A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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August 22

"I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping while my guitar gently weeps. I Look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping still my guitar gently weeps. I don't know why nobody told you how to unfold your love. I don't know how someone controlled you they bought and sold you. "
~ Lyrics to "While my guitar gently Weeps" After meeting on the set of A Hard Day's Night, Pattie married George Harrison on January 21, 1966, during the heyday of his group, The Beatles. Harrison's friend Eric Clapton, first of The Yardbirds, then of Cream, also fell in love with her. Pattie went on to divorce Harrison on June 9, 1977, and later marry Clapton on March 27, 1979. She and Clapton divorced in June 1988.

Harrison and Clapton worked together on While my guitar gently Weeps, a thinly disguised reference to the tragic love triangle between Pattie Boyd and the two guitarists. The lyrics are available at at Lyrics Freak.


April 10

In 1970, Beatles member Paul McCartney held a press conference to formally deny rumors that the group, which had suffered from disarray for some time, was disbanding.

The Beatles would remain together until the murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980, and the three survivors would perform together for a final time at Lennon's funeral. Sales for their memorial performance would equal those of any of the group's prior releases.

 - The Beatles
The Beatles


July 6

In 1957, on the way to the St. Peter's Church Rose Queen garden fete in Woolton, Liverpool, the flatbed lorry carrying the Quarrymen skiffle group breaks down.

Big Breakthrough in WooltonAfter changing the name from the Blackjacks twelve months earlier, they had been playing at parties, school dances, cinemas and amateur skiffle contests. The line-up comprised John Lennon and several friends from Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool.

His mother, Julia Lennon, had taught her son to play the banjo and then showed Lennon and Eric Griffiths how to tune their guitars in a similar way to the banjo, and taught them simple chords and songs. Despite the lorry's breakdown John had a good feeling about that fateful day, and he wasn't to be disappointed. Because as they waited to hitch a ride back to Liverpool, he came up with a nifty set of chords. Griffiths then started to hum some catchy lyrics. It was the beginning of a breakthrough that the band desperately needed. They never looked back, and this minor transportation difficulty turned out to be the making of them. Because The Quarrymen had played their final small-time gig.



September 7

In 1953, under cross examination the sociologist Kenneth Clark reluctantly released additional statistical data which disproved the arguments of the NAACP plaintiffs and forced the collapse of the civil rights case in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Doll StudiesThe "separate but equal" precedent of the 1896 Plessy vs Ferguson ruling made it extremely difficult for the NAACP to argue that segregated schooling (which existed by law throughout the southern states) was unconstitutional. By claiming that the separate facilities for black and white schoolchildren were in fact equal southern states achieved paper compliance with the demands of the Fourtheenth Amendment that all citizens must be extended equal protection of the law.

I may have used the word "crap" ~ NAACP lawyer Jack B. Weinstein [commenting on the Doll Studies]Instead the NAACP sought to counter this arguement by demonstrating the injustice of the "separate but equal" precedent using sociological evidence that segregated schooling had a profoundly negative effect on black self-esteem. That evidence was drawn from a series of studies conducted in segregated southern schools which revealed that when black students were shown a white doll and a black doll a majority indicated a preference for the white doll.

Yet the published evidence excluded data from Kenneth Clark's own research in Massachusetts which revealed that black children in integrated school were even more likely to choose the white doll. This information was not volunteered to the Court, but forced out under cross examination.



January 16

In 1964, The Seekers were found in the UK, and lead singer Judith Durham rocketed to be a top recording star for decades.

Judith Durham quits The SeekersThe Seekers became the first Australian folk/pop group to have a Top 5 single in Australia, U.K., and the USA, as "I'll Never Find Another You" became the biggest selling single in the U.K. in 1965, and went on to sell 1.75 million copies worldwide.

Durham was stolen from the group when they sailed to the UK in the mid-1960s after making so much noise with their big hit "I'll Never Find Another You". She was paired with another successful group there just forming which came to be known as The Moody Blues. Their earlier symphonic-rock sounds worked wonders with her clear voice to make Rock and Roll history.

Longing for the life she knew as the voice for The Seekers, Durham eventually left the group a few years later when The Moody Blues changed their style to a more conventional rock sound. Durham did well in solo work, and by adding Celtic-style songs to her lists, sometimes singing with The Chieftains.



November 30

In 1960, on this day Richard Nixon's bid to expose vote rigging in Texas, Illinois, Missouri and Delaware (and thereby reverse the stolen election) received an unexpected boost when Luis Salas, the election judge in Alice, admitted that he and southern Texas political boss George Parr rigged the 1948 senatorial election of President-elect Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Landside LyndonVice President Nixon had been inclined to accept the outcome of the election for the good of the country, despite the encouragement of President Eisenhower who was convinced that a recount would expose suffficient irregularities to reverse the outcome. However reports of Johnson's record of corruption convinced Nixon that an LBJ Presidency would be a setback for the nation.

Early indications were that Congressman Johnson had lost. Six days later, however, Precinct 13 in the border town of Alice, Texas, showed a very interesting result. Exactly 203 people had voted at the last minute - in the order they were listed on the tax rolls - and 202 of them had voted for Johnson.

While Stevenson protested, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black upheld the result, and Johnson squeaked by with an 87-vote victory. For this feat, columnist Drew Pearson gave Johnson the sobriquet "Landslide Lyndon".



January 8

In 2010, Elvis Presley, the legendary "King of Rock 'n' Roll," celebrated his 75th birthday at his Graceland manor outside Memphis, Tennessee.

Life of the King by Eric LippsPresley had narrowly survived an overdose of prescription medication on August 16, 1977, during a period when he had been experiencing a number of health problems, including what would subsequently be diagnosed as the early stages of degenerative arthritis. After that incident, he finally yielded to the pleadings of intimates, withdrawing from performance for over two years. It would later be learned that during this time the pop icon underwent a rigorous detoxification program to wean him off the painkillers to which he had become addicted.

By the spring of 1980, a reinvigorated and slimmed-down Presley would be ready to re-enter the spotlight. His singing engagements, however, would slowly be overshadowed by the star's newly aggressive political involvement: Presley would be an outspoken supporter of Ronald Reagan both that year and in 1984, and would court right-wing televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who in turn would use their TV ministries to promote him.

Presley was no latter-day convert to conservatism. As early as 1970 he had met privately with then-President Richard Nixon, denouncing the hippie culture and asking to be given a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge to add to similar souvenirs had been collecting. He had also been outspokenly hostile to the Beatles, though whether from political motives or out of resentment at their having displaced him in the 1960s limelight is difficult to say. By 1988, however, he had moved far enough rightward to endorse Pat Robertson in that year's GOP primaries. Cynics, noting the TV preacher's promotion of Presley on his "700 Club" talk show, suggested that Presley was merely paying off a debt, but the two men's friendship was apparently genuine.

By the 1990s, however, the onetime King was ready to abdicate, this time for good. Advancing age had brought a new round of health problems, and younger performers such as Michael Jackson were displacing Presley among all but a dwindling set of aging fans. In August of 1998, Elvis formally announced his retirement. Thereafter, he would make only occasional appearances, generally as a guest on late-night talk programs, though he did briefly appear (as himself) in the 2003 feature biopic Life of the King.



January 31

In 1968, on this day the weirdest unrealized Beatle movie project became a psychedelic reality with the nation-wide release of the Stanley Kubrick-directed film "Lord of the Rings".

Lord of the RingoThe live-action version featured an choice of casting that in an odd kind of way reflected the natures of the musicians, with Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins, Ringo Starr as Sam Gamgee, George Harrison as Gandalf, and John Lennon as Gollum.

Due to their megastar status, the band managed to entice a number of talented actors - most notably Peter Sellers - to provide a semblance of balance to the movie. As a result of this level of mainstream interest, plans to shoot cartoon voice overs for "Magical Mystery Tour" and the "Yellow Submarine" were scrapped in favour of an even more ambition project than LOTR: an adaptation of "The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe" to be shot during 1969.
Click to watch the Peter Jackson Interview



May 30

In 1934, the first human being to set foot on the Moon Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov was born on this day in the small settlement of Listvyanka in the Kemerovo Oblast.

MoonshotThe former Air Force Major General was selected for this signature honour in part because of the outstanding courage he had demonstrated in conducting the first very space walk on 18 March 1965. His spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit's pressure to bleed off, and was barely able to get back inside the capsule.

The other reason for his selection was the tragic accidental death of Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin on 27 March 1968, seven years after he became the first human being to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth.

But in a larger sense, the triumphant conclusion of the Soyuz Programme was due to the genius of the leading rocket engineer and designer of the Soviet Union, Sergey Korolyov. Unbeknown to the rest of the world, Korolyov had his own brush with death on 5 January 1966 when after being admitted to hospital with a bleeding polyp in his large intestine a surgeon's incompetence induced a second, and near fatal cardiac arrest.

If the Soviet Union had scored a triple set of firsts in the Space Race, then surely the United States had to score next time, and big. Nothing less than a mission to Mars would enable America to take the lead in the space race.

This strategic objective fired the imagination of California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan as he stared at the stars on the fateful night that Leonov landed on the Moon. He was a man who believed in cutting through the obfusication to arrive at an action item. His achievement in winning the Space Race, and in so doing bankcrupting the Soviet Union into losing the Cold War, would ensure that "the Gipper" became not only the greatest President in US History but also the fifth face on Mount Rushmore.

A cowboy, said the Ayatollah dismissively, a crazy, crazy old space cowboy yahooing it around outer space. Perhaps some space indians might turn up and save humanity from the Great Satan..



June 7

In 1892, a black railroad passenger, Homer Plessy, was arrested when he refused to vacate a "whites only" seat and move to one of the train's "black" cars.

Plessy v. FergusonPlessy's arrest led to a legal challenge to a Louisiana statute mandating "separate but equal" accommodations which reached the Supreme Court as Plessy v. Ferguson. The Court's ruling in that case struck down the Louisiana statute, citing the earlier decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) which declared that the framers of the Constitution had never contemplated treating blacks as the legal equals of whites.

The decision in the Plessy case angered not only blacks but also the railroad companies, which had supported Plessy's suit because they were unhappy with the expense of maintaining separate cars for blacks. Southern whites, however, were pleased: they had threatened secession in 1860 when it appeared that Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party, a successor to the moribund Whigs associated with opposition to Negro slavery, would be elected president; only the electoral compromise of that year which instead placed Democrat Stephen A. Douglas in the White House persuaded secession advocates to back down. A new story by Eric LippsAs the years had passed, though, the pressure to end slavery had continued while an increasing number of states had passed laws similar to Louisiana's which, at least in theory, allowed blacks access to "separate, but equal" facilities aboard trains and in such public facilities as theaters, schools and libraries.

In practice, such facilities usually proved more separate than equal. But the very idea of blacks, even free blacks, of whom Louisiana in particular possessed a significant number, being entitled to privileges similar to those of whites infuriated many of the latter, and not only in the South. While by the time of Plessy's arrest and lawsuit tensions had not risen to the same point as in 1860, there was a growing so-called "Real America" movement dedicated to overturning such laws and kicking out of office legislators who had voted for them and judges who had ruled in their favor. The decision in Plessy took some of the steam out of the "Real Americans", who turned their attention primarily to opposing immigration, particularly from Asia and Eastern Europe.

Plessy did not lay to rest forever the issue of Negro equality. By 1910, every state but Mississippi had individually abolished slavery (Mississippi would finally do so in 1933, by which time there would be fewer than a thousand slaves in that state anyway), and a nationwide organization the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, had emerged to call for constitutional amendments formally granting blacks full legal equality with whites, including voting rights. White resistance to greater rights for blacks continued, however, fueling the rise of such groups as the Cyclops Legion, which favored costumes consisting of pure-white robes and hoods bearing a stylized eye on the forehead. The Legion and its many imitators called themselves patriots and protectors of "the American way of life", but carried out that mission by terrorizing and sometimes brutally killing "uppity" blacks and troublesome white "radicals". In 1915, silent-film mogul D. W. Griffith would deliver a tremendous boost to such groups with his movie Defending a Nation, which depicted them as heroes; the Cyclops Legion would grow to an estimated membership of two million nationwide by the early 1920s before collapsing under the weight of a series of financial scandals involving its leaders, who had grown rich marketing Legion costumes and paraphernalia1.



May 18

In 1896, on this day the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson.

Plessy v. FergusonFour years earlier a black railroad passenger, Homer Plessy, was arrested when he refused to vacate a "whites only" seat and move to one of the train's "black" cars. His arrest led to a legal challenge to a Louisiana statute mandating "separate but equal" accommodations which reached the Supreme Court as Plessy v. Ferguson. The Court's ruling in that case struck down the Louisiana statute, citing the earlier decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) which declared that the framers of the Constitution had never contemplated treating blacks as the legal equals of whites.

The decision in the Plessy case angered not only blacks but also the railroad companies, which had supported Plessy's suit because they were unhappy with the expense of maintaining separate cars for blacks. Southern whites, however, were pleased: they had threatened secession in 1860 when it appeared that Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party, a successor to the moribund Whigs associated with opposition to Negro slavery, would be elected president; only the electoral compromise of that year which instead placed Democrat Stephen A. Douglas in the White House persuaded secession advocates to back down. A new story by Eric LippsAs the years had passed, though, the pressure to end slavery had continued while an increasing number of states had passed laws similar to Louisiana's which, at least in theory, allowed blacks access to "separate, but equal" facilities aboard trains and in such public facilities as theaters, schools and libraries.

In practice, such facilities usually proved more separate than equal. But the very idea of blacks, even free blacks, of whom Louisiana in particular possessed a significant number, being entitled to privileges similar to those of whites infuriated many of the latter, and not only in the South. While by the time of Plessy's arrest and lawsuit tensions had not risen to the same point as in 1860, there was a growing so-called "Real America" movement dedicated to overturning such laws and kicking out of office legislators who had voted for them and judges who had ruled in their favor. The decision in Plessy took some of the steam out of the "Real Americans", who turned their attention primarily to opposing immigration, particularly from Asia and Eastern Europe.

Plessy did not lay to rest forever the issue of Negro equality. By 1910, every state but Mississippi had individually abolished slavery (Mississippi would finally do so in 1933, by which time there would be fewer than a thousand slaves in that state anyway), and a nationwide organization the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, had emerged to call for constitutional amendments formally granting blacks full legal equality with whites, including voting rights. White resistance to greater rights for blacks continued, however, fueling the rise of such groups as the Cyclops Legion, which favored costumes consisting of pure-white robes and hoods bearing a stylized eye on the forehead. The Legion and its many imitators called themselves patriots and protectors of "the American way of life", but carried out that mission by terrorizing and sometimes brutally killing "uppity" blacks and troublesome white "radicals". In 1915, silent-film mogul D. W. Griffith would deliver a tremendous boost to such groups with his movie Defending a Nation, which depicted them as heroes; the Cyclops Legion would grow to an estimated membership of two million nationwide by the early 1920s before collapsing under the weight of a series of financial scandals involving its leaders, who had grown rich marketing Legion costumes and paraphernalia1.



June 4

In 1958, on this day in Memphis, Tennessee officers of the U.S. Army informed Gladys Love Presley that the 3rd Armored Division had listed her twenty-three year old son Elvis "missing in action" serving in combat against the Red Army in defence of the River Rhine.

Return to SenderAn unopened letter marked "Return to Sender" was also accompanied by photographs of a children's concert in which Elvis had delivered the song "Wooden Heart" in near perfect German.
Listen to "Wooden Heart"

Tragically only three months later his mother would die of hepatitis at the age of only forty-six but Elvis had survived and returned to the States at the conclusion of the Dropshot War. A great advocate of peace, he would help to rebuild a nation shattered by war. And find lifelong happiness with his wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie.



January 4

In 1986, on this day Irish singer and musician Phil Lynott was released from Salisbury District Hospital in Wiltshire. Listen to Whiskey in the Jar on YouTube

The Boy is back in TownThe previous years had been dogged by drug and alcohol dependency leading to his collapse on Christmas Day 1985, at his home in Kew. He was discovered by his mother, who was unaware of his dependency on heroin. She contacted his wife Caroline Crowther, who was, and immediately knew the problem was serious. After Caroline drove him to a drug clinic at Clouds House in East Knoyle, near Warminster, he was taken to Salisbury Infirmary where he was diagnosed as suffering from septicaemia.

Fortunately this was a false alarm and a second opinion determined it to be a misdiagnosis. He recovered consciousness to speak to a mysterious visitor. No record remains of that conversation, but Phil Lynott was changed forever. He told his mother that something, something just incredible had happened to him that very day. But she knew the truth of it anyway. Hurrying to the Hospital minutes before, she had caught a glimpse of the vistors's bare feet, you see. Jesus will meet you at the point of your need she said, and he nodded in full understanding, hot tears of joy running down his face. Listen to The Boys are Back in Town on YouTube



December 25

In 1985, ruinous years of drug and alcohol abuse caused thirty-six year old Irish folk singer Phil Lynott to collapse at his home in Kew on Christmas Day. Listen to Whiskey in the Jar on YouTube

The Juice of the BarleyHis unresponsive body was rushed to Salisbury Infirmary where doctors and family members feared for his life. He remained unconscious for almost ten days.

Then a mysterious bare-foot stranger visited him on the 4th January. He awoke from his coma and conversed in his customary low voice that was inaudible to the medical staff. Their own record was simply a note in the visitors log, under the somewhat odd name of Captain Farrell [1].

By 12th January, he was sufficiently recovered to be released from Hospital. Instead of relapsing into his former destructive ways, he set out in a new direction serving alongside his fellow Irishman Bob Geldorf as an Ambassador for "Live Aid", a do-gooder Rapparee. And six months later he returned to music to play a signature role alongside van Morrison and former Thin Lizzy bandsmen Gary Moore in the "Save the World" concert at Wembley Stadium. This included a heart felt appeal to give the starving masses of Africa the second chance that Jesus had given him; inevitably the emotional and spiritual effect was electric. Because something had been missing in this harsh world, but finally it was fulfilled. [2]

Afterwards he traveled the continent working with community groups and challenging political leaders to build infrastructure and fight poverty. An incomparable humanitarian spokesman, he died in Rwanda in 1994, praising the Lord every remaining day of his life.



April 11

In 1982, on this day in New York City the piercing sincerity of ten simple words from an anonymous fan convinced the desperately sick American singer and drummer Karen Carpenter to search for a way out of her life-threatening cycle of eating disorders and in so doing solve the problem that was threatening to destroy her relationship with her brother and co-star Richard Carpenter.
Watch the Youtube Clip of "Please Mr Postman - The Carpenters" (1975)

Wait a minute, Mr Postman!The first step was the hardest, placing a long distance call to a telephone number in New Haven, Connecticut. Fearing the worst, her mother Agnes asked what was happening, but was reassured to hear that no, nothing was wrong, quite the contrary in fact, Karen had called to say that something, something just incredible had happened to her that very day.

Through to the mid-eighties her musical career kept apace with her steady medical recovery and by her thirty-fifth birthday she was once again a major star in good health. "Jesus will meet you at the point of your need" ~ the messageBut her central focus now was to help others suffering from the little known disorder anorexia nervosa.

The anonymous fan was never revealed, although HIS identity was no great mystery to Karen Carpenter.

Because she had caught a glimpse of the Postman's bare feet, you see.



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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.