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Almanac – June 02

1692 – Bridget Bishop was the first person to go to trial in the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts.

She wasaccused of bewitching five young women, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Elizabeth Hubbard, but  she may also have been accused because she owned one or more taverns, played shuffleboard, dressed in provocative clothing, and was outspoken.

She was hanged on June 10 1692.

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1740 – Marquis de Sade born. French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer, famous for his libertine sexuality.

His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author.

 He is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church.

He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law. The words “sadism” and “sadist” are derived from his name.

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2008 – Bo Diddley died. American R&B vocalist, guitarist, songwriter (usually as Ellas McDaniel), and rock and roll pioneer.

He was  known as The Originator because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock, influencing a host of acts, including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, The Who, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles, among others.

 He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged electric guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs, along with African rhythms and a signature beat (a simple five-accent clave rhythm) that remains a cornerstone of rock and pop.

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Almanac – March 03

1756 – William Godwin born. English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism.

 Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which attacks aristocratic privilege, but also is the first mystery novel. Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s.

 In the ensuing conservative reaction to British radicalism, Godwin was attacked, in part because of his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death.

Their daughter, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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1765 – William Stukeley died. English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as “probably… the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology”.

Becoming involved in the newly fashionable organisation of Freemasonry, he also began to describe himself as a “druid“, and incorrectly believed that the prehistoric megalithic monuments were a part of the druidic religion. However, despite this he has been noted as being a significant figure in the early development of the modern movement known as Neo-druidry.

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1863 – Arthur Machen born.  Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella “The Great God Pan” (1890; 1894) has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror (Stephen King has called it “Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language”). He is also well known for his leading role in creating the legend of the Angels of Mons.

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1951 – Jackie Brenston, with Ike Turner and his band, recorded “Rocket 88″, often cited as the first rock and roll record, at Sam Phillips‘ recording studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

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2006 – Ivor Cutler died. Scottish poet, songwriter and humorist. He became known for his regular performances on BBC radio, and in particular his numerous sessions recorded for John Peel‘s influential radio programme, and later for Andy Kershaw‘s programme. He appeared in The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour film in 1967 and on Neil Innes‘ television programmes.

The hallmarks of Cutler’s work are surreal, bizarre juxtapositions and close attention to small details of existence, all described in seemingly naive language. In performance his delivery was frail, halting and minimally inflected. His writing sometimes edged into whimsy or the macabre. Many of his poems and songs are in the form of conversations delivered as a monologue

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Almanac – February 16

2004 – Doris Troy died.  American R&B singer, known to her many fans as “Mama Soul”.

She  worked with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick, before she co-wrote and recorded “Just One Look”, which hit #10 in the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.  Her only foray into the UK Singles Chart, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It“, peaked at #37 in December 1964.

As her solo career peaked, she sang back-up for the Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd (on their album The Dark Side of the Moon),  George Harrison, Johnny Hallyday, Vivian Stanshall, Dusty Springfield,Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Carly Simon.

She was signed by The Beatles to their Apple Records label in 1969, and released the Doris Troy album the following year, co-produced  with  George Harrison.

She died from emphysema at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada, aged 67

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Almanac – January 30

1649 – Charles I executed. The execution took place at Whitehall, London,  on a scaffold in front of the Banqueting House. Charles was separated from the people by large ranks of soldiers, and his last speech reached only those with him on the scaffold. He declared that he had desired the liberty and freedom of the people as much as any, “but I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists in having government…. It is not their having a share in the government; that is nothing appertaining unto them. A subject and a sovereign are clean different things.” 

Kind of :  I know best because I’m king, and I’m king because I know best, so suck on that, scum. The same attutude (replacing king with rich) is prevalent in our current Consevative government.

Closer to the fact was the statement from The Ordinance For The King’s Trial

“Charles Stuart, the now king of England… hath had a wicked design totally to subvert the ancient and fundamental laws and liberties of this nation, and in their place to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government.”

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1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England was ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch, Charles I,  he himself deposed.

 

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1969 – The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert was broken up by the police.

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1971 – Carole King‘s album Tapestry  released – it would become the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sell 24 million copies worldwide.

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1980 – Professor Longhair died.  New Orleans blues singer and pianist. Professor Longhair is noteworthy for having been active in two distinct periods, both in the heyday of early rhythm and blues, and in the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz after the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The journalist Tony Russell, in his book The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, stated “The vivacious rhumba-rhythmed piano blues and choked singing typical of Fess were too weird to sell millions of records; he had to be content with siring musical offspring who were simple enough to manage that, like Fats Domino or Huey “Piano” Smith. But he is also acknowledged as a father figure by subtler players like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John.”

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Almanac – December 30

1928 – Bo Diddley born. American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter (usually as Ellas McDaniel), and rock and roll pioneer. 

He was  known as The Originator because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock, influencing a host of acts, including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, The Who, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and George Michael, among others.

He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged electric guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs, along with African rhythms and a signature beat (a simple, five-accent rhythm) that remains a cornerstone of rock and pop.

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1946 – Patti Smith born. American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.

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Almanac – September 24

1534 – Guru Ram Das born. The fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the four hymns of the Sikh Marriage Rites, and he was planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar.

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1541 –  Paracelsus  (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) died.  German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist. He is also credited for giving zinc its name, calling it zincum, and is regarded as the first systematic botanist.

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1893 – Blind Lemon Jefferson born. American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled “Father of the Texas Blues”.

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1930 – Angelo Muscat born. Maltese-born film and television character actor,  he appeared in 14 of the 17 episodes of the sixties cult television series The Prisoner, as the notably mute butler. Only 4 ft 3 in tall, he played an Oompa-Loompa in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), and also appeared in the Beatles‘  Magical Mystery Tour and  Doctor Who.

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1993 – A Jehovah’s Witness buttonholed actor James Purefoy outside his London flat. They began a friendly conversation, but then   “I just said I thought it was odd that the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs, and he punched me in the face.”

“At first I tried to laugh it off, but that just incensed him and he kept hitting me.”

Finally, Purefoy lifted his assailant into the air and threw him to the ground, shouting: “I hope Jehovah witnessed that !”

The actor came out of the theological discussion with a black eye and a slipped disc, causing him to have to pull out of Noel Coward’s  Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre.
The fate of the JW isn’t recorded.

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Almanac – August 27

551 BC – Birthdate given for Confucius

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1784 – First balloon ascent in Britain, by James Tytler over Edinburgh.

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1890 – Man Ray born. American modernist artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements.

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1896 – War broke out between the UK and Zanzibar. Happily, it didn’t become a prolonged affair – war was declared at 09:02, peace was declared at 09:40, making this 38-minute long war the shortest on record.

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1913 – Russian pilot Lieutenant Peter Nesterov became the first person to perform the loop-the-loop.

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1937 – Alice Coltrane born. American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, and composer. Wife of John Coltrane.

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1967 – Brian Epstein died.  English music entrepreneur, best known for being the manager of The Beatles. He died of an overdose of Carbitral, a form of barbiturate or sleeping pill.

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1975 – Emperor Haile Selassie died. Revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate, among the Rastafari.

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Almanac – August 15

1057 – Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích ) killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada (the future King Malcolm III.)  According to tradition, the battle took place near the Peel of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth’s Stone, some 300 metres  south-west of the peel, is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded – although The Prophecy of Berchán ( a verse history which purports to be a prophecy) has it that he was wounded and died at Scone, sixty miles to the south, some days later.

1928 – Nicolas Roeg born. English film director and cinematographer.  He started his film career by contributing to the visual look of Lawrence of Arabia and Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death, and co-directing Performance in 1970. He would later direct such landmark films as Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

1941 – Corporal Josef Jakobs executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 7:12 am, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason. He  was a German spy who was captured shortly after parachuting into the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Convicted of espionage under the Treachery Act 1940, he was shot by a military firing squad.

1963 – Execution of Henry John Burnett, the last man to be hanged in Scotland

1965 – The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York, New York, an event later regarded by some as the birth of stadium rock.

1967 – René Magritte died. Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the umbrella of surrealism.

1969 – Woodstock opened,  more properly the  Woodstock Music & Art Fair   –  “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”.  And rain. And mud

1977 – The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, received a radio signal, the so-called Wow ! signal,  from deep space – a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment “Wow!” on its side, and so it became known.

2008 – Jerry Wexler died.  A music journalist turned music producer, he was regarded as one of the major record industry players  from the 1950s through the 1980s. He coined the term “rhythm and blues” in  1948 as a musical marketing term replacing the term “race music”, and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan.

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – August 8

1879 – Emiliano Zapata born, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South. and his memory is still revered today.

1969 – At a zebra crossing in London, photographer Iain Macmillan takes the photo that becomes the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road, one of the most famous album covers in recording history.



1975 – Cannonball  Adderley died. Julian Edwin Adderley,  jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s,  remembered for his 1966 single “Mercy Mercy Mercy”, a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with  Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959).

2004 – Fay Wray died. Canadian-American actress most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong. Through an acting career that spanned 57 years, Wray attained international stardom as an actress in horror film roles, leading to many considering her as the first “scream queen”.

Mr. Frankenstein

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