One Day in Your Life: August 12, 1977

August 12, 1977, is a Friday. The first space shuttle orbiter, Enterprise, makes its first free flight (unbolted from a 747) over Edwards Air Force Base in California. NASA also launches the first High Energy Astronomy Observatory satellite to study cosmic rays. Following the victory of a secessionist party in national elections, riots break out in Sri Lanka. President Carter writes Congress a letter spelling out his position on the Panama Canal Treaty, which will give the canal to Panama if ratified. Future football star and errant marksman Plaxico Burress is born. Gene Littler leads after the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California. He will lose to Lanny Wadkins in a sudden-death playoff on Sunday.

On TV, The Merv Griffin Show features a tribute to Jack Benny, with five of Benny’s radio and TV cast members. Celebrity guests on The $10,000 Pyramid are Lucie Arnaz and Bill Cullen. On CBS tonight, it’s the second episode of A Year at the Top, a sitcom starring Paul Shaffer and Greg Evigan as musicians who make a pact with the devil in exchange for one year of success. It will be canceled after three more episodes. Legendary DJ Cousin Brucie Morrow does his final show on WNBC in New York; he’s leaving the air to become co-owner of a station group. Elvis Presley tries to get a print of Star Wars to watch with his daughter Lisa Marie, but he cannot, so he settles for The Spy Who Loved Me instead. In four days, Presley will die. Johnny Winter plays St. Petersburg, Florida. KISS plays Seattle with Cheap Trick opening, and Peter Frampton plays Minneapolis. In Santa Cruz, California, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Neil Young play a benefit for the United Farm Workers. Tonight’s edition of The Midnight Special is hosted by the Bay City Rollers, and it features ELO, KC and the Sunshine Band, England Dan and John Ford Coley, and Roger Daltrey.

At WISM in Madison, Wisconsin, “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb holds at Number One. “Higher and Higher” by Rita Coolidge is right behind, and “Best of My Love” by the Emotions makes a strong move from 7 to 3. New songs in the Top Ten include “Just a Song Before I Go” by Crosby Stills and Nash and “Easy” by the Commodores. The fastest mover on the survey is “Swayin’ to the Music” by Johnny Rivers, up to 18 from 25. The highest-debuting new song on the chart is the London Symphony Orchestra’s version of the Star Wars theme, at Number 26. Also debuting are songs by Carly Simon (“Nobody Does it Better”), the Bee Gees (the live version of “Edge of the Universe”), and a Canadian band called Driver (“New Way to Say I Love You”).

In a small town south of Madison, a young radio geek awaits the return of his girlfriend from a month in Europe. He is supposed to go to the airport in Chicago with her parents to pick her up today, but when her return is delayed until tomorrow, he goes out with friends tonight. When he gets home around midnight, there’s a phone message saying that the plane is coming in very early on Saturday morning, and if he wants to ride along to Chicago, he needs to be ready to leave town by 2AM. And he will be.

“New Way to Say I Love You”/Driver (out of print)

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3 responses

  1. Nice pay-off. I was 11 and at a church camp where I’d discover love the day after Elvis died.

  2. I remember that point in time quite well. It was about two weeks before I started my freshman year in college. I can still remember hearing “Way Down” by Elvis on the radio numerous times each day leading up to my first day in college.

  3. You’ve whet my appetite, now I want to read about August 13, 1977. Oh and I want to catch Chicago live that year as well– Terry Kath’s final tour with the band before his untimely death in January 1978.

    Seriously, I read these posts and wish I had a time machine as I was too young to really appreciate the late 70s the first time around (I was 3 years old when the 70s came to a close). About my only memory of the 70s was some disco dance show featuring Denney Terio (sp?) and being absolutely frightened of the poster of KISS my older brothers had in the basement (that they’d converted into their bedroom.

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