On This Day April 11

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Musical Milestones
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.

On This Day April 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.

1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast. 

1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world. 

1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.

2007 – Radio shock jock Don Imus makes offensive remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on the air, creating a firestorm of criticism across the country. Imus apologizes and loses his job, but ultimately is able to salvage his career.

2013 – Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV’s Sneak Previews program for 31 years, dies at the age of 70 after battling cancer.

On this Day July 20

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1944 – A plot to murder German dictator Adolf Hitler fails as a bomb planted in a briefcase goes off, but leaves him only slightly wounded. Known as Operation Valkyrie, the assassination attempt was masterminded by senior-level German military officials who wanted to remove Hitler in order to establish a new government. Hitler’s would-be assassins are executed after being discovered.

1969 – More than a billion people around the world are glued to TV sets and radios as Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to step onto the surface of the moon. He famously marks the landmark event by saying, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

1973 – Actor and martial arts icon Bruce Lee dies unexpectedly at the age of 32, just before the release of his film, “Enter the Dragon.” The official cause of death is a brain edema, possibly triggered by a reaction to a prescription painkiller that Lee was reportedly taking for a back injury.

1976 – On the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Viking 1, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, becomes the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars. 

1976 – In Major League Baseball, “Hammerin'” Hank Aaron hits his 755th and final home run during the Milwaukee Brewers’ game against the California Angels. 

1977 – A flash flood washes over Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing 84 people and causing millions of dollars in damage. The disaster marks the third time that floods, caused by dam failures, devastate the same community. The Great Flood of 1889 killed more than 2,000 people in Johnstown. A second flood in 1936 left two dozen people dead.

2012 – Twelve people are killed and 70 others are injured when a gunman opens fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  The theater was packed with Batman fans that were there for a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The tragedy becomes the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine shooting in 1999 in which 12 high school students and a teacher were gunned down.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – Beach music is the favorite on this day, as Jan and Dean’s “Surf City” hits No. 1 on the singles chart. 

1968 – Trumpeter Hugh Masekela begins a two-week run on top of the singles chart with the jazz instrumental “Grazing in the Grass.” In 2018, the song is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1968 – Heavy metal strikes the album chart for the first time in the form of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which was originally supposed to be titled “In The Garden of Eden.” The 17-minute title track takes up all of Side Two and was edited down to 2:53 for release as a single.

1974 – Early disco hit “Rock Your Baby,” by George McCrae, begins its second and final week as a No. 1 single.

1985 – Duran Duran begin their second and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “A View to a Kill,” from the James Bond movie of the same name.

1986 – The movie “Sid & Nancy,” based on the life of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, premieres in London, starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb.

1991 – One-hit-wonder EMF kick off a week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “Unbelievable.”

1996 – “How Do U Want It,” by 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo, grabs the top spot on the Billboard single chart. The track remains at No. 1 for a week.

2002 – “Hot in Herre,” by Nelly, is in the midst of a seven-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track garners Nelly a 2003 Grammy for Best Male Rap Solo Performance, a brand new category at the time.