January 5 – Former Beatles road manager Mal Evans is shot dead by Los Angeles police after refusing to drop what police only later find is an air rifle.
January 7 – Kenneth Moss, a former record company executive, is sentenced to 120 days in the Los Angeles County Jail and four years probation for involuntary manslaughter in the 1974 drug-induced death of Average White Band drummer Robbie McIntosh.
January 13 – A trial begins for seven Brunswick Records and Dakar Records employees. The record company employees are charged with stealing more than $184,000 in royalties from artists.
January 19 – Concert promoter Bill Sargent makes an offer of $30 million to the Beatles if they will reunite for a concert.
February 15 – Bette Midler bails seven members of her entourage out of jail after they are arrested on charges of cocaine and marijuana possession.
February 19 – Former Tower of Power lead singer Rick Stevens is arrested and charged with the drug-related murders of three men in San Jose, California.
February 20 – Kiss have their footprints added to the sidewalk outside Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater. February 24 – Having been released one week before, The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) compilation becomes the first album in history to be certified platinum by the RIAA. The new platinum certification represents sales of at least 1 million copies for albums and 2 million copies for singles.
March 4 – ABBA arrive at Sydney airport for a promotional tour in Australia.
March 6 – EMI Records reissues all 22 previously released British Beatles singles, plus a new single of the classic “Yesterday”. All 23 singles hit the UK charts at the same time.
March 7 – A wax likeness of Elton John is put on display in London’s Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
March 9 – The Who’s Keith Moon collapses onstage ten minutes into a performance at the Boston Garden.
March 15 – Members of The Plastic People of the Universe are arrested in communist Czechoslovakia. They were sentenced from 8 to 18 months in jail.
March 20 – Alice Cooper marries Sheryl Goddard in an Acapulco restaurant.
March 25 – Jackson Browne’s wife Phyllis commits suicide.
March 26 – In Paris, France, Wings guitarist Jimmy McCulloch breaks one of his fingers when he slips in his hotel bathroom after the final performance on the band’s European tour. The injury ended up delaying the band’s United States tour by three weeks.
April 3 – British pop group Brotherhood of Man win the 21st Eurovision Song Contest in The Hague, Netherlands, with the song “Save Your Kisses For Me”. It goes on to be the biggest selling Eurovision winner ever.
April 14 – Stevie Wonder announces that he has signed a “$13 million-plus” contract with Motown Records.
April 24 – Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels makes a semi-serious on-air offer to pay the Beatles $3000 to reunite live on the show. In a 1980 interview, John Lennon stated that he and Paul McCartney happened to be watching the show together at Lennon’s apartment in New York and considered walking down to the SNL studio “for a gag” but were “too tired”. On May 22, Michaels raises his offer from $3000 to $3,200.
April 28 – The Rolling Stones open their European tour in Frankfurt, Germany.
April 29 – When his tour stops in Memphis, Tennessee, Bruce Springsteen jumps the wall at Elvis Presley’s mansion, “Graceland”, in trying to see his idol. Security guards stop Springsteen and escort him off the grounds.
May 3 – Paul McCartney and Wings start their Wings over America Tour in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first time McCartney has performed in the US since The Beatles’ last concert in 1966 at Candlestick Park. Paul Simon puts together a benefit show at Madison Square Garden to raise money for the New York Public Library. Phoebe Snow, Jimmy Cliff and the Brecker Brothers also perform. The concert brings in over $30,000 for the Library.
May 19 – Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is involved in a car accident northwest of London. Cocaine is found in his wrecked car. Richards is given a court date of January 12, 1977. Rumor spread by German press: ABBA members killed in plane crash, only Anni-Frid survived.
May 25 – Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour ends.
June – Former Spring Canyon keyboardist Mark Cook joins Daniel Amos.
June 6 – Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg suffer tragedy when their 10-week old son Tara dies of respiratory failure.
June 10 – Alice Cooper collapses and is rushed to UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles, three weeks before the Goes To Hell tour would begin. The tour is cancelled.
June 18 – ABBA perform “Dancing Queen” for the first time on Swedish television in Stockholm on the eve of the wedding of King Carl XVI Gustaf to Silvia Sommerlath.
June 25 – Uriah Heep performs its last show with David Byron as lead singer in Bilbao, Spain. Byron is sacked shortly afterward.
July 2 – Composer Benjamin Britten accepts a life peerage, only a few months before his death. Brian Wilson performs on stage with The Beach Boys for the first time in three years at a Day on the Green concert in Oakland, California.
July 4 – Many outdoor festivals and shows are held all over the United States as the country celebrates its bicentennial. Elton John performs for 62,000 at Shaffer Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, while The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac play for 36,000 at Tampa Stadium, and Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top draw 35,000 at Memphis Memorial Stadium.
July 7 – 50,000 fans brave the rain in New York to attend a free Jefferson Starship concert in Central Park.
July 27 – Tina Turner files for divorce from husband Ike.
August 5 – Eric Clapton provokes an uproar over comments he makes on stage at a Birmingham concert, voicing his opposition to immigration using multiple racial slurs while exhorting the audience to support Enoch Powell and to “keep Britain white”.
August 11 – Keith Moon is rushed to hospital for the second time in five months, collapsing after trashing his Miami hotel room.
August 13 – The official ABBA logo with the reversed ‘B’ is adopted.
August 16 – Cliff Richard becomes one of the first Western artists ever to perform in the Soviet Union when he gives a concert in Leningrad.
August 21 – An estimated 120,000 fans pack Knebworth House to see The Rolling Stones. Todd Rundgren, Lynyrd Skynyrd and 10cc also perform.
August 31 – a U.S. district court decision rules that George Harrison had “subconsciously” copied The Chiffons’ hit “He’s So Fine” when he wrote the song “My Sweet Lord”.
September 1 – Ode Records president Lou Adler is kidnapped at his Malibu home and released eight hours later after a $25,000 ransom is paid. Two suspects are soon arrested.
September 3 – Rory Gallagher joins the short list of Western popular musicians to perform behind the Iron Curtain with a show in Warsaw, Poland.
September 8 – In a candid interview appearing in the October 7 edition of Rolling Stone published today, Elton John publicly discloses his bisexuality for the first time.
September 14 – The one-hour Bob Dylan concert special Hard Rain airs on NBC, coinciding with the release of the live album of the same name.
September 18 – Queen performs a massive free concert at London’s Hyde Park for over 150,000 people. The second annual Rock Music Awards air on CBS. Peter Frampton wins Rock Personality of the Year, while Fleetwood Mac wins for Best Group and Best Album.
September 20 & September 21 – 100 Club Punk Festival, the first international punk festival is held in London. Siouxsie and the Banshees play their first concert.
September 25 – Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr form a band called Feedback in Dublin. The band would later be renamed U2.
October 2 – Joe Cocker performs a duet of “Feelin’ Alright” with himself (as portrayed by John Belushi) on Saturday Night Live.
October 8 – English punk rock group the Sex Pistols sign a contract with EMI Records.
October 11 – Irish singer Joe Dolan is banned for life by Aer Lingus after an air rage incident en route to Corfu from Dublin.
October 20 – The Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same premieres at Cinema I in New York.
October 31 – George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic begin “The P-Funk/Rubber Band Earth Tour” in Houston, a national live series highlighting one of the biggest and revolutionary stage shows in the history of the music industry (the rock group Kiss would be the other group to do a similar act), relying on elaborate costumes, special lighting and effects, and extremely large props including “the Mothership”, which would arrive and land on stage, all of what this band is generally known for. This live set would vary in length (on average of 3 to 5 hours long) and at high volume.
November 18 – Former Tower of Power lead singer Rick Stevens and another person are found guilty on two counts of murder.
November 23 – Thin Lizzy are forced to cancel their U.S. tour when guitarist Brian Robertson injures his hand in a bar fight. Jerry Lee Lewis is arrested after showing up drunk outside Graceland at 3 a.m., waving a pistol and loudly demanding to see Elvis Presley. Presley denied his request.
November 25 – The Band gives its last public performance; Martin Scorsese is on hand to film it.
November 26 – The Sex Pistols’ debut single “Anarchy in the U.K.” is released by EMI.
December 1 – In the UK, the Sex Pistols cause a national outcry after swearing on Thames Television’s Today show.
December 2 – The Bee Gees perform at Madison Square Garden and give the proceeds to the Police Athletic League in New York. In January 1979, they will receive the Police Athletic League’s “Superstars of the Year” award.
December 3 – A Pink Floyd album cover shoot in South London goes awry when a large inflatable pig balloon being used for the shoot breaks free of its moorings and drifts out of sight.
Bob Marley and several others are injured when gunmen burst into his home in Kingston, Jamaica and open fire.
December 8 – The Carpenters air their “Very First Television Special” on ABC. The Eagles release Hotel California.
December 12 – Ace Frehley is shocked on stage during a Kiss concert in Lakeland, Florida after touching an ungrounded metal railing. The incident inspires the song “Shock Me”.
December 31 – The fifth annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special airs on ABC, with performances by Donna Summer, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, The Four Seasons, and KC and the Sunshine Band.
Also in 1976
– The last practitioner of the rekuhkara form of throat-singing dies, in Hokkaido, Japan.
– Tenor Franco Corelli retires from the stage at the age of 55.
– Cheryl Byron performs rapso in calypso tents for the first time, beginning the popularization of rapso.
– Peter Brown’s solo career begins.
– Peter Tosh’s solo career begins.
– Bunny Wailer’s solo career begins.
– Leif Garrett’s solo career begins.
– .38 Special’s musical career begins.
– Y&T (Yesterday & Today)’s musical career begins.
– Sergio Franchi becomes TV spokesman for Chrysler Corporation’s Plymouth “Volare” and media spokesman for Hills Brothers coffee.
– Steve Martin signs a contract with Warner Bros.
– Eddie Money signs a contract with CBS.
– “Ten Percent”, by Double Exposure, becomes the first 12-inch single commercially available to the public (as opposed to DJ-only promotional copies).
– The Chinese Music Society of North America is founded.
– Gabin Dabiré embarks on a tour of Italy.