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April 1974








The Sting, a period film about a betting scam in Prohibition-era Chicago, claims seven Oscars, including Best Picture. Other winners are Jack Lemmon (Best Actor for Save the Tiger), Glenda Jackson (Best Actress for A Touch of Class) and the big surprise: ten-year-old Tatum O'Neal (Best Supporting Actress for Paper Moon). This year's ceremony becomes notorious for the naked, longhaired, mustachioed man who streaked across the stage while flashing a peace sign as debonair David Niven started to announce Elizabeth Taylor (who would announce the nominees for best picture). The ever-poised Niven deadpanned, "The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping and showing his shortcomings," as Henry Mancini's band struck up "Keep Your Sunny Side Up." The quick reactions lead some to believe that the event was staged -- after all, this is Hollywood. The producers denied it, even though they let the streaker -- 33-year-old Robert Opel -- conduct interviews backstage (clothed). The next month singer Ray Stevens would hit No. 1 with "The Streak," but the fad -- and Opal's 15 minutes of fame -- are short-lived. He would try stand-up comedy, streak at a party for composer Marvin Hamlisch, and move to San Francisco, where he was killed during a store robbery five years later.
The SLA releases a recorded message in which Patty Hearst states that she has been "converted" to her kidnappers' cause. An accompanying photograph shows her wearing a beret, crouching and holding a carbine in front of an SLA flag. Her willing participation seems confirmed on Apr. 15, when, in a San Francisco bank holdup, a guard hears her scream, "Keep down or we'll shoot your fuckin' heads off!" though it is also reported that one of her captors kept a gun pointed in her direction during the robbery.

The Internal Revenue Service declares that President Nixon owes $432,787 in back taxes and interest penalties totaling $33,000.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones opens at New York City's Ziegfeld Theatre. The premiere is turned into an event: a forty-foot-high Rolling Stones winged tongue that rises in the air, 2,000 white doves are released and a sixty-five-foot-long dragon is flown in from San Francisco.

The California Jam rock festival pulls in 200,000 people to see such acts as
Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Black Sabbath, the Eagles, Deep Purple and Black Oak Arkansas. The festival runs smoothly; in fact, it starts fifteen minutes early, but is classified by many as relatively dull. The show is taped and is later broadcast on network television.

The Top Five
1. "Hooked on a Feeling" - Blue Suede
2. "Bennie and the Jets" - Elton John
3. "Sunshine on my Shoulders" - John Denver
4. "Seasons in the Sun" - Terry Jacks
5. "The Lord's Prayer" - Sister Janet Mead

Atlanta Braves slugger Hank Aaron pounds his 715th four-bagger and breaks Babe Ruth's long-standing career home run record. With a 1-0 count before a standing room crowd, "Hammerin' Hank" swings and hits a towering drive to left center. All 53,775 fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium erupt into cheers as the ball sails into the home team's bullpen. Also going -- not so happily -- into the record books was L.A. Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, who gave up the gopher ball.
Janet Jackson, the youngest of the nine Jackson family siblings, makes her performance debut with The Jackson 5 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. She was seven years old.
The House Judiciary Committee orders President Nixon to return over tapes and other materials related to 42 White House conversations.
"Bennie and the Jets" is the No. 1 pop song in the country, after having turned gold five days earlier. No doubt Elton John is pleased, but what makes him even happier is that the tune becomes a major hit on the R&B chart as well.

The Top Five
1. "Bennie and the Jets" - Elton John
2. "Hooked on a Feeling" - Blue Suede
3. "TSOP" - MFSB and the Three Degrees
4. "The Lord's Prayer" - Sister Janet Mead
5. "Come and Get Your Love" - Redbone

Pete Townshend appears for the first time as a soloist, at a concert at London's Roundhouse. The leader of the Who performs at the benefit, accompanied by his homemade tapes.
Vinnie Taylor, guitarist for Sha Na Na, dies of a drug overdose at the age of twenty-five. Taylor, born Chris Donald, is found dead in his room at the Charlottesville, Virginia, Holiday Inn.
The Top Five
1. "TSOP" - MFSB and the Three Degrees
2. "Bennie and the Jets" - Elton John
3. "Hooked on a Feeling" - Blue Suede
4. "The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" - Gladys Knight & the Pips
5. "Come and Get Your Love" - Redbone

With more than 30 Top 40 country hits, Dolly Parton leaves The Porter Wagoner Show for a solo career.
Grand Funk Railroad receive a gold record for their update of Little Eva's "The Loco-motion," the biggest hit of their career (Number One).

Ray Stevens, who throughout his career variates between novelty tunes and more serious pop material, enjoys his biggest hit with "The Streak," a well-timed whimsical look at the current craze among teenagers. The song hits Number One in May.

David Bowie, clearly out of retirement, releases Diamond Dogs, whose cover is drawn by Dutch artist Guy (Rock Dreams) Peellaert and depicts Bowie as a mongrel, with genitalia in full view. RCA Records opts to cover the offending body parts with a sticker. Diamond Dogs reaches #5.

Bud Abbott (of Abbott and Costello) dies at age 76.

According to Rolling Stone, streakers have struck at concerts by Yes, Gregg Allman (one of the offenders was promoter Bill Graham) and the Beach Boys, who were victimized by two of their very own, Mike Love and Dennis Wilson.

Gregg Allman plays the last date of his solo tour, in Cincinnati. "I want to squealch a few rumors right here and now," he tells the audience before bringing on the rest of the Allman Brothers Band for an hour-and-a-half encore.

Jim Morrison's widow, Pam Morrison, dies in her Hollywood apartment of a suspected heroin overdose. She was twenty-seven. Police speculate that she had been using heroin for about one year.
A four-hour battle with police rages after the Cherry Blossom Music Festival in Richmond, Virginia. The concert, held outdoors in Richmond's City Stadium and billed as "a day or two of fun and music," features the Steve Miller Band, Boz Scaggs, Stories and several other groups. But the music soon takes a back seat to the rioting that begins after police start busting people for possession; seventy-six people are arrested, and scores are treated for injuries.
Carole King and her husband Charles Larkey have their first son and fourth child, Levi. King had finished recording her new LP, Wrap Around Joy, just five days before the baby's birth.
In a televised speech, President Nixon surrenders 1,200 edited transcripts of White House tapes demanded by the Watergate Committee and by court order. The next day, the committee restates its desire for the tapes themselves, warning that further lack of cooperation may lead to impeachment.

Veteran movie and TV actress Agnes Moorehead, best known as Endora on Bewitched, dies at age 73.


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