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May 1977








The Clash kick off their first tour of the U.K. with a May Day celebration at the Roxy in London. The forty-date White Riot tour -- on which the Clash will be accompanied by the Buzzcocks, the Slits, the Subway Sect and (on some dates) the Jam -- will spread as "the scourge of punk" (as one provincial reporter will put it) outside of London before bringing it home for a concert at London's Rainbow Theatre. At that event, fans will rip out seats bolted to the floor to make room for dancing; the news media will see that as a fulfillment of the tour's billing and will describe it as a "riot."
More than three years after its release, Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle goes gold.
Interviewed by David Frost, former president Richard Nixon defends his illegal Watergate scandal activities as executive necessities in the face of domestic threats and compares himself to Abraham Lincoln. Frost's first in a series of four exclusive taped interviews with the ex-president draws 45 million viewers and is the most-watched news interview in television history to date. The interviews will become the basis of the 2008 Ron Howard-directed film Frost/Nixon.

U.S. Catholic bishops repeal their of excommunication of divorced and remarried Roman Catholics without previous marriages being annulled in church tribunals, but Holy Communion is still forbidden for remarried divorced Catholics at Masses.

Rolling Stone reports that A&M Records has established a perpetual scholarship in Peter Frampton's name for students of contemporary music at San Francisco's State University. It is also reported that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will become the first American rock band to perform in the Soviet Union, performing 24 concerts during a monthlong tour.

Joseph Campos Torres, a 23-year-old Vietnam Veteran, is beaten by several Houston police officers after being arrested at a Houston bar for disorderly conduct. Six police officers take him to a spot called "The Hole" next to Buffalo Bayou and beat him. Afterwards, the officers took Torres to the city's jail, where they were told to take him to Ben Taub Hospital for treatment before Torres would be processed, but instead drove Torres back to Buffalo Bayou and threw him in to be drowned. Torres subsequently dies, which sparks protests in Moody Park on the first anniversary of his death due to the light sentences the officers received.

Attracting 76,229 fans to the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, Led Zeppelin break their own world record for largest audience at a single-act concert.
The Top Five
1. "Hotel California" - Eagles
2. "When I Need You" - Leo Sayer
3. "Southern Nights" - Glen Campbell
4. "Sir Duke" - Stevie Wonder
5. "Don't Leave Me This Way" - Thelma Houston

Olivia Newton-John makes her New York City debut with a concert at the Metropolitan Opera House.
The Eagles sue former manager David Geffen over the sale to Warner Bros. of his record and publishing companies, to which the Eagles were signed.

Legendary actress Joan Crawford dies of a heart attack at her Manhattan home at age 72. In her will, she disinherits her adopted children Christina and Christopher Crawford from receiving any of her $2 million fortune "for reasons that are well known to them." A year and a half later, Christina releases Mommie Dearest, a shocking autobiography that alleged child abuse at a time when the subject was rarely discussed in public. An unsuccessful movie based on the book starring Faye Dunaway is released in 1981 and is said to have ruined Dunaway's acting career with the major studios but, as Joan herself, becomes a cult icon, especially in homosexual circles.
Portland, Oregon, is the site of rock's first-ever quadraphonic concert, as Pink Floyd surrounds its audience sonically on four sides.
EMI in Britain and Capitol in the U.S. release The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, an album culled from live recordings made during the Beatles' American tours of 1964 and 1965. The album proves that, under the earsplitting din of thousands of screaming Beatlemaniacs, the Beatles could perform on stage as well as they did in the studio. In the meantime, the Beatles are losing their court effort to prevent Lingasong Records from releasing Live! At the Star Club, Hamburg, Germany, 1962, an album recorded by Ted "Kingsize" Taylor, whose signed affidavit states that the Beatles agreed to let him tape a Hamburg gig with the words "It's okay by us, Ted, but you get the beer in."

Dolly Parton makes her New York City debut with a concert at the Bottom Line.

Linda Ronstadt denies reports that she has agreed to be photographed nude for the centerfold of Hustler magazine for a fee of $1 million. Hustler publisher Larry Flynt offered that sum to ten famous women, none of whom accepted. "I got the offer in the mail," said Ronstadt. "I laughed at it, and then threw it in the wastebasket."
Cold War traitor Christopher Boyce is convicted of espionage and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The spying of Boyce and his childhood friend Andrew Daulton Lee is the subject of author Robert Lindsey's best-selling 1979 book The Falcon and the Snowman and a 1985 film of the same title.

The Top Five
1. "When I Need You" - Leo Sayer
2. "Sir Duke" - Stevie Wonder
3. "Hotel California" - Eagles
4. "Southern Nights" - Glen Campbell
5. "Couldn't Get It Right" - Climax Blues Band

No one paid much notice when ex-Spooky Tooth veteran Mick Jones and ex-King Crimson Ian McDonald joined together to form a band in 1976. The half-English, half-American sextet, called Foreigner, quietly released a debut LP in early 1977 and watched it soar to #4. On this date, it goes gold.

NBC debuts the made for TV movie Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn, starring Leigh McCloskey as a sequel to 1976's Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, starring Eve Plumb.

An American jazz tour of Cuba featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Earl "Fatha" Hines arrives in Havana, the tour is the first of its kind since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
Deceased Texas oil heiress Sandra West is buried according to her wishes, dressed in a lace nightgown at the wheel of her baby-blue 1964 Ferrari. Some 300 mourners attend her burial in San Antonio, arranged by her brother-in-law, whose inheritance was tied to completing the unusual last request. Placed in a large crate, the car is lowered by crane into the ground, then trucks pour in several loads of concrete to encase it. "Let's be frank," says the funeral home director. "We are concerned about vandalism."
Blondie makes its U.K. stage debut with an appearance at the London Roundhouse the night before setting off on a tour of Britain with fellow New Yorkers Television.
The Top Five
1. "Sir Duke" - Stevie Wonder
2. "When I Need You" - Leo Sayer
3. "Couldn't Get It Right" - Climax Blues Band
4. "I'm Your Boogie Man" - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
5. "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1" - Marvin Gaye

Fashion model Jerry Hall dumps Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry to live with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.

West Coast jazz pianist Hampton Hawes dies.
The NBA names Kareem Abdul-Jabbar MVP for the fifth time.
There are box-office hits, there are blockbusters, and then there's Star Wars. Premiering today, the elaborate sci-fi saga from George Lucas will catapult into cinematic history and obliterate box-office records. Jam-packed with villains, heroes, aliens, robots, and state-of-the-art special effects, the film wins instant, eternal fame, six Oscars, and spurs a franchise of epic proportions -- all from a modest $13 million budget (and a fertile imagination). Over the next 30 years, the franchise will bring in merchandising revenue (from action figures, underwear, etc.) that tops $9 billion -- almost $3 billion more than the worldwide box-office total.
William Powell of the O'Jays dies at age thirty-five in Canton, Ohio, after a long bout with cancer. Powell was an original member of the O'Jays (formed in 1958 as the Mascots) and sang with them until he was forced to quit the group in 1976 because of his health.

Extreme sportsman and toy designer George Willig illegally climbs the south tower of New York City's World Trade Center in less than four hours. A judge fines him $250,000 to cover expenses incurred by the city in his capture, but that fine is later reduced to $1.10 -- a penny for each story he climbed.

Two weeks after signing the Sex Pistols, Virgin Records releases "God Save the Queen" to coincide with Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee celebration in June. The song, which begins, "God save the Queen, she ain't no human being," will forthwith be banned from British airplay because of its "treasonous sentiments." Nonetheless, it will hit Number One on the British chart, listed in some reports with a blank line where the title should be.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger notes a significant increase in the number of lawyers in the U.S., urging out-of-court settlements of civil disputes to prevent "hordes of lawyers hungry as locusts."

Bruce Springsteen and his former manager, Mike Appel, reach an out-of-court settlement on Springsteen's July 1976 suit and Appel's countersuit, which have prevented the New Jersey rock & roller from recording for almost a year. The settlement grants Springsteen rights to his songs, the privilege of choosing his own producer, and the power to renegotiate his contract with Columbia Records. Appel, whose ties with Springsteen are severed, will receive a cash payment reported to be close to a million dollars.

A sellout crowd of more than 50,000 basks in the sun at promoter Bill Graham's "Day on the Green" at the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium. It's California rock and lots more, with a line-up including openers Atlanta Rhythm Section, Foreigne and Heart and the headlining Eagles, who are blown away by the act that came just before them, the Steve Miller Band. "The Steve Miller Band delivered the best paced and most fulfilling music of the day," raves The Oakland Tribune.

Goddard Lieberson, an executive of Columbia Records for over thirty-five years, dies in New York City at age sixty-six. Lieberson oversaw Columbia's rise to prominence in the pop music field in the Sixties by opening the company to talent brought in by his associates, John Hammond and Clive Davis.

An overweight Elvis Presley, after having eaten five banana splits before the show, nearly collapses and walks off stage in the middle of a concert in Baltimore, Maryland -- the first time in his twenty-three-year career he has done so except in the case of illness.

A 14-hour poker marathon is held in the back room of famed Hollywood eatery Chasen's to promote Universal's reissue of The Sting, the biggest movie of 1973. But star power apparently doesn't translate into poker skills as Richard Dreyfuss, Ronny Cox, Greg Morris, Ray Walston, Elliot Gould and Milton Berle are beaten by a TV reporter who showed up to interview the players.

Jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond dies.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer, having recently finished recording their ambitious Works, Volume One, begin one of the most audacious rock tours to date. Accompanied by a 70-piece orchestra and nearly 125 people, the tour is an international, yearlong tour de force, but due to canceled shows and production-cost overruns, the orchestra departs after only a few performances in the Midwest.

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