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August 1978








Due to hundreds of tons of toxic waste that had been buried and then leaked into Love Canal's water supply, a mass evacuation of the Niagra Falls, N.Y., neighborhood -- particularly children and pregnant women -- begins. Three-hundred homes will be buried as a result of contamination by the former owner of the area, the Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Company. The catastrophe has caused untold illnesses, stillbirths, miscarriages, and birth defects. Five days later President Carter designates it a federal disaster area. "The profound and devastating effects of the Love Canal tragedy," says the New York State health commissioner, "in terms of human health and suffering and environmental damage, cannot and probably will never by fully measured."
Former Stevie Wonder drummer Hamilton Bohannon enters the soul chart with the disco smash "Let's Start the Dance," which will peak at #9 in its nineteen weeks on the chart. The single is from Bohannon's hit album Summertime Groove, which will peak at #14 on the soul LP chart.

Rolling Stones' disco-inflected single "Miss You," from their album Some Girls, tops the U.S. pop chart. The album's other single, "Beast of Burden," will hit #8 later this year.

The Top Five
1. "Miss You" - Rolling Stones
2. "Three Times a Lady" - Commodores
3. "Grease" - Frankie Valli
4. "Last Dance" - Donna Summer
5. "Shadow Dancing" - Andy Gibb

Pope Paul VI dies of a heart attack at age 80. He is best remembered as the first pope ever to visit the United States, in 1965, where he delivered his "war no more" speech to the U.N. General Assembly, as well as known for his controversial encyclicals Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (Latin for "Of the celibate priesthood") that defended mandatory celibacy for Latin Rite priests and Humanae Vitae (Latin for "Of human life") that opposed artificial birth control and abortion, both of which were said to have caused widespread departures from and declines in religious vocations, confessions, and widespread ignoring of the encyclical against birth control. He also implemented the Vatican II (1962-1965 sessions) reforms which, some say, led to declining Mass attendance, religious orders, marriages, baptisms, confirmations and, of late, Church funerals, and met people of many different beliefs, even unbelievers like atheists and agnostics as well as pagan non-monotheistic people. Albino Luciani becomes Paul VI's successor, John Paul I, on Aug. 26 and will reign only 33 days before his own death.
An over-one-year standoff between Philadelphia police and the radical back-to-nature cult MOVE, the seige ends in a shootout with Philadelphia policeman James J. Ramp shot to death.
Blues legend Muddy Waters performs at a White House picnic for President Jimmy Carter.
Rolling Stone reports that Alice Cooper has initiated a dubious rock benefit, urging other Hollywood residents to help replace a missing "O" in the famous sign atop Hollywood Hills, which had been washed away in a recent flood. Cooper himself donates $27,000 from a Baltimore concert where he had billed himself "Alice Coper" in empathy with the errant vowel.

A New York Times multi-union strike begins, lasting almost three months.

Science magazine reports a study in which monkeys repeatedly opted for cocaine over food when given the chance.
Pete Meaden, who had been the Who's publicist and manager in their High Numbers days, commits suicide in London by ingesting an overdose of barbituates. Meaden, who helped the group refine their Mod image, was managing Steve Gibbons at the time of his death. He was thirty-five.

Disco-funk band
Atlantic Starr enter the soul chart for the first time with "Stand Up," which will peak at #16. One week later, their eponymous debut album will enter the soul LP chart, where it will peak at #21.

Brothers Johnson enter the soul LP chart with Blam!!, which in its twenty-six weeks on the chart will peak at Number One for seven weeks starting on September 2. The album yields two hit singles in "Ride-o-Rocket" and "Ain't We Funkin' Now," both of which will reach #45 on the soul chart later this year.

Donny Hathaway enters the soul chart with "You Were Meant for Me," which will peak at #17 in its fifteen weeks on the chart. It will be his last chart entry during his lifetime.

The Top Five
1. "Three Times a Lady" - Commodores
2. "Grease" - Frankie Valli
3. "Last Dance" - Donna Summer
4. "Miss You" - Rolling Stones
5. "Hot Blooded" - Foreigner

Be-Bop Deluxe, the British progressive rock group, disband. Leader and guitarist Bill Nelson goes on to form Red Noise.
In light of recent bitter defeaties in various state legislatures, Congress gives the ERA a reprieve and adds another 38 months to the ratification deadline. The reprieve is in vain: June 30, 1982 will pass without the support needed to approve the amendment.

The New York Times traces the current jogging fad -- evidenced by the bestseller status of The Complete Book of Running, the increase in exercise-apparel companies and the sight of thousands running for good health -- to former Air Force officer Dr. Kenneth Cooper.

Three American balloonists, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman, pilot Double Eagle II from the U.S. to France, becoming the first to cross the Atlantic in a hot-air balloon.
Influential Dayton, Ohio, funk band Slave enter the soul LP chart with The Concept, which will peak at #11 in its eleven weeks on the chart.

Subversive protest-funkateer
George Clinton's Funkadelic have their biggest hit ever on their hands, as the anthemic "One Nation under a Groove" begins the first of twenty-five weeks on the soul chart, where it will peak at Number One on September 30, holding the top position for six weeks. Funkadelic's album of the same name will also be on the soul LP chart for twenty-five weeks and will reach Number One on October 28, where it will stay for four weeks. Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic aggregate's adventurous concerts in the UK this winter will feature, among all else, a life-size flying saucer.

Alicia Bridges enters the soul chart with "I Love the Nightlife (Disco Round)." Though the Phoebe Snow soundalike's single will only reach as high as #31 in its seventeen weeks on the chart, the song's title will become a disco-era catchphrase.
One of the rising young black stars of 1978 is Rick James, a dreadlocked punk-funkster from Buffalo, New York, who once played in a Toronto group called the Mynah Birds with Neil Young, of all people, James' Come Get It turns gold, and he has two other hit LPs in 1978, Bustin' Out of L Seven and Fire It Up.
Popular '30s and '40s New Orleans bandleader/wild man Louis Prima dies of a brain tumor at age 66 after a nearly three-year coma. He had numerous chart hits including "Bell Bottom Trousers" and "Sing, Sing, Sing, Sing," but his signature tune was his humorous rendition of "That Old Black Magic," in duet with his wife Kelly Smith. She would sing a line straight and slow, while he would do the next line to a frantic novelty tempo. Somehow it worked and audiences loved it.
The Tom Robinson Band, Patti Smith, John Otway, Sham 69 and others appear at the Reading Rock Festival in England.

Jackson Browne's Running on Empty turns platinum. The album, his fifth, is a cleverly constructed diary of the road that includes performances recorded on stage and even in hotel rooms. Browne garners two Top Twenty hits, the title trackand "Stay/The Load Out."
Over 80,000 fans attend the first Canada Jam rock festival in Ontario, promoted by Lennie Stosel and Sandy Feldman, who worked on the California Jam concerts. Featured at Canada Jam I are the Doobie Brothers, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Dave Mason, Kansas, the Village People and the Commodores. The show will gross $2 million.

Ashford and Simpson's "It Seems to Hang On" enters the soul chart, where it will peak at #2 -- their biggest hit in a year that sees them enter the soul chart four times.

The Top Five
1. "Grease" - Frankie Valli
2. "Three Times a Lady" - Commodores
3. "Miss You" - Rolling Stones
4. "Boogie Oogie Oogie" - A Taste of Honey
5. "Hot Blooded" - Foreigner

Joe Galkin, the Southern rock & roll and R&B promoter who discovered and gave the initial push to R&B great Otis Redding, dies at age seventy-six.

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