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William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA. Songwriter Cole Porter will make reference to the landing in his 1934 song Anything Goes, and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys will ruminate on the impact of that landing in his song Plymouth Rock And Roll Over, co-written with Van Dyke Parks.
Roddy McCorley, a prominent participant in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, is executed in the town of Toomebridge, Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK, Europe. His exploits and execution will be recorded in the well-known ballad Roddy McCorley, written by Anna Johnston under the pen name Ethna Carbery. It will be re-popularised by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Dubliners, The Kingston Trio, and others during the folk music revival of the 1960s, and recorded in 1995 by Shane MacGowan And The Popes. Heather Dale will also record a version for her 2006 album The Hidden Path.
The Battle Of Waterloo is fought thirteen kilometres south of Brussels, Europe, between the French, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington from Britain and General Blucher from Prussia. Napoleon's defeat will inspire the opening verses of Abba's 1974 hit single, Waterloo, and will also provide inspiration for the 1959 USA hit single Waterloo by Stonewall Jackson.
Texas declares its independence from Mexico and an interim government is formed. In one way or another, the independently-minded state of Texas will inspire numerous songs, including the folk song The Yellow Rose Of Texas, the much-covered 1941 composition Deep In The Heart Of Texas, The WASP [Texas Radio and the Big Beat] by The Doors [1971], and 100% Texan by Kevin Fowler.
The Charles Dickens' serial Barnaby Rudge begins publication in the magazine Master Humphrey's Clock in London, England, UK. The story includes a character called Dolly Varden who will inspire a style of fashionable ladies' dress from about 1869 to 1875 in Britain and the United States. The fashion style will, in its turn inspire at least two popular songs Dressed In A Dolly Varden by G.W. Moore and Dolly Varden (1872) by Alfred Lee. She will also inspire The Dolly Varden Polka, an entertainment presented at The Theatre Royal in London, during the 1870s, plus The Dolly Varden Quadrille, a dance. In 1993, a rock band in Chicago, Illinois, USA, will adopt the name Dolly Varden.
When Mississippi River paddlewheel steamboat S.S. Sultana, explodes near Memphis, Tennessee, USA, an estimated 1,600 of the vessel's 2,400 passengers are killed, making it the worst maritime disaster in United States history. Jay Farrar of Son Volt will be inspired to write the song Sultana, telling the story of that fateful day. (1865)
Dmitri Mendeleev presents the first periodic table of the elements to the Russian Chemical Society in St. Petersburg, Russia, Europe. Ninety years later, satirist Tom Lehrer will be inspired to write and record The Elements, which sets the periodic table to music.
Thomas Edison makes a sound recording of the nursery rhyme 'Mary Had A Little lamb'. This is the first audio recording of the human voice. Edison's achievements will, of course, pave the way for the modern recorded music industry, but he will also inspire several songs specifically about him. Edison by The Bee Gees will appear on their 1969 album Odessa. Other songs about Edison include The Wizard of Menlo Park [2004] by Chumbawamba and Edison's Medicine [1991] by Tesla.
Harvey Logan, also known as Kid Curry, was an American outlaw and gunman who rode with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's infamous Wild Bunch gang during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On this day he shoots himself in the head to avoid capture by law officers near Parachute, Colorado, USA. The song Harvey Logan, recorded in 1963 by Dock Boggs for Folkways Records will be inspired by the outlaw's exploits.
Georgia Brown, the daughter of Georgia State House of Representatives member Dr George Thaddeus Brown, is born in Georgia, USA. Some time later, Dr. Brown will meet bandleader Ben Bernie and will tell him that subsequent to the baby girl's birth, the Georgia General Assembly had issued a declaration that she was to be named Georgia after the state. Bennie then had the idea for the song Sweet Georgia Brown which includes the lyric - "Georgia claimed her - Georgia named her." The song is usually listed as having been written in 1925 by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey (lyrics).
George Raymond Sherlock, Jr. is born in St. Augustine, Florida, USA. In the mid-1960s, Sherlock will become a PR man for Decca Records in Los Angeles, California, USA. In that capacity, he will work with The Rolling Stones who, in 1965, will be inspired by his personality to write their song Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man.
Texas bluesman Henry Thomas records Bull Doze Blues for Vocalion Records in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Al Wilson of Canned Heat will use Bull Doze Blues as the inspiration for their 1968 song Going Up The Country. Wilson will use Thomas' melody and his basic rhythm, but will arrange it for a rock setting and will rewrite the lyrics.
At the end of a massive manhunt, fugitive Albert Johnson, known as The Mad Trapper Of Rat River, is shot dead by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the banks of The Eagle River, Yukon, Canada. During the manhunt, Johnson had killed one officer and wounded another. The hunt for Johnson will inspire several songs, including The Capture Of Albert Johnson by Wilf Carter [aka Montana Slim]; The Mad Trapper Of Rat River [1961] by Stanley G Triggs, and Rat River Trapper [1974] by Doug Hutton.
Gang leaders and multiple murderers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are ambushed and killed by a posse of four Texas police officers on a rural road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, USA. Their outlaw lives and crimes will be glamourised as time goes by and will inspire several songs. Georgie Fame's The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde was a UK No1 hit in 1967, and Merle Haggard's identically-named but entirely different 1968 composition The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde also became popular. Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot recorded Gainsbourg's Bonnie And Clyde, and Mel Torme recorded A Day In The Life Of Bonnie And Clyde.
Kodak announces the launch of Kodachrome, a new type of film. Paul Simon's 1973 song, Kodachrome, will be inspired by this invention.
A new gossip column, Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, makes its debut in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, USA. Miss Hopper will become a famed gossip columnist, known for her extraordinary hats. Her hats will become so famous that, in the 1946 film Breakfast in Hollywood, Del Porter, backed by Spike Jones and his City Slickers, will sing a novelty song, A Hat For Hedda Hopper, while Hopper sits in the audience wearing an extravagantly large milliner's creation.
Popular vocalist Kate Smith performs the 1918 Irving Berlin song God Bless America for the first time ever, on her Armistice Day radio show in the USA. The song will become a hugely popular American patriotic anthem, but its sentiments will so anger folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie that he will write This Land Is Your Land as a riposte.
While flying an Airspeed Oxford for the Air Transport Auxiliary from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, renowned aviatrix Amy Johnson goes off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she bails out as her aircraft crashes into the Thames Estuary and her body is never recovered. The 1976 song Flying Sorcery by Al Stewart is one of the best-known numbers inspired by Johnson's exploits, but others include Amy by Horatio Nicholls [1930], Johnnie, Our Aeroplane Girl sung by Jack Lumsdaine [1930] and Queen Of The Air [2008] by Peter Aveyard.
Geno Washington is born in Evansville, Indiana, USA. He will find success as a soul act in the UK during the 1960s, and his career will inspire the 1980 hit single Geno! by Dexys Midnight Runners.
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Pima Native American Ira Hayes is one of the American soldiers who help raise the US flag at the battle of Iwo Jima, Japan, Asia. His tragic story - he died of alcoholism - will serve as the basis for the Johnny Cash hit The Ballad Of Ira Hayes, written by Peter La Farge.
Ron Kovic is born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, USA. He will be shot and paralysed from the chest down during the Vietnam War. Tom Paxton, the folk singer/political activist, will write the song Born On The Fourth Of July in 1977 and Bruce Springsteen will be inspired to write the songs Born In The USA and Shut Out The Light after reading Kovic's memoir [entitled Born On The Fourth Of July].
The Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], one of the principal intelligence-gathering agencies of the United States federal government, is founded with its headquarters just outside Washington DC, USA. The clandestine and divisive political operations of the CIA will inspire the 1965 satirical protest song CIA Man by The Fugs.
When Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins play at The National Guard Armory in Armory, Mississippi, USA, Cash tells Perkins a story about a friend with distinctive footwear which will result in the writing of the song Blue Suede Shoes.
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Russia launches the first living creature, a dog called Laika, into space aboard the satellite Sputnik 2. The event is quickly translated into song by hillbilly singer Ray Anderson with Sputniks And Mutniks.
The baseball referendum Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball, is approved by voters in Los Angeles, California, USA. The vote enables The Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team to acquire 352 acres (1.42 km²) of the impoverished Mexican-American community of Chavez Ravine from the City of Los Angeles. This marks the beginning of the destruction of Chavez Ravine to enable the building of what will become Dodger Stadium, the home of the LA Dodgers, after they re-locate from Brooklyn. Ry Cooder's 2005 album Chavez Ravine is inspired by this disgraceful episode in American sporting and social history.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen of the Lego Company in Denmark, Europe, files a patent application for his company's plastic building brick toy which has been available on sale since 1949. The toy will inspire the 2011 song Lego House by Ed Sheeran.
Actor Edd Byrnes makes his first appearance as Kookie in Girl On the Run, the pilot episode of a new tv series, 77 Sunset Strip, in the USA. Byrne's character will prove so popular with American teenagers, that it will inspire the creation of a hit song, Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb, sung by him and his Sunset Strip co-star Connie Stevens.
The first Barbie doll goes on sale in the USA. The anatomically unlikely doll will inspire the worldwide 1997 hit single Barbie Girl by Aqua. Other songs inspired by Barbie include The Barbie Doll Song by Marcus Eaton and Barbie Doll [2000] by Jack Ingram.
The Ventures release a new single, Walk - Don't Run, on Blue Horizon Records in the USA. This famous guitar-based instrumental is widely regarded as the first surf music song to reach the Billboard Top 40 Singles Chart. Contrary to popular belief, the song is not a Ventures' original. It was first recorded as, and inspired by, a jazz piece by guitarist Johnny Smith in 1955, and has been covered by many artists over the years.
Earl Hooker records Blue Guitar in Chicago, Illinois, USA, for Age Records. A little over a year later, Muddy Waters will release a new single, You Shook Me, on Chess Records, with a guitar part, chord changes and tempo very much inspired by, in fact near identical to, the Earl Hooker track. (Some say it is in fact the Hooker track with Muddy's vocal overdubbed on top.) Muddy's homage will be brought to a huge audience in 1969 via a version recorded by Led Zeppelin.
Noel Stookey (later to become Paul of folk trio Peter, Paul And Mary) reads a New York Herald Tribune newspaper story in The Gaslight Cafe, Greenwich Village, New York City, USA, about a Father's Day boat cruise up the Hudson River to Bear Mountain. The trip had gone awry due to counterfeit tickets and overcrowding. Stookey shows the story to his young acquaintance Bob Dylan who had arrived in New York from Minnesota the previous winter. Inspired by the story, Dylan returns the next day with Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Disaster Blues, composed in the style of his idol, Woody Guthrie.
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The Dynamics release a new single, Misery, in the USA on Big Top Records in the USA. The song will 'inspire' Pete Meaden, manager of London-based band The High Numbers, to write a song called Zoot Suit which they will release as their debut single in 1964. Musically identical to Misery, Zoot Suit will not be a hit, but the High Numbers will find global success under another name, The Who.
Hi-Heel Sneakers by Tommy Tucker enters the Billboard Top 40 Singles Chart in the USA where it will peak at No11 during an eight-week stay on the chart. Noel Gallagher of Oasis will be so 'inspired' by this song that his song Get Off Your High Horse Lady [2008] will use an identical melody and similar lyric structure.
Controversial stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce is injured when he falls, stark naked, forty feet from a window in the Swiss American Hotel, 534 Broadway, San Francisco, California, USA. Ambulance attendants tape his mouth shut after he shouts obscenities at them. The Great Society (with vocalist Grace Slick) will record the song Father Bruce about this incident, and other aspects of Bruce's outrageous life and career.
Donovan becomes the first high-profile pop musician to be busted for drugs when police officers led by the infamous Sgt. Norman Pilcher raid his flat in Alexander Court, Maida Vale, London, UK, and find him in possession of hash. Pilcher will pursue a high-profile campaign against drug-taking pop stars and will arrest members of both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He will inspire the Primus song Pilcher's Squad, and is also said to have been the inspiration for the line "Semolina Pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower" in The Beatles' song I Am The Walrus.
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Cat Stevens records finished versions of his songs I Love My Dog and Portobello Road, with producer Mike Hurst, in London, UK. The melody for I Love My Dog was inspired when Stevens heard jazz saxophonist Yusef Lateef's 1961 track The Plum Blossom. The bassist on I Love My Dog is session man John Paul Jones, later to join Led Zeppelin. Another revered session man, Nicky Hopkins, plays piano.
After strangling his mother to death and stabbing his wife, engineering student and former US Marine Charles Whitman kills fourteen people and wounds 32 others during a random shooting spree from the top of a tower at The University Of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA. The incident will inspire Harry Chapin to write his 1972 song Sniper. Other songs referring to Whitman include Psycho by Leon Payne, Down There By The Train by Tom Waits, The Ballad of Charles Whitman by Kinky Friedman and The Tower by Insane Clown Posse.
Following an argument with his girlfriend Kathy Mary Etchingham, Jimi Hendrix writes the lyric for The Wind Cries Mary at 34 Montagu Square, London, England, UK, Europe. According to Etchingham, "All the incidents in it were what happened: I smashed plates on the floor, he swept th em up. He locked me in the bathroom for absolutely ages and wouldn't let me out. He went out and left me locked in the bloody bathroom."
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The drug conviction appeals of two members of The Rolling Stones, stemming from a marijuana bust in February, are heard in London, England, UK, Europe. Guitarist Keith Richards has his conviction overturned and singer Mick Jagger's sentence is reduced to probation. Their experiences in dealing with the legal system will inspire the song We Love You, which opens with the sounds of prisoners being marched into a cell and the door being slammed.
The Cuyahoga River in Ohio, one of the most polluted waterways in America, catches fire, triggering a crack-down on pollution in the river. This incident will provide inspiration for Randy Newman's 1972 song Burn On, R.E.M.'s 1986 song Cuyahoga, and Adam Again's 1992 song River on Fire.
The movie Performance, starring Mick Jagger and James Fox, is released by Warner Bros in the UK. The 1985 Big Audio Dynamite song, E=MC2 will be partly inspired by this film, and uses several lines of dialogue sampled directly from the movie soundtrack.
Phyllis Major, the wife of Jackson Browne, commits suicide with an overdose of barbiturates in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. At least two of Browne's subsequent songs, Sleep's Dark And Silent Gate and The Shape Of A Heart, will be inspired by Major. Also, an earlier song, Ready Or Not, was written about how Browne and Major first got together after meeting in The Troubadour club in Los Angeles.
Joe Strummer of The Clash watches as the Notting Hill Carnival in London, UK, erupts into violence. The incident will inspire Strummer to write the song White Riot.
Anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko dies shortly after arrival at Pretoria prison, Pretoria, South Africa. Police claim his death was caused by an extended hunger strike, but the autopsy will reveal that he died because of a brain hemorrhage resulting from massive injuries to the head while in police custody. Peter Gabriel and the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest will each write songs inspired by Biko's life and death.
Kenneth Alessio Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono, Jr., later to become known as The Hillside Stranglers, commit the first of many murders when they kidnap, sexually abuse and kill 19-year-old prostitute Yolanda Washington in Los Angeles, California, USA. Their crimes will inspire songs including The Hillside Stranglers by Macabre, I Wanna Make You Scream by Battalion Of Saints and Notown Blues by The Black Lips.
The Specials, The Bodysnatchers and The Swinging Cats play at The Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, Europe. After Jerry Dammers of The Specials sees elderly women selling their possessions on the Glasgow streets, he is inspired to write the song Ghost Town. "It was unbelievable," he said later. "It was clear that something was very, very wrong."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, USA, announces the purchase of its first painting by Jasper Johns, White Flag [1955], which carries an estimated price tag of $20m. Tied to the purchase is a promise by William S. Lieberman, chairman of the Met's department of 20th-century art, to give the museum a gift of Flag, a Johns work from 1957. The 2012 song Jasper Johns' Flag by Jason Collett will be inspired by the impact of Johns' artworks on contemporary culture.
Kevin Wilkinson, an acclaimed drummer who had worked with The Waterboys, China Crisis, Squeeze and many others, commits suicide by hanging himself at his home in Baydon, near Swindon, Wiltshire, England, UK, Europe. Wilkinson's death will inspire Howard Jones, who worked with him for some while, to write the song You Knew Us So Well.
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Holly Bobo, a twenty year old nursing student and cousin of country star Whitney Duncan, is abducted from her own backyard in Darden, Tennessee, USA. To raise awareness, Jenn Bostic, Heather Cohen and Richelle Perkins will co-write the song Bring Home Holly Bobo and perform it at special benefit shows in the USA.
At the 75th Golden Globe Awards event in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA, many of the participants dress in black to show support for Time's Up, a legal defense fund set up to support victims of sexual harassment and assault. This action will inspire a group of female country singers to come together as The Song Suffragettes and release a single entitled Time's Up.
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