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.

960: Coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Tiazu of the Song, initiating three centuries of Song Dynasty dominance in southern China

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.

1600: Astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler meet for the first time near Prague.

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.

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

1961: The Angola War of Independence begins.

1968: Working at Abbey Road, The Beatles record the John 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.


1973: Singles chart:

  1. Blockbuster – The Sweet
  2. Do You Want To Touch Me (Oh Yeah) – Gary Glitter
  3. Part Of The Union – The Strawbs
  4. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
  5. Daniel – Elton John
  6. Long Haired Lover From Liverpool – Little Jimmy Osmond
  7. Wishing Well – Free
  8. Paper Plane – Status Quo
  9. Sylvia – Focus
  10. Roll Ovr Beethoven – ELO
1973: Carly Simon – No Secrets

Album chart:

  1. Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player – Elton John
  2. The Strauss Family – Cyril Ornadel and the London Symphony Orchestra
  3. Slayed? – Slade
  4. Greatest Hits – Simon and Garfunkel
  5. The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – David Bowie
  6. Back To Front – Gilbert O’Sullivan
  7. No Secrets – Carly Simon
  8. Too Young – Donny Osmond
  9. Heartbreaker – Free
  10. Portrait Of Donny – Donny Osmond

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 at the port of 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 is hospitalised after being hit him over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood while attempting to steal a 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 original 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 asks 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.

2021: The first successful face and double hand transplant announced performed on a 22 year-old man in New York.

2022: The Winter Olympics open in Beijing.

Dara O’Briain

BIRTHDAYS: John Steel, drummer (The Animals) 83; Alice Cooper, (Vincent Furnier), rock singer-songwriter, 76; Phil Ehart, drummer/manager (Kansas) 73; Tim Booth, vocals (James) 64; Clint Black, country artist, 62; John Gordon Sinclair, actor, 62; James Murphy, singer-songwriter (LCD Soundsystem), 54; Rob Cordry, actor/comedian, 53; Dara O’Briain, comedian/writer, 52; Oscar De La Hoya, boxer, 51; Natalie Imbruglia, actress/singer, 49; Kimberly Wyatt, singer/dancer (Pussycat Dolls) 42; Rasmus Hojlund, footballer, 21.