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George’s Journal’s fifth birthday party: fifty years of undeniable legends (1950-99)

March 16, 2015

john_lennon_and_paul_mccartney_by_david_bailey_1965

You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead: John Lennon
and Paul McCartney famously snapped by David Bailey at The Beatles’ height in 1965

So, time to ’fess up. Yesterday I declared this very blog you’re (hopefully) reading was celebrating its fifth anniversary. Well, my friends, I told a fibber. Only a wee one, though, don’t worry; a little white lie. For, yes, that’s right, today is in fact George’s Journal’s birthday. The greatness that is the Internet has been, er, graced by this blog’s presence for a full five years from now on.

Why is that significant, you may ask? Because it means that, like it or not, this little winkle of the World Wide Web, this simple stop on the electronic super-highway, this craggy nook of the ’Net is extending its commemorative celebrations by one more blog post. Yup, this one. And similar to yesterday (and, um, very similar to last year’s additional anniversary-marking post), it’s a pictorial honouring of great faces from 50 years past – to be exact, one from each of the years 1950-99. What? Fifty people? In 50 separate images? Yes, afraid so. But, fear not, for these individuals are undeniably illustrious legends – all of them more than deserving of taking their place in this blog’s rollicking roster of ‘Legends’.

In which case, let’s crack on and crack open that bottle of Bollinger, I espy in the corner (if it’s a ’69, you were expecting me) as, together, we mark Day 1,827 of George’s Journal

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1950 ~ Charles M Schulz

Making this year his by: gifting Charlie Brown, Snoopy and co. to the world at large by publishing his comic strip creation Peanuts for the very first time

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.1951 ~ Humphrey Bogart

Making this year his by: delivering one of the performances of his career – certainly his funniest and his only Oscar-winning one – in the shape of comic adventure The African Queen’s lead 

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1952 ~ Gene Kelly

Making this year his by: hoofing up a storm as a silent movie heart-throb facing crisis but also finding love (hello, The Artist) in surely the ultimate Hollywood musical Singin’ In The Rain

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1953 ~ Ian Fleming

Making this year his by: publishing, to paraphrase him, the spy novel to top them all, James Bond’s debut Casino Royale – and cheekily claiming it was intended as a wedding gift to his soon-to-be wife

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1954 ~ Alfred Hitchcock

Making this year his by: delivering one hell of a movie one-two in the shape of classic thrillers Rear Window and Dial M For Murder – both of which star the incomparable Grace Kelly

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1955 ~ Bill Haley

Making this year his by: irresistibly inviting the whole of the Western world to rock around the clock – and, in the process, offering up an unofficial anthem for the hot-to-trot rock ‘n’ roll movement

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Bill Haley

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1956 ~ Laurence Olivier

Making this year his by: donning that schnoz, that haircut, that limp, that hunchback and that accent, and so ensuring up to 40 million Americans watching on their TVs (and millions more in cinemas) experience his take on Richard III – Shakespeare at its absolute finest

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1957 ~ Buddy Holly

Making this year his by: going stratospheric as rock ‘n’ roll’s genius tunesmith thanks to the awesome hit quintet Peggy Sue, Everyday, Not Fade Away, Oh Boy! and That’ll Be The Day

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1958 ~ Alec Guinness

Making this year his by: basking in Oscar glory as he takes home the Best Actor award for his magnificently nuanced character portrait of martial madness in The Bridge On The River Kwai

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1959 ~ Miles Davis

Making this year his by: recording and releasing his seminal epic Kind Of Blue (the world’s biggest ever selling jazz album), featuring the utterly essential track So What

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1960 ~ Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin
and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Making this year theirs by: gathering together the Rat Pack for ‘The Summit’ in Las Vegas – oh, and in their spare time making the movie Ocean’s Eleven

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1961 ~ Yuri Gagarin

Making this year his by: that’s right, becoming the first man in space

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1962 ~ Andy Warhol

Making this year his by: powering to become pop art’s leader by creating and displaying his now ubiquitous Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych, thereby changing modern art forever

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1963 ~ Marcello Mastroianni

Making this year his by: following up his lead turn in Fellini’s timeless La Dolce Vita by providing a cypher for the director in his masterpiece – and still looking like the coolest chap on the planet 

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1964 ~ Donald Campbell

Making this year his by: breaking the world land-speed record and the world water-speed record within months of each other – thus becoming the only man to hold both records in the same year

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1965 ~ Paul McCartney

Making this year his by: starring with his fellow Fabs in Help!, beginning to experiment on album Rubber Soul, romancing the adorable Jane Asher, owning Martha the Old English Sheepdog and remaining the most fanciable Beatle

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1966 ~ Bobby Moore

Making this year his by: captaining England’s football team to World Cup glory against old foe West Germany at Wembley

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1967 ~ Jimi Hendrix

Making this year his by: breaking through and quickly proving he’s the world’s greatest ever guitarist via albums Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold Of Love, and tunes Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The Wind Cries Mary, Foxy Lady, Fire, Little Wing and Third Stone From The Sun

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1968 ~ Louis Armstrong

Making this year his by: recording the song that will define his singing career, the wonder that’s What A Wonderful World – the year’s biggest selling single in the UK

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1969 ~ Sid James

Making this year his by: becoming Blighty’s top comedy figure thanks to big-screen leads in Carry On Again Doctor and Carry On Camping – the year’s #1 movie at the UK box-office

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1970 ~ Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

Making this year theirs by: calling it a day as a duo but going out on a high with easily their greatest album, which contains extraordinary, epic title tune Bridge Over Troubled Water

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Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

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1971 ~ John Lennon

Making this year his by: confirming himself as the most musically adored post-Beatle thanks to instantly adopted (and for all-time) peace movement anthem Imagine

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1972 ~ Mark Spitz

Making this year his by: giving the Munich Olympics a much needed silver lining by winning a sensational seven swimming gold medals – and setting seven world records in the process

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Mark Spitz

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1973 ~ Noddy Holder

Making this year his by: enjoying an annus mirabilis with glam rockers Slade – thanks to UK #1’s Cum On Feel The Noize, Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me and Merry Xmas Everybody

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1974 ~ Al Pacino and Robert De Niro

Making this year theirs by: exciting and delighting audiences around the world as the leaders of Hollywood’s dynamic new acting pack with astonishing performances in The Godfather Part II

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1975 ~ Arthur Ashe

Making this year his by: making it look like Wimbledon has finally entered the second half of the 20th Century (if that’s actually possible) by becoming the first black man to win the men’s singles title

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1976 ~ Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

Making this year theirs by: rivalling Volvo as Sweden’s biggest export (honestly) by consolidating ABBA’s conquest of global pop with album Arrival and iconic hits Dancing Queen, Fernando and Money, Money, Money

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1977 ~ George Lucas

Making this year his by: gifting the world Star Wars – and redefining cinema forever

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1978 ~ Ronnie Barker

Making this year his by: winning a BAFTA for both sitcom extraordinaire Porridge (1974-77) and sketch show supreme The Two Ronnies (1971-87), as well as picking up an OBE from Her Maj

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Ronnie Barker

 

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1979 ~ Dustin Hoffman

Making this year his by: winning the (first of his two) Best Actor Oscars for portraying – with acute naturalism and honesty – a man adjusting to single-fatherhood in Kramer Vs. Kramer

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1980 ~ Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett

Making this year theirs by: transforming the men’s 800m and 1500m at the Moscow Olympics into a two-man-only scrap – Britain’s never had it so good (in middle-distance running)

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1981 ~ John Williams

Making this year his by: after Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), Superman: The Movie (1978) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), giving an unmistakeable musical identity to cinema’s greatest ‘modern’ hero Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark – next up will be E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

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1982 ~ Roald Dahl

Making this year his by: writing and publishing the bodaciously brilliant The BFG, arguably the greatest – and among the very best-selling – of his novels

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1983 ~ Eddie Murphy

Making this year his by: emerging as Hollywood’s most bankable funnyman, by following-up 48 Hrs. (1982) with Trading Places – and next year will bring Beverly Hills Cop

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1984 ~ Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean

Making this year theirs by: becoming Britain’s brand new sweethearts (even if they weren’t to each other) by ice-skating to Olympic gold with all those ‘perfect sixes’

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1985 ~ Bob Geldof

Making this year his by: outdoing Band Aid by arm-twisting stars to collaborate on the extraordinary raise-dosh-by-the-vatload concert of the century Live Aid

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1986 ~ Gary Lineker

Making this year his by: establishing himself as the greatest English footballer of his generation by scoring six goals in five matches at the Mexico ’86 World Cup – Diego, who?

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1987 ~ Sean Connery

Making this year his by:  at last putting Bond behind him, for right or wrong, as he gives an electric performance in gangster thriller par excellence The Untouchables – for which he’ll wonderfully become one of Oscar’s most popular ever winners

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1988 ~ Seve Ballesteros

Making this year his by: winning his fifth and final ‘Major’ golf tournament, The British Open (for the second time), describing his last round thereof as ‘perhaps the best … of my entire career’

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Seve Ballesteros wins

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1989 ~ Tim Berners-Lee

Making this year his by: implementing, via the Internet, the first successful communication between an HTTP ‘client’ and a server – that is, basically inventing and setting up the World Wide Web

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1990 ~ John Barry

Making this year his by: scoring navel-gazing Western hit Dances With Wolves, for which he’ll win the fourth and final – and, like all the others, hugely deserved – Oscar of his career

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1991 ~ Roger Moore

Making this year his by: persuaded by the angelic Audrey Hepburn, following in her footsteps and becoming a highly visible UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador – a role to which he’s been hugely dedicated for every one of his autumnal years

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1992 ~ Robin Williams

Making this year his by: starring in the role of his career, the voice of the incorrigible Genie in Disney’s Aladdin – he’ll then go on to play maybe the other great role of his career Mrs Doubtfire

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1993 ~ Steven Spielberg

Making this year his by: pulling off the greatest one-two in cinema history by filming back-to-back Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List – the former’ll become the (then) biggest moneymaker of all-time, the latter his most awarded movie

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1994 ~ Nelson Mandela

Making this year his by: being elected the first President of the newly democratic South Africa

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Nelson Mandela During Election Campaign, Athlone Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - Mar 1994

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1995 ~ Pierce Brosnan

Making this year his by: debuting as a smoothly cool new 007 in GoldenEye, the irresistible adventure that brilliantly brings Bond back from the dead

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1996 ~ Paul Gascoigne

Making this year his by: mercurially driving his team to near trophy-grasping glory as England gloriously ‘bring football home’ at Euro ’96

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1997 ~ Elton John

Making this year his by: taking centre-stage at Diana’s funeral by retooling one of his top tunes as a tribute to his friend and, in so doing, scoring the second biggest selling single of all-time

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1998 ~ Burt Bacharach

Making this year his by: returning to his marvellously melancholic best form since the ’60s with Elvis Costello-collaborated album Painted By Memory, including the song God Give Me Strength

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Burt Bacharach at his home in LA, USA

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1999 ~ Kevin Spacey

Making this year his by: consolidating exceptional turns in The Usual Suspects and L.A. Confidential with an equally exquisite performance in American Beauty, which will see him become one of the best received Oscar winners of modern times

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