12 April-‘Rock Around the Clock’

‘Rock Around the Clock’ is a rock and roll song which has been called the The National Anthem of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was recorded in New York in 1954 by Bill Haley & His Comets. The song became a No 1 hit and recordings sold in their millions around the world.

Bill Haley was a singer, musician and songwriter who was native of the United States. He is considered by many to be the father of ‘Rock and Roll’. Haley’s was a member of a musical family and he was influenced by country music. His musical genres included: Rock and roll, country and rockabilly.

‘Rock Around the Clock’ was written in 1952 by songwriter and lyricist Max C. Freedman and songwriter and music publisher James E. Myers. It was recorded as the B-side of the song ‘Thirteen Women’. It became a hit in 1955 following its use in the film ‘Blackboard Jungle’. The song was No 1 hit and became wildly popular with teenagers around the world. It has featured in several films and has been recorded in over 30 languages.

‘Rock Around the Clock’, a song which has been called the The National Anthem of Rock ‘n’ Roll, was recorded by Bill Hayley & His Comets in the year 1954 On This Day.

Rock Around The Clock

09-01-1956_14052 City Theater

06 May-Roger Bannister

Roger Bannister is former athlete who is a native of England. In 1954 he became the first person in history to run a mile (1.61km) in less than four minutes. Though it was a feat many believed to be impossible at that time, it now the competition standard for all male middle distance runners.

Roger Bannister was born in Harrow, Middlesex, England on March 23rd 1929. He studied medicine and graduated from St Mary’s College Medical School in 1954. He continued his medical studies becoming a neurologist in 1964.

A successful athlete during his school years Bannister continued his involved in athletics at University. He competed in the 1,500m in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki where he finished fourth. After the Olympics he resolved to run the mile in less than four minutes. He succeeded in his endeavour two years later at the Iffley Road Track in Oxford when he ran a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile in the year 1954 On This Day.

Roger Bannister


15 February-Matt Groening

Matt Groening is a cartoonist who is a native of the USA. He best known as the creator of the television series The Simpsons. He is also a writer and producer. Groening is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2012 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Matthew Abram Groening was born in Portland, Oregon in 1954. At college he was the editor of the student newspaper. He moved to Los Angeles and at age 19 he sold a comic strip he had created called ‘Life in Hell’ to a newspaper. The comic strip came the attention of producer James L Brooks who asked Groening to create a cartoon for the Tracey Ullman Show. He created The Simpsons

The Simpsons is based on the Simpson family who live in the American town of Springfield. The family consists of nuclear plant employee Homer, his wife Marge and their three children Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The long running comedy is considered to be one of the greatest television series of all time. The Simpsons had its television debut in the year 1989. Groening also co-created Futurama.

Matt Groening, creator of the television series The Simpsons, was born in Portland, Oregon in the year 1954 On This Day.

Matt Groening

Matt Groening




20 January-Thyestes Chase Gowran Park Kilkenny

Gowran Park Racecourse is located close to the town of Gowran and is about 13 km from Kilkenny City, Ireland. The racecourse held its first meeting on June 16th 1914. The Thyestes Handicap Chase which is run each year in January heralds the start of the racing season at Gowran Park. The venue hosts 16 race meetings throughout the year featuring both National Hunt and Flat Race meetings.

The racecourse is situated on the grounds of the former Annaly Estate once known as Gowran Castle. It has been home to horse racing for over a hundred years. The Annaly Estate, which extended to over 300 hectares, was surrounded by a wall which was over 7km long. The original wall forms part of the boundary of the racecourse. The racecourse is set in wooded parkland making it one of Ireland’s most picturesque venues. The course is a right-handed undulating track with an uphill finish.

Major improvements in recent years have taken place with the support of Horse Racing Ireland. These improvements included the upgrading of the stable yard parade rings. The new grandstand was opened in April 2003. Gowran Park is also home to an 18-hole golf course. The par 71 course extends over 53 hectares and 5 holes lie within the racecourse boundary.

The first ever broadcast of a horserace in Ireland was made from Gowran Park in 1952. The Thyestes Chase is named after a racehorse which was bred by Major Victor McCalmont of Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny. Major McCalmont presented the Thyestes trophy to Kilkenny Show where it was won by a horse owned by Mr John McEnery of Rossenara, Kells, Co Kilkenny. The Thyestes trophy has been won in past such famous horses as Arkle, Hedgehunter and Number six Valverde.

The Thyestes trophy was presented to Gowran Park Racecourse for the first running of the Thyestes Chase which took place for the first time in the year 1954 On This Day.

Hedgehunter photo

Hedgehunter by James Qualtraugh




17 July-Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is the first woman to hold the office of Chancellor of Germany. She is also the first female leader of her political party, the Christian Democratic Union. In May 2015 Forbes named Angela Merkel the most powerful woman in the world.

Angela Merkel was born Angela Dorothea Kasner in Hamburg in July 1954, but grew up in the former East Germany. Her family moved there in 1954 shortly after she was born. Her father, who was a Lutheran minister had been appointed as pastor in the town of Quitzow near Perleberg about 80km north of Berlin in what was then East Germany.

At school Angela Merkel was a prize winning student. She excelled at languages, became fluent in Russian and won trip to Moscow. Following second level education she studied Physics at the University of Leipzig from 1973 to 1978. After graduation she studied and worked at the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof. She was awarded a doctorate in 1990 for her thesis on quantum chemistry.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification Angela Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the constituency of Stralsund – Nordvorpommern – Rügen in north eastern Germany. She has been re-elected to serve that constituency at every election since 1990. During the following years she was appointed to various ministries by the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Helmut Kohl was defeated in the general election of 1998 and Angela Merkel was appointed secretary general of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany). In 2000 she became leader of the CDU when she defeated Wolfgang Schäuble to become the first female leader of a political party in Germany.

Following the 2005 general election Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany. She was re-elected Chancellor in 2009 and again in 2013. During her time as Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has had a consistently high rating in opinion polls. She is the recipient of numerous awards both in Germany and internationally.

Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg, Germany in the year 1954 On This Day.

Angela Merkel by indeedous on 2014-09-13 11:23:33

Angela Merkel photo

Photo by Teutloff Museum – The Face of Freedom ®