It happened today – this day in history – December 22

401: Innocent I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.

1849: The execution of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky by firing squad is called off at the last second.

1858: Birth of composer Giacomo Puccini.

1867: Death of French painter Theodore Rousseau aged 55.

1880: Novelist George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) dies on her 61st birthday.

1882: The first string of Christmas tree lights is created by Thomas Edison.

1894: Claude Debussy’s first orchestral masterpiece “Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune” premieres in Paris.

1943: Death of children’s writer Beatrix Potter aged 77.

1964: American comedian Lenny Bruce is convicted of obscenity. On the same day, Denis Law wins the Ballon d’Or.

1965: Britain sets national maximum road speed at 70 miles per hour. On the same day, legendary broadcaster Richard Dimbleby dies aged 52.

1972: The Chilean Air Force finds 14 survivors two months after their plane crashed in the Andes. They had eaten human flesh of the dead passengers to survive.

1974: The Provisional IRA bombs the home of former UK Prime Minister, Edward Heath just before announcing a Christmas ceasefire.

1976: German DR banishes punk singer Nina Hagen.

1980: Stiff Records released an album in the UK called ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan.’ The entire disc contained 40 minutes of silence.

1987: Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue was pronounced ‘dead on arrival’ in an ambulance when his heart stopped beating for two minutes after a heroin overdose. Sixx was given two shots of adrenaline in his chest to revive him.

1989: After 23 years of dictatorial rule, Romania ousts Nicolae Ceausescu. On the same day, writer Samuel Beckett dies aged 83 and Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate reopens after 30 years, symbolically ending the east-west division of Germany.

1990: Lech Walesa is sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president.

1992: Marco van Basten wins the Ballon d’Or.

1998: Zinedine Zidane wins the Ballon d’Or.

2000: Madonna married film director Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle, Scotland.

2001: Terrorist Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes.

2002: Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) died of a suspected heart attack aged 50.

2003: Guerrillas in Colombia released Briton Mark Henderson and four Israelis who were kidnapped in September.

2010: The Abbey Road zebra crossing in St John’s Wood, made famous on the cover of The Beatles 1969 album of the same name was given Grade II listed status.

2014: Joe Cocker died of lung cancer aged 70.

2018: Politician Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77.

BIRTHDAYS: Hector Elizondo, actor, 83; Dick Parry, saxophonist (Pink Floyd) 77; Rick Nielsen, guitarist (Cheap Trick) 71; Noel Edmonds, broadcaster, 71; Ricky Ross, singer/songwriter (Deacon Blue) 62; Frank Gambale, jazz guitarist, 61; Ralph Fiennes, actor, 57; Vanessa Paradis, singer/actress, 47; Meghan Trainor, singer, 26.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]