On This Day January 18

Musical Milestones

1944 – The first jazz concert — known as the Esquire All-American Jazz Concert — is held at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden and Billie Holiday.

1960 – Johnny Preston starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Running Bear,” a song written by J. P. Richardson (a.k.a. “The Big Bopper”). The song was released shortly after Richardson’s death in the February 1959 plane crash that also claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

1964 – The Beatles make their U.S. singles chart debut when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” enters at No. 45. It goes on to spend seven weeks at No. 1. 

1969 – Marvin Gaye is midway through a seven-week ride atop the Billboard singles chart with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The track becomes Motown’s biggest-selling hit at that time.

1975 – Barry Manilow scores his first chart-topping single when “Mandy” reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1986 – “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick, featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, is the No. 1 single. The track, written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, wins Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Song of the Year Grammys.

1989 – At 38 years of age, Stevie Wonder becomes the youngest living person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has excellent company, as other inductees in his class include The Rolling Stones, The Temptations and Dion (DiMucci).

1992 – Michael Jackson wraps up seven weeks as a chart-topper with “Black or White,” off his “Dangerous” album.

2003 – Eminem finds himself on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for another week with “Lose Yourself,” from the “8 Mile” soundtrack.

History Highlights

1778 – British explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands when he sails past the island of Oahu. Two days later, he lands at Waimea on the island of Kauai and names the island cluster the Sandwich Islands, after the voyage’s sponsor, the Earl of Sandwich.

1919 – Leaders of the Allied powers — the United States, France, Great Britain and Italy — convene in Paris, France to begin the long and complex negotiations that would pave the way for the end of World War I. The Paris Peace Conference, as it is known, leads to creation of the League of Nations, an international peacekeeping organization.

1975 – The sitcom “The Jeffersons,” one of several spin-offs from TV’s groundbreaking “All in the Family,” premieres on CBS and becomes a ratings bonanza of its own during an 11-season run. Another Norman Lear creation, it stars Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as a successful African-American couple adjusting to life on Manhattan’s ritzy East Side after leaving their modest Queens neighborhood.

1977 – Scientists identify the cause of a mysterious outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed 34 people at a 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia. 

1990 – An FBI sting leads to the arrest of Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for possession of crack cocaine. After serving six months in federal prison, the so-called “mayor for life” makes one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of American politics in 1994 when D.C. residents elect him to a fourth term as mayor.

Own a Piece of This Day

SHOP HERE:

Esquire All-American Jazz Concert

Featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and other jazz legends

Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection

Stevie Wonder

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Margaret MacMillan

Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.

Marion Barry, Jr. and Omar Tyree

To Catch A Thief

Starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Jessie Royce Landis, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Dances with Wolves

Starring Kevin Costner and Mary McDonnell, and directed by Kevin Costner

On this Day June 22

History Highlights

1944 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the GI Bill to provide financial aid to veterans returning from World War II.

1950 – Prominent figures in the music industry, including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Lena Horne, Pete Seeger and Artie Shaw, are named publicly as suspected Communist sympathizers as part of America’s infamous Red Scare.T Their names appear in Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television.

1966 – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton grace the big screen with the release of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” It’s the first movie to contain certain four-letter words and adult content, but still receive the production code seal of approval.

1969 – Award-winning actress-singer Judy Garland, best known for playing Dorothy in the classic film “The Wizard of Oz,” is found dead of a drug overdose in her London home just days after her 47th birthday.

1981 – Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to the murder of music legend and former Beatle John Lennon.

2001 – There’s plenty of burning rubber on the screen as the action movie “The Fast and the Furious,” starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, debuts in U.S. theaters. The film becomes a blockbuster — grossing $200 million worldwide — and spawns several sequels.

2011 – After 16 years on the run from law enforcement, James “Whitey” Bulger, a violent Boston mob boss wanted for 19 murders, is arrested in California. Bulger was among the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” fugitives. He dies in prison in 2018 at the age of 89.

Own a Piece of This Day

SHOP HERE:

Definitive Hits

Herb Alpert

Ultimate

Bryan Adams

Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies

M. Stanton Evans

Meet Me in St. Louis

Starring Judy GarlandMargaret O’Brien and Mary Astor, and directed by Vincente Minnelli

It's Complicated

Starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, and directed by Nancy Meyers

24, Season 1

Starring Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub, and directed by Bryan Spicer and Davis Guggenheim