July 31

1777 The Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the Continental Army after offering help to the rebelling American colonists.

1930 The radio mystery program The Shadow airs for the first time.

1954 K2 in the Himalayas, the second tallest mountain in the world, was first climbed, by an Italian expedition.

1966 Eric ClaptonJack Bruce, and Ginger Baker perform at the sixth National Jazz And Blues Festival under their own names. The trio had yet to settle on the name Cream for their band.

1966 People in Birmingham, Alabama, burn Beatles products in response to singer-guitarist John Lennon‘s statement in an interview that the Beatles are more popular than Jesus.

1967 A British drug conviction against Rolling Stones singer-guitarist Keith Richards is dismissed on the grounds of inadmissible evidence, while lead singer Mick Jagger sees his own narcotics conviction reduced to a conditional discharge.

1968 The Beatles close their Apple Boutique in London and give away all the remaining stock for free.

1971 U.S. astronauts David Scott and James Irwin, part of the Apollo 15 crew, went for the first ever drive on the moon on their Lunar Roving Vehicle, the “moon buggy.”

1971 ”You’ve Got A Friend” by James Taylor hits Number One on the pop chart.

1972 Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri withdrew from Democratic presidential nominee Senator George McGovern‘s ticket as the vice presidential candidate, six day after revealing he’d previously been hospitalized for psychiatric care, including electroshock treatment.

1974 John EhrlichmanPresident Richard Nixon’s former domestic advisor, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in the break-in at Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. Ellsberg was the Defense Department consultant who leaked the “Pentagon Papers,” a secret government study about the Vietnam War, to the New York Times.

1976 ”Love Is Alive” by Gary Wright peaks at Number Two on the pop chart, where it stays for two weeks.

1976 ”You’re My Best Friend” by Queen peaks at Number 16 on the pop chart.

1981 The 50-day-old baseball strike was settled, ending the game’s first-ever midseason work stoppage.

1993 Allman Brothers Band singer-guitarist Dickey Betts is arrested in Saratoga Springs, New York, after a shoving match with police, which followed an argument with his wife. Betts misses much of the rest of the Allmans summer tour when he seeks help for alcoholism, and the band recruits substitutes including Zakk WyldeDavid Grissom, and Jack Pearson.

1997 Police in Brooklyn seized five bombs meant to be used in terrorist attacks on New York City subways.

2001 R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck goes on trial in London stemming from an alleged air rage incident. Buck was arrested after an April 21st flight from Seattle to London and charged with drunkenness on an aircraft, disobeying an aircraft commander, two counts of assault on aircrew, threatening behavior, and criminal damage, including breaking airline crockery. He is eventually cleared of all charges.

2003 Sun Studios in Memphis is designated as a historical landmark by the U.S. Department Of The Interior.