On This Day March 31

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1943 – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” premieres on Broadway. In 1955, the musical is produced as a motion picture starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (in her film debut).

1958 – Chess Records releases “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song climbs as high as No. 8 on the pop chart and goes on to become a rock and roll classic.

1962 – Connie Francis claims the top spot on the pop chart for a week with “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”

1967 – Jimi Hendrix suffers minor burns to his hands when he sets his guitar on fire during a performance at Finsbury Park in London. Nevertheless, he goes on to torch guitars several times during his short career.

1973 – Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” returns to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week after The O’Jays interrupted her for a week with their hit, “Love Train.”

1979 – “Tragedy,” by the Bee Gees, dominates the singles chart for a second and final week.

1984 – Kenny Loggins kicks off a three-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Footloose,” from the movie of the same name.

1987 – Prince releases his ninth studio album, “Sign o’ the Times,” which spawns three Top 10 hit singles: “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “U Got the Look,” (with Sheena Easton) and the title track. 

1995 – Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as the “Mexican Madonna,” is shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Selena was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy, in the Best Mexican-American album category, for her 1993 album “Selena Live!” At the time of her murder, at age 23, Selena was on the brink of international fame, recording her first English language album.

2007 – “Glamorous,” by Fergie featuring Ludacris, enters its second and final week as the No. 1 single.

On This Day December 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1791 – Following ratification by the state of Virginia, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, become the law of the land.

1939 – The motion picture classic “Gone With the Wind,” starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh, premieres in Atlanta. The film goes on to capture 10 Academy Awards.

1961 – Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer considered to be the architect of the Holocaust, is condemned to death by an Israeli war crimes tribunal.

1966 – Animation pioneer Walt Disney, who built an entertainment empire around a cartoon mouse, dies at the age of 65. The visionary creator of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck produced some of Hollywood’s greatest hits, conceived Disneyland and Disney World and was one of world’s most beloved storytellers. 

1973 – Jean Paul Getty III, the grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, five months after his kidnapping by an Italian gang.

1993 – “Schindler’s List,” from director Steven Spielberg, opens, starring Liam Neeson as German businessman Oskar Schindler, who saves the lives of over a thousand Jews during the Holocaust. The movie wins seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

2001 –  Italy’s iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after a team of experts spends 11 years and $27 million to fortify the historic landmark without eliminating its famous lean.

2011 – The U.S. marks the end of the war in Iraq with a low-key ceremony in Baghdad eight years after the American-led invasion of that nation. Despite the declaration, violence intensifies there over the next several years.