On This Day January 18

Musical Milestones

1944 – The first jazz concert — known as the Esquire All-American Jazz Concert — is held at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden and Billie Holiday.

1960 – Johnny Preston starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Running Bear,” a song written by J. P. Richardson (a.k.a. “The Big Bopper”). The song was released shortly after Richardson’s death in the February 1959 plane crash that also claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

1964 – The Beatles make their U.S. singles chart debut when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” enters at No. 45. It goes on to spend seven weeks at No. 1. 

1969 – Marvin Gaye is midway through a seven-week ride atop the Billboard singles chart with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The track becomes Motown’s biggest-selling hit at that time.

1975 – Barry Manilow scores his first chart-topping single when “Mandy” reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1986 – “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick, featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, is the No. 1 single. The track, written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, wins Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Song of the Year Grammys.

1989 – At 38 years of age, Stevie Wonder becomes the youngest living person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has excellent company, as other inductees in his class include The Rolling Stones, The Temptations and Dion (DiMucci).

1992 – Michael Jackson wraps up seven weeks as a chart-topper with “Black or White,” off his “Dangerous” album.

2003 – Eminem finds himself on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for another week with “Lose Yourself,” from the “8 Mile” soundtrack.

History Highlights

1778 – British explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands when he sails past the island of Oahu. Two days later, he lands at Waimea on the island of Kauai and names the island cluster the Sandwich Islands, after the voyage’s sponsor, the Earl of Sandwich.

1919 – Leaders of the Allied powers — the United States, France, Great Britain and Italy — convene in Paris, France to begin the long and complex negotiations that would pave the way for the end of World War I. The Paris Peace Conference, as it is known, leads to creation of the League of Nations, an international peacekeeping organization.

1975 – The sitcom “The Jeffersons,” one of several spin-offs from TV’s groundbreaking “All in the Family,” premieres on CBS and becomes a ratings bonanza of its own during an 11-season run. Another Norman Lear creation, it stars Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as a successful African-American couple adjusting to life on Manhattan’s ritzy East Side after leaving their modest Queens neighborhood.

1977 – Scientists identify the cause of a mysterious outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed 34 people at a 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia. 

1990 – An FBI sting leads to the arrest of Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for possession of crack cocaine. After serving six months in federal prison, the so-called “mayor for life” makes one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of American politics in 1994 when D.C. residents elect him to a fourth term as mayor.

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Esquire All-American Jazz Concert

Featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and other jazz legends

Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection

Stevie Wonder

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Margaret MacMillan

Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.

Marion Barry, Jr. and Omar Tyree

To Catch A Thief

Starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Jessie Royce Landis, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Dances with Wolves

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

On This Day January 10

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1

The Beatles

Greatest Hits

The Bangles

Giant Under the Hill: A History of the Spindletop Oil Discovery

Jo Stiles

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Margaret MacMillan

The Wizard of Oz

Starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Frank Morgan, and directed by Victor Fleming

George Foreman's Guide to Life

George Foreman

On This Day October 2

History Highlights

1835 – Mounting tensions between Mexico and Texas lead to violence when Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, sparking the Texan war for independence. The battle flag used by the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales gained recognition as the “Come and Take It” flag, referring to a small cannon that Mexican forces tried to repossess.

1919 – President Woodrow Wilson, who had just cut short a cross-country speaking tour to promote formation of the League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations), suffers a massive stroke, which leaves him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. The stroke is kept a secret from the public, but forces Wilson to abandon his campaign for the League and weakens his presidency.

1950 – The first Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles Schulz, is published in seven newspapers across the U.S. Schulz originally called his strip “L’il Folks,” but United Features Syndicate changed the name.

1959 – “The Twilight Zone,” created and hosted by Rod Serling, premieres with an episode called “Where Is Everybody?” starring Earl Holliman. The black & white sci-fi series runs for five seasons.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice, is sworn in to office.

1985 – Actor Rock Hudson becomes the first high-profile celebrity to die of complications from AIDS. Hudson’s death, at the age of 59, raises public awareness of the epidemic, which until that time had been ignored by many in the mainstream as a “gay plague.”

2006 – A 32-year-old milk truck driver enters the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, and fatally shoots five female students and wounds five more before taking his own life. The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, had no criminal history or record of mental illness.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

Rod Stewart

American Fool

John Cougar (Mellencamp)

The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation

Charles Solomon

The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia

Steven Rubin

American Pie

Don McLean

Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994

Sting