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

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.

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

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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

History Highlights

1814 – 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 a new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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.

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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

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

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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

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