• On May 22, 1455, the battle of England’s War of the Roses begins in St. Albans, 20 miles northwest of London. The forces of House of York, whose badge was a white rose, defeated the redrose House of Lancaster. Both families claimed the throne and the war would stretch on for 30 years.
• On May 23, 1934, famed fugitives Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are killed in a police ambush near Sailes, Louisiana. They died in a two-minute fusillade of over 150 bullets. The Barrow Gang was believed responsible for the deaths of 13 people, including nine police officers.
• On May 21, 1955, then-unknown singer Chuck Berry pays his first visit to a recording studio and cuts “Maybellene.” The song became a No. 1 R&B hit and a top 5 pop hit. It helped that DJ Alan Freed played the record for two hours straight during his WINS radio show in New York City.
• On May 17, 1965, after a two-year investigation, the FBI declares the supposedly pornographic lyrics of “Louie Louie” to be officially unintelligible.
• On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens, a volcanic peak in southwestern Washington, violently erupts. The massive blast killed 57 people and leveled nearly all vegetation as far as 12 miles away.
• On May 19, 1997, a 3-year-old boy dies of avian influenza in Hong Kong. Before the outbreak was controlled, six people were dead and 1.6 million domestic fowl were destroyed. The virus mutated and caused 62 more human deaths in Asia by 2005.
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