On This Day April 14

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On This Day April 7

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1776 – U.S. Navy Captain John Barry (a.k.a. “Father of the American Navy”), commander of the warship Lexington, achieves the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he seizes the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turns Barry into a national hero and boosts the morale of the Continental forces.

1948 – The United Nations establishes the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote “the highest possible level of health” around the globe. A major cornerstone of WHO is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. World Health Day is observed internationally every April 7.

1954 – President Dwight Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a “domino effect” in Southeast Asia. The so-called “domino theory” guided U.S. strategy toward Vietnam for the next decade.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy lobbies Congress to fund the preservation of historic monuments in Egypt’s Nile Valley threatened by construction of the Aswan High Dam.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material (Stanley v. Georgia). 

1970 – At the 42nd annual Academy Awards, screen legend John Wayne ropes his first and only Oscar: Best Actor for his role in the Western “True Grit.”

1978 – President Jimmy Carter cancels planned production of the neutron bomb.

1994 – Violence in Rwanda fuels the launch of what becomes the worst episode of genocide since World War II: the massacre of an estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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 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 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 26

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1897 – The first copies of the classic vampire novel “Dracula,” by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops.

1927 – It’s the end of the road for Ford’s iconic Model T automobile. The 15 millionth and last Model T Ford rolls off a Detroit assembly line with Ford founder Henry Ford in the front passenger seat and his son, Edsel, behind the wheel. The touring car, with hand-stamped VIN 15000000, marked the symbolic end of the groundbreaking automobile’s 19-year production run.

1953 – The first 3-D sci-fi movie premieres in Los Angeles: “It Came from Outer Space,” based on a Ray Bradbury story.

1959 – Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves before losing, 1-0, in the 13th. It’s the first time a pitcher throws more than nine perfect innings in major league history.

1969 – Apollo 10 returns to Earth after a successful eight-day test of all the components needed for the forthcoming first manned moon landing. During descent from its lunar orbit, the spacecraft sets a record for the fastest speed attained by a manned vehicle.

1972 – Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and U.S. President Richard Nixon, meeting in Moscow, sign the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreements.

1977 – The so-called “human fly,” George Willig, scales the South Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center by attaching himself to a window washing track and walking straight to the top and into the custody of waiting police officers. It takes Willig three and a half hours to make the climb and costs him $1.10 in fines — one penny per floor.