On This Day April 12
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1932 – Singer and ukulele player Tiny Tim, born Herbert Buckingham Khaury (d. 1996)
1940 – Oscar and Grammy-winning jazz musician Herbie Hancock
1947 – Bestselling author Tom Clancy (“Patriot Games,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Clear and Present Danger”) (d. 2013)
1947 – Comedian and retired “Late Show” host David Letterman
1950 – Actor-singer and former teen heartthrob David Cassidy (“The Partridge Family”) (d.2017)
1956 – Actor-director Andy Garcia (“The Untouchables,” “The Godfather Part III,” “Stand and Deliver,” “Oceans Eleven” and its sequels, “The Lost City”)
1957 – Grammy-winning country music singer-songwriter Vince Gill (“When I Call Your Name,” “Go Rest High On That Mountain,” “I Still Believe in You”)
1971 – Actress-director Shannen Doherty (“Little House on the Prairie,” “Our House,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Charmed”)
1979 – Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Claire Danes (“My So-Called Life,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Rainmaker,” “Homeland”)
1861 – The Civil War — the bloodiest four years in American history — begins in the early-morning hours when Confederate troops open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. Neither side anticipated the length of the war nor the devastation that the conflict would bring.
1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies during his fourth term in office, leaving Vice President Harry Truman in charge of a nation still embroiled in World War II.
1961 – The Space Race between the U.S. and Soviet Union begins as the Soviets launch Vostok I. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space, making a single orbit around Earth in just under two hours.
1981 – The U.S. achieves a space exploration milestone with the inaugural space shuttle flight. Shuttle Columbia represents the first manned U.S. space mission since Apollo-Soyuz in July 1976. The shuttle is also the first reusable manned spacecraft.
2003 – Fifty years after their introduction, tokens for the New York City subway system are sold for the last time, replaced by the Metro Card.
1954 – Bill Haley and his Comets record “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” at Pythian Temple studios in New York City. The song, widely credited with bringing rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream, becomes a worldwide No. 1 and the biggest-selling pop single, with sales exceeding 25 million.
1963 – Bob Dylan performs his first major solo concert at Town Hall in Manhattan. Dylan’s 24-song set includes “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Highway 51” and “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie.”
1969 – The 5th Dimension soar to the top of the singles chart with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” which holds at No. 1 for six weeks.
1973 – Stevie Wonder is just 23 years old when he makes a guest appearance on the children’s television show Sesame Street. Wonder interacts with several beloved characters in segments throughout the program, including Grover, whom he teaches how to sing. He also performs his smash hit, “Superstition.”
1975 – Elton John claims the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks with “Philadelphia Freedom,” a song he wrote for his good friend, international tennis legend Billie Jean King. “Philadelphia Freedom” is the name of the tennis team that King coached at the time.
1986 – Falco wraps up three weeks atop the Billboard singles chart with “Rock Me Amadeus.”
1997 – “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” by Puff Daddy featuring Mase, is in the midst of a six-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100.
2003 – 50 Cent rules the singles chart with “In da Club,” which remains at No. 1 for nine weeks.