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February 1976








The miniseries comes to TV, as the first episode of the nine-part Rich Man, Poor Man airs, based on the novel by Irwin Shaw and starring Peter Strauss, Susan Blakely and Nick Nolte. Adapted from Irwin Shaw's best-seller about the changes in America from World War II through the mid-1960s as seen through the eyes of brothers Rudy and Tom Jordache, and smartly mixing guest stars (like Ed Asner and Fionnula Flanagan, who each win Emmys), it reinvigorates the art of adapting books into topical, soapy serials. It generates huge ratings and helps usher in a golden age of miniseries a full year before Roots arrives and rewrites the record books.
David Bowie begins his first U.S. tour in over a year in Seattle, Washington. Guitarist Earl Slick has replaced Mick Ronson, and Bowie has shelved the white soul persona for a character he calls the Thin White Duke.
Winter Olympics XII opens in Innsbruck, Austria. Over the next 11 days, U.S. figure skater Dorothy Hamill and West German skier Rosi Mittermaier will emerge as the new gold-winning Olympic stars.

Patty Hearst's much-publicized bank robbery trial opens; she will describe her life as a hostage and testify that she participated under death threats from her kidnappers. Although expert psychiatric testimony will support her contentions, Hearst will be found guilty on Mar. 20 and later sentenced to prison terms totaling seven years. SLA leaders William and Emily Harris will be found guilty of various felonies on Aug. 9.

A severe earthquake, which registers 7.5 on the 9-point Richter scale, strikes Guatemala. More than 22,000 people lose their lives in the disaster, and about 74,000 are hurt. The quake is felt throughout the country as well as in neighboring Honduras and El Salvador.

Jazz pianist Vincent Guaraldi, who with his Vince Guaraldi Trio had a #22 hit in 1963 with "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" and two years later composed the timeless "Linus & Lucy" holiday theme for the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special, dies of a sudden heart-attack in Menlo Park, Calif., at age 47.
Wanted! The Outlaws enters the charts. By the end of the year, the album, which features such nontraditional country, or "outlaw," performers as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessi Colter, will hit #10 on the pop chart, Number One on the country, and be certified platinum. In addition, the stars, especially Jennings and Nelson, will emerge as the leaders of the latest and, as it turns out, an enduring, country style.

Top of the LP charts: Bob Dylan's Desire (pop album).

The Top Five
1. "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" - Paul Simon
2. "Love to Love You Baby" - Donna Summer
3. "You Sexy Thing" - Hot Chocolate
4. "I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
5. "Sing a Song" - Earth, Wind & Fire

Taxi Driver, director Martin Scorsese's disturbing, violent film about a New York City cabbie (Robert De Niro) and a 13-year-old child prostitute (Jodie Foster), premieres. The movie, which paints a dark, brooding setting with matching characters that symbolize America's alienated urban jungle, will win the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes, and De Niro will take the New York Film Critics Circle award.
Soviet-backed forces in Angola claim victory.
Actor Sal Mineo is found stabbed to death in Hollywood. He is remembered for acting in films (Rebel without a Cause) and a 1957 Top 10 hit "Start Movin'."
"More More More (Part 1)" by the Andrea True Connection enters the pop chart. The disco smash, sung by ex-porno film star Andrea True, will go on to reach #4 on the pop chart and will be certified gold in September. True will go on to score some more minor hits over the next two years, all in the same sexy-disco vein, the biggest being "N.Y., You Got Me Dancing," which will hit #27 in April 1977.
More violence erupts between police and antibusing demonstrators in South Boston.
Harvard University's Hasty Pudding theatrical society gives its annual "Woman of the Year" award to flash-and-trash chanteuse Bette Midler. Upon accepting, the divine Miss M comments: "This award characterizes what the American male wants in a woman -- brains, talent and gorgeous tits."
Donna Summer's first disco hit, "Love to Love You Baby," which reached #2 on the pop chart earlier this year, is certified gold. The song -- which featured Summer not only cooing the title phrase, but moaning her way through what most listeners agreed sounded like seven noisy orgasms -- was the first of a long string of disco and rock hits for Summer that would continue into the Eighties.

One-time lead singer for
Tower of Power, Rich Stevens, is arrested and charged in the murders the night before of three men in San Jose, California. Police hint that drug dealings were the motivation in the slayings, Stevens and an accomplice are found guilty on two counts of murder in November; a third defendant is acquitted.
Kiss' arrival at the pinnacle of their American stardom is noted with the placing of their footprints on the sidewalk outside Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theater.

New York District Court Judge
Thomas Griesa rules that a verbal agreement between John Lennon and Roulette Records president Morris Levy to put out an album of Lennon-performed rock & roll oldies was invalid because of Lennon's previous commitment to Capitol Records. Levy had sued Lennon for $42 million after being forced to halt production of the TV-marketed record called Roots, consisting of rough takes of some of Lennon's studio work, much of which ended up on the 1975 Rock 'N' Roll LP.
Former president Richard Nixon visits Communist China, meeting with Chairman Mao and acting premier Hua Kuo-Feng.

"Show Me the Way" by Peter Frampton is released as a single.

Former Supreme Florence Ballard dies of coronary thrombosis in Detroit at age thirty-two. Despite being an original member of the premiere female vocal trio (they had ten Number One pop hits in the Sixties), she had lived on welfare for the few years preceding her death after losing an $8.7-million suit for back royalties against Motown Records in 1971.
The Eagles - Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 becomes the first album in history to be certified platinum by the R.I.A.A. This new certification represents sales of at least 1 million copies for albums and 2 million copies for singles. The platinum award was conceived because early-Seventies record sales were so high that most popular recordings surpassed the gold mark (500,000 copies for LPs, 1 million copies for singles) in a short period of time. As a result, the gold record award was considered, if not meaningless, then certainly not the accomplishment it had been years before. Platinum certification would rise and peak by the late Seventies and drop slightly as record sales declined in the early Eighties.

Front-runners emerge from the New Hampshire primary; President Ford defeats Ronald Reagan with 51% of the vote, and Jimmy Carter leads the Democrats with 30% of the vote.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the silver screen's top grosser.
Paul Simon wins Grammys for the single "Still Crazy After All These Years" and the album of the same title. Other winners include Captain & Tennille (for "Love Will Keep Us Together"), Stephen Sondheim (for "Send in the Clowns"), Earth, Wind & Fire (for "Shining Star") and Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony (for "The Hustle").

The Top Five
1. "Theme from "S.W.A.T." - Rhythm Heritage
2. "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" - Paul Simon
3. "Love Machine (Part 1)" - Miracles
4. "All By Myself" - Eric Carmen
5. "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" - Four Seasons

A mere two weeks after its Valentine's Day release, Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! goes gold en route to becoming the biggest-selling live album to date, moving 16 million copies. A two-disc album of last year's concert at San Francisco's famed Winterland Ballroom, the release features such rock radio staples as "Do You Feel Like We Do," "Baby I Love Your Way" and, especially, "Show Me the Way." But his next album, the pop and ballad-heavy I'm in You, tanks, and in another classic misstep, he stars in the critical and box-office flop Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. By the end of the decade, he's just about where he was in 1975, albeit many millions richer.

Best-selling paperbacks are Vincent Bugulosi's Helter Skelter (nonfiction) and Arthur Hailey's The Moneychangers (fiction).

ABC debuts the hit 1965 musical The Sound of Music on network television.


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