It happened today – this day in history – February 4

211: Roman Emperor Septimus Severus dies, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta.

1194: Ransom is paid to Leopold of Austria for the release of Richard I after two years as a captive.

1494: Birth of French satirist Francois Rabelais.

1503: Death of Queen Elizabeth, consort of Henry VII.

1783: An earthquake in Calabria, Italy, kills 50,000.

1789: The first US electoral college chooses George Washington as president.

1794: The French National Convention proclaims an end to slavery.

1797: An earthquake in Quito, Ecuador kills 41,000.

1859: One of the oldest known copies of the Bible, “The Codex Sinaiticus” (Sinai Bible), is seen in Egypt by Constantin von Tischendorf who takes the manuscript home with him.

1861: Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

1865: Robert E Lee is named general-in-chief of Confederate forces.

1902: Aviator Charles Lindbergh is born in Detroit.

1920: The first flight from London to South Africa departs and takes six weeks to arrive.

1932: The Winter Olympic Games open in Lake Placid, New York.

1933: German President Paul von Hindenburg limits freedom of the press

1938: Adolf Hitler seizes control of the German army and puts Nazis in key posts.

1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta in the Crimea to discuss the final phase of World War II.

1948: Sri Lanka declares independence from Britain. On the same day, Len Shackleton moves from Newcastle to Sunderland for a record £20,050 transfer fee.

1949: Failed assassination attempt on Shah of Persia.

1950: The British Empire Games open in Auckland, New Zealand.

1955: Singles chart:

  1. Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney and the Mellomen
  2. The Finger Of Suspicion – Dickie Valentine with the Stargazers
  3. Softly Softly – Ruby Murray
  4. Shake Rattle And Roll – Bill Haley and his Comets
  5. Mr Sandman – Dickie Valentine
  6. Give Me Your Word – Tennessee Ernie Ford
  7. Heartbeat – Ruby Murray
  8. No One But You – Billy Eckstein
  9. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – The Ames Brothers
  10. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – Dean Martin

1957: The first electric portable typewriter goes on sale in the US.

1961: The Angola War of Independence begins.

1962: Elvis Presley – Blue Hawaii

1962: Album chart:

  1. The Young Ones – Cliff Richard
  2. Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley
  3. The Black And White Minstrel Show – The George Mitchell Singers
  4. South Pacific – Original Soundtrack
  5. The Shadows – The Shadows
  6. Oliver – Original London Cast
  7. The Sound Of Music – Original London Cast
  8. Temperance Seven 1961 – The Temperance Seven
  9. Another Black And White Minstrel Show – The George Mitchell Singers
  10. Vamp From The Roaring Twenties – Dorothy Provine

1968: Working at Abbey Road, The Beatles record the Lennon song Across The Universe. John and Paul decide the song needs some falsetto harmonies so they invite two girl fans into the studio to sing backup. This version eventually appears long after the break up of the band on the Past Masters Vol II album.


1969: The Palestine National Congress appoints Yasser Arafat chairman of the PLO.

1971: Rolls Royce declares bankruptcy. On the same day, Lieutenant-General Vernon Erskine-Crum becomes General Officer Commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland.

1974: Eight off duty soldiers, two young children and a driver are killed in an IRA bomb blast on a bus travelling to an army base in North Yorkshire. On the same day, heiress Patty Hearst is kidnapped from her apartment in California by the urban terror group, the Symbionese Liberation Army.

1975: Swing songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordan dies aged 66.

1976: The Winter Olympic Games open in Innsbruck, Austria. On the same day, Hua Guofeng becomes Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

1980: New York nightclub Studio 54 closes down.

1982: On the day before his 47th birthday, rock star Alex Harvey dies of a heart attack in Zeebrugge while waiting to take a ferry back to England.

1983: Singer Karen Carpenter dies aged 32 of a cardiac arrest caused by anorexia.

1985: Twenty countries sign a UN treaty outlawing torture – the US refuses.

1987: Death of pianist Liberace (Władziu Valentino Liberace) aged 67.

1988: Thousands of seamen at major British ports continue to strike after their union the NUS calls for an end to their industrial action.

1996: Former Milli Vanilli member Rob Pilatus was hospitalised after being hit him over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood while attempting to steal the man’s car.

1998: An earthquake in northern Afghanistan leaves thousands dead. On the same day, 1998: Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gets a pie thrown in his face in Brussels.

1999: Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot dead by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race-relations in the city.

2003: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is officially renamed Serbia and Montenegro.

2004: Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room.

2007: A Razorlight gig in Lyon is halted mid-set because of an altercation between singer Johnny Borrell and bassist Carl Dalemo. On the same day, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears, 29-17 to win the Super Bowl in Miami.

2009: Lux Interior, (Erick Lee Purkhiser) singer and founding member of The Cramps dies aged 62.

2013: Reg Presley (Ball) lead singer with The Troggs and writer of the song Love Is All Around, dies aged 71.

2014: Same-sex marriage is legalized in Scotland.

2016: Singer-songwriter Van Morrison is knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. On the same day, singer-songwriter and leader of Earth Wind and Fire, Maurice White dies after suffering from MS for years.

2017: Black Sabbath (minus drummer Bill Ward) play their final gig at the NEC in Birmingham.

2018: The Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots, 41-33 tp win the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

2020: Brian Wilson asked fans to boycott a Beach Boys concert at Safari Club International’s annual convention in Reno, Nevada, which would feature the touring group led by co-founder Mike Love and a keynote speech by Donald Trump Jr. Animal rights activists described the convention as one of the world’s largest gatherings for trophy hunters and a celebration of the “senseless killing” of hundreds of animals.

BIRTHDAYS: John Steel, drummer (The Animals) 80; Alice Cooper, (Vincent Furnier), rock singer-songwriter, 73; Phil Ehart, drummer/manager (Kansas) 70; Tim Booth, vocals (James) 61; Clint Black, country artist, 59; Rob Cordry, actor/comedian, 50; Oscar De La Hoya, boxer, 48; Natalie Imbruglia, actress/singer, 46; Kimberly Wyatt, singer/dancer (Pussycat Dolls) 39.