Super Seventies RockSite's Seventies Daily Music Chronicle

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May 1970

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  1
Elton John's debut U.S. album is released, featuring his and lyricist Bernie Taupin's first Top Ten hit, "Your Song."
2
Mississippi educational television removes Sesame Street from its programming schedule because of the show's multiracial nature.
3
An 18-day auction of hundreds of thousands of items of movie memorabilia at MGM's cavernous backstage in Hollywood begins. Three thousand people attend the auction in the sweltering heat, as sharp-eyed antiques dealers vie alongside self-styled entrepreneurs and evn the occasional old-time movie fan. Dorothy's red slippers from The Wizard of Oz are sold to a local collector for $650, even though they are one of several pairs in existence. Also among the 45-years' worth of costumes and props sold is the showboat from Show Boat, which is purchased by Texas oil millionaire Lamar Hunt. Debbie Reynolds, who scores items for her proposed Hollywood hall of fame, is one of the few stars who show up.
4
Four members at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, are killed and and eleven are wounded by National Guard troops at a campus demonstration protesting the escalation of the Vietnam War to include Cambodia. It is only the most dramatic event in a month of widespread campus unrest and increasingly agitated antiwar sentiments throughout the U.S. By May 7, more than 400 colleges and universities have closed down as a result of student boycotts. Police and National Guardsmen are dispatched to many campuses to "control" demonstrations. On May 14, two students are killed by police at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. The Kent State incident inspires Neil Young to compose "Ohio," which will become a hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Gold records go to the
Midnight Cowboy soundtrack album, Frijid Pink's heavy-metal remake of "The House of the Rising Sun," and R&B singer Tyrone Davis' "Turn Back the Hands of Time."
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Archeologist Richard Leakey reports finding bones and tools from the earliest known humanoid to date.
8
In a seventh-game surprise, injured team captain Willis Reed limps onto the court, rallying the New York Knicks to their first NBA title, downing the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-99.
9
An estimated 90,000 antiwar protesters descend on Washington, D.C.

The Top Five
1. "American Woman"/"No Sugar Tonight" - Guess Who
2. "ABC" - Jackson Five
3. "Let It Be" - The Beatles
4. "Vehicle" - Ides of March
5. "Spirit in the Sky" - Norman Greenbaum

10
The Boston Garden erupts tonight as Bobby Orr leads the hometown Bruins to their first Stanley Cup title in 29 years in a 4-0 sweep against the St. Louis Blues. The subsequent photo of Orr flying through the air during the winning score, stick and arms raised, the puck already in and out of the goal becomes arguably the greatest hockey image of all time.
11
The triple-album Woodstock soundtrack is released on Cotillion Records. The document of the epochal rock festival will go gold within two weeks.

"Give Me Just a Little More Time" by the
Chairmen of the Board goes gold. This is the first hit for Invictus Records, the label begun by Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier- Holland in the wake of their controversial split from Motown. The Chairmen of the Board include General Johnson, who, as a member of the Showmen, wrote their classic 1961 rock anthem, "It Will Stand."
12
Kenneth A. Gibson defeats incumbent mayor Hugh Addonizio to become the first African-American mayor of Newark, New Jersey. His 16-year mayoralty was known for challenging the corporate sector's tax arrangements and pushing business interests to take a more active and responsible role in the community. However, he was denied a fifth term in 1986 after the city's unemployment rate had risen nearly 50 percent, its population had continued dropping, and only two-thirds of its high school students were graduating.
13
The New York Times' random survey of underground rock radio stations finds that much of the underground radio audience uses it for background music "to get stoned by," and reports that TV personality Art Linkletter, whose daughter Dianne leaped to her death allegedly while on LSD, is the most articulate foe of underground radio and the rock subculture in general.
14
Rolling Stone reports on the arrival of a "new [drug] mixture being marketed as 'fairy dust' or 'angel dust.' Not only is it a bum in money terms, but it can apparently fry your brains as well."
15
During an 11-day siege of national antiwar protests, violence again erupts at a college campus when two black youths are gunned down by police at Jackson State College in Mississippi. Before the month is out, students and activists will be joined by AFL-CIO, a New York City lawyers group and 43 Nobel Laureates in denouncing U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

South Africa is officially banned from all Olympic competition because of its apartheid policies.

Black Sabbath's self-titled debut LP hits the stores, and while it does well on both sides of the Atlantic, it's their sophomore album, Paranoid, out by year's end, that truly defines the darker side of heavy metal: songs like "Iron Man," "War Pigs," and the title track, powered by Ozzy Osbourne's eerie vocals, prove to be timeless hard-rock classics.

16
Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin is busted for marijuana possession and for contributing to the delinquency of minors in Bloomington, Minnesota. Balin, arrested along with Airplane soundman Gary O'Dell and friend Terry Cost, is surprised in his hotel room by police at 5:30 a.m. The cops were tipped off by neighbors who complained of noise from a party at the hotel. They found Balin and friends with several girls aged twelve to seventeen. Balin is sentenced to one year's hard labor and a $100 fine; his appeal is slated for August 3. He ends up paying only the fine.

Director Robert Altman's anarchic black war comedy M*A*S*H wins the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Altman accepts the award wearing a black armband in protest of the recent killing of student protestors at Kent State and the bombing of Cambodia. The movie also snags an Oscar for adapted screenplay, and becomes the year's second-highest grossing movie. M*A*S*H even survives being banned at American Army and Air Force bases (because it "reflected unfavorably" on the military), and establishes Altman as a major iconclastic force in film.

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The Beatles film Let It Be premieres in England at London's Palladium.
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Responding to uncomplimentary media coverage, Vice President Spiro Agnew attacks the New York Times and a number of other publications, calling them left-wing, self-appointed guardians who would run the U.S. themselves.
23
New Musical Express reports that the Beatles' Let It Be has set a new record for initial U.S. sales, with 3.7 million advance orders (representing $26 million retail gross). The album goes gold within days of its release.

The
Grateful Dead plays its first British concert at the Hollywood Rock Festival. The Dead's four-hour set is preceded by a performance by Mungo Jerry, playing its big hit "In the Summertime."
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Columbia Records anounces plans to re-release 160 tracks by seminal blues singer Bessie Smith on five double-album sets over the next year, aiming the project at the youth market created by the blues revival.

Toronto's "total environment" multiroom rock club, the Electric Circus -- which contains "the Womb Room," where you can crawl into a hole in the wall and "the Meditation Room," with a computerized sound-and-light setup -- is closed because of a simple lack of business, attributed mainly to the club's excessively high prices. In September, it is put up for auction. There are no takers.

The Top Five
1. "Everything Is Beautiful" - Ray Stevens
2. "American Woman"/"No Sugar Tonight" - Guess Who
3. "Love on a Two Way Street" - The Moments
4. "Cecelia" - Simon & Garfunkel
5. "Up Around the Bend/Run Through the Jungle" - Creedence Clearwater Revival

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