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October 1977

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  1
Elton John becomes the first rock & roller to be honored in New York City's Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame.

The Top Five
1. "'Star Wars' Theme/Cantina Band" - Meco
2. "Keep It Comin' Love" - K.C. & the Sunshine Band
3. "Don't Stop" - Fleetwood Mac
4. "Best of my Love" - Emotions
5. "Strawberry Letter 23" - Brothers Johnson

2
Over a month following what appeared to be an attempt to steal Elvis Presley's body from the Forest Hill Cemetery, both Presley's and his mother Gladys' bodies are moved to Graceland. There they are buried behind the mansion in the Meditation Garden.
3
Stiff Records puts together an old-fashioned package tour to promote its small, eclectic roster, with Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and Wreckless Eric among them. The low-budget Life Stiffs tour of the British Isles kicks off in London.
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On the heels of similar litigation initiated by the common-law partners of Lee Marvin and Alice Cooper, it is reported that Britt Ekland has slapped Rod Stewart with a $15-million palimony suit.

A jury in Miami convicts 15-year-old Ronald Zamora of the first-degree murder of 82-year- old Elinor Haggart in the first ever televised trial. Zamora confesses to the crime and claims TV made him do it.

7
After seven years with Genesis and a 1975 solo album to his credit, guitarist Steve Hackett leaves the group to concentrate on a solo career. Genesis will carry on as a trio (drummer and vocalist Phil Collins, keyboardist Tony Banks and bassist Michael Rutherford), titling their next album And Then There Were Three... Hackett's first album after leaving the group, Please Don't Touch, will be out within a year.

RCA releases
David Bowie's "Heroes," his second album recorded in Berlin and produced by Brian Eno. Bowie will soon release German and French versions of the title track in addition to the original English recording.
8
The Emotions' (the three Hutchinson sisters -- Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette) "Don't Ask My Neighbors" charts as the followup to their huge #1 pop/R&B hit, "Best of My Love." It will only rise to #44 on the pop chart and #7 on the R&B chart, and is the 17th of 30 R&B hits The Emotions will have between 1969 and 1984.

An outdoor music festival in East Germany leads to a violent confontation between police and concertgoers, the largest outbreak of unrest in that country in several years.

Living up to their name, prototype punk rockers The Clash spend the afternoon in a German jail over a hotel bill that a promoter should have paid. Just one of a steady stream of the band's brushes with the law this year, which also include arrests for spray-painting graffiti and stealing a hotel pillowcase, it dubs its latest tour "Out on Parole." The Clash kicked off 1977 with ther antagonistic single "White Riot," and is challenging the Sex Pistols as punk's most raging, raw rockers. It will take a while for the Clash's aggressive act to catch fire stateside, but their label Columbia finally releases their first album in the US two years after its British bow. Soon it will be London Calling and worldwide fame with high-energy hits like "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "Rock the Casbah."

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The U.K.-based human rights agency Amnesty International receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

Due to an apparent lack of consistent policy direction, President Carter's popularity dips below the 50% level, according to a Harris survey.

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The Senate approves a Department of Transportation mandate that will make automatic seat belts and air bags standard equipment for all new cars sold in the U.S. by 1984.
13
Shirley Brickley, a member of one the hottest dance music groups of the early '60s, The Orlons, is shot to death. Brickley was a member through all nine of their Top 100 hits. She was only 32.
14
At the request of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Linda Ronstadt sings the national anthem at Dodgers Stadium to open the third game of the World Series. The New York Yankees go on to win the game.

After completing a round of golf, Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby suffers a heart attack and dies.

15
The Top Five
1. "You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone
2. "Keep It Comin' Love" - K.C. & the Sunshine Band
3. "Nobody Does It Better" - Carly Simon
4. "That's Rock 'n' Roll" - Shaun Cassidy
5. "'Star Wars' Theme/Cantina Band" - Meco

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New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson makes baseball history, earning the nickname "Mr. October" by hitting four home runs in four consecutive swings during the World Series and helping the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.
19
One of the most popular black rock & roll acts in 1977 is the Brothers Johnson (George and Louis). Their "Strawberry Letter 23" is certified gold on this date, having recently hit Number One on the R&B chart and #5 on the pop chart. The song was written by Shuggie Otis and produced by Quincy Jones.

After having been the focus of lengthy legal battles, the supersonic jet airliner Concorde lands for the first time on American soil, crossing the Atlantic from France in less than four hours.

The practice of "blackface" -- a form of theatrical makeup used by performers to represent a black person -- might have been acceptable in popular entertainer Al Jolson's heyday of the late 1920s, but not in 1977. Today the US Postal Service is forced to pull a poster of Jolson in blackface that it released to promote a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of talking pictures. The poster, which was shipped to 5,000 post offices nationwide, also featured the headline, "You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet!," which was meant to refer to Jolson's 1927 movie The Jazz Singer. Public response is fast and furiously negative, and the Postal Service makes no attempt to defend the poster. "We found that we had offended people and we responded," a spokesman said of their decision to recall the poster. Fortunately the stamp itself, which had an initial run of 160 million stamps, has no image of Jolson, only a vintage movie projector.

20
Three days after the release of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Street Survivors, an album whose cover depicts the band standing amid flames, Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, Steve's sister and a freelance singer touring with the band, are killed when their rented single-engine plane crashes in the swamps of Gillsburg, Miss., after the pilot accidentally dumps his fuel. The musicians were en route to Baton Rouge, La. Van Zant was an original member of the band, formed in Jacksonville, Fla., in the late Sixties; Gaines had joined little over a year ago. The deaths will mean the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama" were pop Top Twenty singles, although all of the survivors, except for Artimus Pyle, will go on to form the Rossington-Collins Band. In 1991, Lynyrd Skynyrd (with varying drummers) began recording and touring again with guitarist Randall Hall and Ronnie's younger brother, Johnny Van Zandt, on vocals, carrying on the band's musical tradition.

Rolling Stone reports that Kiss bassist Gene Simmons lost two inches of hair and scorched the right side of his neck during the fire-breathing segment of his performance in Los Angeles.

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Queen faces the challenge of topping their six-minute opus "Bohemian Rhapsody," which has just been voted Best British Pop Single of the past quarter century, by releasing a new double-sided single, "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions." The single, taken from their new platinum-selling LP News of the World, simultaneously enters the US and UK charts en route to Top 10 status in both countries. Queen will later smash a world record by playing a concert in Brazil before 130,000 adoring fans. "I won't be a rock star," proclaims frontman Freddie Mercury. "I will be a legend."
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The Exorcist actress Linda Blair is arrested for cocaine possession with intent to sell. She will plead guilty to a reduced charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine, in exchange for three years' probation and a $5,000 fine, and is also required to make at least 12 major public appearances to tell young people about the dangers of drug abuse. The incident makes it hard for her to restart her screen career, and she is reduced to playing parts in low-grade films in the 1980s and later.
25
A $576-million- plus deal is signed between the NFL and all three major TV networks in the most lucrative broadcast agreement to date.
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Warner Bros. releases the Sex Pistols' first album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, in the U.S., jumping the gun of Virgin Records, which releases the album in the U.K. four days later. With "Anarchy in the U.K.," "God Save the Queen," "Pretty Vacant" and "Holidays in the Sun" -- all British hit singles (and all included on the album) -- the Sex Pistols have already created a big noise in their homeland. In America, however, the seminal punk group will be scarcely noticed (the album will peak at #106 on the chart) until they make their first appearances in person in January 1978.

No one disputes that Francis Scott Key wrote the words to America's musically-challenging "Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814, or that he set it to a British drinking song. But what's never been established is who wrote that song. Today a scholar retired from the Library of Congress unearths an 18th century document that reveals John Stafford Smith, a member of a London gentleman's club renowned for its "music and mirth," composed the drinking song. But the scholar insists that the melody that has become the US National Anthem has less intoxicating roots: "It was not a barroom ballad, a drinking ditty to be chorused with glasses swung in rhythm."

29
Disco music gets a refreshing shot of wit and sophistication when Chic's debut single, "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," enters the R&B chart. The New York City quartet is led by bassist Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers, who will soon become the most influential figures in dance music of the late Seventies and early Eighties, working as songwriters, musicians and producers with Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Debbie Harry, David Bowie and others. Their springy rhythms and stripped-down arrangements are introduced on "Dance, Dance, Dance," a record that will sell over 1 million copies, reaching #6 on both the R&B and pop charts.

The Consumer Products Safety Board predicts at least 375,000 skateboard-related injuries for 1977, doubling the previous year's total.

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