One Day in Your Life: August 15, 1976

(The series continues. Other posts here.)

August 15, 1976, is a Sunday. The death toll in the outbreak of what is now being called “legionnaire’s disease” reaches 25. The Republican National Convention opens this week; the campaign of former California governor Ronald Reagan is seeking a rule that would force Gerald Ford to name his running mate before the balloting begins. Reagan has already chosen Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania. In Washington, Ford attends church, gets a haircut, and spends a leisurely afternoon before departing for the convention in Kansas City. In Wenatchee, Washington, the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society dedicates its new building. Future Playboy centerfold and actress Priscilla Taylor is born. With six weeks to go in the major-league baseball season, there are no hot pennant races. The Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds lead their divisions in the National League by 11 1/2 and 12 1/2 games respectively; in the American League, the leaders are New York and Kansas City, by 9 1/2 and 7. The Green Bay Packers continue the NFL preseason at New England, beating the Patriots 16 to 14. In golf, Dave Stockton wins the PGA Championship.

On TV tonight, CBS airs The Sonny and Cher Show, Kojak, and the private-eye drama Cannon starring William Conrad. On NBC, it’s The Wonderful World of Disney and McMillan and Wife. ABC counters with The Six Million Dollar Man and the theatrical movie Paint Your Wagon. In addition, all three networks air primetime previews of the Republican convention. In Los Angeles, Jethro Tull plays the Coliseum, Boz Scaggs plays the Greek Theater, and Barry Manilow plays the Universal Amphitheater. In Minot, North Dakota, it’s the second night of the Rush All the World’s a Stage tour, with opening act Blue Oyster Cult. Eric Clapton plays Blackpool, England. KISS plays El Paso, Texas, and Elton John plays Madison Square Garden in New York. Lynryd Skynryd plays Chicago with opening acts the Outlaws and Montrose (see below).

At WLS in Chicago, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee makes a mighty leap from 11 to 1 on the station’s latest survey, knocking “Afternoon Delight” to #2. “Get Closer” by Seals and Crofts moves to #3. “I’m Easy” by Keith Carradine and “Crazy on You” by Heart round out the top five. Other strong movers on the survey include “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees, up to 17 from 27, and “Summer” by War, up to 21 from 31. “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry makes the biggest move of the week, up 12 from 42 to 30. The Beatles compilation Rock and Roll Music holds the top spot on the WLS album chart for a fourth week. On a farm some 120 highway miles from Chicago, a family relaxes after its busiest week of the summer.

Perspective From the Present: We went to Chicago for a day and to the State Fair in Milwaukee for a day during the middle of August 1976, and we may have stayed overnight somewhere as a family in between. Picture us packed into the bright yellow 1973 Mercury Montego my brother and I christened “the banana boat,” three boys aged 16, 14, and 9 crammed into the back seat, and five to a motel room. That’s getting closer, although it was often closer than we boys liked it.

9 responses

  1. The phrase “Playboy centerfold and actress” makes me think of Laraine Newman, playing E. Buzz Miller’s girlfriend on “Saturday Night Live,” giggling, “I’m an actress … *and* an entertainer!”

  2. Thanks for that video link. Never saw it performed live before! Great song from the summer of ’76.

  3. Billed as a comedy, musical, romance movie, “Paint Your Wagon” was interesting, to say the least. Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood singing. Really? Plus, Ray Walston, who played Mr. Hand in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and the martian in “My Favorite Martian.” Jean Seberg was hot. She followed up that performance the next year by being cast in “Airport.”

  4. Could that WLS survey from August 1976 be one of the best music surveys, ever? You’re talking about some monster hits from Elton John & Kiki Dee, Heart, Seals & Crofts, The Bee Gees, Wild Cherry, and War. What a great summer for music!

  5. I had the Comcast country oldies on TV over the weekend and during a Dan Seals song they showed a still almost identical to the video grab above of his brother. Ooops. I also learned that their father co-wrote “Crazy Arms” one of the most awesome honky-tonk country songs ever, though considering the other error maybe I should try to confirm that…..

  6. Sure looks like the Bandstand set that Dinah Shore used! Haha. Carolyn Willis had such a wonderful voice, and gives the ballad a real soulful feel.

  7. Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn’t the main act in Chicago that day.I don’t remember seeing The Outlaws or Montrose either but Gary Wright opened the outdoor show then Peter Frampton and then the headliner Yes closed it out.Just trying to help!!!

    1. Steve is right about this, sort of: the Chicago show on 8/15/76 featured Yes, Peter Frampton, and Gary Wright, and Skynryd was also on the bill. Where I got the information that they played with the Outlaws and Montrose on that day I can’t retrace at this distance, but Skynryd/Outlaws/Montrose is a perfectly reasonable 1976 bill, don’t you think?

    2. Yes, i remember that. Where was it at?

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