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December 1976








The newly independent country of Angola is admitted to the United Nations.

Sex Pistols, who have just released their first single, "Anarchy in the U.K.," appear on British TV's Today program as a last-minute replacement for Queen. Interviewer Bill Grundy, taunting the about their "nasty" reputation, provokes bassist Glen Matlock to say "fuck" on the air. In the resulting nationwide uproar, the Sex Pistols will be banned from apparing in all but five cities on the itinerary of their first U.K. tour. By January, no club or concert hall in Great Britain will book the group.
Rolling Stone reports on controversy surrounding a song on the debut album of the rock band Starz titled "Pull the Plug," the lyrics of which evoke a scenario suspiciously reminiscent of the Karen Ann Quinlan right-to-die case.
A forty-foot-long inflatable pig being photographed for the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals breaks loose from its guide wires and takes off from Battersea Power Station outside of London. It heads east and eventually attains a height of 18,000 feet before landing in Kent.

Seven gunmen spray bullets into
Bob Marley's house in Kingston, Jamaica, where he and the Wailers are rehearsing for an upcoming "Smile Jamaica" festival. The shots strike Marley, his wife, Rita, a friend, and Wailer manager Don Taylor, who, standing in front of Marley, bears the brunt of the attack (none are severely hurt). The would-be assassins get away and, despite great apprehension, Marley and company go through with their performance two nights later.
Tommy Bolin overdoses on heroin, cocaine and other substances at the Newport Hotel in Miami. The guitarist, formerly with the James Gang and also Ritchie Blackmore's replacement in Deep Purple, has been working with is own band for the previous year. At his funeral two days later, one-time girlfriend Karen Ulibarri places on his finger the ring Deep Purple's manager gave him. It had been worn by Jimi Hendrix the day he died.

The Carpenters are presented with 21 U.K. gold records while visiting London. Unfortunately, they had to leave them behind at the airport because they were too heavy to take on as excess baggage.

Benjamin Britten, 63, a British composer, dies. Among his best-known works are Death in Venice and the mass War Requiem.

A three-record set of live performances from the U.S. Wings tour, Wings Over America, accurately summarizing Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career with its thirty-song selection, is released. As expected, the compilation, which includes "Magneto and Titanium Man," "My Love," "Silly Love Songs" and "Maybe I'm Amazed," reaches Number One.
The title track from Bob Seger's new album Night Moves enters the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart en route to No. 4, his biggest hit yet. Seger and his Silver Bullet Band's bittersweet look back at teenage sex "in the back seat of my '60 Chevy" won't be the only hit on Night Moves. Nostalgic "Mainstreet" and hard-drivin' "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" will also find single success, while the suggestive, sexy album cut "The Fire Down Below" will torch FM radio. Night Moves will become the first of seven consecutive Top 10 albums for Seger, who until now had found national success elusive after being revered for years in his hometown of Detroit.
Both Boston's self-titled debut album and single, "More Than a Feeling," make the Top 10 on the pop album and single charts, respectively. CBS Records, upon hearing demo tapes from Tom Scholz, an MIT graduate with an MS in mechanical engineering and product designer for Polaroid, had signed him to a recording contract. In his spare time, Scholz had applied his scientific background to producing tracks he cut with musician friends in his homemade basement studio. Even though Scholz finishes the album in Los Angeles, the group is named for the city where it all began, Boston, where fans flocked to see them at local clubs. Boston will receive the RIAA's relatively new "platinum" certification for one million copies, going on to become the biggest selling debut album in history.
Ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower's fifth solo album, Long Misty Days, goes gold. His third solo LP, For Earth Below, had gone gold earlier in the year.

Three days after its release,
Wings over America, the live album by Paul McCartney and Wings, goes gold.

Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots' novelty record "Disco Duck (Part 1)" becomes the fourth platinum single in pop history.

The eponymous debut album by New York City sophisto-disco- fusion group Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band goes gold.
The swine-flu vaccination program, sponsored by the U.S. Government, is halted because at least 94 people suffered a form of paralysis. An investigation begins to find out if there is a link between the paralysis and the flu vaccine.
Atlanta-based entrepreneur Ted Turner upgrades the microwave delivery signal of his tiny UHF Atlanta station WTCG (for "watch this channel grow") to the latest technology: satellite transmission via Satcom I. Instantly its rerun-heavy lineup, starting with an old Dana Andrews movie, Deep Waters, appears on cable systems in Alabama, Kansas, Nebraska, and Virginia. Soon renamed WTBS (for Turner Broadcasting System), and then "SuperStation TBS," it paves the way for the burgeoning cable revolution and turns the folksy, flamboyant Turner into a major media mogul. In 1980, Turner will start a shoestring 24-hour news network called CNN, but doubters dub it "chicken noodle news." But Turner, dubbed the "Mouth of the South," gets the last laugh when this channel morphs into the groundbreaking powerhouse CNN.
Rev. Al Green holds the first Sunday service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis; more than 1,000 people attend.
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and John Artis, whose 1974 murder convictions has spawned public outcry and protest, are again found guilty of a triple homicide.
Bob Seger continues his overdue breakthrough to stardom, as his Live Bullet album goes gold after its May release. Live Bullet features in-concert versions of such earlier Seger classics as "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," "Beautiful Loser," "Travelin' Man," "Katmandu," "Nutbush City Limits" and "Get Out of Denver."

James Taylor's Greatest Hits album goes gold shortly after its release. Among the hits it contains are "You've Got a Friend," "Fire and Rain," Taylor's version of Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," "Country Road" and "Mexico."
Joni Mitchell's album Hejira goes gold not long after its release. This proves that Mitchell still has her legions of devoted fans, even though most critics have by now grown weary of Mitchell's recent spate of abstract, experimental works.

Isaac Hayes, Stax artist, songwriter and genius behind "The Theme from Shaft," files for bankruptcy with debts of $6 million and 14 lawsuits pending against him.

The Eagles' sixth album, Hotel California -- their first with ex-James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh -- goes platinum. It features the title song, a Number One hit single for the California country-rock band in May 1977.

The L.A. Jets, featuring Karen Lawrence, enter the Hot 100 pop chart with "Prisoner." The obscure tune, which peaks at #86, was later a hit for Barbra Streisand when music publisher Jay Warner placed the song with Streisand and it became the title song from the film Eyes of Laura Mars, reaching #21 as "Love Theme from Eyes of Laura Mars (Prisoner)."

Blues guitarist giant Freddie King (no relation to those other blues guitar giants, Albert and B.B. King) dies of hepatitis at age forty-two in Dallas, Texas. King's fleet-fingered guitar work on such songs as "Hideaway" was highly influential on Eric Clapton, among many others, and King recorded two albums, Burglar and Freddie King (1934-1976), with British sessionmen.
Swedish pop group Abba, the world's most successful singing group this decade, garner a U.S. gold record award for their Greatest Hits album. Though people in general still tend to think that Abba are vastly more popular in Europe than in America (and, in truth, they are), the band has already had several Top Forty hits in the U.S. Among those hits included in this album are "Waterloo," "SOS," "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do," and "Honey Honey."

Rolling Stone reports on the release of All This and World War II, a 20th Century-Fox movie coupling war footage and Beatles songs (sample pairings: Pearl Harbor being bombed to "Sun King," Hitler seen in his alpine retreat Berchtesgaden to "Fool on the Hill"). The film is a commercial and critical flop.

Horned and fanged characters drawn by classic children's storybook author-illustrator Maurice Sendak decorate a Christmas tree on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone. Sendak's popularity has soared during the 1970's, with his artwork filling a dozen children's books, appearances on Sesame Street, and in an animated TV special with Carole King. Before the decade is over, Sendak's creations will gnash their terrible teeth and show their terrible claws live in a stage adaptation of his classic book Where the Wild Things Are.

Most popular music, books and film - 1976: Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" (pop single); Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life (pop album); Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" (R&B single); Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson's "Good Hearted Woman" (C&W single); Leon Uris's Trinity (fiction); Sylvia Porter's Sylvia Porter's Money Book (nonfiction); Rocky (film).

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