March 19, 1976, is a Friday. Newspaper readers learn that Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho entered the presidential race yesterday, even though the race is well underway already. Also yesterday, Paul McCartney’s father, James, died at age 73, and the state of Kentucky officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. (It had rejected the amendment in 1865.) Today, closing arguments continue in the bank-robbery trial of heiress Patricia Hearst. In Sierra Madre, California, a bicentennial time capsule is buried under the flagpole of the city’s new police and fire building. The Garden State Rotary Club of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, holds its first meeting.

The Indiana Hoosiers defeat Alabama in the Mideast Regional semifinals of the NCAA basketball tournament. (On Sunday, they will qualify for the Final Four by beating Marquette, and will eventually win the national championship, going undefeated for the year.) Programs on TV tonight include The Rockford Files and Space: 1999. Celebrity guests on the recently renamed $20,000 Pyramid are Soupy Sales and All My Children actress Stephanie Braxton. Future TV actress Rachel Blanchard and future NBA player Andre Miller are born. Guitarist Paul Kossoff, formerly of Free and currently of Back Street Crawler, dies aboard an airplane flight after years of drug abuse; he’s 25.

Bette Midler plays Tarrytown, New York, the Electric Light Orchestra plays Boston, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band plays Kansas City, Kansas, Elvis Presley plays Johnson City, Tennessee, and Bad Company plays Dallas. On the Cash Box magazine chart for the week, “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen replaces the Miracles’ “Love Machine” at Number One. The hottest record on the chart is Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady,” blasting from 27 to 10 in its sixth week on. Also new to the Top 10 are “Sweet Thing” by Rufus at Number 7 and “Dream On” by Aerosmith at Number 8. Several hits that will last well into the bicentennial summer are further down the chart as well: Dorothy Moore’s “Misty Blue,” “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates, and ELO’s “Strange Magic.” A teenager in southern Wisconsin continues his behind-the-wheel driver’s ed instruction in eager anticipation of getting his license within a few weeks; whenever he’s in the car, the radio is always on. And whenever he’s not.

“Disco Lady,” Johnnie Taylor
“Strange Magic” (live in Boston, 3/19/76), Electric Light Orchestra

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J.A. Bartlett

Writer, raconteur, radio geek, beer snob. There's more of this pondwater at

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