Tag Archives: english singer songwriter

Almanac – March 05

1616 – Nicolaus Copernicus‘s book, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) was banned by the Catholic Church.

First printed in 1543 in Nuremberg,  it offered an alternative model of the universe to Ptolemy’s geocentric system, which had been widely accepted since ancient times.

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1960 – Cuban photographer Alberto Korda took his iconic photograph of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

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1957 – Mark E. Smith born.  Lead singer, lyricist, frontman, and only constant member of the English post-punk group The Fall.

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1995 – Vivian Stanshall died.   English singer-songwriter, painter, musician, author, poet and wit, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his surreal exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and for narrating Mike Oldfield‘s Tubular Bells.

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Almanac – February 22

1797 – The Last Invasion of Britain began,  near Fishguard, Wales,  by Revolutionary France during the War of the First Coalition. The brief campaign, which took place between 22 February and 24 February 1797, was the most recent effort by a foreign force that was able to land on British soil.

The invasion was the plan of General Lazare Hoche, who had devised a three-pronged attack on Britain in support of Irish Republicans under Wolfe Tone. Two forces would land in Britain as a diversionary effort, while the main body would land in Ireland. While poor weather and indiscipline halted two of the forces, the third, aimed at landing in Wales and marching on Bristol, went ahead.

The invasion force consisted of 1,400 troops from the La Legion Noire (The Black Legion) under the command of Irish American Colonel William Tate, 800 of whom were irregulars.

Upon landing discipline broke down amongst the irregulars, many of whom deserted to loot nearby settlements. The remaining troops were met by a quickly assembled group of around 500 British reservists, militia and sailors under the command of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor. After brief clashes with the local civilian population and Lord Cawdor’s forces on 23 February, Tate was forced into an unconditional surrender by 24 February.

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1900 – Luis Buñuel born. Spanish filmmaker . Often associated with the Surrealist movement of the 1920s, Buñuel created films in six decades, from the 1920s through the 1970s.

His work spans two continents, three languages, and nearly every film genre, including experimental film, documentary, melodrama, satire, musical, erotica, comedy, romance, costume dramas, fantasy, crime film, adventure, and western.

Despite this variety, filmmaker John Huston believed that, regardless of genre, a Buñuel film is so distinctive as to be instantly recognizable, or, as Ingmar Bergman put it, “Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films.”

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1918 – Robert Wadlow born. The tallest person in history for whom there is irrefutable evidence.  He  reached 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m) in height and weighed 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22.

His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.

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1950 – Genesis Breyer P-Orridge born. English singer-songwriter, musician, poet, writer and performance artist.

In the latter capacity s/he was the founder of the COUM Transmissions artistic collective, which operated from 1969 through to 1975, while as a musician, P-Orridge fronted the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle, from 1975 through to 1981, and then the acid house band, Psychic TV, from 1981 through to 1999.

An occultist, s/he is also a founding member of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

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1987 – Andy Warhol died. American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.

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Almanac – November 25

Historically a day of storms… which gives me an excuse (as if i need one) to play this Northern Soul classic.

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1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, reached its peak intensity which it maintained through November 27. Winds gusted up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people died. Observers at the time recorded barometric readings as low as 973 millibars (measured by William Derham in South Essex), but it has been suggested that the storm may have deepened to 950 millibars over the Midlands.

 The storm, unprecedented in ferocity and duration, was generally reckoned by witnesses to represent the anger of God—in recognition of the “crying sins of this nation”, the government declared 19 January 1704 a day of fasting, saying it “loudly calls for the deepest and most solemn humiliation of our people”. It remained a frequent topic of moralizing in sermons well into the nineteenth century.

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1839 – A cyclone hit India with high winds and a 40 foot storm surge, destroying the port city of Coringa (which has never been completely rebuilt). The storm wave swept inland, taking with it 20,000 ships and thousands of people. An estimated 300,000 deaths resulted from the disaster.

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1950 – The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950, otherwise known at the time as the “Storm of the Century”, struck  New England with hurricane force winds resulting in massive forest blow-downs and storm surge damage along the Northeast coast including New York City. This storm also brought blizzard conditions to the Appalachian Mountains and Ohio Valley, becoming one of the worst storms of all time. 353 people died in the event.

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1974 – Nick Drake died.  English singer-songwriter and musician, known for his gentle guitar-based songs. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime but his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. Died from an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old. Whether his death was an accident or suicide has never been resolved.

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1987 – Typhoon Nina hit  the Philippines with category 5 winds of 165 mph and a surge that destroyed entire villages. At least 1,036 deaths are attributed to the storm.

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2008 – Cyclone Nisha struck northern Sri Lanka, killing 15 people and displacing 90,000 others while dealing the region the highest rainfall in 9 decades.

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2009 – Devastating floods, known as the 2009 Saudi Arabian Floods, following freak rains swamped the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia during an ongoing Hajj pilgrimage. 3,000 cars are swept away and 122 people perished in the torrents, with 350 others missing.

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Almanac – August 17

1887 – Marcus Garvey born.  Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League as well as  the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.

Rastafarians consider Garvey a religious prophet, and sometimes even the reincarnation of Saint John the Baptist. This is partly because of his frequent statements uttered in speeches throughout the 1920s, usually along the lines of “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned for the day of deliverance is at hand!”


1896 – Bridget Driscoll , aged 44,  became  the first pedestrian victim of an automobile accident in the United Kingdom. As she and her teenage daughter May (and possibly one other person) crossed the grounds of the Crystal Palace in London, she was struck by an automobile belonging to the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Company that was being used to give demonstration rides. One witness described the car as travelling at “a reckless pace, in fact, like a fire engine” – although the car’s maximum speed was only 8 miles per hour at best,  and it had been limited deliberately to 4 miles per hour in this case. The driver was Arthur James Edsall of Upper Norwood, London.

1953 – Kevin Rowland born. English singer-songwriter and frontman of the  band Dexys Midnight Runners,

1959 – Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, the much acclaimed and highly influential best selling jazz recording of all time, released.

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Almanac – July 30

762 – Baghdad  founded by caliph Al-Mansur.

1751 – Although official executions for Witchcraft was supposed to have ceased in England in 1682 [1722 in Scotland], a Mrs. Osborne on this day became the last known person to be killed as a result of a witch-trial, being given the water test [float and you’re guilty, sink and you’re innocent] until she drowned – so was thus presumably innocent.

1818 – Emily Brontë born. English novelist and poet, best remembered for her solitary novel, Wuthering Heights. Although it received mixed reviews when it first came out, and was often condemned for its portrayal of amoral passion, the book subsequently became an English literary classic. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell.


1958 – Kate Bush born , English singer-songwriter who’s first hit single  was – coincidence or not – Wuthering Heights.

2003 – Sam Phillips died. American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940s and 1950s and  founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered  Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis , Johnny Cash  and Elvis Presley.

2007 – Ingmar Bergman died. Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. described by Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera,”  Bergman is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential film directors of all time.

Mr. Frankenstein

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