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November 1971








Funeral services are held for Duane Allman at the Memorial Chapel in Macon, Georgia. Among those paying tribute are the other Allman band members, Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), Jerry Wexler and Delaney Bramlett. The Allmans perform "Stormy Monday," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Statesboro Blues," which is sung mournfully by Gregg, his eyes hidden by dark sunglasses, tears streaming down his cheeks.
Joseph L. Alioto is elected mayor of San Francisco.
Bob Dylan, long under pressure to return to his political stance of the Sixties, records "George Jackson," a paean to the black militant killed in a California prison shootout. Dylan releases the tune in two versions, one electric and one acoustic. Among the lines: "He wouldn't take shit from no one," which guarantees limited radio play. Some applaud Dylan for his action, but others regard "George Jackson" suspiciously; Dylan sounds more like he's buckling under to left-wing pressure than as if he's actually committed.
Elvis Presley performs at the Cleveland Public Hall Auditorium in Ohio. A local announcer, Al Dvorin, immortalizes the phrase "Elvis has left the building" after the audience refuses to leave in hopes the King will take another bow after his final song.

The hits have been over for four years for Cher, who last appeared on the Top 40 in 1967 with hubby Sonny Bono with "The Beat Goes On," and later that year with her solo hit "You Better Sit Down Kids." But today she roars back to the top with "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves," her first solo No. 1. This extraordinary reversal of fortune reminds the world that no one ought to count Cher out again. This past summer's surprising success of CBS's The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour has brought it a year-round primetime berth, and Cher will maintain a pop chart presence for five consecutive decades. The iconic diva will also find time to win an Oscar for Moonstruck and fill the gossip pages with her string of boyfriends, from Beatty to Bolton, Kilmer to Cruise. In 1999, with "Believe," she will become the oldest singer (at 52) to top the charts in the rock era. The beat goes on, indeed.

The Top Five
1. "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves" - Cher
2. "Theme from 'Shaft'" - Isaac Hayes
3. "Maggie May"/"Reason to Believe" - Rod Stewart
4. "Imagine" - John Lennon
5. "Yo-Yo" - Osmonds

Sly and the Family Stone have huge hits with "Family Affair" and There's a Riot Goin' On (Number One and gold). The album's title could well describe some of Sly's concerts during this time, for, much to his fans' dismay, he is a frequent no-show: of eighty concerts booked in 1970, he canceled twenty-six, and he has ducked out of twelve of forty shows in 1971.

Led Zeppelin releases its officially unnamed fourth LP; the album cut "Stairway to Heaven" will become the unofficial anthem of FM rock radio.

According to a Rolling Stone report, the promoters of the disastrous Celebration of Life Festival have been indicted by a Pointe Coupe Parish, Lousisiana, grand jury on charges of theft, obscenity and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles. Steve Kapelow and Ken Lind's much ballyhooed festival, held last June, was closed by authorities after just four days.

Embodying the new term "gonzo journalism" (coined by a friend), intrepidly incomparable Hunter S. Thomson explodes onto the literary scene with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Jouney to the Heart of the American Dream as Rolling Stone publishes the first part of what Tom Wolfe calls a "scorching epochal sensation" that follows the deranged, drug-fueled exploits of journalist Raoul Duke and his 300-lb. Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in and around a narcotics officers' convention. Featuring equally crazed, brilliant artwork by Ralph Steadman, it will become a Random House book that that catapults the eternal rebel Thompson to fame, more fear, and fiction (Duke in Doonesbury.) "A word to the wise," says Thomson, "is infuriating."

The group Slade capture their first of six British Number One singles, "Coz I Love You." The group is notable for its platform footwear (which resemble small buildings), its crushing volume, the siren voice of singer Noddy Holder and, most of all, its song titles, which are spelled out phonetically ("Mama Weer All Crazzee Now").

Steven Spielberg makes his directoral debut with the acclaimed ABC TV movie Duel, about an ordinary traveling salesman (Dennis Weaver, who previously played Chester Goode on Gunsmoke) whose life is about to get less ordinary -- and possibly lethal. A malevolent truck of unknown origin and its driver menace the increasingly panicked businessman in an illogical but mesmerizing duel to the death, years before the term "road rage" came into vogue. "The best made-for-TV movie of the year, and possibly the best such TV film yet created," crows Norman Mark of the Chicago Daily News. Indeed, Spielberg's taut direction, multi-angled road shots, and tight editing fueled its success.

Grand Funk Railroad release their sixth album, E Pluribus Funk, whose cover is sure to futher infuriate critics who criticize what they perceive as the group's exaggerated sense of self-importance. The silver package is shaped like a coin, with the likenesses of Mark Farner, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher stamped on it in relief. The overall effect is that of Mount Rushmore. Regardless, the LP goes to #5.
Led Zeppelin's debut, actually released in early 1969, finally goes gold. By this time the group is readying its fourth album, titled Led Zeppelin IV, which contains the alltime FM radio classic "Stairway to Heaven."
Rod Stewart and the Faces release A Nod Is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse, their third LP together. It is one of the few Faces albums to adequately capture their boozy, wonderfully sloppy live sound. The group scores its biggest hit, the taunting come-on, "Stay with Me," which hits #17. The LP goes to Top Ten.
Memphis blues-harmonica great Herman "Little Junior" Parker, whose "Mystery Train" Elvis Presley popularized in 1953, dies.

President Nixon signs the Airborne Hunting Act, which prohibits shooting, attempting to shoot, or harassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft. The bill is the result of riveting testimony before Congress the previous summer, during which a helicopter pilot told of hundreds of eagles -- plus countless antelope, coyotes, elk, deer, geese, and wolves -- shot and killed from the air by marksmen hired by ranchers in Wyoming and Colorado.

Blues guitar giant B.B. King marks his twenty-fifth year in show biz by starting a European tour in London.
"Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)" becomes the third R&B Number One single from Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album; the others are the title song (also pop #2) and "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)." The album represents the first time a major Motown artists has taken a public stand on controversial issues.

The Top Five
1. "Theme from 'Shaft'" - Isaac Hayes
2. "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves" - Cher
3. "Imagine" - John Lennon
4. "Baby I'm-A Want You" - Bread
5. "Have You Seen Her" - Chi-Lites

The Chi-Lites' first R&B Number One, "Have You Seen Her," enters the R&B chart. The song goes to #3 on the Top 100 pop chart in December. The Windy City quartet will top the pop chart in a little over six months with an even bigger hit, "Oh Girl."
The three surviving Doors -- keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore -- tell Rolling Stone that they are determined to carry on despite singer Jim Morrison's death in July, with Manzarek assuming the role as vocalist. Their two LPs, Other Voices and Full Circle, will sell only marginally, however, and the Doors will disband officially in 1973.

A Northwest Orient Airlines with a light load of 36 passengers and six crew embarks at 2:58 p.m. PST from Portland, Ore., en route to Seattle -- and history. For among the passengers is a nondescript fellow in a dark raincoat, suit, neatly pressed white shirt, and black necktie. He carries a briefcase, which he claims holds a bomb, and threatens to blow up the jet. He's one D.B. Cooper, or at least that's what it says on the ticket he purchased for $19.46. After careful instructions the plane lands in Seattle, picking up $200,000 in small bills and four parachutes. After the passengers are released and the plane is airborne again, the mystery man parachutes to eternal fame but unknown ends. Exhaustive FBI ground searches discover nothing, though in 1980 an 8-year-old boy vacationing with his family in the mountains of Washington discovers $5,800 in decaying bills that is determined to be from the ransom.

Tickets are so in demand for the Faces' Madison Square Garden performance that the group breaks Led Zeppelin's sellout record for the New York arena.
The nine-member, female-dominated vocal group The Hillside Singers, featuring Lorri Marsters Hamm, bounces onto the Hot 100 with "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." The hit, which will peak at #13, was adapted from a tune written by Bill Backer and Billy Davis for a Coca-Cola commercial, and it remains known more for its worldwide exposure in the Coke ad than for its hit status.

Soviet space capsule Mars 2 lands on Mars, becoming the first man-made object on that planet, and establishes radio contact with Earth for 20 seconds.


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