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April 1976








Paul McCartney and Wings' "Silly Love Songs" is released from their Wings at the Speed of Sound album. Coming out just prior to the band's first U.S. tour, the single is as welcomed by the record-buying public as it is reviled by critics.

High-tech entrepeneurs Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, envisioning a substantial personal computer market, establish Apple Inc. in a Silicon Valley garage. Their goal is to produce no more than 100 units for $50 each.

CBS premieres the TV movie Helter Skelter, an electrifying account of Charles Manson and his "family" of convicted murderers, based on prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's best-seller.

Artist Max Ernst, a member of the Dadist group and one of the founders of surrealism, dies.

The Beatles classic "Yesterday," which was a hit in America in 1965, is released as a single in Britain for the first time, rising to #8. Unlike in the U.S., past hits in the U.K. are often re-released, and the success of "Yesterday" spurs EMI to reissue other such Fab Four classics as "Penny Lane" (#32, U.K.) and "Hey Jude" (#12, U.K.).

The Top Five
1. "Disco Lady" - Johnnie Taylor
2. "Dream Weaver" - Gary Wright
3. "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" - Captain & Tennille
4. "Let Your Love Flow" - Bellamy Brothers
5. "Sweet Thing" - Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan

Jimmy Carter's campaign stumbles when asked about government subsidies for segregated housing, he states that there is "nothing wrong with ethnic purity being maintained." Two days later, Henry Jackson will carry the New York Democratic primary, and on Apr. 8 Carter will apologize for his comments.
Billionaire recluse Howard Hughes dies at age 70 on board an aircraft en route from his penthouse at the Acapulco Fairmont Princess Hotel in Mexico to the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Alternatively, other accounts indicate that he died in the flight from Freeport, Grand Bahama, to Houston. A subsequent autopsy notes kidney failure as the cause of death.

Aged, painted dame Mae West enlivens a special on CBS called Dick Cavett's Backlot U.S.A. Though the 82-year-old blonde's trademark heavily made up appearance seems grotesque, she gamely chats it up with Dick Cavett and even sings two songs, "Frankie and Johnnie" and "After You've Gone." Her appearance revives her career, and two years later she stars in her last feature, Sextette.

Thirty-five- year-old Phil Ochs hangs himself at his sister's home in the New York City borough of Queens. The Texas-born folk singer, who had stuck to protest music in the mid-Sixties while Bob Dylan turned toward rock & roll, reportedly had been despondent for some time; recent attempts to regain the edge of his early music had failed. His last appearance with the old coterie of folk stars was at the October 1975 birthday celebration for Mike Porco, owner of the Greenwich Village club Folk City. Among Ochs' best known songs are "I Ain't Marchin'," "Draft Dodger Rag," "There but for Fortune," "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" and "The Party." Among the last songs he released was entitled "Here's to the State of Richard Nixon."
Top of the LP charts: Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! (pop album).
The U.S. Treasury issues the first of some $4,000,000,000 $2 bills to mark the nation's Bicentennial.
Motown Records and Stevie Wonder hold a joint press conference to announce that he has signed a "$13 million-plus" contract with the label, which many of its acts have abandoned in recent years. This is the first time that Wonder, still mixing his Songs in the Key of Life LP, has confirmed having put his name on the agreement, which Motown had first announced the previous August.

Bay City Rollers singer Eric Faulkner almost dies after swallowing Seconal and Valium tablets at manager Tom Paton's house in Edinburgh, Scotland. The twenty-one- year-old Roller, after recovering, admitted to being very tired from the group's grueling schedule.
Boz Scaggs is cold-cocked by two bouncers outside the Austin, Texas, blues club Antone's, after attempting to go backstage to see headliner Bobby "Blue" Bland. The altercation began when Scaggs was refused admittance to the dressing room, despite claiming an invitation from a member of Bland's retinue.
Veteran jazz guitarist George Benson's album Breezin' enters the album chart. it will go on to become one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, thanks largely to its million-selling title track, which will reach #63 on the pop chart later this year. The album will go gold on June 4 and platinum on August 10.

Jailbreak, Irish rockers Thin Lizzy's most successful American release, enters the chart. It will later peak at #18 on the strength of their #12 gold single "The Boys Are Back in Town."

Heart's "Crazy on You," the first single from their breakthrough album Dreamboat Annie, charts, eventually giving Seattle-based sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson's band a #35 hit the following month. "Crazy on You" will chart once again in 1978, going to #62.

The Rolling Stones' Black and Blue album is released and, despite lukewarm critical reaction and feminist protest of an ad campaign that featured a photograph of a bound and bruised model, reaches Number One and goes platinum within two months.
Ex-Raspberries lead singer Eric Carmen enters the pop chart with what will become his first and biggest solo hit, "All by Myself" (from his self titled 1976 solo debut), which will peak at #2. Over the next two years, Carmen will have three more Top Thirty singles: "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again," later this year; "She Did It," in 1977; and "Change of Heart," in 1978.
Bob Dylan and his Rolling Thunder Revue tape a show at the Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, to be shown on television in the fall. The program, directed by Midnight Special producer Stan Harris, was auctioned off to NBC after being offered to all three networks, but Dylan then scrapped the footage anyway in favor of a latter show, taped in Fort Collins, Colorado, and titled Hard Rain.

Soul singer
Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" becomes the first single ever to be certified platinum, signifying sales of over two million copies. Taylor is known for another risque hit, 1968's "Who's Makin' Love."

Falling victim to speed limits and standard a/c, convertibles go the way of rumble seats, as Detroit delivers its last assembly-line produced drop-top, a white Cadillac Eldorado.

NBC airs the acclaimed TV movie Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys, a courtroom-based drama based on the 1931 rape trial of nine blacks and the embattled Southern judge who presided over the proceedings.

Barbara Walters will become the first woman to cohost a network evening newscast as ABC shells out more than a million dollars to lure the veteran reporter from NBC, where she's played a key role over the past 15 years in the success of the Today show. There's just one catch: she must cohost with Harry Reasoner, who publicly disdains the new arrangement. The on-air partnership begins in October -- and flops. Within a couple of years Walters is off to cohost ABC's newsmagazine 20/20, and shapes a pretty darned good career thereafter.

The last convertible of the decade to roll off the Detroit assembly line is a Cadillac Eldorado.

At the low point in his career and 10 years after his last Top 40 hit, Roy Orbison performs at The Van-a-Rama Auto Exposition in Cincinnati, Oh., before a crowd of less than 100 people. Adding to the degradation, it was his birthday.
Jimmy Carter wins the Pennsylvania primary. The next day, Jerry Brown arrives in Maryland to step up his campaign; Henry Jackson will throw in the towel on May 1.
The Rolling Stones begin a two-month European tour at the Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany. The concert marks their first appearance on the Continent in three years.
After playing in Memphis during a Southern tour, Bruce Springsteen jumps the fence at Graceland in an attempt to see his idol Elvis Presley. Rebuffed by security guards, the Boss vainly tries to gain entrance by mentioning his simultaneous appearances on the covers of both Time and Newsweek. They are not impressed; Springsteen is escorted off the grounds.
Porn star Harry Reems is convicted in Memphis of obscenity for acting in the X-rated Deep Throat. High-powered legal help like Alan Dershowitz take the case, but the federal prosecutor remains adamant that the court's aiming for the throat: "We do not go after the projectionist or the popcorn maker. That has no deterrent effect. We go after those who are profiteering." Reems's conviction is overturned upon appeal the next year. He's granted a new trial, but charges are later dropped.

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