On this day: January 1

POSTED: 01:21 PM PST Dec 31, 2012    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Dec 31, 2015 

Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, Ellis Island opens, the Rose Bowl becomes the first college bowl game, Hank Williams dies, and the Y2K panic fizzles out, all on this day.

OTD January 1 - Townes Van Zandt
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Warner Bros. Pictures

1997: Country singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt dies at the age of 52 in Smyrna, Tennessee, from health problems stemming from years of substance abuse. Although he struggled to find success while alive, the 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in his music. Today, many of his songs, including "Pancho and Lefty," "If I Needed You," "To Live is to Fly" and "No Place to Fall," are considered standards of their genre.


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