On This Day April 29

Musical Milestones

1967 – Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy maintain their hold on No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart with “Somethin’ Stupid.” The duet remains a chart-topper for four weeks.

1969 – On his 70th birthday, jazz legend Duke Ellington receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon in the East Room of the White House. Nixon concludes the presentation by playing the piano and singing. 

1970 – George Harrison tells reporters that The Beatles will reunite eventually and announces plans for his first post-Beatles solo album.

1976 – Bruce Springsteen wraps up a concert performance in Memphis as part of his “Born to Run” tour and he and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt decide to pay their idol, Elvis Presley, a visit at his Graceland estate. Security guards escort Springsteen off the grounds after he jumps the gate and runs toward the front door. The King was not home at the time. 

1978 – Topping the singles chart for the seventh consecutive week: The Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

1989 – Madonna has the No. 1 single with “Like a Prayer,” from her album of the same name.

1993 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Barry White appears in the “Whacking Day” episode of the animated series “The Simpsons.” As White sings, Bart and Lisa place loudspeakers on the ground to lure snakes away from Springfield residents trying to kill them as part of Whacking Day tradition.

1995 – “This Is How We Do It,” by Montell Jordan, is in the midst of a seven-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100. 

2000 – “Maria Maria,” by Santana featuring The Product G&B, is in the middle of a 10-week domination of the singles chart.

2006 – Daniel Powter owns the top spot on the pop chart with “Bad Day.”

History Highlights

1854 – Originally established as The Ashmun Institute, Lincoln University receives its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, becoming the first degree-granting college in the U.S. founded solely for African-American students.

1945 – U.S. military forces liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Nazi Germany.  More than 188,000 prisoners were incarcerated in Dachau between 1933 and 1945, and more than 28,000 died in the camp and its sub-camps.

1974 – President Richard Nixon announces that he will release edited transcripts of taped White House conversations in response to a subpoena in the Watergate scandal. The House Judiciary committee insists that he also turn over the tapes. 

1986 – Pitching for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Roger Clemens sets a Major League Baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1992 – Riots erupt across Los Angeles after four LAPD officers are acquitted in the beating of unarmed African American motorist Rodney King. Protesters in south-central L.A. block freeway traffic, wreck and loot shops and set more than 100 fires. The rioting continues for five days and sparks a national conversation about racial and economic disparities and police brutality — a debate still raging today.

2004 – The National World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C. It honors the 16 million people who served as part of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, including more than 400,000 who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. 

2004 – General Motors’ last Oldsmobile rolls off a Lansing, Michigan assembly line, marking the end of America’s oldest automotive brand. The final model is an Alero GLS sedan, which factory workers signed under the hood.

2011 –  Great Britain’s Prince William marries his longtime girlfriend, Catherine “Kate” Middleton, at Westminster Abbey in London. An estimated two billion people around the world watch the ceremony on television.

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The Essential Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Sound Track)

Bee Gees, Tavares, KC and the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman and other artists

Where the Birds Never Sing: The True Story of the 92nd Signal Battalion and the Liberation of Dachau

Jack Sacco

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Anna Deavere Smith

16 Biggest Hits

Willie Nelson

Hairspray

Starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken, and directed by Adam Shankman

On This Day April 15

History Highlights

1865 – President Abraham Lincoln dies from the gunshot wound he sustained the night before while watching a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln’s death comes only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army, effectively ending the American Civil War.

1912 – More than 1,500 lives are lost in the early morning hours when the luxury liner Titanic sinks after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. 

1947 – Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American in baseball’s major leagues when he debuts with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This becomes a landmark event not only for the sport, but for the U.S. civil rights movement.

1955 – The golden arches rise in Des Plaines, Illinois with the opening of the first McDonald’s restaurant. Customers pay just 15 cents for a hamburger. The restaurant is built for drive-through service only, with indoor seating eventually added in 1962.

1959 – Four months after leading a successful revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro begins an 11-day U.S. visit. It comes amid escalating tensions between his regime and the American government.

1997 – On the 50 anniversary of his first Major League Baseball game, the league retires Jackie Robinson’s number, 42. Robinson becomes the only player in MLB history to have his number retired across all teams, a sign of the reverence with which he is regarded decades after leading the charge to integrate the major leagues.

2013 – Two bombs go off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 others. Four days later, after an intense manhunt, authorities capture one of the bombing suspects, 19-year-old Dzhohkar Tsarnaev. His older brother and fellow suspect, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dies following a shootout with police earlier that same day.

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Somethin' Stupid

Frank and Nancy Sinatra

Saturday Night Fever (Original Movie Soundtrack)

Bee Gees, Tavares, KC and the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman and other artists

The Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining, and Style

Veronica Hinke

I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Sense and Sensibility

Starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, and directed by Ang Lee

50/50

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick, and directed by Jonathan Levine

On This Day February 5

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The Ultimate Petula Clark

Petula Clark

The Essential Toto

Toto

Apollo 14: To Fra Mauro

Ed Mitchell

Hot Potato: How Washington and New York Gave Birth to Black Basketball and Changed America's Game Forever

Bob Kuska

This Is Spinal Tap

Starring Rob Reiner, Kimberly Stringer and Chazz Dominguez, and directed by Rob Reiner

Dolores Claiborne

Starring Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Judy Parfitt, and directed by Taylor Hackford

On This Day January 26

History Highlights

1788 –  Britain’s First Fleet sails into Sydney Harbor and begins the European colonization of Australia. The fledgling colony marks this event each year as Australia Day, however in recent years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have objected because they see the occasion as the beginning of the deliberate destruction of their people and culture.

1905 – A 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa. Weighing 1.33 pounds,  it is the largest diamond ever found, and is named the Cullinan after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mine.

1926 – Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gives the first public demonstration of a true television system (called a “televisor”) in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment.

1950 – The Republic of India is formed as the Indian constitution takes effect.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy appoints Janet Travell, 59, as his personal physician, making her the first woman in history to hold that post. 

1979 – The General Lee, a bright orange Dodge Charger with a Confederate flag on its roof, kicks up dust clouds as “The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres on CBS.

1988 – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” has its first Broadway performance at the Majestic Theatre. 

1998 – During one of the most memorable news conferences of his presidency, Bill Clinton tells reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Clinton later confesses that he did indeed have an “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinksky, a 24-year-old White House intern.

2005 – Condoleezza Rice assumes the post of U.S. Secretary of State two months after her nomination by President George W. Bush. She becomes the highest ranking African American woman ever to serve in a presidential cabinet.

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Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo

Ringo Starr

Like A Virgin

Madonna

Dukes of Hazzard: Season 1

Starring Tom Wopat and John Schneider

The Phantom Of The Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Cool Hand Luke

Starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy and J.D. Cannon, and directed by Stuart Rosenberg

The Right Stuff

Starring Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Barbara Hershey, and directed by Philip Kaufman

On This Day December 26

History Highlights

1898 – In a landmark moment for chemistry and physics, French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie publish a paper announcing their discovery of the element of radium (Ra). The groundbreaking discovery later garners the husband and wife team the Nobel Prize.

1946 – Mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, aiming to establish a stylish and cosmopolitan gambling destination in the Nevada desert. Siegel closes the resort just two weeks later due to lackluster business, and the following June, he is killed in a mob hit. After undergoing multiple ownership changes through the years, the Flamingo is still in operation as the oldest casino on the Vegas Strip.

1966 – Kwanzaa is observed for the first time. The seven-day holiday with strong African roots was designed by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach, as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.

1972 – Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, dies in Independence, Missouri at the age of 88.

1973 – “The Exorcist” opens in movie theaters across the U.S., terrifying audiences and establishing a new standard for the horror genre. Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning movie is about a girl, played by Linda Blair, that is possessed by an evil spirit.

1974 – Cancer claims the life of beloved comedian Jack Benny at the age of 80.

1982 – TIME magazine breaks from tradition when the magazine’s editors replace the annual “Man of the Year” cover story with “Machine of the Year” and profile the personal computer.

1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home. Her murder becomes the focus one of most intensive and publicized police investigations in U.S. history and remains unsolved to this day.

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All Things Must Pass

George Harrison

Super Fly

Curtis Mayfield

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition

Keith A. Mayes

The Exorcist

Starring Linda Blair, Max von Sydow and Ellen Burstyn, and directed by William Friedkin

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector

Mick Brown

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

David Sedaris

On This Day December 10

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Behind the Grand Ole Opry Curtain: Tales of Romance and Tragedy

Robert K. Oermann

The Very Best Of The Beach Boys: Sounds Of Summer

The Beach Boys

Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World

Jay Nordlinger

The Cider House Rules

Starring Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron and Paul Rudd, and directed by Lasse Hallström

The Partridge Family (Season One)

Starring David Cassidy, Shirley Jones, Susan Dey and Danny Bonaduce

The Green Mile

Starring Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan and Bonnie Hunt, and directed by Frank Darabont

On This Day December 5

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Elvis Presley: The 50 Greatest Hits

Elvis Presley

Belinda Carlisle: Her Greatest Hits

Belinda Carlisle

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Daniel Okrent

Into the Bermuda Triangle: Pursuing the Truth Behind the World's Greatest Mystery

Gian Quasar

The Life And Times Of Little Richard

Charles White

#BeRobin The Movie

Starring Margaret Cho, Bob Mould and Rick Overton, and directed by Kurt Weitzmann

On This Day November 5

History Highlights

1912 – Democrat Woodrow Wilson is elected the 28th president of the United States in a landslide victory, defeating Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and Progressive Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt. It is the only presidential election in American history in which two former presidents were defeated by another candidate.

1940 –  Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt is re-elected for an unprecedented third term as president of the United States. He is re-elected again in 1944, which paves the way for ratification of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1951, limiting all future presidents to two elected terms.

1968 – Republican Richard Nixon wins the presidential election, defeating Vice President Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest political races in U.S. history.

1968 – New York Democrat Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She serves for 14 years.

1994 – Forty-five-year-old George Foreman knocks out 26-year-old Michael Moorer to become the oldest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing. More than 12,000 spectators at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas watch Foreman dethrone Moorer, who entered the fight with a 35-0 record.

2007 – A writers strike in New York and Los Angeles interrupts the production of more than 60 television shows and results in the loss of an estimated $3 billion to the LA economy alone. The walkout, by members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), lasts more than three months.

2009 – Thirteen people are killed and more than 30 others are wounded, nearly all of them unarmed soldiers, when a U.S. Army officer goes on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in central Texas. The deadly assault, carried out by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, becomes the worst mass murder at a U.S. military installation.

Celebrity Birthdays

1911 – American singer, cowboy and actor Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye and known as the “King of the Cowboys” (d. 1998)

1913 – Actress Vivian Leigh (“Gone With the Wind,” “A Streetcar Named Desire”) (d. 1967)

1931 – R&B singer-songwriter Ike Turner who had a string of hits with then-wife Tina Turner (d. 2007)

1940 – Golden Globe-winning actress Elke Sommer (“The Prize,” “A Shot in the Dark,” “The Art of Love,” “The Oscar,” “Boy, Did I Get the Wrong Number”)

1941 – Singer-songwriter Art Garfunkel, formerly of the Grammy-winning rock-folk duo Simon & Garfunkel

1943 – Pulitzer Prize-winning actor and playwright Sam Shepard (“Days of Heaven,” “Paris, Texas,” “The Right Stuff,” “Country,” “Steel Magnolias”) (d. 2017)

1947 – Peter Noone, born Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, frontman for the 1960s British pop group Herman’s Hermits

1959 – Grammy-winning rock singer-songwriter Bryan Adams (“Cuts Like a Knife,” “Summer of ’69,” “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”)

1960 – Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton (“Edward II,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Michael Clayton,” “Burn After Reading,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Doctor Strange”)

1963 – Oscar-winning actress Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Nickelodeon,” “Little Darlings”)

1968 – Actor Sam Rockwell (“The Green Mile,” “Galaxy Quest” “Iron Man 2,” “Cowboys & Aliens,” “A Single Shot”)

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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

50 Big Ones: Greatest Hits

The Beach Boys

Unbought and Unbossed

Shirley Chisholm

God In My Corner: A Spiritual Memoir

George Foreman

Gone With The Wind

Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard, and directed by Victor Fleming

Michael Clayton

Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton, and directed by Tony Gilroy

On This Day September 21

Celebrity Birthdays

1866 – Author H. G. Wells (“The Time Machine,” “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” “The Invisible Man,” “The War of the Worlds”) (d. 1946)

1931 – Actor Larry Hagman, best known for his role as villainous Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing in CBS’ hit series “Dallas” (d. 2012)

1934 – Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, known for his poetic lyrics, iconic songs and baritone voice (d. 2016)

1943 – Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“Beverly Hills Cop,” “Flashdance,” “Top Gun,” “The Rock,” “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “National Treasure”) 

1947 – Award-winning horror, science fiction, and suspense novelist Stephen King (“Carrie,” “The Shining,” “The Stand,” “Misery,” “The Dark Tower”)

1950 – Emmy-winning actor-comedian Bill Murray (“Saturday Night Live,” “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Hyde Park on Hudson,” “St. Vincent”)

1957 – Writer-producer Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers (“Raising Arizona,” “The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Fargo, “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Hail, Caesar!”)

1967 – Grammy-winning country music singer Faith Hill (“Wild One,” “Piece of My Heart,” “This Kiss,” “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me”)

1968 – Actress and talk show host Ricki Lake (“Hairspray,” “Ricki Lake”)

1971 – Actor Luke Wilson (“Idiocracy,” “Old School,” “Bottle Rocket,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Blue Streak,” “Bongwater,” “Legally Blonde”)

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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

The Best of Bobby Vinton

Bobby Vinton

The Majesty of the Law

Sandra Day O’Connor

It Worked For Me

Colin Powell

The Shining

Stephen King

Groundhog Day

Starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott, and directed by Harold Ramis

On this Day August 30

History Highlights

1918 – Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is shot twice by a member of the Social Revolutionary party. but survives the attack. The attempted assassination triggers a wave of reprisals by Bolsheviks against the Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents. Thousands are executed as Russia falls deeper into civil war.

1963 – A “hotline” linking Moscow and Washington, D.C. is activated to provide instant communication between the Superpowers in case nuclear weapons are accidentally launched. The system consists of a cable with a device resembling a large typewriter on either end.

1965 – New York Mets Manager Casey Stengel announces his retirement, ending a 56-year career in professional baseball.

1967 –  The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first African American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In nominating Marshall to the nation’s highest court, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “It was the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place.” Marshall serves 24 years on the high court before retiring in 1991.

1976 – Tom Brokaw becomes news anchor of NBC’s “Today” show. where he remains for six years. He leaves in 1982 to co-anchor “NBC Nightly News” with Roger Mudd, taking over as sole anchor in 1983 and remaining in that post until 2004.

1983 – U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guion “Guy” Bluford becomes the first African American to travel into space when the space shuttle Challenger lifts off on its third mission. In 2010, Bluford is inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

2003 – Actor Charles Bronson, best known for his tough-guy roles in movies like “The Dirty Dozen” and the “Death Wish” franchise, dies at the age of 81 in Los Angeles.

Celebrity Birthdays

1898 – Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress Shirley Booth (“Come Back, Little Sheba,” “Hazel,” “The Glass Menagerie”) (d. 1992)

1908 – Actor Fred MacMurray (“Double Indemnity,” “My Three Sons”) (d. 1991)

1918 – Baseball legend Ted Williams (d. 2002)

1924 – Fashion designer Geoffrey Beene (d. 2004)

1927 – Actor Bill Daily (“I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Bob Newhart Show”) (d. 2018)

1930 – Investment guru and philanthropist Warren Buffett, a.k.a. “The Oracle of Omaha”

1939 – Tony-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley (“Take Her, She’s Mine,” “The Carpetbaggers,” “Evening Shade”)

1946 – Actress Peggy Lipton (“The Mod Squad,” “Twin Peaks,” “The Postman”) (d. 2019)

1948 – Grammy-winning comedian Lewis Black (“The Daily Show,” “Black on Broadway,” “Red, White, and Screwed,” “The Carnegie Hall Performance”)

1954 – Actor David Paymer (“Mr. Saturday Night,” “Quiz Show,” “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” “City Slickers,” “Crazy People,” “Get Shorty,” “The American President,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Drag Me to Hell”)

1963 – Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Commish,” “The Shield,” “Fantastic Four,” “Vegas,” “American Horror Story”)

1966 – Actress Michael Michele (“ER,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Ali,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”)

1972 – Actress Cameron Diaz (“The Mask,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Being John Malkovich,” the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, the animated “Shrek” movies,” “Vanilla Sky,” “The Other Woman,” “Sex Tape,” “Annie”)

1982 – Tennis great Andy Roddick

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Best Of KC and The Sunshine Band

KC and the Sunshine Band

Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross

Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary

Juan Williams

A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope

Tom Brokaw

Quiz Show

Starring John TurturroRob MorrowRalph Fiennes, and directed by Robert Redford

Charlie's Angels

Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, and directed by McG

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