July 5, 1975, is a Saturday. Arthur Ashe upsets Jimmy Connors to become the first black Wimbledon champion. President Ford begins the day at Camp David, where he meets with Indonesian president Suharto. Ford later returns to Washington, where he attends his daughter Susan’s 18th birthday party for eight minutes, although he later stops by the small dinner party (nine guests) being held in her honor at the White House. Future pro hockey player Chris Gratton is born; former major league pitcher Joe Kiefer, who appeared in 16 games for the White Sox and Red Sox during three scattered seasons in the 1920s, dies. The Cape Verde Islands are granted independence from Portugal. In Madison, Wisconsin, McFarland Realty Company invites you to an open house at 5702 Bartlett Lane, four bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, finished basement, fenced yard, asking price $39,600. Saturday night diners have a wide variety of options, from a seven-ounce tenderloin for $2.39 at the Nitty Gritty to an eight-ounce lobster tail at Murphy’s for $5.95. Movies playing in town include Jaws, The Wind and the Lion, French Connection 2, and Russ Meyer’s Super Vixens.
Tony Orlando and Dawn are on the cover of TV Guide. An inside spread gives viewers a first look at the new series Space: 1999, set to premiere in the fall. NBC repeats an episode of The Midnight Special, where host Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons welcome Freddy Fender, Orleans, and the Hollies. Bob Marley plays San Francisco. Pink Floyd plays Knebworth, England; the show will eventually be bootlegged as Trouble in Knebworth. Also playing at Knebworth today: Captain Beefheart, the Steve Miller Band, and Roy Harper (who sings “Have a Cigar” with Pink Floyd). The Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa hosts Florida Jam, starring ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, the Marshall Tucker Band, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, War, KISS, Pure Prairie League, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Promoters have hired female karate and judo experts as a security team; tickets are $12 at the gate. In Madison, tickets are on sale for next Tuesday’s concert at the Dane County Coliseum starring Eric Clapton and Santana: $6 in advance, $7 day of the show.
At WLS in Chicago, “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille zooms from #7 to #1, knocking last week’s #1, “Wildfire” by Michael Murphey, to #2. Making big moves into the Top 10 are “The Hustle” by Van McCoy and “Listen to What the Man Said” by Wings. The top three albums are unchanged from the previous week: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John, Chicago VIII, and BTO’s Four Wheel Drive.
Perspective From the Present: Memories of this summer always include my favorite cousin, a year younger than me. Every summer we’d spend a few days in Madison with him and he’d spend a few days on the farm with us. During my visit in the summer of 1975, we went to the movies a lot. It must have been sometime around July 5 that we saw Jaws at the Esquire Theater—I remember standing in line outside to get in. We must also have seen Tommy during the same week. I was terribly disappointed by it, but he loved how trippy and weird it was. And that was the kind of thing that would have obsessed him by then. I don’t know if he was actually using drugs yet—he was 14 and I never saw him do it—but he was fascinated by the drug culture, and he eventually did partake. His chemical of choice would become alcohol.
After one last summer of reciprocal visits in 1976, we would see each other only on holidays at Grandma’s house, and eventually he stopped showing up for those. I would see him only a handful of times in the intervening years, but I heard stories about his troubles. The last time I saw him was when Grandma died in 1994, and he was in fairly terrible shape that day. In the spring of the next year, we got the call that he had died, at age 34.