On This Day April 18

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, launches a 12-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song, from the band’s “The E.N.D.” album,” is nominated at the 52nd Grammy Awards for Best Dance Recording and wins 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. 

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.

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.

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Let It Be

The Beatles

Adrenalize

Def Leppard

Images of America: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Richard Hansen and Gladys Hansen 

American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock 'n' Roll Empire

John A. Jackson

Once Upon a Time in America

Starring Robert De Niro, James Woods and Joe Pesci, and directed by Sergio Leone

Conan O’Brien Believes

Conan O’Brien

On This Day April 19

Musical Milestones

1969 – The 5th Dimension have the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures).”

1975 – Elton John rules the pop chart with “Philadelphia Freedom.” The track is sometimes mistaken as a patriotic song about America, with the bicentennial approaching. It is actually a tribute to John’s close friend, tennis legend Billie Jean King, who, at the time, coached a tennis team called the Philadelphia Freedoms. 

1980 – For the first time ever, the top five artists on the country music chart are all female: Crystal Gayle is No. 1, with Dottie West, Debby Boone, Emmylou Harris and Tammy Wynette making up the rest of the top five. 

1980 – “Call Me” by Blondie claims the top spot on the singles chart and holds there for six weeks. The track is from the band’s “Autoamerican” album and is featured in the movie “American Gigolo,” starring Richard Gere.

1986 – “Kiss,” by Prince and The Revolution from the “Parade” album (the “Under the Cherry Moon” soundtrack) is the No. 1 single. Following Prince’s April 2016 death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 28, and jumped to No. 23 a week later.

1997 – Michael Jackson attends the unveiling of a wax statue of himself at the Grevin Museum of Wax in Paris. The King of Pop had provided one of his own outfits to dress the figure.

2008 – Mariah Carey begins her second and final week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “Touch My Body.”

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Autoamerican

Blondie

Parade: Music from the Motion Picture "Under the Cherry Moon"

Prince and The Revolution

The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789

Robert Middlekauff

American Experience: Oklahoma City

Starring Bill Morlin and Mark Potok and directed by Barak Goodman

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, and directed by Jim Sharman

127 Hours

Starring James Franco, Amber Tabmblyn, Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn, and directed by Danny Boyle

On this Day August 2

History Highlights

1776 – The official signing of the Declaration of Independence takes place on this day, not July 4 as widely believed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, signs the engrossed copy with a bold signature. The other delegates, following custom, sign beginning at the right with the signatures arranged by states from northernmost New Hampshire to southernmost Georgia.

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken. It determines that there are nearly 4 million citizens in the 16 states and Ohio Territory. The U.S. has taken a census every 10 years since then.

1934 – With the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer (“Leader”).

1943 – Almost two decades before becoming U.S. president, John F. Kennedy is commander of a U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat (PT-109) in the Solomon Islands that is rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sliced in half. Two crewmen are killed, but 11 survive due largely to Lt. Kennedy’s dramatic rescue efforts.

1985 – Wind gusts from a severe thunderstorm are blamed for the crash of Delta Airlines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet, at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport that leaves 137 people dead. 

1990 – Iraqi troops invade Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait, quickly capturing Kuwait City and establishing a provincial government. The move leads to “Operation Desert Storm,” a massive U.S.-led military offensive aimed at ousting Iraqi forces to prevent further invasion into nearby Saudi Arabia. 

1992 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first woman ever to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon.

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One of These Nights

Eagles

Solitude / Solitaire

Peter Cetera

The American Census: A Social History, Second Edition

Margo J. Anderson

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy

William Doyle

Lawrence of Arabia

Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn, and directed by David Lean

Avatar

Starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by James Cameron