On this Day May 18
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1912 – Pop singer and TV personality Perry Como (“Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes,” “It’s Impossible”) (d. 2001)
1920 – Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyla, the second longest-serving pope in history, who was leader of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death (d. 2005)
1946 – Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, a.k.a. “Mr. October,” who won five World Series Championship rings with the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees.
1952 – Grammy-winning Country Music Hall of Famer George Strait, known as “The King of Country” (“Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind,” “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “Write This Down”)
1970 – Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, comedian, writer and producer Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock,” ” Mean Girls,” “Baby Mama,” “Date Night,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
1975 – Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson (“Flake,” “Better Together,” “Banana Pancakes”)
1917 – Six weeks after the United States formally enters the World War I, Congress passes and President Woodrow Wilson signs into law the Selective Service Act. It requires all American men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for service in the U.S. military. On June 5, 1917, some 10 million men report to their local Selective Service Registration Boards to sign up.
1953 – Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran becomes the first woman aviator to break the sound barrier. The so-called “Queen of Speed” was an important contributor to the formation of America’s wartime Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).
1965 – President Lyndon Johnson announces the launch of Project Head Start, designed as part of his War on Poverty initiative, to provide comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.
1974 – With its detonation of a nuclear bomb, India officially becomes the world’s sixth nuclear power. International reaction to the test was negative, with Canada cutting off virtually all nuclear assistance. The United States also restricted such collaborations and successfully persuaded India not to carry out further nuclear tests at that time.
1980 – The violent eruption of Washington’s Mount St. Helens kills 57 people, destroys hundreds of homes, levels tens of thousands of acres of forest, triggers mudflows and scatters ash across a dozen states. It becomes one of the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic events in U.S. history.
1959 – Considered one of rock and roll’s early classics, “Kansas City,” by Wilbert Harrison, tops the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for two weeks. The song was written in 1952 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who had never been to Kansas City. Despite countless covers, including one by Little Richard, only Harrison’s version became a chart-topper.
1963 – Jimmy Soul has the No. 1 single with “If You Wanna Be Happy.” The song holds the top spot for two weeks.
1974 – Ray Stevens races to the top of the pop chart with the novelty song “The Streak,” and stays there for three weeks.
1985 – “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” by Simple Minds, is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written for the John Hughes coming-of-age movie “The Breakfast Club,” it is the band’s only U.S. chart-topper.
1996 – Bone Thugs-n-Harmony begin eight weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their Grammy-winning single, “Tha Crossroads.” The song is dedicated to the group’s mentor, the late gangsta rap icon Eazy-E.
2002 – Ashanti is in the middle of a 10-week domination of the singles chart with “Foolish.”