On This Day January 28

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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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

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

On This Day November 2

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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

On This Day October 19

History Highlights

1781 – Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution. The event is known as the Siege of Yorktown or the Battle of Yorktown.

1960 – The Cold War heats up as the U.S. imposes an embargo on exports to Cuba. The original embargo covers all exports except medicine and some food products. President John F. Kennedy expands the embargo to cover U.S. imports from Cuba, which is made permanent in early 1962.

1970 – In New York City, One World Trade Center welcomes its first tenants, even as construction of the upper floors of the world’s tallest building continues.

1977 – An aviation icon, the supersonic Concorde SST, makes its first landing at New York’s JFK International Airport. The aircraft provides high-speed trans-Atlantic service until a 2003 Air France crash during takeoff from Paris that kills everyone on board.

1982 – Auto executive John DeLorean is arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering after FBI agents nab him with a briefcase containing $24 million worth of cocaine.

1987 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffers the largest-ever one-day percentage decline, dropping 508 points (22.6 percent), in what comes to be known as “Black Monday.” It is a bigger collapse than what rocked Wall Street in 1929, right before the Great Depression.

1991 – What begins as a small fire on private property in the hills of Oakland, California grows into an inferno that consumes 2.5 square miles of mostly residential neighborhoods. The Oakland Hills Firestorm kills 25 people and injures 150 others, and destroys nearly 3,500 homes and apartments.

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Ultimate Collection: Billy Preston

Billy Preston

Time And Again: The Ultimate a-ha

a-ha

City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center

James Glanz and Eric Lipton

The DeLorean Story: The Car, The People, The Scandal

Nick Sutton

Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of The Brady Bunch

Sherwood Schwartz and Lloyd J. Schwartz

The Universe of Peter Max

Peter Max

On This Day September 27

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Music From The Motion Picture Pulp Fiction (Explicit)

Chuck Berry, Kool and the Gang, Dusty Springfield and others

Duets II

Tony Bennett and various artists

Inventing Late Night

Ben Alba

Breach of Trust

Gerald McKnight

Bat Out of Hell

Meat Loaf

Shaun Cassidy: Greatest Hits

Shaun Cassidy

On This Day September 21

Celebrity Birthdays

1866 – Author H. G. Wells (“The Time Machine,” “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” “The Invisible Man,” “The War of the Worlds”) (d. 1946)

1931 – Actor Larry Hagman, best known for his role as villainous Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing in CBS’ hit series “Dallas” (d. 2012)

1934 – Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, known for his poetic lyrics, iconic songs and baritone voice (d. 2016)

1943 – Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“Beverly Hills Cop,” “Flashdance,” “Top Gun,” “The Rock,” “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “National Treasure”) 

1947 – Award-winning horror, science fiction, and suspense novelist Stephen King (“Carrie,” “The Shining,” “The Stand,” “Misery,” “The Dark Tower”)

1950 – Emmy-winning actor-comedian Bill Murray (“Saturday Night Live,” “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Hyde Park on Hudson,” “St. Vincent”)

1957 – Writer-producer Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers (“Raising Arizona,” “The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Fargo, “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Hail, Caesar!”)

1967 – Grammy-winning country music singer Faith Hill (“Wild One,” “Piece of My Heart,” “This Kiss,” “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me”)

1968 – Actress and talk show host Ricki Lake (“Hairspray,” “Ricki Lake”)

1971 – Actor Luke Wilson (“Idiocracy,” “Old School,” “Bottle Rocket,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Blue Streak,” “Bongwater,” “Legally Blonde”)

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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

The Best of Bobby Vinton

Bobby Vinton

The Majesty of the Law

Sandra Day O’Connor

It Worked For Me

Colin Powell

The Shining

Stephen King

Groundhog Day

Starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott, and directed by Harold Ramis

On This Day September 14

History Highlights

1814 – After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812, 35-year-old lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key writes a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which is later set to music, and in 1931, becomes America’s national anthem under its new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over the fort at daybreak.

1901 – Six months into his second term as U.S. president, William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. 

1959 – The Soviet’s Luna 2 rocket reaches the surface of the moon, becoming the first man-made object sent from Earth to the lunar surface. The event gives the Soviets a short-lived lead in the Space Race, and prompts the U.S. to speed up efforts to develop its own space program.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards entertainment pioneer Walt Disney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying “in the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author John Steinbeck, who had already received numerous other honors for his literary work, including the 1962 Nobel Prize and 1939 Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1965 – Marching onto TV screens for the first time are the military farce “F Troop” and the short-lived sitcom “My Mother the Car.” 

1972 – Americans meet the Walton family and witness its trials and tribulations for nine years on CBS. “The Waltons” airs for the last time on this day in 1981, the same day that “Entertainment Tonight” premieres.  

1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), who was an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning American actress before marrying into royalty, dies in a car crash at the age of 52. 

1999 – Millions evacuate their homes along the southeastern coast of the U.S. as Hurricane Floyd advances. The storm weakens from Category 4 to Category 2 by the time it makes landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina on September 16. Floyd is blamed for nearly 60 deaths across eight U.S. states and The Bahamas.

2015 – A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested at his Irving, Texas high school after a digital clock he had reassembled at home using a pencil case was mistaken by his teacher to be a bomb. Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest triggers a media frenzy, as many saw the incident as a case of racial profiling.

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The Essentials

The Rascals

The Best of Eric Clapton: The Millennium Edition

Eric Clapton

How To Be Like Walt

Pat Williams with Jim Denney

The Waltons

Based on the life of series creator Earl Hamner Jr. and starring Richard Thomas

The Hunt for Red October

Starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn and Sam Neill, and directed by John McTiernan

The Fighter

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, and directed by David O. Russell

On This Day September 13

History Highlights

1814 – Francis Scott Key writes a poem that is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

1969 – “Scooby Doo Where Are You” premieres, introducing a band of meddling kids to the Saturday morning cartoon lineup.

1971 – A four-day revolt by inmates at Attica Prison in upstate New York comes to an explosive end as state police troopers and National Guardsmen storm the maximum-security facility with teargas and a hail of gunfire. Forty-three people are killed.

1974 – “The Rockford Files,” starring James Garner as a private investigator, debuts on NBC.

1976 – “The Muppet Show” debuts with host Kermit The Frog joined by new Jim Henson creations, including Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. 

1993 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing an accord granting limited Palestinian autonomy. 

1994 – President Bill Clinton signs the Federal Assault Weapons Ban into law. The bill bans 18 specific firearms and certain features on guns, but only those manufactured after enactment. The measure expires exactly 10 years later, in 2004, since Congress did not reauthorize it.

2008 – Hurricane Ike makes landfall along the Texas Gulf coast in the early morning hours as a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. The third costliest storm in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina causes flooding and severe wind damage across Galveston and Houston, leaving many without power for weeks.

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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 September 7

Musical Milestones

1936 – Rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly is born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas. He produces a string of hits before his death at age 22 in a 1959 plane crash that also claims the lives of musical greats Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” (J.P. Richardson).

1968 – The Rascals claim the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “People Got to Be Free.

1974 – “(You’re) Having My Baby,” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates, wraps up three weeks on top of the singles chart.

1978 – Acclaimed drummer Keith Moon of the British rock band The Who dies of a drug overdose at the age of 32. 

1985 – The theme from the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire” (“Man In Motion”), by John Parr, is the No. 1 single. 

1994 – With TV host David Letterman as her escort, Madonna hands Aerosmith the Best Video award for “Cryin’” during the MTV Video Music Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

2001 – Michael Jackson is reunited onstage with the Jackson Five at his 30th Anniversary Celebration in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

2002 – “Dilemma,” by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

2003 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Warren Zevon (“Werewolves of London,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money”) dies of lung cancer at the age of 56. Ironically, Zevon earned the Grammys posthumously for his final album, “The Wind,” which was released just two weeks before his death.

2013 – “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell, enters its 12th and final week as a Billboard chart-topper.

History Highlights

1813 – The United States gets its nickname, “Uncle Sam.” The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Wilson stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to their rations as “Uncle Sam’s.”

1965 – Hurricane Betsy churns across extreme southern Florida en route to Louisiana where it kills 76 people and triggers widespread flooding. She’s the first hurricane to cause more than a billion dollars in damage, earning the nickname “Billion-Dollar Betsy.” 

1968 – Fifty women led by the New York Radical Women feminist group stages the first protest against the Miss America pageant. 

1977 – President Jimmy Carter signs a treaty granting Panama control over the Panama Canal beginning in the year 2000. The treaty ends an agreement signed in 1904 between then-President Theodore Roosevelt and Panama, which gave the U.S. the right to build the canal and a renewable lease to control five miles of land along either side of it.

1979 – The sports network ESPN debuts on cable TV. 

1980 – The 33rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony takes place, with statues going to the producers of “Taxi” and “Lou Grant” and performers Ed Asner and Barbara Bel Geddes — Asner for his starring role as newspaper editor Lou Grant, and Bel Geddes for her role as Miss Ellie, the Ewing family matriarch in the prime time soap “Dallas.” 

1986 – Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu becomes the first black man to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa. 

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The Real Buddy Holly Story

Hosted by Paul McCartney

Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

Tony Fletcher

Uncle Sam

Terry Allan Hicks

ESPN: The Uncensored History

Michael Freeman

The Simpsons: Season 1

Starring Albert Brooks, Maggie Roswell, Ron Taylor, Yeardley Smith and Harry Shearer

Across the Universe

Starring Evan Rachel WoodJim SturgessJoe Anderson, and directed by Julie Taymor

On this Day August 31

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Early Takes Volume 1

George Harrison

Metallica

Metallica

Mark Spitz: The Extraordinary Life of an Olympic Champion

Richard J. Foster

Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words

Andrew Morton

The Essential Van Morrison

Van Morrison

Pretty Woman

Starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, and directed by Garry Marshall

On this Day August 3

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 British duo’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.

History Highlights

1492 – Italian explorer Christopher Columbus leads three sailing ships from Spain on a journey to find a western sea route to China, India and  the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge is sworn in as the 30th president of the United States, hours after the death of President Warren G. Harding.  A man of few words (he was nicknamed “Silent Cal”), Coolidge gains popularity as president, winning more than 54 percent of the popular vote when reelected in 1924.

1949 – The Basketball Association of America (BAA) merges with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). Six NBL teams join the 10 BAA teams, plus an expansion team in Indianapolis, with the new league divided into Eastern, Central and Western Divisions.

1958 – America’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN 571), becomes the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater. 

1977 – Roger Moore returns to the big screen as secret agent James Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me.”  The movie features a sleek, powerful Lotus Esprit sports car that doubles as a submarine. 

1981 – Some 13,000 unionized air traffic controllers (members of PATCO, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) walk off the job and days later are fired by President Ronald Reagan. 

2008 – The first published photos of former celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn twins go up on People magazine’s website, and two weeks later, are published in a 19-page photo spread. People won the rights to the photos after a bidding war that, according to some reports, reached as high as $14 million — the most ever paid for celebrity baby pictures. 

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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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