On this Day July 15
1972 – Elton John’s “Honky Château,” the album that brings us “Rocket Man” and “Honky Cat,” sets out for five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Sir Elton’s fifth studio album is named after the 18th century French estate where it was recorded — Château d’Hérouville.
1986 – Columbia Records drops country music legend Johnny Cash, ending a 26-year relationship. Cash is later signed by Mercury Records, and in 1994, releases his first album with producer Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label, beginning a major comeback.
1903 – The newly formed Ford Motor Company receives its first automobile order. The customer is Chicago dentist Ernst Pfenning, who buys an $850 two-cylinder Model A with a tonneau, or backseat. The vehicle is delivered a week later.
1979 – President Jimmy Carter delivers his famous “Crisis of Confidence” speech, later referred to as the “malaise speech,” in which he challenged Americans to overcome consumersism and materialism to solve the energy crisis and other challenges.
1988 – A new action-thriller movie franchise is born as “Die Hard” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Bruce Willis as detective John McClane, who single-handedly battles a terrorist group led by Alan Rickman that is holding hostages inside a Los Angeles skyscraper.
1997 – World-renowned Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace is shot to death outside his Miami mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who was already wanted in connection with four other murders across the U.S.
2006 – Podcasting company Odeo launches the social media platform Twitter as twttr, touting it as “a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS.” Twitter’s popularity explodes, with the service boasting more than 300 million users by 2016.
1961 – Oscar-winning actor-producer-director Forest Whitaker (“Platoon,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Bird,” “The Crying Game,” “Panic Room,” “Phone Booth,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”)