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December 1977








Billy Joel's career seemed to have cracked wide open after the success of Piano Man, but his two follow-up albums enjoyed less than spectacular success. The singer/ songwriter's fifth LP, The Stranger, becomes Joel's vehicle to stardom, reaching #2 and spawning the hits "Just the Way You Are," "She's Always a Woman," "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" and "Only the Good Die Young."

Rolling Stone reports that in an explosive example of a disturbing rock-concert trend, Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry have been hospitalized with serious injuries caused by an M80 firecracker tossed onstage during one of their shows. The magazine also reports John Lennon has entered a period of semiretirement since his son Sean's birth in October 1975. Lennon announces his plans to take on the role of househusband and full-time father.

Commander Cody's latest single, "Seven-Eleven," which urges "... steal from them/ Or let them steal from you," is blamed for inspiring a shoplifting increase and is rerecorded with changed lyrics to deter any further kleptomaniacal behavior.

Paul McCartney and Wings' "Mull of Kintyre" reaches the top of the British singles chart, where it will remain for nine weeks. Wings' recording of this Irish folk song will become the best-selling single in British records history.

Top of the charts: Debbie Boone's "You Light Up My Life" (pop single); Linda Ronstadt's Simple Dreams (pop album).

Avante-garde multi- instrumentalist jazzman Rahsaan Roland Kirk dies.

A hard-line Arab summit in Tripoli ends with the resolve to resist any peace initiative with Israel. Egypt severs ties with Libya, Syria, Iraq, Algeria and South Yemen.

Peter C. Goldmark, inventor of the long-playing phonograph record, dies.

New England Whaler Gordie Howe becomes the first hockey player to notch over 1,000 career goals.

In a televised moment that is rebroadcast over the next few days in slow motion, L.A. Laker Kermit Washington viciously attacks an opponent during a bench-cleaning melee. He receives a stiff $10,000 fine.
It will forever define the age of disco, when Saturday night meant sex, drugs and serious line dancing. The cinematic cornerstone of the disco phenomenon, Saturday Night Fever premieres in its natural setting of New York City, after having its world premiere at Mann's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles a week earlier with such '70s stars as Peter Frampton, John Ritter, Suzanne Somers, Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in attendance. Based on Nik Cohn's story about a young Brooklyn disco stud (portrayed by John Travolta), the movie will be instrumental in spreading the disco craze throughout the country, and rather than heralding the death of the movement which was beginning to wane by 1977, it ushers in its lifestyles. The movie tops the box office for weeks, goes on to earn over $285 million, and its soundtrack, packed full of recent and soon-to-be dance hits by the Bee Gees, the Trammps, Kool and the Gang, Tavares, MFSB, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Yvonne Elliman, will be made into one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, selling over 25 million copies.
The Who perform a secret concert for longstanding fan club members and Jeff Stein's movie cameras at London's Shepperton Studios. The film footage will appear in Stein's The Kids Are Alright, his feature-length documentary about the Who. It is the first of two concerts filmed especially for The Kids.

Two days before they are due to appear on American television (NBC's
Saturday Night Live) and to begin their first American tour, the Sex Pistols are denied visas to enter the U.S. American government officials cite various sections of the U.S. Immigration Act in way of justification. John Lydon (alias Johnny Rotten) is denied entry because of an indictment for possession of one illegal amphetamine; Paul Cook and John Ritchie (alias Sid Vicious) on the grounds of "moral turpitude," and Steven Jones because of lack of information on his criminal record.
The Bee Gees receive a gold record for "How Deep Is Your Love," the fourth of their seven Number One singles. The song will become the subject of a copyright infringement suit five years later, when an amateur songwriter claims the brothers Gibb lifted the melody from a composition he'd written.
Elvis Costello and the Attractions appear on NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live in place of the Sex Pistols, who have been unable to secure visas to enter the U.S. Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels refuses to allow Costello to perform his "Radio, Radio" (presumably because of the song's caustic criticisms of the broadcasting industry), but a few measures into the agreed-upon "Less Than Zero," Costello halts his band and swerves into an even more caustic than usual "Radio, Radio." He will never be invited back to appear on the show.

Alice Cooper's The Alice Cooper Show live LP, based on two August 1977 Las Vegas concerts at the Aladdin Hotel, first charts and peaks at #131.

The Top Five
1. "How Deep is Your Love" - Bee Gees
2. "You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone
3. "Blue Bayou" - Linda Ronstadt
4. "Back in Love Again" - LTD
5. "It's So Easy" - Linda Ronstadt

Charlie Chaplin dies in Switzerland at age 88.

New yule songs include Martin Mull's "Santafly" / "Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope," the Kinks' "Father Christmas" (in which Santa is mugged by a gang of street urchins) and Mike Douglas's "Happy Birthday Jesus" (released with a sharp-though- hypocritical denunciation of the holiday's commercialization.

In a first for an American president, President Carter conducts a televised press conference from Eastern Europe, in Warsaw, Poland.
Paul Ackerman, editor of Billboard for thirty years, dies of a heart attack at age sixty-nine in New York City. The man who coined the terms "rhythm & blues" and "country & western," Ackerman was one of the first record industry figures to recognize and to champion the mainstream popularity of those kinds of music. He gave Elvis Presley his first national review in 1954.

Most popular music, books and film - 1977: Debbie Boone's "You Light Up My Life" (pop single); Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (pop album); Earth, Wind & Fire's "Serpentine Fire" (R&B single); Waylon Jennings's "Luckenbach, Texas" (C&W single); Leon Uris's Trinity (fiction); Gail Sheehy's Passages (nonfiction); Star Wars (film).

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