Year
1962

Patti LaBelle makes her debut on the pop charts, sort of

Billboard Hot 100 on this day in 1962. In a move that was far from unprecedented at this time—the same thing happened with The Crystals’ “He’s A Rebel” (1961), for instance—Patti and her cohorts were credited with a hit record they had nothing to do with creating.

Patti LaBelle was still going by her given name, Patricia Holte, when she first teamed up in 1961 with fellow Philadelphians Cindy Birdsong (a future Supreme), Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash to form a group called the Ordettes. In the meantime, a Chicago group called the Starlets was touring with the likes of Jackie Wilson and the Spinners on the strength of a minor hit called “Better Tell Him No.” While visiting Philadelphia, the Starlets somehow found themselves in a recording studio located on a used-car lot operated by a salesman named Harold Robinson. Among the tracks Robinson had the Starlets record that day was the Leon René song “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.” While the details of what followed remain murky, the upshot was that while the Starlets went on about their business elsewhere, Newton Records released “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman” in early 1962 under the new name of the former Ordettes: the Blue Belles. After entering the pop charts on this day in 1962, the record went on to peak at #15 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the Billboard Lady Marmalade.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Library of Congress established

President John Adams approves legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress,” thus establishing the Library of Congress. The first books, ordered from London, arrived in 1801 and were stored in the U.S. Capitol, the ...read more

Churchill knighted

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death in 1895. During ...read more

German endurance driver killed in crash

On this day in 1983, Rolf Stommelen, a four-time 24 Hours of Daytona champ as well as a Formula One driver, is killed at the age of 39 in a crash at California’s Riverside International Raceway.Stommelen was born on July 11, 1943, in Germany. In 1968, he won his first 24 Hours of ...read more

Easter Rebellion begins

On this day in 1916, on Easter Monday in Dublin, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret organization of Irish nationalists led by Patrick Pearse, launches the so-called Easter Rebellion, an armed uprising against British rule. Assisted by militant Irish socialists under James ...read more

Westmoreland makes controversial remarks

At a news conference in Washington, Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam, causes controversy by saying that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.” Though ...read more

Truman is briefed on Manhattan Project

President Harry Truman learns the full details of the Manhattan Project, in which scientists are attempting to create the first atomic bomb, on this day in 1945. The information thrust upon Truman a momentous decision: whether or not to use the world’s first weapon of mass ...read more

Author Willa Cather dies

Willa Cather, the author of several celebrated novels examining the lives of western pioneers, dies in New York.Born in Virginia in 1873, Cather moved with her family to Red Cloud, Nebraska, when she was 10 years old. Although she did not attend regular school until high school, ...read more

Sue Grafton is born

Bestselling mystery novelist Sue Grafton, creator of tough, divorced private eye Kinsey Millhone, was born on this day in 1940. Starting with A Is for Alibi in 1982, Grafton reached U Is for Undertown, the 21st book featuring Millhone, in 2009.Grafton was born and raised in ...read more

Jane Fonda’s first Workout video released

Hollywood royalty, fashion model, Oscar-winning actress, controversial anti-war activist. Jane Fonda fit all of these descriptions by the late 1970s and 1980s, when she emerged in her latest incarnation–exercise guru. On April 24, 1982, Fonda extended her reach into the ...read more

Forensic evidence is introduced in Australia

Colin Ross is hanged to death in Australia for the rape and murder of 13-year-old Alma Tirtschke. Ross was one of the first criminals in Australia to be convicted based on forensic evidence. On December 30, 1921, Tirtschke was reported missing in Melbourne. The next day, a ...read more

The Bandung Conference concludes

The Afro-Asian Conference–popularly known as the Bandung Conference because it was held in Bandung, Indonesia–comes to a close on this day. During the conference, representatives from 29 “non-aligned” nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East met to condemn colonialism, decry ...read more

Union issues conduct code for soldiers

The Union army issues General Orders No. 100, which provided a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. The code was borrowed by many European nations, and its influence can be seen on the Geneva Convention.The ...read more

The Easter Rising begins in Dublin

Around noon on Easter Monday of 1916, some 1,600 Irish nationalists–members of the Irish Volunteers–launch the so-called Easter Rising in Dublin, seizing a number of official buildings and calling on all Irish patriots to resist the bonds of British control. Since the outbreak of ...read more