Born Today in History ›
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Published: 6 months ago
Bob Marley and the Wailers brought ska and Jamaican reggae music to an international audience in the 1960s and '70s. Continuing as a solo artist, Marley infused his music with political and philosophical messages that resonated with listeners worldwide. His distinctive vocal style and instrumentation won him fans and cemented his status as a musical legend, while his outspoken political views made him an icon in popular culture. His music, both as a solo artist and with the Wailers, brought Jamaican culture and art to international prominence, making Marley a national hero. Upon his death in 1981, he received a state funeral in his home country, and he remains a beloved figure in the nation's history. We remember Marley's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1964: Gord Downie, the charismatic lead singer of the beloved Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, was born in Amherstview, Ontario.
1950: Natalie Cole, U.S. singer and daughter of Nat King Cole whose hit songs included "This Will Be," is born in Los Angeles, California.
In 1991, Cole had the biggest hit of her career with the album "Unforgettable … With Love." The album consisted of covers of her father's songs and featured "Unforgettable," a duet between daughter and father edited together through new technology from recordings he had made before his death. The album was sentimental and sincere, both popular and well-respected by the music industry. It sold over 7 million copies and won six Grammys in 1992. Read more
1948: Bunny Rugs, born William Clarke, Jamaican lead singer of the reggae band Third World, is born in Kingston, Jamaica.
Clarke worked with the band Inner Circle and top reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry in Jamaica before joining Third World in 1976. The next year, the band released "96 Degrees in the Shade," one of its most popular albums, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The group was signed to Island Records and had hits on British and U.S. charts, including "Now That We Found Love," "Always Around," and "Reggae Ambassador." He performed on all of Third World's records except the group's debut. Read more
1946: Kate McGarrigle, Canadian folk singer who performed with her sister, Anna McGarrigle, is born in Montreal, Quebec.
Kate and Anna, known as the McGarrigle Sisters, began their careers performing at Montreal coffeehouses in the 1960s with a group called the Mountain City Four, according to McGarrigle's obituary by The Associated Press. They got their break in the 1970s, when their songs were covered by numerous artists, including Linda Ronstadt, who used "Heart Like a Wheel" as the title song to one of her albums. In 1975, they made their first record, "Kate and Anna McGarrigle," which brought them critical acclaim and additional famous covers by artists including Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, and Billy Bragg. Read more
1945: Bob Marley, Jamaican singer whose hits with the Wailers and as a solo artist include "I Shot the Sheriff" and "Redemption Song," is born in Nine Mile, Jamaica.
Hand in hand with reggae came Rastafari – Marley's religion, virtually unknown to much of the world before his fame. Even now, more than three decades after Marley's first international success, Rastafari isn't well understood outside his native Jamaica. Most people know about the music and the dreadlocks, along with maybe a vague idea that there's associated drug use, and that's about it. Read more
1944: Georgeanna Tillman, U.S. singer with the Marvelettes, who topped the charts with "Please Mister Postman," is born in Inkster, Michigan.
1933: Leslie Crowther, English comedian who hosted the first British version of "The Price Is Right," is born in West Bridgford, England.
1932: François Truffaut, French film director who was one of the founders of the French new wave with films including "The 400 Blows," is born in Paris, France.
Truffaut's third feature, "Jules and Jim," is widely regarded as his second masterpiece and one that perhaps best encapsulates the nouvelle vague aesthetic, breezily incorporating an encyclopedic mix of visual styles and techniques. On its surface, it's the story of a love triangle, but Truffaut turns what could be a clichéd premise into a meditation on love, youth, friendship, and freedom. It begins with whimsy and exuberance and ends, as critic Roger Ebert wrote, as a poignant story about "three people who could not concede that their moment of perfect happiness was over, and pursued it into dark and sad places." Read more
1922: Haskell Wexler, U.S. cinematographer and documentary filmmaker who won two Oscars, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1922: Patrick Macnee, England actor known best for his role as agent John Steed on TV's "The Avengers," is born in London, England.
1917: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian-American actress who was known mostly for being famous, is born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary.
Gabor was as well-known for her romantic life as for her acting – she was married nine times to a variety of notable men. With hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, she had her only child, Francesca Hilton. Read more
1914: Thurl Ravenscroft, U.S. voice actor who provided the voice for Tony the Tiger in Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercials, is born in Norfolk, Nebraska.
"I'm the only man in the world that has made a career with one word: Grrrrreeeat!" Ravenscroft told the Orange County Register in 1996, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. "When Kellogg's brought up the idea of the tiger, they sent me a caricature of Tony to see if I could create something for them. After messing around for some time I came up with the 'Grrrrreeeat!' roar, and that's how it's been since then." Read more
1913: Mary Leakey, English paleoanthropologist who discovered the first "Proconsul" skull as well as other notable fossils, is born in London, England.
1911: Ronald Reagan, U.S. politician who served as governor of California and was the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989, is born in Tampico, Illinois.
During his eight years as the 40th president of the United States, the former actor proved an inspiring speaker, as when, during a 1987 speech in Berlin (which had been divided since 1961 by a Soviet-erected barrier between democratic West Berlin and communist East Berlin), he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." He was also a quick wit who showed grace under pressure, as he did after the 1981 attempt on his life by John Hinckley Jr. Coughing up blood from a bullet wound to the chest, he quipped to his team of doctors, "Please tell me you're all Republicans." Read more
1899: Ramon Novarro, Mexican actor who was a leading man in silent films and early talkies, is born in Durango, Mexico.
1895: Babe Ruth, U.S. Major League Baseball player with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Boston Bruins, who is one of the sport's most legendary figures, is born in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ruth won four World Series, set single-season and career home run records, and has been called the greatest baseball player in history. But today he's remembered less for his on-the-field achievements than revered as an icon of bygone Americana. The nostalgia and myth making that started taking place during his life stretched through the whole of the 20th century and shows little sign of abating during the 21st. Read more
1756: Aaron Burr, U.S. politician who was the third vice president of the United States and famously killed his political rival, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel, is born in Newark, New Jersey.
1665: Queen Anne, English queen who ruled from 1702 to 1714 and united England and Scotland into Great Britain, is born in London, England.