History Highlights

1915 – The American merchant ship William P. Frye becomes the first casualty of World War I as a German cruiser opens fire and sinks the vessel. Despite apologies from the German government, the attack sparks outrage in the U.S.

1922 – Ninety-eight guests are killed, 133 others are injured when the roof of Washington, D.C.’s Knickerbocker Theatre collapses under the weight of a heavy snowfall. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst, and the “Knickerbocker Snowstorm,” as it is known, still holds the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall.

1958 – The interlocking stud-and-tube plastic Lego brick is patented by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the Lego toy company (“Lego,” from the Danish term “leg godt,” meaning “play well”). Bricks manufactured today remain compatible with the original ones.

1964 – The State Department accuses the Soviet Union of shooting down an unarmed Air Force trainer jet over East Germany, killing its three occupants.

1986 – A nation watches in horror as Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) explodes 73 seconds into flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe — who was to have been the first civilian in space — and fellow crew members Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.

1997 – Four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before a tribunal in South Africa, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

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Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

We Are The World

U.S.A. For Africa

Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry

David Robertson and Bill Breen

Space Shuttle Disaster: The Tragic Mission of the Challenger

Henry M. Holden

M*A*S*H: The Complete Collection

Starring Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Harry Morgan, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit and others

The Green Mile

Starring Tom Hanks, David Morse and Bonnie Hunt, and directed by Frank Darabont

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The Beatles 1967-1970 (The Blue Album)

The Beatles

The Definitive Collection

Stevie Wonder

Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters

Richard Hack

Why We Can't Wait

Martin Luther King Jr. & Dorothy Cotton

Atlantic City

Starring Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon and Michel Piccoli, and directed by Louis Malle

Recollection

k. d. lang

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The Essential John Denver

This collection captures the breadth of John Denver’s incredible musical legacy. It opens with his ’60s folk period with “Leaving on a Jet Plane. Then there’s the down-home side with the back-porch ballad “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and the fiddle-flecked foot-stomper “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” And of course, soaring pop ballads like “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Rocky Mountain High” are included.

Fore! / Huey Lewis & The News

Released in 1986, Huey Lewis & the News’ fourth album sailed to No. 1 on the strength of five Top 10 singles: “Stuck with You,” “Hip to Be Square,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “I Know What I Like,” and “Doing It All for My Baby.” You’ve tapped your foot to at least one of these tunes over the years. Now tap to them all!

Inventing Late Night

Based on exclusive interviews, author Ben Alba has produced this wonderful history of the first “Tonight” show, complete with terrific photos from the program and revealing insights from more 30 entertainment legends who knew and worked with Steve Allen — including Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts, and many more.

Breach of Trust

The Warren Commission’s major conclusion was that Lee Harvey Oswald was the “lone assassin” of President John F. Kennedy. Author Gerald McKnight rebuts that view in this meticulous and devastating dissection of the Commission’s work.

Bat Out of Hell / Meat Loaf

A revving Harley of operatic rock purrs at the heart of this 1977 epic that proved to be the career catapult for Meat Loaf’s brand of piano-hammering emotion. This album contains such classics as “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.”

Shaun Cassidy - Greatest Hits

A teen idol of the late ’70s, actor and singer Shaun Cassidy rocketed to fame both on the pop charts and on television (“The Hardy Boys Mysteries”), much as his half-brother David Cassidy had earlier in the decade. This collection contains such fan favorites as “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

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Early Takes Volume 1 / George Harrison

George Harrison’s ability to balance lofty spiritual concerns within the framework of a pop song was one of his greatest strengths, and it is well documented on this collection of previously unreleased recordings.

Metallica

One of the biggest-selling albums of all time, Metallica’s self-titled disc (a.k.a. “The Black Album”) marked a major turning point for the band even before it was released in 1991. It was the first solid indication Metallica were no longer interested in writing pure thrash metal and wanted to reach a wider and more mainstream audience.

Mark Spitz: The Extraordinary Life of an Olympic Champion

Swimmer extraordinaire Mark Spitz is arguably the most famous and successful Olympic athlete of all time. This book dives into Spitz’s career, behind-the-scenes anecdotes about him and his competitors, and untold stories that shed light on his complicated personality. Old and new fans alike will appreciate the depth and details of this swimming icon’s story.

Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words

The sensational biography of Princess Diana, written with her cooperation and now featuring exclusive new material to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death.

The Essential Van Morrison

This comprehensive anthology of one of the Emerald Isle’s most soulful singers hits the high points of Van Morrison’s five-decade-long artistic evolution.

Pretty Woman

Vivian (Julia Roberts) is a spirited, streetwise diamond in the rough when she meets shrewd, no-nonsense billionaire Edward Lewis (Richard Gere). It’s a chance encounter that turns a week-long “business arrangement” into a timeless rags-to-riches romance. Directed by Garry Marshall.

Musical Milestones

1963 – Allan Sherman releases his classic summer camp parody “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp).” Inspired by actual complaint letters that Sherman received from his son, Robert, while away at summer camp, the song climbs as high as No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart.

1968 – The Doors have the hottest single with “Hello, I Love You (Won’t You Tell Me Your Name).” It’s the band’s second chart-topper.

1971 – Paul McCartney announces the formation of his new band, Wings, featuring wife Linda and ex-Moody Blues member Denny Laine. 

1973 – Stevie Wonder releases “Innervisions,” playing virtually all the instruments on six of the album’s nine tracks.

1974 – “Annie’s Song,” by John Denver, begins its second and final week as a No. 1 single.

1985 – “Shout,” by Tears for Fears, begins three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the duos’s second U.S. No. 1. 

1987 – Def Leppard releases “Hysteria,” which sells more than 25 million copies worldwide and becomes the band’s best-selling album to date. It spawns no less than seven hit singles, six of which make it to the Top 20.

1991 – “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” from the movie “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” keeps Bryan Adams on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a second week. The track remains there for a total of seven weeks.

1996 – “Macarena,” by Los Del Rio, shimmies its way to the top of the Billboard pop chart and holds there for 14 weeks. Decades later, the song remains a favorite at wedding receptions, parties and sporting events.

2002 – Nelly burns up the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hot in Herre.” The track maintains a hold on the top spot for seven weeks.

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Hysteria

Def Leppard

The Very Best of The Doors

The Doors

Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504

Laurence Bergreen

The National Basketball League: A History, 1935-1949

Murry R. Nelson

The Classics

Tony Bennett

Trading Places

Starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, and directed by John Landis

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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Iron Butterfly

Sid & Nancy

Starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, and directed by Alex Cox

The Plots Against Hitler

Danny Orbach

Apollo 11

This documentary features never-before-seen Apollo 11 footage; directed by Todd Douglas Miller

Splendor in the Grass

Starring Natalie WoodWarren BeattyPat Hingle, and directed by Elia Kazan

Sideways

Starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh, and directed by Alexander Payne

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Caribou

Elton John

Greatest

Duran Duran

The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon

Leo Braudy

Ghost

Starring Patrick SwayzeDemi MooreWhoopi Goldberg, and directed by Jerry Zucker

The Fugitive

Starring Harrison FordTommy Lee JonesSela Ward, and directed by Andrew Davis

Say Anything

Starring John CusackIone Skye and John Mahoney, and directed by Cameron Crowe