On This Day April 29

Musical Milestones

1967 – Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy maintain their hold on No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart with “Somethin’ Stupid.” The duet remains a chart-topper for four weeks.

1969 – On his 70th birthday, jazz legend Duke Ellington receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon in the East Room of the White House. Nixon concludes the presentation by playing the piano and singing. 

1970 – George Harrison tells reporters that The Beatles will reunite eventually and announces plans for his first post-Beatles solo album.

1976 – Bruce Springsteen wraps up a concert performance in Memphis as part of his “Born to Run” tour and he and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt decide to pay their idol, Elvis Presley, a visit at his Graceland estate. Security guards escort Springsteen off the grounds after he jumps the gate and runs toward the front door. The King was not home at the time. 

1978 – Topping the singles chart for the seventh consecutive week: The Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

1989 – Madonna has the No. 1 single with “Like a Prayer,” from her album of the same name.

1993 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Barry White appears in the “Whacking Day” episode of the animated series “The Simpsons.” As White sings, Bart and Lisa place loudspeakers on the ground to lure snakes away from Springfield residents trying to kill them as part of Whacking Day tradition.

1995 – “This Is How We Do It,” by Montell Jordan, is in the midst of a seven-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100. 

2000 – “Maria Maria,” by Santana featuring The Product G&B, is in the middle of a 10-week domination of the singles chart.

2006 – Daniel Powter owns the top spot on the pop chart with “Bad Day.”

History Highlights

1854 – Originally established as The Ashmun Institute, Lincoln University receives its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, becoming the first degree-granting college in the U.S. founded solely for African-American students.

1945 – U.S. military forces liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Nazi Germany.  More than 188,000 prisoners were incarcerated in Dachau between 1933 and 1945, and more than 28,000 died in the camp and its sub-camps.

1974 – President Richard Nixon announces that he will release edited transcripts of taped White House conversations in response to a subpoena in the Watergate scandal. The House Judiciary committee insists that he also turn over the tapes. 

1986 – Pitching for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Roger Clemens sets a Major League Baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1992 – Riots erupt across Los Angeles after four LAPD officers are acquitted in the beating of unarmed African American motorist Rodney King. Protesters in south-central L.A. block freeway traffic, wreck and loot shops and set more than 100 fires. The rioting continues for five days and sparks a national conversation about racial and economic disparity and police use of force — a debate that still rages today.

2004 – The National World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C. It honors the 16 million people who served as part of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, including more than 400,000 who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. 

2004 – General Motors’ last Oldsmobile rolls off a Lansing, Michigan assembly line, marking the end of America’s oldest automotive brand. The final model is an Alero GLS sedan, which factory workers signed under the hood.

2011 –  Great Britain’s Prince William marries his longtime girlfriend, Catherine “Kate” Middleton, at Westminster Abbey in London. An estimated two billion people around the world watch the ceremony on television.

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The Essential Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Sound Track)

Bee Gees, Tavares, KC and the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman and other artists

Where the Birds Never Sing: The True Story of the 92nd Signal Battalion and the Liberation of Dachau

Jack Sacco

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Anna Deavere Smith

16 Biggest Hits

Willie Nelson

Hairspray

Starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken, and directed by Adam Shankman

On This Day February 25

History Highlights

1870 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. He is assigned to serve on the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on the District of Columbia.

1916 – German troops seize Fort Douaumont, the most formidable of the forts guarding the walled city of Verdun, France, four days after launching their initial attack. The Battle of Verdun becomes the longest and bloodiest conflict of World War I, lasting 10 months and resulting in over 700,000 casualties.

1950 – The TV comedy “Your Show of Shows,” hosted by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, premieres, eventually helping launch the successful entertainment careers of Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and others.

1964 – Twenty-two-year-old Cassius Clay (who later changes his name to Muhammad Ali) stuns odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout in Miami Beach.

1984 – A massive explosion, triggered when gasoline from a ruptured pipeline ignited, levels a shantytown outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, killing at least 500 people — mostly young children. However, investigators speculate that the actual death toll may have been closer to 700 since many bodies were incinerated in the intense blaze.

1986 – President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines flees the nation after 20 years of rule. Corazon Aquino becomes that nation’s first woman president. 

2004 – “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the final hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life, opens in U.S. theaters, starring  Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It receives three Oscar nominations.

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Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross

1984

Van Halen

Black is Best: The Riddle of Cassius Clay

Jack Olsen

Diary of a Dictator -- Ferdinand & Imelda: The Last Days of Camelot

William C. Rempel

Deep Impact

Starring Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni and Elijah Wood, and directed by Mimi Leder

The Social Network

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer, and directed by David Fincher

On This Day January 16

Musical Milestones

1938 – Acclaimed clarinetist and band leader Benny Goodman (a.k.a. “The King of Swing”) makes history when he takes the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall. It not only marks the first time jazz is played in the hallowed music venue, but the first time a racially integrated ensemble performs.

1965 – The Supremes have a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Come See About Me.”

1971 – George Harrison marks his fourth and final week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “My Sweet Lord.”

1979 – Cher’s divorce from Gregg Allman is finalized.

1988 – Twenty-four years after The Beatles first rule the singles chart, “Got My Mind Set On You” by George Harrison is No. 1. The track was originally recorded by R&B singer James Ray in 1962.

1988 – After huge success as half of the pop duo Wham! during the early to mid-80s, George Michael claims the top spot on the Billboard album chart with his debut solo album, “Faith.” The production packs several major hits, including the title track, “Father Figure,” “One More Try” and “Monkey.”

1993 – “I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston, is in the middle of a 14-week domination of the Billboard singles chart.

1999 – Brandy’s “Have You Ever?” tops the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for two weeks. 

2004 – King of Pop, Michael Jackson, pleads not guilty to child molestation charges, as fans, reporters and TV crews from around the world swarm outside the California courthouse. The judge admonishes Jackson for arriving late.

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Benny Goodman: The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

Benny Goodman

The Best Of Diana Ross & The Supremes: The Millennium Collection

The Supremes

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Daniel Okrent

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

Robert Matzen

Merman...Her Greatest!

Ethel Merman

Halloween

Starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis, and directed by John Carpenter

On This Day January 3

History Highlights

1938 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his former law partner, Basil O’Connor, establish the March of Dimes (originally known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis) to battle polio, the disease FDR contracted at the age of 39 that prevented him from ever walking on his own again.

1961 – The U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba two years after Fidel Castro seized control of the island nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

1967 – Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned Ruby’s death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.

1969 – Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell grace the cover of TIME magazine as “Men of the Year” for becoming the first humans to orbit the moon. During their mission, the trio also captured the iconic “Earthrise” image of planet Earth hovering above the lunar surface. They were hailed for bringing a hopeful conclusion to 1968 — a year filled with social strife that included the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

1990 – Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. military troops to face charges of drug trafficking.

1993 – The Buffalo Bills stage the greatest comeback in NFL history. Backup quarterback Frank Reich leads the Bills to an improbable 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an AFC wild card playoff game that would forever be known to football fans as “The Comeback.” In Houston, however, it was referred to as “The Choke.”

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Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

B.J. Thomas

Saturday Night

Bay City Rollers

March of Dimes

David W. Rose

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon

Jeffrey Kluger

9 to 5

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman, and directed by Corin Hughes

Lethal Weapon

Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Gary Busey, and directed by Richard Donner

On This Day January 2

History Highlights

1959 – The Space Race intensifies as the Soviet Union launches Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon and orbit the sun. It was originally called Cosmic Rocket, but renamed Luna 1 to reflect the Soviets’ planned series of Luna missions to the moon. 

1971 – Known as the “Ibrox Disaster,” 66 football (soccer) fans die in a stampede at a stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, as they attempt to leave a game after a late goal by the home team. Nearly 200 other fans are injured.

1974 – President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the speed limit across the U.S. to 55 miles per hour in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo. The measure, known as the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, remains in effect until Congress repeals it in 1995.

1980 – Angered by Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter requests that the Senate postpone action on the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty and recalls the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. 

1980 – Sherry Lansing is named the head of Fox Productions, becoming the first woman in charge of production at a major movie studio as well as one of the highest-paid female executives in any industry.

1990 – Actor Alan Hale, Jr., who played the Skipper on TV’s “Gilligan’s Island,” dies of cancer at the age of 68. 

2009 – Shortly after the death of British surgeon Harold Carr, his family discovers the rare, unrestored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe that he owned — sitting in a garage, undriven for some 50 years. One month later, the car sells at a Paris auction for $4.4 million.

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All Things Must Pass

George Harrison

Sid Vicious: Rock 'n' Roll Star

Sid Vicious

Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space

Deborah Cadbury

Gilligan's Island

Starring Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr., Jim Backus, Russell Johnson, Tina Louise and others

I, Robot

Isaac Asimov

Jerry Maguire

Starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Renee Zellweger, and directed by Cameron Crowe

On This Day December 30

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

...But Seriously

Phil Collins

Built in Detroit: A Story of the UAW, A Company, and a Gangster

Bob Morris

Happy Trails: A Pictorial Celebration of the Life and Times of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Howard Kazanjian and Chris Enss

The Monkees - Greatest Hits

The Monkees

LeBron's Dream Team: How Four Friends and I Brought a Championship Home

LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger

On This Day December 26

History Highlights

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All Things Must Pass

George Harrison

Super Fly

Curtis Mayfield

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition

Keith A. Mayes

The Exorcist

Starring Linda Blair, Max von Sydow and Ellen Burstyn, and directed by William Friedkin

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector

Mick Brown

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

David Sedaris

On This Day November 29

Celebrity Birthdays

1927 – Retired Hall of Fame sportscaster Vin Scully, play-by-play announcer for the Brooklyn and later the Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 seasons

1935 – Golden Globe-winning actress Diane Ladd, born Rose Diane Lanier (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Alice,” “Wild at Heart,” “Rambling Rose”)

1940 – Jazz trumpeter Chuck Mangione, best known for his 1978 smash “Feels So Good”

1949 – Comedian-actor Garry Shandling (“It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” “The Larry Sanders Show”) (d. 2016)

1954 – Oscar-winning director Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers (“Blood Simple,” “Raising Arizona,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” “No Country for Old Men,” “A Serious Man,” “True Grit”)

1955 – Comedian-actor and TV host-judge Howie Mandel (“St. Elsewhere,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Bobby’s World,” “America’s Got Talent”)

1960 – Actress Cathy Moriarty (“Raging Bull,” “Soapdish,” “The Mambo Kings,” “Casper,” “Analyze That,” “The Bounty Hunter”)

1961 – Emmy-winning actress Kim Delaney (“NYPD Blue,” “All My Children,” “Philly,” “CSI: Miami”)

1962 – Actor-director Andrew McCarthy (“St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Mannequin,” “Weekend at Bernie’s,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Less Than Zero,” “Orange is the New Black”)

1964 – Golden Globe-winning actor Don Cheadle (“Boogie Nights,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “Crash,” “House of Lies,” “Iron Man 2,” “Iron Man 3,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: Civil War”)

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Fly Robin Fly

Silver Convention

Slippery When Wet

Bon Jovi

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Richard E. Byrd

Splendor in the Grass

Starring Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty and Pat Hingle, and directed by Elia Kazan

Raging Bull

Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty, and directed by Martin Scorsese

Hotel Rwanda

Starring Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte and Joaquin Phoenix, and directed by Terry George

On This Day November 28

Musical Milestones

1925 – The Grand Ole Opry, one of the longest-lived and most popular showcases for country music, begins broadcasting live from Nashville, Tennessee. At the time, it is known as the WSM Barn Dance.

1960 – Elvis Presley scores his 15th chart-topping single when “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” reaches No. 1 on the pop chart. It holds the top spot for six weeks.

1970 – Ex-Beatle George Harrison makes his solo Billboard chart debut with “My Sweet Lord,” a song he is later found guilty of having “subconsciously plagiarized” from Ronnie Mack’s “He’s So Fine,” which was a smash for The Chiffons.

1974 – John Lennon joins Elton John on stage at New York’s Madison Square Garden for what becomes Lennon’s last concert appearance. He performs three songs: “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

1987 – The Bill Medley-Jennifer Warnes duet, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” from the movie “Dirty Dancing,” is No. 1 on the singles chart.

1998 – “Lately,” by one-hit-wonder Divine, tops the Billboard Hot 100 for a week.

2001 – Aretha Franklin sues the supermarket tabloid “Star” for $50 million dollars claiming that her reputation was damaged by a December 2000 article that alleged she had alcohol problems.

2007 – Kanye West and stuntman Evel Knievel settle a copyright dispute over West’s use of the name “Evel Kanyevel” in a music video. The 69-year-old daredevil claimed his image was harmed by the video’s “vulgar, sexual nature.” The clip for “Touch The Sky” shows the rap star attempting to cross a canyon on a rocket-powered motorcycle.

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ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits

Elvis Presley

All Things Must Pass

George Harrison

Fire in the Grove

John C. Esposito

The Serial Killer Files

Harold Schechter

The Breakfast Club

Starring Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason and Ally Sheedy, and directed by John Hughes

The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History

Chris Smith and Jon Stewart

On This Day November 27

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Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles

Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf

American Experience: The Rise and Fall of Penn Station

PBS

Milk

Starring Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch and Josh Brolin, and directed by Gus Van Sant

Tao of Jeet Kune Do: New Expanded Edition

Bruce Lee

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World

Bill Nye

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