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 June 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1868 – Pennsylvania native Christopher Latham Sholes receives a patent for a page-numbering machine that leads to development of the first typewriter. His machine features the QWERTY keyboard that all of us still use today on our computers, smartphones and other devices for written communication.

1956 – Gamal Abdel Nasser is elected president of Egypt.

1969 – Warren Burger is sworn in as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by retiring chief justice Earl Warren.

1972 – President Richard Nixon’s advisor, H.R. Haldeman, tells the president to put pressure on the head of the FBI to “stay the hell out of this [Watergate burglary investigation] business.” In essence, Haldeman was telling Nixon to obstruct justice, which is one of the articles for which Congress threatened to impeach Nixon in 1974.

1989 – Moviegoers are introduced to the darker side of Batman when director Tim Burton’s interpretation opens in theaters, starring Michael Keaton as the “caped crusader” and Jack Nicholson as The Joker. “Batman” earns over $400 million at the box office—enough to impress even Bruce Wayne!

1992 – Mafia boss John Gotti, who was nicknamed the “Teflon Don” after escaping unscathed from several trials during the 1980s, is sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty on 14 accounts of conspiracy to commit murder and racketeering.

1995 – American physician and medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk, who pioneered the first safe and effective vaccine for polio, dies of heart failure at the age of 80.

2013 – Aerialist Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to walk a high wire across the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

2018 – Twelve members of a Thai soccer team and their coach become trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks until a harrowing rescue effort, covered by international media, that costs one diver his life.