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 September 13

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The Definitive Collection

Louis Armstrong

The Best of Berlin: The Millennium Collection

Berlin

Scooby-Doo Where Are You

Starring Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and their talking dog Scooby

Jim Henson: The Biography

Brian Jay Jones

Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams

Michael D’Antonio

What I Know For Sure

Tavis Smiley

On this Day August 4

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The Poseidon Adventure

Starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Roddy McDowall, Shelley Winters, and directed by Ronald Neame

Double Fantasy

John Lennon

Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics

Jeremy Schaap

Mississippi Burning

Starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe, and directed by Alan Parker

Sling Blade

Starring Dwight YoakamJ. T. Walsh, and directed by Billy Bob Thornton

The Rocket That Fell to Earth

Jeff Pearlman

On this Day August 2

History Highlights

1776 – The official signing of the Declaration of Independence takes place on this day, not July 4 as widely believed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, signs the engrossed copy with a bold signature. The other delegates, following custom, sign beginning at the right with the signatures arranged by states from northernmost New Hampshire to southernmost Georgia.

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken. It determines that there are nearly 4 million citizens in the 16 states and Ohio Territory. The U.S. has taken a census every 10 years since then.

1934 – With the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer (“Leader”).

1943 – Almost two decades before becoming U.S. president, John F. Kennedy is commander of a U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat (PT-109) in the Solomon Islands that is rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sliced in half. Two crewmen are killed, but 11 survive due largely to Lt. Kennedy’s dramatic rescue efforts.

1985 – Wind gusts from a severe thunderstorm are blamed for the crash of Delta Airlines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet, at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport that leaves 137 people dead. 

1990 – Iraqi troops invade Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait, quickly capturing Kuwait City and establishing a provincial government. The move leads to “Operation Desert Storm,” a massive U.S.-led military offensive aimed at ousting Iraqi forces to prevent further invasion into nearby Saudi Arabia. 

1992 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first woman ever to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon.

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One of These Nights

Eagles

Solitude / Solitaire

Peter Cetera

The American Census: A Social History, Second Edition

Margo J. Anderson

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy

William Doyle

Lawrence of Arabia

Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn, and directed by David Lean

Avatar

Starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by James Cameron

On this Day July 6

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A Hard Day's Night

Starring The Beatles, and directed by Richard Lester

All-Time Greatest Hits

Louis Armstrong

The Day All the Stars Came Out: Major League Baseball's First All-Star Game, 1933

Lew Freedman

Born to Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson

Frances Clayton Gray

The Best of Bill Haley & His Comets: The Millennium Collection

Bill Haley & His Comets

Shine

Starring Geoffrey RushLynn RedgraveArmin Mueller-Stahl, and directed by Scott Hicks

On this Day May 9

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The Definitive Collection

Louis Armstrong

The Best of The Guess Who

The Guess Who

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Admiral Richard E. Byrd

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

Jonathan Eig

Terms of Endearment

Starring Debra Winger, Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson and directed by James L. Brooks

The Essential Billy Joel

Billy Joel