1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is first published

It was his first publication under his own name, and still one of his best known. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was printed in the Evening Mirror, a newspaper in New York City.

It wasn’t instantly recognized as a classic – neither William Butler Yeats nor Ralph Waldo Emerson, fellow poets both – thought much of it. But it had a catchy rhyme scheme – AA,B,CC,CB,B,B – which is complex but not too complex. And there is, of course, that wonderful one word refrain…

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted — nevermore!

Referenced in:
Kremlin Dusk — Utada Hikaru

1974 — “The Uncle Floyd Show” premieres

Floyd Vivino was born in 1951. He was from a showbiz family – two of his brothers are in Conan O’Brien’s house band, his niece was in the original production of Les Miserables. Floyd himself worked as a tap-dancer at the 1964 World’s Fair, and later as a sideshow barker. He sang, he played piano, he did impressions. And like many another vaudevillian, he eventually found his way onto television.

“The Uncle Floyd Show” began on WBTB in West Orange, New Jersey. It was broadcast on Channel 68 (which could be picked up in New York City also). “The Uncle Floyd Show” was quirky and unpredictable, and did pretty much everything wrong by the standards of modern children’s television – which no doubt explains why this largely improvised, low budget and frequently age-inappropriate show stayed on the air for nearly twenty years, including a stint on NBC, until it finally ended in 1992.

Referenced in:
Slip Away — David Bowie
Work for Food — Dramarama
It’s Not My Place (In the Nine to Five World) — The Ramones

1979 — Brenda Spencer goes on a shooting spree

Brenda Ann Spencer was only 16 years old when, one Monday, she took her father’s gun and began shooting at the school opposite her house. She fired 30 rounds, killing two and wounding eight others. The police were called and a siege ensued.

After seven hours, she surrendered to police, and told them that her motivation for the killings was simply that she didn’t like Mondays, and that this livened up the day. She was sentenced to a term of 25 years to life imprisonment – and has since been denied parole on several occasions (her next hearing is scheduled for 2019).

Referenced in:
Brenda Spencer — The Child Molesters
I Don’t Like Mondays — The Boomtown Rats

1983 — “Down Under” reaches #1 on the UK charts

It’s probably a better-beloved ‘national anthem’ than “Advance Australia Fair”, and one of the best-selling Australian songs ever. Too bad that there was that rather unpleasant plagiarism case regarding the great similarity between the flute part in this song and the one in ‘Kookaburra’.

And for that matter, it’s a pity that the best known song of Men At Work, co-written by lead singer Colin Hay and lead guitar Ron Strykert (who were also the founding members of the band), is so widely misunderstood. It’s not actually a patriotic song – it’s more about the selling out of Australia, and if it is a celebration, it’s a celebration of Australian culture rather than of nationalism.

Referenced in:

Bug Powder Dust — Bomb The Bass