On This Day April 5

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1969 – Tommy Roe enjoys his fourth and final week on top of the pop chart with “Dizzy.”

1975 – “Lovin’ You,” by Minnie Riperton, tops the Billboard Hot 100. At the end of the track, you can hear her sing, “Maya, Maya” to her daughter, actress-comedian and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph. Tragically, Riperton dies of breast cancer four years later at the age of 31.

1980 – “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II,” by Pink Floyd, is the No. 1 single. 

1984 – The funeral service for Motown legend Marvin Gaye takes place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown talent are on hand to pay their respects.

1985 – At 3:50 p.m. GMT, more than 5,000 radio stations around the world simultaneously broadcast the single “We Are the World,” produced as a charity to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. The single, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, features the voices of some of the biggest musical acts of the day.

1994 – Grunge music icon Kurt Cobain, Nirvana founder and frontman, commits suicide. His body is discovered at his Seattle home three days later by an electrician who showed up to  install a security system.

1997 – “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” by Puff Daddy featuring Mase, is in the middle of a six-week ride atop the Billboard Hot 100.

2008 – Leona Lewis has the No. 1 single with “Bleeding Love.” The track holds the top spot for a week.

On this Day July 8

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1957 – “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley begins a seven-week run on top of the singles chart. Two months earlier, Elvis was king of the pop chart with “All Shook Up,” which spent eight weeks at No. 1.

1958 – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards the first official Gold album (for achieving sales of $1 million). It goes to the cast album for the stage production of “Oklahoma!” featuring Gordon MacRae. 

1967 – The Monkees begin a 29-date concert tour with The Jimi Hendrix Experience as the opening act. However, Hendrix is dropped after eight performances because the producers felt his act was not suitable for their “teeny-bopper” audiences.

1970 – “The Everly Brothers Show” starts an 11-week prime-time run on ABC- TV. 

1972 – Bill Withers scores the first and only No. 1 hit of his career when “Lean On Me” reaches the top of the pop chart. It holds that position for three weeks. 

1978 – Gerry Rafferty’s “City To City” reaches the top of the Billboard album chart, dethroning the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack which occupied that spot for nearly six months.

1989 – “Good Thing,” by Fine Young Cannibals, begins a week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track is the second chart-topper from the band’s “The Raw & The Cooked” album. Three months earlier, “She Drives Me Crazy” claimed the top spot.

1995 – TLC flows to the top of the Billboard pop chart with “Waterfalls.” The song remains at No. 1 for seven weeks.

2000 – Enrique Iglesias begins his third and final week on top of the singles chart with “Be With You.”

On this Day June 19

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1865 – Union soldiers land in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War has ended and that enslaved African Americans were now free. The announcement comes two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. Some historians blame the delay on poor communication of that era while others believe Texan slave owners intentionally withheld the information. June 19 is observed around the U.S. as Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, it became a federal holiday.

1905 – The world’s first nickelodeon opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and draws some 450 guests. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged each patron a nickel.

1934 – Congress establishes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate broadcasting in the United States.

1953 –  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Both deny wrongdoing and proclaim their innocence right up to the time of their execution. The Rosenbergs were the first American civilians executed for espionage during the Cold War.

1973 – In separate games, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds and Willie Davis of the L.A. Dodgers achieve their 2,000th career hits.

1978 – Cartoonist Jim Davis introduces readers of 41 newspapers around the U.S. to a pleasantly plump, lazy, lasagna-loving cat named Garfield.

1981 – A caped superhero returns to U.S. movie theaters with the release of “Superman II,” starring Christopher Reeve as “The Man of Steel.”

2013 –  Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as crime boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” dies of a heart attack at age 51 while vacationing in Italy.