On This Day October 8
1977 – Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” hits the album chart. This breakthrough work contains some of Joel’s biggest hits to date, including “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “Only The Good Die Young” and the Grammy-winning “Just The Way You Are.”
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire breaks out, according to legend, when Catherine O’Leary’s cow kicks over a lantern in her barn on DeKoven Street. The blaze quickly spreads, leveling 3.5 miles, killing 250 people and leaving 100,000 homeless.
1919 – America’s first transcontinental air race begins, with 63 planes competing in the round-trip aerial derby between California and New York. As 15 planes departed the Presidio in San Francisco, 48 planes left Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York.
1970 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “The Bourne” series,” ” Syriana,” “The Good Shepherd,” “The Departed,” “The Martian”)
Own a Piece of This Day
Jerry Lee's Greatest / Jerry Lee Lewis
Don’t be confused by the title. This 1961 release isn’t a best-of. It’s Jerry Lee Lewis’s second and final LP for Sun Records. He was much more prolific on the singles end during his Sun tenure. The best-known cut here is his 1957 smash “Great Balls of Fire,” which had never been on an LP before.
The Stranger / Billy Joel
It wasn’t until “The Stranger” that Billy Joel finally hit the Top 10 on both the Billboard album and singles charts. That’s when people started to pay attention. “Just the Way You Are” was the song that rocketed to No. 3, propelled “The Stranger” to No. 2 and made Joel a household name.
The Great Chicago Fire
Authors John Boda and Ray Johnson, both native Chicagoans, are longtime history students and teachers and have pooled their talents and research to present the first book in the “Images of America” series on the Great Chicago Fire — one of the greatest disasters in American history — combining many images with informative explanations and descriptions.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of a labor camp inmate, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain dignity in the face of communist oppression. From Nobel-winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Ghosts invade New York City and force a trio of “spirit exterminators” to save the city in one of the greatest sci-fi comedies of all time. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver head the all-star cast. Directed by Ivan Reitman.
Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg directed this powerful, realistic re-creation of World War II’s D-day invasion and the immediate aftermath, in which American soldiers try to save their comrade, paratrooper Private Ryan, who is stationed behind enemy lines. Starring Tom Hanks, Edward Burns and Matt Damon.