On this Day August 31
1976 – A judge rules that when George Harrison wrote “My Sweet Lord,” he plagiarized The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine, written by Ronnie Mack. The crime costs the ex-Beatle $1.6 million for what the court calls “subconscious plagiarism.”
1991 – Metallica’s self-titled album, also known as “The Black Album,” kicks off four weeks on top of the Billboard album chart and goes on to sell more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. It contains popular tracks including “Nothing Else Matters,” “Wherever I May Roam,” “The Unforgiven,” “Sad But True” and “Enter Sandman.”
1996 – “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix),” by Los del Rio, is in the midst of a 14-week domination of the pop chart. The track becomes an international hit and dance phenom. In 2002, VH1 dubbed Los del Rio the No. 1 Greatest One-Hot Wonder of All Time.
1980 – Representatives of Poland’s communist government agree to the demands of striking shipyard workers in Gdansk. Former electrician Lech Walesa leads the striking workers, who go on to form Solidarity, the first independent labor union to develop in a Soviet bloc nation.
1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, and her companion, Dodi Al-Fayed, die in a Paris car crash while being pursued at high speed by photographers on motorbikes. The tragedy leaves the world shocked and saddened.