On This Day March 17
1956 – “The Poor People of Paris,” by Les Baxter, tops the Billboard Most Played by Jockeys chart and remains there for four weeks. A week later it begins four- and six-week dominations of the Best Sellers in Stores and Top 100 charts, respectively.
1958 – The Champs kick off five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores chart (precursor to the Hot 100) with “Tequila.” At the first Grammy Awards ceremony the following May, the song captures Best R&B Performance honors.
1978 – New at the movies: “American Hot Wax,” a film about legendary DJ Alan Freed, who was instrumental in introducing and popularizing rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s. Freed’s career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.
461 A.D. – Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. For thousands of years, the Irish and others have observed his passing as a religious holiday.
1762 – The world’s first Saint Patrick’s Day parade on record takes place in New York City — 14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence — by Irish soldiers serving in the British army. As more Irish immigrants come to the U.S. in the mid-19th century following the potato famine, parade attendance swells and new parades sprout in other cities.
1949 – The first car to carry the Porsche name, the 356, is introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. A 356 Coupé and 356 Cabriolet grab attention in the main hall of the world’s largest automotive show. By 1965, about 78,000 units of the 356 had been built.
2000 – “Erin Brockovich” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Julia Roberts and Albert Finney, and directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film garners five Oscar nominations and goes on to win one — Best Actress for Roberts, who, with this production, becomes the first actress to command a $20 million paycheck.