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January 1978








Edward M. Davis retires as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. Davis, who had been LAPD chief since August 28, 1969, was one of Los Angeles' most prominent -- and controversial -- figures during the 1970s. He was outspoken on various issues including homosexuality, drugs, environmentalism, and women's liberation as L.A.'s police chief, similar to what Daryl Gates would be after him in the 1980s and early 1990s. Shortly after his appointment as chief, Davis was the first to announce (Dec. 1, 1969) the arrests of Charles Manson and his cult "Family" for the Tate and LiBianca murders in August. After almost 30 years on the force, about 8 1/3 of them as chief, Davis will reverse his position on environmentalism and on homosexuality after his departure from LAPD by sponsoring a statewide homosexual rights bill in the 1980s when he was a state senator. He dies in 2006 at age 89.
Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the top movie box-office draw.
One week after finally being granted visas to enter the U.S., the Sex Pistols begin their first and last tour of America with a concert in Atlanta, Georgia. For the most part, the tour purposely avoids the media exposure cities of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. etc. -- where the punk group's fans can be found in the greatest numbers -- in favor of smaller southern and midwestern cities where Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious and Company will usually be met by reactions ranging from bemused bafflement to violent hostility. Regardless of reaction, the news media coverage is intense.
The soundtrack album of the hit disco movie Saturday Night Fever, featuring the Bee Gees, the Trammps, Tavares, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Kool and the Gang, MFSB and others, enters the soul album chart. it will peak at Number One for six weeks beginning February 18 in its thirty-nine weeks on the chart.

Veteran Memphis soul band the
Bar-Kays, who in an earlier incarnation backed the late, great soul singer Otis Redding, enter the soul chart with "Let's Have Some Fun," which will peak at #11 in its thirteen weeks on the chart.

Stevie Wonder's twenty-seventh album, Looking Back, enters the soul album chart, where in nine weeks it will peak at #15.

The accomplished pop-soul songstress
Roberta Flack enters the soul LP chart with Blue Lights in the Basement, which in twenty-nine weeks on the chart will peak at #5.
Marking the first time a spacecraft successfully links with an orbiting manned station, Soyuz 27 docks with the Salyut 6 space lab.
Elvis Presley's version of Paul Anka's "My Way" goes gold five months after the King's death. Earlier, it had become one of Presley's 78 Top Twenty-five hits.

The Food & Drug Administration requires all blood donations to be labeled as "paid" or "volunteer," with special concern about commercially paid (ex. plasmapheresis donor obtained) units being more likely to carry hepatitis B and other diseases.

The Top Five
1. "Baby Come Back" - Player
2. "How Deep is Your Love" - Bee Gees
3. "Here You Come Again" - Dolly Parton
4. "You're in my Heart" - Rod Stewart
5. "Back in Love Again" - LTD

Quarterback Roger Staubach leads the Dallas Cowboys to victory over the Denver Broncos, 27-10, in Super Bowl XII.

Workers at British EMI record plant refuse to press the Buzzcocks' "Oh Shit," the flip side of their single "What Do I Get?" It will eventually make it to the record stores and the U.K. charts.

Robert F. Rock becomes the interim successor of Edward M. Davis as the Los Angeles Police Department's chief.
Ending the last show of the Sex Pistols' American tour, Johnny Rotten sneers at his San Francisco audience, "How does it feel to be swindled?" At a press conference the next morning, he will announce that the Sex Pistols are no more, blaming manager Malcolm McLaren for "sensationalizing" everything about the group. Later that day, as the touring party prepares to return to London, Sid Vicious will be taken unconscious off the plane at Kennedy Airport in New York City and rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he will be treated for an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol.

Neil Sedaka (with 29 chart singles, to date) is given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Neil started his career with the original Tokens in 1956, the precursor to the "Lion Sleeps Tonight" group.
Savvy network TV programmer Fred Silverman bolts from CBS to NBC, after first working his magic for ABC. Silverman's long string of hits include Three's Company, Charlie's Angels, All in the Family and The Waltons, but the third time isn't a charm. Shows like Supertrain and Hello, Larry bomb, and Silverman's gone within a couple of years, but he does develop future hits independently like The Facts of Life and Hill Street Blues.
The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, featuring the Bee Gees, the Trammps, Tavares, K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Kool & the Gang, MFSB and others, reaches #1, dislodging Linda Ronstadt's Simple Dreams and beginning 24 weeks as the country's top seller.
Composer/singer Randy Newman receives a gold record and angers those under 5'5" with his song "Short People," the lead-off track of his 1977 Top Ten LP Little Criminals. The tune's chorus contains the line "Short people got no reason to live." Although Newman claims it's actually a subtle poke at prejudice, shorter America protests, and in February several radio stations ban the song because of listener complaints. Sales skyrocket in cities such as Boston and Chicago, where the record was removed.

Cosmos 954, a nuclear-equipped Soviet satellite, falls out of orbit and into the dense Canadian wilderness. Investigators will find debris a week later and determine it poses no threat to humans.

Workers at EMI's record-pressing plant in Britain refuse to press copies of punk band the Buzzcocks' "Oh Shit," the flip side of their single eventually does get pressed, and "What Do I Get?" goes on to become a British hit single.
The Illinois Supreme Court upholds the American Nazi Party's right to march through the predominantly Jewish town of Skokie. On June 12, the U.S. Supreme Court will refuse to hear an appeal of the case, allowing the June 25 parade to occur.
Terry Kath, guitarist and vocalist with horn-dominated pop band Chicago, dies after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a pistol he reportedly didn't know was loaded. Kath was thirty-two.

Veteran soul vocal group the
Manhattans enter the soul chart with "Am I Losing You," which in seventeen weeks on the chart will go as high as #6.

The romantic drama Fantasy Island debuts on ABC, following the cruise comedy The Love Boat. Both come from producer Aaron Spelling, whose mesmerizing hold over Saturday night confounds ABC's competitors for the next few years.

Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn blocks the sale of Oakland A's pitcher Vida Blue to the Cincinnate Reds, judging the move to be against the best interests of the game. Twice miffed (Kuhn had prevented the sale of three A's in 1976), A's owner Charles Finley will call on fellow owners to oust Kuhn from office. On Mar. 3, 20 of the 26 owners will announce their support for Kuhn, and on Oct. 2, the Supreme Court will do the same. Blue will finally be traded to the San Francisco Giants.
Blood, Sweat and Tears saxophonist Greg Herbert dies of an accidental drug overdose at age thirty in Amsterdam, during the band's European tour.

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