This Month in History: January

landscape photography of snow pathway between trees during winter

A whole lot of pop culture and sports history this month!!! But don’t worry, we found some ‘classics’ too. Enjoy!


01 January 1958

On January 1st, 1958, Johnny Cash plays San Quentin State Prison…his first prison performance. “Folsom Prison Blues” had given Johnny Cash his first top-10 country hit earlier in 1956, and his live concert performance at Folsom prison; gave his career a critical jump-start later in 1968.

02 January 1965

On January 2nd, 1965, quarterback Joe Namath spurns the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals to sign with the American Football League’s New York Jets. The contract, reportedly for  $427,000, was the most lucrative signed by any rookie at that time.

03 January 1973

On January 3rd, 1973, a 12-member group headed by George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees for $10 million dollars from CBS. 

04 January 1920

On January 4th, 1920, the 1st Black baseball league, National Negro Baseball League, organizes…with various forms of the league lasting all the way until 1960.

05 January 1980

On January 05th, 1980, The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” becomes hip-hop’s first Top 40 hit.

06 January 1975

On January 6th, 1975, Wheel of Fortune, one of the the longest-running syndicated game shows in American television, premiered on NBC. The show has been hosted since the early 1980s by Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

07 January 1785

On January 7th, 1785, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air. Just before reaching the French coast, the two were forced to throw nearly everything out of the balloon, and Blanchard even threw his trousers over the side in a desperate attempt to lighten the ship.

08 January 1835

On January 8th, 1835, President Andrew Jackson achieves his goal of entirely paying off the United States’ national debt. It was the only time in U.S. history that the national debt stood at zero, and…oddly enough…it precipitated one of the worst financial crises in American history.

09 January 2001

On January 9th, 2001, Apple launched iTunes, a media player that revolutionized the way people consumed digital media.

10 January 1999

On January 10th, 1999, “The Sopranos”, starring James Gandolfini as Mob Boss Tony Soprano, debued on HBO.

11 January 1935

In the first flight of its kind, American pilot Amelia Earhart departed Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to North America. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California.

12 January 1966

“Batman”, starring Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, with Cesar Romero as The Joker, debuted on ABC.

13 January 1999

On January 13th, 1999, the National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls announces his retirement from professional basketball, for the second time, in front of a crowd at Chicago’s United Center.

14 January 1973

On January 14th, 1973, the Miami Dolphins achieved something no NFL team has  repeated: a perfect season.  The Dolphins held on to beat Washington, 14-7, in Super Bowl VII, and capped a 17-0 season.

15 January 1929

On January 15th, 1929, the son of a baptist minister was born in Atlanta, Georgia…his name? Martin Luther King, Jr.  King eventually received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organize the first major protest of the African American civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott

16 January 1605

On January 16th, 1605, Miguel de Cervantes‘ El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, better known as Don Quixote, is published. The book is considered by many to be the first modern novel as well as one of the greatest novels of all time.

17 January 1994

On January 17th, 1994, a 6.7 earthquake rocked Los Angeles, California, killing 54 people and causing billions of dollars in damages. The Northridge quake was one of the most damaging in U.S. history.

18 January 1980

Pink Floyd‘s album “The Wall” hits #1. They would eventually sell more than 250 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

19 January 1943

American singer Janis Joplin, who was known for her fierce and uninhibited musical style, was born. The rock star eventually appeared at the Woodstock festival and had Five singles  reach the Billboard Hot 100.

20 January 1971

The single “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye about police brutality was released. What’s Going On was a concept album with most of its songs flowing into the next with the narrative told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering, and injustice. 

21 January 1990

On January 21st, 1990, at the Australian Open in Melbourne, American tennis player John McEnroe becomes the first player since 1963 to be disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament for misconduct.

22 January 1984

Audiences first saw a  Super Bowl commercial that is now widely agreed to be one of the most powerful and effective of all time. Apple’s “1984” spot, featured a young woman throwing a sledgehammer through a “Big Brother” like screen. This got people around the United States talking and heralded a new age for Apple, consumer technology, and advertising.

23 January 1957 

On January 23rd, 1957, the Wham-O toy company rolled out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs—now known to the world as Frisbees. Later, in 1967, they patented the design for the modern Frisbee by adding a band of raised ridges on the disc’s surface–called the Rings–to stabilize flight.

24 January 1935

Canned beer made its debut. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Beer and Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia.

25 January 1961

The animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians was released in the United States, becoming a Disney classic, specifically noted for the villainous character Cruella De Vil.

26 January 1979

On January 26th, 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a television comedy about two cousins in the rural South and their souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee, debuts on CBS.

27 January 1965

On January 27th, 1965, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350, developed by the American auto racer and car designer Carroll Shelby, is launched. The Shelby, featured a 306 horsepower V-8 engine and remained in production through the end of the 1960s.

28 January 1985 

Charity single “We Are the World” is recorded by supergroup USA for Africa. This group included such stars as, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and many others. 

29 January 1977

January 29th, 1977 the groundbreaking tv program Roots debuted. The eight-episode miniseries, which was broadcast over eight consecutive nights, follows a family from its origins in West Africa through generations of slavery and the end of the Civil War. Roots became one of the most-watched television events in American history.

30 January 1933 

With the stirring notes of the William Tell Overture and a shout of “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!” The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit’s WXYZ radio station. The Lone Ranger made an effortless transition from radio to motion pictures. The televised version of The Lone Ranger, staring Clayton Moore as the masked man, became ABC’s first big hit in the early 1950s.

31 January 1919

Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia. Robinson was the first black baseball player to play in the American major leagues during the 20th century, playing as an infielder AND outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 through 1956.

Published by Scott

The mountains are calling, let me grab a jacket and my kids.

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