doobie Brothers, Gil Scott-Heron, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and others -- will later get together for antinuclear benefit concerts that will be recorded for the No Nukes album.

Outside of New York City punk-rock club CBGB,
Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz is nearly killed when he is stabbed during a streetfight. A week-long benefit will be held for Blitz at CBGB shortly, featuring many of New York's top punk performers, including the Ramones, Blondie, (with special guest Robert Fripp, one-time leader of King Crimson) and others.

In a Washington, D.C., news conference, a former Cambodian information minister reveals that as a result of the tyrannical rule of the Khmer Rouge, more than two million of his countrymen have been murdered or have died from starvation or disease and that the deaths are continuing.

Ex-Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny dies at age 31 from a cerebral hemorrhage suffered in a fall down a flight of stairs in her London home. Denny was a smooth and tender-voiced folk vocalist who was originally a member of the folk band The Strawbs in 1967 and with Fairport recorded the original version of "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" (later made popular by Judy Collins) during her tenure with the band between 1968 and 1970.
Bob Marley and the Wailers perform at the One Love Peace Concert at the National Arena outside Kingston, Jamaica, making their first public appearance in their homeland since the attempt on Marley's life in December 1976. The concert was organized by youth leaders of Jamaica's feuding political parties in an effort to end the violence of the past five years. Also appearing at the concert are Culture, Dennis Brown, Big Youth, Jacob Miller, Trinity and Peter Tosh, who lights up a spliff onstage and lectures the government wisdom of legalizing marijuana. But the climax of the event comes at the end of Marley's performance, when he calls Prime Minister Michael Manley and Opposition leader Edward Seaga onstage and raises their clasped hands in a gesture of friendship and unity.

Actor Will Geer, best known for his portrayal of Grandpa Zebulon Walton in the The Waltons, dies of respiratory failure in Los Angeles at age 76. His 'Grandpa Walton' character's death was written into the show's sixth season, whose March 30, 1978 episode was the last one he appeared in.

Ex-Sex Pistol bassist Sid Vicious films his rendition of Paul Anka's pop standard "My Way" for the Sex Pistols' film The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle.
London's 100 Club, birthplace of punk rock, closes its doors to punk music following a performance by the band Alternative TV, which features Mark Perry, editor of the now-defunct punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue.

ABC airs its Vega$ TV pilot movie; the series proper will start later in the year on Sept. 20.

Ringo Starr's TV special, Ringo, a musical update of The Prince and the Pauper, airs on American TV. Intended to promote his upcoming album Bad Boy, the special includes newly recorded versions of "Act Naturally," "Yellow Submarine," and "You're Sixteen" (a duet with Carrie Fisher). George Harrison narrates, and other friends dropping by for cameos include Angie Dickinson, Mike Douglas, Art Carney, John Ritter and Vincent Price. Despite the star wattage it garners very low ratings, finishing fifty-third out of sixty-five shows.
FM, a film about the battle between progressives and regressives at a radio station, premieres in Los Angeles. It stars comedian Martin Mull, Eileen Brenan and Cleavon Little, with appearances by Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett, REO Speedwagon and Tom Petty. The soundtrack also features Steely Dan, Neil Young, the Eagles, Billy Joel, Warren Zevon, Steve Miller and B.B. King. More people buy the soundtrack than see the film, and Steely Dan's title track "FM (No Static at All)" becomes a #22 hit in July. Two more music-themed movies, Thank God It's Friday and The Buddy Holly Story, will also hit the theaters in a few weeks.
The Clash, the Tom Robinson Band and X-Ray Spex perform at a Rock Against Racism rally in London.

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