January 2 – New York City U.S. District Court Judge Richard Owen rules that former Beatle John Lennon and his lawyers can have access to Department of Immigration files pertaining to his deportation case.
January 5 – The Wiz, a new musical version of the classic Wizard of Oz story, opens at Broadway’s Majestic Theater in New York City.
January 6 – Approximately 1000 Led Zeppelin fans, waiting for tickets to go on sale for Led Zeppelin’s February 4 concert, cause an estimated $30,000 in damage to the lobby of the Boston Garden. The fans reportedly broke chairs and doors and caused other damage to the building. Boston Mayor Kevin White cancels the upcoming show.
January 8 – Three Led Zeppelin concerts at Madison Square Garden sell out in a record four hours.
January 12 – “The Warner Brothers Music Show” begins a nine city, 18 show tour of Europe. The tour included Warner Brothers acts Little Feat, Tower of Power, the Doobie Brothers, Bonaroo, Montrose, and Graham Central Station.
January 24 – Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett plays the solo improvisation ‘The Köln Concert’ at the Cologne Opera, which, recorded live, becomes the best-selling piano recording in history.
February 13 – The film Slade In Flame, starring the members of Slade, premieres at the Metropole Theatre in London.
February 21 – John Lennon releases his Rock ‘n’ Roll LP, featuring his favorite rock songs from the 1950s. To promote the album he conducts a telephone interview with 20 rock radio stations simultaneously.
March 1 – Jeff Beck releases the album Blow by Blow. It is the first album to be released using just his name.
March 2 – Los Angeles Police make a routine traffic stop that turns out to be Paul McCartney and his wife Linda. Linda is arrested for having 170 to 225 grams (six to eight ounces) of marijuana in her pocketbook.
March 21 – Alice Cooper, now a solo artist, begins the Welcome to My Nightmare tour in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The elaborate show is among the largest stage spectacles of the decade.
March 22 – In the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, Sweden, the Dutch group Teach-In wins with the song “Ding-A-Dong”.
March 23 – Promoter Bill Graham stages the S.N.A.C.K. (Students Need Athletics, Culture and Kicks) charity concert at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, California, to benefit the city’s educational system. Almost 60,000 people come to see The Grateful Dead, The Doobie Brothers, Santana, Jefferson Starship, Tower of Power, Eddie Palmieri, Joan Baez, Graham Central Station and Neil Young joined by members of The Band along with a surprise appearance by Bob Dylan. It’s the largest benefit concert in history to date.
March 26 – The film version of The Who’s Tommy premieres in London.
April 3 – Steve Miller is arrested and charged with setting fire to the clothes and personal effects of a friend, Benita DiOrio, and resisting arrest. DiOrio drops the charges the following day.
April 7 – Ritchie Blackmore plays a final show with Deep Purple in Paris before quitting to form his own group, Rainbow.
April 17 – Cambodian singer-songwriter Sinn Sisamouth and his pregnant wife are among millions forced out of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge.
April 18 – Alice Cooper’s first television special, Welcome to My Nightmare: The Making of a Record Album airs.
April 24 – Pete Ham, founder of the group Badfinger, is found hanged in his London garage. His death is ruled a suicide.
April 28 – Tom Snyder interviews John Lennon on the Tomorrow Show.
We finish our focus on 1974 with the Top 50 albums of the year.
An all-female Japanese team summits Manaslu in Nepal, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) peak.
The Expo ’74 world’s fair opens in Spokane, Washington.
May 6 – Willy Brandt West Germany’s chancellor resigns; replaced by Helmut Schmidt.
May 17 – Dublin and Monaghan bombings: The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), explode four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. The attacks kill 33 civilians and wound almost 300, the highest number of casualties in any single day during “The Troubles”.
A massive, two-hour shootout between the Los Angeles Police Department and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army leaves six SLA members, including SLA leader Donald DeFreeze, dead.
Australian federal election, 1974: Gough Whitlam’s Labor Government is re-elected with a reduced majority, defeating the Liberal/Country Coalition led by Billy Snedden. Whitlam consequently becomes the first Labor Prime Minister to be re-elected in his own right. The Democratic Labor Party meanwhile lost all five of their Senate seats, effectively wiping them out as a political force.
Nuclear test: Under Project Smiling Buddha, India successfully detonates its first nuclear weapon, becoming the 6th nation to do so.
The Warsaw radio mast is completed, the second tallest structure ever built (it collapses on August 8, 1991).
May 19 – The Philadelphia Flyers defeat the Boston Bruins to become the first team from the 1967 NHL expansion class to win the Stanley Cup in the North American National Hockey League.
May 30 – NASA’s ATS-6 satellite is launched.
June 4 – The Cleveland Indians stage an ill-advised Ten Cent Beer Night for a game against the Texas Rangers at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Cleveland forfeits after alcohol-fueled mayhem and violence spreads from the stands onto the field.
June 13 – The 1974 FIFA World Cup begins in West Germany.
June 17 – A bomb explodes in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the British Houses of Parliament. The hall’s annex, housing offices and a canteen, is destroyed by the bombing, attributed by police to the Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army.
June 26 – The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time, to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
Isabel Perón is sworn in as the first female President of Argentina, replacing her sick husband Juan Perón, who dies 2 days later.
America Sings attraction opens to the public for the first time at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
July 7 – West Germany beats the Netherlands 2–1 to win the 1974 FIFA World Cup. The West German football team are awarded the new FIFA World Cup Trophy.
July 8 – Two weeks after the attraction’s opening, an 18-year-old employee is crushed to her death while working on America Sings at Disneyland. This is the first casualty to occur to an employee at a Disney Park.
The Greek military junta sponsors a coup d’état in Cyprus, replacing President Makarios III with Nikos Sampson.
News anchor Christine Chubbuck commits suicide during a live broadcast on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida.
July 16 – Elmer Wayne Henley is sentenced to life imprisonment for assisting Dean Corll in murdering 28 Texas boys from 1970 to 1973.
July 19 – Railcar explosion in Decatur, Illinois. A tanker car collides with a Norfolk & Western boxcar. Seven people are killed, 349 are injured and $18 million in property damage.
July 20 – The Turkish invasion of Cyprus occurs.
July 23 – The Greek military junta is replaced by a civilian government, the metapolitefsi.
January 1 – John Dankworth is named CBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
January 3 – Bob Dylan and The Band kick off their 40-date concert tour at Chicago Stadium. It is Dylan’s first time on the road since 1966.
Joni Mitchell releases her monumental album Court and Spark, supported by the single “Help Me” reaching the highest moment of commercial success.
Dino Martin, singer and son of Dean Martin, is arrested on suspicion of possession and sale of two machine guns.
February 10 – record producer Phil Spector is badly injured in a car accident. Details of the accident are kept secret.
February 12 – New York’s rock club, The Bottom Line, opens in Greenwich Village. The first headlining act is Dr. John.
February 14 – The Captain & Tennille are married in Virginia City, Nevada.
February 16 – Two years of litigation between Grand Funk and former manager Terry Knight are finally resolved. The band gets the rights to its name but Knight wins a cash settlement.
Yes sells out the first of two nights at Madison Square Garden, without a bit of advertising for the show.
Kiss releases their self-titled debut album.
February 19 – The first American Music Awards are broadcast on ABC, two weeks before the Grammys.
February 20 – Cher files for divorce from her husband of 10 years, Sonny Bono.
February 22 – The English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Raymond Leppard performs the world premiere of Three Regions from Terrain by Douglas Young.
February 27 – The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn, conducted by Jörg Faerber, makes its English debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
March 1 – Rush release their self titled debut album.
Ivan Stepanov and His Balalaikas make their London debut at the Wigmore Hall.
Baritone Hermann Prey cuts short a vocal recital in the Royal Festival Hall, London, due to vocal fatigue.
March 10 – Hans Vonk makes his London debut in the Royal Festival Hall, conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme of Berlioz and Schubert, as well as the Violin Concerto by Roberto Gerhard, with Erich Gruenberg as soloist.
March 12 – John Lennon is involved in an altercation with a photographer outside The Troubadour in Los Angeles, California. Lennon and friend Harry Nilsson have been heckling comedian Tommy Smothers and are forced to leave the club.
March 16 – Country music’s Grand Ole Opry moves to a new location at the Opryland USA theme park in Nashville, Tennessee
March 30 – The Ramones play their first concert at the Performance Studio in New York.
April 5 – Van Halen play their first gig on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood at Gazzarri’s.
200,000 music fans attend The California Jam rock festival. Artists performing at the event include Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Black Oak Arkansas, and the Eagles.
Swedish group ABBA wins the 19th Eurovision Song Contest in The Dome, Brighton, England, with the song “Waterloo”, kickstarting their stellar international career. The 1967 Eurovision winner, Sandie Shaw, attends.
April 14 – Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, a concert movie filmed during the band’s 1972 North American Tour, premieres at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York.
April 16 – Queen play their first North American concert, opening for Mott the Hoople in Denver, Colorado.
Sotheby’s Galleries in London sell a violin made in 1733 by Cremonese master Giuseppe Guarneri, formerly belonging to violinist Elaine Weldon, for the equivalent of $140,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a violin.
Pam Morrison, Jim Morrison’s widow, is found dead in her Hollywood apartment from an apparent heroin overdose. – Wikipedia
8 January – British Rail authorities restrict Pipe Major Gordon Speirs to playing his bagpipes just one minute in every fifteen on Liverpool Street station, London, on grounds that his playing (part of a holiday campaign by the Scottish Tourist Board) “interferes with station business”.
9 January – Mick Jagger’s request for a Japanese visa is rejected on account of a 1969 drug conviction, putting an abrupt end to The Rolling Stones’ plans to perform in Japan during their forthcoming tour.
Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite television special is broadcast in over 40 countries around the world.
Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh is arrested for drug possession at his Marin County home.
18 January – The Rolling Stones’ benefit concert for Nicaraguan earthquake victims raises over $350,000. On December 22, 1972, an earthquake destroyed Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.
20 January 1973, Mike Curb serves as master of ceremonies and chairman of the Nixon Youth Inaugural Concert in Washington, DC…The events performers included Solomon Burke, Tommy Roe, Jimmy Osmond, Ray Stevens, The Sylvers, Don Costa Orchestra, Laurie Lee Schaefer, The Mike Curb Congregation and The Mob (Chicago band) and Mike Curb himself.
21 January – The Rolling Stones open their Pacific tour of Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand in Honolulu, Hawaii.
30 January – Kiss perform their first concert, at the Coventry Club in Queens.
2 February – The Midnight Special makes its début as a regular series on NBC. Helen Reddy is the featured artist.
14 February – David Bowie collapses from exhaustion after a performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
18 February – The King Biscuit Flower Hour is first broadcast with performances by Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and new artist Bruce Springsteen.
Leonard Bernstein conducts Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto for the first time in his career, with soloist Isaac Stern and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Joffrey Ballet’s Deuce Coupe Ballet opens. The ballet is set entirely to music by The Beach Boys.
Pink Floyd releases The Dark Side of the Moon, which goes on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time. The album debuts on the Billboard 200 on March 17, reaches #1 on April 28, and eventually logs the all-time record of 741 weeks on that chart.
5 March – Jimi Hendrix’s former personal manager, Michael Jeffery, is killed in a plane crash. Jeffery was travelling from Majorca to England. All passengers on board the plane were killed.
6 March – The New York Office of the US Immigration Department cancels John Lennon’s visa extension five days after granting it.
7 March – The director of talent acquisition at Columbia Records, John H. Hammond, suffers a non-fatal heart attack following a performance by one of his most recent finds, Bruce Springsteen.
8 March – Paul McCartney is fined $240 after pleading guilty to charges of growing marijuana outside his Scottish farm.
14 March – The singers Stephen Stills and Véronique Sanson are married near Guildford, England.
24 March – Lou Reed is bitten on the buttocks by a fan during a concert in Buffalo, New York.
2 April – Capitol Records releases two collections of The Beatles’ greatest hits, The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970 (commonly referred to as the “Red Album” and the “Blue Album”, respectively).
7 April – In Luxembourg, the 18th Eurovision Song Contest is won by Luxembourg for the second consecutive year, this time with “Tu te reconnaîtras”, sung by Anne-Marie David. Spain finish in second place with “Eres Tú”, sung by Mocedades; the United Kingdom finish third with Cliff Richard singing “Power to All Our Friends”. The top three placed songs become international hits.
8 April – Opening of the first La Rochelle Festival of Contemporary Music, under the direction of Claude Samuel. Featured composers include Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis
13 April – The Wailers’s fifth studio album, Catch a Fire, was released under Island Records to critical acclaim. Becoming one of the biggest albums of the reggae genre, it established the Wailers and Bob Marley.
15 April – Tenth Royan Festival of International Contemporary Art begins, including concerts featuring music by Jean Barraqué and Horațiu Rădulescu, amongst others.
16 April – Paul McCartney’s first solo television special, James Paul McCartney, airs on ABC. The special includes performances by McCartney and Wings.
18 April – Violinist Jascha Heifetz deposits parts from his prized Guarnerius violin in the newly poured wet concrete of the foundation for the new Virginia Ramo Hall of Music, under construction at the University of Southern California, in order to ensure the building will be “in tune”, and to bring luck. – Wikipedia
Continue featuring music from 1973.
4 May – 29 July – Led Zeppelin embarks on a tour of the United States, during which they set the record for highest attendance for a concert, 56,800, at the Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The record was previously held by The Beatles. Performances for the movie The Song Remains the Same are also filmed.
9 May – Mick Jagger adds $150,000 of his own money to the $350,000 raised by The Rolling Stones’ January 18 benefit concert for the victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake.
12 May – David Bowie is the first rock artist to perform at Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
13 May – Daniel Barenboim collapses with a gastric upset during a concert at the Brighton Festival, but later recovers sufficiently to be driven home.
23 May – Don Robey sells Duke Records, Peacock Records and Backbeat Records to ABC Dunhill Records.
25 May – Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells becomes the first release on Richard Branson’s newly launched Virgin label.
1 June – Robert Wyatt is crippled after falling three storeys from a London apartment block after leaving a party. During his six-month stay in hospital he wrote the material for his solo album Rock Bottom. He would continue his musical career from a wheelchair.
4 June – Ronnie Lane plays his last show with Faces at the Edmonton Sundown in London. Lane had informed the band three weeks earlier that he was quitting.
15 June – The first Istanbul International Music Festival opens.
16 June – Benjamin Britten’s opera Death in Venice, receives its première at Snape Maltings.
29 June – The Scorpions play their first gig with Uli Roth at a festival in Vechta. Roth was originally intended as a temporary replacement for Michael Schenker, who had just been snapped up by U.F.O. earlier in the month.
30 June – Ian Gillan quits Deep Purple.
1 July – Slade play a sell-out Earls Court in London after two number one singles this year.
3 July – David Bowie ‘retires’ his stage persona Ziggy Stardust in front of a shocked audience at the Hammersmith Odeon at the end of his British tour.
4 July – Slade drummer Don Powell is critically injured in a car crash in Wolverhampton; his 20-year-old girlfriend is killed. With his life in danger, the band’s future is left in the balance. Powell recovers after surgery, and is able to join the band ten weeks later in New York, to record “Merry Xmas Everybody”.
The Everly Brothers break up.
Queen releases their debut album.
15 July – Ray Davies of The Kinks makes an emotional outburst during a performance at White City Stadium, announcing he is quitting the group. He later recants the statement.
28 July – Summer Jam at Watkins Glen rock festival is attended by 600,000, who see The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and the Grateful Dead.
30 July – Soviet officials grant permission for Gennadi Rozhdestvensky to accept a three-year appointment as chief conductor of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the first time a Soviet orchestra conductor has been allowed to take up such a position outside of the Eastern Bloc.
6 August – Stevie Wonder is seriously injured in a car accident outside Durham, North Carolina, spending the next four days in a coma.
11 August – DJ Kool Herc originates the hip hop genre in New York City.
20 August – The London Symphony Orchestra becomes the first British orchestra to take part in the Salzburg Festival.
25 August – The Allman Brothers nearly suffer another tragedy when Butch Trucks crashes his car near Macon, Georgia, not far from where Duane Allman was killed two years earlier. Trucks survives with only a broken leg.