In the World
1943 — George Harrison, lead guitarist for the Beatles, is born (died Nov. 29, 2001). Although Paul McCartney and John Lennon were the band’s leading songwriters, most albums included at least one composition by Harrison. His early influences included Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, and Chuck Berry. Harrison led the group toward the folk influence of the Byrds and Bob Dylan and the Indian classical music of Ravi Shankar. In 1971 Harrison organized “Concert for Bangladesh,” one of the first world music benefits. He had one son, Dhani, by his second wife, Olivia Arias Harrison. George Harrison died of lung cancer at age 58, and his ashes were scattered over India’s Ganges and Yumana rivers.
In the United States
1964 — 22-year-old Cassius Clay knocked out world heavyweight boxing champion Sunny Liston in the seventh round of the fight. Liston was an eight-to-one favorite. But Clay boasted he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and predicted he would knock him out in the eighth round. Born in Louisville Kentucky in 1942, Cassius Clay won more than one hundred amateur fights by the time he was eighteen. He won the Golden Gloves in 1959, and an Olympic gold medal in 1960.
The Miami Convention Hall crowd of 8,000 spectators nicknamed him the “Louisville Lip.” He made good on his talk, and danced and backpedaled away from Liston while delivering jabs to Liston’s head. To celebrate the title, Clay attended a party with his friend Malcolm X. Two days later, he announced that he was joining the Nation of Islam and taking the Muslim name Muhammad Ali.
Pertaining to the West
1836 — Samuel Colt received a U.S. patent for a mechanism that allowed a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading. Colt built a factory to make revolving-cylinder pistols, but sales were slow at first. When the U.S.-Mexican War began in 1846, Colt received a 1,000 gun order from the U.S. government. With the proceeds, Colt then built the world’s largest private armament factory, using advanced techniques such as an organized production line and interchangeable parts.