On this day 35 years ago, Bruce Springsteen went to No.1 on the US album chart with Born In The U.S.A. Released four weeks earlier, his seventh studio album spent a total of 139 weeks on the chart. It’s one of the highest-selling records ever and is cited by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. It’s also one of only three albums to produce seven top-ten US singles: Born in the U.S.A., Dancing in the Dark, Cover Me, I’m on Fire, Glory Days, I’m Goin’ Down, and My Hometown (Michael Jackson’s Thriller and a Janet Jackson disk were the other two.)

For the famous cover, Annie Leibovitz shot a photo of Springsteen’s backside against the backdrop of an American flag, evoking themes of a working-class hero, while the lyrics dealt with the difficulties and marginalization of the working-class and Vietnam veterans. WATCH a video about why the title track is the most misunderstood song in America… (1984)

With Born in the U.S.A., Springsteen helped popularize American heartland rock in the mainstream, which allowed for greater success for recording artists such as John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Bob Seger. Despite it’s American focus, the LP also topped the charts in the UK, Australia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. (Cover mashup by Lawren, CC license)

MORE Good News in History:

  • George Cukor, the film director of My Fair Lady and Philadelphia Story was born in New York City (1899-1983)
  • David McCullough, award-winning author and historian known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies, Truman and John Adams, was born (1933)
  • Ringo Starr, the drummer for The Beatles, was born (1940)
  • George Harrison recorded his new song Here Comes the Sun with two other Beatles, Paul and Ringo, at Abbey Road in London (1969)
  • Judge Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated by President Reagan to become the first female justice on the US Supreme Court (1981)
  • President Bill Clinton visited an Indian reservation, the first president since FDR to do so, specifically the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota (1999)
  • Influenced by Live 8, the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to Africa from US$25 to US$50 billion by the year 2010 (2005)
  • On 07/7/7 Live Earth concerts publicize threat of global warming as 100 artists on seven continents perform in live broadcast (2007)

Happy Birthday to one of the funniest ‘clean’ comedians in comedy, Jim Gaffigan, who turns 53 years old today.Jim Gaffigan

He is known for his deadpan delivery and jokes about eating food. Besides touring with his standup routine, he stars on The Jim Gaffigan Show on TVLand. You may know him as Roy Keene from That ’70s Show, or from his memoirs: Food: A Love Story, and Dad Is Fat. WATCH this bit about Seafood from his 2016 comedy special, Obsessed. (1966)

On this day in 1983, 11 year-old Samantha Smith boarded a plane for the Soviet Union at the invitation of that country’s leader, Yuri Andropov, after writing him a letter during the height of the Cold War. The schoolgirl received a reply and an invitation to visit. . . She had seen a TIME magazine article about the Soviet Union and asked her mother, “If people are so afraid of him, why doesn’t someone write a letter asking whether he wants to have a war or not?” Her mom replied, “Why don’t you?”

Smith was in fifth grade when she wrote the letter, which was published in the Soviet newspaper Pravda READ their remarkable letters below…

Photo of Ms. Smith in the USSR by RIA Novosti, CC

Dear Mr. Andropov,

My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
Sincerely, Samantha Smith

On April 25, she received a response from the Soviet leader:

Dear Samantha,

I received your letter, which is like many others that have reached me recently from your country and from other countries around the world.

It seems to me – I can tell by your letter – that you are a courageous and honest girl, resembling Becky, the friend of Tom Sawyer in the famous book of your compatriot Mark Twain. This book is well known and loved in our country by all boys and girls.

You write that you are anxious about whether there will be a nuclear war between our two countries. And you ask are we doing anything so that war will not break out. Your question is the most important of those that every thinking man can pose. I will reply to you seriously and honestly.

Yes, Samantha, we in the Soviet Union are trying to do everything so that there will not be war on Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir Lenin, taught us.

Soviet people well know what a terrible thing war is. Forty-two years ago, Nazi Germany, which strove for supremacy over the whole world, attacked our country, burned and destroyed many thousands of our towns and villages, killed millions of Soviet men, women and children.

In that war, which ended with our victory, we were in alliance with the United States: together we fought for the liberation of many people from the Nazi invaders. I hope that you know about this from your history lessons in school. And today we want very much to live in peace, to trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on this earth—with those far away and those near by. And certainly with such a great country as the United States of America.

In America and in our country there are nuclear weapons — terrible weapons that can kill millions of people in an instant. But we do not want them to be ever used. That’s precisely why the Soviet Union solemnly declared throughout the entire world that never – never – will it use nuclear weapons first against any country. In general we propose to discontinue further production of them and to proceed to the abolition of all the stockpiles on earth.

It seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to your second question: ‘Why do you want to wage war against the whole world or at least the United States?’ We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country – neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government – want either a big or ‘little’ war.

We want peace — there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space. We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha.

I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country, the best time being this summer. You will find out about our country, meet with your contemporaries, visit an international children’s camp – ‘Artek’ – on the sea. And see for yourself: in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples.

Thank you for your letter. I wish you all the best in your young life. — Y. Andropov

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