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Robert The Bruce, King Of Scotland, defeats an English army at The Battle Of Bannockburn. Inspired by the story of this battle, Roy Williamson of The Corries will write the song, Flower Of Scotland. First recorded and released by The Corries in 1965, it will go on to become an unofficial national anthem of Scotland.
Christopher Monck, the 2nd Duke of Albemarle, organises a boxing match between his butler and his butcher which has entered the annals of history as the first recorded boxing match in England, although boxing has a history which can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greek Olympics. Boxing matches, however, will inspire numerous songs including Who Killed Davey Moore? by Bob Dylan, about World Featherweight Champion Davey Moore, who died from injuries sustained in a 1963 bout with Sugar Ramos; Davey Moore by Phil Ochs about the same fight; In Zaire by Johnny Wakelin, which tells the story of the 1974 Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire, Africa.
Notorious highwayman Dick Turpin is executed by hanging (aged 33) at Knavesmire, York, England, UK. Somewhat romanticised accounts of Turpin's life will inspire several poems and folk songs including Turpin's Rant, but to hear a more modern re-telling, there's The Ballad Of Dick Turpin, recorded by Freddie And The Dreamers in 1965.
Colonists in the Port of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, dump 45 tons of tea in the harbour after raiding a number of British ships, as a protest against the oppressive British rule of America and, in particular, high taxation. The story of the incident is told by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band in their song The Boston Tea Party.
Charles MacIntosh of Glasgow, Scotland, UK, Europe, patents a waterproof fabric which will give its name as a generic term for raincoats - The Mackintosh. Songs inspired by raincoats include Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen (1971), Wearing A Raincoat by They Might be Giants (2004) and Yellow Raincoat by Justin Bieber.
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Five members of a disreputable family known locally as The Black Donnellys is murdered by a vigilante-style mob in Biddulph Township, Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada. The killers are never brought to justice. The song Justice In Ontario by Steve Earle tells the story of how the Donnellys died.
Laurence Stephen Lowry, better known as L.S. Lowry, is born in Stretford, Lancashire, England, UK. His distinctive paintings of urban landscapes peopled with human figures, often referred to as "matchstick men", will become hugely popular. The 1968 Status Quo hit Pictures Of Matchstick Men will be based on his work and, in 1978, Brian And Michael will reach No1 in the UK Singles Chart with Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs. Lowry also gets a namecheck in the chorus of the Manic Street Preachers 2013 song 30-Year War.
The ghost story novella The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James is published. The book will inspire the film The Innocents (1961), which will in turn inspire Kate Bush to write her 1980 song The Infant Kiss.
The SS Ellan Vannin sinks in stormy weather, killing all 36 passengers and crew aboard, whilst bound for Liverpool, UK, from The Isle of Man. The story of the disaster will inspire the 1965 song The Ellan Vannin Tragedy by Liverpudlian folk group The Spinners. Ellan Vannin is the Manx-language name for the Isle of Man, and there is a much older song, Ellan Vannin, which was written many years before the disaster and is now considered the unofficial anthem of the Isle Of Man.
On one of its regular journeys through our solar system, Halley's Comet is at its most visible from Earth. This is the first appearance of Halley's Comet which is recorded in photographs. Mary Chapin Carpenter will write her 1990 song When Halley Came To Jackson about this appearance, and specifically about the fact that it was seen by young Eudora Welty who will later become a celebrated author. Other songs which reference Halley's Comet include Second Chance by Shinedown, Halley's Comet by Phish and Halley's Comet by Gathering Time.
Guiraist and singer Tommy Johnson records Cool Drink Of Water Blues and Big Road Blues at Memphis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Big Road Blues will inspire Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones to record Dark Road (aka On The Road Again) in 1951. This will, in turn, inspire Canned Heat to record their 1967 song, On The Road Again, which is almost identical apart from a couple of new lyric lines and the addition of an Eastern instrument called a tamboura to give the song a psychedelic feel.
Legendary country music vocalist Jimmie Rodgers, aka The Singing Brakeman, dies from a tubercular haemorrhage in New York City, USA. His passing will inspire several tribute songs including When Jimmie Rodgers Said Goodbye by Hank Snow, The Passing Of Jimmie Rodgers by Ernest Tubb and The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home by Greg Brown.
Generators at Boulder Dam, later re-named The Hoover Dam, on the border between the states of Arizona and Nevada in the USA, begin generating electricity from the Colorado River and transmitting it 266 miles to Los Angeles, California. In 1992, Bob Mould of Sugar will be inspired to write his song Hoover Dam, and in 2008 Hugh Cornwell will release an album entitled Hooverdam.
The USS Reuben James is torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat near Iceland, Europe, with the loss of almost 100 crew members. The incident will inspire Woody Guthrie to write the song The Sinking of the Reuben James which will be released in 1942, and will be covered by The Weavers, Johnny Horton, The Kingston Trio, Country Joe McDonald and many others.
Work on carving the four massive heads of US Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln is completed at Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, South Dakota, USA. The work will become an iconic American National Monument, recorgnised throughout the world, and it will inspire a number of music-related tributes. In 2011, musical comedy artist Jesse Goldberg will co-write and sing the novelty song Mount Rushmore Rocks - complete with an animated video in which the stone heads sing the song. A similar idea by The Mount Rushmore Singers, features the presidents performing a medley of Sing A Song/I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing. Other Rushmore-oriented music trivia include a 1967 psychedelic rock band from San Francisco named Mount Rushmore, and the fact that the cover of Deep Purple's 1970 album Deep Purple In Rock was inspired by Mount Rushmore, depicting the five band members' faces instead of the four presidents.
The family of young Jewish girl Anne Frank go into hiding in a secret annex within their house in Amsterdam, Holland, Europe to escape persecution by the German forces occupying their country. Ann chronicles the events of the next two years in her diary which will become one of the world's most widely read books. The song Holland, 1945 by Neutral Milk Hotel will be one of many inspired by Anne Frank's story.
Rita Coolidge is born in Lafayette, Tennessee, USA. She will find success as a singer and songwriter, and will also provide inspiration for songs including Love The One You're With, Cherokee and Black Queen by Stephen Stills; Cowboy Movie by David Crosby and Delta Lady by Leon Russell.
The first edition of a new magazine, The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists, shows the Doomsday Clock set at seven minutes to midnight. The Doomsday Clock is not a real clock, but it is a symbolic representation of how close the world has come to a man-made global catastrophe. It will inspire such songs as 2 Minutes To Midnight by Iron Maiden (1984) and Doomsday Clock by Smashing Pumpkins
Phil Spector's father, Benjamin, commits suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide fumes in his car, because of insurmountable debt problems. Written on his tombstone will be the words, To Know Him Was To Love Him, prompting Phil to write the song To Know Him Is To Love Him which he will record a decade later with The Teddy Bears, giving him his first hit single.
An eleven-member gang steals $1.2m in cash, plus over $1.5m in cheques, money orders and other securities from The Brinks Building in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. It is the largest robbery in the history of the United States, and will become feted as 'the crime of the century'. The incident will inspire the song Brinx Job by Pavement.
Ella Fitzgerald records Smooth Sailing for Decca Records in New York City, USA. The track's prominent organ parts are by Bill Doggett and backing vocals by The Ray Charles Singers. Ella's rhythmic improvisations on this track are considered by some to have been an inspiration for the rhythm of Bill Haley's seminal rock'n'roll recording Rock Around The Clock
Bo Diddley records I'm A Man, for Chess Records, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The track is an 'answer song' to Muddy Waters' and Willie Dixon's 1954 composition Hoochie Coochie Man. I'm A Man will, in its turn, inspire Muddy Waters to compose and record Manish Boy (aka Mannish Boy).
In Montgomery, Alabama, USA, Rosa Parks refuses to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her act of civil disobedience will spark the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Parks will also help launch Martin Luther King to prominence in the civil rights movement. She will inspire the songs Sister Rosa (1989) by The Neville Brothers and Rosa Parks (1998) by Outkast.
Humphrey Lyttelton and his band record Bad Penny Blues for Parlophone Records, at IBC Studios, London, England, UK, Europe. The song will inspire the keyboard melody for Paul McCartney's 1968 song Lady M adonna, recorded by The Beatles.
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.
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.
Young boxer Cassius Clay wins the Olympic light heavyweight gold medal in Rome, Italy, Europe. Immediately afterwards, he turns professional and goes on to become the most successful and best-loved boxer of his generation, changing his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam. His career will inspire many songs, including Bob Dylan's 1964 composition I Shall be Free No.10, Black Superman by Johnny Wakelin And The Kinshasa Band in 1975 and Muhammad Ali by Faithless in 2001.
Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba is assasinated by firing squad in the republic of Congo, Africa. The incident will inspire the song Patrice Lumumba by Yuri Buenaventura. He will also be mentioned in the song Done Too Soon by Neil Diamond and in My Country by Nas. The 1961 song "Top Forty, News, Weather And Sports" by Mark Dinning, included a line "I had Lumumba doing the rumba...", which was removed after Lumumba's death. Records in stores were recalled, and replaced by new ones without the inappropriate line.
Watch Your Step by rhythm and blues guitarist Bobby Parker peaks at number 51 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the USA. The opening guitar riff from this song will inspire The Beatles when they come to write both I Feel Fine [1964] and Day Tripper.
Professional boxer Davey Moore dies as a result of inoperable brain damage at White Memorial Hospital, New York City, USA. The damage was inflicted in a featherweight championship fight four days earlier against Cuban Sugar Ramos in Dodgers Stadium. Moore's death will inspire the 1964 Bob Dylan song Who Killed Davey Moore, and also Davey Moore by Phil Ochs, which is even more scathingly critical of the boxing hierarchy.
Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin who killed US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is shot dead by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Classic ska band The Skatalites will record a bouncy instrumental called Lee Harvey Oswald, but Ruby will inspire more songs including Bicentennial [1976] by Loudon Wainwright III, Jack Ruby [1989] by Camper Van Beethoven, Jack Ruby [1993] by Paul Metsa, and Jack Ruby [1998] by Deep Purple.
Charismatic actor Peter Lorre, who appeared in many Hollywood films including The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1942), dies of a stroke, aged 59, in Los Angeles, California, USA. His life and work will inspire such songs as Peter Lorre He's A Brick by The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy (1986) and I Want To Be Peter Lorre by Tom Smith (1991). Lorre also gets a prominent mention in Year Of The Cat by Al Stewart (1976).
Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island, South Africa, for the crime of sabotage. The charge sheet at his trial listed 193 acts of sabotage in total. Inspired by Nelson Mandela's life and his plight, The Special AKA will release a single, Free Nelson Mandela, in 1984 on 2 Tone Records in the UK. The song will peak at No9 in the UK singles chart, and is widely credited with having helped achieve Mandela's release from prison.
Folk singer and songwriter Arlo Guthrie is convicted of littering in Stockbridge, the county town of Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA. Inspired by this incident, he will turn it into his most famous song, Alice's Restaurant Massacree, which will in due course be made into a film.
Love have two recording sessions in Los Angeles, California, USA, starting at four in the afternoon, for their first album. They cut their Elektra Records debut single, My Little Red Book (composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David), plus You I'll Be Following. Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner will hear My Little Red Book while on a visit to California, and will subsequently attempt to sing the guitar riff to Pink Floyd, whose leader Syd Barrett will attempt to copy Jenner's singing. Barrett's interpretation will become the basic riff of the 1967 Pink Floyd track Interstellar Overdrive.
The Kinks appear at a charity event during a festival held at the Rutland County Agricultural Showground in Oakham, Rutland, UK. The show is promoted by a local civic dignitary, Major David Watts, whose romantic approaches to Kinks' guitarist Dave Davies at a party later in the evening, will provide the inspiration for The Kinks' song, David Watts.
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While in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, to record their country-influenced album Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, The Byrds encounter influential country music radio deejay Ralph Emery at WSM, and realise from his attitude towards them, that there is a yawning gulf between rock music and country music. Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons of The Byrds will be inspired by this meeting to write their acerbic song Drug Store Truck-Drivin' Man about Emery.
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Fairport Convention are travelling home from Birmingham, England, UK, to London, when their driver falls asleep. their van crashes down a 40ft embankment, killing drummer Martin Lamble and fashion designer/seamstress Jeannie Franklyn who was, at the time, the girlfriend of Fairport guitarist Richard Thompson. Franklyn's death will inspire a number of musical endeavours, including Jack Bruce's 1969 LP Songs For A Tailor and the song I'll Bet She Knew It by Jack Nitzsche. It is also often speculated that the 1971 Bernie Taupin/Elton hit Tiny Dancer was about Jeannie, although Taupin has denied the connection.
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Seventeen-year-old Jonathan Jackson attempts to negotiate the release of the jailed Soledad Brothers (including his older brother George) by kidnapping Superior Court judge Harold Haley from the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California. The attempt goes disastrously wrong when a shootout erupts, leaving four men dead, including both Jackson and Judge Haley. The incident will propel Angela Davis, owner of the weapons used by Jackson, to national infamy because of media coverage around the manhunt launched to find her. As a political activist, academic and author, Davis attracted much sympathy, and her story will inspire The Rolling Stones' song Sweet Black Angel (1972), and the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song Angela (1972).
I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing by The New Seekers reaches No1 in the UK Pop Singles chart. Re-written in 1994 by a suitably 'inspired' Noel Gallagher of Oasis as Shakermaker, it will get him successfully sued for plagiarism.
Police in New York City, USA, arrest notorious serial killer David Berkowitz, aka The Son Of Sam, as he is starting his car outside his apartment on Pine Street in Yonkers. Berkowitz killed at least six people and wounded several others in the course of eight shootings in New York between 1976 and 1977. His murder spree will inspire several songs including Diddy Doo Wop [I Hear The Voices] by Hall And Oates, Son of Sam by Elliott Smith; Psycho Killer by Talking Heads, and Sam, Son of Man by Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids.
Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo commits the first of 56 murders. He will become known as The Butcher of Rostov and his vile crimes will provide subject matter for such songs as Psychopathy Red by Slayer, Red Ripper Blues [Andrei Chikatilo] by Church of Misery, Sewers by Torture Killer and Ripper von Rostow by Eisblut.
At his home in St Catherine's, Jamaica, Caribbean, reggae artist Prince Far I is shot dead by gunmen during a robbery. His death will inspire the song Sept. 15th 1983 by The Mountain Goats.
Robert Budd Dwyer, while serving as the 30th Treasurer of Pennsylvania, shoots himself dead with a .357 Magnum Smith and Wesson model 27 during a televised press conference in his office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. He had been convicted of taking bribes while in office. The 1995 song Hey, Man, Nice Shot by Filter is about Dwyer's suicide.
More than 1,000 unarmed protesters are killed by government troops during an anti-government demonstration in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia. Chinese rock music played its part in supporting the protest, most notably the song Nothing To My Name by Cui Jian, who was among the students in the square. Nothing To My Name was, in effect, the anthem of the student protesters. This horrific incident is documented in the song 4 June 1989 by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
At French President Francois Mitterrand's Funeral in Jarnac, France, Europe, his wife and his long term mistress stood side-by-side at the grave, accompanied by their respective legitimate and illegitimate children. Some years later, when Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand reads about the funeral, he will be inspired to write the song Goodbye Lovers And Friends.
US President George W. Bush delivers his War On Terror speech to a joint session of Congress in Washington DC, USA. Numerous songs will be inspired by the War On Terror, notably My Name Is Liar (2016) by Norwegian band Highasakite.
The body of a missing woman, Laci Peterson, is found at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline park, Richmond, north of Berkeley on the San Francisco Bay shore in San Francisco, California, USA. The grim circumstances of her death will inspire Art Alexakis of the band Everclear to write his song New York Times soon after.
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall at Grand Isle, approximately 90km south of New Orleans, Louisana, USA. In the days that follow, New Orleans will be devastated with at least 1,836 people dying in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928. Total property damage will be estimated at $81bn. The 2006 song Wide Awake by Audioslave will be one of the first musical responses to the disaster, but others include Missin' Mississippi by Van Dyke Parks, Hurricane Katrina [The Ghosts of New Orleans] by Frances Donnelly, Katrina by Anders Osbourne, Hell No, We Ain't Alright by Public Enemy, Gov Did Nothin' by The John Butler Trio and Midnight In The City Of Destruction by The Nightwatchman.