“Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. If the conclusion you reach is that I’m dead, then you’re wrong, because I’m alive and living in Scotland. However, if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.”
1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower spotted land off present day Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
They spent several days trying to sail south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, where they had obtained permission to settle from the Company of Merchant Adventurers.
However, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod, well north of the intended area, where they anchored on November 11.
The settlers wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact after the ship dropped anchor at Cape Cod, in what is now Provincetown Harbor, in order to establish legal order.
1862 – General Ambrose Burnside assumed command of the Union Army of the Potomac following the removal of George B. McClellan.
Burnside was a solid corps commander, but by his own admission was not fit to command an army. Within one month, officers began to mutiny against Burnside’s authority, and Gen. Joseph Hooker assumed command in late January 1863.
1872 – A small fire in the basement of a commercial warehouse on Summer Street in Boston quickly turned into a major conflagration, destroying 65 acres of the city’s downtown, 776 buildings and much of the financial district.
The “Great Boston Fire” caused $73.5 million in damage (equivalent to $1.5 billion in 2019). Remarkably, only thirteen people died in the inferno, including two Boston firemen.
1875 – Indian Inspector E.C. Watkins submitted a report to Washington, D.C., stating that hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians associated with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were hostile to the United States.
In so doing, Watkins set into motion a series of events that led to the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana the following year.
The government responded to the Watkins report by ordering that the Indians “be informed that they must remove to a reservation before the 31st of January, 1876,” and promised that if they refused, “they would be turned over to the War Department for punishment.”
However, by the time couriers carried the message to the Sioux it was already winter, and traveling 200 miles to the reservation across frozen ground was an impossible request.
When, as expected, the Sioux missed the deadline, the matter was turned over to the War Department. In March 1876, former Civil War hero General Philip Sheridan ordered a large force of soldiers to trap the Sioux and force them back to the reservations. Among the officers leading the force was George Armstrong Custer, who later that year would command his famous “last stand” against Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
1923 – In Munich, armed policeman and troops loyal to Germany’s democratic government crushed the Beer Hall Putsch, the first attempt by the Nazi Party at seizing control of the German government.
At dawn, government troops surrounded the main Nazi force occupying the War Ministry building. Shots were exchanged, and 16 Nazis and three policemen were killed.
Hermann Goering was shot in the groin, and Hitler suffered a dislocated elbow but managed to escape.
1938 – In an event that would foreshadow the Holocaust, German Nazis launched a campaign of terror against Jews and their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria.
The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized.
An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months, and released only when they promised to leave Germany.
“Kristallnacht” represented a dramatic escalation of the campaign started by Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he became chancellor to purge Germany of its Jewish population.
Over 100,000 Jews fled Germany for other countries after “Kristallnacht”. The international community was outraged by the violent events of November 9 and 10.
Some countries broke off diplomatic relations in protest, but the Nazis suffered no serious consequences, leading them to believe they could get away with the mass murder that was the Holocaust, in which an estimated 6 million European Jews died.
1940 – Neville Chamberlain, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, died of bowel cancer at the age of 71.
He is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany, which he believed guaranteed “peace for our time” (often misquoted as “peace in our time”) for England.
1960 – Robert McNamara became the president of Ford Motor Company.
He would hold the job for less than a month, heading to Washington in December to join President John F. Kennedy’s cabinet. McNamara served as the secretary of defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson until he resigned in 1968.
1960 – Brian Epstein saw The Beatles perform for the first time.
Rock Factoid: Although Epstein would later say he was, “immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humor,” his first impression of the band after watching them play a lunchtime gig at The Cavern Club in Liverpool was not completely positive.
“They were not very tidy and they were not very clean. They smoked as they played, and they ate and talked and pretended to hit each other. They turned their backs on the audience and shouted at them and laughed at their own private jokes.”
1965 – The biggest power failure in U.S. history occurred as all of New York state, portions of seven neighboring states, and parts of eastern Canada were plunged into darkness.
The Great Northeast Blackout began at the height of rush hour, delaying millions of commuters, trapping 800,000 people in New York’s subways, and stranding thousands more in office buildings, elevators, and trains.
The blackout was caused by the tripping of a 230-kilovolt transmission line near Ontario, Canada, at 5:16 p.m., which caused several other heavily loaded lines also to fail.
This precipitated a surge of power that overwhelmed the transmission lines in western New York, causing a “cascading” tripping of additional lines, resulting in the eventual breakup of the entire Northeastern transmission network.
In total, 30 million people in eight U.S. states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec were affected by the blackout.
1966 – Yoko Ono and John Lennon met at a preview of her art show at the Indica Gallery in London.
Invited by Ono to pay five shillings to hammer a nail into a piece of plain wood shown as artwork, Lennon made a counter-offer: “I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.”
Hammer and Nail Factoid: When asked in 2014 during a Twitter interview if she still had “the imaginary five shillings that John gave you to hammer the nail in?,” Ono responded, “Yes it’s still sitting in my mind, without having ever been used.”
1966 – If “Paul is dead,” this is the day he died in a car accident.
Proponents of the theory maintained – and still do – that on Wednesday, November 9, 1966, Paul McCartney had an argument with his bandmates during a Beatles recording session and drove off angrily in his car, crashed, and was decapitated.
To spare the public from grief, or simply as a joke, the surviving Beatles replaced him with the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest, and the photo above is part of their “proof”.
Oh, so you need more “proof” that he died?
The opening words of Got To Get You Into My Life: “I was alone, I took a ride, I didn’t know what I would find there.”
The line “He blew his mind out in a car. He didn’t notice that the lights had changed” from A Day In The Life.
The opening line of She’s Leaving Home, which highlighted the moment of the accident: “Wednesday morning at 5 o’clock as the day begins.”
The suppression of the story in the news found its way into Lady Madonna: “Wednesday morning papers didn’t come.”
At the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, Lennon can be heard muttering “cranberry sauce.” This was misheard as “I buried Paul.”
“Bury my body” and “Oh untimely death” appeared in the radio feed towards the end of I Am The Walrus, taken from a BBC production of King Lear.
At the end of I’m So Tired, John Lennon muttered “Monsieur, monsieur, monsieur, how about another one?” When played backwards, this was interpreted by some as “Paul is dead, man, miss him, miss him.”
“I’m sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair. You were in a car crash and you lost your hair.” – from Ringo’s Don’t Pass Me By.
The line “Find me in my field of grass” in Mother Nature’s Son was taken as a reference to a cemetery.
There is the sound of a car crash, followed by an explosion, in Revolution 9.
And of course, on that same song, the words “Number Nine, Number Nine,” when played backwards, were said to contain the repeated phrase “Turn me on, dead man,”
I could go on and on with more song “clues” and visual “proof”, but here is the reality…
The crash never could have happened. From November 6-19 1966, McCartney and his girlfriend Jane Asher were on holiday, traveling through France and Kenya.
Idle Thought: Rather symbolic that Paul’s “death” date coincided with the date John met Yoko … but for the record, Im pretty damn sure he’s still alive
I also think the “Paul is dead” theorists are in a desperate need of a life.
1969 – Simon and Garfunkel recorded the vocals for Bridge Over Troubled Water in New York City.
The song’s instrumentation was recorded in California. Session musician Larry Knechtel performed piano on the song, with Joe Osborn playing bass guitar and Hal Blaine closing out the song with drums.
The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
A Halle Factoid: Roy Halee (shown above) won a Grammy for Best Engineered Recording – and if there had been a Producer of The Year category (it wasn’t created until 1974), Halee would have certainly won that, too.
1970 – Former French president Charles De Gaulle died of a ruptured blood vessel at the age of 79.
A hero to French people – although often a thorn in the side of the Americans and British during World War II – De Gaulle continued to speak his mind as president.
In a speech before 100,000 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, he denounced U.S. policy in Vietnam and urged the U.S. government to pull its troops out of Southeast Asia.
1989 – East German officials opened the Berlin Wall, allowing travel from East to West Berlin.
The following day, celebrating Germans began to tear the wall down. One of the ugliest and most infamous symbols of the Cold War was soon reduced to rubble that was quickly snatched up by souvenir hunters.
The decision to open the wall was a reflection of the immense political changes taking place in East Germany, where the old communist leadership was rapidly losing power and the populace was demanding free elections and movement toward a free market system.
2003 – Actor Art Carney died of natural causes at the age of 85.
He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Harry and Tonto, and played the role of Felix Unger in The Odd Couple on Broadway, but will be forever remembered for his portrayal of Ed Norton in The Honeymooners.
2011 – Penn State fired longtime head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier over their handling of child sex abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
2015 – Andy White died after a stroke at the age of 85.
White was already an experienced session musician when he was asked to come to EMI Studios in London in 1962 and help with a session by a new band from Liverpool.
The Beatles had recorded Love Me Do twice already: at an EMI audition with Pete Best on drums, and again in September 1962 with Ringo Starr on drums.
Producer George Martin had disapproved of Best’s drumming and was now also unhappy with newcomer Starr’s drumming.
On September 11, 1962, Ron Richards, who was in charge of recording that day, wanted the song recorded again, and the Beatles played Love Me Do a third time, this time with White replacing Starr on drums and Starr relegated to playing tambourine.
White also played drums on P.S. I Love You, the “B” side of the Love Me Do single.
More Than A Beatle Factoid: White also played on Tom Jones’ hit song It’s Not Unusual and on Shout by Lulu.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2019 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.