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Billy Joel (reportedly) wrote this song after overhearing a child say that he felt sorry
for "older people" like Billy Joel because no "history" happened in their lifetime, that NOW
(or the time the song was written) was going to be the world's most historical time period.
The comment got to Billy Joel so much that he sat down and wrote this to prove that his
lifetime has been FULL of history.
Well loved 33rd President of the United States (1945-1953).
Made the decision to drop the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
"Give 'em hell Harry!" The 1949 Inauguration was the first to be nationally televised, and was estimated to
have been viewed by 10 million Americans.
Popular singer/actress and later, star of the Doris Day Show (1968-1973).
Most famous movies: ThePajama Game ('57) and Pillow Talk
"The Red Troops," Communists take over mainland China. Nationalists
establish themselves in Taiwan.
Singer who cried when he sang. Hits: Cry and The Little
Cloud that Cried. Johnnie Ray was born on January 10, 1927 in Dallas,
Oregon. He was partially deaf since childhood and began wearing a hearing aid at age 14.
In 1951 singer LaVern Baker and her manager Al Green helped him with his music.
He signed a contract with Okeh in 1949.
Broadway musical first produced on this date
America's first modern gossip columnist known for his aggressive style
and tremendous use of slang. America tuned into him on the radio.
"Joltin' Joe," "The Yankee Clipper" was an outfielder for the New York
Yankees (1936-1951) and has the longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues.
In 1949, an inflamed heel kept him sidelined for 65 games. When he returned to the
lineup, his home run helped the Yankees beat Boston 5-4, and he went on to bat .500
in their three-game series. It was as if he'd never been gone.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955 and married Marilyn Monroe in '54.
The Republican senator who led "Witch Hunts" against the
communists in America. He also started the dreaded "Black listing."
Member of the US Senate and later President. Investigated domestic
communism during this period.
Clement, Henry, and John Studebaker, The downfall of this eccentric
auto company came when their sports car did not catch on as well as the
The "Boob Tube" was introduced and became widely popular throughout
Democratic peoples republic occupied by U.S.S.R. They invaded...
On June 25, 1950 and remained occupied until July 27, 1953. The
United States supported South Korea. Start of the "Cold War"?
Norma Jean-Baker -- Actress and Pin-up girl. In the movie "Love Happy", United Artists,
April 1950 staring: Marx Brothers, Ilona Massey, Eric Blore, Vera-Ellen, Raymond Burr,
Groucho Marx. She married Joe DiMaggio in
1954 and died of a drug overdose in 1956. Popular Movies:
Some Like It Hot and Bus Stop
Ethel-Greenglass Rosenberg and Julius Rosenberg were listed
as communists and were convicted of giving secrets to the U.S.S.R.
Executed, they were spies, they were traitors.
First tested in 1951. This weapon was more powerful than the
destrctive Atomic bomb. Researched by Edward Teller as a response
to the fear of communism after Russia duplicated the A-bomb.
Five time middle weight champion (1951-1960).
Welter weight champion (1946-1951)
City in South Korea where the cease fire negotiations took place. Talks started in
1951 and the truce was signed in 1953 ending the Korean War.
Marlon Brando Jr. The "Buddy" actor. Won Oscars for: On
the Water Front (1954) and The Godfather (1972)
The King and I
Popular musical and book by Oscar Hammerstein based on the novel Anna
and the King of Siam by Margret Landon. About King Mongkut of
Thailand and the social life and customs therein.
The Catcher in the Rye
Well known book by J.D. Salinger.
"Ike" David Dwight Eisenhower. Allied European military
leader and 34th U.S. president (1953-1961).
Jonas Salk, on March 11, 1952, provides the body with lasting defensive
powers against 3 types of polio viruses.
England's got a new Queen
Queen Elizabeth II starts her reign, she is 27 years old.
Rocky Marciano, Boxer and Actor. Became the heavyweight champion of the world when he
defeated Jersey Joe Walcott on September 23, 1952. Undefeated Heavyweight Champion
(1952-1956). Died in a plane crash in 1969.
George J. Liberace. Conductor, violinist and pianist born Wladziu Valentino
(1919-1987). Rose to stardom in the fifties and went on to become
the highest paid entertainer during the sixties and seventies. Known
for his elaborate costumes, flashy piano styles and his token candelabra.
Most well known piece: Mack the Knife
George Santayana, (1863-1952), American philosopher, poet, and novelist, whose
wide-ranging philosophical speculation was expressed in a style of great literary distinction.
died September 26, 1952., Memorable quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it."
Dictator of Russia (1929-1953), successor of Lenin.
Instituted Socialism throught the use of force. Died, March 5, 1953.
Georgi Malenkov was a close associate of Joseph Stalin he, became Prime
Minister of Russia after Stalin's death and remained in his position until
Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egyptian President (1953-1970). He led the
disposal of King Farouk in 1952.
Russian Composer who died in 1953 after putting together Peter and
John D. Rockefeller. Most well known of the wealthy Rockefeller
family. Founded Chevron Oil company. Nelson Aldridge Rockefeller
was Governor of New York from 1958 to 1974.
Roy Campanella was a black baseball catcher for Brooklyn from 1948
to 1957. He led the NL in RBI's in 1953 and held the MVP. He was paralyzed in a
car accident in 1958 and was entered in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
The Communist Bloc refers to the countries that comprised the "enemy"
during the Cold War.
Lawyer and Chief counsel to Senator McCarthy during his
"Witch Hunt" trials.
Dictator of Argentina, died in 1974.
Arturo Toscannini, child prodigy. One of the great Orchestra conductors
who performed in New York and Italy. He retired in 1954 at the are
The Tradename for Polyester fiber rope. The beginning of polyester
Dien Bien Phu Falls
Vietnam swamp land, location of the Frenc fortress that was defeated
It doesn't take a genius to know Albert Einstein.
Physicist and mathametician who penned the Theory of Relativity and did
substantial work on the creation of the Atomic Bomb. He won the Nobel
Prize before passing away on April 18, 1955.
Actor and teen heartthrob. Became an icon for American teenage
boys after a career in films which was tragically cut short when he was
killed in a car accident on Sept. 30, 1955. Films: Rebel Without
A Cause (1955), East of Eden (1955), and Giant (1955)
filmed before his death.
Brooklyn's got a winning team
The Brooklyn Dodgers wins the World Series 4 games to 3 against the
New York Yankees.
Frontiersman under President Andrew Jackson who died at the Alamo in
1936. Because of Walt Disney's now weekly show, Davy Crockett becomes
the newest fad among kids.
The Disney Feature Full Length Animated Movie hits theatres.
Bridget Bardot, French actress and sex symbol. Famous
for marijuana and her long blonde disheveled hair.
Moved towards democracy in Hungary, armored tanks quickly put a stop
Moved towards civil rights with the Civil Rights Movement. Blacks
protested against discrimination.
Nikita Krushchev, the Premier of Russia who built the Berlin Wall in
'56. " We will bury you!"
Grace Kelley. Actress who married Prince Ranier III of Monaco
in '56. Movies: High Noon (1952)
First night time soap opera
Trouble in the Suez
Egypt nationalizes the canal and refuses passage to Israel. War
erupts and Irael, with the help of France and Great Britain occupy the
Arkansas, troops are sent to a central high school to enforce
Boris Pasternak, russian creator of Dr. Zhivago. Forced to refuse
the Nobel Prize for literature in '58.
"The Commerce Comet." NY Yankees outfielder (1951-58).
Won the AL Triple Crown in '56 and held the record for 536 home runs.
He was a 3 time MVP, including the '57 season, and was entered into the Hall of Fame in
Jack Kerouac, led the "Beatnik" movement, authored On the Road in
1957. b. Oct 20, 1931
The first artificial satellite, launched by the Russians on Oct 4,
1957. Sputnik means satellite in Russian.
Chou-En-Lai (Zhou En-Lai?)
The premier of China sought to normalize
relations between the PRC and the USA
Bridge on the River Kwai
Won 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor - Alec Guinness (of Star Wars fame)
and Best (Adapted) Screenplay.
President "Ike"Eisenhower sent troops to Lebanon where 241 marines died.
Charles de Gaulle
French army general who assumed leadership after WWII, he became the
first president of the fifth republic (1959-1969).
In 1958 (between the 1957 and 1958 seasons, at least) the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants
(the baseball team) moved out west to California - Los Angeles and San Francisco
The Starkweather Homicides - In January, Charlie Starkweather and his girlfriend, Caril
Fugate, went on a 11 (we've also heard "over 15") person killing spree over a span of a month
and a half. The spree started with Fugate's parents and spread over the Midwest. He was
executed in the electric chair.
I can't believe this, we've heard a few
explanations! The second is that the lyric is about John Starkweather who climbed a tower at
a Texas college and started shooting at people with a rifle.
idea is that it refers to the Richard Starkweather murder spree that inspired the film
Children of Thalidomide
Thalidomide was given to women to help with birthing proceedures and morning sickness.
Childern are consequently born with birth defects, typically abnormally
short arms. Sometimes, no arms or legs at all.
My man! Singer/songwriter of
Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Died in a plane crash with 2 other rock n' roll singers, including Ritchie Valens,
on Feb 3, 1959. (See the
The first sentient being was sent into outer space, it was... a monkey.
Gangs, mobsters, you know like Capone. Don Vito Genovese jailed for narcotics peddling
in 1959, he was turned in by Nelson Cantellops.
The Hula Hoop was invented and became the latest fad.
Fidel Castro led a campaign to overthrow the Batista regime. The Communist leader
took over in Cuba and became the Premier.
Edsel is a no-go
The Edsel, a car too advanced for its time, people were not ready for
it and it flopped.
A spy plane, then being flown by Gary Powers, was shot down. News of its
existence ruined a summit meeting in Vienna between Kruchev and the American President,
The President of South Korea (1948-1960) was forced from office for
One of the first big music scandals where record companies paid DJs to play certain songs
as DJs were asking for money to play records. Allan Freed, a big time radio DJ from Ohio
credited with coining the term "Rock and Roll," got caught up in it and it destroyed his career. The film American Hot
Wax deals with both Allan and the payola issue.
John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States (served 1961-1963).
He was also the first Roman Catholic President.
Psycho<Alfred Hitchcock movie. Nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including Best Director
and Best Supporting Actress. Remade in 1999.
Belgians in the Congo
In June, the Belgians lost control of the Congo, which became the independent
state of Congo-Kinshasa. Today it is known as Zaire.
Journalist/Author, Nobel Prize winner in 1954. Died
July 2, 1961.
Adolf Eichman, Nazi leader and most feared Nazi. He was in charge
of Hitler's Death Camps. He escaped to Argentine in 1946 and was
captured by Israelies in 1960. Tried in 1961 and hanged in 1962 for his war crimes.
Stranger in a Strange Land
Novel by Richard Heinlein published in 1961. Winner of the 1962 Hugo Award.
Robert Zimmerman / Bob Dylan -- Singer/Songwriter. Blowin' in the Wind (1962), Times
They are a Changin' (1964)
The Wall goes up to devide East Communist Germany from West Democratic
Bay of Pigs Invasion
April 17-19. The unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Communist government of Cuba
by U.S. backed Cuban exiles.
The University of Mississippi is the first to allow African Americans
to attend a University.
First American to orbit Earth
Liston beats Patterson
"Sonny" Liston, Actor/boxer. Heavyweight champion 1962-1964 beats
Floyd Patterson, an Olympic gold medalist (boxing 1952) and the youngest
to ever win the heavyweight title.
Paul I installed as Pope in 1963. He died on March 6, 1964.
He was also the Monarch of Greece from 1947-1964.
His original name was Malcom Little. After derogatory comments regarding the
assassination of J.F.K he was silenced by Black Muslims. Murdered in 1965.
British Politician Sex
British minister Stephen Ward was brought down by virtue of a sex scandal in the early
60s -- he had an affair with Christine Keeler and killed himself in shame. Check out the
movie "Scandal" for more details.
JFK Blown away
John F. Kennedy's assassination took place on Nov. 22, 1963 during
a political parade in Dallas.
The start of endless debates and controversies over birth control.
Ho Chi Minh
Leader of the Vietminh against the Japanese. An ally of the US during WWII. He was
president of North Vietnam during the period of the Vietnam War.
Richard Nixon back again
After Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960, he ran for governor of California and lost.
He called a press conference and angrily declared he was leaving politics and public life
for good, telling the press "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more." He didn't
keep his promise, though, and hence the "back again" reference. He became the 37th President
from 1967-1974, then resigned. He ended the US presence in Vietnam, repaired relations
with China, and initiated Detente with USSR.
July 1969. U.S. wins race to the Moon, Neil Armstrong plants American flag.
New York's "Love-in." On a 600 acre farm, 400,000
people gathered for 3 days of Rock n' Roll. It is reported that no fights took place,
it rained most of the three days and 1 child was born.
Break in of Democratic National Headquarters, by Nixon White House Aides.
Causing scandal, including evidence of missing tapes.
In the fifties, baby boomers were teens and they rebelled
against adults with Rock n' Roll. In the early seventies, their children
started punk rock.
Menachem Wolfovitch, Prime minister of Israel 1977-1983. Attended a meeting with Anwar
el Sadat resulting in the Camp David Accords. He is the Nobel
Peace Prize winner of 1978.
40th President (1981-1989), instituted "Reaganomics"
in an attempt to spur the economy. He was also known for his conservative
policies and the fact that he has been our oldest President (b. Feb. 6,
Continuing conflicts over a Palestinian homeland.
Terror on the Airline
Many Hijackings and explosions took place during the 80's
Ayatollah's in Iran
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini began a Holy War with Iran.
Russians in Afghanistan
Russian and Afgan government troops hold the major cities but rebels control the
Wheel of Fortune
One of the most popular TV game shows begins in the 80's
First woman in Space
Heavy Metal Suicide
In the eighties, a rumor flourished that heavy metal music caused some kids to
commit suicide. - Music doesn't kill people, people kill people (and guns).
The United States, under Reagan's Reganomics, ran up trillions of dollars
in National Debt.
Due to the state of the economy and high unemployment, Vietnam vets
are forced to the streets by the thousands.
The AIDS epidemic becomes the headline news.
Cocaine has been around for awhile but it becomes popular again in another form.
Was attacked by 2-4 thugs in a New York subway. He returned the attack with gunfire
from his legally registered gun. He left one in a wheelchair of the attackers. The
incident later went to trial and due to a lack of evidence to prove that Goetz was acting in
self defense, the victim (Goetz) was forced to pay approximately 1 million dollars to the
families of the attackers. (You better believe we have a great justice system!)
Hypodermics on the Shore
From the Pacific to Lake Michigan, the pollution in our water
is recognized when people find hypodermic needles in the seas.
China's under Martial Law
Democratic movement in China stopped by use of military force.
The World's always been kinda messed up, it was messed up before I was
born, it was messed up during the time that I lived and it will probably
be messed up after I'm gone. That doesn't mean you don't try the
best that you can and make this a better world.
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Email the Webmaster. We've no doubt left out some information that you might be able to fill in.
Edited and Published 1997, Paul O'Brien
Copyright 1997-2006, The Octopus's Garden; Copyright 1996, Leilani Gnall
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