Charlie Sloth

On Air Now 16:00 – 17:45

What happened in 1977

  • The leader of the South Africa's black consciousness movement Steve Biko dies in police custody after being arrested and detained under the Terrorism Act. His death causes outrage in South Africa and almost immediately doubt is cast over the alleged cause of his death. His funeral is attended by more than 15,000 mourners. Thousands more are barred from going by security forces. Steve Biko's contribution to the fight for freedom from apartheid is often placed as second only to Nelson Mandela's.
  • Martin Luther King's convicted killer James Earl Ray breaks out of jail. He is caught three days later after a massive manhunt.
  • The US TV premiere of Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize-winning Roots draws an audience of 130 million. The powerful story, tracing Haley's family back to the days of slavery, was the most-watched mini series of all time.
  • Star Wars opened at the cinema. The film eventually went on to be the highest grossing film of all time.
  • The Richard Pryor Show airs on US TV however due to his outrageous material, the show is axed after just four episodes.

In the music

  • DJ Kool Herc develops his spinning skills at block parties and coins the term hip hop.
  • Soulful house pioneer Larry Levan begins DJing at the Paradise Garage club in New York City. The legendary club and the music played there go on to form the basis of UK and US garage.
  • Grandmaster Flash forms the Furious Five and begins a new style of spinning records which he calls the quick mix theory, later termed cutting and scratching. His protege Grand Wizard Theodore went on to develop this style, taking scratching to a whole new level.
  • In the UK, Free by Deniece Williams hits the top of the charts and Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke reaches no.2.
  • Shalamar released their Motown medley Uptown Festival originally put together by Soul Train producer Dick Griffey and British RnB producer Simon Soussan.
  • The soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever is an enormous hit, beginning the huge popularity of film soundtracks.
  • Kraftwerk release their classic Trans Europe Express single which became the melody of Africa Bambaata's Planet Rock.
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers released their tenth album, the classic Exodus, on Tuff Gong Records. It featured tracks such as Jamming. Waiting In Vain, People Get Ready and Natural Mystic.

Key Releases



Grammy awards


In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions


Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this on your site please link back to this page. Find out more about using this content.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.