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January 1976








At midnight on New Year's Eve, the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence, is moved to a new home. The famous cracked bell is carefully taken from Independence Hall in Philadelphia and moved 100 yards (91 meters) to a steel and glass pavilion in Independence Square.

Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin walks again, after six months in a wheelchair, following an auto accident a year earlier in Greece.

The Top Five
1. "Saturday Night" - Bay City Rollers
2. "I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
3. "Theme from 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" - Diana Ross
4. "Love Rollercoaster" - Ohio Players
5. "Let's Do It Again" - Staple Singers

Mal Evans, former roadie and bodyguard of the Beatles, is shot to death by police at his Los Angeles apartment. His girlfriend, Fran Hughes, had found him upset, despondent and crying. After two friends were unable to take an unloaded rifle from Evans, they called the police. When officers arrived at the apartment, Evans had the rifle in his hand. Instructed to put the weapon down, Evans then supposedly pointed it at the policemen; they opend fire and killed him with four shots. At the time of his death, Evans had been finishing up Living the Beatles Legend, a memoir dealing with his Beatles days. He was forty.
Stylized after every red-blooded American soap opera, the Norman Lear-produced Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman premieres in syndication (all the major networks had rejected it as too controversial). Taking place in Fernwood, Ohio, Louise Lasser plays a befuddled neurotic housewife, constantly drinking coffee, married to an All-American husband (impotent), with a 12-year-old daughter.
Kenneth Moss, a former record company executive who had already pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 1974 drug-induced death of Average White Band drummer Robbie McIntosh, is sentenced to 120 days in the Los Angeles County Jail and four years probation for the crime.
George Moscone is elected mayor of San Francisco. His term will end in assassination in Nov. 1978.

Author E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, a runaway best-seller, becomes the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle's inaugural award for fiction. With a vibrant, turn-of-the-century setting, Ragtime also becomes a book-of-the-month selection and becomes the basis of a 1982 film produced by Dino Del Laurentitis.

Chester Arthur Burnett, better known by his performing name, Howlin' Wolf, dies at age sixty-five after brain surgery in a veteran's hospital near Chicago, the city where he made his greatest recordings for Chess Records. The Wolf's enormous size and overwhelming vocal style commanded the greatest respect from other blues musicians, especially Britons like guitarist Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones, who accompanied him on one of the few successful collaborations between the generations, 1971's The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions.

First Lady Betty Ford makes a cameo appearance on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as a tag to a story about Mary's trip to Washington, D.C., with her boss, Lou Grant.

The Top Five
1. "Convoy" - C.W. McCall
2. "I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
3. "Theme from 'Mohogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" - Diana Ross
4. "Love Rollercoaster" - Ohio Players
5. "Saturday Night" - Bay City Rollers

British mystery writer Agatha Christie dies in England at age 85. Dame Agatha, author of over 100 books, was the creator of Hercule Poirot, one of the most popular characters in detective fiction. Her books have been translated into 103 languages.
The trial of seven Brunswick Records and Dakar Records employees on charges of bilking artists out of more than $184,000 in roylaties begins in Newark, New Jersey. The charges had been brought during a federal investigation of the record industry for possible instances of payola.

Boston Opera cofounder Sarah Caldwell becomes the first woman to conduct (Verdi's La Traviata) at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.

Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) girlfriend of The Six Million Dollar Man, is brought back to life after dying during the last season and is given her own series -- The Bionic Woman.
Peter Frampton's two-record live set Frampton Comes Alive! is released and exceeds all sales expectations, going gold in five weeks and platinum in less than three months, while topping the charts for over two months. The unexpected boost to the former Humble Pie member's career proved to be his greatest moment, as he never again came close to the acclaim accorded him for the album.

Donny and Marie, one of the last musical variety hours on primetime, debuts on ABC. It runs for three years and 57 episodes. Few episodes go by without Marie Osmond poking fun at her brother Donny Osmond's purple socks, and celebrity guests include Paul Lynde more often than not.

The Top Five
1. "I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
2. "Theme from 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" - Diana Ross
3. "Convoy" - C.W. McCall
4. "Love Rollercoaster" - Ohio Players
5. "Fox on the Run" - Sweet

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X, 21-17.
Promoter Bill Sargent makes his first offer to the Beatles to reunite, offering them $30 million if they would play together again. He guarantees the four that sum against a percentage of the gross, which he estimates at $300 million; they decline.

Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter makes an impressive showing in the Iowa caucuses, standing out among such Democratic presidential hopefuls as George Wallace, Sen. Henry Jackson (WA), Rep. Morris Udall (AZ), former Peace Corps director R. Sargent Shriver Jr., Sen. Birch Bayh (IN), Sen. Robert Byrd (WV), Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (TX) and former Oklahoma senator Fred Harris. Five days later, Wallace will soundly defeat Carter in the Mississippi caucuses. Republican President Gerald Ford faces serious competition from former California governor Ronald Reagan; Eugene McCarthy returns to electoral politics (for the first time since his 1968 presidential run) as an independent candidate.

Advice columnist Ann Landers reveals that 70% of 10,000 responding parents surveyed by her last November had "buyer's remorse" about having children.
The Top Five
1. "Theme from 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" - Diana Ross
2. "I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
3. "Love Rollercoaster" - Ohio Players
4. "Love to Love You Baby" - Donna Summer
5. "I Love Music (Part 1)" - O'Jays

Bob Dylan and his Rolling Thunder Revue, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder entertain 40,000 people at the Night of the Hurricane II, a benefit show given for Hurricane Carter. Surprise guests include Ringo Starr, Stephen Stills and Carlos Santana; the latter two fought out a guitar duel during "Black Queen." But despite the $12.50 tickets, confusion over the show's intent and the costs incurred when the show was shifted from New Orleans to Houston just a week before, the Hurricane defense fund received no money except a $10,000 donation directly from the Astrodome.
A $2-million suit is brought against attorney Michael Lippman by his former client, David Bowie. Bowie charges that Lippman took a fifteen percent agent's fee instead of the customary ten percent, and that he withheld $475,000 after being dismissed by Bowie.

Laverne & Shirley, a spinoff from the wildly successful Happy Days, premieres on ABC. It runs for seven seasons and even spawns a Saturday morning cartoon version in the early 1980s.

Starring Al Pacino and based on the true story of an ill-fated bank robbery intended to fund the robber's lover's sex-change operation, Dog Day Afternoon is the top box-office draw.
Texas "songster" Mance Lipscomb dies of natural causes at age eighty in his Navasota, Texas, home. Popularly though of as a country bluesman, Lipscomb used the term songster to describe himself and to differentiate himself from bluesmen, and with good reason: he was more of a mistrel than anything else, and played not only blues but ballads, reels, jigs, breakdowns, drags, shouts, jubilees, spirituals and more. In fact, perhaps no other single performer embodied as many aspects of the Afro-American folk-music tradition as Lipscomb. He performed locally in Texas all his life, but did not record until 1960, when he was discovered by Chris Strachwitz of the Arhoolie label, for whom he recorded several well-received albums.
Pope Paul VI warns that the growing feminist movement could depersonalize women or cause them to become more masculine.

Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver," the title track from his new album, climbs into Billboard's Top 40.

The Top Five
1. "Love Rollercoaster" - Ohio Players
2. "I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
3. "Love to Love You Baby" - Donna Summer
4. "You Sexy Thing" - Hot Chocolate
5. "I Love Music (Part 1)" - O'Jays

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