On this day 60 years ago, “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac was first published. Based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the U.S., it was the defining novel of the Beat Generation–a term the author himself coined. Reflecting the background of improvisational jazz, poetry, and drug use, Kerouac called the writing style “Spontaneous Prose.” Often named one of the top 100 novels of the 20th century, it featured key figures in the counter-culture movement, like William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady, with Kerouac as the narrator—all with fictionalized names. The way the text was produced as a nonstop scroll was also unique… (1957)
Typed out on tracing paper and taped together into a continuous scroll during April 1951, the 120-feet of text, with no paragraph breaks, has appeared on display in museums worldwide, including one in Lowell, Massachusetts, the city where Kerouac was born. The book was also made into a 2012 film, entitled On the Road.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- The first United States Labor Day parade was held in New York City (1882)
- The Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War, was signed in New Hampshire (1905)
- Baseball legend Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run knocking in three runs; as the pitcher, he also threw a one-hitter that day for his Providence club that beat Toronto 9-0 (1914)
- Janis Joplin began recording the song ‘Me and Bobby McGee’, written by lover and friend, Kris Kristofferson–the song that topped the US singles chart after her 1971 death (1970)
- Jimmy Carter opened the Camp David peace accord meetings in the U.S., bringing together Israel’s Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (1978)
- The Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of 1989, the current international treaty defending indigenous peoples, came into force (1991)
- Denmark celebrated the first national Flag Day, in memory of the fallen Danes in international operations since 1948 (2009)
- The United Nations declared today as International Charity Day, an annual celebration honoring the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and all the work that charities do worldwide (2012)
And on this day in 1946, Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, was born. Known for his remarkable four-octave vocal range, he wrote many of Queen’s classic songs, including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Somebody to Love’, and ‘We Are The Champions’. Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, he grew up in India and learned to play piano at age seven. At 17, the family escaped racial violence and moved to England, where he joined Brian May and Roger Taylor and renamed their band Queen.
Also, Happy Birthday to comedian Bob Newhart, 88; and Michael Keaton, 66