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July 1979








Filming is completed on Carny, the first theatrical film Robbie Robertson of the Band has been involved with since the Band broke up. He produced and cowrote the script, and costarred with Gary Busey and Jodie Foster.
Composer/ singer/producer Van McCoy dies of a heart attack at age thirty-eight. A music industry veteran, he worked with such artists as Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Barbara Lewis, Peaches and Herb, Chad and Jeremy, Jackie Wilson and Brenda and the Tabulations, from the early Sixties through the Seventies. In 1975, McCoy broke through on his own with the predominantly instrumental disco smash "The Hustle," the biggest dance-craze record of the Seventies, featured on his best-selling instrumental album Disco Baby. His "Getting Mighty Crowded" was covered by Elvis Costello.
Robert Torsney, the white NYPD officer acquitted by reason of insanity in the killing of a black Brooklyn youth in November 1976, is ordered released from a mental hospital by a sharply divided State Appeals Court.
Chuck Berry is sentenced to a four-month prison term for income-tax evasion; he'd short-changed the U.S. government $200,000 on his 1973 return.

Arthur Fiedler was a Boston-bred violinist who joined the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra in 1915 and became its conductor in 1930, carring the baton for almost 50 years. He even led the orchestra to its only chart record with an instrumental of the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964. He dies at age 84.

Neil Young's concert film Rust Never Sleeps (the title, a line in Young's song "Out of the Blue, Into the Black," is taken from an advertising slogan penned for an Akron antitrust product manufacturer by Devo's Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh) premieres at the Bruin Theater in Westwood, California. Its East Coast premiere will be July 18 at New York City's Palladium. The movie is a documentary of his last U.S. tour.

Skylab, the 77-ton orbiting lab that three separate NASA missions used and that has been slowly dropping to Earth, enters the atmosphere and breaks apart; large pieces fall into the Indian Ocean and the Australian wilderness. The wayward space station's demise becomes an international media event, with The San Francisco Examiner offering $10,000 for the first piece delivered to its offices. Stan Thornton, a shaggy-haired 17-year-old Australian, scoops up some pieces that had fallen near his home, journeys to San Francisco courtesy of a local radio station, and claims the $10,000 prize after waiting an agonizing week until NASA authenticates his charred chunks.

Pop-soul vocalist Minnie Riperton dies at age thirty-one of cancer in Los Angeles. Her one big hit was the 1975 Number One single "Lovin' You" (written and produced by Stevie Wonder), which amply demonstrated her incredible multi-octave range.

A "disco sucks" movement is kicked off in Chicago by local DJ Steve Dahl when, during the second game of a White Sox/Detroit Tigers double-header, a "disco demolition" rally in Comiskey Park, planned as a promotional stunt by Dahl and Mike Veeck (son of White Sox owner and legendary promoter Bill Veeck), goes out of control. A crowd of 50,000, many of whom were admitted for 98 cents (the station's position on the dial) if they also brought a disco record, chants "disco sucks" and blows up an estimated 10,000 disco records, then rushes the field, refusing to get off. The antidisco revellers, 34 of whom are arrested, get so carried away that the game has to be called off after Tigers' manager Sparky Anderson pulls his team for its own safety (the White Sox are forced to forfeit). Internationally, the story makes headline news. Nationally, the stunt comes to signify the disco backlash. Locally, baseball managers grouse about the lousy field conditions for the rest of the season.

The unpretentious sleeper Breaking Away opens and breaks out unexpectedly at the box office, too. Starring Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley as four townie pals who enter a bicycle race patterned after the real-life Little 500 race at Indiana University, the unsentimentally optimistic film nets a surprising five Oscar nominations including best picture, and wins one for its script. It later inspires a short-lived sitcom that attracts several cast members including Oscar nominee Barbara Barrie.
The Top Five
1. "Bad Girls" - Donna Summer
2. "Ring My Bell" - Anita Ward
3. "Hot Stuff" - Donna Summer
4. "Chuck E's in Love" - Rickie Lee Jones
5. "She Believes in Me" - Kenny Rogers

President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of Iraq resigns, naming vice president Saddam Hussein as his successor.
In a surprise move, President Carter reshuffles his entire Cabinet due to its less-than- satisfactory performance, names Hamilton Jordon chief of staff and spends the next month appointing replacements. Predictably, public confidence in Carter ebbs.
After a seven-week civil war, Nicaragua's Sandinista rebels take control of the capital, Managua, two days after the resignation of President Anastasio Debayle Somoza. His departure ends 46 years of his family's rule, and Daniel Ortega will rule as the country's Communist leader until 1990.
Seventeen-year- old Scott Cantrell, who'd been staying with Keith Richards' common-law wife Anita Pallenberg, shoots himself to death in the bedroom of Pallenberg's home in South Salem in Westchester County, New York.
At a revival meeting in North Richmond, California, Little Richard -- now known as the Reverend Richard Penniman -- warns the congregation about the evils of rock & roll music, and declares, "If God can save an old homosexual like me, he can save anybody."
After first performing there in February 1977, Kiss returns to New York City's Madison Square Garden for two back-to-back nights.
Two years after its British release, the Clash's eponymously titled debut album is released, in slightly revised form, in the U.S. on Epic Records.

Rolling Stone article cites promotional music videos as "the newest selling tool in rock," and mentions David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as examples.
An Indian art store in Scottsdale, Arizona, owned by schlock-horror rocker Alice Cooper is hit by a fire-bomb thrown through a rear window by an unknown vandal. Over $200,000 worth of Native American artifacts are destroyed, as are some of Cooper's gold records, stored in the rear of the emporium. Cooper calls the biggest loss that of $75,000 worth of Hopi Indian dolls, and tries to explain the attack by saying, "Maybe it was some disco-music freak. I've been making some positive antidisco remarks lately."

Gene) McFadden and (John) Whitehead have a platinum hit with "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," which reaches #13.
Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Journey and Thin Lizzy headline the World Series of Rock at Cleveland Stadium.
James Taylor plays a free concert in New York City's Central Park to help publicize the city's campaign to restore the park's Sheep Meadow.

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