Official Vietnam casualty figures are reported for the decade Jan. 1, 1961, through 1970: 44,241 U.S. troops killed in action, 9,064 dead outside of combat and 293,529 wounded.
january 7, 1971
big day: jan 25, 1971
Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of theJefferson Airplanebecome the proud parents of a baby girl, which the couple (not married) names China. Originally, the child was to be named “god,” or at least so claimed by Grace in October 1970. “No last name, no capital G. And she can change her name when she feels like it.” China checked in weighing six and one-quarter pounds.
Charles Manson and three female members of his “family” are found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit murder and seven counts of murder in the first degree and are originally sentenced to death, but this sentence was commuted in 1972 to life, after California, in following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against capital punishment, abolished its death penalty. The convictions stem from the August 9, 1969, murder and mutilation of Hollywood actressSharon Tate and four guests at the Bel Air mansion that Tate and her husband, Roman Polanski, rented, and the similar deaths by stabbing of Leno andRosemary LaBianca in their Los Angeles home. In December, Manson, a self-described “evangelist” and sometime-associate ofBeach Boy Dennis Wilson, was arrested along with members of his cult of followers and charged with the crimes, beginning one of the most sensational murder trials in recent history. During the trial, it was learned that Manson regarded theBeatles as angels who communicated to him through their music, in particular “Helter Skelter,” “Piggies,” “Revolution 9″and other songs on the “The White Album” (The Beatles).
In a coup d’état, Major General Idi Aminestablishes himself as president of Uganda; he will dominate and pillage his own country over an eight-year reign of dictatorial tyranny and bloodletting.
Bob Dylan‘s one-hour-long documentary film,Eat the Document, is screened at New York’s Academy of Music (later known as the Palladium). Much of the footage is from Dylan’s 1966 U.K. tour with theBand, filmed by D.L. Pennebaker, who also did Dylan’s Don’t Look Back. Performances shown include “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and other classics. But the film is fragmentary and difficult for most in the audience to latch onto.Eat the Document is not shown on TV, as the reclusive star had hoped for, until ten years later.
Southern California is hit by a major earthquake (6.6 on the Richter scale), which kills 62 and causes billions of dollars in damage.
With American air support, a South Vietnamese force of 5,000 invades Laos. While the Defense Department’s March draft call-up reaches 17,000, the White House assures Congress these actions will quicken the end of the war and the return of all U.S. troops. Over the next week, anitwar protests erupt nationwide, with student groups calling for a major antiwar demonstration in Washington, D.C. Congressman Paul McCloskey (R-CA) suggests impeachment as a negative incentive for President Nixon to alter his policy on Vietnam.
How does one top a rock opera? Not easily.The Who‘s Pete Townshend tries, however, and on this date the Who play the first of a failed series of shows for “Lifehouse,” a multimedia event, which Townshend had hoped would “completely negate anybody’s desire to see rock in its present form.” But “Lifehouse” doesn’t work on stage, and Townshend scraps the two-record set he’d been planning. Instead, many of the songs are used for the Who’s next LP, Who’s Next,considered by many to be their finest.
Alan David Passaro, theHell’s Angel who was tried and later acquitted for the stabbing death ofMeredith Hunter at the Altamont Speedway in 1969, sues the Rolling Stones, charging that because the Mayslesbrothers’ film of the event, Gimme Shelter,showed the stabbing, he’d suffered an invasion of privacy.