47 years ago today, Harry Nilsson finished a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with his version of ‘Without You,’ with keyboards by Gary Wright. His vocal track was recorded in a single take and his performance won Nilsson his second Grammy Award. WATCH the iconic version and LEARN More about him… (1972)

The singer-songwriter-musician died at age 52 of heart failure after producing a successful body of work, without ever touring. It included the original children’s animated story The Point! (Me and My Arrow); and two more No.1 singles—‘Coconut,’ ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’. Another hit was a version of Nilsson’s ‘One’, released by Three Dog Night.

The Beatles were once asked in a press conference who their favorite American group was and they answered “Nilsson” and John Lennon was one of his best friends. Watch one of his only recorded performances (and see scenes from The Point), here from the BBC.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Henry Jones of Britain invented self-rising flour (1845)
  • Although the U.S. Congress was against entering World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act, which allowed war supplies, food and oil to be shipped to the Allies on loan–more than $50 billion worth (equivalent to $659 billion today) was delivered (1941)
  • The first album by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Deja Vu, was released w/ Teach Your Children, Our House, and Woodstock as singles (1970)
  • Lithuania declared independence from Soviet Union (1990)
  • Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for being the most successful musician and composer in popular music history with 60 gold discs and 100 million singles to date, including the most covered song in history — Yesterday — which has nearly 4,000 artists recording it, so far (1997)
  • The International Criminal Court was founded in The Hague (2003)
  • The First female president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, was inaugurated (2006)

Happy 85th Birthday to the incomparable Sam Donaldson ABC News reporter, news anchor, and White House Correspondent who spent 46 years in journalism, often a thorn in the side of public figures like US presidents. (1934)

By John Mathew Smith & celebrity-photos.com, CC license

And, on this day in 1977, after gunmen held three buildings in Washington, D.C. during a 39-hour siege, all 149 hostages were freed, thanks to ambassadors from 3 Islamic nations—Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan.

3 Ambassadors Hanafi Siege - Fair Use

They courageously intervened with police, reading to the 12 Hanafi Muslim gunmen passages from the Quran to demonstrate Islam’s compassion and mercy, and urging them to surrender. WATCH a video…

And, on this day in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union.

Генеральный секретарь ЦК КПСС М.С. Горбачев

His policies of glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“restructuring”) and his negotiations with President Reagan over strategic nuclear arms contributed to the end of the Cold War, ended the Communist Party’s hold on governing, inadvertently led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and won him a Nobel Peace Prize. Born into a Ukrainian-Russian peasant family, Gorbachev still lectures today and is involved in strengthening democratic politics in Russia and elsewhere.

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