It happened today – this day in history – September 4

476: Romulus Augustulus abdicates after forces led by Odoacer invade Rome. Traditional end of the Roman Empire.

1571: Catholic rebellion in Scotland.

1682: Astronomer Edmond Halley observes the comet named after him.

1824: Birth of composer Anton Bruckner in Austria.

1842: Work on Cologne Cathedral recommences after a 284-year hiatus.

1862: General Robert E Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederate troops in the American Civil War.

1867: Members of the Wednesday Cricket Club in Sheffield form a football club to keep fit during the winter. That club is now known as Sheffield Wednesday.

1882: In its first large scale test, Thomas Edison’s light bulb is used to light New York’s Pearl Street Station (obviously not one light bulb).

1884: Britain ends its policy of penal transportation to New South Wales, Australia.

1886: Apache chief Geronimo surrenders, ending the last major US-Indian war.

1888: George Eastman patents the first roll-film camera and registers “Kodak”.

1893: Author Beatrix Potter first writes the story of Peter Rabbit for a five year-old boy.

1904: The Dalai Lama signs a treaty allowing British commerce in Tibet.

1905: Chelsea play their first match at Stamford Bridge, a friendly game against Liverpool.

1907: Death of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg aged 64.

1912: The first collision on the London Underground injures 22 people.

1914: France, Russia, and Britain agree a pact that none will make a separate peace.

1933: Coup on Cuban president De Cespedes by Fulgencio Batista, who remains in power for 26 years.

1936: Franco’s troops conquer Irun and Talavera de la Reina, Spain.

1939: German troops move into Danzig. On the same day, Mir, a Nazi ghetto in occupied Poland, is exterminated.

1944: The British 11th Armoured Division frees Antwerp. On the same day, Finland breaks diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany.

1948: Queen Wilhelmina abdicates the Dutch throne.

1951: The first transcontinental TV broadcast is made by US President Harry Truman.

1957: The Wolfenden Report suggests consenting sex between homosexual adults “in private” should no longer be a criminal offence in Britain. On the same day, Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, calls out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Little Rock’s Central High School.

1962: The Beatles’ first formal recording session at EMI’s Abbey Road studios takes place. Among the songs recorded is their first single, Love Me Do. As producer George Martin had never met Ringo Starr before he insists that session drummer Andy White plays drums and Ringo plays tambourine. They are also asked to record the song How Do You Do It, by writer Mitch Murray, which the band deliberately makes a hash of. The song is eventually a No1 for Gerry and The Pacemakers the following year.


1964: The Queen officially opens the Forth Road Bridge, Europe’s longest suspension bridge linking Edinburgh to Perth across the River Forth.

1965: The Who’s van containing £5,000 worth of equipment is stolen from outside Battersea Dogs Home while the band are inside buying a guard dog.

1966: Jack Brabham clinches his third Formula 1 World Drivers Championship, coming sixth at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

1968: The Beatles record promotional videos for Hey Jude and Revolution at Twickenham Film Studios. The vocals are recorded live over the pre-recorded instrumental tracks to get round a Musicians Union ban on lip-sync performances. On the same day, Nigerian troops conquer the city of Aba, Biafra, during the Nigerian Civil War.

1970: Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova defects in London. On the same day, Marxist Salvador Allende wins a narrow plurality of votes in Chile’s presidential election. Also, IRA member Michael Kane is killed in the premature explosion of a bomb he was planting at an electricity transformer in Belfast.

1972: Mark Spitz becomes the first athlete to win seven gold medals at a single Olympic Games as part of the American 4x100m swimming relay at Munich. On the same day, Soviet athlete Valeriy Borzov wins the 200m to complete the sprint double. Also Kenyan legend Kip Keino follows his 1,500m gold iat the Mexico games in 1968 with an Olympic record of 8:23.64 to win the 3,000m steeplechase.

1976: George Best scores on his debut for Fulham after 71 seconds. On the same day, The Sex Pistols make their television debut when they appear on the Granada TV program ‘So It Goes’.

1978: Two million people are made homeless as the worst floods in living memory hit northern India.

1984: Nigerian singer Fela Kuti is sentenced to two years in prison on a charge of currency smuggling which Amnesty International and others denounce as politically motivated.

1987: Drummer Mike Joyce quits The Smiths.

1988: Actor Kevin Bacon marries actress Kyra Sedgwick.

Singles chart:

  1. Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins
  2. The Harder I Try – Brother Beyond
  3. The Only Way Is Up – Yazz and the Plastic Population
  4. Teardrops – Womack and Womack
  5. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – The Hollies
  6. Megablast – Bomb The Bass
  7. My Love – Julia Iglesias ft Stevie Wonder
  8. The Race – Yello
  9. The Locomotion – Kylie Minogue
  10. Hands To Heaven – Breathe
1988: Bad – Michael Jackson

Album chart:

  1. Kylie – Kylie Minogue
  2. The First Of A Million Kisses – Fairground Attraction
  3. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
  4. Hot City Nights – Various Artists
  5. Rap Trax – Various Artists
  6. Bad – Michael Jackson
  7. Now That’s What I Call Music! 12 – Various Artists
  8. The Best Of – The Eagles
  9. The Greatest Ever Rock n Roll – Various Artists
  10. So Good – Mica Paris

1997: Seven people are killed and more than 170 injured in a series of suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem.

1998: Google is incorporated by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.On the same day, the quiz show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ begins on ITV.

2006: Australian naturalist and TV personality Steve Irwin is killed aged 44 by a stingray while filming.

2008: The first guitar torched on stage by Jimi Hendrix sells for £280,000 at an auction of rock memorabilia. The Fender Stratocaster was burned during a performance at the Astoria, Finsbury Park, in 1967.

2014: Comedienne Joan Rivers dies at 81 after complications from a procedure on her vocal cords.

2015: Legendary ska trombonist Rico Rodriguez dies aged 80.

2016: Mother Teresa is canonised at The Vatican by Pope Francis.

2018: Amazon becomes America’s second trillion dollar company.

2019: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam withdraws the controversial extradition bill to China after three months of massive protests. On the same day, a rebel alliance of MPs vote to ban a no-deal Brexit and reject PM Boris Johnson’s call for a snap election. Also, YouTube is fined $170 million for illegally collecting data on children’s viewing habits.

2021: The Nigerian government announces it is suspending Twitter indefinitely after it removed a post by President Muhammadu Buhari.

BIRTHDAYS: Mitzi Gaynor (Francesca von Gerber), actress, 91; Tony Book, footballer/manager, 88; Dawn Fraser, Australian swimmer, 85; Dave Bassett, football manager, 78; Tom Watson, golfer, 73; Martin Chambers, drummer (The Pretenders), 71; David Renwick, TV writer, 71; Blackie Lawless (Steven Duren), musician (W.A.S.P) 66; Damon Wayans, actor/writer/comedian, 62; Kim Thayil, guitarist (Soundgarden), 62; Kevin Kennedy, actor, 61; Jeff Tremaine, director/screenwriter, 56; James Cleverly MP, cabinet minister, 53; Mark Ronson, record producer/musician, 47; Max Greenfield, actor, 43; Beyonce (Carter) singer, 41; Whitney Cummings, comedian/writer, 40; James Bay, singer-songwriter, 32.