May 19

Amber pages

An obscure reference in an old diary tells me that the Chad Mitchell Trio reached Number 99 in the American pop charts today in 1962, with a song called “John Birch Society”. Not a particularly significant achievement, it must be said, and an unlikely title for a song of whatever ranking. But given the date, I wonder if this is Dylan’s “Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues”, with which he caused such a furore on the Ed Sullivan show, or an entirely different song that he heard and satirised? Look out you commies!

Today in 1890, Ho Chi Minh (Nguyen That Thanh), Vietnamese revolutionary, born.

Today in 1879, Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat as a member of the British Parliament, born

Today in 1925, Malcolm X (Malcolm Little), Black Muslim leader, born 

Today in 1895, Jose Julian Marti, Cuban author and political activist, leader of the first of Cuba's wars of liberation, killed.

Today in 1935, T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), the Samson of the Arab revolt, caused the seven pillars to come crashing down on his own head.

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