October 3, 1975: Get Down

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(Pictured: KC and the Sunshine band, getting down tonight.)

October 3, 1975, was a Friday. President Gerald Ford vetoes a bill intended to expand food programs for needy children, claiming it would give aid to families above the poverty line; next week, Congress will override the veto. In California, the arraignment of Symbionese Liberation Army members Bill and Emily Harris on charges stemming from their crime spree with Patty Hearst is delayed so Emily Harris can find a new lawyer. Future singer India Arie and future rapper Talib Kweli are born. The emperor and empress of Japan are in the United States on a state visit; President Ford will host a state dinner in their honor tonight. Scientists in the Soviet Union recover an unmanned military spacecraft that had lost contact with controllers shortly after launch on Monday. The campus newspaper at Marquette University in Milwaukee reports on the activities of Barry McArdle, who’s been traveling around Wisconsin and elsewhere selling real estate on the moon. A Navy submarine commander is admonished for having permitted a topless dancer to perform on board his sub.

On daytime TV today, celebrity guests on The $10,000 Pyramid are Adrienne Barbeau and Peter Lawford, and Jim Stafford is celebrity co-host of The Mike Douglas Show. Shows in primetime tonight include M*A*S*H, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, and The Rockford Files. ABC broadcasts a late-night special featuring episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus; in December, the Python troupe will sue to keep ABC from broadcasting a second special, citing the “mutilation” of their work when ABC edits the episodes to make room for commercials and to remove what it calls “offensive” material.

Gentle Giant plays White Plains, New York, and KISS plays Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Bonnie Raitt plays Seattle with Tom Waits opening. The Who plays Stafford, England, and releases The Who By Numbers in the UK. Also released in the UK today: Extra Texture by George Harrison. At WJET in Erie, Pennsylvania, “You,” the lead single from Harrison’s album, moves to #23 from #27. “Fame” by David Bowie tops the chart, dethroning “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine Band, which slips to #2. The two hottest records on the chart are “I Only Have Eyes for You” by Art Garfunkel, jumping from #15 to #5, and Morris Albert’s “Feelings,” taking an even greater leap from #21 to #6.

In Wisconsin, a teenage music geek couldn’t possibly know that years from now, current hits like “Games People Play,” “Bad Blood,” “Miracles,” “Lady Blue,” and “Lyin’ Eyes” will still be encoded with the late-afternoon light that bathes his world as he gets off the school bus, heads into the house, and hurries to turn the radio on.

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February 1, 1975: Please, Mister

February 1, 1975, is a Saturday. William Saxbe resigns as Attorney General to become U.S. ambassador to India. The resignation of Claude Brinegar, Secretary of Transportation since 1973, becomes official. Antwan “Big Boi” Patton of Outkast is born. Robert W. Straub is inaugurated as governor of Oregon. Two successful penalty shots are executed in the National Hockey League, by Steve Atkinson of the Washington Capitals and Lorne Henning of the New York Islanders. Shows on CBS tonight include The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. James Garner of The Rockford Files is on the cover of TV Guide.

Little Feat plays the Olympia in Paris. Led Zeppelin is in Pittsburgh. Genesis appears live in Kansas City, Kansas. Joe Walsh plays New York City. Miles Davis does two shows in Osaka, Japan. The afternoon show will be released on his album Agharta; the evening show will be released on Pangaea. KISS wraps its Hotter Than Hell tour in Santa Monica, California, with opening act Jo Jo Gunne. Barry Manilow concludes a two-week engagement at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago, where “Mandy” is at #1 on WLS for a second week. “Please Mr. Postman” by the Carpenters spends a second week at #2. “Lady,” by Chicago band Styx, slides in at #3, just ahead of “Best of My Love” by the Eagles at #4. Two songs enter the Top 10 for the first time: “Never Can Say Goodbye” by Gloria Gaynor and the hottest record on the chart, “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt, which jumps in from #25. On the WLS album chart, Greatest Hits by Elton John and Not Fragile by Bachman-Turner Overdrive continue in the #1 and #2 positions for a ninth straight week.

Over on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest debuting song of the week is “I’ve Been This Way Before” by Neil Diamond, which comes on at #73. (It will eventually peak at #34 and spend just three weeks in the Top 40.) Songs that will be more familiar in the future also debut, including “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns, “Part of the Plan” by Dan Fogelberg, and future #1 hits “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender and “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” by B. J. Thomas. The oddest debut of the week is at #86: “Please Mr. President” by Paula Webb, a 10-year-old girl’s letter to President Ford, asking help with her family’s hard times. Although it will get only as high as #60, it resonates with lots of Americans during an especially difficult season in our national life.