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September 1977








Debby Boone, a former member of the Boone Gospel Quartet and daughter of singer Pat Boone, jumps on the pop charts with her soon-to-be #1 and eventual biggest pop single of the decade, "You Light Up My Life."

Ethel Waters
, one of the most popular American entertainers of the twentieth century, dies in Chatsworth, California, at age eight-one. A singer whose repertoire covered the blues, jazz, musc hall and pop, and an actress of the stage and screen who was equally adept at vaudeville comedy and high drama, she is best remembered for her recordings of "St. Louis Blues," "Am I Blue?" and "Stormy Weather" and her appearances in such films as Cabin in the Sky, Stage Door Canteen and Member of the Wedding.

Blondie signs its first major record company contract, with Chrysalis. The New York City new wave band led by guitarist Chris Stein and fronted by his girlfriend, vocalist Deborah Harry, has already released records on the small, independent Private Stock label, attracting cult followings in New York City, Los Angeles and London but failing to sell many records. Such later Chrysalis albums as Parallel Lines, Eat to the Beat and Autoamerican, however, will sell many millions.
One hundred ten thousand music fans descend on Old Bridge, New Jersey, for an eleven-hour concert by the Grateful Dead, the New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Marshall Tucker Band.
After 527 performances at Broadway's Broadhurst Theater and 2,118 performances at the off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theater, the curtains are lowered on "Godspell" for good. The Stephen Schwartz rock musical based on the Gospel according to Matthew spawned a Top Fifteen hit, "Day by Day," in 1972 from its original Broadway cast album.

Reflecting growing fascination with Top 10 and other similar hit inventories, The Book of Lists is the week's best-selling nonfiction book.

Voyager 1 follows Voyager 2 on a multiyear journey toward Saturn, Jupiter and beyond.

Bandleader and well-known New Year's Eve host Guy Lombardo dies at age 72.

Convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy is released from federal custody after serving a term of 52 1/2 months. His 1980 memoir, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, becomes the basis of a 1982 TV movie starring Robert Conrad.

An American Medical Association study of TV violence cites programs on ABC as the most violent, and those on CBS as the least. A week later CBS is ranked last in the Nielsen ratings.

Guitarist Jimmy McCulloch quits Paul McCartney and Wings to join a reformed lineup of the Small Faces. McCulloch, who had previously played with Thunderclap Newman and Stone the Crows, joined Wings in 1975, played on three of their most successful albums and accompanied them on the Wings over America tour of 1976. His stint with the Small Faces will last only the duration of a September tour of the British Isles, after which he'll be off to form his own group, the Dukes.

Rolling Stone reports on the brewing legal battle between VCR manufacturers and the movie industry as home taping of broadcast TV begins to "threaten the rerun and replay market of films on TV," according to a lawyer for Universal Studios.

Soviet authorities confiscate various titles, including copies of George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984, which had been brought into the U.S.S.R. for the first-ever international book fair in Moscow.
Top of the charts: the Emotions's "Best of My Love" (pop single); Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (pop album). Entering the Hot 100 on its way to #3 is Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou," her 18th hit since she first hit the pop charts with "Different Drum" as lead singer of The Stone Poneys ten years earlier.
Bernie Taupin, Elton John's lyricist, makes his television acting debut on the ABC TV-movie The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula. He plays the leader of a band called Circus.
South African student leader Stephen Biko dies in police custody. Five days later, after an international outcry, a South African justice allows that the police may have had a role in his death. An autopsy later reveals massive head trauma and other injuries.

Calling them a refreshing change from the country and bluegrass bands that usually play at his parties, President Carter welcomes Brooklyn funk band B.T. Express as they perform at a White House staff picnic.

Office of Management of Budget director Bert Lance, responding to mounting charges of financial impropriety and conflict of interest regarding two Georgia banks he had headed, insists, "I'm not going to quit, and that means I'm not going to quit." Eight days later he submits his letter of resignation to President Carter.

Soap premieres on ABC-TV, it introduces prime time's first gay character -- Billy Crystal as Jodie Dallas.

Radical Sixties protest leader and former SDS head Mark Rudd surrenders to government authorities after seven years underground. One month later, he will be granted an unconditional discharge upon entering a guilty plea to criminal trespassing.

CBS debuts the pilot episode of The Amazing Spider-Man starring Nicholas Hammond, who previously portrayed the eldest of the Von Trapp boys in the 1965 theatrical release The Sound of Music. The series proper will debut on Apr. 5, 1978 and run through July 6, 1979.

For the first time, the White House hosts a music-industry function, as President Carter meets with 15 top record company executives.

CHiPs, a popular episodic police series featuring two state motorcycle patrolmen operating out of Los Angeles' central station of the California Highway patrol, premieres on NBC. Co-star Erik Estrada's popularity will last until the early 1980s.

Marc Bolan is killed when the mini GT he is riding (driven by his girlfriend, American singer Gloria Jones) crashes into a tree on the outskirts of London. He was twenty-nine. Bolan (born Mark Feld) first appeared on the London pop scene as a model for Mod fashions in the early Sixties. He made his first record in 1966 and was a member of John's Children before he formed Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1968. T. Rex, originally an acoustic duo, became one of the most popular acts of the "glam rock" movement of the early Seventies, a period in which the group had eleven British Top Ten singles. T. Rex never managed to attract that sort of popularity in America, where only "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" made the Top Ten. By mid-decade, the records stopped hitting in Britain too, but Bolan could still draw crowds to his concerts, and he recently began work on his own weekly television show.

Rolling Stones release their third live album, Love You Live. The two-record set on the Rolling Stones label was recorded in Paris in 1976 and in Toronto in March of this year. It's all ho-hum stuff by now, but the package shoots to #5 on the American album chart.
The Best of Rod Stewart album peaks at #18 in England. Within eight months, it will go gold in America after rising to #90 and spending 26 weeks on the Hot 200.
Decked out in a cub scout uniform, 31-year-old Linda Ronstadt performs at L.A.'s Universal Amphitheatre.

The first of many postwar refugees to enter the U.S. on the heels of a new international immigration agreement, 108 Vietnamese arrive in San Francisco.

Rolling Stone reports on New York City's healthy -- if not exactly commercial -- jazz scene, citing the "more than 70 jazz performances [which] took place every evening in Manhattan alone" during the July 4th weekend.
British CBS releseases the Clash's "Complete Control" backed with "City of the Dead." The single was recorded this summer in Kingston, Jamaica, with Lee "Scratch" Perry, the legendary reggae producer, at the board. Perry had introduced himself to the Clash after hearing their version of "Police and Thieves," a song he had written and produced for Junior Murvin. This meeting of punk and reggae will be the inspiration for Perry's next collaboration with Bob Marley: "Punky Reggae Party," which will be a British Top Ten single for Bob Marley and the Wailers in December.

Plato's Retreat -- a heterosexual cult dedicated to casual sex and not much else (it couldn't keep a liquor license) -- opens on New York's Upper West Side, in the same location as what had been the gay Continental Baths.

Laker Airways charges the amazingly low price of $102 from London to New York City.

NBC premieres the fact-based TV movie In the Matter of Karen Ann Quinlan.

David Bowie accepts Bing Crosby's invitation to appear as a special guest on the famous "White Christmas" pop crooner's annual Christmas television special. Bowie, 30, and Bing, 73, duet on "Peace on Earth," a last-minute reworking of of "The Little Drummer Boy." Bing dies of a heart attack the following month before the special is seen or released, and "Peace on Earth" becomes a holiday staple and pop culture curiosity.
James Brown's band, complaining that the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business has been underpaying them, walk out on him in Hallendale, Florida.

Andy Warhol interviews The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood for his Interview magazine.

British blues band Foghat plays a benefit concert at New York City's Palladium to fund the purchase and preservation of rare blues records by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound of the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.

Columbia Pictures president David Begelman is placed on leave for financial improprieties after actor Cliff Robertson goes public with front-page news: Begelman had cashed a $10,000 check made out to the ator, who hadn't worked on one of the studio's pictures in years. Although Begelman is quietly reinstated a few weeks later by a studio hoping the situation goes away, he later resigns in shame, then resurfaces as president of MGM. The resulting scandal exposes a seamy side of Hollywood, with greed, deceit, and cover-ups that inspire a best-seller, Indecent Exposure. Robertson is also blackballed, and won't appear again in a major studio film (Brainstorm) until 1983.

ABC airs The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, a dramatization of an imaginary trial of John F. Kennedy's assassin.


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