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August 1979








A benefit for the widow and children of late Little Feat singer/guitarist Lowell George draws 20,000 people to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif., grossing over $230,000. Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Michael McDonald, Nicolette Larson and the remaining members of Little Feat -- Paul Barrere, Billy Payne, Kenny Gradney, Sam Clayton and Richie Hayward -- all perform.

Led Zeppelin play their first U.K. concert date in four years to a capacity throng of 120,000 at the annual Knebworth Festival in Knebworth Park. Hertfordshire, England.
The Ramones make their mighty movie debut in Rock 'n' Roll High School, featuring P.J. Soles (married to Dennis Quaid) as a gal who will do anything to get a ticket to a concert of her favorite band after a new hard-nosed principal (Mary Woronov) confiscates her last one. The oldies-laden soundtrack includes vintage Ramones numbers ("I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker") plus classics like Alice Cooper's "School's Out" and Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boy's Room."
The Cars ignore all "sophomore jinx" predictions and go two-for-two: Candy-O is their second album to go platinum. The LP's cover is especially interesting: an auto-erotic drawing of a willowy redhead draped seductively over one of Detroit's finest, drawn by famed illustrator Vargas.
One of the most unlikely successes of 1979 is that of Rickie Lee Jones, considered by many to be the female equivalent of Tom Waits. Jones is all bop and cool -- highly uncommercial -- and yet her debut album goes platinum and spawns a Top Five hit, "Chuck E's in Love."
Cheap Trick have the biggest hit of their career, "I Want You to Want Me." The song originally appeared on the group's second album, In Color, released in 1977, but becomes a hit on the basis of its inclusion on the Live at Budokan LP, reaching #7. It goes gold on this date.
John Hall and his songwriting partner and wife, Johanna (who together wrote Janis Joplin's "Half Moon"), have a daughter, Lilian.
Almost five years after his last film, The Godfather: Part II, Francis Ford Coppola unleashes Apocalypse Now, his famously tempestuous and troubled take on the Vietnam War. Shooting in the Philippines ran twice as long as projected, and costs more than tripled to $31 million, but no one quibbles with the results: a visually stunning masterpiece crammed with surrealistic and symbolic sequences that depict the confusion, fear, and horror of war. The increasingly unpredictable journey of a conflicted assassin (Martin Sheen), sent to eliminate an ex-colonel turned warlard (Marlon Brando), serves as a metaphor for what engulfed the United States in Vietnam.

a film directed by Neil Israel and starring Harvey Korman, John Ritter and rock singer Meat Loaf, premieres in Los Angeles. A futuristic satire, its soundtrack features Elvis Costello, Eddie Money, Nick Lowe, the Beach Boys and Meat Loaf. The film's success at the box office will far exceed its reviews.

Andrew Young resigns from his post as chief American delegate to the UN in the wake of controversy surrounding his unauthorized meeting with a PLO official.

Hardcore Kiss fans are apalled to hear "I Was Made for Lovin' You," a song with a disco rhythm. Still, the tune goes to #11 and turns gold on this date.

The biggest summer single of 1979, "My Sharona," belongs to L.A. rookies
The Knack, who are awarded a gold record on this date. The group's brief success is based on the same gimmicks that leads to its eventual failure -- its Beatle-esque posturing is said by the group to be tongue-in-cheek, but nobody gets the joke, and the Knack will disband less than two years later.
British rocker Nick Lowe and American rock singer Carlene Carter, stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, are wed in Los Angeles. Portions of the ceremony are shot for what will become Lowe's "Cruel to be Kind" promotional video.

The Top Five
1. "Good Times" - Chic
2. "My Sharona" - The Knack
3. "Main Event"/"Fight" - Barbra Streisand
4. "Bad Girls" - Donna Summer
5. "After the Love Has Gone" - Earth, Wind & Fire

Bassist Dorsey Burnette, a member of seminal rockabilly band the Rock 'n' Roll Trio with his brother Johnny in the Fifties, dies of a heart attack at age 46 in Canoga Park, Calif. Burnette moved with his brother Johnny to Los Angeles from Memphis in the late Fifties, and together they cowrote country-rock hits like "Tall Oak Tree" and "Hey Little One" in 1960. He was an active mainstream country artist until his death, by which time his son Billy Burnette had made a well-received recording debut in the rockabilly vein.
The Charlie Daniels Band's part-country, part rock 'n' roll stomper "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" goes gold. Peaking at No. 3, it's the biggest single ever for North Carolina singer/guitarist/fiddler Charlie Daniels, who paid his dues with years of steady session work, most notably on Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline. Daniels' "Devil" going gold is an especially fitting tribute since the prize in the song to fast-fingered Johnny is the devil's solid-gold fiddle. But the instrument heard on the record is actually an electric viola.
Led Zeppelin releases In Through the Out Door, which will become its last studio album. (Coda, a collection of early recordings and outtakes, will follow in 1982.)
Brooklyn declares this "Peter Tosh Day," awarding the reggae star on honorary citation as he tours the borough's Jamaican neighborhoods.

Rolling Stone reports on the star-filled Studio 54 gala hosted by Interview magazine for its cover girl, Blondie's Deborah Harry.

The Cars perform at New York City's Central Park for an audience of a half a million people.

The Facts of Life premieres on NBC, the start of a strong nine-year run for the sitcom that features a boarding school housemother (Charlotte Rae) guiding the girls in her care. The series will also deal with mature issues like death, divorce, and sexual awakening in what are billed as "very special episodes."

Modern jazz bandleader, composer and arranger Stan Kenton dies at age sixty-seven after a long illness in Hollywood's Midway Hospital. Kenton's "neophonic" arranging style made bombastic use of unusual harmonies and self-consciously "difficult" charts, hence he was reviled by jazz purists, whom he reviled in turn. Never afraid of controversy and always convinced of the absolute rightness of his beliefs, Kenton's most recent spate of adverse publicity centered on his recent announcement that country music was "backward, stupid" and "an insult to anyone's intelligence." The only influence Kenton had on rock music can be heard in the horn charts used by the band Chicago.

The Top Five
1. "My Sharona" - The Knack
2. "Good Times" - Chic
3. "Main Event"/"Fight" - Barbra Streisand
4. "After the Love Has Gone" - Earth, Wind & Fire
5. "Bad Girls" - Donna Summer

1979 is one of the biggest years of his career for Neil Young coming off the Top Five success of last year's Comes a Time. Young scores two gold albums: Decade, an earlier triple album best-of set, and Rust Never Sleeps.
Jeffrey MacDonald is convicted of the murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters in the 1970 "Fatal Vision" case.

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