January 25, 1971: Don’t Just Let That Lie

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(Pictured: Elton John.)

January 25, 1971, was a Monday. In Los Angeles, Charles Manson and three members of his “family,” Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel, are found guilty in the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. They will be sentenced to death, but the sentences will be commuted. Atkins will die in prison in 2009; in 2017, Manson will die; in 2018, Krenwinkel and Van Houten will still be in prison. Ugandan president Milton Obote is attending an international conference in Singapore; at home, General Idi Amin takes control of the government before troops loyal to Obote can arrest him, as the president had ordered. Police officers remain on strike in Milwaukee; they walked off the job on Saturday after contract negotiations with the city broke down. A judge will order the striking officers back to work on Wednesday. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Wisconsin’s “posting” law is unconstitutional. It allows police to forbid the sale of intoxicating beverages to an individual simply by posting announcements in retail liquor establishments that alcohol is not to be served or sold to that person. It’s used in cases when police believe a person puts themselves, their family, or the community at risk by drinking. Sixteen states have such laws on the books; Wisconsin’s has been in place for more than 40 years. Dissident priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan are on the cover of Time magazine. In a diary entry, White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman notes that President Nixon is concerned about what he perceives as a change in attitude toward his administration at Time; Haldeman says Nixon has urged him to develop “a plan for attack on them and not just let that lie.” Elsewhere in the White House, Nixon aide Chuck Colson and another staffer begin compiling a list of anti-Nixon people and organizations, which will eventually be known as the “enemies list.” The United States Senate begins using a new sound system in its chamber today, which will allow senators to be more easily heard.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Schroeder and Lucy talk about what brings people together. Prototypes of a new U.S. dollar coin with the face of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower are struck at the Philadelphia mint. The coin will go into general circulation on November 1. In Martin, Tennessee, the Harlem Globetrotters take the floor against their usual foe, the Washington Generals, although the Generals are wearing an alternate uniform and are called the New Jersey Reds. On this night, the Reds win the game, 100-99. Although official records are scarce, it’s thought to be the first Generals win since 1957. The team will fold in 2015 without winning another.

Shows on TV tonight include The Newlywed Game and the second episode of The Reel Game, which requires contestants to answer questions involving movie clips. Also tonight: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show (featuring a guest appearance by the UCLA Marching Band), Mayberry RFD, The Doris Day Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. In San Francisco, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane welcome a daughter. At first, they name her god (with a lower-case g), but she is later renamed China. In New York City, James Taylor plays two shows at the Fillmore East, and Captain Beefheart plays a theater called Ungano’s. T. Rex plays London. Yes and Iron Butterfly play Copenhagen, Denmark, and the two bands close the show by jamming together.

At WLS in Chicago, Dave Edmunds’ “I Hear You Knocking” holds at #1. Elton John’s “Your Song” is #2. Only one song is new in the Top 10, “1900 Yesterday” by Liz Damon’s Orient Express. It’s at #10, tucked in behind Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Three new songs have cracked the Top 20: “Most of All” by B. J. Thomas, “Watching Scotty Grow” by Bobby Goldsboro, and “We Gotta Get You a Woman” by Runt, at #18, #19, and #20 respectively. The hottest record on WLS is at #21, “Mama’s Pearl” by the Jackson Five, up from #28 the week before.

Perspective From the Present: “1900 Yesterday” is a record we have dug around here since always. And you’re going to want to click that link about the New Jersey Reds beating the Globetrotters. It’s quite a story.

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November 24, 1971: Dan Cooper, Phone Home

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(Pictured: Cher, onstage.)

November 24, 1971, is a Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Headlines on the morning’s newspapers include passage of a major defense bill by the United States Senate and the ongoing tensions in south Asia, where India and Pakistan are on the brink of war. In Madison, Wisconsin, hungry pre-Thanksgiving shoppers can get a spaghetti dinner with salad, roll, and beverage for 95 cents at the lunch counter of their neighborhood Rennebohm Rexall Drug Store. Future actress Lola Glaudini, who will appear on NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, and Criminal Minds, is born, and so is future professional hockey player Keith Primeau. Radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, with less than 30 days remaining on his hitch in Vietnam, writes two letters home. Tonight, a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle will be hijacked by a man who claims to have a bomb in his briefcase. He demands $200,000 and two parachutes. The plane lands to release the other passengers and get the hijacker his money, then takes off again. Somewhere over Washington state, the man jumps out of the plane, and he is never seen again. Although he’s on the passenger list as Dan Cooper, his name will be reported by the media, and he will be remembered forever after, as D. B. Cooper.

In today’s Doonesbury strip, documentarian Mark intrudes on B. D.’s football huddle. The CBS-TV lineup tonight features The Carol Burnett Show, Medical Center, and Mannix; on NBC, it’s Adam-12, McCloud, and Night Gallery. In the UK, George Harrison is a guest on The David Frost Show. Led Zeppelin plays Manchester, England. The Doors, minus the late Jim Morrison, play at the University of Pennsylvania, while King Crimson and Yes play the Academy of Music in New York City. At WWDJ in Hackensack, New Jersey, there’s lots of movement at the top of this week’s chart: “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone leaps from #9 to #1, and “Got to Be There” by Michael Jackson jumps from #17 to #2. Last week’s #1, “Gypsys Tramps and Thieves” by Cher falls to #3. Also moving up: “Superstar” by the Temptations, from #16 to #11, and “I Know I’m Losing You” by Rod Stewart from #21 to #14. New on the chart this week are David Cassidy’s “Cherish,” “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey, and “Hallelujah” by Sweathog.

A sixth-grader in Wisconsin (who will soon buy “Scorpio” on a 45)  looks forward to Thanksgiving Day, eating a big dinner, and watching football with the men of his extended family, not just the traditional NFL games in Detroit and Dallas, but the #1 vs. #2 showdown in college football between Nebraska and Oklahoma. The day will end too early, as such days often do.

July 16, 1971: Stone Age

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(Pictured: planet Earth in the summer of 1971, photographed from Apollo 15.)

July 16, 1971, was a Friday. Life magazine reports on the three Soviet Soyuz 11 cosmonauts who died during re-entry on June 29; consumer advocate Bess Myerson is on the cover. Preparations continue for the Apollo 15 moon mission, which will launch in 10 days. Maryann Grelinger of Kansas City, Missouri, sends President Nixon a telegram in response to the announcement yesterday that he will visit China. It says, “Have fun in Red China. Hope they keep you.” At the Western White House in San Clemente, Nixon meets with the National Security Council to discuss the Middle East and South Asia. Demographers estimate that the population of the world has passed the four billion mark. Future actor Corey Feldman is born. During his year in Vietnam, radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, writes his parents nearly every day, sometimes more than once. Today he writes another letter. Jeanne M. Holm, director of Women in the Air Force, is promoted to brigadier general, becoming the first woman in the U.S. military with that rank.

NBC Nightly News reports the discovery of the Tasaday, a Stone Age people living in an isolated part of the Philippines. (Years later, some anthropologists accuse the discoverers of the Tasaday of perpetrating a hoax.) A paper titled “Fiber Digestion in the Beaver” is accepted for publication by the Journal of Nutrition. New movies for the weekend include The Hunting Party starring Candice Bergen and Gene Hackman and The Devils, directed by Ken Russell and originally given an X rating before cuts were made. Top movies already out include Shaft, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Creedence Clearwater Revival plays in Boston. Duke Ellington plays at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Top 40 fans are enjoying a harmonic convergence of great radio records and superb summer songs pumping out of AM radios everywhere. At WLS in Chicago, Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” tops the chart for a fourth week; James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” (which King wrote, and on which she plays) holds at #2.

Also charting near the top this week: “Don’t Pull Your Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, “Draggin’ the Line” by Tommy James, “Sooner or Later” by the Grass Roots, and “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” by the Fortunes. Classic one-hit wonders are afoot, like “Funky Nassau” by Beginning of the End, and “Rings” by Cymarron. The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” is in its first week on the chart. An eleven-year-old music fanatic in southern Wisconsin lives with the radio on every waking moment, absorbs it all, and will never forget it.

March 19, 1971: Obsession

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(Pictured: Vice President Spiro Agnew, famed for saying things his boss, Richard Nixon, could not.)

March 19, 1971, was a Friday. Headline stories in the morning papers around the country include an antiwar protest in Boston outside a hotel yesterday, where Vice-President Spiro Agnew gave a fiery anti-media speech at a Republican fundraiser. A crowd estimated at 3,500 clashed with a group of hard-hats before being pushed back by police. Today, the prime interest rate is adjusted down, from 5.38 percent to 5.25 percent. (It will go back up in April.) In Texas, Amarillo Air Force Base closes. In the current edition of Life, TV critic John Leonard eviscerates the CBS-TV series All in the Family, which premiered in January, calling it “a wretched program” and “insulting.” The Life cover story, written by Norman Mailer, is about the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight of March 8, won by Frazier. Ali is also on the cover of the current Rolling Stone.

In Wisconsin, the state high school basketball tournament continues at the UW Field House. Semifinal games are won by Janesville Parker and Milwaukee Rufus King. Tomorrow, Parker will defeat King 79-68 for the championship. It’s the final one-class tournament; next year, the state’s high schools will be divided into two classes for tournament play. The Illinois tournament opens with four quarterfinals; Thornridge, led by future college star, NBA player, and TV broadcaster Quinn Buckner, defeats Kewanee 63-58, and will win the state crown tomorrow. In college hockey, Minnesota overcomes a 4-1 deficit to beat Harvard 6-5 in overtime and advances to the NCAA national championship game against Boston University. Tomorrow, Boston U will win the title, 4-2.

Shows on ABC tonight include The Partridge Family and The Odd Couple, plus the last original episode of That Girl, ending its run after five seasons. On NBC, The Name of the Game airs its final original episode. A Grateful Dead show scheduled for the former Chicago Coliseum (recently renamed the Syndrome) is scrapped when the venue abruptly closes. Fleetwood Mac plays Detroit and Grand Funk Railroad plays Fort Lauderdale. Led Zeppelin plays Manchester University in England. Sugarloaf, fresh off a post-show gig at the Grammys earlier in the week, continues a lengthy stand at the Whisky in Los Angeles. Keith Jarrett plays Minneapolis and Elvin Bishop plays San Francisco. Released today: The Yes Album and Aqualung by Jethro Tull.

At WLS in Chicago, “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” by the Partridge Family will be knocked from the #1 slot on Monday, when the new survey comes out, by the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination.” “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones moves to #2, and “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye hits #3.The hottest record on the chart is “I’m Eighteen” by Alice Cooper, blasting from #30 to #16. Also up big: “Another Day” by Paul McCartney (from #23 to #12) and “We Can Work It Out” by Stevie Wonder (from #28 to #17). Among the new songs on the survey are “If” by Bread and “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night.

An 11-year-old kid in Wisconsin listens to WLS constantly, when he’s not watching sports on TV. He also watches The Partridge Family, and he bought “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” long before it was featured on the March 12 episode of the show. In years to come, he will consider “Just My Imagination” to be among his favorite songs of all time.

Perspective From the Present: I had my very own copy of the WLS survey from that week. A million years later, the songs on it are the sound of an obsession being born. I had already decided, on or around my 11th birthday, that I wanted to do what I heard the jocks on WLS doing.

I still do.