On This Day April 5
1975 – “Lovin’ You,” by Minnie Riperton, tops the Billboard Hot 100. Tragically, Riperton dies of breast cancer four years later at the age of 31. At the end of the track, you can hear her sing, “Maya, Maya” to her daughter, actress-comedian and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph.
1984 – The funeral service for Motown legend Marvin Gaye takes place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown talent are on hand to pay their respects.
1985 – At 3:50 p.m. GMT, more than 5,000 radio stations around the world simultaneously broadcast the single “We Are the World,” produced as a charity to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. The single, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, features the voices of some of the biggest musical acts of the day.
1994 – Grunge music icon Kurt Cobain, Nirvana founder and frontman, commits suicide. His body is discovered at his Seattle home three days later by an electrician who showed up to install a security system.
1614 – Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indian confederacy, weds English tobacco planter John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia. The marriage ensures peace between the Jamestown settlers and the Powhatan Indians for several years.
1951 – A federal judge sentences Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death for their roles in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets. The couple had been convicted of their crimes a week earlier. They are executed by electric chair in 1953, becoming the only two American civilians to be executed for Cold War espionage.
1965 – Movie musicals sweep the Oscars. At the 37th Academy Awards, “My Fair Lady” wins Best Picture, while its star, Rex Harrison, wins Best Actor. Singer/actress Julie Andrews wins Best Actress for her role in “Mary Poppins.”
2000 – Lee Petty, an early star of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the patriarch of a racing dynasty that includes his son, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, dies at the age 86. Lee Petty won more than 50 races during his career.
Own a Piece of This Day
Mary Poppins (50th Anniversary Edition)
Starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and David Tomlinson, and directed by Robert Stevenson