On this day in 1975 an attempted assassination attempt on Gerald Ford was made by a disciple of Charles Manson. Lynette Fromme pointed a pistol at the president while he was visiting Sacramento, California. Lucky for Ford one of his secret service agents saw the gun and wrestled it away from the would-be assassin. She was arrested and convicted in short order and sentenced to life in prison.
On this day in 1972 Palestinian militants took 9 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage at the Olympic games in Munich. The terrorist group they belonged to was called Black September. Killing two Israelis when they burst into the dormitories, the terrorists demanded the release of political prisoners or all hostages would be killed. A compromise was reached and the German government agreed to take the prisoners and the hostages to the airport by helicopter to an awaiting plane. There an ambush took place with the goal of freeing the hostages, but it backfired and the terrorists killed the remaining Israelis. Three terrorists survived and were imprisoned, but were later freed when an airliner was hijacked and their release was demanded.
On this day in 1957 Jack Kerouac's On the Road was published. Written in three weeks the story chronicles the journey of two men across the country in a journey filled with drugs, free love, and the counterculture. Based loosely on his own journey, Kerouac used his friends in the story under different names. While a good story, it all seems a bit self important, pompous, and had a boys club mentality. The subtle name dropping and the credo "don't trust anyone over 30" was hypocritical. Kerouac was 35 when he wrote it.
On this day in 1964 "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals hit #1 on the charts. It was a cover of a tradition blues song of unknown origin, but with a flavor of its own. Bob Dylan recorded a version two years prior, but "jumped" out of his seat upon hearing this version. Driven by an electric organ and lyrics of a boy aware of his coming demise from a house of ill-repute, the song was a stark contrast to the pop songs of the era. It received a revival of sorts when it was featured in the movie "Casino" in a scene where Sharon Stone's character stumbles in a hallway before she died. One of my favorite songs of all time, this video, although cheesy at times, is pretty darn cool.
And finally, Freddie Mercury would have been 65 today. Long live Freddie!