January 22 – Maria Kliegel makes her London debut at the Wigmore Hall, with a programme of Bach, Kodály, and Franck.
January 26 – Patti Smith falls off the stage while opening for Bob Seger in Tampa, Florida. Smith is rushed to the hospital for 22 stitches to close head lacerations. While recovering, Smith writes her fifth book of poetry, Babel. Fleetwood Mac’s original lead guitarist, Peter Green, is committed to a mental hospital in England after firing a pistol at a delivery boy bringing him a royalties check.
January 27 – After releasing only one single for the band, EMI terminates its contract with the Sex Pistols.
February 4 – American Bandstand celebrates its 25th anniversary on television with a special hosted by Dick Clark. An “all-star band” made up of Chuck Berry, Seals & Crofts, Gregg Allman, Junior Walker, Johnny Rivers, the Pointer Sisters, Charlie Daniels, Doc Severinsen, Les McCann, Donald Byrd, Chuck Mangione and three members of Booker T and the MGs perform “Roll Over Beethoven.” Fleetwood Mac’s widely-anticipated Rumours is released; it goes on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time.
February 14 – The B-52’s give their first public performance at a party in Athens, Georgia
February 15 – Sid Vicious replaces Glen Matlock as the bassist of the Sex Pistols.
February 27 – Royal Canadian Mounted Police raid Keith Richards’ Toronto hotel suite while he is sleeping and seize 22 grams of heroin, 5 grams of cocaine and narcotics paraphernalia. Richards is arrested and charged with possession of heroin with intent to traffic, and possession of cocaine. He is released on $25,000 bail.
March 1 – Sara Lowndes Dylan files for divorce from her husband of 11 years, Bob Dylan.
March 4 – The Rolling Stones play the first of two shows at the El Mocambo in Toronto, their first club appearance since 1964.
March 10 – A&M Records signs the Sex Pistols in a ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace. The contract is terminated on March 16 as a result of the band vandalizing property and verbally abusing employees during a visit to the record company’s office.
April 21 – Jesse Winchester performs a concert in Burlington, Vermont, his first on American soil in ten years. Winchester fled to Canada in January 1967 to avoid military service in Vietnam, but recently became free to return under the Presidential pardon given to all draft evaders.
April 22 – Pink Floyd open the North American leg of their “Animals” tour in Miami, Florida.
April 24 – Several artists, including Joan Baez and Santana, perform at a free concert for 653 inmates of California’s Soledad Prison.
April 26 – New York’s disco Studio 54 opens.
May 2 – Elton John performs the first of six consecutive nights at London’s Rainbow Theatre, his first concert in eight months. John keeps a low profile in 1977, not releasing any new music for the first year since his recording career began eight years previously.
May 7 – Having been postponed from April 2 because of a BBC technicians’ strike, the 22nd Eurovision Song Contest finally goes ahead in London’s Wembley Conference Centre. France wins with Marie Myriam and the song “L’Oiseau et l’Enfant”.
May 11 – The Stranglers and support band London start a 10 week national UK tour.
May 12 – Instruments made by all five members of the 17th- and 18th-century Guarneri family of violin makers are auctioned at Sotheby’s, with the top price of £105,000 paid for an instrument made in 1738 by Giuseppe Guarnieri del Gesù. Virgin Records announces that they have signed the Sex Pistols. The group has already been kicked off their two previous labels in the past four months.
May 14 – $24,000 worth of cash and valuables are stolen from Lynyrd Skynyrd in Savannah, Georgia.
May 27 – Tom Waits and a friend are arrested outside a Los Angeles coffee shop for causing a public disturbance. Waits sues the police for false arrest and imprisonment and eventually wins a $7,500 award in 1982.
May 28 – Bruce Springsteen and Mike Appel reach an out-of-court settlement, ending the year-long legal battle that has blocked Springsteen’s ability to record new music.
May 31 – The musical Beatlemania is premièred at the Winter Garden Theatre.
June–August[edit source | editbeta]
June – The Nikikai Opera Foundation is founded.
June 7 – The Sex Pistols attempt to interrupt Silver Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II by performing “God Save the Queen” from a boat on the River Thames. Police force the boat to dock and several arrests are made following a scuffle.
June 12 – Guitarist Michael Schenker vanishes after a UFO concert at The Roundhouse in London. He is replaced for several months by Paul Chapman until he appears again to rejoin the group in October. The Supremes perform for the last time together at Drury Lane Theatre in London before officially disbanding.
June 15 – The Snape Maltings Training Orchestra makes its London debut at St John’s, Smith Square.
June 20 – Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart drives his Porsche over the edge of a canyon, suffering multiple broken bones but surviving as a tree breaks his fall.
June 22 – Kiss are elected “most popular band in America” by a Gallup poll.
July 6 – During a Pink Floyd concert before a crowd of 80,000 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Bassist Roger Waters having become increasingly irritated by a fan until he exerts his frustration by spitting on him. The incident becomes the catalyst for the group’s next album, The Wall.
July 9 – Donna Summer’s hit record “I Feel Love” is released in the UK. It was massively influential in pop music as it was the first hit record ever to have an entirely synthesised backing track and helped propel the use of synthesisers in music greatly, especially in the 1980s.
July 13 – after a massive blackout hits New York City, NRBQ manages to play an all-acoustic set at the Bottom Line with flashlights taped to their microphone stands.
July 22 – The first night of The Proms are broadcast by BBC Radio 3 for the first time in quadraphonic sound.
July 26 – Led Zeppelin cancels the last seven dates of their American tour after lead singer Robert Plant learns that his six-year old son Karac has died of a respiratory virus. The show two days before in Oakland proves to be the band’s last ever in the United States.
August 16 – Elvis Presley is found dead at his home Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
August 17 – Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reported that in one day the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland for the funeral of Elvis Presley had surpassed the number for any other event in the company’s history.
August 20 – The Voyager 2 unmanned probe is launched by NASA, followed by Voyager 1 the following month. Both spacecraft carry a golden record containing sounds and images representing life and culture on Earth, including the first movements of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Guan Pinghu’s Liu Shui, played on the guqin, and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”.
September – Alice Cooper enters rehab for four months due to his alcoholism, after ten years of drinking a pack of beer a day.
September 1 – World première at the Royal Albert Hall in London of the expanded version of Luciano Berio’s Coro.
September 3 – nearly 110,000 fans pack Englishtown Raceway in Old Bridge, New Jersey for an eleven hour concert by Grateful Dead, Marshall Tucker Band and New Riders of the Purple Sage.
September 15 – the third (and final) annual Rock Music Awards air on NBC. Fleetwood Mac dominates, winning five awards.
September 16 – T.Rex frontman Marc Bolan is killed in an automobile accident.
September 29 – Billy Joel’s The Stranger is released. “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”, “Just the Way You Are” and “Only the Good Die Young” all become hits, and the album also features the beloved medley “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”.
October 3 – Elvis in Concert, a TV concert special filmed during Elvis Presley’s final tour, is aired on CBS.
October 5 – The bicentennial season of La Scala opens in Milan with a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo.
October 9 – Aerosmith cancels several tour dates after Joe Perry and Steven Tyler are injured by an M-80 explosive thrown onstage at the Philadelphia Spectrum, burning Tyler’s left cornea and cutting Perry’s left hand.
October 20 – A plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashes in Mississippi, killing songwriter & vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and background vocalist Cassie Gaines.
October 31 – The original version of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Jahreslauf is premièred at the National Theatre of Japan in Chiyoda, Tokyo, by the Imperial Gagaku Ensemble.
November 25 – 10 Years of Rolling Stone, a television special commemorating the tenth anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine, airs on CBS. Guests include Bette Midler, Art Garfunkel, Billy Preston, Melissa Manchester, and Keith Moon.
November 30 – Bing Crosby’s final Christmas special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, airs on CBS. The special was taped in September, one month before Crosby’s death at age 74. The most memorable scene consists of the surreal sight of Crosby being joined by David Bowie for the duet “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy”.
December 14 – Saturday Night Fever appears in theaters, igniting a new popularity for disco music and pushing it to the forefront of American pop culture. The accompanying soundtrack to the film is an enormous hit that establishes the Bee Gees (who had composed most of the tracks) as the most popular artists in the world, and the best-selling artist since the Beatles.
December 17 – Elvis Costello makes his American television début on Saturday Night Live, but is banned after substituting the scheduled performance of “Less than Zero” with “Radio, Radio” instead.
December 31 – The sixth annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special airs on ABC, with performances by Ohio Players, Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Andy Gibb.
Bohemian Rhapsody is named ‘The Best Single Of The Last 25 Years’ by BPI.
The St. Magnus Festival was founded in Orkney by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe began its annual festival based on the music of George Frideric Handel.
Luigi Sagrati becomes president of the Unione Musicisti di Roma.
The IRCAM Center, a scientific institute for music and sound and avant-garde electro-acoustical art music, opens in Paris.
The Cars sign a contract with Elektra Records.
Devo signs a contract with Warner Bros.
Midnight Oil sign a contract with CBS Records.
The Neville Brothers sign a contract with A&M Records.
The Police sign a contract with A&M Records.
Van Halen signs a contract with Warner Bros.
Van Morrison releases a new album after a three-year absence.