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December 1973








Aerosmith's first single, "Dream On," stalls at a nightmarish No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 after recently hitting No. 1 in their hometown of Boston. Having opened for bands like John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Mott the Hoople, it looked as though the bad boys from Beantown might not move from second string to top tier after their second album, Get Your Wings, fails to generate a hit. But the third time will prove a charm as their 1975 LP Toys in the Attic delivers the FM rock monsters "Sweet Emotion" as well as "Walk This Way," prompting Columbia Records to rerelease "Dream On" in February 1976. It goes to No. 6 this time, and Aerosmith, fronted by Jagger-like lead singer Steven Tyler, becomes a big-time national act.

The Top Five
1. "Top of the World" - Carpenters
2. "Photograph" - Ringo Starr
3. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - Elton John
4. "Space Race" - Billy Preston
5. "Keep on Truckin'" - Eddie Kendricks

After a show at the Montreal Forum, the Who and some companions are jailed overnight for $6,000 worth of hotel destruction. The incident is later chronicled in the John Entwistle song "Cell Block Number Seven."

This is D-day for millions of
Bob Dylan fans; it's their first opportunity to mail in ticket requests for his upcoming tour. In San Francisco, traffic is backed up five blocks from one post office, and in other cities, ticket requests are stamped "Retern to Sender," simply because there are far too many of them than can be handled. All the concerts sell out, which means 658,000 tickets sold.
Ringo Starr releases what will become his second consecutive Number One single, "You're Sixteen," which had been a hit for Johnny Burnette in 1960. Both "You're Sixteen" and the previous chart topper, "Photograph," are off Starr's Ringo LP.
Serpico, a movie starring Al Pacino that chronicles New York City police corruption, premieres.
Steve Miller, who'd been laying low for most of 1972 and 1973, gets a gold record for The Joker, his most successful LP to date. The title track becomes Miller's first chart-topping hit and gives cameo roles to some of his previous in-song personas, like "Maurice" and "The Gangster of Love."

George Jones and Tammy Wynette have reconciled, reports Rolling Stone, which had carried the announcement of their impending divorce just a few weeks earlier. The couple's new single, titled "We're Gonna Hold On," already is high on the country singles chart.
A year of trouble begins for Fleetwood Mac. Their manager, Clifford Davis, claims ownership of the band's name and assembles a bogus Fleetwood Mac, which he puts out on tour.
Few take much notice when an obscure Republican congressman from Wisconson named Harold Froelich takes to the House floor today to warn that manufacturers' bids to supply the federal government toilet paper "fell far short of the total quantity needed." He adds that a possible toilet paper crunch would be "no laughing matter." Yet that's exactly what Johnny Carson uses it for, poking fun at a toilet paper shortage a week later on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His erroneous comments set off an unfounded an unprecedented run (that's "run," not "the runs") as people empty store shelves everywhere. Though the American Paper Institute quickly reiterates there is no shortage, rumors and buying continue apace. Asked if his hotel is suffering from a shortage, a spokesman for a Marriott hotel in Atlanta replies, "Are you putting me on?"
Brain Salad Surgery by prog-rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer goes gold.
After being held by kidnappers for over five months, 17-year-old oil tycoon heir John Paul Getty III is freed in southern Italy shortly after a $3.2 million ransom is paid. The previous month, an envelope containing a lock of his hair and his ear was delivered to a daily newspaper, with a threat of further mutilation unless the ransom was paid within ten days. His kidnappers, supposedly linked with the 'Ndrangheta, were never caught and the young man was permanently affected by the trauma, becoming a heavy drug user.
The American Psychiatric Association declares that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, reversing its almost century-old stand on the issue.

The Top Five
1. "The Most Beautiful Girl" - Charlie Rich
2. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - Elton John
3. "Top of the World" - Carpenters
4. "Just You 'n' Me" - Chicago
5. "Time in a Bottle" - Jim Croce

Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson becomes the first professional footbal player to rush more than 2,000 yards in one season, gaining over 200 yards in the season-ender against the New York Jets.
Papillon, a movie starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman as French prisoners on Devil's Island, opens.
Bobby Darin, one of the few teen idols of the Fifties to survive the Sixties and the early Seventies, dies at age 37. Cause of death is heart failure (he had suffered from rheumatic fever as a child), which occurs during Darin's second open-heart surgery in two years. Darin, a consummate entertainer who sang pop, rock 'n' roll, and folk, never became quite the legend he once said he hoped to be, but has had an impressive string of hits: fourteen Top 20 singles between 1958 and 1966, including "Splish Splash," "Dream Lover" and "Mack the Knife," the song most often associated him which spent nine weeks at #1 in 1959.
Middle East peace talks, cosponsored by the U.S. and the Soviet Union, begin in Geneva, Switzerland.
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers is arrested in Visalia, California, on charges of marijuana possession. He must go to court on January 10 for a hearing, right about the time the group's new album, fittingly enough titled What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, is released.
With their wildly successful pairing in 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, respectively, Paul Newman and Robert Redford renuite again on the big screen in director George Roy Hill's The Sting, which is released today. Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the rollicking yarn pits two small-time, sweet-talking con artists against a high-rolling low-life (Robert Shaw). "The movie has a nice, light-fingered style to it," says Roger Ebert. "It's good to get a crime movie more concerned with humor and character than with blood and gore." The year's biggest box-office draw, The Sting will go on to nab seven Oscars including best picture, director, original screenplay and score (Marvin Hamlisch). The movie also sparks a national revival of the melodic ragtime music of Scott Joplin, and its soundtrack album hits No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and becomes a certified million-seller.
The expression "she's a real head-turner" gets new meaning tonight with the debut of the immensely popular film The Exorcist, based on the William Peter Blatty best-seller. The sensationalistic horror tale of demonic possession, directed by William Friedkin, features a head-turning, stomach-churning debut by Linda Blair as a young girl possessed by Satan. The movie, which will later be voted the scariest movie ever by Entertainment Weekly magazine, causes such a commotion -- audience hysteria and fainting and such -- that the studio provides free barf bags to theater patrons. The film's overdubbed instrumental theme, "Tubular Bells," becomes a Top 10 hit for Mike Oldfield, and his Tubular Bells LP becomes a million-selling Top 5 album.
The Gulag Archipelago, a new work by author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, appears in the bookstalls of Paris and explodes into worldwide consciousness. Containing interviews with more than 200 former prisoners, the book exposes the brutal network of Soviet forced labor and prison camps for all the world to see, and three months after it appears in Paris, the USSR strips Solzhenitsyn of his citizenship and deports him. But Solzhenitsyn, a trained mathematician and Nobel Prize winner who was once arrested and imprisoned for criticizing Josef Stalin while serving in the Soviet army in 1945, has already shone a light on one of the world's darkest places, and no one will ever forget. In 1990, his Soviet citizenship is restored, and four years later, he returns to Russia with his wife, Natalia, who had become a United States citizen. He dies of heart failure near Moscow on Aug. 3, 2008, at the age of 89.

Comet Kohutek makes a lackluster appearance in the night sky. Discovered by Czechoslovakian astronomer Lubos Kohutek on March 7, 1973, the comet was a flop to most people, but pleased scientists on Earth and atronauts aboard Skylab 3.

Olivia Newton-John's latest album Let Me Be There hits the Top 200 album chart. It will peak at #71 and is the second of 17 chart albums for the Aussie singer between 1971 and 1992. The album's title track is its first single and will peak at #6 in early 1974.

The Top Five
1. "Time in a Bottle" - Jim Croce
2. "The Most Beautiful Girl" - Charlie Rich
3. "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)" - Helen Reddy
4. "The Joker" - Steve Miller Band
5. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - Elton John

John Mclaughlin's original Mahavishnu Orchestra (comprised of McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Rick Laird and Jerry Goodman) appear for the last time together, in Detroit's Masonic Auditorium. According to Laird, the personal relationships within the group had so deteriorated that after the show the musicians didn't even say goodbye to one another.
Most popular music, books and film - 1973: Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song" (pop single); Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (pop album); Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" (R&B single); Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" (C&W single); Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull (fiction); Thomas Harris's I'm OK - You're OK (nonfiction); The Exorcist (film).

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