40 years ago today, Dire Straits released ‘Sultans Of Swing’, their first single from the debut album. With a budget of only $150, the song was first recorded months earlier as a demo in North London. Written by singer-guitarist Mark Knopfler about a musician who “doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene—he’s got a daytime job and he’s doing alright,” the catchy hook rose to No. 4 on the Billboard chart. Mark’s guitar solo went down in history as No. 22 on Guitar World‘s list of greatest solos. (1978)

(Photo by Helge Overas, CC, 1985)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The electric fire alarm system was patented in Boston, Mass., the first city to adopt the method (1857)
  • Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gaol prison having served 2 years hard labor for “gross indecency” (1897)
  • The Soviet Union ratified a treaty with the United States and Britain that banned nuclear weapons from outer space (1967)
  • Apple, Inc. opened the first Genius Bars (in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Glendale, California), where customers can get free tech support in the chic Apple retail environment (2001)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released into theaters worldwide, completing George Lucas’ 28-year saga, which first appeared in 1977 and includes 6 episodes (2005)

Happy 73rd Birthday to Pete Townshend, the English musician, singer-songwriter and co-founder of The Who.Pete_Townshend_(2012)-CC-RossBelot

Born in London to musician parents, he taught himself how to play guitar and never learned to read music. Yet, he became one of the most influential guitar players and rock composers in the world. (1945) –Photo by Ross Belot -CC

And, on this day in 1967, The Beatles held a press party at the London home of their manager Brian Epstein to launch the Sgt. Pepper’s album. They hired Linda Eastman to be the press photographer, a woman who, four years later, became the beloved wife of Paul McCartney for 27 years–until her death from cancer at age 56.

She had been a professional photographer focused on celebrities, and was often published in music industry magazines. Her book, Linda McCartney’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era, features the best of her work.


  1. How is Lucas’ woefully ill-conceived and horrendously written (if unintentionally hilarious) bastardization of his own trilogy worthy of “On this day in History”, especially considering it came out a scant 2 years ago?

    Not tryin to be mean… Just legitimately curious.

  2. Tell us how *you* would have conceived it?

    They all were written pretty poorly (remember Han Solo’s early lines?), but they remain jewels in our home that, when played in the living room, seem to draw in any of the rest of family — no matter what we’re doing– even when we’ve seen them a thousand times and small kids are now teenagers.

    It must be the force!

    I’ll look around for more history from this day…

  3. Oh, there’s no question that “Star Wars” and “Return of the Jedi” have some pretty awful lines, not to mention clunky direction and editing. But dialogue and story structure are two different things – at least the original had heart, being something that looked “homemade” as opposed to created by a committe in Silicon Valley.
    And let’s not forget the actually *good* interchanges in “Empire” (neither penned nor directed by Lucas), particularly:

    Leia – “I love you.”
    Solo – “I know.”

Leave a Reply