20 July 1969

Apollo program: Apollo 11’s crew successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon six and a half hours later.

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30 January 1969

The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London.

On January 30 1969, the Fab Four – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – played live for one last time with an impromptu gig on the rooftop of the Apple offices in London.

The afternoon of January 30, 1969, was when The Beatles surprised a central London office lunch crowd with an impromptu concert on the roof of their Savile Row Apple headquarters.

Before the outing was abruptly cut short by police who objected to the noise, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr with a little help from young keyboardist Billy Preston had managed to thrill Londoners on adjacent rooftops and the streets below with a run-through of songs they had been rehearsing with a vague album in mind.

The rooftop ‘concert’ was the first live gig since the band stopped touring in 1965 and the concert was closed by Lennon quipping: “I hope we passed the audition.” They had been recording Let It Be, their final album, in the basement studio, before staging their first live performance for nearly three years.

20 January 1969

Richard Nixon becomes the 37th President of the United States of America.

Richard Milhous Nixon, January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994 was the 37th president of the United States from 1969 until 1974 and the only president to resign from the position. He had previously served as the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and prior to that as both a U.S. representative and senator from California.

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. After completing his undergraduate studies at Whittier College, he graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law. He and his wife Pat moved to Washington in 1942 to work for the federal government. He subsequently served on active duty in the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War II. Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the Senate in 1950. His pursuit of the Hiss Case established his reputation as a leading anti-communist and elevated him to national prominence. He was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidential nominee in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as Vice President, becoming the second-youngest vice president in history at age 40. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and lost a race for governor of California to Pat Brown in 1962. In 1968, he ran for the presidency again and was elected, defeating incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

Nixon ended American involvement in the war in Vietnam in 1973 and brought the American POWs home, and ended the military draft. Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 eventually led to diplomatic relations between the two nations and he initiated détente and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union the same year. His administration generally transferred power from Washington D.C. to the states. He imposed wage and price controls for ninety days, enforced desegregation of Southern schools, established the Environmental Protection Agency and began the War on Cancer. Nixon also presided over the Apollo 11 moon landing, which signaled the end of the moon race. He was reelected in one of the largest electoral landslides in U.S. history in 1972 when he defeated George McGovern.

In his second term, Nixon ordered an airlift to resupply Israeli losses in the Yom Kippur War, resulting in the restart of the Middle East peace process and an oil crisis at home. The Nixon administration supported a coup in Chile that ousted the government of Salvador Allende and propelled Augusto Pinochet to power. By late 1973, the Watergate scandal escalated, costing Nixon much of his political support. On August 9, 1974, he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office. After his resignation, he was issued a controversial pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. In 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote nine books and undertook many foreign trips, helping to rehabilitate his image into that of an elder statesman. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994 and died four days later at the age of 81.

9 August 1969

The Manson Family commits the Tate murders.

In the early morning hours of August 9, 1969, actress Sharon Tate, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and four others — including celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, filmmaker Voityck Frykowksi and 18-year-old Steven Parent — were brutally murdered at the Beverly Hills home of Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski. All of the victims were shot or stabbed multiple times by “Manson Family” members Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles “Tex” Watson. There were 169 stab wounds between the five. The killers used Tate’s blood to write “pig” on the front door; a macabre message that shocked and confused the city.

The following night, Charles Manson, displeased with the sloppiness of the Tate murders and looking to advance his theory of “Helter Skelter,” set out with the same followers, as well as Leslie Van Houten, to find a new victim. He decided on wealthy grocers Rosemary and Leno LaBianca — they were random and horribly unlucky victims. They too were killed in a brutal manner in their Los Feliz home. “Death to pigs” was written in blood on the wall. “Healter Skelter” marked the refrigerator.

Manson, Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten were all convicted and sentenced to death for the murders. However, their sentences were commuted to life in prison when California abolished the death penalty in 1972. There was no life in prison without parole at the time, so everyone on death row was resentenced to life in prison.