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Charlotte Corday is beheaded by the guillotine in Paris, France, Europe, for the murder of Jean-Paul Marat. Her story is told in the 1993 song Charlotte Corday by Al Stewart [co-written with Tori Amos].
Notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin is sentenced to serve 25 years in Huntsville Prison, Texas, USA, for the killing of Brown County, Texas, Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb. On his arrest, Hardin boasted of having killed 42 men. in 1967, Bob Dylan will be inspired by Hardin's exploits to write his song John Wesley Harding, a somewhat fanciful account of Hardin's life.
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Lev Davidovich Bronstein is born in Yanovka, in the Kherson governorate of the Russian Empire (now Bereslavka, in Ukraine). Under the name Leon Trotsky, his left-wing Marxist-Trotskyist doctrine will influence millions of people, including numerous musicians, such as Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg and Pete Seeger. In particular, British 80s punk rockers The Redskins will be inspired by Trotsky's philosophies to write and record their 1982 song Lev Bronstein.
Ellis Island in New York harbour, New York City, USA, is designated as an immigration station for foreign nationals hoping to start a new life in America. Numerous songs will be inspired by tales of the island and the people who passed through. Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears, composed by Brendan Graham and Ronan Tynan, tells the story of fifteen-year-old Annie Moore who was the first incomer to actually pass through Ellis Island. Other songs about the island include Ellis Island [1985] by Mary Black [written by Noel Brazil] and Ellis Island [1998] by Marc Cohn.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Santa Barbara, California, USA, causing 13 deaths and destroying the historic center of the city, with damage estimated at $8m. Inspired by the tragedy, Green Bailey will record The Santa Barbara Earthquake for Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana, USA, in 1928.
Gene Barge is born in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. He will become a founding member of the 1960s band The Church Street Five, recording for the locally based label, Legrand Records, operated by Frank Guida. Barge will also become a successful session saxophonist, playing with Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Big Joe Turner, LaVern Baker, Ray Charles and others. Barge is the Daddy G who inspired the lines "Don't you know that I danced, I danced till a quarter to three, With the help, last night, of Daddy G" in the 1961 hit A Quarter To Three by Gary 'US' Bonds.
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.
Max Ehrmann obtains United States federal copyright No. 962402 for his poem Desiderata, essentially a list of pieces of advice for living a useful and contented life. The poem will be turned into the worldwide hit song Desiderata by Les Crane in 1971. Crane's recording will, in turn, inspire a parody by National Lampoon entitled Deteriorata.
Leonarde Keeler tests the first Keeler Polygraph machine for the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Although earlier polygraphs existed, Keeler's improved device is legally regarded as the first modern lie detector. The invention, although regarded by some as pseudo-science, will capture the public imagination and will inspire the writing of several songs including Lie Detector [1996] by Sleeper, Lie Detector [1988] by The Reverend Horton Heat, Lie Detector [2000] by Mya.
The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA. Of the 97 people on board, 35 are killed and there is also one death among the ground crew. Lead Belly will be inspired to write his song The Hindenburg Disaster in 1937, and the cover of Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut album will feature an image of the Hindenburg disaster. Other songs about the disaster include Hindenburg by The Williamson Playboys and The Hindenburg Disaster by The Two Man Gentlemen Band.
Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappears over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra. Her life and achievements will be celebrated in the song Amelia Earhart's Last Flight by Yodelling Cowboy Red River Dave McEnery. This is thought to have been the first song ever performed on commercial television, at the 1939 World's Fair. In 1972, the British group Plainsong will release an LP entitled, In Search of Amelia Earhart, which includes the song The True Story Of Amelia Earhart. Joni Mitchel will include a tribute song, Amelia, on her 1976 album, Hejira. Songs inspired by Earhart will also be recorded by artists including Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Heather Nova, Deb Talan, Nemo, Tom McRae, John Mclaughlin and Bell XI.
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 songs 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.
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.
J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher In The Rye is first published by Little, Brown And Company in the USA. In 2008, Guns N'Roses will release a song called Catcher In The Rye, in which the song's writer Axl Rose, seems to be questioning why angst-ridden youths, such as Mark Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon, appear to be motivated by Catcher's anti-hero Holden Caulfield. Other songs which clearly relate to the book include If You Really Want To Hear About It by The Ataris, We Didn't Start The Fire by Billy Joel, Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? by Green Day and Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie by Belle And Sebastian.
In the first hours of the day, a flood swamps Canvey Island, Essex, UK, causing the deaths of 59 residents. The story is told in the 2008 song Canvey Island by British Sea Power.
Big Joe Turner releases his original, uncensored, version of Shake Rattle and Roll on Atlantic Records in the USA. Bill Haley And His Comets will be inspired to record a cleaned-up white cover version which will become a much bigger hit.
The Miami Herald runs a story about a hotel guest who committed suicide and left a note stating, "I walk a lonely street". On seeing this story, Mae Axton will write the song Heartbreak Hotel, which will provide a huge hit for Elvis Presley in 1956.
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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The Lon Chaney Jr. movie Indestructible Man is released to cinemas in the USA. John Darnielle of Mountain Goats will reveal during a 2012 concert at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York City, USA, that his song "Rotten Stinking Mouthpiece" is not only his 'secret favorite song', but that it was inspired by a line spoken by Lon Chaney Jr. in the movie.
Fifty-six year old John Axon is driving a train from Buxton, Derbyshire, England, UK, to his home depot at Edgeley, when the automatic steam brake pipe fractures. The cab fills with scalding steam, but after telling his fireman to jump clear, Axon remains aboard to warn signal boxes along the route. Axon is killed when his engine crashes into another freight train, but his courage saves the lives of a train full of children. Folk singer and songwriter Ewan MacColl will immortalise Axon's heroism in his 1958 song The Ballad Of John Axon.
Jackie Wilson, formerly with Billy Ward And His Dominoes, begins his solo career with the release of Reet Petite, his first single for Brunswick Records in the USA. In 1972, Van Morrison will be inspired by this song to write Jackie Wilson Said, whose first line is "Jackie Wilson said it was reet petite". The Morrison song will provide a major hit for Dexy's Midnight Runners.
When Al Caldwell's Texans (later to become Rory Storm And The Hurricanes) play at The Mardi Gras Club, Liverpool, England, UK, Europe, they are joined by a new drummer, Richard Starkey. He will later, of course, change his name to Ringo Starr and, still later, move on to The Beatles. This is the first night on which Ringo played with The Hurricanes' guitarist, Johnny Guitar, and he will be inspired in 2017 to write the song Electricity, as his homage to the guitarist.
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The Dave Brubeck Quartet releases the album Time Out on Columbia Records in the USA. The album includes a track, Kathy's Waltz, which is widely believed to have influenced or inspired Paul McCartney of The Beatles in his writing of the song All My Loving.
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.
Daniel Gordon Stuart is born in Los Angeles, California, USA. He will find success as Dan Stuart, singer of rock band Green On Red. He will be inspired by his own birth to write the song March 5, 1961 on his 2018 LP The Unfortunate Demise of Marlowe Billings.
Wealthy twenty-four year old tobacco farm owner Billy Zantzinger arrives, somewhat drunk, at the Spinsters Ball in the Emerson Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. After causing various disturbances, including a fist fight with another guest, Zantzinger, demands a drink from black bartender Hattie Carroll. Carroll is busy serving another guest, so Zantzinger calls her racist names and strikes her with his cane, from which she dies soon after. Zantzinger is arrested, but gets off with a minor sentence. Bob Dylan, inspired by this story, will write his song The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll.
The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, USA, inspired almost as many songs as it did conspiracy theories. Among the most memorable are He Was A Friend Of Mine by The Byrds [and others], Abraham, Martin And John by Marvin Gaye [and others], Dallas 1pm by Saxon and November 22nd 1963 by Destroy All Monsters. And let's not forget JAMES DOTSON - A Tragedy In Dallas, THE JUSTICE BROTHERS - The Tragedy Of John F. Kennedy, THE SOUTHERN GOSPEL BAND - The Death Of John F. Kennedy, HASIL ADKINS - Memories Of Kennedy, JIM KLINK - The Death Of John F. Kennedy, BUDDY PASTUCK - John F. Kennedy, BILL KUSHNER - J.F.K.bAnd That Terrible Day, HONORABLE BOB PETERS - A Sunny Day In Dallas, HAYDEN PRIVETT - The Death Of John F. Kennedy, JOHNNY DEE - A Tribute To President Kennedy, RALPH RYAN - The Death Of John F. Kennedy, LOWELL YODER - Don't Blame The State Of Texas, HASILADKINS - Memories Of Kennedy, JOHNNY TUCKER - Mr. Kennedy, BOBBY JENZEN - Two Brothers, HOMER HENDERSON - Lee Harvey Was A Friend Of Mine.
The Rolling Stones play at the Ex-Servicemen's Club, Windsor, England, UK, Europe. After the show, vocalist Mick Jagger goes to a launch party for pop singer Adrienne Posta, at which he meets Marianne Faithfull for the first time. They will become a couple, and she will inspire Stones' songs including You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, I Got the Blues and Sister Morphine.
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Dutch anarchist group The Provos launch 'The White Bicycle Plan' in Amsterdam, Holland, Europe. The idea is that white bicycles are to be left unlocked throughout the city for free use by the general population. The plan ultimately fails but it inspires British psychedelic pop band Tomorrow to write and record the 1967 song My White Bicycle
Cyril Knowles plays his first match for English football team Tottenham Hotspur. Knowles' glittering career at Tottenham will inspire the 1973 hit single, Nice One Cyril by The Cockerel Chorus. The song is derived from a chant sung by Tottenham supporters which, in its turn, had been derived from a tv advertisement for Wonderloaf bread.
Nico is playing at The Dom, New York City, USA, with Jackson Browne as her accompanying musician. Browne will be inspired by Nico to write his song The Birds Of St. Marks about her.
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Folksinger and folklorist Paul Clayton commits suicide, aged 36, by taking an electric heater into his bathtub with him in New York City, USA. It is said that the 1965 Bob Dylan song It's All Over Now Baby Blue and the 1970 Joni Mitchell song Blue are both said to have been inspired by Clayton.
Jimi Hendrix is arrested in Gothenburg, Sweden, Europe, after smashing up his room at the Opelan Hotel. The incident will inspire the lyric, 'Well I just got out of a Scandinavian jail, and I'm on my way straight home to you' in his song My Friend.
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CBS TV suspends free advertising for the Eastern Europe-based Radio Free Europe, citing the fact that RFE did not make it clear that the station is at least partly funded by the CIA. R.E.M.'s 1981 debut single, Radio Free Europe, will be inspired by the station name, although its Michael Stipe-penned lyric is typically inscrutable.
Country music star Red Foley dies, aged 58, in his sleep of respiratory failure after a gig in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA. His death will inspire Hank Williams Jr (under the pseudonym of Luke The Drifter Jr) to write the song I Was With Red Foley (The Night He Passed Away).
After years of serious alcohol abuse, country music singer and songwriter Lefty Frizzell, regarded as one of the first 'outlaw' country stars, dies aged 47 of a massive stroke, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Ten years later, George Strait will record the tribute song Lefty's Gone, written by Sanger D. Shafer, on his 1985 album Something Special.
While attending The Midem music industry trade fair in Cannes, France, Europe, George Harrison meets with George Greif, former manager of outrageous satirical comedian Lord Buckley. When Greif mentions that Buckley had lived in a house called Crackerbox Palace in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California, USA, Harrison notes the name down on a cigarette packet and will subsequently write a song, Crackerbox Palace, which will be released as a single. The song mentions meeting George Greif.
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The Police play at the Nashville, Paris, France, Europe. While in the city, the band's leader, Sting, takes a stroll through the red light district and comes up with the idea of writing a song entitled Roxanne, about falling in love with a prostitute.
The Knack enter the Billboard Top Ten Singles Chart in the USA at No6 with My Sharona, a song inspired by elements of three previous hits. Knack frontman Doug Fieger acknowledged that Sharona's tom-tom drum rhythm is "just a rewrite" of Going To A Go-Go, a 1965 song by Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, while its stuttering vocal effects recall Roger Daltrey's vocals in the 1965 song My Generation by The Who. In addition, My Sharona's main melodic hook is similar to the main riff from the 1967 song Gimme Some Lovin', by the Spencer Davis Group.
Malcolm Owen, singer with UK punk-reggae band The Ruts, dies aged 26 of a heroin overdose while in the bath at his mother's house. Horrified by Owen's death, The Damned will write their song The Limit Club.
Robert Plant plays the third date on his first solo tour of the USA, at Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, Illinois, USA. The drummer with Plant's band for this tour is Phil Collins. On the same evening, Collins and Plant go to an exclusive Chicago restaurant, The Pump Room, but are refused admission because Collins is not wearing a jacket. The incident inspires the title of Collins' next album, No Jacket Required.
Teenager Wendell Mobley has a daughter, Lexi. The girl dies one year later, but around the time she would have turned 19, memories of her will inspire him to co-write There Goes My Life, which will become a major hit for Kenny Chesney.
Life In A Northern Town by Dream Academy enters the UK Singles Chart at No38, where it will peak at No15. The song's infectious vocal chant will be sampled and used prominently in the hit Sunchyme by Dario G, which will peak at No2 in 1997.
Actor Yul Brynner dies, aged 65 of lung cancer, in New York City, USA. Although nominally an actor, he is best remembered for his role as King Mongkut in the musical The King And I, both on stage and in the cinema. Songs which took inspiration from Brynner include One Night In Bangkok from the 1984 muscal Chess (written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA), and the 1987 album track, Yul Brynner Was A Skinhead, by comedy-punk rockers Toy Dolls.
Robert Emmet Chambers, Jr., later nicknamed the 'Preppie Killer', murders 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in Central Park, New York City, USA. The murder and subsequent events will provoke a huge media circus, and will become the subject matter for such songs as Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine by The Killers and Eliminator Jr. by Sonic Youth.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher officially opens the M25 motorway, designed as an outer bypass around London, England, UK. For many, the road will be seen as a failure, often described as "The Road To Nowhere". After being stuck in his car on the M25 for several hours, Chris Rea will be inspired write his song The Road To Hell.
Lorena Bobbitt who chopped off her husband's penis, claiming it was in retaliation for him sexually assaulting her, is acquitted by a jury in Manassas, Virgina, USA, by reason of temporary insanity. Bobbitt's revenge will inspire several songs, including Bobbit Song by stand-up comedian Richard Morton and Lorena Bobbitt [2012] by Aaradhna. The Bee Gees also parodied their own song To Love Somebody as To Lose Your Penis on the Howard Stern Show in 1994.
Christopher George Latore Wallace, best known as rapper The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, is shot dead in a drive-by killing in Los Angeles, California, USA. His death will inspire Puff Daddy to write the song I'll Be Missing You, which draws much of its musical inspiration from Every Breath You Take by The Police.
Fourteen-year-old Andrew Gosden goes missing from his home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England, UK, Europe. He is last seen on CCTV footage at King's Cross Station in London later that morning. Andrew's disappearance will inspire the song I Hope, which will be released in 2016 by The Missing Persons Choir (including Rick Astley, Chesney Hawkes, Nik Kershaw, Carol Decker, Lesley Garrett, Hayley Tamaddon, Jodie Prenger, Debra Stephenson, Kerry Ellis, Balsamo Deighton and G4).
When Ed Sheeran plays a fundraising gig for The Crisis Homeless Shelter at Proud Galleries, Camden, London, England, UK, Europe, he meets 'Angel', a young woman whose story of drug addiction and prostitution inspires him to write his first hit single, The A Team.
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