On This Day March 31

Musical Milestones

1943 – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” premieres on Broadway. In 1955, the musical is produced as a motion picture starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (in her film debut).

1958 – Chess Records releases “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song climbs as high as No. 8 on the pop chart and goes on to become a rock and roll classic.

1962 – Connie Francis claims the top spot on the pop chart for a week with “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”

1967 – Jimi Hendrix suffers minor burns to his hands when he sets his guitar on fire during a performance at Finsbury Park in London. Nevertheless, he goes on to torch guitars several times during his short career.

1973 – Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” returns to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week after The O’Jays interrupted her for a week with their hit, “Love Train.”

1979 – “Tragedy,” by the Bee Gees, dominates the singles chart for a second and final week.

1984 – Kenny Loggins kicks off a three-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Footloose,” from the movie of the same name.

1987 – Prince releases his ninth studio album, “Sign o’ the Times,” which spawns three Top 10 hit singles: “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “U Got the Look,” (with Sheena Easton) and the title track. 

1995 – Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as the “Mexican Madonna,” is shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Selena was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy, in the Best Mexican-American album category, for her 1993 album “Selena Live!” At the time of her murder, at age 23, Selena was on the brink of international fame, recording her first English language album.

2007 – “Glamorous,” by Fergie featuring Ludacris, enters its second and final week as the No. 1 single.

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Oklahoma!

Starring Gordon Macrae, Gloria Grahame and Shirley Jones, and directed by Fred Zinnemann

To Selena, With Love

Chris Perez

Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It

Jill Jonnes

Raging Bull

Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty, and directed by Martin Scorsese

The Partridge Family: The Complete Series

Starring Shirley Jones and David Cassidy

Catch Me If You Can

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken, and directed by Steven Spielberg

On This Day January 31

History Highlights

1865 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The measure is ratified by the states that December.

1949 – The first daytime soap opera premieres on NBC. It’s called “These Are My Children” and it runs just 15 minutes in length, airing weekdays at 5 p.m.

1950 – President Harry S. Truman announces plans to develop the hydrogen bomb. Two-and-a-half years later, the U.S. tests its first H-bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific. It generates a blast a thousand times stronger than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II.

1958 – The first American satellite, Explorer I, launches into space.

1968 – As part of the Tet Offensive, a squad of Viet Cong guerillas attacks the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

1971 – Apollo 14, piloted by astronauts Alan Shepard Jr., Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa, successfully launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a manned mission to the moon.

1988 – “The Wonder Years” premieres on prime time TV. The coming-of-age tale set in the 1960s and 70s, stars Fred Savage. The last episode airs in the fall of 1993.

1990 – Los Angeles prosecutors announce that they will retry teacher Raymond Buckey, who was accused of molesting children at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. The McMartin trials had already taken six years and cost more than $13.5 million without a single guilty verdict.

1990 – The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in Moscow.

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Jackson 5: The Ultimate Collection

Jackson 5

Autoamerican

Blondie

The Bomb

Rushmore Denooyer and Kirk Wolfinger

Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut

Edgar Mitchell

Jackie Robinson: A Biography

Arnold Rampersad

Good Will Hunting

Starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Minnie Driver, and directed by Gus Van Sant

On This Day December 31

Musical Milestones

1966 – The Monkees swing to the top of the singles chart with “I’m a Believer” and hold on for seven weeks, finally yielding to The Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” in mid-February.

1970 – Eight months after the The Beatles’ breakup and subsequent release of their last album, “Let It Be,” Paul McCartney files suit against bandmates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to officially dissolve their partnership.

1972 – Dick Clark begins a new holiday tradition as his first “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” concert is broadcast on ABC-TV, featuring performances by Three Dog Night and Al Green. Clark hosts the annual event for the next 32 years before turning the reins over to Ryan Seacrest.

1977 – “How Deep Is Your Love,” by the Bee Gees, is in the middle of three weeks as the No. 1 single. The song is part of the “Saturday Night Fever” movie soundtrack.

1983 – Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are in the middle of a six-week domination of the pop chart with “Say Say Say.”

1985 – Former teen idol Ricky Nelson and six others are killed when their chartered plane crashes in Texas.

1988 – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” by Poison, is in the midst of a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard single chart.

2005 – Mariah Carey begins a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Don’t Forget About Us.”

2015 – Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter Natalie Cole (“This Will Be,” “I’ve Got Love On My Mind,” “Miss You Like Crazy,” “Unforgettable”), daughter of legendary crooner and jazz pianist Nat King Cole, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 65.

History Highlights

1781 – The first bank in the U.S. opens under the name The Bank of North America.

1862 – Nine months after engaging in the most famous naval battles in American history, the ironclad warship USS Monitor sinks in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Sixteen crewmen are killed. The Monitor had dueled to a standstill with another ironclad, the CSS Virginia (originally the CSS Merrimack), off Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862.

1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison demonstrates his incandescent light bulb to the public for the first time.

1904 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in New York’s Times Square — known then as Longacre Square — at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Three years later, in 1907, the tradition of the dropping ball is introduced.

1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1984 – Bernhard Goetz, the white man known as the “subway vigilante” after he shot four young black men on a New York City subway train, turns himself in to authorities in New Hampshire.

1999 – Days after Mikhail Gorbachev is re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, stuns his country and the world by announcing his resignation six months before the end of his term. He turns control over to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, undercutting Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together. 

1999 – The United States officially turns control of the Panama Canal over to Panamanian authorities for the first time.

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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

Rick Nelson: Greatest Hits

Ricky Nelson

One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World

Joe McKendry

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Randall E. Stross

Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection

Patsy Cline

The Silence of the Lambs

Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, and directed by Jonathan Demme

Gandhi

Starring Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, and directed by Richard Attenborough

On This Day October 31

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People

Barbra Streisand

Bad

Michael Jackson

The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero

William Kalush

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

Lisa Morton

Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News

Dan Rather

Uncle Buck

Starring John Candy and Amy Madigan, and directed by John Hughes

On this Day August 31

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Early Takes Volume 1

George Harrison

Metallica

Metallica

Mark Spitz: The Extraordinary Life of an Olympic Champion

Richard J. Foster

Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words

Andrew Morton

The Essential Van Morrison

Van Morrison

Pretty Woman

Starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, and directed by Garry Marshall

On this Day July 31

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Hey Jude: The U.S. Album

The Beatles

The Essential James Taylor

James Taylor

Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program

David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek

"I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa

Charles Brandt

New Jack City

Starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and Allen Payne, and directed by Mario Van Peebles

The Office (U.S. TV Series)

Starring Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski and B.J. Novak

On this Day May 31

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To Sir, With Love

Starring Sidney Poitier, Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson and Lulu, and directed by James Clavell

Funkytown

Lipps, Inc.

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazis

Neal Bascomb

Seinfeld

Starring Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander, and created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld

The Complete Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Gran Torino

Starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang and Ahney Her, and directed by Clint Eastwood