Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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July 9th
Born in the U.S.A
On July 9, 1955, “Rock Around the Clock,” recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets, hit #1 on the Billboard music charts, a spot it would hold for eight weeks. Written by Max Freedman and James E. Myers (a.k.a. Jimmy DeKnight), the song was the first rock ’n’ roll recording to top the charts. It had attracted little attention when Haley’s band first released it in 1954, but after it appeared in the soundtrack of the movie The Blackboard Jungle, millions of young people adopted it as their anthem. “Rock Around the Clock” became a worldwide hit, an event that helped launch the rock ’n’ roll revolution.

American music has become the most popular in the world, perhaps because, like America, it reflects traditions and cultures from all over the world. Here are a few styles that have won hearts in every corner of the globe:

Blues emerged in the South after the Civil War, growing out of African American field songs, ballads, and spirituals.

Country music developed in the South in the 1800s, blending British and Irish folk music, blues, Southern religious music, and popular American songs.

Jazz originated in New Orleans around 1900, spreading to Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis, and cities across the country. Its many roots include African American field songs, hymns, blues, New Orleans brass band music, and European harmonies.

Broadway musicals developed in the years following World War I, evolving out of vaudeville, burlesque, and minstrel shows. Early musicals blended popular entertainment with elements of European musical stage traditions.

Rock ’n’ Roll emerged in the United States in the 1950s, mixing elements of rhythm andblues, country, dance-band jazz, and pop music.

American History Parade
During the French and Indian War, General Edward Braddock is mortally wounded in the Battle of the Monongahela, near what is now Pittsburgh.

During the Mexican-American War, American troops under Commodore John Montgomery raise an American flag in Yerba Buena, later renamed San Francisco.

Zachary Taylor, the twelfth U.S. president, dies after serving only sixteen months in office.

The Fourteenth Amendment, designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves, is ratified.

In Alameda, California, Johnny Weissmuller becomes the first person to swim the 100-meter freestyle in less than a minute.

“Rock Around the Clock” reaches #1 on the Billboard music charts.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb

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