23 January 1986 23 January 1986

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

January 23, 1986: Pop music pioneers among first inductees of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Elvis, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry were among the first 11 artists to be welcomed into the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a glittering ceremony in New York City.

The first 11 artists to be inducted into the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were celebrated at a gala event in New York on this day in 1986.

After more than a year of planning, the induction took place in front of an all-star audience in the Grand Ballroom of the city’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Eleven artists – all American, and each of whom had shaped the early years of rock and roll music – were selected for the honour; namely, James Brown, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The living inductees were all present to receive the honour from an artist that had been influenced by their work; Billy Joel for Domino, Stevie Winwood for Brown and Keith Richards for Berry were among those who introduced their heroes.

Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yancey were also inducted in the Early Influences category, while DJ Alan Freed and Sun Records producer Sam Phillips were honoured as Non-Performers.

The project was the brainchild of legendary Atlantic Records founder and chairman Ahmet Ergetun, who established the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983.

The Hall of Fame was later to take tangible shape in the form of a museum, which was built in Cleveland, Ohio and opened in September 1995 with a ceremony and concert attended by 10,000 spectators.

23 January 1912

The International Opium Convention is signed at The Hague.

On 23 January 1912, the International Opium Convention was signed in the Hague by representatives from China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia (Iran), Portugal, Russia, Siam (Thailand), the UK and the British oversees territories (including British India). Three years later, it entered into force in five countries. The Convention gained, however, near-universal adherence after 1919 when all the countries signing the Peace Treaties of Versailles, St. Germain-en-Laye etc. also became party to the International Opium Convention. Thus by the mid 1920s close to 60 countries had – de jure – signed and ratified the Hague treaty and this number increased to 67 by 1949.

The International Opium convention consisted of six chapters and 25 articles. In addition to opium and morphine, which were already under extensive international discussion, the Hague Convention also included two new substances that had become problematic: cocaine and heroin.

Cocaine was first isolated by the German chemist Albert Niemann in 1860, and rapidly gained popularity for both medical and recreational use. Heroin was a relatively new drug at the time of the Hague Convention, as it had only become available as a pharmaceutical product in 1898. Ironically, it was originally marketed as a non-addictive alternative to morphine, which was proving problematic in many areas.

The 1912 Convention was far from perfect, but it contained many elements of a comprehensive drug control treaty. Moreover, as an official declaration on the dangerous practices of opium smoking and the non-medical trade in opium and other drugs, it had value as an advocacy tool. It also inspired national drug control legislation, such as the 1913 Harrison Act in the United States, the foundation of U.S. drug law in the 20th century.

23 January 1879

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War ends.

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, also known as the Defence of Rorke’s Drift, was a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War. The defence of the mission station of Rorke’s Drift, under the command of Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, immediately followed the British Army’s defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, and continued into the following day, 23 January.

Just over 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an intense assault by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. The massive but piecemeal Zulu attacks on Rorke’s Drift came very close to defeating the tiny garrison but were ultimately repelled. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, along with a number of other decorations and honors.The majority of the attacking Zulu force swept around to attack the north wall, while a few took cover and were either pinned down by continuing British fire or retreated to the terraces of Oscarberg. There they began a harassing fire of their own. As this occurred, another Zulu force swept on to the hospital and northwestern wall.

Those British on the barricades including Dalton and Bromhead were soon engaged in fierce hand-to-hand fighting. The British wall was too high for the Zulus to scale, so they resorted to crouching under the wall, trying to get hold of the defenders’ Martini-Henry rifles, slashing at British soldiers with assegais or firing their weapons through the wall. At places, they clambered over each other’s bodies to drive the British off the walls but were driven back.
Zulu fire, both from those under the wall and around the Oscarberg, inflicted a few casualties, and five of the seventeen defenders who were killed or mortally wounded in the action were struck while at the north wall.