1. 1988. N.W.A. releases Straight Outta Compton
It was on this date in 1988 that “gangsta rap” hit the mainstream as N.W.A. released their debut album Straight Outta Compton. Even though there were a total of six people associated with the group at one point or another, the founding members were Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and later MC Ren and Yella. This style of rap had normally only existed in smaller underground circles and it was far too explicit and controversial to be played on the radio. But that didn’t stop them, as N.W.A. would go on to revolutionize hip-hop music, paving the way for countless artists such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Straight Outta Compton would eventually reach triple platinum status. Unfortunately, the group split up by 1992 ND Eazy-E passed away in 1995. Ice Cube and Dr Dre both went on to have extremely successful solo careers.
2. 1974: Gerald R. Ford becomes President
President Richard Nixon was forced to resign his presidency on this date in 1974 due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Not minutes after the helicopter doors closed as Nixon departed the White House lawn, Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. Ford was hand-selected by Nixon to run as his Vice-President. This was the first time that anyone had been declared President though appointment rather than election. Soon after taking the oath of office, President Ford declared “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over,” as he spoke to the nation in a television address. In an interesting turn of events, Ford would give Nixon a full presidential pardon for any crimes or wrongdoings he may have committed while in office. His reasoning for doing this was to re-align a divided nation due to the Watergate scandal
3. 1995: Cultural icon Jerry Garcia suffers fatal heart attack.
It was on this date in 1995 that a true cultural icon’s long strange trip came to an end when Jerry Garcia passed away from a heart attack. Garcia was in a drug treatment facility in California at the time of his passing. The life Garcia lived is one you’d think is straight out of a movie. He grew up in San Francisco where he was taught to play the piano at a young age. It was reported that at the age of 15, he talked his mother into trading in his accordion for a Danelectro guitar and it was that guitar that would start him on a path that would change not only his life, but also spread a message of peace and love to millions. By 1965, he met up with a few other musicians that you might’ve heard of, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, organist Ron McKernan, drummer Bill Kreutzman and of course bassist Phil Lesh. If you aren’t familiar with these names specifically, they formed a group called the Warlocks but would soon change the name to something a bit more familiar, The Grateful Dead. The Dead became a major part of the “hippie” counterculture scene that swept the nation during the late ’60s through the ’70s. They played at Woodstock in 1969 and the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and had a continuous string of hits though the ’70s. The last decade before Jerry’s passing the Dead toured the country playing as many as 150 live shows a year, most of which were to sold out crowds.