1845 – The Walker Tariff act is passed by Congress

Largely a repeal of the Black Tariffs put in place in 1842, the Walker Tariff (named for Secretary of the Treasury, Robert J. Walker, its creator), reduced tariffs from 32% to 25%, one of the lowest tariffs in US history. Coinciding as it did with the UK’s repeal of its Corn Laws, it led to an increase in trade between the two nations.

Subsequently, tariffs would be reduced still further in 1857 (to 17%), but then increased back to 26% in 1861 (and again later that year, and in 1865, the latter two increases largely as a result of the expense of the Civil War).

Referenced in:
James K. Polk – They Might Be Giants

1969 — Brian Jones dies

Brian Jones was the original Rolling Stone. He coined the band’s name and recruited its members in 1960. But as their fame grew, Jagger and Richards outshone him in the media, especially as their songwriting partnership developed. In 1969, he was asked to leave the band by the other members, as his drinking and drug use were taking a toll on his abilities, and on June 9, he did so.

In the last month of his life, he kept writing songs and reached out to other musicians, including John Lennon, about forming a new band. At around midnight on the night of 2–3 July 1969, Jones was discovered motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool. The coroner’s verdict was death by misadventure, although he also noted that the condition of Jones’ organs was deteriorated due to his drug and alcohol intake. Two days later, the Rolling Stones dedicated a free concert in Hyde Park to his memory. Conspiracy theories about him being murdered swirl to this day.

Referenced in:
Rock And Roll Hall Of Death — Mitch Benn And The Distractions

1971 – Jim Morrison dies

Morrison died on July 3, 1971, at age 27. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub by Courson. Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison’s cause of death.

Many believed that Morrison had in fact faked his death, as he had occasionally talked of doing over the preceding few years, but if so, he has yet to reappear. And it’s hard to believe that a man with Morrison’s ego and drug use could have stayed anonymous for nearly 40 years now…

Referenced in:
Morrison Hostel — This Is Serious Mum
Rock and Roll Heaven — The Righteous Brothers
Rock And Roll Hall Of Death — Mitch Benn And The Distractions

1972 — Mississippi Fred McDowell dies

Mississippi Fred McDowell was 68 at the time of his death – he was born, died and was buried in the state that gave him his nickname. Cancer took him, and the world lost a great talent.

McDowell, although often lumped in with the Delta Blues tradition, is more accurately seen as one of the earliest representatives of the distinct yet related North Mississippi Blues tradition. He often served as a mentor to younger musicians – famously, although he always said “I Do Not Play No Rock ‘N’ Roll” (he even released an album with that as its title), he was happy to associate with those who did, notably Bonnie Raitt.

Referenced in:

L.A. Money Train — Rollins Band
Green Onions — The Blues Brothers

1976 – Joachim Kroll is arrested for murder

Joachim Kroll was a German serial killer who evaded capture for years by being very careful about where he killed, returning the same locations only after years had passed. With one exception, all of his victims were female, and most of them were children or teenagers. Kroll was a paedophile and a cannibal in addition to his killings – he was in the process of cooking his last victim when he was arrested.

Kroll confessed to 14 killings, but was convicted of only 8 (most likely due to lack of evidence). He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and died still behind bars in 1991. He was not missed.

Referenced in:
Evil Ole Soul — Macabre