On This Day April 18

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1906 – A powerful earthquake destroys large sections of San Francisco and sparks fires that burn for days. The death toll exceeds 3,000. 

1923 – More than 74,000 fans attend opening day at the New York Yankees’ new home in the Bronx. Babe Ruth slams the door on the Boston Red Sox with a game-winning three-run homer and Yankee Stadium becomes known as “The House that Ruth Built.”

1955 – Legendary physicist Albert Einstein, who won the Nobel Prize for his General Theory of Relativity (E=mc2), dies at the age of 76.

1956 – American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony that is dubbed the “Wedding of the Century.” The 26-year-old American beauty becomes Princess Grace of Monaco.

1983 – A suicide bomber crashes a truck into the front of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, setting off a massive blast that kills 63 people.

1989 – Thousands of Chinese students take to the streets of Beijing to protest government policies and call for greater democracy. Similar demonstrations begin in other cities and universities across China. The movement culminates with the bloody Tiananmen Square Massacre that June.

2012 – Entertainment icon Dick Clark, best known for hosting “American Bandstand” — an influential music-and-dance show that aired nationally for more than three decades and helped bring rock and roll into the mainstream in the late 1950s — dies of a heart attack at 82. Affectionately called “America’s Oldest Teenager,” Clark also hosted ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” ringing in each new year from New York’s Times Square.

2014 – Sixteen Nepali mountaineering guides, most of them ethnic Sherpas, are killed by an avalanche on Mt. Everest, the Earth’s highest mountain. It is the single deadliest accident in the history of the Himalayan peak that lies between Nepal and China.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1960 – The movie tune “Theme From a Summer Place, by Percy Faith, begins its ninth and final week on top of the pop chart. 

1964 – The Beatles enjoy their third consecutive No. 1 hit with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which holds the top spot for five weeks.

1970 – The Beatles’ “Let It Be” begins its second and final week as a No. 1 single. It is the last single released by the Fab Four while still officially considered an active group. 

1984 – Michael Jackson undergoes surgery at an L.A. hospital for injuries sustained two months earlier when his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. 

1987 – “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael, tops the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for two weeks.

1992 – Def Leppard begins five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with “Adrenalize.” The album spawns three major hits, including “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad.”

1992 – Vanessa Williams kicks off her fifth and final week as a chart-topper with “Save the Best for Last.”

2009  – “Boom Boom Pow,” by The Black Eyed Peas, begins 12 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The song, from the band’s “The E.N.D.” album,” is nominated for a Best Dance Recording Grammy but wins for Best Short Form Music Video.

2012 –  An original and extremely rare 1963 mono copy of The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” album, signed by all four musicians, sells in an eBay auction for nearly $25,000. 

On This Day March 6

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1836 – The Battle of the Alamo comes to a bloody end, capping off a pivotal moment in the Texas Revolution. Mexican forces successfully recapture the garrison after a 13-day siege, and nearly all of the roughly 200 Alamo defenders — including legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett — are killed.

1899 – Acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, is trademarked by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer. Designed to relieve pain and fever, it becomes the most common drug found in household medicine cabinets.

1930 – Industrialist and inventor Clarence Birdseye brings the food industry into the modern era as he introduces consumers to pre-packaged, frozen foods — still available in supermarkets today.

1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a national “bank holiday,” closing all U.S. banks and freezing all financial transactions in an effort to salvage the faltering banking system during the Great Depression. The banks reopen a week later with depositors standing in lines to return their hoarded cash.

1981 – An estimated 17 million American viewers watch as anchor Walter Cronkite says, “And that’s the way it is” for the final time as he signs off the “CBS Evening News.” Considered “the most trusted man in America,” Cronkite retires after more than 30 years in broadcasting and is succeeded by Dan Rather. 

1986 – Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist who gained worldwide fame for her austere minimalist paintings of the American southwest, dies in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 98.

On This Day March 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights
Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – “Walk Like a Man,” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart. It is the band’s third chart-topping hit.

1967 – The Beatles win three Grammys for records issued the previous year: Best Song for “Michelle,” Best Vocal Performance for “Eleanor Rigby” and Best Cover Artwork for the album design of “Revolver” by Klaus Voormann.

1974 – “Seasons in the Sun,” by one-hit wonder Terry Jacks, claims the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stays there for three weeks.

1974 – At the 16th Annual Grammy Awards, Stevie Wonder captures five honors: Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording for “Innervisions,” Best R&B Song and Best Vocal for “Superstition,” and Pop Vocal Performance for “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” 

1974 – Roberta Flack wins Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammys for “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The track also garners a Song of the Year Grammy for its writers, Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox.

1985 – “Careless Whisper,” by Wham! featuring George Michael, begins its third and final week at No. 1 on the singles chart.

1985 – Sheena Easton becomes the first musical artist ever to land Top 10 hits on the pop, R&B, country, dance and adult contemporary charts when “Sugar Walls,” written by Prince, reaches No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. That is the song that sparked the Parental Advisory music labeling system (listen carefully to the lyrics and you’ll know why).

1999 – Acclaimed British pop vocalist Dusty Springield (“I Only Want To Be With You,” “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”) dies at the age of 59 following a five-year battle with breast cancer.

2002 – “Always on Time,” by Ja Rule featuring Ashanti, enters its second and final week as a No. 1 single.

On This Day February 27

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On This Day February 16

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On This Day February 1

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On This Day January 16

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Musical Milestones
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.

On This Day January 2

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History Highlights
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.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1965 – The Beatles’ eighth single, “I Feel Fine,” is in the middle of three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. It is reported to be the first recorded song to incorporate guitar feedback (the opening note).

1971 – George Harrison’s first solo album, “All Things Must Pass,” featuring the hits “My Sweet Lord” and “What is Life,” begins a seven-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. In January 2014, the album is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1979 – The murder trial of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious begins, with the punk rocker accused of stabbing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death in a New York City hotel three months earlier. On February 2, 1979, before the trial is over, Vicious is found dead of a heroin overdose at the age of 21.

1982 – Olivia Newton-John is in the middle of a 10-week ride on top of the Billboard singles chart with her 80s workout anthem, “Physical.”

1988 – During a four-week run as a Billboard No. 1, “Faith,” by George Michael, officially becomes the first chart-topping single of 1988.

1993 – Whitney Houston is in the midst of a 14-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Will Always Love You,” a song originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973.

1999 – The Céline Dion-R. Kelly duet, “I’m Your Angel,” is the No. 1 single.

2010 – Kesha kicks off nine weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Tik Tok.”

2016 – Adele begins the fourth of 10 non-sequential weeks on top of the Billboard album chart with her Grammy-winning album, “25.”

On This Day December 19

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1732 – Benjamin Franklin begins publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanack.” The book, filled with proverbs preaching industry and prudence, is published continuously for 25 years and becomes one of the most popular publications in colonial America, selling an average of 10,000 copies a year.

1843 – Charles Dickens publishes his Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Originally titled “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas,” the first edition sells out by Christmas Eve. By the end of 1844, 13 editions had been released. The work continues to be printed and sold nearly 200 years later and has been adapted countless times for film, stage, opera and other media, including a video game.

1903 – New Yorkers celebrate the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge, the second and largest of three steel-frame suspension bridges crossing the East River.

1917 – The National Hockey League (NHL) opens its first season with two games. At the time, the league consists of five franchises: the Canadiens and the Wanderers (both of Montreal), the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs and the Toronto Arenas (known at the time as the Toronto Hockey Club).

1972 – NASA’S Apollo manned lunar-landing program ends as the last three astronauts to travel to the moon safely splash down in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days earlier.

1984 – The British government signs an agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997.

1997 – Director James Cameron’s epic drama “Titanic” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The film becomes a box office smash and goes on to capture 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

1998 – President Bill Clinton is impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by a divided House of Representatives, which recommends virtually along party lines that the Senate remove the nation’s 42d president from office. Clinton vows to finish his term.

On This Day December 12

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1901 – Guglielmo Marconi successfully sends the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.

1917 – In Omaha, Nebraska, Irish priest, Father Edward J. Flanagan, opens the doors to Boys Town, a home for troubled and neglected children that continues to provide this service today.

1967 – “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” a groundbreaking movie about an interracial romantic relationship, starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier, opens in theaters. It is the ninth movie to pair Hepburn with Tracy, who died less than three weeks after filming ended.

1972 – The world turns upside down for cruise ship passengers when the epic disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure” opens, featuring a veritable Hollywood ‘Who’s Who’ of a cast, including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Roddy Mcdowall, Carol Lynley and Jack Albertson.

1980 – American oil tycoon Armand Hammer pays $5.1 million at auction for a notebook containing writings by artist-inventor Leonardo da Vinci. The manuscript, written around 1508, is among over two dozen books da Vinci produced during his lifetime.

1989 – The so-called “Queen of Mean,” hotel operator and real estate developer Leona Helmsley, who once quipped that “only the little people pay taxes,” receives a four-year prison sentence, 750 hours of community service and a $7.1 million fine for tax fraud.

2000 – General Motors (GM) announces that it will begin to phase out its Oldsmobile line of cars, the oldest automotive brand in the United States. The last Olds rolls off an assembly line about four years later.

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