It happened today – this day in history – April 4

1406: Death of Robert III, King of Scots.

1558: Ivan the Terrible gives parts of north Russia to fur traders.

1581: Francis Drake is knighted by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind at Deptford.

1617: Death of mathematician and inventor of logarithms, John Napier.

1660: Charles II sends Declaration of Breda (freedom of religion).

1774: Death of dramatist Oliver Goldsmith.

1814: Napoleon abdicates for the first time in favour of his son.

1841: John Tyler becomes US president after the death of President William Henry Harrison while in office.

1866: Alexander II of Russia narrowly escapes an assassination attempt in St Petersburg.

1900: Assassination attempt on the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

1905: An earthquake in Kangra, India, kills 20,000.

1917: The US Senate agrees to join the First World War against Germany.

1939: Faisal II ascends to the throne of Iraq.

1941: German troops conquer Benghazi, Libya.

1944: British troops capture Addis Ababa, Abyssinia.

1945: Soviet forces liberate Hungary from German occupation.

1953: Duncan Edwards makes his debut for Manchester United aged just 16 years 185 days.

1956: A concert by Elvis Presley in San Diego prompts the police chief to issue a statement saying if the singer ever returned to the city and performed like that again, he would be arrested for disorderly conduct.

1958: Cheryl Crane aged 14, daughter of actress Lana Turner stabs to death organized crime figure Johnny Stompanato, her mother’s boyfriend, in self-defence. The crime was ruled “justifiable homicide”.

1959: France beats Wales, 11-3 at Stade Colombes to win the Five Nations Rugby Championship outright for the first time.

1960: RCA Victor Records announces that it will be release all pop singles in mono and stereo simultaneously, the first record company to do so. On the same day, Charlton Heston wins the best actor Oscar for his role in Ben Hur. Also, Senegal declares independence from France.


1964: The Beatles hold the top five places on the US singles chart.

1968: American black civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, is assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in in Memphis.

1970: Pat Taffe wins the Grand National on Gay Trip.

1975: Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

1979: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is hanged in spite of international calls for clemency.

1981: Bucks Fizz win the Eurovision Song Contest held in Dublin with the UK entry Making Your Mind Up. On the same day, Bob Champion wins the Grand National on Aldaniti at Aintree.

1982: Singles chart:

  1. Seven Tears – The Goombay Dance Band
  2. My Camera Never Lies – Bucks Fizz
  3. Just An Illusion – Imagination
  4. Ain’t No Pleasing You – Chas and Dave
  5. Ghosts – Japan
  6. More Than This – Roxy Music
  7. Give Me Back My Heart – Dollar
  8. Layla – Derek and the Dominoes
  9. Quiereme Mucho – Julio Iglesias
  10. Have You Ever Been In Love – Leo Sayer
1982: The Jam – The Gift

Album chart:

  1. The Number Of The Beast – Iron Maiden
  2. Love Songs – Barbra Streisand
  3. Pelican West – Haircut 100
  4. James Bond’s Greatest Hits – Various Artists
  5. All For A Song – Barbara Dickson
  6. The Gift – The Jam
  7. Sky 4: Forthcoming – Sky
  8. Begin The Beguin – Julio Iglesias
  9. The Anvil – Visage
  10. Five Miles Out – Mike Oldfield

1983: Bobby Charlton takes over as caretaker manager of Wigan Athletic following the sacking of Larry Lloyd. On the same day, film star Gloria Swanson dies aged 84.

1984:Women from the main peace camp at Greenham Common in Berkshire are evicted.

1991: The children at the centre of satanic abuse allegations in the Orkney Islands off Scotland are reunited with their families after the case was thrown out of court.

1995: Death of broadcaster Kenny Everett aged 50 from an AIDS related illness.

2000: Severe weather forces the closure of Luton airport as blizzards and flooding cause widespread chaos.

2008: Procol Harum singer Gary Brooker wins back his full royalty rights to the band’s worldwide hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale at London’s Court of Appeal, overturning a a 2006 ruling that organist Matthew Fisher was entitled to a 40% share for the Bach-influenced organ refrain. On the same day, singer Beyonce Knowles marries rapper Jay-Z at his New York apartment.

2013: Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman turns himself in to British police after reports emerge suggesting he began a sexual relationship with his second wife, Mandy Smith, when she was 14 years old. After a brief meeting, the authorities decide not to pursue charges.

2018: The Commonwealth Games open in the Gold Coast, Australia. On the same day, former footballer Ray Wilkins dies aged 61.

2019: Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green fashion brand is rescued from administration by the JD Sports Group. On the same day, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and and wife MacKenzie agree a record-breaking $35 billion divorce settlement.

2022: Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s largest shareholder.

2023: Finland bccomes the 31st member of NATO.

Graham Norton

BIRTHDAYS: Pick Withers, drummer, (Dire Straits) 76; Derek Thompson, actor, 76; Christine Lahti, actress, 75; Dave Hill, guitarist, (Slade) 72; Hugo Weaving, actor, 64; Graham Norton, TV host/broadcaster, 61; Paul Parker, former footballer, 60; David Cross, comedian/actor, 60; Robert Downey Jr, actor, 59; Dame Karren Brady, football executive, 55; David Blaine, magician, 51; Stephen Mulhern, TV presenter, 47; Johnny Borrell guitar/vocals (Razorlight) 44; Harvey Elliott, footballer, 21.