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It happened on Thursday 26th June, 1969

The Beatles were No.1 in the US and Australian charts with Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down, whilst the subsequent single, The Ballad Of John And Yoko, was already No.1 in Britain and The Netherlands, becoming the Fab Four’s final UK chart-topper shortly before they disbanded.

Elvis Presley‘s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, celebrated his 60th birthday, whilst singers Georgie Fame celebrated his 26th, Mick Jones, of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite, his 14th, Chris Isaak his 13th, and Terri Nunn, frontwoman of Berlin, celebrated her eighth. Richard Cottle, keyboardist on David Bowie’s Glass Spider tour, celebrated his ninth, while Licence To Kill villain Robert Davi turned 18. The day before, George Michael celebrated his sixth birthday.

Carry on Camping was top of the box office in British cinemas, appropriately enough (ho ho ho.)

On its ninth week on the British singles chart, Frank Sinatra‘s My Way was a non-mover at No.7. It eventually spent a record-breaking 75 weeks in the top 40 (a feat never surpassed) and 124 weeks in the top 75, though the song was only a modest hit in the States. As Even A Fool Learns To Love, the song had previously been given a set of (rejected) English lyrics by David Bowie the year before.

Three weeks prior to the Apollo 11 moon landing, on 26 June Bowie completed the recording of both sides of his first hit single, Space Oddity/Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud, the same day his manager Ken Pitt moves his offices from London’s Curzon Street to Manchester Square, where they both had been living for some time. The song premiered over the PA at Hyde Park before the Rolling Stones took to the stage at their legendary free concert less than a forthright later.

Joni Mitchell is special guest on the sole episode of The Mama Cass Show.

It was the 24th anniversary of the United Nations Charter, signed in San Francisco.

It was the sixth anniversary of US President John F. Kennedy’s infamous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, five months before his assassination.

It was the 60th anniversary of the grand opening of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London’s South Kensington.

Just down the road, Pink Floyd were playing at the Royal Albert Hall.

It was the 139th anniversary of the death of King George IV. On that day in 1830 he was succeeded to the British throne by William IV and his wife Queen Adelaide.

Colin Greenwood, Radiohead bassist, was born in Oxford.

Mamma mia: Just a few hours old and already giving the oldies cause for concern

This cheeky little chappy was born on William IV Street in central London’s Charing Cross Hospital, just off the Strand, on the same day. Fellow writer, Will Self, was born at the same hospital, which is now Charing Cross Police Station, eight years earlier, on 26 September 1961.

26 June 69 was the day that 20,000 people lined the streets of Manhattan to view the body of Judy Garland, who had died in central London’s Cadogan Square four days earlier.

As with those in the vicinity of her funeral the following day, 27th June, a large number of Garland’s gay fans were subject to New York police’s extreme brutality, which led to the great Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village the following day, 28th June 1969, the one key date in the history of international gay rights.

The following month, the NYPD raided Andy Warhol‘s Factory, where his explicit new film Blue Movie was confiscated and banned. Filth!


On my first birthday in 1970, Hollywood actor Chris O’Donnell, who played Robin in the 1990s Batman movie series, was born.

On the same day, David Bowie releases the single Memory Of A Free Festival (Parts 1&2), a re-recorded version of a track from the 1969 David Bowie album, later re-titled Space Oddity.

On my third birthday in 1972, Bowie, backed by Mick Ronson and the Spiders From Mars, records a version of John, I’m Only Dancing which will become a one-off single and the follow-up to Starman, his first Top 10 hit since Space Oddity.

On my 8th birthday in 1977, Elvis Presley is live at the Indianapolis Market Square Arena, Indiana. It was to become the last concert performance of his career.

On my 10th birthday in 1979, Birmingham born musician and producer Mr Hudson was born.

On the same day, Moonraker, the 11th James Bond film starring Roger Moore, premieres in London.

On my 24th birthday in 1993, singer and actress Ariana Grande was born.

On my 25th birthday in 1994, a record breaking furnace-like temperature of 126°F (52.2°C) was recorded in Death Valley, California.

Cool bananas: slightly lower temperatures when my feet visited Death Valley in the winter of November 2016

On my 28th birthday in 1997, a book entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is published, the first instalment of the best selling series by J. K. Rowling. Chisel-cheeked Australian actor Jacob Elordi was born on the same day.

On my 34th birthday in 2003, The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

The same day, Margaret, the blessed Baroness Lady Thatcher, longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century, is made a widow as Sir Denis Thatcher dies in London, aged 88.

On my 44th birthday in 2013, Kevin Rudd, in a controversial act of revenge, defeats the first and so far only female Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, in a Labor party leadership battle to become Aussie PM for the second time.

On my 46th birthday in 2015, with the Greek Credit Crisis dominating international markets, Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, calls for a Greek referendum on new EU bailout terms.

On the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5–4, that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. I was in North America at the time, celebrating Toronto Pride in Canada. Now that’s what I call a birthday present. Cheers!

  • Steve Pafford
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