On This Day

What Happened in May 1971

Historical Events

  • May 1 97th Kentucky Derby: Gustavo Ávila wins aboard Canonero II (wins Preakness May 15)
  • May 1 Amtrak Railroad begins operation
  • May 1 Rolling Stones release "Brown Sugar"
  • May 3 "All Things Considered" premieres on 112 National Public Radio stations
  • May 3 Erich Honecker succeeds Walter Ulbricht as East German communist party leader
  • May 3 National Public Radio begins programming
  • May 3 Nixon administration arrests 13,000 anti-war protesters in 3 days
  • May 3 Pulitzer prize awarded to John Toland (Rising Sun)
  • May 5 Courtney, Courtney, and Link's musical "Earl of Ruston" opens at Billy Rose Theater, NYC, runs for 5 performances
  • May 5 Race riot in Brownsville section of Brooklyn (NYC)
  • May 8 Courtney, Courtney, and Link's musical "Earl of Ruston" closes at Billy Rose Theater, NYC, after 5 performances
  • May 9 23rd Emmy Awards: All in the Family, Jack Klugman & Jean Stapleton win
  • May 9 Elizabeth Bonner runs female world record marathon (3:01:42)
  • May 9 Friends of Earth return 1500 non-returnable bottles to Schweppes
  • May 9 Largest walk in crowd (31,626) in Baltimore Oriole history
  • May 10 US special delivery rates go from 45 cents to 60 cents
  • May 11 Cleveland's pitcher Steve Dunning hits a grand slam off Oakland Athletics pitcher Diego Seguí
  • May 13 Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane seriously injured in a car accident
  • May 15 "70, Girls, 70" closes at Broadhurst Theater, NYC, after 35 performances
  • May 15 96th Preakness: Gustavo Avila aboard Canonero II wins in 1:54
  • May 15 Radio Nordsee International's ship bombed
  • May 15 Irish Republican Army member William 'Billy' Reid is shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast
  • May 16 US 1st class postage now costs 8 cents (was 6 cents)

Music Premiere

May 16 Benjamin Britten's opera "Owen Wingrave" premieres in Aldwych, London

  • May 16 Bulgaria adopts its constitution
  • May 17 Stephen Schwartz' musical "Godspell" premieres off-Broadway
  • May 17 Washington State bans sex discrimination
  • May 18 4th ABA Championship: Utah Stars beat Kentucky Colonels, 4 games to 3
  • May 18 Bulgarian constitution goes into effect

Historic Event

May 18 US President Richard Nixon rejects 60 demands of Congressional Black Caucus

Sports History

May 18 Stanley Cup Final, Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL: Henri Richard scores twice as Montreal Canadiens beat Chicago Black Hawks for a 4-3 series victory

  • May 18 Vampire rapist Wayne Boden's last victim found in Calgary, Alberta
  • May 19 USSR launches Mars 2, becomes the 1st spacecraft to crash land on Mars
  • May 20 Pentagon reports blacks constitute 11% of US soldiers in SE Asia
  • May 21 Chelsea win 11th European Cup Winner's Cup against Real Madrid 2-1 in Athens (replay)
  • May 21 National Guard mobilizes to quell riot in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Album Release

May 21 Marvin Gaye' eleventh album "What's Going On" is released; considered the best album off all-time by critic surveys in Rolling Stone (2020); The Guardian (1997); and New Music Express (1985)

White Night Riots

May 21 White Night riots occur in San Francisco after Dan White is given a lenient sentence for assassinating Mayor George Moscone and the openly gay elected official Harvey Milk

  • May 22 A British soldier is killed by members of the Official Irish Republican Army in Belfast
  • May 23 American rock group Iron Butterfly ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida") disbands
  • May 24 A commuter bus plunges into Panama Canal, killing 38 of 43 aboard
  • May 25 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • May 25 The Provisional Irish Republican Army throw a time bomb into Springfield Road British Army base in Belfast, killing British Army Sergeant Michael Willetts and wounding seven officers
  • May 27 23rd Walker Cup: Britain-Ireland, 13-11

Cannes Film Festival

May 27 24th Cannes Film Festival: "The Go-Between" directed by Joseph Losey wins the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film

Music Recording

May 27 John Lennon records the song "Imagine" at his Ascot Sound home studio at Tittenhurst Park, England

Album Release

May 28 Paul McCartney releases "Ram", his 2nd solo album

  • May 28 USSR Mars 3 launched, 1st spacecraft to soft land on Mars
  • May 29 "Court Room" by Clarence Carter hits #61
  • May 29 Indianapolis 500: Defending champion Al Unser Snr becomes first and only driver to win race on his birthday; leads for final 83 laps
  • May 30 36 hospitalized during Grateful Dead concert; drunk LSD apple juice
  • May 30 Train crash at Duivendrecht, Netherlands, 5 die
  • May 30 US Mariner 9 1st satellite to orbit Mars launched

Baseball Record

May 30 Willie Mays hits his 638th HR, sets NL record of 1,950 runs scored

  • May 31 WDXR (now WKPD) TV channel 29 in Paducah, KY (PBS) begins broadcasting

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Ethan Albright, American NFL long-snapper (Pro Bowl 2007; Washington Redskins), born in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • May 1 Stuart Appleby, Australian golfer (British Open 2002 runner-up; 9 PGA Tour titles, Presidents Cup x 5; 11-under-59 Greenbrier Classic 2010), born in Cohuna, Australia
  • May 1 Ajith Kumar, Indian film actor
  • May 2 Greg Bishop, American NFL guard (NY Giants), born in Stockton, California
  • May 3 Damon Dash, American entrepreneur and label executive (Roc-A-Fella Records), born in NYC, New York
  • May 3 Josey Scott, American singer (Saliva), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • May 4 Derrick Clark, American football fullback (Broncos, Rhein Fire), born in Apopka, Florida
  • May 4 Steve Glenn, Canadian football linebacker (BC Lions), born in Ottawa, Ontario
  • May 4 Joe Borowski, American baseball player, born in Bayonne, New Jersey
  • May 4 Luiz Garcia Jr., Brazilian racing driver, born in Brasilia, Brazil
  • May 5 Harold Miner, American NBA guard (Cleveland Cavaliers), born in Inglewood, California
  • May 5 Ken Brown, American NFL linebacker (Denver Broncos), born in Wiesbaden, Germany
  • May 5 David Reilly, American singer (God Lives Underwater) (d. 2005)
  • May 6 Rob Holmberg, NFL linebacker (Oakland Raiders)
  • May 6 Chris Shiflett, American guitarist (Foo Fighters), born in Santa Barbara, California
  • May 7 Cameron McFadzean, Australian canoeist (Olympics 1996), born in Melbourne, Victoria
  • May 7 Dave Karpa, Canadian NHL defenseman (Anaheim Mighty Ducks), born in Regina, Saskatchewan
  • May 7 Rondell Jones, NFL safety (Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens)
  • May 7 Horgh [Reidar Horghagen] Norwegian heavy metal drummer (Immortal; Hypocrisy), born in Bergen, Norway
  • May 7 Thomas Piketty, French economist and author ("Capital in the Twenty-First Century"), born in Clichy
  • May 8 Reggie Jones, American NFL football wide receiver, 1995-2001 (KC Chiefs, and two other teams), born in Kansas City, Kansas
  • May 8 Chris Wolf, American actor and musician (Guys Next Door - "I've Been Waiting for You")
  • May 8 Stephen Ingram, American NFL tackle/guard (Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 1995; Jacksonville Jaguars, 1999), born in Cheverly, Maryland
  • May 9 Nicolas Ghesquière, French fashion designer (Louis Vuitton), born in Comines, France
  • May 9 Paul McGuigan, British rock bassist (Oasis, 1991-99 - "Wonderwall"), born in Manchester, England
  • May 10 Andrei Kravtsov, Queensland Australia, gymnast (Olympics 1996)
  • May 10 Eric Stock, soccer player (NEC)
  • May 10 Ronnie Dixon, NFL defensive tackle (Philadelphia Eagles, NY Jets)
  • May 10 Adriano Giannini, Italian actor (Swept Away (2002 re-make)), born in Rome, Italy
  • May 11 Corey Fuller, NFL cornerback (Minnesota Vikings)
  • May 12 Jamie Luner, American actress (Cindy-Just the 10 of Us), born in Palo Alto, California
  • May 12 Doug Basham, American professional wrestler, born in Louisville, Kentucky
  • May 13 Hamish Pepper, New Zealand laser single handed sailor (Olympics 1996), born in Auckland, New Zealand
  • May 13 Michael Sirotka, American pitcher (Chicago White Sox), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • May 13 Rob Fredrickson, American NFL linebacker (Oakland Raiders), born in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • May 13 Tom Nalen, American NFL center (Denver Broncos-Super Bowl 32), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • May 14 Raphael Wiggins, American rapper (Lifelines), born in Oakland, California
  • May 14 Sofia Coppola, American director (Lost in Translation), born in NYC, New York
  • May 15 Scott Shipley, Bremerton Wash, slalom single kayaker (Olympic 6th 1996)
  • May 15 Phil Pfister, American strength athlete
  • May 16 Khari Jones, Canadian American football player (BC Lions, Scottish Claymores) and coach (Montreal Alouettes), born in Hammond, Indiana
  • May 16 Rachel Goswell, English singer and songwriter (Slowdive, Mojave 3)
  • May 17 Bill Lindsay, Big Fork, NHL left wing (Florida Panthers)
  • May 17 Mark Williams, NFL linebacker (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • May 17 Shaun Hart, Australian footballer
  • May 17 Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, Queen of the Netherlands (2013-present), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • May 17 Gina Raimondo, American politician, 1st woman Governor of Rhode Island (2015-), born in Smithfield, Rhode Island
  • May 18 Ben Coleman, American guard/offensive tackle (Jacksonville Jaguars), born in South Hill, Virginia
  • May 18 Clifton Sunada, American extra-lightweight judoka (Olympics 1996), born in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • May 18 Craig Hentrich, American NFL punter (Green Bay Packers-Super Bowl 31), born in Alton, Illinois
  • May 18 Karyn Bye-Dietz, American ice hockey forward (Olympic Gold-1998 & Silver-2002), born in River Falls, Wisconsin
  • May 18 Rich Garces, Venezuelan MLB pitcher (Boston Red Sox), born in Maracay Venezuela
  • May 18 Desiree Horton, American helicopter pilot/television reporter, born in North Hollywood, California
  • May 18 Nobuteru Taniguchi, Japanese racing driver
  • May 19 Psicosis [Dionicio Castellanos Torres], Mexican professional wrestler, born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
  • May 20 Jonas Berqvist, Angelhorn SWE, hockey forward (Team Sweden, Olympics 1998)
  • May 20 Niklas Andersson, Kungalv Swe, NHL left wing (NY Islanders)
  • May 20 Sandy Schreur, Dutch soccer player (NEC)
  • May 20 Šárka Kašpárková, Czech athlete
  • May 20 Tony Stewart, American race car driver
  • May 20 Erato Alakiozidou, Greek classical and contemporary music concert pianist and arts director (Tangos a Cuatro; Idée Fixe”; Music Diaries; beArtive), born in Thessaloniki, Greece
  • May 21 Eric Nies, American reality TV personality (MTV Real World, Grind)
  • May 22 Corey Croom, NFL running back (NE Patriots)
  • May 22 Troy Barnhart, water polo 2m offense (Olympics 1996), born in Hanford, California
  • May 22 Manuel Ortiz, Mexican professional wrestler
  • May 23 Issac Booth, NFL cornerback/safety (Cleveland Browns)
  • May 23 Joseph Rogers, CFL receiver (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)
  • May 23 Marshall Boze, pitcher (Milwaukee Brewers), born in San Manual, Arizona
  • May 23 Laurel Holloman, American actress
  • May 24 Paul Ragusa, Canadian 48 kg freestyle wrestler (Olympics 1996), born in Bülach, Switzerland
  • May 24 Troy Barnett, American NFL defensive end (NE Patriots), born in Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • May 25 Alan Kline, American NFL tackle (New Orleans Saints), born in Tiffin, Ohio
  • May 25 Justin Henry, American actor (Kramer vs Kramer, 16 Candles), born in Rye, New York
  • May 25 Keith Hamilton, American NFL defensive tackle (NY Giants), born in Paterson, New Jersey
  • May 25 Tim Kroeker, Canadian 110m hurdler (Olympics 1996), born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
  • May 25 Marco Cappato, Italian politician (Member of the European Parliament), born in Milan, Italy
  • May 26 Darwin Ireland, NFL linebacker (Chicago Bears)
  • May 26 Steven Rice, Canadian NHL right wing (World Junior C'ship gold 1991, captain), born in Kitchener, Ontario
  • May 26 Matt Stone, American actor, animator and producer (South Park, The Book of Mormon), born in Houston, Texas
  • May 27 Ferdino Hernandez, soccer player (FC Utrecht)
  • May 27 Monika Schnarre, American actress (Bold & Beautiful)
  • May 27 Paul Bettany, English actor (A Beautiful Mind), born in London
  • May 27 Wayne Carey, Australian rules footballer
  • May 27 Kaur Kender, Estonian author
  • May 27 Left Eye [Lisa Lopes], American singer (TLC), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2002)
  • May 27 Glenn Ross, Northern Irish strongman
  • May 28 Nick Bravin, American fencer-foil (Olympics 1996), born in NYC, New York
  • May 28 Isabelle Carré, French actress
  • May 28 Marco Rubio, American politician (Senate-R-Florida, 2011-), born in Miami, Florida
  • May 28 Ekaterina Gordeeva, Soviet-Russian figure skater (with Sergei Grinkov - Pairs World Championship, 1986-87, 1989-90; Olympic gold, 1988 & 94), born in Moscow, Russia
  • May 29 Éric Lucas, Canadian boxer (WBC Super Middleweight title 2001-02), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • May 29 Martin Lohse, Danish classical composer (In Liquid; Tree Haiku), born in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • May 30 Drahomir Kadlec, Pribham CZE, hockey defenseman (Team Czech Rep)
  • May 30 Jiri Slegr, Jihlava Cze, NHL defenseman (Edmonton Oilers, Olympic gold 1998)
  • May 30 Kyle Vander Kuyp, Australian 110m hurdler (Olympics 1996)
  • May 31 Brad Elberg, CFL running back (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)
  • May 31 Lenny McGill, NFL cornerback (Atlanta Falcons)
  • May 31 Murray Hocking, Victoria Australia, badminton player (Olympics 1996)
  • May 31 Sarah O'Hare, model (Cosmopolitan-Jan 1994)

Famous Weddings

Mick Jagger

May 12 Rolling Stone rocker Mick Jagger (27) weds actress and model Bianca Pérez-Mora Macias (31) at St Tropez Town Hall, France

  • May 22 American film maker Oliver Stone weds Najwa Sarkis; divorce in 1977

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

May 28 NBA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24) weds school teacher Janice Brown


Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Edith Day, American actress (A Romance of the Air), dies at 75
  • May 1 Glenda Farrell, actress (Grand Slam, Exposed), dies at 66
  • May 4 Donald Dexter Van Slyke, American chemist (Micromanometric analysis), dies at 88
  • May 4 Joseph Csaky, Hungarian/French sculptor, dies at 83
  • May 4 Louis de Bree [Louis Davids], actor (De man zonder hart, The Cross-Patch, Bluejackets), dies at 87
  • May 4 Seamus Elliott, Irish road bicycle racer (first English speaker to win stages in all the Grand Tours), dies at 36
  • May 5 Harry Moorman, Dutch vice-admiral (KVP), dies at 71
  • May 5 Alice Tissot, French actress (Italian Straw Hat), dies of cancer at 81
  • May 5 Petro Scaglione, Italian procureur-general, killed by Mafia
  • May 5 Violet Jessop, Titanic survivor (b. 1887)
  • May 6 Helene Weigel, Austrian/German actress (Metropolis), dies at 70
  • May 7 Willem Banning, Dutch theologist/sociologist (Karl Marx), dies at 83
  • May 10 Mihail Jora, Romanian composer, dies at 79
  • May 10 Shukichi Mitsukuri, Japanese composer (10 Haikai de Basho), dies at 75
  • May 12 Johnny Taylor, Australian cricket batsman (20 Tests; 1 x 100, 8 x 50) and rugby union fly-half (2 caps), dies at 75
  • May 12 Heinie Manush, American baseball player (b. 1901)
  • May 12 Tor Johnson [Tore Johansson], Swedish wrestler and actor (Bride of the Monster), dies at 67
  • May 13 Valerian Mikhaylovich Bogdanov-Berezovsky, Russian composer, dies 67
  • May 15 Sir Tyrone Guthrie, British actor, producer, writer and director, dies at 70
  • May 15 Donald F. Duncan Sr., American entrepreneur (Duncan Toys Company), dies at 78
  • May 16 Barney Stanley, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame forward (Stanley Cup 1915, Vancouver Millionaires; coach Chicago Black Hawks 1927-28), dies at 77
  • May 19 Bernard Wagenaar, Dutch-American composer (3 Songs for Chinese), dies at 76

Ogden Nash

May 19 Ogden Nash, American humorous poet (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Masquerade Party), dies at 68 [1]

  • May 20 Waldo Williams, Welsh poet (b. 1904)
  • May 21 Dennis King, English actor (Devil's Brother), dies of heart ailment at 73
  • May 22 Frank Ottersen, Norwegian jazz violinist and saxophonist (Ding, Dong, Dang), dies at 50
  • May 25 Jo Etha Collier, young African American woman killed by 3 whites in Drew, Mississippi
  • May 25 Mark Brunswick, American composer, dies at 69
  • May 25 Terence De Marney, British actor (Lorna Doone, Doctor Who, The Immortal Gentleman), dies after accidentally falling under a subway at 63
  • May 26 John Longden, British actor (Man From Interpol), dies at 70
  • May 27 Chips Rafferty [John William Pilbean Goffage], Australian actor (Wake in Fright, Desert Rats), dies from a heart attack at 62
  • May 27 Jack Doscher, American baseball pitcher (1st son of a major leaguer to play MLB), dies at 90
  • May 28 Audie Murphy, American soldier who was among the most decorated in WW II with 33 medals and actor (To Hell and Back, Whispering Smiths), killed in a plane crash at 46
  • May 28 Jean Vilar, French stage and film actor and director (Théâtre National Populaire), dies at 59
  • May 29 Max Trapp, German composer, dies at 83
  • May 30 Rodd Redwing, American actor (Buffalo Bill In Tomahawk Territory; Son Of Geronimo), and stunt coach, dies of a heart attack at 66
  • May 30 Marcel Dupré, French organist and composer, dies at 85
  • May 31 Bert Ironmonger, Australian cricket spin bowler (14 Tests; 74 wickets @ 17.97; Queensland, Victoria), dies at 89
  • May 31 Massimo Campigli, Italian painter and illustrator, dies at 75