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January 1974








The open road narrows a bit as President Nixon signs a bill mandating a maximum highway speed of 55 m.p.h. States have 60 days or less to respond, and those that don't will lose federal funds for highway construction. Experts estimate the program will save 200,000 barrels of oil a day in the U.S., where the average price of leaded gasoline is 53 cents per gallon (unleaded won't come along until 1975).
Bob Dylan and the Band commence their six-week tour, at Chicago Stadium. The Band, once Dylan's backup group, are accorded their own room in the set, and they excel. Dylan is in fine form, performing both solo, on acoustic guitar, and with the Band; their electric versions of Dylan classics inpires Dylan to sing with a gutsiness rarely before heard. One expecially ironic moment: his rendition of "It's Alright Ma," which contains the line "even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." The crowd of 18,500 explodes.

Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" goes gold, the second of three posthumous hits for the late singer/songwriter. "I Got a Name" went Top Ten just one month after Croce was killed in a plane crash, and "Time" reached Number One in December. Yet another song, "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song," goes Top Ten in spring 1974.
President Nixon rejects a subpoena by the Senate to release more than 500 of his White House tapes.
The Carpenters' greatest-hits collection, The Singles 1969-1973, hits #1. The brother-and-sister duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter had, by this year, charted eight Top Ten hits, including a pair of Number Ones, "(They Long to Be) Close to You" (1970) and "Top of the World" (1973). By the time their career ended with Karen's death in 1983, the Carpenters had become one of the most successful duos in pop.
The multi-layered British TV series Upstairs, Downstairs makes its stateside debut on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre. Produced by ITV, a commercial competitor to the BBC, it portrays the disparate lives of not only the masters upstairs but the servants below -- both of whom contend with rigorous class distinctions. Upstairs, Downstairs goes on to become PBS's most successful miniseries ever ever, and the public broadcasting network continues its strategy of premiering new series in January, far from the commercial nteworks' much-ballyhooed fall openings.
James Taylor and Carly Simon have their second child, Sarah Martin, in New York.
Kiss give a special dress rehearsal after being signed to Casablanca Records. The group, a Rolling Stone correspondent reports, "play very heavy, loud and ultimately monotonous rock in the Black Sabbath tradition... A sure crowd pleaser. The crowds of kiddies, that is."

The Early Beatles turns gold nine years after its release, and nearly four years since the group's disbanding.
The last episode of Love, American Style, a show which depicts funny romantic entanglements, airs on ABC-TV. It features a skit about two political opponents, played by James Hampton and Anne Randall, who fall in love; Arlene Golonka has a phobia about Larry Kent's apartment; Robert Morse and Elaine Joyce reunite after 50 years; there is a battle of the sexes between Bobby Riggs and Rosemary Casals; and finally, Larry Storch cannot sleep without a special clock, but Joyce Van Patten comes to the rescue.
The Top Five
1. "The Joker" - Steve Miller Band
2. "Time in a Bottle" - Jim Croce
3. "Show and Tell" - Al Wilson
4. "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" - Brownsville Station
5. "I've Got to Use My Imagination" - Gladys Knight & the Pips

The Miami Dolphins win their second consecutive Super Bowl, defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7.
Brownsville Station, described by leader Cub Koda as "Chuck Berry 1973 filtered through three madmen," earn themselves a gold record for their only hit single, "Smokin' in the Boys' Room." "It was written," Koda says straight-faced, "by two guys deep into toilet slavery."

ABC-TV capitalizes on the decade's burgeoning 1950s nostalgia with the premiere of a new sitcom, Happy Days, featuring American Graffiti star Ron Howard, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, and its most memorable character, Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler. It runs for eleven seasons with its 1950s and 1960s nostalgia, and spawns a Saturday morning cartoon spinoff during the early 1980s.

Technicians determine that the 18-minute gap in President Nixon's White House tapes, evidence in the Watergate investigation is the result of several intentional erasures, not a single accidental rerecording as claimed.

The first modern telephone answering machine is made available to the American public by Dictaphone, introducing to common usage the apparent contradiction: "Hello, I'm not here..."

Dino Martin, singer and son of Dean Martin, is arrested on suspicion of possession and sale of two machine guns. The arrest is made at Martin's home in Beverly Hills, where Martin allegedly attempts to sell an AK-47 machine gun to an undercover agent. Martin, who was one-third of Dino, Desi and Billy, the celebrity-sons group who had several mid-Sixties hits, is arraigned and released the next day on $5,000 bail. He now faces indictment by a federal grand jury.
Maine ratifies the ERA, becoming the 32nd state to do so; Ohio follows suit on Feb. 7
Two Bob Dylan-the Band shows cause a nine-mile-long traffic jam in Miami that keeps many ticket-holders from entering the Sportatorium until the show is half over. A few demonstrators are on hand for the concerts, clutching signs that read: "$9.50--A Ripoff" and "Dylan: Master of War," a reference to recent rumors that the singer has become a Zionist.

The Top Five
1. "Show and Tell" - Al Wilson
2. "The Joker" - Steve Miller Band
3. "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" - Brownsville Station
4. "I've Got to Use My Imagination" - Gladys Knight & the Pips
5. "You're Sixteen" - Ringo Starr

At the insistence of his son Chip, then-governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter invites Bob Dylan to a postconcert party at his mansion. Says Carter of Dylan: "He never initiates conversation, but he'll answer a question if you ask him."
Carly Simon receives a gold record for Hotcakes, her Top Five album highlighted by her duet with busband James Taylor on "Mockingbird," also a Top Five hit.

Bob Dylan's Planet Waves goes gold while the troubador is in the middle of his first tour since 1965. The LP, released on Asylum Records, not Dylan's original label Columbia Records, later goes to Number One, the first Dylan LP to top the charts.
Oil company representatives testify before a Senate commmittee that the oil shortage has not been contrived. Within a week, Hawaii becomes the first state to institute gas rationing, and all major oil companies reveal record-breaking profits for 1973.
Ex-White House aide Egil Krogh Jr. receives a six-month sentence for his part in breaking into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office.
The Top Five
1. "You're Sixteen" - Ringo Starr
2. "Show and Tell" - Al Wilson
3. "The Way We Were" - Barbra Streisand
4. "I've Got to Use My Imagination" - Gladys Knight & the Pips
5. "The Joker" - Steve Miller Band

As fighting continues between South Vietnamese and Communist forces, the U.S. admits providing more than $280 million worth of arms to South Vietnam since the Jan. 1973 peace agreement.

Actor Harvey Keitel, known for his role as a swaggering street punk in director Martin Scorcese's visceral, violent Mean Streets, shows a more beneficent side while dining at Sardi's in New York. Film critic Hollis Alpert, cofounder of the National Society of Film Critics, is eating nearby with his wife Joan when she begins choking on a piece of steak and loses consciousness. Quick-thinking Keitel leaps to her aid, holding her upside down until she coughs up food -- not exactly the Heimlich maneuver, but effective.

Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in 12 rounds in New York City.

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