On This Day November 23

Musical Milestones

1936 – Blues legend Robert Johnson lays down his first-ever musical recordings — eight songs in a single session at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. The tracks include “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,” “Sweet Home Chicago” and his biggest hit, “Terraplane Blues.” 

1963 – “I’m Leaving It Up to You,” by Dale & Grace, is the hottest song on the radio.

1974 – Billy Swan is on top of the singles chart for two weeks with the only hit of his singing career: “I Can Help.”

1974 – The Rolling Stones score their fifth No. 1 album with “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” — the last Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor, who was replaced by Ronnie Wood. 

1976 – Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis is arrested for the second time in as many days. First it was drunk driving, but on this day he’s busted for brandishing a pistol outside Graceland while demanding to see Elvis.

1985 – Starship begin their second and final week orbiting around the top spot on the pop chart with “We Built This City.”

1991 – Michael Bolton’s cover of Percy Sledge’s 1966 classic, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” reaches No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later goes on to capture a Grammy Award.

1995 – Soul singer and saxophonist Junior Walker, best known for the hits “How Sweet It Is” and “What Does It Take, To Win Your Love, dies of cancer at the age of 64. Walker also played sax on Foreigner’s 1981 hit “Urgent.”

2002 – Eminem rules the Billboard singles chart with “Lose Yourself,” from the “8 Mile” movie soundtrack. The song holds at No. 1 for 12 weeks.

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It's Only Rock 'n' Roll

The Rolling Stones

The Essential Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton

LIFE 75 Years: The Very Best of LIFE

Editors of LIFE

I Dream of Jeannie (Season 1)

Starring Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman

Frankenstein

Starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive, and directed by James Whale

Harpo Speaks!

Harpo Marx with Rowland Barber

On this Day May 14

History Highlights

1804 – The Lewis & Clark expedition leaves St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to make the journey.

1904 – The Third Olympiad of the modern era, and the first Olympic Games to be held in the United States, opens in St. Louis, Missouri. However, it is far from the international affair of more recent deacdes. Only 12 countries attend, with Americans accounting for 523 of the 630 participating athletes.

1948 – British rule in Palestine comes to an end as the Jewish National Council proclaims the establishment of the State of Israel. Within hours, Arab forces attack the fledgling nation.

1955 – The Soviet Union and seven Eastern European countries sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that puts the Soviets in command of the armed forces of its partners. The move is aimed at counterbalancing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Pact officially disbands in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

1969 – After nine years of production, the last Chevy Corvair rolls off the assembly line. That’s the rear-engine compact car that consumer advocate Ralph Nader took to task citing safety concerns.

1973 – Skylab, America’s first space station, is successfully launched on a mission to observe and photograph the sun as well as to study the biological effects of life in space.

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The Very Best of Leo Sayer

Leo Sayer

Ultimate Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Stephen E. Ambrose

Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel

Anita Shapira

American Graffiti

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ronny Howard, Harrison Ford and Paul Le Mat, and directed by George Lucas

Elizabeth

Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Eccleston, and directed by Shekhar Kapur