On This Day October 4

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On This Day April 1

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1582 – This date marks the first known celebration of April Fool’s Day, also known in some circles as All Fools’ Day. In 1700, English pranksters begin to popularize the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on one other.

1918 – Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) is founded through a merger of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). It takes its place beside the British navy and army as a separate military branch with its own ministry.

1946 – An undersea earthquake off the coast of Alaska triggers a massive tsunami that kills 159 people in Hawaii.

1963 – Two daytime dramas with a medical theme are launched by competing networks. ABC’s longest-running soap, “General Hospital,” premieres as the brainchild of the husband and wife writing team of Frank and Doris Hursley. And NBC broadcasts the first episode of “The Doctors,” which enjoys a nearly 30-year run until the network pulls the plug in 1982.

1970 – President Richard Nixon signs legislation banning cigarette commercials on radio and TV. The ban takes effect in January 1971. However, Big Tobacco soon realizes that the move would free funds to advertise in other media.

1972 – The first strike in Major League Baseball (MLB) history is triggered by the expiration of the league’s three-year pension agreement. The strike lasts 12 days and causes the cancellation of 86 games, throwing the season into flux.

1976 – Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne form Apple Computer, That July, they begin to sell the Apple I personal computer kits that were hand-built by Wozniak. Apple is incorporated in January 1977, but without Wayne, who sells his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1966 – The Troggs record “Wild Thing” at Regent Sound Studio in London. The track, recorded in one complete take (Take 2), climbs to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 that July and holds there for two weeks.

1972 – The band America gallops to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “A Horse with No Name,” the single that gave us such unique lyrics as “the heat was hot” and “there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.”

1978 – The Bee Gees hold at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Night Fever.”

1984 – One day before his 45th birthday, Marvin Gaye — considered one of Motown’s renaissance men — is fatally shot by his father after a violent argument. Gaye’s biggest hits include “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing.”

1989 – “Eternal Flame,” by The Bangles, is the No. 1 single. The track, off the girl group’s “Everything” album, also goes on to reach No. 1 on pop charts in eight other countries, including Australia and the U.K.

1995 – With the release of “Me Against the World,” Tupac Shakur becomes the first male solo artist to have a No. 1 album on the Billboard chart while in prison. The album goes on to become a hip-hop classic.

2000 – “Say My Name,’ by Destiny’s Child featuring  Beyoncé, begins its third and final week as a No. 1 single. 

2006 – Sean Paul grabs the top spot on the singles chart for a week with “Temperature.”

On This Day March 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1925 – The second inauguration of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge is the first to be nationally broadcast. More than 20 radio stations carry the event to an estimated 23 million listeners, including many children whose school auditoriums were specially equipped with speakers. 

1933 – During the height of the Great Depression, an estimated 150,000 spectators gather on the east grounds of the U.S. Capitol as Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. president. FDR tells Americans, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1933 – Newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Frances Perkins Secretary of Labor, making her the first female member of the U.S. cabinet.

1960 – Actress Lucille Ball divorces her husband and collaborator, Desi Arnaz, after 20 tumultuous years of marriage. The breakup of the couple, stars of the hit sitcom “I Love Lucy” and owners of Desilu Studios, becomes one of the highest-profile divorces in American history at that time.

1974 – People magazine makes its debut on American newsstands, featuring actress Mia Farrow on the cover.

1989 – Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce plans to merge into the world’s largest media and entertainment conglomerate. 

1994 – Comedic actor John Candy (“Splash,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Uncle Buck,” “Home Alone”) dies of a heart attack at 43 while filming a movie in Mexico.

2005 – Billionaire mogul Martha Stewart is released from a federal prison in West Virginia after serving five months and paying a $30,000 fine for lying and obstructing justice in a 2001 stock sale. Stewart serves five months of home confinement at her Bedford, New York estate and then faces two years probation.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – The Beach Boys release “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” which climbs as high as No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart. The The song features Brian Wilson’s lyrics set to the music of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

1966 – During an interview with the British newspaper London Evening Standard, John Lennon says of The Beatles: “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” The remark sets off an international furor when reprinted a few months later in an American teen magazine, with some radio stations refusing to play Beatles records and others burning them.

1967 – “Beggin’,” the 33rd hit single for Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, lands on the Billboard pop chart, eventually climbing to No. 16.

1967 – “Ruby Tuesday,” by The Rolling Stones, begins a week as the No. 1 single. Brian Jones plays recorder on the track while the double bass is played jointly by bassist Bill Wyman pressing the strings against the fingerboard and Keith Richards bowing the strings.

1978 – Andy Gibb sails to the top of the singles chart with “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water.” The song remains at No. 1 for two weeks.

1989 – Debbie Gibson starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Lost in Your Eyes.”

1995 – Madonna is in the midst of a seven-week ride at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Take a Bow,” off her “Bedtime Stories” album.

2000 – Nashville-based country music band Lonestar claims the top spot on the pop chart with “Amazed.” The single holds at No. 1 for two weeks.

2006 – “Check on It,” by Beyoncé featuring Slim Thug, begins its fifth and final week as a No. 1 single. 

On This Day February 18

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On This Day February 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1789 – George Washington — commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War — is unanimously elected the first president of the United States, garnering all 69 electoral votes. No other American president since has come into office with a universal mandate to lead.

1922 – The Ford Motor Company acquires the bankrupt Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million, giving Ford a luxury division to compete against Cadillac, Packard and Auburn.

1938 – Disney releases “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated feature (83 minutes in length) in color and with sound, and a pioneering classic tale in film history.

1945 – President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet at the Yalta Conference to discuss the Allied war effort against Germany and Japan.

1957 – Smith Corona Manufacturing of New York begins selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine, known as the model 5TE, weighs 19 pounds.

1974 – The radical group Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, from her California apartment. 

2004 – Nineteen-year-old Harvard University sophomore Mark Zuckerberg launches “TheFacebook.com,” an online directory designed to connect fellow Harvard students with one another. By the next day, more than a thousand people had registered. The service sparks a social media revolution, with billions now using Facebook each day.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1967 – The Monkees maintain their grip on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m a Believer.” In all, the track remains a chart-topper for seven weeks.

1968 – The Beatles record “Across The Universe” at London’s Abbey Road Studios with backup vocals from two teenage fans who were among the groupies (“Apple scruffs”) that routinely gathered outside the facility on recording days.

1975 – Known as “The King of the Jukebox,” American jazz, blues and rhythm & blues musician, songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan dies at the age of 66.

1977 – Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album, “Rumours,” is released, introducing fans to the Top 10 hits “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” and “You Make Loving Fun.”

1978 – The Bee Gees have a No. 1 single with “Stayin’ Alive,” while another single of theirs, “Night Fever,” debuts on the pop chart, later staking its own claim to the top spot for eight weeks. Both songs are from the Grammy-winning “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

1982 – “Centerfold,” by the J. Geils Band, reaches No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for six weeks.

1983 – Heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa claims the life of 32-year-old singer Karen Carpenter of the acclaimed 1970s brother-sister pop duet, Carpenters.

1984 – Culture Club begins a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Karma Chameleon,” the band’s fifth Top 10 hit.

1995 – “Creep,” by TLC, is midway through a four-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the trio’s first chart-topper.

2006 – “Check On It,” by Beyoncé, featuring Bun B and Slim Thug, kicks off five weeks on top of the singles chart. 

On This Day February 3

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On This Day January 20

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1841 – During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention — an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as U.S. president for the second time. His first inauguration, in 1933, was held in March, but the 20th Amendment, passed later that year, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future presidents. 

1961 – President John F. Kennedy is sworn into office and delivers his inaugural address outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The speech concludes with his now-famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” 

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter calls for the 1980 Summer Olympics to be moved from the planned host city, Moscow, or canceled altogether if the Soviet Union fails to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan within a month.

1981 – Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th U.S. president, 52 American captives held at the American embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. 

1984 – Hungarian-born Olympic gold medal swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movies, dies at the age of 79. 

1993 – Actress, fashion icon and philanthropist Audrey Hepburn (“Roman Holiday,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “My Fair Lady”) dies of colon cancer at the age of 63. Hepburn remains among just a handful of performers who have won Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

2009 – On a freezing day in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. president. The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama was the first African-American to win election to the nation’s highest office.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1964 – The British Invasion is on as Capitol Records releases “Meet the Beatles!,” the band’s second album in the U.S.

1965 – American disc jockey Alan Freed is 43 years old when he dies from cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. Freed, a 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll.” His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that shook up the American broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

1968 – “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” a parody of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” puts John Fred and his Playboy Band at No. 1 on the singles chart for two weeks. 

1971 – “What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye, is released and introduces fans to a different, more personal side of the Motown star in this anthem about social injustice. The song spends five weeks on top of the Hot Soul Singles chart before crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it climbs to No. 2.

1973 – Carly Simon begins her third and final week on top of the singles chart with “You’re So Vain.” After years of speculation, Simon eventually admits that the song refers to actor Warren Beatty.

1988 – Mick Jagger presides as The Beatles are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney decides not to attend, issuing a statement citing ongoing business differences among The Beatles.

1990 – Michael Bolton rules the Billboard Hot 100 with “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” The single holds the No. 1 spot for three weeks.

1996 – The Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men collaboration, “One Sweet Day,” is midway through a 16-week ride on top of the Billboard singles chart –the longest-running No. 1 song in the chart’s history at that time.

2007 – “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé, is in its sixth week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The track remains there for another four weeks and clinches a Record of the Year Grammy nomination.

On This Day January 13

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On This Day December 30

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On This Day December 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1783 – Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, uses a razor to sever part of his left ear. He later documents the event in a painting titled “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.” Over years, however, a variety of new theories have emerged about this incident.

1913 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act into law establishing the Federal Reserve, which continues serving as the nation’s central banking system today and is responsible for executing monetary policy.

1947 – John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley with Bell Laboratories unveil their invention of the transistor, which revolutionizes communications and electronics.

1968 – The crew and captain of the American intelligence gathering ship USS Pueblo are released after 11 months imprisonment by the North Korean government.

1986 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager complete the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling. They set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flying in the experimental aircraft Voyager.

1993 – The movie “Philadelphia,” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and directed by Jonathan Demme, opens in U.S. theaters. It is the first major Hollywood film to address the HIV/AIDS crisis and garners Hanks a Best Actor Oscar and Bruce Springsteen a Best Original Song Oscar for his track, “Streets of Philadelphia.”

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