1971 – Bob Dylan makes a special appearance at the Band’s New Year’s Eve concert at the New York Academy of Music, performing “Down In The Flood,” “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Don’t Ya Tell Henry” with them.
1971 – A young Stevie Ray Vaughan resolves to leave high school and move to Austin with his band Blackbird.
1971 – Salsa pioneer and Latin music composer Arsenio Rodriguez dies of pneumonia in Los Angeles. His fans knew him as “El Ciego Maravilloso” after a horse kick left him blind at age 7.
1971 – Soundtrack composer Max Steiner, who won Oscars for his scores to Since You Went Away and Now, Voyager, dies aged 83 in Los Angeles.
1971 – Sha Na Na performs tonight at Carnegie Hall. The MC for the event is the Who’s Keith Moon, one of their biggest fans.
1971 – Guitarist Noel Hogan of the Cranberries is born.
1971 – In today’s issue of Billboard is an interview with Grand Funk Railroad manager Terry Knight. He claims, “We are virtually devoid of radio play in major markets. Our only airplay comes from the ordinary stations that the major markets snicker at.”
1971 – Melanie Safka lead both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Cashbox Best Sellers chart with “Brand New Key”, a song that she would later say took her only fifteen minutes to write.
1971 – After Yoko Ono tries to take her daughter from father Tony Cox, a court awards custody of the child Kyoko to him. Ono is allowed to visit Kyoko, but only if she posts a $20,000 bond as a guarantee that she won’t kidnap the child.
1971 – Vocalist Charlie Fuqua, one of the legendary Ink Spots, dies in New Haven, Conn.
1971 – Jerry Lee Lewis divorces his cousin Myra Gale Brown. They married in 1957 when she was 13 years old.
1971 – At Harlem’s Apollo Theater, John Lennon and Yoko Ono appear at a benefit for the families of victims of the Attica State Prison riots.