Sunday, July 01, 2012

Ten Great Songs From One Great Week
The songs the radio played this week in history

July 4-10, 1976

Operation Entebbe - On 27 June 1976, Air France Flight 139, originating from Tel Aviv, Israel, carrying 248 passengers and a crew of 12, took off from Athens, Greece, heading for Paris. Soon after the 12:30 pm takeoff, the flight was hijacked by two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann. The hijackers diverted the flight to Benghazi, Libya where it was held on the ground for seven hours for refuelling, during which time a female hostage was released who pretended to be having a miscarriage. The plane left Benghazi, and at 3:15 pm on the 28th, more than 24 hours after the flight's original departure, it arrived at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

At Entebbe, the four hijackers were joined by at least four others, supported by the pro-Palestinian forces of Uganda's President, Idi Amin. They demanded the release of 40 Palestinians held in Israel and 13 other detainees imprisoned in Kenya, France, Switzerland, and West Germany. They threatened that if these demands were not met, they would begin to kill hostages on July 1. The hijackers deliberately sorted the hostages into two groups—Israeli nationals and others, or according to other sources – Jews and Gentiles. 

The hijackers held the passengers hostage for a week in the transit hall of Entebbe Airport—now the old terminal. Some hostages were released, but 106 remained captive. The hijackers threatened to kill them if Israel did not comply with their demands. A total of 85 Israeli and non-Israeli Jewish hostages remained, as well as 20 others, most of whom were the crew of the Air France plane.

In the week prior to the raid, Israel tried a number of political avenues to obtain the release of the hostages. Many sources indicate that the Israeli cabinet was prepared to release Palestinian prisoners if a military solution seemed unlikely to succeed. A retired IDF officer, Baruch "Burka" Bar-Lev, had known Idi Amin for many years and was considered to have a strong personal relationship with him. At the request of the cabinet he spoke with Amin on the phone many times, attempting to obtain the release of the hostages, without success. The Israeli government also approached the US government to deliver a message to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, asking him to request Amin to release the hostages.

On the July 1 deadline, the Israeli government offered to negotiate with the hijackers in order to extend the deadline to July 4. This extension of the hostage deadline would prove crucial in allowing Israeli forces enough time to get to Entebbe. On July 3, the Israeli cabinet approved the rescue mission, under the command of Major General Yekutiel "Kuti" Adam with Matan Vilnai as the Deputy Commander. Brigadier General Dan Shomron was appointed to command the operation on the ground.

The task force's route flew over Sharm al-Sheikh and down the international flight path over the Red Sea, mostly flying at a height of no more than 30 m (100 ft) to avoid radar detection by Egyptian, Sudanese, and Saudi Arabian forces. Near the south outlet of the Red Sea the C-130s turned south and passed south of Djibouti. From there, they went to a point northeast of Nairobi, Kenya, likely across Somalia and the Ogaden area of Ethiopia. They turned west, passing through the African Rift Valley and over Lake Victoria.

Two Boeing 707 jets followed the cargo planes. The first Boeing contained medical facilities and landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. The commander of the operation, General Yekutiel Adam, was on board the second Boeing, which circled over Entebbe Airport during the raid.

The Israeli forces landed with their cargo bay doors already open. A black Mercedes and accompanying Land Rovers were taken along to give the impression that the Israeli troops driving from the landed aircraft to the terminal building were an escort for a returning Amin, or other high-ranking official. The Mercedes and its escort vehicles were quickly driven by the Israeli assault team members to the airport terminal in the same fashion as Amin. Along the way, two Ugandan sentries, who were aware that Idi Amin had recently purchased a white Mercedes to replace his black one, ordered this procession of vehicles to stop. The commandos shot the sentries with silenced pistols, but did not kill either of them. As they pulled away, an Israeli commando in one of the Land Rovers that followed the Mercedes noticed that the sentries were still alive, and immediately killed them with a burst from his unsuppressed assault rifle. Fearing premature alerting of the hijackers, the assault team was quickly sent into action.

The Israelis sprang from their vehicles and burst towards the terminal. The hostages were in the main hall of the airport building, directly adjacent to the runway. Upon entering the terminal, the commandos were shouting through a megaphone, "Stay down! Stay down! We are Israeli soldiers," in both Hebrew and English. Jean-Jacques Maimoni, a 19 year-old French immigrant to Israel who chose to identify himself as an Israeli Jew to the hijackers even though he also had a French passport—stood up and was killed when Israeli company commander Muki Betzer and another soldier mistook him for a terrorist and fired at him. Another hostage, Pasco Cohen, 52, the manager of an Israeli medical insurance fund, was also fatally wounded by gunfire from the commandos. In addition, a third hostage, 56-year-old Ida Borochovitch, a Russian Jew who had emigrated to Israel, was killed in the crossfire.

According to hostage Ilan Hartuv, the only hijacker that entered the hall where the hostages were assembled after the start of the operation, was Wilfried Böse. At first he pointed his Kalashnikov rifle at hostages, but "immediately came to his senses" and ordered them to find shelter in the restroom. According to Hartuv, Böse fired only at Israeli soldiers and not at hostages.

A C-130 Hercules in front of old terminal after arriving with food and supplies for the Rwandan refugee camps in 1994. Bullet hole damage from the 1976 raid is still visible. At one point, an Israeli commando called out in Hebrew, "Where are the rest of them?", referring to the hijackers. The hostages pointed to a connecting door of the airport's main hall, into which the Israeli commandos threw several hand grenades. They then entered the room and shot dead the three remaining hijackers, thus completing their assault. Meanwhile, the other three C-130 Hercules had landed and unloaded armoured personnel carriers, which were to be used for defense during the anticipated hour of refuelling, to destroy Ugandan MiG fighter planes at the airport to prevent them from pursuing the Israelis after they left Entebbe Airport; and for intelligence-gathering.

For more on this daring and successful mission, click here.

Music Charts:

#1 Single -- "Silly Love Songs" by Wings
#1 Album -- "Wings at the Speed of Sound" by Wings

Other Events:

1054 – A supernova is seen by Chinese, Arab, and possibly Amerindian observers near the star Zeta Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day.
1754 - George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.
1776 - The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congres
1802 – At West Point, New York the United States Military Academy opens.
1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.
1863Siege of Vicksburg – Vicksburg, Mississippi surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant after a 47 day siege.
1918 – Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family. 
1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, tells a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself "The luckiest man on the face of the earth" as he announces his retirement from major league baseball.
1950 – The first broadcast by Radio Free Europe.
1966 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into United States law. The act goes into effect the next year.
1976 - US Bicentenial, featuring Operation Sail in New York Harbor takes place
1987 – In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (aka the "Butcher of Lyon") is convicted of crimes against humanity and is sentenced to life imprisonment.
1997 – NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center.

Devil Woman -- Cliff Richard

This was an uncharacteristic song for Cliff Richard, but it clicked at the time, as films about supernatural horror like The Exorcist and Carrie were popular. In the song, a man gets jinxed by a black cat with evil yellow eyes, and he goes to a fortune teller, who might be a witch, to break the spell. But it turns out she put the spell on him in the first place. This was Richard's biggest hit in the US. He was much more popular in his native England.

You Should Be Dancing -- Bee Gees

Following the hugely successful comeback LP Main Course, the Bee Gees hoped to again work with famed producer Arif Mardin, the man who helped the brothers develop their new soul/disco sound. However, due to contractual obligations, he was unavailable for the follow up album. The boys then enlisted Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson who had worked with Mardin during the Main Course sessions. This production team would carry the Bee Gees through the rest of the 1970s. The next album, Children of the World, was drenched in Barry's newfound falsetto and Blue Weaver's synthesiser disco licks. Led off by the single "You Should Be Dancing," it pushed the Bee Gees to a level of stardom they had not previously achieved in the US. But this was just the beginning. A year later, songs they had written for their next LP (as well as "You Should Be Dancing") were featured instead in a expected-to-be-insignificant film called Saturday Night Fever.

Baby, I Love Your Way -- Peter Frampton

This is a very romantic love ballad. Frampton is telling his girl that he loves everything about her and wants to be with her day and night. This went nowhere when Frampton first released it as a single in 1975. The next year, he included it on his live album, Frampton Comes Alive, and it helped the album become a huge hit. The live version was the second single released from the album, after "Show Me The Way" and before "Do You Feel Like We Do."

This Masquerade -- George Benson

Leon Russell wrote this song and originally released it as the B-side of his 1972 hit "Tight Rope." George Benson was a well respected Jazz guitarist when he released his album Breezin'. Most of the album was typical of his Jazz guitar style, but this song, which was the only one on the album containing vocals, became his first hit. It set the stage for more popular vocal recordings by Benson. Other artists to record this song include The Carpenters, Shirley Bassey, Robert Goulet, Helen Reddy, and Kenny Rogers. This song won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1977.

You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine -- Lou Rawls

This song was written by the legendary songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. They were the powerhouse producers behind most of what we today call the Philadelphia Sound, and they wrote this song specifically for Rawls. The track helped lure Rawls to Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International label, as he was impressed that they took the time to understand his voice and write something to suit it. Rawls had bad experiences at his previous labels, Capitol and MGM, and was happy to find a good fit in PI. This is not so much a love song as a warning to the girl that if she lets this guy go, she'll end up spending the rest of her life looking for someone just like him. The relationship is at a turning point, and the man won't beg her to stay, but makes it very clear what will happen if she doesn't: "You're gonna miss my lovin'." At the time, Kenny Gamble was going through a divorce from the singer Dee Dee Sharp. This roller skating rink favorite was also a breakout hit for Lou Rawls; though he'd been releasing singles and charting in the top 40 for a full decade, this was his first visit to the top 10 and his first multi-chart #1.

Today’s The Day -- America

After a long string of top 40 hits, including two #1's and a series of hit albums, America had reached their peak. Their greatest hits LP was still high on the charts when they recorded its sixth studio album at Caribou Ranch near Nederland, Colorado, inspiring the album's title, Hideaway. With George Martin once again directing, it saw the band's popularity severely faltering, as the two singles, "Today's the Day" and "Amber Cascades", only managed to reach number 23 and 75 (respectively) in the Billboard charts. After one more unsuccessful album, Dan Peek, who sang lead on this song, departed for a career as a Christian artist, leaving America a two-man band. It would be 6 years before the band came back to the charts with "You Can Do Magic."

You’re My Best Friend -- Queen

Queen bass player John Deacon wrote this, as all 4 members of the group wrote at least one of their hits. Deacon wrote this about his wife and wanted to write a song with an electric piano. However,  Freddie Mercury did not want to play it: "I refused to play that damn thing. It's tiny and horrible and I don't like them. Why play those when you have a lovely superb piano," Freddie said. So John took the electric piano home, learned to play it and started writing this song. This was the follow-up single to "Bohemian Rhapsody." It was also Queen's second song (after "Bohemian Rhapsody") to have an accompanying promo video filmed for it.

Love Is Alive -- Gary Wright

In 1959, Wright made his first commercial recording with Billy Markle as the duo Gary and Billy for the 20th Century Fox Records record label. The songs released were "Working After School" and "Lisa". In the 1960s, Wright went to Europe to continue studying psychology. In 1967, he joined the band Spooky Tooth as singer and keyboardist. After Spooky Tooth split in 1974, Wright continued his solo career, culminating in his album The Dream Weaver and its title track "Dream Weaver". The single peaked at #2 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976, sold over one million copies. His follow-up single "Love Is Alive" also reached #2, for two weeks. However, Wright's subsequent releases were not nearly as popular, either critically or commercially, and his career quickly stalled. But Wright continued to make albums throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Misty Blue -- Dorothy Moore

This was originally a Country song written in 1966 for Eddy Arnold by Nashville veteran Bob Montgomery, who was Buddy Holly's high school singing partner. The song reached a bigger audience after it was covered by Ella Fitzgerald the following year. Joe Simon recorded the original R/B version in 1972. Dorothy Moore was originally a member of the female vocal group The Poppies, who had a #56 hit in 1966 in the US with the song "Lullaby of Love." Moore went solo in the mid-'70s and her version of this song became her biggest hit. On backing vocals was her former Poppies bandmate Fern Kinney, who later in 1980 enjoyed a #1 hit in the UK with "Together We Are Beautiful."

Afternoon Delight -- Starland Vocal Band

This is a double entendre song named after the late-afternoon appetizer menu at the restaurant Clyde's Of Georgetown in Washington, DC, where they have a gold record from this song hanging in the bar. That's the official explanation at least: the other meaning is daytime sex. The Starland Vocal Band delivered 4-part harmonies with the married couple Bill and Taffy Danoff (Taffy Nivert after they split up), and another couple: Margot Chapman and Jon Carroll (the baby of the bunch, he was just 19 when the song was released). Taffy spiced up the stage banter when they performed this song, explaining that the title came from the menu, but adding some version of "...then Bill came home and we had our own Afternoon Delight. We wrote the song instead of having a cigarette." Bill says the songwriting was far from sexy: he wrote it over the course of six months, often on Sundays when he was watching Redskins football. "All that energy coming out of the tube gets my creative juices flowing," he told People magazine. This was the only hit for The Starland Vocal Band, who won the Grammy for Best New Artist of 1976, beating out the band Boston.


Making Our Dreams Come True -- Cyndi Grecco

Cyndi Grecco was an American singer who sang this theme tune to the popular 1970s American television show, Laverne & Shirley. Titled "Making Our Dreams Come True," the song (in which Grecco was accompanied by the Ron Hicklin Singers) was also put out as a single and charted at #25. The song came out on the small Private Stock label. An album followed, though a second disco-themed single "Dancing, Dancing" failed to chart. She also provided the theme to another 1970s ABC television sitcom, Blansky's Beauties. Nevertheless, Grecco remains a one-hit wonder.

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