On this Day July 4
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1911 – A heatwave drives temperatures to triple-digit record highs from Pennsylvania to Maine, leaving nearly 400 people dead. In Nashua, New Hampshire, the mercury peaks at 106. The heatwave lingers across the Northeast for 11 days.
1939 – Baseball great Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), tells a crowd at New York’s Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” as he announces his retirement from Major League Baseball. The speech is later dubbed “baseball’s Gettysburg Address.” Gehrig dies from the disease two years later at the age of 37. Today, ALS is known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
1969 – Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chuck Berry and other popular acts perform at the Atlanta Pop Festival in Byron, Georgia.
1970 – A radio institution is born on this day. It’s “American Top 40” (“AT40”) with host Casey Kasem, a nationally syndicated program that counts down the 40 hottest singles in the U.S. according to Billboard magazine. The first countdown ends with the Jackson 5’s “The Love You Save,” then in its second and final week at No. 1.
2003 – Grammy-winning soul singer-songwriter Barry White (“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” “You’re the First, The Last, My Everything”) — whose smooth, deep vocals dominated the pop chart throughout the 70s — dies of kidney failure at the age of 58.