(Pictured: Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson, on stage in 1970.)
September 3, 1970, is a Thursday. A nationwide manhunt is underway for four men suspected of blowing up the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin 10 days earlier. President Nixon is in California, where he meets a top-level delegation from Mexico and hosts a state dinner. A host of political and diplomatic celebrities attend, along with Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Red Skelton, and other Hollywood stars. Representatives from around the world meet for the first Congress of African People, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia. Illinois adopts a new state constitution. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi dies of colon cancer at age 57; Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson dies of a drug overdose at age 27. Future college and pro basketball player George Lynch is born; so is Jeremy Glick, who will attempt to fight back against the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and die in the crash. A hailstone weighing 1.67 pounds and measuring 5 1/2 inches across is found near Coffeyville, Kansas. It will be the largest ever found anywhere until 2003. The Arcata Union newspaper in California reports that since G and H streets in Arcata were made into a one-way pair, five of the six service stations on the two streets have suffered sharp declines in gasoline sales.
For the first time since September 1963, outfielder Billy Williams is not in the lineup for the Chicago Cubs, breaking a streak of 1,117 straight games played. Without him, the Cubs beat the Phillies, 7-2. In the minor leagues, the 1970 International League regular season ends with the Syracuse Chiefs finishing first. Shows on daytime TV today include 17 soap operas (counting Dark Shadows) and eight game shows. Shows on TV tonight include Family Affair, That Girl, Ironside, This Is Tom Jones, Dragnet, Bewitched, and Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers. At Criteria Studios in Miami, Derek and the Dominoes record “I Am Yours,” “Anyday,” and “It’s Too Late,” which will appear on their forthcoming album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Joni Mitchell tapes an episode of BBC in Concert that will be broadcast in October. Jimi Hendrix plays Copenhagen, Denmark and Led Zeppelin plays San Diego. A triple bill at the Fillmore West in San Francisco features Johnny Winter, Boz Scaggs, and Freddie King.
At WLS in Chicago, “War” by Edwin Starr is #1 again this week; “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago makes a strong move from #7 to #2. New in the Top 10 is “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival at #8. Other big movers: “Julie Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman (#22 to #14) and “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler (#25 to #18). Aboard a Wisconsin school bus, a kid just entering fifth grade at Northside School discovers the best place to sit.
Perspective From the Present: I don’t know for certain whether September 3, 1970, was really the famous day I first sat under the radio speaker on the school bus and my future was set for me. I know it wasn’t long after school started, and I was collecting WLS music surveys by the end of September, so it’s as good as guess as any other.