John’s Believe It Or Not … May 7th

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

It’s Sunday – A New Week! Did you know…

* 1920 – Art Gallery of Ontario opens Group of Seven exhibition. (The Group of Seven, also known as the Algonquin School, was a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley. Later, A. J. Casson was invited to join in 1926; Edwin Holgate became a member in 1930, and LeMoine FitzGerald joined in 1932. Believing that a distinctly Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature, the Group of Seven is best known for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement.)

 “The first Group of Seven exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Toronto
Installation view of the first Group of Seven exhibition, May 7-27, 1920 (Courtesy of Tumblr)

* 1763 Pontiac’s plot is foiled. (On this day in 1763, Major Henry Gladwin, the British commander of Fort Detroit, foils Ottawa Chief Pontiac’s attempt at a surprise attack. Romantic lore holds that Gladwin’s Seneca mistress informed him of the western Indians’ plans for an uprising. When Pontiac arrived at the fort with his men, who were concealing weapons under their trading blankets, they discovered that Gladwin had assembled his men and prepared them for a defense of the fort. Knowing that, without the element of surprise, their efforts would not be successful, Pontiac withdrew and instead laid siege to the fort for the rest of the summer, while his allies successfully seized 10 of 13 British forts in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions by June 20. The western Indians’ efforts to unite all Native Americans in an attempt to free themselves of addictions to European trade goods and alcohol, guided by their spiritual leader, a Delaware named Neolin, seemed to be succeeding. However, the French failed to come to the Indians’ aid in driving the British back to the Atlantic as hoped, dooming the rebellion.)

Map showing Pontiac's Rebellion
(Image: Courtesy of 4autoracing.com)

* 1915 Lusitania sinks. (On the afternoon of May 7, 1915, the British ocean liner Lusitania is torpedoed without warning by a German submarine off the south coast of Ireland. Within 20 minutes, the vessel sank into the Celtic Sea. Of 1,959 passengers and crew, 1,198 people were drowned, including 128 Americans. The attack aroused considerable indignation in the United States, but Germany defended the action, noting that it had issued warnings of its intent to attack all ships, neutral or otherwise, that entered the war zone around Britain. When World War I erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality for the United States, a position that the vast majority of Americans favored. Britain, however, was one of America’s closest trading partners, and tension soon arose between the United States and Germany over the latter’s attempted quarantine of the British isles. Several U.S. ships traveling to Britain were damaged or sunk by German mines, and in February 1915 Germany announced unrestricted submarine warfare in the waters around Britain. In early May 1915, several New York newspapers published a warning by the German embassy in Washington that Americans traveling on British or Allied ships in war zones did so at their own risk. The announcement was placed on the same page as an advertisement of the imminent sailing of the Lusitania liner from New York back to Liverpool. The sinkings of merchant ships off the south coast of Ireland prompted the British Admiralty to warn the Lusitania to avoid the area or take simple evasive action, such as zigzagging to confuse U-boats plotting the vessel’s course. The captain of the Lusitania ignored these recommendations, and at 2:12 p.m. on May 7 the 32,000-ton ship was hit by an exploding torpedo on its starboard side. The torpedo blast was followed by a larger explosion, probably of the ship’s boilers, and the ship sunk in 20 minutes. It was revealed that the Lusitania was carrying about 173 tons of war munitions for Britain, which the Germans cited as further justification for the attack. The United States eventually sent three notes to Berlin protesting the action, and Germany apologized and pledged to end unrestricted submarine warfare. In November, however, a U-boat sunk an Italian liner without warning, killing 272 people, including 27 Americans. Public opinion in the United States began to turn irrevocably against Germany.)

Sinking of the Lusitania
Image: Courtesy of lookandlearn.com)

* 1965 “Satisfaction” comes to Keith Richards. (In the early morning hours of May 7, 1965, in a Clearwater, Florida, motel room, a bleary-eyed Keith Richards awoke, grabbed a tape recorder and laid down one of the greatest pop hooks of all time: The opening riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” He then promptly fell back to sleep. “When I woke up in the morning, the tape had run out,” Richards recalled many years later. “I put it back on, and there’s this, maybe, 30 seconds of ‘Satisfaction,’ in a very drowsy sort of rendition. And then it suddenly—the guitar goes ‘CLANG,” and then there’s like 45 minutes of snoring.” It wasn’t much to go on, but he played it for Mick Jagger later that same day. “He only had the first bit, and then he had the riff,” Jagger recalls. “It sounded like a country sort of thing on acoustic guitar—it didn’t sound like rock. But he didn’t really like it, he thought it was a joke… He really didn’t think it was single material, and we all said ‘You’re off your head.’ Which he was, of course.” With verses written by Jagger—Richards had already come up with the line “I can’t get no satisfaction”—the Stones took the song into the Chess studios in Chicago just three days later, on May 10, 1965, and completed it on May 12 after a flight to Los Angeles and an 18-hour recording session at RCA. It was there that Richards hooked up an early Gibson version of a fuzz box to his guitar and gave a riff he’d initially envisioned being played by horns its distinctive, iconic sound. Though the Stones at the time were already midway through their third U.S. tour, their only bona fide American hits to date were “Time Is On My Side” and the recently released “The Last Time.” “Satisfaction” was the song that would catapult them to superstar status. Forty years later, when Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Satisfaction” #2 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” it put the following historical perspective on the riff Keith Richards discovered on this day in 1965: “That spark in the night…was the crossroads: the point at which the rickety jump and puppy love of early rock and roll became rock.”)

Record sleeve for Satisfaction that pictures the Rolling Stones
Image: Courtesy of This Day in Music.com

* 1902 Volcanic eruption buries Caribbean city. (On this day in 1902, Martinique’s Mount Pele begins the deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The following day, the city of Saint Pierre, which some called the Paris of the Caribbean, was virtually wiped off the map. Mount Pele, the name meaning bald in French, was a 4,500-foot mountain on the north side of the Caribbean island of Martinique. On April 2, 1902, new steam vents were spotted on the peak, which overlooked the port city of Saint Pierre. Three weeks later, tremors were felt on the island and Mount Pele belched up a cloud of ash. Caught up in the midst of an important election, residents of Saint Pierre failed to heed the mountain’s warnings and evacuate. The nearby residents mistakenly believed that the only danger from the volcano was lava flow and that if lava started to flow, they would have plenty of time to flee to safety. In fact, some people came from outside the city to view the action, even after ash from the eruption began to block roads. On May 7, activity on the volcano increased dramatically and the blasts grew significantly stronger. Overnight, there were several strong tremors and a cloud of gas with a temperature of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit spilled out of the mountain. Finally, a tremendous blast in the early morning hours sent an avalanche of boiling ash down the side of the mountain. The city of Saint-Pierre was buried within minutes and virtually everyone died instantly. There were only two reported survivors–one was a prisoner held in an underground cell. Legend has it that he went on to be a circus attraction. In addition, 15 ships in the harbor were capsized by the eruption. One ship managed to stay afloat with half the crew surviving, although most suffered serious burns.)

view of the shoreline at St. Pierre after the 1902 eruption, which killed 30,000
View of the shoreline at St. Pierre after the 1902 eruption, which killed 30,000 (Courtesy of EARTH Magazine)

Acknowledged Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php

* This Day In History – What Happened Today    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

Advertisements

Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (http://fiorabooks.com), to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

5 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not … May 7th”

    1. It’s funny sometimes how songs originate – and to think that Jagger didn’t like it at first – the biggest hit in their career and rated #2 among all-time rock hits! Thanks for sharing your kind thoughts, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, that volcanic eruption’s force and effect was astonishing. When I was in New Zealand last year we went to see the buried village that was were the pink and white terraces used to be. Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886 burying the village completely. It was fascinating but scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by with your comment, Robbie. Clearly, the power of natural forces is awesome and quite frightening. I’m sure there are other examples of towns and villages located in the shadows of volcanoes which suffered a similar fate. Tragic and terrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

I love comments & questions! Please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s