Good News in History, August 25

Happy 71st birthday to the Metal God, Rob Halford. Undoubtedly one of the most iconic voices is rock music, the English singer-songwriter has fronted Judas Priest for nearly 50 years, across more than 25 albums. Allmusic said of Halford, “there have been few vocalists in the history of heavy metal whose singing style has been as influential and instantly recognizable… able to effortlessly alternate between a throaty growl and an ear-splitting falsetto.” READ about his experience coming out… (1951)

Rob Halford Judas Priest CC 4.0. Aaron Rubin

In 1998, Halford publicly revealed his homosexuality on MTV. At the time Halford revealed his sexuality, he was concerned that he would lose his fanbase as a result. However he has repeatedly explained that the metal community didn’t seem to care at all.

Halford explains his sexuality by comparing himself with his singing inspiration Freddie Mercury. “if Freddie hadn’t have been gay, Queen would’ve been a totally different band,” Halford has said. “But that’s a really important part of my life that I have to get down on paper at some point.”

Certainly astute metal fans would have seen clues. The constant wearing of leather sailor caps, tight leather pants, and a leather biker vest with nothing on underneath it, mixed with suggestive lyrics had keyed most fans in by the time the announcement was made.

MORE Good News on this Day:

Hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana and settled in New Orleans (1718)
Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers (1609)
Uruguay declared independence from Brazil (1825); Belgium revolted from the Netherlands (1830)
The National Park Service was created in the U.S.—and with so many national parks today, you can likely celebrate by finding a park near you (1916)
Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run was released (1975)
Linus Torvalds first revealed he was creating a new free operating system, Linux (1991)
Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union (1991)
NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe entered interstellar space, becoming the first manmade object to leave the solar system (2012)

136 years ago, the first International Polo Cup match between the US and England was played. Also called the Newport Cup and the Westchester Cup, the polo trophy was created in 1876 with a single game and a decade later became a tournament featuring the best of three games. England won the Cup the first three years and the Americans won the fourth.

A total of 12 Cup matches were conducted between 1886 and 1939 between the two countries, before being suspended during World War II. The most recent match was held in 2013 at Guards Polo Club in Windsor. (1886)

83 years ago today, The Wizard of Oz was released in movie theaters.

1939 Photo of JACK HALEY, JUDY GARLAND, RAY BOLGER & BERT LAHR, by MGM

Owing to its brilliant use of Technicolor (being smacked in the face with saturated colors after the door opens in black and white); the fantasy storytelling, with munchkins and flying monkeys; the timeless songs, such as Over The Rainbow, sung by memorable characters, it became the most watched film in motion picture history.

The film’s simple premise of self-discovery—beautifully portrayed by Judy Garland as Dorothy, and her cohorts Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man—is summed up by two iconic quotes from the film: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard,” and “There’s no place like home.”

Although critical reviews were stellar, The Wizard of Oz didn’t become a popular film until 20 years later when CBS began showing it on television every December and families had to wait all year, just to see it again. (1939)

Also, 92 years ago today, the Scottish superstar Sean Connery was born. He portrayed the smooth and savvy spy in seven James Bond films, and earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1987 gangster film The Untouchables.

1971 photo by Rob Mieremet; 2008 photo by Stuart Crawford – CC licenses

The 3-time Golden Globe winner who died last year also played prominent roles in the films The Hunt for Red October, The Name of the Rose, Highlander, The Rock (about the Alcatraz island prison, co-starring Nic Cage) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

His distinctive silky voice with its Edinburgh accent has been a favorite of impressionists worldwide. One more time, WATCH the best clips from his Top 10 Films… (1930–2020)

Also born on this day, in 1918: Leonard Bernstein, the pianist and composer of West Side Story. Though his working class father objected to his musical aspirations, the family acquired a cousin’s unwanted piano, and ‘Lenny’ was able to pursue his passion. A notably young conductor at the age of 25 with the New York Philharmonic, he became a towering figure of 20th-century music. Also the composer of ‘Candide’ and ‘On the Town’, the winner of 16 Grammys and 10 Emmys nurtured a love for classical music in American youth with his televised lectures and Young People’s Concerts. WATCH a tribute to his 100th anniversary… (d.1990)

On this day in 1944, Paris was liberated from the Nazis after a six-day city-wide insurrection by the French resistance, culminating in the arrival of U.S. and Free French troops. After 4 years of Nazi rule, the occupying Germans surrendered, the tricolour was hoisted from the Eiffel Tower, and Charles de Gaulle made his triumphant entry into the capital. As many as 1,000 local resistance fighters lost their lives in the brave campaign.

Parisians line the Champs Élysées as French Forces lead a parade from the Arc de Triomphe the following day in 1944

It was 440 days after the Allied forces landed on French beaches in Normandy on D-Day. The liberation of Paris began with a city-wide general strike, as police, transportation, and postal workers quit working. The next day the French Resistance staged an uprising against the local German garrison upon the approach of the US Third Army, led by General George Patton. On the night of 24 August, elements of General Philippe Leclerc’s 2nd French Armored Division made their way into Paris and arrived at the Hôtel de Ville shortly before midnight. The next morning, the bulk of the 2nd Armored Division and US 4th Infantry Division entered the city and the German leaders surrendered. WATCH a newsreel report from the day…

Other Notable Birthdays: Elvis Costello, 68; and Tim Burton, 64

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