On This Day February 29

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1958 – Frank Sinatra cruises along the top of the Billboard album chart with “Come Fly With Me,” featuring the tracks “Isle of Capri,” “Autumn in New York,” “April in Paris,” “Blue Hawaii” and, of course, the title track, “Come Fly With Me.” The album holds the top spot for five weeks.

1964 – The Beatles are in the middle of a seven-week domination of the Billboard singles chart with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

1968 – The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album scores big at the 10th Grammy Awards, earning statuettes for Album of the Year (first rock LP to do so), Best Album Cover, Best Engineered Recording and Best Contemporary Album.

1980 – Buddy Holly’s distinctive eyeglasses and The Big Bopper’s watch turn up inside a file at the Mason City, Iowa police station. Both articles had been misplaced 21 years earlier after the plane crash that killed them and rocker Ritchie Valens.

1980 – At age 84, comedian George Burns becomes the oldest person with a hit on the Billboard Hot 100, as “I Wish I Was 18 Again” peaks at No.49. The last charting record Burns had before this was a spoken word comedy routine with his wife and partner Gracie Allen in 1933.

1992 – Mr. Big kicks off three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “To Be with You.”

2004 – Usher, Lil Jon and Ludacris have the No. 1 single with “Yeah!” It remains on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks.

2012 – Singer and actor Davy Jones, who was part of the pop group The Monkees, dies of a heart attack at the age of 66.

On This Day March 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – European forces allied against Napoleonic France march triumphantly into Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the continent.

1842 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation by Dr. Crawford Long. 

1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.

1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.” 

1964 – The popular game show “Jeopardy!” premieres on NBC with host Art Fleming. Alex Trebek takes over in 1984 and continues hosting until his death in 2020.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.

2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses. 

On This Day March 16

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On This Day March 9

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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 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1836 – The Battle of the Alamo begins as Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his army arrive in San Antonio, Texas. Undaunted, William Travis, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and a few hundred others prepare to defend the mission together, holding out for 13 days. “Remember the Alamo!” becomes a rallying cry for the Texian Army.

1945 – During the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima, five U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. His iconic World War II image — a symbol of American military heroism —  wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes the inspiration for the national U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

1954 – Elementary school children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. 

1968 – Considered a basketball legend, Wilt Chamberlain becomes the first NBA player to score more than 25,000 points during his professional sports career.

1980 – American speed skater Eric Heiden wins the 10,000-meter race at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, setting a world record with his time and winning an unprecedented fifth Gold medal at the games.

1997 – Scientists in Scotland announce that they have cloned a sheep named Dolly — the first successful cloning of a mammal from an adult cell. This development sparks widespread speculation about the possibility of human cloning.

On This Day October 27

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On This Day September 22

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1862 – President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation establishing January 1, 1863 as the date that more than three million slaves in the U.S. would be freed. While the proclamation only frees between 20,000 and 50,000 slaves within the 10 states still in rebellion, it provides the legal framework for the eventual emancipation of all others.

1953 – The world’s first four-level interchange (“Stack”) opens in Los Angeles at the intersection of the Harbor, Hollywood, Pasadena, and Santa Ana freeways. The Saturday Evening Post called it “a mad motorist’s dream.”

1975 – U.S. President Gerald Ford survives a second assassination attempt in less than three weeks while leaving a San Francisco hotel. Sara Jane Moore had aimed and was getting ready to fire the first shot when a bystander thwarted her plans.

1976 – “Charlie’s Angels” premieres on ABC with Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and the late Farrah Fawcett as a trio of detectives working for their unseen boss, Charlie, who telephoned in their assignments. 

1980 – The Iran-Iraq War begins as Iraqi armed forces invade western Iran along the nations’ joint border. The conflict drags on for eight years.

1982 – “Family Ties” debuts on NBC, starring Michael J. Fox as Alex, the smart, conservative and financially driven teenage son of parents played by Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross. 

1994 – NBC introduces “Friends,” starring Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc. The sitcom becomes one of primetime TV’s most popular shows during a 10-season run.

On This Day September 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1916 – The tank makes its debut as a battlefield weapon, attacking German troops as part of a British assault near Bois d’Elville, or Delville Wood, on the Western Front, during the Battle of the Somme in World War I.

1942 – Three Japanese torpedoes slam into the American aircraft carrier USS Wasp off Guadalcanal in the South Pacific during World War II. The attack claims the lives of nearly 200 of the ship’s 2,000 crewmen. The wreckage of the Wasp was discovered at the bottom of the Coral Sea in January 2019.

1954 – The iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast of air from a Manhattan subway vent is shot during the filming of “The Seven Year Itch,” directed by Billy Wilder.

1959 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States. During the next two weeks, Khrushchev’s visit dominates the headlines and provides some dramatic and humorous moments in the history of the Cold War.

1963 – Four young black girls are killed in a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that investigators determine to be a racially motivated terrorist attack. The bombing, which shocks the nation, is Birmingham’s third in 11 days following a federal order to integrate the Alabama schools.

1978 – Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks to win the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time in his career, becoming the first fighter ever to do so. 

1981 – The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice. 

1982 – Gannett publishes the first edition of a new national daily newspaper called USA Today.

2008 – The venerable Wall Street brokerage firm Lehman Brothers seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the largest victim of the subprime mortgage crisis that would devastate financial markets and contribute to the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.