Kool and the Gang – Celebration

Wow, so many people dance to this song at weddings and other celebrations. But according to The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, by Fred Bronson (1985), it was the song that was played to welcome home 53 American hostages after 444 days of captivity in Iran, on January 26, 1981.

In 1979, Iranian students and other “militants” captured the US Embassy in Iran, to show support for the Iranian Revolution. This revolution led to the overthrow of Iran’s monarchy for an Islamic Republic.

The Algiers Accords of 1981 brought freedom for the hostages. A new president, Ronald Reagan (replacing Jimmy Carter), was sworn in only minutes before their release.

Needless to say, US-Iranian relations have been strained ever since. But the tune remains a staple at sporting events, and was #1 for two weeks in 1981.

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