It happened today – this day in history – March 8

1531: Henry VIII is recognised as supreme head of Church in England by the Convocation of Canterbury.

1702: Queen Anne ascends to the throne on the death of William III. On the same day, Irish pirate Anne Bonny is born in Kinsale.

1817: The New York stock exchange is founded.

1855: William Poole (Bill the Butcher), infamous member of New York’s Bowery Boys gang, dies of a gunshot wound aged 33.

1859: Birth of author Kenneth Grahame in Edinburgh.

1869: Death of French composer Hector Berlioz aged 65.

1874: Death of Millard Fillmore, 13th president of the US, aged 74.

1902: The first performance of Jean Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony by the Helsinki Philharmonic Society.

1917: Death of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, inventor of the rigid dirigible, aged 78.

1920: Denmark and Cuba join the League of Nations.

1930: Death of former US president William Howard Taft aged 72.

1936: The first stock car race is held in Daytona Beach, Florida.

1946: The first helicopter is licensed for commercial use in New York.

1950: Car manufacturer Rover unveils the first car powered with a gas turbine engine.

1952: Ronald Reagan marries Nancy Davis in Los Angeles.

1957: Egypt reopens the Suez Canal after Israel withdraws from occupied Egyptian territory.

1959: Groucho, Chico & Harpo Marx’s final TV appearance together.

1962: The Beatles make their TV debut on the BBC with Pete Best on drums.

1964: Malcolm X resigns from the Nation of Islam.

1965: The first US combat forces arrive in Vietnam on the beaches of Da Nang.

1966: An IRA bomb destroys Nelson’s Column in Dublin.

1968: New York rock venue the Fillmore East opens in Manhattan.

1969: The Small Faces split up after singer Steve Marriott walks off stage and announces he is leaving the band to form Humble Pie.

1971: British postal workers go back to work after seven weeks on strike when agreement is agreed on a pay deal. On the same day, Joe Frazier ends Muhammad Ali’s 31-fight winning streak at Madison Square Garden and retains the heavyweight boxing title by unanimous points decision. Ali is floored in Round 15 with Frank Sinatra jumping up to photograph the exact moment of contact. Also, silent film star Harold Lloyd dies aged 77.

1972: A bomb explodes in the cockpit of an empty Trans World Airlines Boeing 707 at Las Vegas airport after TWA refuses to hand over a ransom demand of £760,000.


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1973: Paul McCartney is fined £100 for growing cannabis at his farm in Campbeltown, Scotland. McCartney claims some fans gave the seeds to him and that he didn’t know what they would grow. On the same day, Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan of The Grateful Dead dies aged 27 from liver failure brought on by alcohol poisoning.

1974: Charles de Gaulle Airport opens in Paris.

1977: Princess Anne announces she is expecting her first child.

1979: The first extraterrestrial volcano is discovered on Jupiter’s moon Io.

1983: IBM releases PC DOS version 2.0.

1985: Dozens of people are killed when a car bomb explodes in Beirut.

1986: Four French TV crew members are abducted in west Beirut, Lebanon.

1992: Singles chart:

  1. Stay – Shakespeare’s Sister
  2. I Love Your Smile – Shanice
  3. My Girl – The Temptations
  4. What Time Is Love – The KLF
  5. November Rain – Guns ‘n’ Roses
  6. It’s A Fine Day – Opus III
  7. One – U2
  8. Weather With You – Crowded House
  9. Come As You Are – Nirvana
  10. It Must Be Love – Madness
1992: Crowded House – Woodface

Album chart:

  1. Divine Madness – Madness
  2. Tears Roll Down: Greatest Hits 82-92) – Tears For Fears
  3. Stars – Simply Red
  4. Hormonally Yours – Shakespeare’s Sister
  5. High On The Happy Side – Wet Wet Wet
  6. Seven – James
  7. From The Heart: The Greatest Love Songs – Elvis Presley
  8. Simply The Best – Tina Turner
  9. Woodface – Crowded House
  10. Real Love – Lisa Stansfield

1993: Death of jazz singer Billy Eckstein aged 78 after a stroke.

1999: The US Supreme Court upholds the murder convictions of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing. On the same day, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio dies aged 84.

2001: Divers raise the wreck of Donald Campbell’s boat, Bluebird, from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria, 34 years after his death while attempting to break the world water speed record.

2003: Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler is injured when the Honda motorbike he is riding is involved in a collision with a Fiat Punto in Belgravia. On the same day, singer/actor and businessman Adam Faith dies.

2008: Death of newsreader Carol Barnes.

2012: Toyota recalls 700,000 vehicles over safety concerns.

2013: North Korea terminates all peace pacts with South Korea.

2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 people loses contact and disappears, prompting the most expensive search effort in history and one of the most enduring aviation mysteries.

2015: Death of jazz trumpeter Lou Soloff (Blood Sweat & Tears) aged 71.

2016: AC/DC postpone the rest of their US tour after singer Brian Johnson is warned he faces the imminent threat of going deaf. On the same day, Beatles producer Sir George Martin dies aged 90.

2018: US President Donald Trump authorizes tariffs on steel and aluminium, excluding Canada and Mexico.

2019: The US national women’s soccer team sue for equal pay by filing a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation.

2020: Actor Max Von Sydow does aged 90.

2022: Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon formally apologises to the 4,000 Scots, mostly women, accused of witchcraft between 1563 and 1736.

Gyles Brandreth

BIRTHDAYS: Baron Grade of Yarmouth, TV executive, 80; Mickey Dolenz, drummer/singer/director (The Monkees) 78; Carole Bayer Sager, singer-songwriter, 77; Randy Meisner, bassist/singer (The Eagles) 77; Gyles Brandreth, writer, 75; Cheryl Baker, singer (Bucks Fizz) 69; Gary Numan (Webb), singer-songwriter, 65; Aidan Quinn, actor, 64; Gaz Coombes singer-songwriter (Supergrass) 47; Freddie Prinze Jr, actor, 47; James van der Beek, actor, 46; Tom Chaplin singer (Keane) 44; Kat von D (Katherine Von Drachenberg), tattoo artist, 41; Ellie Jackson, singer, (La Roux) 35; Petra Kvitova, tennis player, 33.