Monday, August 02, 2021

Fifty Years of Music • July-August, 1971

Who's Next Out-take "Hug" Album Cover • Photography by Ethan Russell

I got a little backed up on posts last month and couldn't squeeze in Fifty Years of Music • July, 1971 so just decided to combine July with August here. 

Starting this month in the Fifty Years of Music series I will be including music, film, TV, and comedy events in the blog post and/or video clips from that month or year. So let's look back to the cultural events of the summer of 1971. Note- I will also start a References section with links at the end of the post. All italicized sections are from Wikipedia in this post.

April and June (video clips included in the playlist)
  • Film: Summer of '42 is released April 18th, but I saw it later in the summer. The movie had the tag line, "In everyone's life there's a summer of '42," so apparently I was the only guy on earth to be a teenager and not have a sexual experience with an older woman.

  • Birthday: Bill DeVoe celebrates his 16th birthday on Sunday, June 27th by having to attend both the morning and evening services at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Maria, CA. Bored to death during the evening service, Billy sneaks out of his pew, climbs the stairs up to the second floor office, then using a ladder stored in the corner climbs up into the faux steeple attic and pretends he's a prisoner in the Tower of London.

  • Film: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is released June 30th starring Gene Wilder. This film becomes an instant classic that no Hollywood producer would ever dare to remake, correct? It would be like doing a remake of the classic Wizard of Oz?
July 2
  • Film: Shaft is released starring Richard Roundtree. The "Theme from Shaft" by Issac Hayes wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Grammy for Best Original Score for a Motion Picture. Now a remake of Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson, that's right on! 
    "You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother (Shut your mouth)"
July 3
  • Died: Jim Morrison, 27, American singer and leader of The Doors,
    was found dead in his bathtub in Paris, France. The cause of death remains uncertain, but an unintentional heroin overdose was the most popular theory.
July 6
  • Died: Louis Armstrong, 69, American jazz trumpeter and singer

  • Album: At Fillmore East is the first live album by American rock band the Allman Brothers Band, and their third release overall. Produced by Tom Dowd. I believe I first see this album in the hands of friend, Gary Hill.
The Two-Lane Blacktop cast with the souped-up '55 Chevy 150

July 7
  • Film: Two-Lane Blacktop is released starring James Taylor, Dennis Wilson, Warren Oates and Laurie Bird. Unbelievably, James says he has never seen the movie!  James' acting debut is a solid performance complete with him (I think) wearing the sweater that then girlfriend Joni Mitchell knitted for him on the movie set. Over the years, Two-Lane Blacktop has risen in stature among critics and is a must see that authentically captures the early 1970's much more than many big budget pictures of the day. Okay James, it's been 50 years and time to see what a wonderful film this is.
July 20
  • Birthday: Gary Hills celebrates his 21st birthday by buying his first six pack of beer (Molson) and a bottle of Annie Green Springs Country Cherry "pop wine" for his date. 
July 21
  • Album: Mirror by Emitt Rhodes is his third solo album and released by Dunhill Records that never promotes this underrated artist who wrote and played all the instruments on Mirror. Emmit Rhodes has been often called, "The One Man Beatles," and there is in fact a 2009 documentary with the same title. I've included the link here on IMBd but as yet can't find it on any of the streaming services. Anyway, The Beatles/Paul McCartney influence is evident throughout all of Emitt's music and I collected his four solo albums from 1970-73 from used records shop either in San Luis Obispo or San Diego CA.
July 23
  • Born: Alison Krauss, American country musician, in Decatur, Illinois
August 1
  • In New York City, 40,000 people attended the Concert for Bangladesh, a pair of fundraising concerts organized by former Beatle George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar in order to raise money for UNICEF to provide humanitarian relief to refugees of Bangladesh. Other musical performers for the concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden were Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger.
  • The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, starring husband-and-wife singing duo Salvatore "Sonny" Bono and Cherilyn "Cher" Lapiere, premiered as a summer replacement series on the CBS network, to run for six consecutive summer nights. The variety show was popular enough that it would be added to the CBS regular schedule in December.

  • Album: Cheech And Chong is the [August] 1971 self-titled debut album of Cheech & Chong, produced by Lou Adler. It features "Dave", one of their most famous routines. The album peaked at #28 on the Billboard 200 the week of March 4, 1972. The album was nominated for Best Comedy Recording at the 14th Grammy Awards, but lost to Lily Tomlin's 'This Is a Recording.'

  • Album: Himself is the debut album by Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan, first released in the United Kingdom in August, 1971. That album did not include his smash hit, Alone Again (Naturally) that was packaged with the Himself album in February, 1972 in the United States. I purchased that album pictured here in early 1972. I thought it was kind of quirky but loved the hell out of this album because it was so different. Not only different, but directly influenced by Paul McCartney in its lyrical word play, character development and musical arrangement. Alone Again (Naturally) is one of those songs you either loved or hated. My wife still hates the song 50 years later as she heard me add it to the playlist, but I still love it. In 1972, it spent 6 weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 100 and was ranked the #2 song for that year.  
August 13
  • Died: King Curtis (stage name for Curtis Montgomery), 37, Grammy Award-winning American saxophonist and posthumous inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was stabbed to death while trying to walk up the steps of his Manhattan apartment.
August 14
  • Album: The powerhouse of the playlist this week is The Who's, Who's Next released on this date. It's one of the greatest rock 'n' roll albums of all-time and a greatest hits volume all by itself.

    I remember riding in cars in the 70's when you just had the standard AM/FM radio. The Who were one of those bands that could literally break through the crappy car speaker and you could isolate in your mind and ears following the wonderful drumming of Keith Moon or the powerful bass of John Entwistle.

    I think most everyone reading this post literally wore out their first vinyl of the album and later bought the CD in the early 80's as one of the first CD's they ever purchased.

  • Birthday: Paul Hobbs celebrates his 17th birthday playing guitars with his old pal Paul Tognazzini, and then later with dad George, watch on TV the San Francisco Giants beat the New York Mets 6-5 in 10 innings. Paul's mom Blanche makes him his favorite chocolate cake with chocolate frosting served with vanilla ice cream.
August 21
  • Birthday: Ken Forman celebrates his 18th birthday as his family chips in to buy him two tickets (one for Vicki Grocott) to see his favorite band,  The Who play their last U.S. date 8/19/71 of the summer on their Who's Next Tour in Chicago.

    However, Ken first gets an even bigger surprise in the mail that states he has to appear for jury duty in an upcoming murder trial that is expected to last a year. Ken appeals to the judge, prosecuting and defending attorneys all of whom unanimously release him from the trial when he explains he has tickets to see, "The f**king Who!" 

    Ken and Vicki go to the concert which kicks off with Summertime Blues, have a wonderful summer week in Chicago, and live happily ever after.

  1. July 1971 (Wikipedia)
  2. August 1971 (Wikipedia)
  3. 1971 in Music, July (Wikipedia)
  4. 1971 in Music, August (Wikipedia)
  5. 1971 in Film, July-September (Wikipedia)
  6. Cheech and Chong (Album)
    August, 1971 (Wikipedia)


  1. Nice work Doug. I especially like the way you wrapped up Ken’s piece. What judge wouldn’t bend over backwards to accommodate somebody with Who tickets in 1971?

  2. I will never forget when I auditioned for the pilot of Star Trek VOYAGER, I squatted down to sign in and the previous name above mine was....Jennifer O'Neill! Then I noticed two beautiful legs right next to me. I followed the legs up and there she was... smiling down on me!

  3. Your blog today also brought another memory: We toured a show to Guam in 1974. We were invited to the admiral's office where he would explain the military importance of the island. The admiral turned out to be Jim Morrison's father. We were then invited to have tea with his mother. Looking thru baby books of Jim Morrison his mother said "He was such a beautiful baby. Too bad he turned out to be such a freak" You might remember his one lyric "Father I want to kill you, Mother I want to F%@K you"


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