Illinois History Minutes

December 2 Illinois History Minute


It’s December 2nd, and on this day in 1942, Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi directed the world’s first controlled nuclear reaction, with a reactor built underneath the seats of the University of Chicago’s original Stagg Field. Researchers celebrated the event by opening a bottle of Chianti. Successful operation of the reactor was the first major achievement of the Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the first nuclear weapons.

The song “Kind of a Drag” recorded by the Buckinghams came out this month in 1966. It was the Chicago band’s fifth single and their biggest hit, and also the biggest hit for USA Records, the Chicago-based record label that first released it. The song was written by Chicago native Jim Holvay, who wrote other songs for the Buckinghams, including “Don’t You Care”, “Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song” and “Susan”. The Buckinghams made the charts several times during the late 1960s and came back in the ‘80s as a nostalgia act.