History Highlights

1916 – The Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret organization of Irish nationalists led by Patrick Pearse, launches the so-called Easter Rebellion (also known as Easter Rising), a six-day armed uprising against British rule. 

1962 – The first coast-to-coast satellite telecast takes place, as signals from California bounce off the first experimental communications satellite, Echo I, and are received in Massachusetts. 

1967 – Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed in Soyuz 1 when the spaceship’s parachute fails to open during its descent to Earth. It is the first in-flight fatality in aerospace history.  

1980 – Eight U.S. servicemen die in a failed mission to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran. The fatalities occur when two U.S. military aircraft collide. In a nationally broadcast address, President Jimmy Carter says he assumes full responsibility for the disastrous outcome of Operation Eagle Claw.

1980 – Longtime Illinois Congressman John Anderson announces he’s quitting the Republican party and will run as an independent presidential candidate against incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.

1982 – Already well established as an Oscar-winning actress and outspoken political activist, Jane Fonda adds fitness guru to her credentials with the release of the million-plus-selling “Jane Fonda’s Workout” video. The video sparks the aerobics craze and popularizes leg-warmers and Spandex among fitness-minded women.

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Full Moon Fever

Tom Petty

Taking the Long Way

Dixie Chicks

Histories of the Soviet / Russian Space Program: Volume 1

David N. Spires

The Guts to Try: The Untold Story of the Iran Hostage Rescue Mission by the On-Scene Desert Commander

Col. James H. Kyle, USAF (Ret.) and John Robert Eidson

Being There

Starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Jack Warden, and directed by Hal Ashby

Funny Girl

Starring Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif and Kay Medford, and directed by William Wyler

Musical Milestones

1956 – Rock and Roll King Elvis Presley signs a seven-year movie contract with Paramount Pictures.

1960 – Elvis Presley gets stuck on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks with “Stuck On You.” It’s his first hit single following his two-year stint in the U.S. Army.

1970 – The Jackson 5 give The Beatles’ “Let It Be” the boot and claim the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks with “ABC.”

1981 – Daryl Hall and John Oates begin their third and final week as chart-toppers with “Kiss On My List.”

1987 – U2 begin a nine-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with “The Joshua Tree,” which packs chart-topping tracks including “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” It goes on to capture Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

1990 – The Fender Stratocaster that rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix played at the Woodstock festival is auctioned off for a record $330,000. His two-hour set at the 1969 rock festival included a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

1992 – “Jump,” by hip hop duo Kris Kross, grabs the top spot on the singles chart and remains there for eight weeks.

1998 – Next has the No. 1 single with “Too Close.”

2007 – Leukemia claims the life of 69-year-old Bobby “Boris” Pickett, best known for his hit novelty song “Monster Mash,” which still gets radio airplay every Halloween.

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ABC

Jackson 5

The Joshua Tree

U2

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

Jimmy Carter

Shall We Dance

Starring Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Edward Everett Horton, and directed by Mark Sandrich

Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism

Bob Edwards

Dog Day Afternoon

Starring Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Broderick and Charles Durning, and directed by Sidney Lumet

Musical Milestones

1964 – The British Invasion is on as Capitol Records releases “Meet the Beatles!,” the band’s second album in the U.S.

1965 – American disc jockey Alan Freed is 43 years old when he dies from cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. Freed, a 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll.” His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that shook up the American broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

1968 – “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” a parody of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” puts John Fred and his Playboy Band at No. 1 on the singles chart for two weeks. 

1971 – “What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye, is released and introduces fans to a different, more personal side of the Motown star in this anthem about social injustice. The song spends five weeks on top of the Hot Soul Singles chart before crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it climbs to No. 2.

1973 – Carly Simon begins her third and final week on top of the singles chart with “You’re So Vain.”

1988 – Mick Jagger presides as The Beatles are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney decides not to attend, issuing a statement citing ongoing business differences among The Beatles.

1990 – Michael Bolton rules the Billboard Hot 100 with “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” The single holds the No. 1 spot for three weeks.

1996 – The Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men collaboration, “One Sweet Day,” is midway through a 16-week ride on top of the Billboard singles chart –the longest-running No. 1 song in the chart’s history at that time.

2007 – “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé, is in its sixth week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The track remains there for another four weeks and clinches a Record of the Year Grammy nomination.

History Highlights

1841 – During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention — an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as U.S. president for the second time. His first inauguration, in 1933, was held in March, but the 20th Amendment, passed later that year, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future presidents. 

1961 – President John F. Kennedy is sworn into office and delivers his inaugural address outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The speech concludes with his now-famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” 

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter calls for the 1980 Summer Olympics to be moved from the planned host city, Moscow, or canceled altogether if the Soviet Union fails to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan within a month.

1981 – Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th U.S. president, 52 American captives held at the American embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. 

1984 – Hungarian-born Olympic gold medal swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movies, dies at the age of 79. 

1993 – Actress, fashion icon and philanthropist Audrey Hepburn (“Roman Holiday,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “My Fair Lady”) dies of colon cancer at the age of 63. Hepburn remains among just a handful of performers who have won Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

2009 – On a freezing day in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. president. The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama was the first African-American to win election to the nation’s highest office.

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Meet The Beatles (The U.S. Album)

The Beatles

Anthology: The Best Of Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam

Mark Bowden

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Starring Audrey HepburnGeorge PeppardPatricia Neal, and directed by Blake Edwards

I Love Her, That's Why!

George Burns

Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Boxed Edition (Complete Series)

Starring Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean and directed by David Lynch

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Johnny Rivers: Greatest Hits

Johnny Rivers

Can't Slow Down

Lionel Richie

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island

Vincent J. Cannato

1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink

Taylor Downing

The Princess Bride

Starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon and Wallace Shawn, and directed by Rob Reiner

Brokeback Mountain

Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid and Anne Hathaway, and directed by Ang Lee

History Highlights

1922 – British archaeologist Howard Carter and his crew discover the entrance to King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

1924 – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming is elected as the first female governor in the United States.

1939 – America’s first air-conditioned car goes on display at the 40th National Automobile Show in Chicago. The mechanical refrigeration unit of the 1940 Packard 180 prototype automatically switched to heating in winter and therefore was not called an air conditioner, but rather a “Weather Conditioner.” It was a $279 option that Packard stopped offering after 1942.

1948 – The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to T.S. Eliot “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.”

1952 – The National Security Agency (NSA) is established by order of President Harry Truman to coordinate communications intelligence work across the entire federal government.

1979 – An angry mob of young Islamic revolutionaries storms the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran and takes 90 Americans hostage. Two weeks later, about half are released. The remaining hostages are held captive for the next 14 months in what is known as the Iran Hostage Crisis.

1990 – “Dances With Wolves,” starring Kevin Costner as an American Civil War-era soldier who forms a bond with a tribe of Sioux Indians, premieres in Los Angeles. The movie, which also marks Costner’s directorial debut, goes on to capture seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and proves the Western genre is not dead.

1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated. The 73-year-old leader was walking to his car following a peace rally in Tel Aviv when he was shot by a 27-year-old Israeli extremist who is arrested at the scene of the shooting, and later confesses to the crime.

2008 – Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) defeats Senator John McCain (R- Arizona) to become the 44th U.S. president and the first African American elected to the White House. 

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To Sir, With Love

Starring Sidney Poitier, Christian Roberts and Judy Geeson, and directed by James Clavell

Love Songs

Elton John

The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen

Howard Carter and A.C. Mace

Dances With Wolves

Starring Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell and Graham Greene, and directed by Kevin Costner

Cronkite

Douglas Brinkley

Dallas Buyers Club

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée