February 18, 1977: Hot Line

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(Pictured: the Sylvers, 1977.)

February 18, 1977, is a Friday. NASA’s new craft, the space shuttle, makes a test flight bolted to a 747. The flight lasts a little over two hours and reaches an altitude of 16,000 feet. In a nod to Star Trek fans, the test vehicle is called the Enterprise. Today’s Washington Post contains a story by Bob Woodward about CIA payments to King Hussein of Jordan. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance continues a tour of the Middle East and meets with Hussein, as well as the president of Lebanon. Seattle’s first Fat Tuesday carnival week celebration gets rowdy, with reports of public intoxication, public drug use, and one case of public sexual intercourse, which attracts a crowd of 100. An exhibition of paintings by Andy Warhol closes in Washington. Character actor Andy Devine, who frequently appeared on TV and in westerns alongside Roy Rogers, Walter Brennan, and John Wayne and possessor of a distinctively scratchy voice, dies at age 71. Harley Race successfully defends his NWA heavyweight wrestling title by defeating Wahoo McDaniel in Richmond, Virginia. Two Japanese astronomers discover a new asteroid, to be named 5017 Tenchi. In Uruguay, a dog is killed by a UFO.

Celebrity guests on The $25,000 Pyramid this week are Joanne Worley and John Schuck. Tonight, the spy series Hunter premieres on CBS-TV, but will be canceled after only eight episodes. (A different show with the same title will run for nine seasons on NBC in the 80s.) Also on TV tonight: The Rockford Files.

Elvis plays Columbia, South Carolina, and KISS plays Madison Square Garden in New York City. Santana and Tower of Power open a two-night stand at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Al Stewart and Wendy Waldman perform in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and the Kinks are at Winterland in San Francisco. The Marshall Tucker Band plays Passaic, New Jersey; in 2007, the show will be released on DVD. In Cincinnati, ELO shares a bill with Steve Hillage and Gentle Giant, and Triumph plays San Antonio. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Greg Kihn Band are together for the third of four nights in Berkeley, California. After nine years in court, Neil Diamond buys the masters of his early recordings on the Bang label.

At WLS in Chicago, “Hot Line” by the Sylvers tops the new music survey that will be out tomorrow. Also on the WLS chart, Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” and “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band make strong moves into the Top 10. Also moving nicely: “Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart from #16 to #11 and “Crackerbox Palace” by George Harrison from #34 to #26 (featuring what will in later years be called a music video, directed by Eric Idle of Monty Python). The single biggest leap belongs to “Boogie Child” by the Bee Gees, from #41 to #31. In southern Wisconsin, a sometime listener to WLS is in love for the first time. Even “Boogie Child” sounds romantic to him.

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