On This Day January 4
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1965 – President Lyndon Johnson uses his State of the Union address to outline ambitious plans for a “Great Society,” which include knocking down racial barriers and freeing Americans from what he calls the “crushing weight of poverty.”
1996 – General Motors (GM) takes the wraps off a prototype of its EV1 electric car, which the automaker only makes available in Arizona and California — and exclusively for lease — as GM considered the development of electric vehicle technology to be ongoing.
1999 – Europe is united with a common currency when the euro is introduced as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets. Eleven European Union (EU) nations adopt the currency in hopes of increasing European integration and economic growth.
1936 – Billboard magazine publishes its first list of best-selling pop records covering the week that ended December 30, 1935. Big band violinist Joe Venuti and his Orchestra have the first No. 1 with “Stop Look and Listen.”
1954 – Working as a truck driver, Elvis Presley enters the Memphis Recording Service in Tennessee and records “It Wouldn’t Be The Same Without You” and “I’ll Never Stand In Your Way” as a demo for Sun Records. Impressed with his sound, Sun Records head Sam Phillips calls Presley back to record more, and the rest is rock and roll history.
1997 – Toni Braxton has the first No. 1 single of 1997 with “Un-Break My Heart,” which remains a Billboard chart-topper for 11 weeks. The song goes on to capture a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.