February 11th in history:
A judge in Pennsylvania tried a different way of heating his home on February 11th, 1808. Judge Jesse Fell became the first American to use anthracite coal in his home fireplace.
“Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep it rollin'” is a famous rhyme from the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Glenn Miller received a gold record for “Chattanooga Choo Choo” on a live radio show during the second week of February, 1942. And on this date in 1950, a record with a similar title, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, topped the Billboard chart of songs played most often in jukeboxes.
Singer Whitney Houston earned gold, platinum, and diamond records for outstanding music sales during her career. On February 11th, 2012, Houston died of accidental drowning at a Beverly Hills hotel, the day before that year’s Grammy Awards.
Houston won six Grammys in all, including record of the year in 1994 for “I Will Always Love You.” The following year, 1995, the Grammy for record of the year went to “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow, born on this day in 1962. Crow has won nine Grammys during her career. She shares a February 11th birthday with phonograph inventor Thomas Edison (born 1847), who also popularized motion pictures and the light bulb.
To the discomfort of host Adolf Hitler, American Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, becoming the first U.S. athlete to win that many golds in one year. Owens earned his fourth gold medal in a relay on August 9th.
To the discomfort and dismay of many Canadian hockey fans, Wayne Gretzky was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9th, 1988.
This is the birthday of several athletes who have entered the Hall of Fame for their respective sports: basketball star Bob Cousy (1928), tennis pro Rod Laver (1938), Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders (1967), and second-generation hockey star Brett Hull (1964).
Whitney Houston was born on this day in 1963. At the peak of her singing career, Houston performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl in January, 1991, shortly after the start of the Persian Gulf War. Her rendition of the anthem became a Top 40 hit. The Super Bowl performance was controversial because although Houston reportedly did sing live at a microphone, a pre-recorded version was played in the stadium and on TV in order to avoid any mistakes.