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August 1976








A Gallup Poll reveals that Jimmy Carter leads both President Ford and Ronald Reagan by substantial margins.
The Top Five
1. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" - Elton John & Kiki Dee
2. "Love Is Alive" - Gary Wright
3. "Moonlight Feels Right" - Starbuck
4. "Let 'Em In" - Wings
5. "You Should Be Dancing" - Bee Gees

Boston releases its self-titled debut album, which will eventually be certified 9x platinum.
Elton John rocks Madison Square Garden on the opening night of a seven-show stand, a stay that breaks the house record set the previous summer by the Rolling Stones. The concert marks the end of a two-month U.S. tour for John, and also represents the absolute peak of his staggering popularity.
The Clash give a private show at a rehearsal hall in the Chalk Farm suburb of London, revealing themselves both to the invited press and to the world at large. Lead singer Joe Strummer had just joined up with the group, which included current members Mick Jones on guitar and Paul Simonon on bass, drummer Tory Crimes (a.k.a. Terry Chimes), who left in 1977 but filled in for his replacement, Topper Headon, in 1982) and future PiL guitarist Keith Levene, who had left his previous band, the 101'ers, after being inspired by the Sex Pistols when they opened at a club date for them a few months earlier.

New wave/ power pop songwriter and bassist Nick Lowe releases his first U.K. single on Stiff Records, the two-sided hit "So It Goes/ Heart of the City."

Cliff Richard begins an SRO, twenty-date tour of the Soviet Union at Leningrad's Hall of the October. The enthusiasm of the crowd to his performance horrifies Russian officials, who ask Richard if he wants barriers to be erected between himself and the audience at later shows. Britain's eternal pop idol declines the offer.

The Republican National Convention opens in Kansas City with President Ford and Ronald Reagan battling for delegates. Two days later, Ford will secure the nomination and select conservative senator Bob Dole (R-KS) as his running mate soon after.

Sniffin' Glue, the outrageous punk fanzine that becomes a photocopy Bible for Britain's blank generation, publishes its first issue. Publisher Mark P later extends the do-it-yourself mentality to the point of forming the band Alternative TV, who release a few albums on the independent Deptford Fun City label (later the place of Squeeze's vinyl debut).
Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter spends his afternoon at Capricorn Records' annual picnic in Macon, Georgia. Phil Walden, president of the Southern label, escorts Carter around Lakeside Park, but the future First Citizen leaves before checking out a set delivered by Sea Level.
The Rolling Stones top the bill over Todd Rundgren, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hot Tuna, 10cc and others at England's annual Knebworth Festival. The concert, held in front of an estimated 200,000 spectators (paying and otherwise), is played up as the last Stones show ever to be held in Britain. It isn't.

The self-titled debut album by the all-girl heavy-metal/ punk-rock band the
Runaways enters the LP chart. The band -- consisting of vocalist Cherie Currie, guitarists Lita Ford and Joan Jett, bassist Jackie Fox and drummer Sandy West -- is the brainchild of L.A. producer, entrepreneur and trend-hopper Kim Fowley, who conceived the group as a "female Ramones." The album will fail to sell very well, and throughout their four-year existence, the band will bear the brunt of critical abuse (dubbed as "jailbait" because they were all underage) and will complain of not being taken seriously. Joan Jett will go on to have a highly successful solo career; Cherie Currie will go on to release an album with her twin sister in 1980, and to co-star with Jodie Foster in the film Foxes the same year; Lita Ford will release a solo album in 1983.

The self-titled debut album by New York City disco- sophisticates
Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band enters the LP chart. The album features their only hit singles, "I'll Play the Fool" (which will reach #80 in late 1976) and "Cherchez La Femme" (which will hit #27 early in 1977). The group will become a great favorite of critics enamored of their cosmopolitan blend of disco, pop, Latin and big-band swing (what the band members themselves term "mulatto music"). But they will never be very commercially successful, and will disband after two more albums, though they will occasionally reunite in the early Eighties for New York City concerts. Savannah Band members August Darnell and "Sugar Coated" Andy Hernandez will later go on to form Kid Creole and the Coconuts, a more tripical version of the Savannah Band that will find more commercial success than the Dr. Buzzard unit. Hernandez will then leave Kid Creole to go solo as the rap act Coati Mundi.
In a New York Times magazine feature, journalist Tom Wolfe dubs the overly self-involved Seventies "the 'Me' Decade." "The old alchemical dream was changing base metals into gold. The new alchemical dream is changing one's personality, remaking, remodeling, elevating, and polishing one's very self... and observing, studying, and doting on it. (Me!)," says Wolfe, who in the next decade will reach into his bag for a new chic term to define the 1980's: the "splurge generation."
American Legion conventioneers boo Jimmy Carter as he announces his plan to grant amnesty to Vietnam War draft resisters. The next day, he will lead a Gallup Poll with 49% of the vote, versus 39% for President Ford and 12% undecided.

Two Soviet cosmonauts return safely to Earth after a 48-day research program aboard the orbiting Salyut 5 space station.

Rolling Stone reports that 250,000 fans have caught Texas boogie band ZZ Top one month into an 18-month world tour that packs a 75-ton sampling of their native state, including a Texas-shaped stage and a live buffalo, buzzard, rattlesnake, tarantula and cactus.
Transsexual Dr. Renee Richards makes headlines as she is banned from New York City's prestigious US Open tennis match for refusing to take its just-institued chromosome test. The former Richard Raskind, after having undergone gender reassignment surgery, had competed in several California tournaments before a journalist reported her story. "I heard from blacks, convicts, Chicanos, hippies, homosexuals, people with physical handicaps, and, of course, transsexuals," says Richards. "My God, the whole world seemed to be looking for me to be their Joan of Arc." Richards's stakes are high, but she sues and wins a landmark case. The next year she will be allowed to compete at the US Open, but she loses in the women's doubles finals.
Jimmy Reed, the "Big Boss Man" of the blues, and a major influence on the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend and others, dies at age fifty in San Francisco the night after completing a three-night engagement at the Bay Area club the Savoy. His death cuts short a comeback effort made afer alcoholism halted his career for most of the Sixties and early Seventies.

At a reunion concert of the original
Spirit in Santa Monica, California, Neil Young joins the band onstage at bassist Mark Andes' request during their encore rendition of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." Guitarist Randy California objects to Young's presence, however, and pushes him away; the song is finally completed when the misunderstanding is cleared up.

Annissa Jones, who played Buffy on Family Affair, dies of a drug overdose from Quaaludes and alcohol at the age of eighteen.

The volcano La Soufriere erupts on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
A U.S. Judge rules George Harrison guilty of "Subconscious Plagiarism" when he lifted The Chiffons "He's So Fine" melody for his late 1970 chart-topper "My Sweet Lord." Taking advantage of the publicity, The Chiffons then record their own version of "My Sweet Lord."

The pilot for the TV series Alice airs on CBS-TV. Linda Lavin plays the title role in this show about a widowed mother who is working as a waitress in Mel's Diner in Phoenix, Arizona, while waiting to resume her career as a piano-bar singer. The comedy is based on the 1974 Martin Scorsese-directed movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.


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