On Wednesday, May 14, 1958, I was born at St. Joesph Hospital in downtown Atlanta Georgia, under the star sign Taurus, the Chinese Zodiak sign of the Dog, making me a baby boomer. The president was Dwight D. Eisenhower and the number one song was “Who’s Sorry Now” by Connie Francis. “U.S. Troops Flown to the Caribbean After Venezuelans Mob the Nixons” was the headline on May 14, 1959s The Atlanta Constitution newspaper.
Earlier in the month of 1958, on May 5th the US performs an atmospheric nuclear test at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. From 1945 to 1980, over 500 weapons tests were conducted in the atmosphere at a number of locations around the world. These tests resulted in the release of substantial quantities of radioactive debris into the environment. Local, intermediate, and global fallout deposition densities downwind from test sites depended on the heights of bursts, the yields, and the half-lives and volatilities of the particular fission or activation products, as well as on the meteorological conditions.
On May 7, 1958, US Air Force Major Howard “Scrappy” Johnson sets the world aircraft altitude record in a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter at 91,243 ft. This was the first record flown by an F-104 at Edwards AFB, Palmdale, CA (USA). He has served as a fighter pilot flying over 7,000 hours in fifteen different fighter planes during his career. He flew in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
In 1953, Major Johnson transferred to Hamilton AFB where he had the first opportunity to hear about the Air Force’s newest, fastest airplane, the F-104. In 1958, with only 30 hours of flight time in the Starfighter, he shattered the World’s Altitude Record.
On May 13, 1958, the trademark VELCRO® is registered to change my life. I love velcro, it is the superior product for wrapping cables, especially if you ever plan to remove or add to the strand. Velcro is a British privately held company, founded by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral in the 1950s.
It is the original manufacturer of hook-and-loop fasteners, which de Mestral invented. The fastener consisted of two components: a lineal fabric strip with tiny hooks that could ‘mate’ with another fabric strip with smaller loops, attaching temporarily, until pulled apart. Initially made of cotton, which proved impractical, the fastener was eventually constructed with nylon and polyester.
Also on May 13, 1958, MLB player Stan Musial (Nov 21, 1920 – Jan 19, 2013) is 8th to get 3,000 hits. He would play for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969. He played in 3 World Series, and 24 All-Star games, and holds 7 batting titles. He ended up with 3,630 hits, 475 home runs, 1951 RBIs, 78 stolen bases, and a batting average of .331.
The 1958 Ford Thunderbird was the most popular car in May of 1958. Ford’s striking new sports car would outsell Chevy’s Corvette. This model of Thunderbird was the first Ford vehicle designed with unibody construction and it took home Motor Trend’s prestigious Car of the Year award in 1958, the first-ever debut car to do so.
On May 16, 1958, Capt Walter W. Irwin, USAF, flies a Lockheed Starfighter F-104 A, a single-engine, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed by Lockheed for the United States Air Force (USAF). to a record 1,404.18 miles per hour over a course of 15 miles out of Edwards Air Force Base.
On May 19, 1958, the “South Pacific” soundtrack album goes #1 and stays #1 for 31 weeks. On May 22, 1958, the influential modernist skyscraper the Seagram Building officially opens. The skyscraper at 375 Park Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets, in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Ely Jacques Kahn, and Robert Allan Jacobs measures 515 feet tall with 38 stories and a public plaza. The International Style building, completed in 1958, initially served as the headquarters of the Seagram Company, a Canadian distiller.
It was May 23, 1958, when US schools first used CliffsNotes. This series of study guides were started by Nebraska native Clifton Hillegass in 1958. The first book was “The Iliad by Homer”. It was May 23, 1958, when the first US satellite Explorer 1 ceased transmissions. Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958, at 22:47:56 Eastern Time atop the first Juno booster from LC-26A at the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Center of the Atlantic Missile Range (AMR), in Florida. .
It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970. On May 27, 1958, the Vanguard SLV-1 was launched for Earth orbit. It was the follow-up to the successful launch of the Vanguard 1 satellite on rocket Vanguard TV-4 in March 1958.
Due to a malfunction in the second stage, the vehicle failed to enter Earth orbit as planned and crashed 7,500 miles downrange. May 27, 1958, saw the maiden flight of the F-4 Phantom II an American tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber
originally developed by McDonnell Aircraft for the United States Navy. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981 with a total of 5,195 aircraft built, making it the most produced American supersonic military aircraft in history.
On May 30, 1958, Jimmy Bryan wins the Indianapolis 500. The race is best known for a massive first-lap, 15-car pileup that results in the death of fan-favorite driver Pat O’Connor who had been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine just one week earlier. On May 31, 1958, Dick Dale invents “surf music” with “Let’s Go Trippin”. The instrumental is often regarded as the first surf rock instrumental and is credited for launching the surf music craze.
Some of May 1958s notable birthdays (besides mine of course) are May 3, Dean Garcia, British session and touring bassist (Eurythmics 1983-85) was born in London, England; May 8, Lovie Smith, American football coach (NFL Coach of the Year 2005 Chicago Bears, TB Buccaneers, Houston Texans, University of Illinois), born in Gladewater, Texas;
May 10, Yu Suzuki, Japanese creator of Virtua Fighter series of Sega games first released in 1993; May 12, Eric Singer [Mensinger], hard rock drummer for the rock band Kiss since 1991, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He has also performed with artists such as Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Lita ord, Badlands, Brian May, and Gary Moore as well as his own band ESP.
In his career, Singer has appeared on over 75 albums and 11 EPs; May 18, Ray Donaldson, NFL center (Dallas Cowboys), born in Rome, Georgia. He went to East Rome High School and the University of Georgia and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame;
May 18, Toyah Wilcox, was born in Birmingham, England. She is a musician, actress, and TV presenter. Willcox has had 8 top 40 singles, released over 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays and 10 feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows. She is married to King Crimson’s Robert Fripp;
May 20, Jane Wiedlin, American pop-rock singer, guitarist, and songwriter (The Go-Gos – “Vacation”; “We Got The Beat”; solo – Fur), was born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; May 23, Shelly West, Ameican country singer, daughter of Dottie West (“Red Hot”, “Jose Cuervo”, “West by West”), was born in Cleveland, Ohio;
May 23, Drew Carey, American actor & comedian (Drew Carey Show, The Price is Right), was born in Cleveland, Ohio; May 30, Marie Fredriksson, Swedish singer (Roxette), was born in Össjö, Sweden;
May 27, Neil Finn, New Zealand musician (Split Enz, Crowded House), was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand; and on May 30, Ted McGinley, actor (Love Boat, Married… with Children, Dynasty, Hope & Faith, Revenge of the Nerds), was born in Newport Beach, California.
On January 24, 1958, Paul McCartney made his first appearance at The Cavern Club in Liverpool with The Quarrymen. It was March 24, 1958, when – Elvis Presley entered the U.S. Army.
It was July 12, 1958 when The Quarrymen (Paul McCartney, John Lennon (lead vocals), George Harrison, Colin Hanton (drums), and John Lowe (piano)) recorded a single 78 rpm shellac acetate disc at Phillips’ Sound Recording Services in Liverpool:
“In Spite of All the Danger” (McCartney–Harrison) and a cover of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day”. On August 4, 1958 Billboard magazine launches its “Hot 100” singles chart, with Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” as the #1 record.
- The Baikonur Cosmodrome is a spaceport in an area of southern Kazakhstan leased to Russia. The Cosmodrome is the world’s first spaceport for orbital and human launches and the largest (in area) operational space launch facility. All crewed Russian spaceflights are launched from Baikonur.
- The R-7 Semyorka was a Soviet missile developed during the Cold War and the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-7 made 28 launches between 1957 and 1961 but was never deployed operationally. A derivative, the R-7A, was deployed from 1959 to 1968. In modified form, it launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit, and became the basis for the R-7 family which includes Sputnik, Luna, Molniya, Vostok, and Voskhod space launchers, as well as later Soyuz variants. The widely used nickname for the R-7 launcher, “Semyorka”, means “seven” in Russian.
- A Van Allen radiation belt is a zone of energetic charged particles, most of which originate from the solar wind, that are captured by and held around a planet by that planet’s magnetosphere. Earth has two such belts, and sometimes others may be temporarily created. The belts are named after James Van Allen, who is credited with their discovery. Earth’s two main belts extend from an altitude of about 400 to 36,040 miles above the surface, in which region radiation levels vary. Most of the particles that form the belts are thought to come from solar wind and other particles by cosmic rays. By trapping the solar wind, the magnetic field deflects those energetic particles and protects the atmosphere from destruction.