Today in History: August 8

The four young men in the photo at top were in the process of recording an album that they intended to name for the street on which their recording studio was located—the studio in which they had spent their recording career as a group. One of them, Paul, sketched an idea for an album cover: the four band mates crossing the street at the zebra crosswalk in front of the recording studio.

On this date in 1969, the photo session was held. Traffic was stopped, including a double-decker bus, and the four strode back and forth. A total of six photos were taken by Ian MacMillan from atop a stepladder; the fifth photo of the six became the album cover for Abbey Road.

There was a couple hours between the photo session and the studio time that the group had booked, so after the photos were taken, John and Paul went back to Paul’s house, Ringo went shopping, and George went to the London Zoo, according to the book the Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. When they reconvened that afternoon, they continued work on the track that came to be titled “The End.”

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There was no grand public ceremony; in fact, President Harry Truman did not even use a set of ceremonial pens as presidents often do to create a set of pens that were used to sign a law or create a decree. Truman and Secretary of State James Byrnes used Truman’s desktop pen to sign the United Nations Charter on this date in 1945. A photo was taken. Truman’s signature was a foregone conclusion: the United States hosted the meetings that had built the United Nations and he had signed on behalf of the country at the conclusion of the meetings in June. After a summer campaigning on the Charter’s behalf, it was ratified in the Senate and Truman signed it on August 8. The Charter opens with these words: “We the Peoples of the United Nations Determine … to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person … .”

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Hank Williams Jr. fell 500 feet off Ajax Peak in Montana on this date in 1975. He slammed into rock below and barely survived. To this day, he wears sunglasses, a cowboy hat and a beard to cover his disfigurements. The near-death experience confirmed in him his recent move away from performing as an imitator of his father and the pursuit of his own voice.

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Herbert Huncke died twenty years ago today.

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on this date in 1896.

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Mel Tillis is 84 today. Donald P. Bellisario is 81. Dustin Hoffman is 79 today. Connie Stevens is 78 today. Robin Quivers is 64 today. Don Most is 63. Nigel Mansell is 63. Deborah Norville is 58. The Edge is 55 today. Roger Federer is 35 today.

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