On This Day April 11

Musical Milestones

1960 – Movie music dominates the pop chart as Percy Faith’s “Theme From A Summer Place” remains at No. 1 for an eighth consecutive week. The track holds the top spot for a total of nine weeks and goes on to capture a Grammy for Record of the Year.

1964 – “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by The Beatles, is in the middle of five weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1970 – The Beatles’ “Let It Be” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for two weeks. It is the Fab Four’s last hit before their break-up.

1981 – Rocker Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli (“One Day at a Time”) tie the knot, The marriage lasts until 2007, when their divorce is finalized.

1981 – Darryl Hall & John Oates have the No. 1 single in the U.S. with “Kiss on My List.” The song remains on top of that list for three weeks.

1988 – Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley (of The Righteous Brothers) perform “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” at the Academy Awards. The song, from the “Dirty Dancing” movie soundtrack, becomes the third one by Warnes to capture an Oscar.

1992 – “Save the Best for Last,” by Vanessa Williams, is parked at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. It holds the top spot for five weeks.

1998 – “All My Life,” by R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo, is midway through a three-week domination of the Billboard pop chart.

2006 – June Pointer, the youngest of the four Pointer Sisters, who went from teenage gospel singers to the top of the pop chart with hits like “‘Fire,” “Slow Hand” and “I’m So Excited,” dies of cancer at the age of 52.

2009 – The Billboard Hot 100 deals Lady Gaga a favorable hand as “Poker Face” begins a week at No. 1. The track, which also tops the charts in 19 other countries, wins Best Dance Recording honors at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

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Let It Be

The Beatles

Dirty Dancing (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Various Artists

Beyond the Last Path: A Buchenwald Survivor's Story

Eugene Weinstock

The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years

Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot

J. Randy Taraborrelli

The Soul Sessions

Joss Stone

On This Day April 3

History Highlights

1860 – The Pony Express launches, with horse and rider relay teams simultaneously leaving St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California as part of a new effort to speed up U.S. mail delivery. 

1948 – President Harry S. Truman signs the Economic Recovery Act of 1948 — later known as the Marshall Plan — which would foster the recovery of war-torn Europe. 

1968 – Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction classic, “2001: A Space Odyssey” — regularly voted as one of the greatest movies ever made, but whose philosophical meaning most fans cannot explain — opens in theaters around the U.S.

1968 – Another sci-fi classic opens at U.S. theaters. It’s “Planet of the Apes,” starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans. It’s the story about an astronaut crew that crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes rule and humans are oppressed and enslaved.

1974 – More than 140 tornadoes rip through 11 states within 16 hours. The “Super Tornado Outbreak” kills 330 people and injures more than 6,000 others.

1978 – At the 50th annual Academy Awards, Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” wins the Oscar for Best Picture, beating out George Lucas’ “Star Wars.”

1986 – IBM unveils its first laptop computer. The 5140 “Convertible” retails for $1,995 and weighs 13 pounds.

1996 –  FBI agents arrest accused Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski at his rural Montana cabin. Kaczynski was linked to 16 mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23 others during an 18-year period.

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The Definitive Collection

The Temptations

Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan

Elaine M. Hayes

The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War

Benn Steil

2001: A Space Odyssey

Starring Douglas Rain, Frank Miller and Keir Dullea, and directed by Stanley Kubrick

On The Waterfront

Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb, and directed by Elia Kazan

Trading Places

Starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy and Denholm Elliott, and directed by John Landis

On This Day January 31

History Highlights

1865 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The measure is ratified by the states that December.

1949 – The first daytime soap opera premieres on NBC. It’s called “These Are My Children” and it runs just 15 minutes in length, airing weekdays at 5 p.m.

1950 – President Harry S. Truman announces plans to develop the hydrogen bomb. Two-and-a-half years later, the U.S. tests its first H-bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific. It generates a blast a thousand times stronger than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II.

1958 – The first American satellite, Explorer I, launches into space.

1968 – As part of the Tet Offensive, a squad of Viet Cong guerillas attacks the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

1971 – Apollo 14, piloted by astronauts Alan Shepard Jr., Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa, successfully launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a manned mission to the moon.

1988 – “The Wonder Years” premieres on prime time TV. The coming-of-age tale set in the 1960s and 70s, stars Fred Savage. The last episode airs in the fall of 1993.

1990 – Los Angeles prosecutors announce that they will retry teacher Raymond Buckey, who was accused of molesting children at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. The McMartin trials had already taken six years and cost more than $13.5 million without a single guilty verdict.

1990 – The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in Moscow.

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Jackson 5: The Ultimate Collection

Jackson 5

Autoamerican

Blondie

The Bomb

Rushmore Denooyer and Kirk Wolfinger

Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut

Edgar Mitchell

Jackie Robinson: A Biography

Arnold Rampersad

Good Will Hunting

Starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Minnie Driver, and directed by Gus Van Sant

On This Day December 26

History Highlights

1898 – In a landmark moment for chemistry and physics, French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie publish a paper announcing their discovery of the element of radium (Ra). The groundbreaking discovery later garners the husband and wife team the Nobel Prize.

1946 – Mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, aiming to establish a stylish and cosmopolitan gambling destination in the Nevada desert. Siegel closes the resort just two weeks later due to lackluster business, and the following June, he is killed in a mob hit. After undergoing multiple ownership changes through the years, the Flamingo is still in operation as the oldest casino on the Vegas Strip.

1966 – Kwanzaa is observed for the first time. The seven-day holiday with strong African roots was designed by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach, as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.

1972 – Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, dies in Independence, Missouri at the age of 88.

1973 – “The Exorcist” opens in movie theaters across the U.S., terrifying audiences and establishing a new standard for the horror genre. Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning movie is about a girl, played by Linda Blair, that is possessed by an evil spirit.

1974 – Cancer claims the life of beloved comedian Jack Benny at the age of 80.

1982 – TIME magazine breaks from tradition when the magazine’s editors replace the annual “Man of the Year” cover story with “Machine of the Year” and profile the personal computer.

1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home. Her murder becomes the focus one of most intensive and publicized police investigations in U.S. history and remains unsolved to this day.

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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 3

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Da Doo Ron Ron: The Very Best Of The Crystals

The Crystals

No More Drama

Mary J. Blige

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age

Matthew Brzezinski

The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1)

Robert A. Caro

One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building

Judith Dupré

The Great Escape

Starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough, and directed by John Sturges

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Starring Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw, and directed by Steven Spielberg

On This Day November 2

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The Beatles 1967-1970 (The Blue Album)

The Beatles

The Definitive Collection

Stevie Wonder

Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters

Richard Hack

Why We Can't Wait

Martin Luther King Jr. & Dorothy Cotton

Atlantic City

Starring Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon and Michel Piccoli, and directed by Louis Malle

Recollection

k. d. lang

On this Day July 30

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Yesterday...And Today

The Beatles

Revolutions: The Very Best Of Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood

LBJ's Neglected Legacy

Robert H. Wilson, Norman J. Glickman and Laurence E., Jr. Lynn

Volkswagen Beetle: A Celebration of the World's Most Popular Car

Richard Copping

Kindergarten Cop

Starring Arnold SchwarzeneggerPenelope Ann Miller and Pamela Reed, and directed by Ivan Reitman

Million Dollar Baby

Starring Clint EastwoodHilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, and directed by Clint Eastwood

On this Day June 14

Musical Milestones

1969 – “Get Back,” by The Beatles with Billy Preston, is in the midst of a five-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1975 – “Sister Golden Hair,” by the band America, begins one week on top of the Billboard singles chart.

1975 – Janis Ian releases “At Seventeen,” which peaks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and goes on to win a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, beating out Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy.

1980 – Billy Joel starts a six-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with “Glass Houses.” It becomes Joel’s second chart-topping album and contains his first No. 1 single, “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.” It is nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy, but Joel wins a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

1986 – Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald begin three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their duet “On My Own.” LaBelle and McDonald really were on their own, recording their vocal parts separately. It was only after the song reached No. 1 that they met.

1994 – Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning composer-conductor-arranger Henry Mancini (“Moon River,” “Love Theme from Romeo And Juliet,” “The Pink Panther” and “Peter Gunn” themes) dies at the age of 70.

1995 – Some 60 million viewers tune in for Diane Sawyer’s interview with Michael Jackson and his bride, Lisa Marie Presley, on ABC’s PrimeTime Live. The widely advertised “no holds barred” interview was the first Jackson had given since being accused of child molestation by a 13-year-old boy in 1993.

1997 – “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, kicks off 11 weeks as a No. 1 single.

2003 – “21 Questions,” by 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg, is in the middle of four weeks on top of the pop chart.

History Highlights

1777 – The Continental Congress passes the Flag Act, a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag becomes known as the “Stars and Stripes.”

1885 – America’s first Flag Day is celebrated when Wisconsin schoolteacher Bernard J. (B.J.) Cigrand arranges for his students to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as “Flag Birthday.”  For years, Cigrand — known today as the “Father of Flag Day” — lobbied to have June 14 designated for a national celebration of the American flag. In 1948, 17 years after Cigrand’s death, President Harry S. Truman signed a Congressional Act into law, establishing a voluntary observance, but not an official national holiday.

1922 – President Warren G. Harding dedicates a memorial site in Baltimore for “Star Spangled Banner” composer Francis Scott Key, and in addressing the crowd, becomes the first U.S. president to have his voice transmitted by radio. Harding was the first president to own a radio and to have one installed in the White House.

1951 – Engineers take the wraps off the first commercial computer, the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer).

1954 – On Flag Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Exactly two years later, he signs another measure into law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto.

1968 – Acclaimed pediatrician and author, Dr. Benjamin Spock, an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, is convicted of aiding draft resistors. His two-year prison term is reversed on appeal in 1969, but for the rest of his life, Spock continues to engage in political protests and peace activism.

1976 – “The Gong Show,” a prime-time amateur talent contest, premieres on NBC with host Chuck Barris.

1982 – Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the Falkland Islands War.

1985 – Shiite Hezbollah gunmen hijack TWA Flight 847 from Athens, Greece to Rome, forcing the plane to land in Beirut, Lebanon, where they execute a U.S. Navy diver on board.

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America's Greatest Hits / History

America

Glass Houses

Billy Joel

A Grand Old Flag:
A History of the United States Through its Flags

Kevin Keim

Dr. Spock's The First Two Years: The Emotional and Physical Needs of Children from Birth to Age 2

Dr. Benjamin Spock

The Jeffersons:
The Complete Series

Starring Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford and Marla Gibbs

Greatest Hits

Culture Club

On this Day May 8

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Let It Be

The Beatles

Welcome Back, Kotter

Starring Gabe Kaplan, Marcia Strassman, John Sylvester White, Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Ron Palillo and John Travolta

The Day the War Ended/May 8, 1945 : Victory in Europe

Martin Gilbert

Dr. No

Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress and Jack Lord, and directed by Terence Young

Little House on the Prairie

Starring Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project

Starring Don Rickles, Robin Williams and Bob Newhart, and directed by John Landis