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Marvin Gaye What's Going On album coverNotable events from our shared experience

Marvin Gaye’s seminal album What’s Going On is released May 21, 1971. Influenced by letters his brother sent from Vietnam, Gaye writes the songs from the perspective of a Vietnam vet.

Happy birthday, Mr. President. At Madison Square Garden in New York, Marilyn Monroe serenades President John Kennedy at a fundraiser on May 19, 1962. Monroe dies less than three months later at age 36.

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Ambassador Foy Kohler delivers a protest note to the Soviet Foreign Ministry May 19, 1964, after discovery of more than 40 listening devices hidden at the U.S. Embassy on Tchaikovsky Street in Moscow.

Pulp Fiction PosterQuentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and John Travolta, wins best picture at the Cannes Film Festival May 23, 1994.

Foiled in 18 consecutive nominations, Susan Lucci, star of the ABC soap opera All My Children, wins her first Daytime Emmy Award for best actress on May 21, 1999.

Comedian Gilda Radner, an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, dies of cancer at age 42 on May 20, 1989.

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An estimated 5 million-plus people join Hands Across America on May 25, 1986, to raise money for the nation’s hungry and homeless. They don’t actually span the country in an unbroken chain, but they have the numbers to do it.

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Photos — Marvin Gaye What’s Going On: Wikipedia; Pulp Fiction poster: Roman Soto/Flickr;  Hands Across America: Diana Walker/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

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