65 years ago today, Elvis Presley entered a recording studio at Sun Records and launched the birth of Rock & Roll. The 19-year-old was invited to play with two session musicians to make his first commercial recording. He was fooling around on his guitar and began strumming an old blues number, That’s All Right—playing the song faster than the original version. That single, released two weeks later with Blue Moon of Kentucky as the B-side, was hailed by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 as the very first rock-and-roll record. LISTEN to the 2-minute song… (1954)
Presley’s version has different lyrics compared to the Arthur Crudup original, and was produced in the style of a live recording (all parts performed at once and recorded on a single track). John Lennon, who, along with Paul McCartney copied Elvis as much as possible in the early days of The Beatles, later said: “Before Elvis there was nothing.”
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Isaac Newton published his formulation of the laws of motion, which formed the foundation of classical mechanics, as well as his law of universal gravitation (1687)
- William Booth founded The Salvation Army in London (1865)
- The National Labor Relations Act is enacted in the U.S. (1935)
- The British National Health Service Act was launched providing government-financed medical and dental care as an integral part of British society, largely “free at the point of delivery”, paid for by taxes (1948)
- The US voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 years, and certified by President Nixon (1971)
- Arthur Ashe was the first black man to win Wimbledon singles’ championship (1975)
- The SARS virus was declared to be contained by the WHO (2003)
- First Indonesian presidential election (2004)
- Roger Federer won a record 15th Grand Slam tennis tournament at Wimbledon (2009)
And, on this day in 2000, conservationists launched the largest ever airlift of wild birds.
Over 18,000 penguins were moved to safety as an oil slick threatened their South African breeding ground during mating season. A third of the entire species of black-footed penguins (found only in Africa and classified as “threatened”) lived on the islands. Thousands of volunteers and zoo experts helped with both the airlift, and the cleaning of 20,000 birds. This video shows volunteers and experts scrubbing and feeding nearly 20,000 oil-soaked penguins in thirty days.
Happy Birthday to musician-singer-songwriter Robbie Robertson, who turns 76 today. As a songwriter, the Canadian is credited for writing ‘The Weight’, ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, ‘Up on Cripple Creek’, ‘Broken Arrow’ and ‘Somewhere Down the Crazy River’.
He played with The Band and Bob Dylan for years before going solo and producing records. Robertson has collaborated with Martin Scorsese, who directed the rockumentary film The Last Waltz, featuring The Band alongside a string of mega music stars. He continued acting and composing for a number of dramatic Scorsese films, including Raging Bull, Casino. WATCH him play The Weight in The Last Waltz…(1943)