THE FOLLOWING EVENTS TOOK PLACE ON FEBRUARY 17
1673 - Moliere, stage name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, French playwright and actor, dies after collapsing on stage during a performance of his play Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid) in Paris, at 51. The Church at first denies him burial on holy ground. Although the funeral takes place at night to avoid scandal, thousands of admirers attend in dramatic torchlight procession.
1857 - Irish-American editor and publisher S. S. McClure is born in County Antrim, Ireland. He organized the first syndicated newspaper in the United States, the McClure Syndicate (1884), and later founded McClure's magazine (1893), the most controversial muckraking journal of its time.
1864 - Australian journalist and poet Andrew Barton Paterson is born. He was a World War I correspondent and the author of several books of light verse, including The Animals Noah Forgot (1933). He's best known for Waltzing Matilda, adapted from a traditional verse, which became Australia's national song.
1909 - Geronimo, last Apache leader to surrender to the U.S. government, died in Fort Sill.
1941 - Gene Pitney, best known for A Town Without Pity and Only Love Can Break a Heart, which will reach No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1962, is born in Hartford, Conn. The talented fellow also wrote the songs Hello Mary Lou, He's a Rebel, and Rubber Ball.
1960 - Elvis Presley receives his first gold album, for Elvis.
1962 - The Beach Boys start making waves with their first Southern California hit, Surfin. Their new musical style sweeps the U.S. like a tidal wave when they hit nationally with Surfin Safari in August of this same year.
1966 - B.B. King records Sloppy Drunk in New York City.
1968 - The Doors perform at the Arizona Veterans' Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. There is a bomb scare during the sound check, and everyone evacuates the Coliseum. Despite this event, the show goes on as planned, and it is an excellent night for the band.
1968 - Following their first New York performance at the Anderson Theatre, Big Brother & the Holding Company are signed by Columbia Records.
1970 - The Chicago Seven defendants are found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention.
1972 - Pink Floyd begin a 4-night stand at London's Rainbow Theater during which they premiere The Dark Side of the Moon a full year before its released as an album.
1975 - John Lennon releases Rock n' Roll, his final record before a self-imposed five year exile from the music business. It reaches #6 on the chart and doesn't stay for long, falling fast.
1982 - Jazz great Thelonious Monk dies of a stroke in Weehawken, N.J., after a long illness. He was 64 years old.
1982 - Famed acting coach Lee Strasberg dies.
For more day-by-day history go to HistoryUnlimited.net