It happened today – this day in history – April 26

1514: Copernicus makes his first observations of Saturn.

1655: The Dutch West Indies Co denies Peter Stuyvesant’s desire to exclude Jews from New Amsterdam.

1828:Russia declares war on Turkey to support Greece’s independence.

1835: Chopin’s “Grand Polonaise Brillante” premieres in Paris.

1865: John Wilkes Booth, stage actor and assassin of Abraham Lincoln, is shot by Union soldier Boston Corbett.

1902: Heavily in debt Second Division side Newton Heath are saved with new investment. As part of a fresh start they change their colours from gold and green to red and white and take a new name – Manchester United.

1923: Prince Albert Duke of York (future George VI) marries Elizabeth Bowes Lyon at Westminster Abbey.

1937: The Luftwaffe destroys the Basque town of Guernica in Spain.

1945: Marshal Philippe Petain, the leader of France’s Vichy collaborationist regime during World War II, is arrested for treason.

1954: Mass trials of Jonas Salk’s anti-polio vaccine begin.

1964: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Dave Clark Five headline the NME poll winner’s concert at The Empire Pool, Wembley.

1966: An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 destroys Tashkent, Uzbekistan. On the same day, the International Olympic Committee votes to award German city of Munich the right to host the 1972 Summer Olympic Games.

1969: Led Zeppelin play Whole Lotta Love in concert for the first time at The Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco.

1970: Burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Hovick) dies from lung cancer aged 56.

1975: Labour Party members vote by almost 2-1 to leave the EEC, underlining the deep divisions over the issue of Europe in the lead up to a referendum in June.

1976: Comedy actor Sid James (Solomon Cohen) dies from a heart attack aged 62.

1977: Opening of the club Studio 54 in New York.

1982: Argentina surrenders to Britain on South Georgia in The Falklands. On the same day, Rod Stewart is robbed by a gunman of his $50,000 Porsche on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

1984: US President Ronald Reagan lands in China at the start of a six-day state visit.

1986: In the world’s worst nuclear disaster, a reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power station in the USSR explodes. 31 people die immediately and radioactive contamination reaches much of Western Europe.


1989: Comedy legend Lucille Ball dies aged 78.

1991: Diego Maradona is arrested in Argentina for the possession and distribution of illegal narcotics.

1994: Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane pleads guilty to pointing a shotgun at police in her California home. She claimed she was under stress because her home had burned down the previous year. She was later sentenced to 200 hours of community service and told to attend four Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week for three months.

1998: Singles Chart:

  1. All That I Need – Boyzone
  2. It’s Like That – Run DMC ft Jason Nevins
  3. Sound Of Drums – Kula Shaker
  4. Feel It – Tamperr ft Maya
  5. Road Rage – Catatonia
  6. Last Thing On My Mind – Steps
  7. Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden
  8. Turn It Up – Busta Rhymes
  9. Dance The Night Away – The Mavericks
  10. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
1998: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Album Chart:

  1. Mezzanine – Massive Attack
  2. Life Thru A Lens – Robbie Williams
  3. Walking Into Clarksdale – Page & Plant
  4. The Best Of – James
  5. Intrnational Velvet – Catatonia
  6. Let’s Talk About Love – Celine Dion
  7. Titamic OST – James Horner
  8. Urban Hymns – The Verve
  9. Ray Of Light – Madonna
  10. Essentials: The Very Best Of – George Benson

1999: TV presenter Jill Dando is murdered outside her house with a single bullet to the head from close range by an unknown assassin.

2000: Home Secretary, Jack Straw, witnesses nine people being caught attempting to illegally enter the UK as he inspects immigration procedures in Dover.

2003: In the final League match of the Conference season, Doncaster Rovers owner John Ryan comes on as a last minute sub in Doncaster’s 4-2 win at Hereford United, making him the oldest player to make an appearance in an English professional league.

2004: Death of author Hubert Selby Jr aged 75.

2005: The last of Syria’s troops leave Lebanon after 29 years.

2008: Amy Winehouse spends the night in custody after being arrested on suspicion of assault. Police said the singer had been “in no fit state” to be questioned when she arrived at the London station and she was kept in the cells.

2013: Country singer George Jones dies aged 81.

2015: Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga for the 25th time.

2016: After two years the second Hillsborough inquest finally gives its verdict – the 96 fans who died as a result of the 1989 disaster were unlawfully killed. The inquest jury concluded that the tragedy was the result of failings by the police and ambulance services with match commander, Chief Supt David Duckinfield, “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence”. The jury also ruled that Liverpool supporters – who police had originally blamed for the fatal crush – did not cause or contribute to the tragedy. On the same day, a list of tracks by death metal band Abhorrent Decimation is accidentally printed on the back of a new album by comedian Bernie Clifton.

2017: Film director Jonathan Demme dies aged 73.

2018: Comedian Bill Cosby is found guilty of sexual assault in Pennsylvania.

2019: Molly Hatchet singer Phil McCormack dies age 58.

2021: Turkey goes into full lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases. On the same day, Soviet shot putter Tamara Press dies aged 83.

2022: Russia says it will stop supplying gas to Poland and Bulgaria, after the countries refused to pay in rubles, escalating the energy supply stand-off between Russia and Europe. Meanwhile the World Bank warns the war in Ukraine will cause the “largest commodity shock” since the 1970s, with large economic and humanitarian effects.

Channing Tatum (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

BIRTHDAYS: Carol Burnett, actress/comedian, 91; Duane Eddy, guitarist, 86; Giorgio Moroder, record producer/songwriter, 84; Bobby Rydell (Ridarelli), singer, 82; Martin Chivers, footballer, 79; Roger Taylor, drummer, (Duran Duran) 64; Jet Li (Li Lianjie) actor/martial arts expert, 61; Kevin James (Knipfing), actor, 59; T- Boz (Tionne Watkins) singer (TLC) 54; Melania Trump, former US First Lady, 54; Nerina Pallot, singer/songwriter, 49; Jose Antonio Pasillas II, drummer, (Incubus) 48; Tom Welling, actor, 47; Channing Tatum, actor, 44; Jordana Brewster, actress, 44; Ms Dynamite, (Niomi McLean Daley), rapper/singer-songwriter, 43; Caro Emerald (Caroline van der Leeuw), singer, 43; Jonathan Lee, singer (S Club 7) 42; Bakary Sako, footballer, 36.