On this Day June 30

History Highlights

1859 – Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a.  The Great Blondin, or Charles Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands of spectators line the American and Canadian sides of the falls to observe the feat, which he  performs along an 1,100-foot-long tightrope suspended 160 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Gorge.

1934 – In what comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.

1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gone with the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for the blockbuster 1939 movie, is published.

1971 – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie musical-fantasy starring Gene Wilder, opens in theaters. It’s an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

1971 – Three Soviet cosmonauts who made up the crew of the world’s first space station are killed when their spacecraft, Soyuz 11, depressurizes during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

1974 – The July 4th scene from the movie “Jaws” is filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, with 400 screaming, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits running from the water multiple times until director Steven Spielberg gets the right take.

1989 – Writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, “Do the Right Thing” about racial tensions boiling over in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on the hottest day of the year — opens in U.S. theaters. The movie receives Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello.

1993 – The legal thriller “The Firm,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman, opens in theaters. It’s based on the 1991 novel of the same name by John Grisham.

1995 – Director Ron Howard’s high-intensity drama “Apollo 13,” about NASA’s desperate efforts to bring the crew of Apollo 13 safely home after an explosion that denies them a moon landing, opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise, the movie receives nine Oscar nominations and wins for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

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The Very Best of Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Living In The Material World

George Harrison

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, and directed by Mel Stuart

Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

The Essential Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Undisputed Truth

Mike Tyson

On this Day June 9

Musical Milestones

1958 – The hottest single in the U.S. is “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley. The novelty hit holds the No. 1 spot for six weeks.

1962 – “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” by Ray Charles, is in its second week as a No. 1 single. It retains the top spot for five weeks. Across the pond, the track hits the top of the U.K. singles chart that July and holds there for two weeks.

1972 – Elvis Presley plays his first concert in New York City — the first of four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. The performances are recorded for later release on the “Elvis As Recorded at Madison Square Garden” album.

1972 – One month after auditioning for Columbia Records, Bruce Springsteen is signed by the label and begins assembling his E Street Band. His debut album, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.,” comes out in January 1973.

1979 – The Bee Gees reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the ninth time with “Love You Inside Out.” It becomes the sibling trio’s final chart-topper.

1984 – Cyndi Lauper begins a two-week run on top of the Billboard singles chart with “Time After Time,” off her debut album, “She’s So Unusual.” The track earns a Song of the Year Grammy nomination.

1990 – “Hold On,” by Wilson Phillips, clinches the top spot on the pop chart. The track goes on to win the Billboard Music Award for 1990 Hot 100 Single of the Year and is nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy.

1998 – The Ronettes (“Be My Baby,” “Walking In The Rain”) appear in court for their lawsuit against producer Phil Spector, whom they allege breached their 34-year-old contract by failing to pay royalties since 1963. Although The Ronettes win the case, the New York State Court of Appeals later overturns the decision, saying Spector had unconditional rights to their recordings.

2001 – Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa and Pink have the No. 1 single with their cover of Labelle’s 1974 smash, “Lady Marmalade.”

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Timeless: The All Time Greatest Hits

Bee Gees

She's So Unusual

Cyndi Lauper

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

Neal Gabler

The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse

Lawrence Scanlan

Back to the Future

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover, and directed by Robert Zemeckis

Edward Scissorhands

Starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and Dianne Wiest, and directed by Tim Burton

On this Day June 2

Musical Milestones

History Highlights

1865 – Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. Smith’s surrender effectively dissolves the last Confederate army, formally ending the Civil War — the bloodiest four years in U.S. history.

1924 – President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizen Act, granting automatic American citizenship to Native Americans born in the United States. 

1935 – Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, ends his Major League playing career after 22 seasons, 10 World Series and 714 home runs.

1941 – Another baseball legend, Lou Gehrig, dies of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a rare type of paralysis commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

1953 – Queen Elizabeth II of Britain is crowned in Westminster Abbey during the first televised coronation ceremony.

1979 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit a communist country when he tours his native Poland.

1989 – Moviegoers discover a darker side of comedian-actor Robin Williams when “Dead Poets Society” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Williams as an unconventional prep school English teacher. The performance garners Williams a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

1997 – Timothy McVeigh, a former U.S. Army soldier, is convicted on 11 counts of murder, conspiracy and using a weapon of mass destruction for his role in the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He is later sentenced to death.

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Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vols 1 & 2

Ray Charles

Bad Girls

Donna Summer

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

Jonathan Eig

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

Sally Bedell Smith

Tarzan The Ape Man

Starring Johnny Weissmuller, Neil Hamilton and Maureen O’Sullivan, and directed by W.S. Van Dyke

Star Trek (2009)

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg, and directed by J.J. Abrams