This Week in Awesome History: February 6th – February 12th

Mike Tyson KO'ed, machine finally defeats man and Beatlemania lands in the US.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

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This week sees 'Rocky' played out in real life and a chess match that we may one day look back on as the birth of Skynet…

 

February 7th, 1964: The Beatles land in America for the first time

On this day in ’64 Beatlemania arrived in America, with the Liverpool rock ‘n’ roll band landing at JFK Airport in New York and beginning their first trip to the US.

They made the trip in order to make their now infamous appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, but even though they had scored a hit in the US with their single “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, they did not expect the magnitude of the reception that was waiting for them in the Big Apple.

Exiting the plane to the screams and jubilant cries of over 3,000 fans, the iconic moment is said by many to be the true beginning of the Swingin’ 60s. When The Beatles later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show a staggering 40% of the US population tuned in to watch them.

 

February 10th, 1996: Computer finally defeats man at chess

On this day in ’96 the world chess champion Gary Kasparov lost a game of chess to the IBM computer ‘Deep Blue’, a machine capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.

Kasparov lost the first game of a six-game match, the first game of chess a human had ever lost to artificial intelligence in a regulation match. Kasparov would ultimately go on to defeat the computer, with 6million people worldwide following the game via the Internet.

In 1997 Kasparov had a rematch with an upgraded and enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, lost the second and tied the following three games, resulting in a draw.

 

February 10th, 1972: Ziggy Stadust makes his debut… in a pub.

Speaking three weeks prior to his unveiling of his Ziggy Stardust persona, David Bowie told Melody Maker magazine that he was “going to be huge”. it's quite frightening in a way,” he said, “because I know that when I reach my peak and it's time for me to be brought down it will be with a bump." 

Although the unveiling of Ziggy Stardust was more subdued than you’d imagine for a space martian rock star crash-landing from Mars (it took place in a Toby Jug pub in London), it still affected the 60 or so in attendance in enough to give Ziggy his first push into the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame.

Six months later Bowie released “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” and the music industry was never the same again.

 

February 11th, 1990: Mike Tyson is knocked out for the first time by underdog Buster Douglas

On this day in 1990 the boxing world witnessed a major upset when Buster Douglas scored the knockout victory against Mike Tyson, winning the undisputed world heavyweight boxing championship in the process.

Before the fight most were expecting Tyson to pull off a quick victory and for Buster to become another in a long line of victims of Tyson’s seemingly unstoppable winning stream. Busters chances were deemed so slim, in fact, that only one Las Vegas casino offered odds on the fight, giving him a 42-1 chance of winning.

Although Buster had been boxing since the 80s and was considered reasonably talented at his craft, Tyson had been invincible up until that point and many considered the bout to simply be cannon fodder for Iron Mike. But Buster, spurred on by the recent death of his mother, appeared dominant and relentless as he hit Tyson with a barrage of punches before being knocked down in the 8th round. Getting up at the count of 9, Buster fought back and, after an intense 9th round, knocked Tyson out in the 10th.

Although Busters title reign would see him defend his title only once and unsuccessfully against Evander Holyfield, his victory against Tyson is still one of the greatest and most oddly cinematic moments in the history of the sport.