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September 1979








U2 releases its first disc in Ireland, a three-track EP called U2-3.
An L.A. judge rules that actor Clayton Moore can no longer wear the trademark mask of the Lone Ranger character he portrayed in hundreds of TV episodes and at personal appearances for decades. "It's our mask," says a lawyer for the Wrather Corporation, which is planning a new movie with a younger lead. "We own the Lone Ranger." Legally, they're right, but in the court of public opinion they're big-time losers. Their 1981 movie flops, and Moore is back in the saddle within a month after the decision, promoting baseball's Texas Rangers with wraparound sunglasses in lieu of the missing mask. Moore says he has no animosity toward the Wrather people, and "hopes they live up to the moral code of Clayton Moore for the last 30 years." But he later countersues, wins, and resumes his constumed character appearances for many years until his death three days before Y2K. A 2013 The Lone Ranger remake with Armie Hammer in the lead role and Johnny Depp as his trusted sidekick Tonto didn't fare much better.
Former Hartford Whalers broadcaster Bill Rasmussen launches Entertainment & Sports Programming Network (later shortened to ESPN), on an acre of land in an industrial park in Bristol, Conn., for $9,000. Rasmussen envisioned a local sports network that would carry University of Connecticut games via satellite. But when he discoverd that it would cost the same to transmit them nationally, that's just what he did. Within a year, Getty Oil will recognize the potential and invest $100 million.
The Second Annual Tribal Stomp -- a two-day rock festival held on the site of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival -- begins, with the Clash, Robert Fripp, Country Joe McDonald, Peter Tosh, Canned Heat and other bands performing before small crowds.

Versatile entertainer Carol Burnett ends her popular CBS variety show after eleven seasons.

Concert promoter Sid Bernstein, who first brought the Beatles to New York City in 1964, places another full-page, $20,000 advertisement in the New York Times. This time he makes an "Appeal to John, Paul, George and Ringo" -- are last names necessary? -- to play a benefit concert for the Kampuchean boat people.
The Who make their first American concert performance since the death of Keith Moon, at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, with new drummer Kenney Jones, formerly with the Faces.
Britain's independent Two Tone label releases its first record -- "Gangsters" by the Specials. They run the label, which will later release records by other such ska-rock bands as the Beat, the Selecter and the Bodysnatchers.
Swedish pop stars Abba play their first concert in what has to be the only continent in the civilized world where they aren't yet big stars -- North America. The show takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Rap, the New York City ghetto music in which the performers chant rhymed and rhythmical verses over pre-recorded instrumental dance tracks, makes it onto vinyl with the release of the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Former singing star Sylvia Robinson (she was half of Mickey and Sylvia, whose "Love Is Strange?" was a hit in 1957; as a soloist she had a hit with "Pillow Talk" in 1973) first heard rap at a party in Harlem and decided to form a company, Sugar Hill, to produce rap records, in spite of industry warnings that rap was merely an amateur's sport with no commercial appeal. Grouping three teenagers from around New York City, she formed the Sugar Hill Gang and recorded "Rapper's Delight" over the instrumental break from Chic's "Good Times." The twelve-inch single will become a disco smash, selling 2 million copies in America, paving the way for other rappers like Kurtis Blow, the Funky Four Plus One, the Furious Five and Spoonie Gee.

The Strelzyk and Wetzel families escape from Communist East Germany to West Germany in a hot-air balloon after approximately 17 months of preparations. Three years later their escapades will be made into a Disney movie, Night Crossing, starring John Hurt.

The first of a five-night series of MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) concerts takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The shows, recorded for the No Nukes album, feature such performers as the Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carly Simon and John Hall.
The New York Post runs a front-page headline reading THE BEATLES ARE BACK! and reports that a rumored reunion benefit for the Kampuchean boat people has been officially set. One source quotes Paul McCartney as saying that "if the Beatles ever did re-form, we'd have to rehearse for six months." The reunion never does take place.
The first New/No/Now Wave Festival draws over 5,000 to the dirt-floored Field House at the University of Minnesota to witness performances by such bands as the dB's, Richard Lloyd, the Records, the Monochrome Set, the Fleshtones and Devo -- who perform in leisure-suits as "Dove." In all, twenty-two bands perform, many of them unsigned.

The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" charts in Britain on its way to #1. Ironically, it will become the first video to be played on America's new MTV cable channel in 1981.

St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock steals his 935th base and becomes baseball's champion base-stealer to date.
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Evita," about the famed wife of Argentinian strongman Juan Perón and starring Patty LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, opens on Broadway to similar acclaim and attention. Patti LuPone delivers a thundering performance in the title role, matching her dreams with schemes as Eva Duarte climbs from the slums to the pinnacle of power as Argentina's first lady Eva Perón. "Evita" will win seven Tony Awards including best musical, book (Rice), direction (Harold Prince), score (Webber), and actress (LuPone). "'Evita' is a very complex but ultimately satisfying score," writes one English paper. Like "Jesus Christ Superstar," Rice and Webber's previous stage hit, "Evita" began as a popular album, with "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" by Julie Covington hitting No. 1 in the UK before the stage creation.
Moments after beginning the song "Better Off Dead," Elton John collapses onstage at Hollywood's Universal Ampitheater, suffering from exhaustion brought on by the flu. After a ten-minute intermission, John returns to finish a concert lasting nearly three hours.
Jimmy McCulloch, guitarist with Thunderclap Newman, Stone the Crows and Paul McCartney's Wings, is found dead in London of undetermined causes at age twenty-six.
Genya Ravan reaches the Billboard Hot 200 album chart with And I Mean It, charting at #106. It is the second and last solo charter for the former Goldie Zelkowitz of Brooklyn, who had previously driven the hard-rock act Ten Wheel Drive as lead vocalist.

Urging the Republic of Ireland's people to "reject the contraception, abortion and divorce mentality of other European countries" and "condemn all violence in religion's name," Pope John Paul II begins a five-city visit to the country before traveling to the U.S.


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