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October 1975

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Saturday

  1
Thirty-nine- year-old drummer Al Jackson is shot to death in his Memphis home. His solid reputation was achieved as the drummer for the MGs, the legendary Stax Records house band that backed Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and so many others in addition to having tremendous success on its own, fronted by keyboardist Booker T. Washington. The influential soul group had met just weeks earlier to straighten out difficulties and was clearing the way for a reunion. Jackson's wife is questioned in connection with the murder; she had been arrested in July for shooting her husband in the chest.

Muhammad Ali defeats challenger and former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier at the "Thrilla in Manila," in the Philippines.

The Hiding Place, a film adaptation of Holocaust survivor Corrie ten-Boom's book of the same name, premieres in Los Angeles.

2
After a bomb scare clears out Milwaukee's Uptown Theatre where Bruce Springsteen is performing, he returns to the Hotel Pfister to wait before the gig's rescheduled midnight commencement. Availing himself of the establishment's bar, the usually teetotaller Springsteen gets -- in his own words, "a little loose" -- and proceeds to give a wild performance. The comment of a British writer accompanying Springsteen when, on the way back to the hall, the New Jersey rocker rides on top of the car: "I have seen the future of rock & roll, and he is on my windshield."
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Held in captivity in a Turkish prison for five years for attempted drug smuggling, 25-year-old American tourist Billy Hayes crosses the border to Greece via the "Midnight Express" -- prisoner slang for escaping from prison. Hayes' book Midnight Express, a retelling of his nightmarish imprisonment and eventual escape, will be adapted into a movie three years later, a box office smash with an Oscar-winning screenplay by Oliver Stone.
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John Lennon wins his lengthy fight to stay in America, when the three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City rules that his 1968 arrest in Britain for possession of marijuana -- the reason given by the U.S. Immigration Department in trying to deport Lennon -- was contrary to U.S. ideas of due process and is therefore invalid as a means of banishing the former Beatle from America. The court writes: "Lennon's four-year battle to remain in our country is a testimony to his faith in this American dream."
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John Lennon's great week continues. After the immigration ruling in his favor only two days before, he and wife Yoko celebrate his thirty-fifth birthday with the birth of their only child, Sean Ono Lennon.

Kiss visits the Michigan town of Cadillac for a homecoming concert at the local high school.

10
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor marry for the second time, only a year after their divorce.
11
After Johnny Carson had asked that his weekend reruns (Best of Carson) move to select weeknights so he can take yet more time off, NBC began casting about for something new and, well, colorful. The Peacock Network tapped Canadian producer Lorne Michaels to design a young sketch/musical/variety show, and voila -- NBC's Saturday Night (later Saturday Night Live) debuts tonight with George Carlin hosting, performances by Janis Ian and Billy Preston, plus three "new talent" segments. It also includes sketches and blackouts from regulars Albert Brooks and Jim Henson and the Muppets. The show really takes off the following week, when it's highlighted by the reunion of host Paul Simon with his former partner, Art Garfunkel, for a rendition of "My Little Town." Saturday Night Live will become an institution with an edgy blend of satire, skits, star hosts, and top-shelf musical guests, with a resident troupe (the "Not Yet Ready For Primetime Players") of breakout talent: Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase in year one alone. "It's better when they laugh, isn't it?," says Michaels.

The Top Five
1. "Bad Blood" - Neil Sedaka
2. "I'm Sorry"/"Calypso" - John Denver
3. "Fame" - David Bowie
4. "Mr. Jaws" - Dickie Goodman
5. "Miracles" - Jefferson Starship

12
Rod Stewart and the Faces play their last show together, at Long Island's Nassau Coliseum. The split between Stewart and the group, brought on mainly as a result of the former's enormous solo success (and latter's lack of same), has been brewing for years and is made official in December when Rod the Mod outlines the lineup of his new band at a London press conference. Faces guitarist Ron Wood soon finds employment with the Rolling Stones, who accept him as a full-time member; Ian McLagan and Kenny Jones float for a few years before reviving the original Small Faces with Steve Marriott.
13
Neil Young is operated on at a Los Angeles hospital; an "object" is scraped from his vocal cords, which have been bothering him for a year. Although he quickly returns to the studio, Young is hampered by the setback and will bow out midway during his 1976 tour with Stephen Stills because of the strain on his voice.
14
The trial of "Amityville Horror" killer Ronald Defeo Jr., who is accused of fatally shooting six members of his family execution style in his home in Amityville, N.Y., on Nov. 13, 1974, begins. He will be convicted on Nov. 21, 1975, and the story of his "haunted house" will be the basis of the best-selling novel The Amityville Horror in 1977 and a movie adaptation in 1979.
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Inspired by women's liberation, the First Women's Bank opens on the site of a former chic Manhattan restaurant. It looks more like an art gallery than a bank with a skylight, plenty of plants, and Turkish rugs adorning walls. High-profile initial depositors include Bette Davis, Betty Friedan, Ms. and Vogue magazines, and four women's colleges -- Mount Holyoke, Simmons, Smith, and Wellsley. Other high profile clients include Bloomingdales, CBS, Inc., The New York TImes, Miller Brewing Co., and Mobil Oil Corp. "The bank is totally nondiscriminatory," assures its president. "We're a consumer-oriented bank." A benefit cocktail party caps opening day, attracting Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Elizabeth Holtzman, and Margaret Heckler plus Valerie Harper of CBS's Rhoda. The bank changes its name in 1989 after other financial institutions began targeting women, and folds in 1994.
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Due to financial pressures and low attendance, the World Football League falls apart 12 weeks into its second season.

The Cincinnati Reds down the Boston Red Sox in seven games to win the World Series.

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Long Island's Nassau Coliseum is the site of the First Planetary Celebration, held to coincide with United Nations Day. James Taylor, Pete Seeger and John McLaughlin star at the event, designed to promote awareness of man's global responsibilities. Unfortunately, only 4,500 turn out to the 16,000-seat arena to hear the message.
25
The "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which the death of Chuckles the Clown under the most ridiculous of circumstances (Chuckles, dressed as a peanut, is killed by a loose elephant) prompts a nervous rash of gallows humor in Mary's newsroom, airs on CBS. Director Joan Darling and writer David Lloyd will both earn Emmy Awards for this outstanding episode that questions our culture's sanctimonious attitude toward death and dying.
26
Playing for the second day in a row at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, Elton John (the first rocker to play the ballpark since the Beatles in 1966) finishes up yet another SRO American tour. The bespectacled John takes the stage decked out in a sequined Dodgers uniform.
27
Bruce Springsteen simultaneously makes the covers of Time and Newsweek, a move that reportedly embarrasses the two newsweeklies and contributes to charges of hype associated with the singer's breakthrough.
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Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue gets under way in the 1,800-seat Memorial Auditorium in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The tour, with all-star rock and folk cast including Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Roger McGuinn, Bob Neuwirth, and Joan Baez, sticks mainly to small clubs and halls, with dates often unannounced until hours beforehand. The troupe's name comes when Dylan, waiting for inspiration, hears thunder roll across the sky one evening.

New York City's Daily News tabloid misquotes Pres. Gerald Ford as having said "Drop dead" in an alleged response to NYC's loan crisis and to any possibility of obtaining federal aid to bail the city out of it.

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The Marshall Tucker Band performs at Atlanta's Fox Theater in a benefit show for presidential candidate and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Phil Walden, a president himself (of Capricorn Records, the group's label), sponsors this concern and, ultimately, many more with his other acts, including the Allman Brothers.
 


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