On This Day April 9

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On This Day December 31

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History Highlights
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.

Musical Milestones
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.

On This Day November 24

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1950 – The musical comedy “Guys and Dolls” premieres on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Two years later, it spawns a film adaptation starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. 

1962 – The Four Seasons, featuring Frankie Valli, are in the second week of a five-week run as Billboard chart-toppers with “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

1966 – The Beatles gather in a studio for the first time since wrapping up their U.S. summer concert tour and spend the entire day recording John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

1972 – Don Kirshner’s “Rock Concert” TV show debuts, featuring Chuck Berry, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Alice Cooper.

1973 – Ringo Starr’s “Photograph” begins a week as the No. 1 single.

1979 – The Barbra Streisand-Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” kicks off two weeks as a No. 1 single.

1984 – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

1991 – Queen frontman Freddie Mercury dies of complications from AIDS exactly one day after publicly disclosing that he is HIV positive. He was 45 years old.

1997 – Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols is the defendant in an episode of TV’s “Judge Judy.” The case is a wrongful termination suit brought on by his former drummer, which Rotten wins.

2007 – Jay-Z climbs to the top of the Billboard album chart with “American Gangster,” his 10th chart-topping album. This ties the rapper to 2nd place with Elvis Presley for the most No. 1 albums. Only The Beatles have had more, with 19. 

On This Day November 11

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On This Day October 25

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1962 – Tensions escalate between the United States and Soviet Union over the Cuban Missile Crisis. During a U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson demands that his Soviet counterpart confirm whether his country is installing missiles in Cuba, saying, “I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over.”

1971 –  Sixteen years after Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California, the official dedication of Walt Disney World takes place in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney’s brother, Roy O. Disney, and Mickey Mouse preside, followed by a grand opening parade through the Magic Kingdom. The celebration is taped for a special that airs on NBC four days later.

1982 – The sitcom “Newhart” premieres on CBS, starring Bob Newhart as an author and Vermont innkeeper.

1983 – The U.S. and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada just days after the island nation’s leader is killed in a coup.

1994 – In a case that garnered international attention, Susan Smith notifies South Carolina authorities that she was carjacked by a man who sped off with her two young boys still buckled in the back seat of her car. Nine days later, she confesses that she made up the story after driving her own car into a lake to drown the kids because she was having an affair with a man who did not want children. Smith is convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

2002 – Golden Globe and Grammy-winning actor and singer Richard Harris, whose career spanned six decades and included starring roles in movies like “Camelot” and the “Harry Potter” series, dies of cancer at age 72. Harris had a 1968 hit single, “MacArthur Park,” which Donna Summer later covered.

On this Day August 11

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1934 – The first inmates, classified as “most dangerous,” arrive at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, joining a few dozen prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

1956 – Abstract artist Jackson Pollock dies in a drunk-driving car crash at the age of 44. 

1965 – Following the arrest of a young black motorist, the predominately black Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts erupts in riots that last six days and leave more than 30 people dead. 

1965 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Bronco to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. 

1973 – “American Graffiti” opens in theaters. The coming-of-age film set in 1962 California was co-written and directed by George Lucas and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford.

1984 – During a sound check before a Saturday radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan jokingly says, “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Reagan was unaware, however, that the feed was live. The Soviets, who find no humor in the remark, put their military on high alert.

2014 – Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy,” “The World According to Garp,” “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Socity,” “Aladdin,”  “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting”) dies by suicide at the age of 63. 

On this Day July 14

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1789 – French revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress and prison that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signals the beginning of the French Revolution. Today, it is observed as France’s national holiday of Bastille Day.

1881 – William H. Bonney, better known as the outlaw Billy the Kid, is shot and killed at the age of 21 by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The gunfighter, also known as Henry McCarty, had led authorities on a three-month manhunt after escaping from prison where he was awaiting execution on murder charges.

1955 – Already well-established for its Beetle, Volkswagen introduces the iconic, rear-engine Karmann-Ghia coupe in Europe. One year later, VW brings the vehicle to the U.S. auto market, and in 1958, rolls out a convertible model. The Karmann-Ghia remains in production through 1974.

1965 – Mariner 4 takes the first close-up photos of Mars. Its blurry views of craters and bare ground lead some scientists to believe that Mars has an environment that is similar to the moon. 

1966 – One of the nation’s most notorious killers, Richard Speck, brutally murders eight student nurses at the home they share on Chicago’s South Side. Authorities conduct a manhunt and capture Speck two days later. He spends the rest of his life in prison until his death from a heart attack in 1991 at age 49.

1968 – Atlanta Braves slugger Henry “Hank” Aaron becomes the  seventh major league player to achieve 500 career home runs when he knocks the ball out of the park during a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

1969 – The U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve officially remove the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills from circulation. 

2016 – A terrorist drives a truck at high speed down a crowded sidewalk in Nice, France during Bastille Day celebrations, killing 86 people, including 10 children. More than 300 other people are injured.

On this Day June 16

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On this Day June 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1865 – Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. Smith’s surrender effectively dissolves the last Confederate army, formally ending the Civil War — the bloodiest four years in U.S. history.

1924 – President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizen Act, granting automatic American citizenship to Native Americans born in the United States. 

1935 – Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, ends his Major League playing career after 22 seasons, 10 World Series and 714 home runs.

1941 – Another baseball legend, Lou Gehrig, dies of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a rare type of paralysis commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

1953 – Queen Elizabeth II of Britain is crowned in Westminster Abbey during the first televised coronation ceremony.

1979 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit a communist country when he tours his native Poland.

1989 – Moviegoers discover a darker side of comedian-actor Robin Williams when “Dead Poets Society” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Williams as an unconventional prep school English teacher. The performance garners Williams a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

1997 – Timothy McVeigh, a former U.S. Army soldier, is convicted on 11 counts of murder, conspiracy and using a weapon of mass destruction for his role in the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He is later sentenced to death.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

On this Day May 17

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