In the music
- On January 31st, over 40,000 mourners file past gospel singer Mahalia Jackson's open casket in Chicago's Great Salem Baptist Church to pay their respects.
- Diana Ross stars in the film biography of Billie Holiday's Lady Sings the Blues. The soundtrack went to No 1 in the US charts and Ross was nominated for an Academy Award.
- After the success of Shaft, blaxploitation movie soundtracks reached their artistic peak. Marvin Gaye produced the superb Trouble Man album. Bobby Womack, assisted by JJ Johnson, showcased some of his finest soul tracks on Across 110th St However, the highlight of this period was undeniably Curtis Mayfield's Superfly.
- Disco fever started to take prominence in clubland with the release of classic tracks such as Manu Dibango's Soul Makossa.
- Al Green releases his fourth album Lets Stay Together and enjoys his first No 1 hit with the title track. In the same year he releases another album I'm Still In Love with You.
- Bill Withers writes the classic Lean On Me based on his experiences growing up, which lands at No 1 in the US charts. It became a hit cover in the 1980s for Club Nouveau. It was also the title theme of a 1989 movie starring Morgan Freeman.
- A new band by the name of The Commodores opens for the Jackson 5 tour and is signed to Motown. Berry Gordy severs ties with Detroit and takes his hit making company to Los Angeles.
- In Jamaica, 16-year-old Dennis Brown records his classic hit, Money in my Pocket which he re-releases in 1979, achieving even more success second time round.