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On this day in music history: December 23, 1947 - Bell Laboratories scientists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley will conclude experiments they had begun five weeks earlier that will result in the development of the bi-polar contact transistor. The trio will discover that by applying two gold contacts to a crystal of germanium, that it will will produce greater output power than its input. Their discovery will become the one of the cornerstones in the development of modern electronics (transistor radios, computers, calculators, etc...), and is regarded as one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Texas Instruments will be the first company to produce the silicon transistor in 1954. Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley will be awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery in 1956.
On this day in music history: December 23, 1959 - Musician Chuck Berry is arrested in St. Louis, MO on charges transporting a minor across state lines for "immoral purposes." At the height of his popularity at the time, the arrest of the rock & roll pioneer stems from his association with Janice Norine Escalanti, a 14-year-old bar waitress he meets in Juarez, Mexico. Berry will offer Escalanti a job working as a hat check girl at his Bandstand nightclub in St. Louis. When she is fired two weeks later, the girl will allege Berry attempted to have sexual intercourse with her. Police will arrest the musician for violation of the Mann Act (first known as the United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910), a vaguely worded piece of federal legislation meant to crack down on organized prostitution. The Mann Act will be used to claim that Berry has transported Escalanti "across state lines for immoral purposes." Following his arrest, Berry is fined $5,000, and after a two-week trial by an all male, all white jury, is sentenced to five years in federal prison. However, the initial sentence is turned over on appeal on the grounds that his original trial was heavily biased and racist. A new trial is ordered by the Federal Appeals Court in October of 1960, with Chuck Berry being convicted in 1961 after his second appeal fails. He will spend twenty months in federal prison from February 1962 to October 1963.