Elvis Presley, or the King to his fans, transformed popular culture in post-World War II America. We remember Presley’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Elvis Presley, or the King to his fans, transformed popular culture in post-World War II America with his voice, charm, and gyrating hips. His music blended rock, pop, blues, and gospel, moving from up-tempo hits such as “Hound Dog” and “Blue Suede Shoes” to soulful ballads such as “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “Love Me Tender.” He scandalized American audiences in the 1950s, winning legions of rabid fans with his suggestive dance moves and charisma. Television appearances on programs such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” made him a household name, and Elvis capitalized on that popularity through a series of star-vehicle films including “Jailhouse Rock” and “Viva Las Vegas.” His antics offstage were also larger than life, helping to cement his legacy as an American icon and keep him in the news even decades after his death. We remember Presley’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1979: Windell Middlebrooks, U.S. actor known best for his role in “The Suite Life on Deck” as Kirby Morris and for Miller High Life beer commercials, is born in Fort Worth, Texas.
1959: Paul Hester, Australian drummer with Split Enz and Crowded House, is born in Melbourne, Australia.
As the band made small waves on college radio with their follow-up album, “Temple of Low Men,” Hester tried his hands at songwriting. One of his compositions is on the band’s third – and Hester’s last – album, “Woodface.” “Italian Plastic” was never a single, but it was a fan favorite and often played at concerts. Read more
1947: David Bowie, British rock star who was a boundary-breaking icon, is born in Brixton in south London, England.
Bowie’s musical career spanned six decades, with his first hit single charting in 1969 and his final album released just days before his death. In between, he tried on a myriad of musical styles, reinventing his look and creating personas to match as he delighted fans across the world. Read more
1941: Graham Chapman, English comedian, writer, and actor who was a member of the comedy group Monty Python, is born in Leicester, England.
1940: Jimmy O’Neill, U.S. disc jockey and broadcaster known best for hosting the television show “Shindig!”, is born in Enid, Oklahoma.
1935: Elvis Presley, U.S. singer, guitarist, and actor who was an icon of rock ‘n’ roll, with chart-topping singles including “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog,” is born in Tupelo, Mississippi.
In his New York Times obituary, the late Molly Ivins wrote that Presley’s “throaty baritone and blatant sexuality redefined popular music. … Like Frank Sinatra in the decade before and the Beatles a decade later, Mr. Presley was more than a singer – he was a phenomenon, with 45 gold records that sold more than 1 million copies each. … At his death, Mr. Presley had been an indelible part of the nation’s musical consciousness for 20 years.” Read more
1934: Alexandra Ripley, U.S. author known best for her novel “Scarlett,” a sequel to “Gone With the Wind,” is born in Charleston, South Carolina.
1934: Roy Kinnear, English character actor known best for his role as Veruca Salt’s father in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” is born in Wigan, England.
The comic’s pie-throwing shtick became his trademark, and celebrities lined up to take one on the chin alongside Sales. During the early 1960s, stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, and Shirley MacLaine received their just desserts side-by-side with the comedian on his television show. “I’ll probably be remembered for the pies, and that’s all right,” Sales said in a 1985 interview. Read more
1915: Walker Cooper, U.S. Major League Baseball player who was one of the top catchers in the 1940s and ’50s, is born in Atherton, Missouri.
1912: Jose Ferrer, Puerto Rican actor who became the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award, for his role in 1950’s “Cyrano de Bergerac,” is born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1908: William Hartnell, English actor who played the first incarnation of the Doctor on “Doctor Who,” is born in London, England.
1904: Tampa Red, U.S. blues musician whose bottleneck technique influenced blues greats including Muddy Waters, is born in Smithville, Georgia.
1902: Carl Rogers, U.S. psychologist who is considered one of the founders of psychotherapy research, is born in Oak Park, Illinois.
1862: Frank Nelson Doubleday, U.S. publisher who founded the Doubleday Publishing Co., is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1821: James Longstreet, U.S. general who was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the U.S. Civil War, is born in Edgefield District, South Carolina.
1792: Lowell Mason, U.S. composer of hymns known best for his arrangement of “Joy to the World,” is born in Medfield, Massachusetts.