28 April-Mussolini

Benito Mussolini was journalist and socialist politician who founded the Fascist party in Italy in 1919. He was appointed Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and ruled Italy until he was ousted from power in 1943. He was captured and executed by the Italian resistance while trying to escape in April 1945.

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born in Dovia di Predappio, Forlì in north central Italy on July 29th 1883. He qualified as an elementary schoolteacher in 1901. Mussolini moved to Switzerland in 1902 where he became involved in socialist politics. He returned to Italy in 1904 to work for the socialist press. Following World War I Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in March 1919.

By 1922 Italy was in political chaos. Mussolini was invited by King Victor Emmanuel to form a government. Mussolini took the title of ‘Il Duce’. He gradually dismantled the institutions of democratic government and appointed himself dictator in 1925. He established a regime which was held together by strong state control. Violet Gibson from Dublin, wounded Mussolini, when she attempted to assassinate him on April 7th 1926.

As part of his efforts to form a new Italian Empire Mussolini invaded Ethiopia (then Abyssinia) in 1935. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) he provided military support for Franco who went on to become dictator of Spain. In 1939 he signed the Pact of Steel which increased cooperation with Nazi Germany. Mussolini declared war on the Allies in June 1940.

The Italian Army suffered several defeats in North Africa and the Allies landed troops in Sicily in July 1943. Mussolini was overthrown by his own Fascist party and imprisoned. He was rescued by German commandos and installed as leader of a puppet government in northern Italy. When the Allies began to advance northwards in 1945, Mussolini attempted to flee to Switzerland. He was captured and executed by Italian partisans in Mezzegra on the shores of Lake Como in Northern Italy.

Benito Mussolini was executed in the year 1945 On This Day.


Mussolini’s body hanging upside down in Milan


06 February-Bob Marley

Bob Marley was a singer, songwriter and musician who during his brief lifetime became an international superstar. He sold more than 20 million records during his career and was responsible for introducing reggae music to the world.

Bob Marley was born Robert Nesta Marley in Jamaica in 1945. He had an interest in music and singing from a young age and formed a band with his friends while still at school. The band, which eventually came to be known as the Wailers, had its first number 1 hit in Jamaica in 1964 with the single ‘Simmer Down’. It sold over 70,000 copies. Though the band became very popular it was not a financial success.

In 1966 Marley married Rita Anderson. Shortly thereafter he moved to the United States. He resided close to where his mother was living in Wilmington, Delaware and worked as a laboratory assistant with DuPont. After spending eight months in the US Marley returned to Jamaica. He reunited with his former band and converted from Roman Catholicism to Rastafari.

The Wailers breakthrough began in the early 70’s. They began to tour extensively and in 1975 they had their first international his with ‘No Woman, No Cry’. The Wailers disbanded and Marley went on to pursue a solo career. The release of the album Exodus in 1977 established his international reputation. With sales of over 75 million records Marley is one of the best-selling artists of all time. On July 6th 1980 he performed at a concert in Dalymount Park in Dublin.

On May 11th 1981 Bob Marley died at a hospital in Miami, Florida. He was only 36 years old and was on his way home to Jamaica. He had become an international superstar and his religious and political sentiments showed clearly in his music. Marley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Bob Marley was born in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, in the year 1945 On This Day.



10 January-Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart is singer, songwriter and musician who is a native of London, England. Known for his raspy voice he is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. His musical genres include: Rock, pop, blue-eyed soul, blues rock and folk rock.

Roderick David Stewart was born in Highgate, North London in 1945. He left school at the age of 15 and worked at various jobs. Stewart excelled at football and in 1960 went for trials at Brentford Football Club. He also had a strong interest in music and performed with several bands during the 1960’s. Stewart had his first big success as a solo artist with the hit single ‘Maggie May’ in 1971. During his successful career from the 1960’s to the present day he has sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Rod Stewart was born in the year 1945 On This Day.

Rod Stewart at HSN




02 October-Don McClean

Don McClean is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who is best known for his 1971 album American Pie. McClean who was interested in music from an early age continues to record and perform at venues in America, Europe and Australia. In 2015 he toured the UK and Ireland for the 20th time. During September 2015 he gave performances at five venues in Ireland, including Kilkenny on September 22nd.

Donald McClean III was born in New Rochelle, New York. He was educated at Christian Brothers Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, graduating in 1963. Iona Preparatory School was founded in 1916 by Br. Joseph Ignatius Doorley from County Carlow, Ireland. Following graduation from Iona McClean enrolled in Villanova University, Pennsylvania but left after four months. During the following six years he toured venues in New York and neighbouring areas. During his time touring he attended night school at Iona College and graduated with a BA in Business Administration in 1968.

The first album ‘Tapestry’, which McClean recorded in 1969 achieved some success. However the release of ‘American Pie’ in 1971 gained him international stardom. Commentators felt the song was inspired by the plane crash of 1959 in which Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) died. However in 1978 McClean said that the lyrics were somewhat autobiographical. In a poll in 2001 ‘American Pie’ was voted No 5 of the 365 ‘Songs of the Century’.

McClean’s other famous hit songs are, ‘Vincent (Starry Starry Night)’, ‘Castles in the Air’, ‘And I Love You So’ and “Crying’. He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2004 and holds over 40 gold and platinum records. Don McLean, who lives in Camden, Maine, USA continues to tour the world and record new material.

Don McLean was born in the year 1945 On This Day.

Fremont Street Experience – Don McClean American Pie by tkksummers on 2008-11-28 19:01:41


16 September-John Count McCormack

John Count McCormack, celebrated Irish tenor was a native of Co Westmeath, Ireland. He became famous for his operatic performances in concert halls in Ireland, Europe and North America. McCormack received the title of Papal Count from Pope Pius XI in 1928. He was given the title in recognition of his work for Catholic charities.

John Francis McCormack was born in Athlone, Co Westmeath on June 14th 1884. He was educated at the Marist College in Athlone and later at Summerhill College Sligo. McCormack sang in church choirs in Athlone and Dublin. He won a gold medal at the Feis Ceoil in Dublin in 1903 and in 1905 moved to Milan for voice training. Having performed at venues in Italy McCormack became the principal performer at Covent Garden, London at the age of 23. He began his American career in 1909

McCormack performed on stage and screen and made several recordings. When the 31st International Eucharistic Congress was held in Dublin in 1932 he sang Panis Angelicus to an audience of almost one million people in the Phoenix Park. In 1938 he gave a farewell performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. When World War II broke out McCormack briefly came out of retirement to give performances in support of the Red Cross. He retired due to ill-health in 1943.

John Count McCormack died at his home in Dublin at the age of 61 in the year 1945 On This Day.

John McCormack, wife & children (LOC) by The Library of Congress on 1910-01-01 00:00:00

John Count McCormack by infomatique on 2008-09-13 15:16:10