On This Day February 21

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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 January 6

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1958 – Danny & the Juniors bop to the top of Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores chart with “At the Hop,” which holds at No. 1 for five weeks.

1968 – The Beatles commandeer the top spot on the Billboard album chart for eight weeks with “Magical Mystery Tour,” which contains such classics as “Hello, Goodbye,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love” and, of course, the title track.

1973 – “You’re So Vain,” by Carly Simon, begins a three-week reign over the Billboard singles chart. Through the years, speculation swirled about the subject of the song, with Simon eventually admitting that it refers to three men, only one of whom she named publicly: actor Warren Beatty.

1979 – The Bee Gees own the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with  “Too Much Heaven.”

1990 – Phil Collins has the first No. 1 album of the 90s as “…But Seriously” claims the top spot on the Billboard 200. The album contains his Grammy-winning smash “Another Day in Paradise.”

1993 – Legendary jazz trumpeter and composer Dizzy Gillespie dies of cancer at the age of 75. Gillespie developed his own signature style called “bebop,” and worked with musical greats like Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Hines, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. 

2001 – Destiny’s Child is in the midst of an 11-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Independent Women Part I,” from the “Charlie’s Angels” movie soundtrack and the group’s third album, “Survivor.” 

On This Day November 3

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On this Day June 25

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1876 – Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River. The conflict becomes known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

1942 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower (a.k.a. “Ike”), who would later become 34th U.S. president, assumes command of all U.S. troops in the European theater during World War II. In 1943, Ike is appointed supreme Allied commander of all forces in Europe.

1950 – Armed forces from communist North Korea invade South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly springs to the defense of South Korea and fights a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years.

1962 – In the case of Engel v. Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that prayers read aloud in public schools violate the separation of church and state stipulated by the First Amendment.

1968 – Congress passes the Flag Desecration Law, making it a crime to burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag. However, in 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down flag desecration laws in 48 states in its 5-4 Texas v. Johnson ruling, stating that flag desecration is a constitutionally protected form of free speech.

1993 – Kim Campbell is sworn in as Canada’s 19th prime minister, becoming the first woman to hold the country’s highest office.

2009 – Actress Farrah Fawcett — best known for TV and movie roles in “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Cannonball Run” and “The Burning Bed,” and who rocketed to pin-up status when a 1976 poster of her in a red bathing suit sold 12 million copies — dies at 62 following a three-year battle with anal cancer.