55 years ago on this day, the so-called red telephone was established between the White House and the Kremlin to link the two superpowers, after lessons were learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (1963)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Alexander Graham Bell installed the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (1877)
- David Bowie recorded ‘Space Oddity’ at Trident Studios in London (1969)
- The Steven Spielberg movie Jaws was released, about a giant man-eating shark whose presence was signaled by a terrifying 2-note soundtrack hook (1975)
- The U.S. Supreme Court declared that executing mentally retarded murderers was unconstitutionally cruel (2002)
- The non-profit WikiMedia Foundation was set-up to operate the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, among other global collaboration projects, by co-founder Jimmy Wales (2003)
And, on this day in 1995, Greenpeace activists bolstered by international pressure forced UK’s Shell Oil into a dramatic reversal of its decision to dispose of a massive oil rig by submerging it beneath the sea.
After changing its mind, Shell moored the rig and began dismantling the structure at a cost of £43m, compared to a cost of £4.5m to dump the structure under the sea. The scrap was eventually used to build the foundations of a new ferry terminal. The public outcry led to a change of management and a revamp of Shell’s ethical standards. On top of that, all the governments of the north east Atlantic region agreed afterward to ban future dumping of steel-built oil installations.
Also, Happy Birthday to Brian Wilson, who turns 76 today. As the multi-talented leader of the Beach Boys, he co-wrote over 25 top forty hits and by 1967 had become an influence on The Beatles and others, particularly with the album, Pet Sounds. His unique approaches to song composition, arrangement, and recording are why that album is ranked #2 on the Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, according to industry leaders who created the list for Rolling Stone. (1942)
Wilson was one of the most famous examples of the outsider musician. The first to use a studio as his own instrument, at 21-years-old he received the freedom to produce his own records with total creative autonomy. With his technical genius, he ignited an explosion of like-minded producers who created the “California Sound”, and supplanted New York as the center of record producing.
In 2016, he penned an autobiography called “I am Brian Wilson”, that reveals how he felt about psychedelic drugs, which he believes led to a mental breakdown, and the woman who saved him—now his wife of over 20 years. The story was also dramatized in the 2015 film, Love and Mercy, starring John Cusack.
Other Notable Birthdays: Nicole Kidman (51), John Goodman (66)