1887 — Marcus Garvey born

A noted thinker, journalist and orator, Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican born politician who is best known for his espousal of the idea that the descendents of the African Diaspora (i.e. the negro slaves brought to the Americas) should return to Africa. He was also the originator of the Pan-African ideal: the idea that Africans should set aside their tribal differences and work as one united people to create an Africa that was the equal – and no longer the possession – of Europe.

Needless to say, these ideas were controversial – to say the least – in Garvey’s own time, and are scarcely less so today. Garvey died in 1940, his great vision largely still unrealised, but he remains a figure of inspiration to Africans everywhere. Notably, he is considered to be a prophet (possibly even the reincarnation of John the Baptist) by the Rastafari church.

Referenced in:

Ah Yeah — Krs-One

1980 – Azaria Chamberlain disappears

It became one of the most controversial court cases in Australian history.

On August 17, 1980, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were camping with friends in the Australian Outback, not far from Uluru (Ayers Rock). Lindy had been in one of the tents with the infant Azaria, when suddenly she came rushing back into the main part of the campsite, crying “A dingo’s got my baby!”

What followed would be a long series of investigations, claims and counterclaims. Eventually, Lindy would be convicted of Azaria’s murder, and served several years in prison for it. Azaria Chamberlain, whatever her true fate, was never seen again, alive or dead, although the clothes she was allegedly wearing at the time of her disapperance were found near a dingo lair, torn and blood-stained, a week later.

Referenced in:

Party Down – Reel Big Fish

1960 — The Beatles arrive in Hamburg

At the time of their arrival in Hamburg, the Beatles were a five piece ensemble, with a line up consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. When the Beatles left, two years later, Stuart Sutcliffe stayed behind to be with the girl he had met there, Astrid Kircherr. (It was Astrid who helped to popularise the distinctive Beatles mop-top.)

The Beatles’ time in Hamburg saw them gigging extensively in clubs around the city, indulging in copious amounts of Preludin (a prescription amphetemine) and learning a lot about sex (almost all the women they met in Hamburg were strippers or prostitutes). It also lead, eventually, to their first recording. This single, “My Bonnie”, was what eventually attracted the attention of Brian Epstein to the boys, leading to him becoming the manager of the band for many years.

The Beatles would leave Hamburg in 1962, returning briefly in 1966, after they had become superstars.

Referenced in:
No More Fun — Roger Taylor