I contribute One Day in Your Life at Popdose on the third Wednesday of each month, which is today. The following was going to be this month’s edition, until I realized that I had written about about 1976 just last March. (It’s my favorite year; I can’t help it.) Rather than discarding it, I’m putting it up here.
May 21, 1976, was a Friday. Near San Francisco, 27 people associated with a high school choir, mostly teenagers, are killed when their bus crashes through a guardrail and overturns. A huge fire destroys two blocks of downtown McKeesport, Pennsylvania. The United States Pavilion built in Montreal for Expo 67, which once contained the world’s longest escalator, burns to the ground. Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter announces that if he’s elected, he will support and sign a federal civil rights bill outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians. Future talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres graduates from high school in Atlanta, Texas. Typhoon Pamela strikes Guam. A bridge over US 75 near Calvin, Oklahoma, collapses. Construction on Interstate 225, a 12-mile stretch between Denver and Aurora, Colorado, is completed after 12 years of work. Rosemany Ginn is appointed U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. Of the 12 games on tonight’s major league baseball schedule, three are completed in less than two hours; only one runs over three, a 6-5 Yankees win over the Boston Red Sox. (The previous night, the two teams had engaged in a bench-clearing brawl.) John Gottlieb Karst dies at age 82; in 1915, he played one game for the National League’s Brooklyn Robins without getting an at-bat.
Paul Anka hosts The Midnight Special; guests include the Bee Gees, Chuck Berry, Jim Croce, Peter Frampton, and the Carpenters. Elton John plays Edinburgh, Scotland. Paul McCartney’s Wings Over America tour plays the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, and the Jerry Garcia Band plays San Francisco. Lynryd Skynryd plays Greenville, South Carolina, and Weather Report plays Kansas City, Kansas. AC/DC plays London. On the Cash Box magazine chart for the week, John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” knocks the Sylvers’ “Boogie Fever” from the top spot. The rest of the Top Five are “Silly Love Songs” by Wings, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop, and “Show Me the Way” by Peter Frampton. Major movers within the Top 40 include “Fool to Cry” by the Rolling Stones, jumping to 20 from 33 and “Shop Around” by the Captain and Tennille leaping to 27 from 38. New songs on the chart range from the sublime (“The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker”) to the ridiculous (John Denver’s “It Makes Me Giggle” and Jimmy Dean’s “I.O.U,” the highest-debuting song of the week).
Tomorrow morning, as he has done for the last few Saturdays, a Wisconsin teenager will spend the morning hanging out at his local radio station, at the general manager’s invitation, in hopes of getting hired for the summer. But he only gets to watch, and never to do anything. It’s apparently some kind of test, which the teenager fails, because a job offer never comes, and he ends up working on the farm for one last summer. It occurs to him years later that his first experience with a radio job thereby ended in disappointment. If you’d told him at the time that it should make him wary of the business, he wouldn’t have listened. He was too far gone for that.