50 years ago today, David Bowie released his renown single Space Oddity. A song about the maiden launch of an astronaut named Major Tom, the song went public nine days before the world watched the Apollo 11 crew land on the moon. The fan favorite became Bowie’s first No. 1 hit in the UK.
WATCH the official music video produced a couple years later… (1969)
He was a beloved staff writer at The New Yorker magazine for nearly six decades (and shunned all publicity) until his death in 1985. He was also a co-author of the iconic writer’s style guidebook, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style—and he won the Pulitzer Special Award for Literature in 1978. Check out his third and less famous children’s book, The Trumpet of the Swan. (1899)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- “Get Down, You Fool!” – Abraham Lincoln survived in battle as the only US president to come under enemy fire (1864)
- Babe Ruth made his debut in Major league baseball. He began his career as an outstanding pitcher, twice winning 20 games, but wanted to play every day so converted to an outfielder. He responded by breaking the MLB single-season home run record in 1919. His career record of 714 home run stood for 39 years and other batting (and some pitching) records remain unbroken today. (1914)
- The Hollywood Bowl opened (1922)
- The Triborough Bridge linking Manhattan, Bronx and Queens opened (1936)
- To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee was first published (1960)
- Transatlantic satellite television was transmitted for the first time (1962)
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom (1977)
- Nolan Ryan became the first major league pitcher to earn 4,000 strikeouts in a career (1985)
- Full diplomatic relations were established between the United States and its former enemy Vietnam (1995)
And, on this day 160 years ago, Big Ben, the bell in the world’s largest chiming clock tower first rang out over London from its new perch as part of Westminster Palace, home to the Houses of Parliament.
It took 30 hours to winch the bell, named Big Ben, into the tower’s belfry. The origin of the name is thought to come from Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings, whose name is inscribed on the bell. (1859)
Also on this day 20 years ago, a U.S. Air Force jet flew to the Antarctic to drop off emergency medical supplies to a South Pole research center for physician Dr. Jerri Nelson after she discovered a lump in her breast.
In winter, at a time when the station is physically cut off from the rest of the world, she had to operate on herself to extract tissue samples for analysis, and later wrote an auto-biography about it. The cancer later went into remission, but recurred seven years later, eventually causing her death. (1999)
And, on this day in 1992, a fashion line of eight ties designed by Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead went on sale in America.
President Bill Clinton bought a set, so did thousands of closet hippies who were now working in the 9-5 business world. The collection grossed millions by the end of the year. You can still buy dozens of the designer ties by Captain Trips on Amazon. Prior to becoming leader of the San Francisco band, Garcia attended the California School of Fine Arts.