On This Day March 2
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1793 – American statesman Sam Houston, best known for his role in bringing Texas into the United States as a constituent state (d. 1863)
1904 – Children’s book author and illustrator Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel (“If I Ran the Zoo,” “Horton Hears a Who!” “If I Ran the Circus,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” “Green Eggs and Ham”) (d. 1991)
1917 – Actor Desi Arnaz, best known for playing Ricky Ricardo in the sitcom “I Love Lucy,” which starred his wife, Lucille Ball (d. 1986)
1931 – Former Soviet President and Nobel laureate Mikhail Gorbachev
1942 – Rock-punk singer-songwriter-guitarist Lou Reed, originally of the 60s band Velvet Underground and solo artist (“Walk on the Wild Side”) (d. 2013)
1950 – Pop sensation Karen Carpenter of the 70s sibling duo Carpenters (d. 1983)
1962 – Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi (“Dead or Alive”, “Livin’ On A Prayer”, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “Blaze Of Glory”), born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.
1968 – Actor Daniel Craig, best known for playing British spy James Bond
1980 – Actress-comedian Rebel Wilson (“Bridesmaids,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “How To Be Single”)
1836 – The Republic of Texas declares its independence from Mexico. A convention of American Texans meets at Washington-on-the-Brazos (today commonly referred to as “the birthplace of Texas”) and confirms Sam Houston as the commander in chief of all Texan forces.
1925 – State and federal highway officials create the United States’ first system of numbered interstate highways.
1933 – The horror film “King Kong,” about the giant ape that runs loose across Manhattan, opens at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Screenings sell out for the first four days.
1949 – The first automatic street light is installed in New Milford, Connecticut.
1955 – Nine months before Rosa Parks’ famous act of civil disobedience, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus. Colvin was traveling home from school when the driver ordered her and three fellow Black students to give up their row of seats to a White passenger.
1962 – Wilt Chamberlain sets the single-game scoring record in the NBA by scoring 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a match against the New York Knicks.
1965 – “The Sound of Music,” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about the Von Trapp family, opens in New York. The movie goes on to capture five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (Robert Wise).
1972 – NASA launches Pioneer 10 — the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt and the first to make direct observations and capture close-up images of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.
1978 – Three months after his death, grave robbers steal the corpse of silent film legend Charlie Chaplin from a Swiss cemetery and demand $600,000 for its safe return.
1963 – “Walk Like a Man,” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart. It is the band’s third chart-topping hit.
1967 – The Beatles win three Grammys for records issued the previous year: Best Song for “Michelle,” Best Vocal Performance for “Eleanor Rigby” and Best Cover Artwork for the album design of “Revolver” by Klaus Voormann.
1974 – “Seasons in the Sun,” by one-hit wonder Terry Jacks, claims the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stays there for three weeks.
1974 – At the 16th Annual Grammy Awards, Stevie Wonder captures five honors: Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording for “Innervisions,” Best R&B Song and Best Vocal for “Superstition,” and Pop Vocal Performance for “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.”
1974 – Roberta Flack wins Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammys for “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The track also garners a Song of the Year Grammy for its writers, Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox.
1985 – “Careless Whisper,” by Wham! featuring George Michael, begins its third and final week at No. 1 on the singles chart.
1985 – Sheena Easton becomes the first musical artist ever to land Top 10 hits on the pop, R&B, country, dance and adult contemporary charts when “Sugar Walls,” written by Prince, reaches No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. That is the song that sparked the Parental Advisory music labeling system (listen carefully to the lyrics and you’ll know why).
1999 – Acclaimed British pop vocalist Dusty Springield (“I Only Want To Be With You,” “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”) dies at the age of 59 following a five-year battle with breast cancer.
2002 – “Always on Time,” by Ja Rule featuring Ashanti, enters its second and final week as a No. 1 single.