On this day back in 1812, the discoverer of Neptune, Johann Gottfried Galle was born. By “discoverer” I mean that he was the first person to see it and know what it was. The planet was already theorized and Urbain Le Verrier had predicted roughly where it would be. Still, Galle’s achievement is notable.
The founder of the Repository for Germinal Choice, Robert Klark Graham was born in 1906. Very creepy eugenics stuff. Iron artisan Philip Simmons was born in 1912. Guitar legend Les Paul was born in 1915. The longest serving Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara was born in 1916. Although he came to regret the Vietnam War, he was one of its principle architects. Still, there were larger social forces working. McNamara was not an evil man like Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld.
The late great rhythm and blues singer Johnny Ace was born in 1929. He wasn’t bad at all. His biggest song was Pledging My Love. But he is best know for his death. He was playing around with a .22 caliber revolver while drunk. And he accidentally shot and killed himself. He was 25.
And Jackie Wilson was born in 1934. Here he is doing “Higher and Higher”:
Writer of the novel The Graduate, Charles Webb is 74 today. Film composer James Newton Howard is 62. Crummy but popular crime novelist Patricia Cornwell is 57. Michael J. Fox and Johnny Depp is the big five-oh. Natalie Portman is 32. And “Egg” from Arrested Development, Mae Whitman is 25.
The day, however, belongs to the great songwriter Cole Porter who was born on this day in 1891. He wrote so many great pop songs, they are hard to list. So I’m not even going to try. Here is Frank Sinatra doing one of them, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”:
Happy birthday Cole Porter!