It happened today – this day in history – April 20

1611: First known performance of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” at the Globe Theatre, London.

1657: Battle in Santa Cruz Bay, Tenerife: The English fleet under Robert Blake sinks the Spanish silver fleet.

1759: The composer Handel is buried in Westminster Abbey.

1785: Thomas Warton is appointed Poet Laureate by George III.

1792: France declares war on Austria and Prussia, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars.

1809: Napoleon and French forces defeat Austria at the Battle of Abensberg in Bavaria.

1862: First pasteurization test completed by Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard.

1887: Georges Bouton wins the world’s first motor race, held in France, on a steam-powered quadricycle.

1889: Birth of Adolf Hitler in Austria-Hungary.

1893: Birth of silent film comedian and director Harold Lloyd.

1901: A world-record crowd for a football match attended Crystal Palace for the FA Cup final between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur. The official attendance was 110.802 although thousands more gained entrance to witness a 2-2 draw. The replay, played a week later at Bolton’s Burnden Park, saw Southern League Spurs become the only non-league side to win the FA Cup since the Football League was founded in 1888 with a 3-1 victory.

1902: Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride.

1912: Death of author Bram Stoker aged 64.

1919: King Nicholas of Montenegro abdicates under duress.

1920: The Balfour Declaration is recognised, making Palestine a British Mandate.

1934: Heinrich Himmler becomes inspector of the Prussian secret state police.

1940: The first electron microscope demonstrated in Philadelphia by RCA.

1945: Soviet artillery begins shelling Berlin.

1953: The US and Korea swap sick and wounded prisoners of war at Panmunjon.

1965: China offers North Vietnam military aid.

1966: During a 12-hour session at EMI Studion in Abbey Road, The Beatles work on And Your Bird Can Sing and George Harrison’s song Taxman for the Revolver album.


1967: Singles chart:

  1. Somethin’ Stupid – Frank and Nancy Sinatra
  2. Puppet On A String – Sandie Shaw
  3. A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You – The Monkees
  4. Ha Ha Said The Clown – Manfred Mann
  5. Release Me – Engelbert Humperdinck
  6. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
  7. This Is My Song – Harry Secombe
  8. Bernadette – The Four Tops
  9. It’s All Over – Cliff Richard
  10. I’m Gonna Get Me A Gun – Cat Stevens

1968: In the defining moment of his political career, Conservative right-winger Enoch Powell makes his “rivers of blood” speech attacking the government’s immigration policy. On the same day, Apple Music runs advertisements soliciting tapes from unknown artists, offering financial grants as part of a deal to release records on The Beatles’ Apple label. Also, Deep Purple make their live debut at a gig in Tastrup, Denmark.

1969: Drummer Benny Benjamin of Motown house band The Funk Brothers, dies.

1972: Apollo 16 lands on the Moon after a seven-hour engine crisis which nearly aborts the mission.

1974: The conflict in Northern Ireland claims its 1,000th victim, a petrol station owner from County Fermanagh.

1979: Lighting director Billy Duffy is killed in an accident during a Kate Bush concert in Southampton, when he falls 20ft through an open trap door on the stage.

1986: Vladimir Horowitz, one of the world’s most accomplished concert pianists, performs in his Russian homeland.

1991: Steve Marriott of The Small Faces and Humble Pie, dies in a fire at his home in Essex.

1992: A Concert For Life’ takes place at Wembley Stadium as a tribute to Queen singer Freddie Mercury and for AIDS awareness. Acts include the surviving members of Queen with bassist John Deacon making his final appearance on stage, Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Axl Rose and Slash.

1998: German terrorist group the Red Army Faction announces its dissolution after 28 years.

1999: A shooting spree by American students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine High School in Denver leaves 15 dead including the two gunmen.

2006: Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty is arrested in east London on suspicion of drugs possession only hours after a court appearance.

2007: A man with a handgun barricades himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself.

2010: The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico.

2012: Bert Weedon, whose Play in a Day guitar guide set some of the biggest names in rock and roll on the road to greatness, died, aged 91.

2014: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, American boxer whose murder convictions were overturned after 19 years in prison, dies of prostate cancer at 76.

2014: Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love

Album chart:

  1. Caustic Love – Paolo Nutini
  2. Meet The Vamps – The Vamps
  3. A Perfect Contradiction – Paloma Faith
  4. Love In The Future – John Legend
  5. Education Education Education & War – Kaiser Chiefs
  6. Symphonica – George Michael
  7. The Take Off And Landing Of Everything – Elbow
  8. Girl – Pharrell Williams
  9. Out Among The Stars – Johnnu Cash
  10. The Power Of Love – Sam Bailey

2016: Comedian Victoria Wood dies of cancer aged 62.

2018: Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer, Avicii dies aged 28. On the same day, Arsène Wenger announces he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years as manager.

BIRTHDAYS: Leslie Philips, actor, 97; George Takei, actor, 84; Johnny Tillotson, singer-songwriter, 83; Ryan (Charles) O’Neal, actor, 80; Michael Brandon, actor/director, 76; Jessica Lange, actress, 72; Veronica Cartwright, actress, 72; Andy Serkis, actor/director, 57; Crispin Glover, actor, 57; Mike Portnoy, drummer (Dream Theatre/Transatlantic), 54; Shemar Moore, actor, 51; Carmen Electra, actress/model, 49; Shay Given, former goalkeeper, 45; Miranda Kerr, model, 38.