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1915–Guitarist and inventor, Les Paul, is born Lester William Polsfus in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He took a phonograph needle and used it to amplify his acoustic guitar and wired it up to a radio speaker. He later devised the first solid-body electric guitar, and engineered innovations such as overdubbing, the close-mike technique, the record delay echo, and many other tricks now taken for granted in recording studios.



BC 411–The Athenian coup succeeds, forming a short-lived oligarchy.

53–Roman Emperor Nero marries Claudia Octavia.

68–Roman Emperor, Claudius Nero, commits suicide at age 31, imploring his secretary, Epaphroditus, to slit his throat. This ends the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and begins the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

721–Odo of Aquitaine defeats the Moors in the Battle of Toulouse.

747–Abu Muslim Khorasani begins an open revolt against Umayyad rule, which is carried out under the sign of the Black Standard.

1311–Duccio's Maestà Altarpiece, a seminal artwork of the early Italian Renaissance, is unveiled and installed in Siena Cathedral in Siena, Italy.

1534–Jacques Cartier is the first European to discover the Saint Lawrence River.

1640–Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (1658-1705), is born Leopold Ignaz Joseph Balthasar Felician in Vienna, Austria.

1650–The Harvard Corporation, the more powerful of the two administrative boards of Harvard, is established. It is the first legal corporation in the Americas.

1661–Tsar Feodor III of Russia is born in Moscow, Russia.

1672–Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia (1682-1725), is born Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov in Moscow, Tsardom of Russia.

1681–William Lilly, astrologer, author, and almanac compiler, dies in Hersham, Surrey, England, at age 80. In 1644, he published the first of many popular astrological texts, and in 1647, he published Christian Astrology, a huge compendium of astrological technique. This was the first of its kind to be printed in the English language rather than Latin, and is said to have tutored "a nation in crisis in the language of the stars." By 1659, Lilly's fame was widely acknowledged and his annual almanac was achieving sales of around 30,000 copies a year.

1732–James Oglethorpe is granted a royal charter for the colony of the future U.S. state of Georgia.

1762–British forces begin the Siege of Havana and capture the city during the Seven Years' War.

1772–The British schooner, Gaspee, is burned in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.

1815–Luxembourg declares independence from the French Empire.

1822–Charles Graham receives a patent for false teeth.

1856–Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa, heading west for Salt Lake City, Utah, carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts.

1862–Stonewall Jackson concludes his successful Shenandoah Valley Campaign with a victory in the Battle of Port Republic during the Civil War. His tactics used in the campaign are now studied by militaries around the world.

1870–English novelist, Charles Dickens, dies in England, at age 63. He had virtually worked himself to death doing public lecture tours to support his large family. He is buried in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey, in London, England.

1873–The Alexandra Palace in London, England, burns down after being open for only 16 days.

1885–The Treaty of Tientsin is signed to end the Sino-French War, with China eventually giving up Tonkin and Annam (most of present-day Vietnam) to France.

1891–Songwriter, Cole Porter, is born in Peru, Indiana. He learned to play the piano at the age of eight, went off to Yale University where he composed football songs, and then wrote both music and lyrics for musicals. His 1934 show Anything Goes, included the song I Get a Kick Out of You. Porter also wrote such sophisticated songs as Night and Day, Begin the Beguine, What Is This Thing Called Love, and I've Got You Under My Skin.

1900–Birsa Munda, an important figure in the Indian independence movement, dies of cholera in a British prison.

1900–Fred Waring, is born in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. He was a musician, conductor, and inventor of the Waring blender.

1902–The Automat Restaurant, the first restaurant with food vending machines, opens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1908–Actor, Robert Cummings, is born Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings in Joplin, Missouri. From 1955 through 1959, Cummings starred on a successful sitcom The Bob Cummings Show (known as Love That Bob in reruns). Cummings starred in another sitcom, My Living Doll, which co-starred Julie Newmar as Rhoda the robot. He appeared in the films The Devil and Miss Jones, Saboteur, Lucky Me, Dial M For Murder, How to Be Very, Very Popular, My Geisha, Beach Party, The Carpetbaggers, and What a Way to Go!

1909–The London Symphony performs its first concert.

1911–Temperance movement activist, Carry Nation, dies in Leavenworth, Kansas, at age 64. She is particularly noteworthy for attacking alcohol-serving establishments (most often taverns) with a hatchet.

1915–William Jennings Bryan resigns as Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State over a disagreement regarding the United States' handling of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

1915–Guitarist and inventor, Les Paul, is born Lester William Polsfus in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He took a phonograph needle and used it to amplify his acoustic guitar and wired it up to a radio speaker. He later devised the first solid-body electric guitar, and engineered innovations such as overdubbing, the close-mike technique, the record delay echo, and many other tricks now taken for granted in recording studios.

1916–Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense (1961-1968), is born Robert Strange McNamara in San Francisco, California. He later served as President of the World Bank (1968-1981).

1922–Playwright, George Axelrod, is born in New York, New York. He wrote the plays The Seven Year Itch, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, and Goodbye Charlie. He wrote the screenplays for The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Manchurian Candidate, Paris When It Sizzles, Lord Love a Duck, and The Lady Vanishes. His mother was silent film actress, Beatrice Carpenter.

1925–Businessman and philanthropist, Herman Sarkowsky, is born in Gera, Thuringia, Germany. He was a co-founder of two Pacific Northwest sports franchises, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks.

1928–Charles Kingsford Smith completes the first trans-Pacific flight in a Fokker Trimotor monoplane, the Southern Cross.

1930–Reporter, Jake Lingle, of The Chicago Tribune, is killed during rush hour at the Illinois Central train station by Leo Vincent Brothers, allegedly over a $100,000 gambling debt owed to Al Capone.

1931–Comedian, Jackie Mason, is born Yacov Moshe Maza in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

1931–Actor, Joe Santos, is born Joseph John Minieri, Jr. in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known the role of LAPD Sergeant Dennis Becker on the TV series The Rockford Files. He appeared in the films Panic in Needle Park, The Blue Knight, Shamus, Zandy’s Bride, Blue Thunder, Fear City, Revenge, Trial by Jury, and The Postman.

1934–Donald Duck makes his debut in The Wise Little Hen.

1934–Singer, Jackie Wilson, is born Jack Leroy Wilson, Jr. in Detroit, Michigan. Known as "Mr. Excitement," he was considered a master showman, and one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock n' roll history. A young Michael Jackson watched Wilson from the wings while he performed and was inspired by his fantastic moves. Among his 24 “Top 40” hits is Reet Petite, Lonely Teardrops, That’s Why (I Love You So), Baby Workout, and (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.

1936–Novelist, George Orwell, marries Eileen Maud O'Shaugnessy at St. Mary's Church.

1941–Jon Lord, keyboardist for Deep Purple, is born John Douglas Lord in Leicester, England. He was a Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms.

944–In World War II, 99 civilians are hanged from lampposts and balconies by German troops in Tulle, France, in reprisal for maquisards attacks.

1944–The Soviet Union invades East Karelia and the previously Finnish part of Karelia, occupied by Finland since 1941.

1945–The 71st Kentucky Derby: Eddie Arcaro, riding Hoop Jr., wins in 2:07.

1946–Rama VIII, King of Siam (1935-1946), dies from a gun wound at age 21, and King Bhumibol Adulyadej ascends to the throne of Thailand.

1947–Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, is born in London, England.

1950–Trevor Bolder, bass player for Uriah Heep, is born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

1951–Graphic designer and artist, Michael Patrick Cronan, is born in San Francisco, California. He was one of the founders of the San Francisco Bay Area postmodern movement in graphic design that became known as the "Pacific Wave," and a recognized corporate identity designer, acknowledged for the naming and the identities of TiVo, Verio, and Amazon Kindle.

1953–A tornado hits the town of Worcester, Massachusetts, killing 90 people. The northeastern states are usually free of destructive tornadoes, however severe thunderstorms in Michigan and Ohio the previous day, brought severe weather to New Hampshire and central Massachusetts. The tornado, up to a mile wide at times, tracked 46 miles through Worcester County, mangling steel towers built to withstand winds of 375 mph. Debris from the tornado fell in the Boston area and the Atlantic Ocean.

1954–Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, lashes out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during hearings on whether Communism has infiltrated the military, giving McCarthy the famous rebuke, "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

1957-Anthony Eden resigns as British Prime Minister.

1957–The first ascent of Broad Peak is made by Fritz Wintersteller, Marcus Schmuck, Kurt Diemberger, and Hermann Buhl.

1957–The Quarry Men audition for "Mr. Star-Maker," Carroll Levis, at one of Levis' TV Star Search shows, which he puts on all over Britain. Unfortunately, The Quarry Men fail to make it past the first round of competition, losing out to The Sunnyside Skiffle Group.

1958–Queen Elizabeth II officially opens London's Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, England.

1958–A chart topper: Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley.

1958–Actor, Robert Donat, dies of cerebral thrombosis in London, England, at age 53. Donat suffered from chronic asthma, which affected his career and limited him to appearing in only 20 films. Those who knew him suspected that his asthma may have been psychosomatic, and Donat, himself, thought that his illness had a 90% basis in his psychology. At the time of his death, he may have been weakened by the asthma, but upon examination it was found that he had a brain tumor the size of an egg. He appeared in the films The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Count of Monte Cristo, The 39 Steps, The Citadel, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Magic Box, and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.

1959–The USS George Washington is launched. It is the first submarine to carry ballistic missiles.

1961–Actor, Michael J. Fox, is born Michael Andrew Fox in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is best known for the role of Alex Keaton on the TV sitcom Family Ties. He appeared in the films Back to the Future I, II, & III, Teen Wolf, Light of Day, The Secret of My Success, Bright Lights, Big City, Casualties of War, Doc Hollywood, The Hard Way, Greedy, and The American President. He is married to actress, Tracy Pollan.

1963–The Beatles, on the last night of their tour with Roy Orbison, perform at King George's Hall, Blackburn, Lancashire. It was during this tour that The Beatles' fans had started throwing “jelly babies” at them while they were performing on stage, owing to an off-the-cuff remark heard on television that George Harrison liked them. This would prove quite painful for the lads when they first begin to perform in America: unknowingly the U.S. fans would throw hard jelly beans at them, not the soft jelly candies that are eaten in the U.K.

1963–Actor, Johnny Depp, is born John Christopher Depp II in Owensboro, Kentucky. He starred in the TV series 21 Jump Street. He appeared in the films Platoon, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Sleepy Hollow, Blow, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, and Into the Woods.

1965–The civilian Prime Minister of South Vietnam, Phan Huy Quát, resigns.

1967–In the Six-Day War, Israel captures the Golan Heights from Syria.

1967–The Monkees appear “live” in concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

1968–President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a national day of mourning following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

1970–Princeton University gives Bob Dylan an honorary doctorate in music.

1971–Abdul Zahir is appointed Premier of Afghanistan.

1972–A cloudburst along the eastern slopes of the Black Hills of South Dakota produces as much as 14 inches of rain, resulting in the Rapid City flash flood disaster. The rains, which fall over four hours time, cause the Canyon Lake Dam to collapse, sending a wall of water through the city, drowning 237 people, and causing more than $100 million property damage.

1972–Bruce Springsteen signs a record deal with Columbia.

1973–Upon winning the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat becomes the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.

1974–Portugal and the Soviet Union establish diplomatic relations.

1977–The 50th National Spelling Bee: John Paola wins, spelling cambist.

1977–George and Pattie Harrison are granted a divorce. Pattie would later marry Harrison’s long-time friend, Eric Clapton.

1978–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens its priesthood to "all worthy men," ending a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men.

1979–The Ghost Train fire at Luna Park Sydney, in Australia, kills seven people.

1981–Actress, Natalie Portman, is born Neta-Lee Hershlag in Jerusalem. She has appeared in the films Heat, Everyone Says I Love You, Mars Attacks!, Anywhere But Here, Where the Heart Is, Zoolander, Cold Mountain, The Darjeeling Limited, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Black Swan. She is married to ballet dancer, Benjamin Millepied.

1981–Allen Ludden, host of the game show, Password, dies of stomach cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 63.

1983–Margaret Thatcher wins a second term by a landslide in the British General Election.

1983–The 56th National Spelling Bee: Blake Giddens wins, spelling purim.

1985–Thomas Sutherland, former Dean of Agriculture at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon, was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad members near his home He was released on November 18, 1991, at the same time as Terry Waite, having been held hostage for 2,353 days.

1985–The 39th NBA Championship: The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics, 4 games to 2.

1987–Lightning strike Tire Mountain, near Denver, Colorado, destroying two million tires out of a huge pile of six million.

1993–The U.S. Postal Service debuts its “Legends of American Music, Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues” stamp collection, featuring Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, Dinah Washington, and Elvis Presley.

1993–The Stanley Cup: The Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings, 4 games to 1.

1993–Singer-songwriter, Arthur Alexander, dies of a heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 53. His hits include You Better Move On, Anna (Go To Him), and Everyday I Have To Cry Some. Alexander is the only songwriter whose songs have been covered on studio albums by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Presley.

1993–Actress, Alexis Smith, dies of brain cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 72. She appeared in the films Steel Against the Sky, Dive Bomber, Gentleman Jim, The Constant Nymph, The Horn Blows at Midnight, Rhapsody in Blue, Night and Day, Of Human Bondgae, The Two Mrs. Carolls, Any Number Can Play, This Happy Feeling, The Young Philadelphians, Once Is Not Enough, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, and The Age of Innocence.

1995–Orchestra leader, Frank Chacksfield, dies of Parkinson's disease in Kent, England, at age 81. He was one of Britain's best known orchestra leaders internationally, and is estimated to have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. His material was "mood music," similar to that of Mantovani, including ballads, waltzes, and film themes.

1999–The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO sign a peace treaty.

1999–From her Dakota apartment in New York City, Yoko Ono issues a statement in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the John Lennon and Yoko’s Montreal Bed-In For Peace.

2008–Two bombs explode at a train station near Algiers, Algeria, killing at least 13 people.

2009–An explosion kills 17 people and injures at least 46 others at a hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan.

2009–The Library of Congress adds 25 records to the National Recording Registry, including My Generation by The Who, Rumble by Link Wray, and Tom Dooley by The Kingston Trio.

2010–At least 40 people are killed and more than 70 others are wounded, as an explosion rips through an evening wedding party in Arghandab, Kandahar.

2015–The Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army claims to have captured a major Syrian Army base, known as Brigade 52, in Daraa Governorate.

2015–Big band leader, James Last, dies in Palm Beach, Florida, at age 86. According to British Hit Singles & Albums, he is reported to have sold in excess of 80 million albums worldwide.

2015–Journalist, Vincent Musetto, dies of pancreatic cancer in the Bronx, New York, at age 74. For 40 years, he was a newspaper editor and film critic for The New York Post.

2016–The U.S. government endorses a plan to cede its oversight of the gatekeeper of Internet addresses to the broader online community. Commerce Department says that the proposal from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meets the criteria set by the U.S. The plan aims to maintain Internet governance under a “multi-stakeholder” model, which avoids control of the online ecosystem by any single governmental body.

2016–Thailand celebrates the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the Thai throne.

2016–The 64th annual conference of the secretive Bilderberg Group takes place at the Taschenbergpalais Hotel in Dresden, Germany.

2016–A U.S. Appeals Court rules there is no Second Amendment protection for concealed weapons, upholding a California law that does not consider "general self-defense" sufficient for a license.

2016–Israel suspends 83,000 entry permits for Palestinians for Ramadan, following a mass shooting in downtown Tel Aviv that kills four people and injures 17 others.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor; a vintage ad for false teeth; Cole Porter; Carry Nation; George Axelrod; Jackie Wilson; Michael Patrick Cronan; Queen Elizabeth opens the Gatwick Airport in London, England; Johnny Depp; a summer storm over the Black Hills of South Dakota; Natalie Portman; the Bessie Smith Legends of American Music, Rock & Roll, and Rhythm & Blues stamp; Frank Chacksfield; and James Last.

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