Today in History: June 9

Les Paul (above) was born 101 years ago today. Even if you do not remember or can not name any of his couple dozen hit songs, if you are listening to music at this moment, you are listening to his influence, no matter what style of music you have on. For one thing, he invented multi-track recording in the 1940s, so unless you are listening to a monaural recording on an acetate disc from before that era, you are listening to a multi-track recording.

It is true that multi-track recording is one of those things that someone was going to invent out of necessity, but Les Paul is the man who responded to that necessity with his own ingenuity.

He also invented the solid-body electric guitar and the amplification system for it, so if you are listening to an electric guitar right now, you are listening to Les Paul’s influence. And you might even be listening to a Gibson Les Paul model guitar—Gibson started selling a model based on his design in the early 1950s. Eric Clapton played a Les Paul while he was with Cream. “Sunshine of Your Love?” That’s a Les Paul.

In 1951, Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford, had a number one hit with a rendition of “How High the Moon?” Ford’s voice is multi-tracked. Enjoy:

 
Les Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94.

* * * *
The longest-reigning monarch in the world is not Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, whose reign is, as of today, 64 years and 124 days in duration. Bhumibol Adulyadej became the King of Thailand on June 9, 1946, 70 years ago today.

His older brother, Ananda Mahidol, had been king since 1935 but was found shot dead 70 years ago on this date. Ananda Mahidol had been king from age 9 till his death at age 20. Bhumibol Adulyadej was 18. The death was ruled an accident (he was alone in his bedroom playing with his gun when it went off) and remains a mystery everywhere except in Thailand.

Bhumibol Adulyadej, officially known as King Rama IX, is believed to be worth $30 billion, making him the wealthiest monarch on the planet.

His is the 19th longest reign of any monarch in history, as far as can be determined. For completeness’ sake, the longest reign in history is that of Sobhuza II of Swaziland; he was king from shortly after his birth in 1899 until his death in 1982.

* * * *
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.” Edward Snowden revealed his identity as the whistle-blowing source of many NSA documents three years ago today.

* * * *
The Wise Little Hen, a Walt Disney Silly Symphonies cartoon, debuted on this date in 1934. It introduced a new character: Donald Duck. The movie:

 
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Richard Pryor set himself on fire while intoxicated on this date in 1980. Were it not for the fact that he wrote anecdotes and one-liners into his stand-up routine about the sad incident, it would not be noted in this space.

* * * *
Charles Dickens died on this date in 1870.

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Cole Porter was born on this date in 1891. Fred Waring was born on this date in 1900. Robert McNamara was born in 1916 on this date. Eric Hobsbawm was born on this date in 1917. The late Joe Santos was born on this date in 1931. (He died in March.) Jackie Wilson was born on this date in 1934.

* * * *
Marvin Kalb is 86 today. Bill Virdon is 85. Jackie Mason is 85. Dick Vitale is 77. Patricia Cornwell is 60 today. Michael J. Fox is 55. Aaron Sorkin is 55. Johnny Depp is 53. Natalie Portman is 35. Anoushka Shankar is 35 today.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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One comment

  1. loisajay · June 9, 2016

    Those old cartoons were so good.

    Liked by 1 person

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