On This Day October 12

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Gene Vincent: Capitol Collectors Series

Gene Vincent only had one major hit, “Be-Bop-a-Lula,” which epitomized rockabilly at its prime in 1956 with sharp guitar breaks, spare snare drums, fluttering echo and Vincent’s breathless vocals. Yet his place as one of the great early rock and roll singers is secure, backed up by a wealth of fine smaller hits and other tracks that rate among the best rockabilly of all time.

John Denver's Greatest Hits

Even though John Denver’s solo career was only four years old when this collection came out in 1973, it’s overflowing with songs that defined ’70s AM radio. His easygoing blend of country, folk, and pop achieved perfection on tunes like the back-porch sing-along “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” the orchestra-sweetened ballad “Sunshine On My Shoulders” and the soaring, folk-tinged “Rocky Mountain High.”

K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude Starring Nikita Khrushchev

Khrushchev’s 1959 trip across America was one of the strangest exercises in international diplomacy ever conducted. The Soviet leader told jokes, threw tantrums, sparked a riot in a San Francisco supermarket, wowed the coeds in a home economics class in Iowa, and ogled Shirley MacLaine as she filmed a dance scene in “Can-Can.” “K Blows Top” is a work of history that reads like a Vonnegut novel.

Space Race

One of the most exhilarating true adventures in history, the race into space was marked by courage, duplicity, political paranoia, astonishing technological feats, and unbelievable triumphs in the face of overwhelming adversity. Deborah Cadbury’s extraordinary history combines action and suspense with a moving portrayal of the space race’s human dimension.

Pavarotti: The 50 Greatest Tracks

Arguably no other opera singer in music history achieved the same level of international celebrity as tenor Luciano Pavarotti; his voice — robust, resonant, and immediately recognizable — launched him into the stratosphere of household recognition usually reserved for pop stars and Hollywood icons, and in the process spurred opera itself on to new peaks of mainstream popularity.

Real Steel

Enter the not-so-distant future where boxing has gone high-tech, as 2000-pound, eight-foot-tall steel robots have taken over the ring. Starring Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter turned small-time promoter, “Real Steel” is a riveting, white-knuckle action ride that will leave you cheering.