kurt cobain john glenn gi John Glenn, Kurt Cobain and Great White: Today in historyIt isn’t just Presidents’ Day. Feb. 20, 2012 is also noteworthy for being the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s historic spin around the planet as the first American to orbit the earth in 1962.

Glenn marked the anniversary with an event at Ohio State University where he chatted with space station crew members about the future of NASA and the American space program, reports the Associated Press.

Just a few years later, in 1967 Kurt Cobain was born in Aberdeen, Washington. Cobain, of course, went on to lead Nirvana to the top of the charts and spearhead the grunge era in music. He also married fellow musician Courtney Love and fathered a child, the now much-watched Frances Bean Cobain. Cobain died by his own hand in 1994 at 27. He would have celebrated his 45th birthday.

On Feb. 20, 2003, 100 people — including lead guitarist Ty Longley — died when a pyrotechnics display set a Rhode Island nightclub on fire during a Great White concert. Two-hundred more were injured. The band’s manager was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. The nightclub’s owners, too, spent several years in prison after pleading no contest to manslaughter charges.

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson