1976 1977

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On this day in music history: March 26, 1977 - “Go For Your Guns”, the fifteenth album by The Isley Brothers is released. Produced by The Isley Brothers, it is recorded at Bearsville Studios in Bearsville, NY from October 1976 - January 1977. Issued as the follow up to the bands third Platinum album “Harvest For The World”, The Isleys continue their streak as one of the top bands of the era. After working closely with musicians Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil on their previous four albums, “Go For Your Guns” is the first Isley Brothers album to be helmed completely by the band alone.  "Guns" sees the three younger members of the band stretching and flexing their creative muscle further. Led by the funky and socially conscious “The Pride” (#1 R&B, #63 Pop), the albums combination of stomping funk-rock and tender slow jams make it another instant success. The side two closer “Livin’ In The Life” (#4 R&B, #40 Pop) featuring the title track instrumental reprise becomes another fan favorite, and a highlight of The Isley Brothers live performances during this era. It spins off off a further single with the ballad “Voyage To Atlantis” (written mostly by lead guitarist Ernie Isley) (#50 R&B), which also becomes one of the bands most popular and loved songs. Though not released as a single A-side, the track “Footsteps In The Dark” becomes a huge R&B airplay favorite, as well as being widely sampled by several artists including Ice Cube (“It Was A Good Day”) and J. Dilla (“Won’t Do”). First issued on CD in the early 90’s, the album is remastered and reissued in 2015 with three additional bonus tracks added, and is included in the career retrospective box set “The Isley Brothers - The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959 - 1983). "Go For Your Guns” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number six on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Disneyland attraction tickets, 1975-1977

The Oakland County Child Killer

Between February 1976 and March 1977 four children were abducted and murdered within Oakland County, Michigan, triggering one of the biggest manhunts in US history. The victims - two boys and two girls - had all been snatched from the streets and held hostage for a number of days before their neatly arranged bodies were discovered by busy roads.

Two of the victims had been smothered, one had been strangled, and one had been killed with a shotgun. This is unusual because the vast majority of serial killers use the same or similiar methods to kill their victims. Also unusual was the fact the killer targeted children of both sexes, yet only the male victims had been sexually assaulted.

All the victims had been kept alive for a time before being killed - for as long as nineteen days in the case of the final victim - and autopsies revealed the killer had tied them up with heavy rope and kept them in a confined space.

The offender also appeared to follow the news coverage of the abductions; after the disappearance of Timothy King, his mother wrote a heartfelt letter to the Detroit News where she begged the abductor to return her son so she could serve him his favorite dinner, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Three days later Timothy’s body was discovered in a roadside ditch; the postmortem revealed he had eaten Kentucky Fried Chicken the day before being suffocated.

The press dubbed the case the"Babysitter Murders", and it was one of the first murder cases that featured heavily on the evening news alongside warnings about ‘stranger danger’. Dozens of people were questioned and thousands of police hours devoted to catching the killer. Unfortunately, despite a massive police effort, the Oakland County Child Killer has never been brought to justice.