65 years ago today, Elvis Presley’s debut album was released on RCA Victor, after being recorded in Nashville and New York.
The first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the charts, the LP Elvis Presley spent ten weeks at number one on the Billboard Top Pop chart in 1956—and became the first million-selling rock album. Certified gold and platinum, it was ranked number 56 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
With rock music still untested by the major record labels, Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s new manager, talked RCA into buying Elvis’s contract from Sun Records, and the album’s No.1 hit, Heartbreak Hotel along with the top 20 hit Blue Suede Shoes proved a stunning success following several nationwide TV appearances.
The iconic cover design was echoed by the Clash for the front of their 1979 album London Calling. (1956)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- George Frideric Handel’s Messiah premiered in London to great applause (1743)
- First recorded use of OK as an abbreviation for “oll korrect”, but additionally the phrase is thought to have come from the initials of a Native American chief who was known for keeping his word (1839)
- The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines signed (1935)
- First peacekeeping troops arrived in Lebanon (1978)
- Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador made news when he appealed to the nation’s armed forces to stop killing the Salvadorans (1980)
- Taiwan held its first direct elections (1996)
- Titanic won 11 major Academy Awards, tying the record set by Ben-Hur, and later, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (1998)
246 years ago today, American Founding Father Patrick Henry spoke to Virginia legislators, where he famously proposed that their colony should join the revolution against King George and fight for independence. “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
Thanks in part to Patrick Henry’s persuasion, the resolution passed by a narrow margin with two future U.S. Presidents voting in the affirmative—Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. (1775)
And, 27 years ago today, Wayne Gretzky broke one of hockey’s greatest records—most all-time goals for a player.
Widely regarded as the greatest player ever to carve the ice, he overtook his role model, Gordie Howe, when he scored his 802nd career goal, on the way to scoring 894 goals in 1,487 games before retiring five years later. WATCH the moment… (1994)
Also, 49 years ago today, the film The Concert For Bangladesh, featuring George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, premiered in New York. The featured event had been the first high-profile benefit concert in world history. The musicians raised more than a quarter million dollars in one night for Bangladesh relief. Sales of the album and DVD continue today to benefit millions to the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.
Harrison had never played by himself in front of a large audience before, but his friends’ participation buttressed his enthusiasm. The video clip below was produced in 2011 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1971 concert in Madison Square Garden. By 1985, revenue raised from the live album–a boxed three-record set–and film, which is still on sale today, totaled an estimated $12 million –all donated to UNICEF’s work in the once war-torn East Pakistan region. WATCH a highlights clip with interviews. (1972)
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