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April 1975

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Steve Miller is charged with setting fire to the clothes and personal effects of a friend, Bernita DiOrio. When police arrive at the musican's house after receiving a call from DiOrio, he is busy putting out the fire, now out of control. In the late night confusion, Miller tussles with some of the policemen and is also charged with resisting arrest. The incident is quickly forgotten; the next day DiOrio asks that the charges be dropped, and Miller jokes with reporters that the publicity might "rekindle" his career.
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As Saigon becomes isolated and bars refugees, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger claims that the U.S. has a "moral commitment" to assist South Vietnam. Two days later, North Vietnam reports that a total of 270,000 South Vietnamese troops have been defeated and claims control of 16 of 45 South Vietnamese provinces.

The Top Five
1. "Lovin' You" - Minnie Riperton
2. "Philadelphia Freedom" - Elton John Band
3. "No No Song"/"Snookeroo" - Ringo Starr
4. "Express" - B.T. Express
5. "You Are So Beautiful" - Joe Cocker

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Ritchie Blackmore, lead guitarist with Deep Purple since its inception in 1968, splits from the quintet, following the lead of vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover, who departed two years before. The band attempts to carry on, with Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore in October, but calls it a day in 1976 after making one more record, Come Taste the Band; Blackmore forms Rainbow, enlisting members of the upstate New York bar band Elf.
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Minnie Riperton receives her only gold record, for "Lovin' You," her recent Number One pop single. Riperton's five-octave voice has been impressing listeners for over a decade, first when she studied opera, later when she sang with Rotary Connection in the late Sixties and with Stevie Wonder's Wonderlove in the early Seventies. Appropriately, "Lovin' You" (produced by Wonder) is a virtuoso exercise in upper-register trills, accompanied by bird songs.

The Godfather, Part II wins six Oscars, including three for director Francis Ford Coppola and one for Robert DeNiro (Best Supporting Actor). Unexpected wins go to Art Carney (Best Actor for Harry and Tonto), Ellen Burstyn (Best Actress for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) and Roman Polanski's Chinatown (Best Original Screenplay).

Responding to complaints from Congress and outside groups about increasingly violent and sexually suggestive fare, the National Association of Broadasters (NAB) voluntarily agrees to institute a "family hour" from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. next season. But industry execs, fearing that kiddie-oriented shows won't appeal to its coveted 18-49 age demo, derisively dub the plan "Bambi Hour." The three major unions representing writers, actors, and directors sue the NAB and FCC, claiming censorship, and a year later a federal judge agrees.

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Phoebe Snow receives a gold record for her eponymous debut album. Applying her jazz-trained voice to her contemporary songwriter's point of view, Snow has attracted mainstream interest with "Poetry Man," a single from the album, that reached #5 on the pop chart.
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With the release of Ken Russell's cinematic interpretation of Tommy, all three versions of Pete Townshend's rock opera -- the Who's original recording, the "classical" rendition by the London Symphony Orchestra and an all-star cast, and the movie's soundtrack (which features some new songs written especially for the film) -- are on the chart simultaneously.

Folk great Judy Collins's album Judith charts, reaching #17. It is her eleventh Top 200 hit collection since 1964 and contains "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," written for her by Stephen Stills, as well as the lovely Broadway-musical song "Send In the Clowns," which charts two times in America: in July 1975 (#36) and October 1977 (#19).

The Top Five
1. "Philadelphia Freedom" - Elton John Band
2. "Lovin' You" - Minnie Riperton
3. "No No Song"/"Snookeroo" - Ringo Starr
4. "Express" - B.T. Express
5. "Poetry Man" - Phoebe Snow

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Having already received two gold discs for their album The Captain and Me and What Were Once Vices are Now Habits, the Doobie Brothers pick up their first gold single for their country-flavored "Black Water."
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The Cambodian government surrenders to the rebel Khmer Rouge army, ending a bloody five-year civil war that had spilled over from the Vietnamese conflict, but beginning an even bloodier five-year reign of terror by Pol Pot that will eventually leave more than three million Cambodians dead.
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Gerald Ford becomes the first sitting president to attend a performance at the Ford Theater since the 1865 assassination of President Lincoln. Breaking the 110-year standard, he gets a front-row seat amidst a specially invited audience of 700 for "Give 'em Hell, Harry," a one-man play about President Harry Truman by actor James Whitmore.
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One of the first unabashed dance songs that will define disco, "The Hustle," by Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony, enters the pop and R&B charts; it will later top both. McCoy has been a distinguished songwriter and producer since the mid-Sixties and has worked with such singers as Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight and the Pips. With "The Hustle," an instrumental inspired by the dance of that name, he becomes one of the first industry figures to get in step with the gathering beat of disco music.
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Peter Ham, the twenty-seven- year-old guitarist and songwriter for Badfinger, hangs himself in his London garage. Ham is reported to have been deeply depressed by his recent departure from the band, as well as by managerial and financial woes that caused guitarist Joey Molland to leave after an American tour the previous fall and that caused Warner Bros. to halt the sale of the group's latest LP, Wish You Were Here.

President Ford announces that the war in Indochina is over "as far as America is concerned." Four days later, Saigon is totally surrounded and the South Vietnamese government begins to crumble.

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The Alice Cooper special Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, based on his new Vincent Price-narrated album Welcome to My Nightmare about a journey through the nightmares of a man named Steven, airs on ABC. It later wins an Emmy for editing.
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The Top Five
1. "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" - B.J. Thomas
2. "Philadelphia Freedom" - Elton John Band
3. "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" - Tony Orlando & Dawn
4. "Lovin' You" - Minnie Riperton
5. "Supernatural Thing Part 1" - Ben E. King

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As of this last show in a five-night engagement by Pink Floyd at Los Angeles' Sports Arena, 511 fans have been arrested for various offenses, mostly possession of marijuana. The exceedingly high count is looked upon as harassment by the promotion agency of Wolf and Rissmiller, which vows not to bring any more concerts to the rarely used auditorium. L.A. Police Chief Ed Davis is quoted during a Rotary Club speech on the third night as saying, "Tonight at the Sports Arena they have a dope festival. It's called a rock concert or something."
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Tom Donahue, the man responsible for starting progressive radio in the Bay Area with station KMPX in 1967, dies in San Francisco. The forty-six-year-old Donahue was to sign a contract that day to mark his return as general manager to KMPX, after its acquisition by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. He had left the station in 1968 after a bitter labor dispute, moving on to the powerful KSAN station.
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RSO Records releases the Bee Gees' Main Course, the album that will change the Brothers Gibb's course. Main Course, recorded under the aegis of veteran R&B producer Arif Mardin, contains two future Top Ten singles (the Bee Gees' first in four years) -- "Jive Talkin'" (which will hit Number One on the pop chart in August) and "Nights on Broadway" -- and indicates the end of the trio's infatuation with the Beatles and the beginning of a love affair with soul music.

Operation Frequent Wind, the military air evacualtion of all remaining U.S. personnel and civilians in South Vietnam, begins, rescuing approximately 84,000 (by State Department estimates). Some 22,000 refugees are picked up by Navy ships waiting off the South Vietnamese coast.

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The Vietnam War ends as North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces enter Saigon and accept South Vietnam's surrender. The new government announces plans for a nationwide election, with reunification as the eventual goal. Within weeks, the rulers will expel Western journalists and ban the publication of all newspapers, books and other printed material by private citizens.
 

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