On This Day April 5

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1969 – Tommy Roe enjoys his fourth and final week on top of the pop chart with “Dizzy.”

1975 – “Lovin’ You,” by Minnie Riperton, tops the Billboard Hot 100. At the end of the track, you can hear her sing, “Maya, Maya” to her daughter, actress-comedian and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph. Tragically, Riperton dies of breast cancer four years later at the age of 31.

1980 – “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II,” by Pink Floyd, is the No. 1 single. 

1984 – The funeral service for Motown legend Marvin Gaye takes place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown talent are on hand to pay their respects.

1985 – At 3:50 p.m. GMT, more than 5,000 radio stations around the world simultaneously broadcast the single “We Are the World,” produced as a charity to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. The single, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, features the voices of some of the biggest musical acts of the day.

1994 – Grunge music icon Kurt Cobain, Nirvana founder and frontman, commits suicide. His body is discovered at his Seattle home three days later by an electrician who showed up to  install a security system.

1997 – “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” by Puff Daddy featuring Mase, is in the middle of a six-week ride atop the Billboard Hot 100.

2008 – Leona Lewis has the No. 1 single with “Bleeding Love.” The track holds the top spot for a week.

On This Day February 20

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History Highlights
History Highlights

On This Day January 11

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On This Day November 18

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1956 – Fats Domino appears on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and plays his smash, “Blueberry Hill.”

1957 – Elvis Presley remains perched atop the U.S. singles chart for a fifth straight week with “Jailhouse Rock,” from the movie of the same name.

1963 – “I’m Leaving It Up to You” by Dale & Grace is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1971 – Memphis blues singer and musician Herman ‘Junior’ Parker dies at the age of 39 during surgery for a brain tumor. Among his hits were “Feelin’ Good,” “Driving Wheel,” “Next Time You See Me,” “In the Dark” and “Sweet Home Chicago.”

1978 – “52nd Street” becomes Billy Joel’s first No. 1 album. It contains some of his biggest hits to date, including “My Life,” “Big Shot” and “Honesty,” and goes on to capture two Grammy Awards.

1989 – Bad English’s “When I See You Smile” begins its second and final weeks at No, 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

1993 – Five months before Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death, the pioneering grunge band records an “MTV Unplugged” special at Sony Music Studios in New York City. The set list consists of lesser-known material and cover versions of songs by The Vaselines, David Bowie, Meat Puppets and Lead Belly. The album goes on to win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996.

1995 – “Fantasy.” by Mariah Carey, enters its eighth and final week on top of the pop chart.

2017 – Australian musician and songwriter Malcolm Young, best known as a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC, dies at the age of 64.

On This Day September 24

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1789 – Congress passes and President George Washington signs the Judiciary Act of 1789 into law, establishing the U.S. Supreme Court as a tribunal comprised of six justices who were to serve until they voluntarily step down, retire or die. 

1941 – The Japanese consul in Hawaii is instructed to divide Pearl Harbor into five zones, calculate the number of battleships in each zone and report the findings back to Japan. Unbeknownst to U.S. military officials, this information is used to lay the groundwork for Japan’s devastating December 7, 1941 attack.

1957 – President Dwight Eisenhower orders federal troops to escort nine African American students, nicknamed the “Little Rock Nine,” into the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

1968 – One of television’s longest-running news magazines debuts on CBS. It’s “60 Minutes,” with hosts Harry Reasoner and Mike Wallace presenting documentary-style coverage of the week’s news.

1969 – The trial of the “Chicago 8” begins. The band of protesters is accused of conspiracy and inciting a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. 

1977 – “The Love Boat” sets out on its maiden TV voyage on ABC, featuring a cruise ship full of celebrity passengers with tales of romance found and hearts broken. 

1988 – Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson runs the 100-meter dash in 9.79 seconds to win gold at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. However, Johnson tests positive for steroids three days later and is stripped of the medal, which is instead awarded to American Carl Lewis.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1966 – “Cherish,” by The Association, begins three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

1982 – Prince releases the single “1999,” a month before releasing the album of the same name. It climbs as high as No. 44 that December. Re-released in 1983, the track rises to No. 12 that July. Warner Brothers releases it again in 1985 as a 12″ single with “Little Red Corvette” as the B-side. Within two weeks, it’s a No. 2 hit. The song returns to the pop chart in December 1998, becoming Prince’s last Top 40 hit before his death in 2016.

1983 – Billy Joel rules the singles chart with “Tell Her About It,” off his “An Innocent Man” album. 

1988 – Bobby McFerrin begins a two-week run on top of the singles chart with “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” the first a cappella record to be a No. 1. The accompanying music video features the late actor-comedian Robin Williams.

1991 – The pioneering grunge band Nirvana releases “Nevermind” — the album containing the hit singles “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come as You Are,” “Lithium” and “In Bloom.” It reaches No. 1 on the album chart in January 1992 and goes on to sell around 30 million copies worldwide.

1994 – “I’ll Make Love to You,” by Boyz II Men, is in the middle of a 14-week domination of the pop chart.

2005 – “Gold Digger,” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, is the No. 1 single.

2011 – “Moves Like Jagger,” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, begins three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

On This Day September 10

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On this Day August 27

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1883 – The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history jolts Krakatoa (also known as Krakatau), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia. The resulting explosions and tsunamis kill an estimated 36,000 people.

1953 – “Roman Holiday,” featuring Audrey Hepburn in her first starring movie role, premieres in New York City.

1955 – The first edition of “The Guinness Book of Records” is published in England as a resource for pub patrons to settle friendly disputes. By that Christmas, it becomes a British best-seller. Today, it is the leading international authority for certifying every conceivable world record, from longest mustache to most tattooed woman, and everything in between.

1962 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe on a mission to fly by Venus and return data on the planet’s atmosphere, magnetic field, charged particle environment and mass.

1964 – Gracie Allen, who kept radio and TV audiences laughing for decades with comedy partner and husband George Burns, dies at age 69.

1966 – Sixty-five-year-old Francis Chichester sets sail from Plymouth, England aboard his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, on the first solo around-the-world trip by sea. He completes the voyage nine months and one day later with only a single stop in Sydney, Australia, and is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1984 – President Ronald Reagan announces the Teacher in Space Project to inspire students, honor teachers and spur interest in mathematics, science and space exploration. New Hampshire social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe is eventually selected out of 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. Sadly, she is killed along with all her fellow crew members in the January 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after liftoff.

On this Day June 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1215 – Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta (“Great Charter”). The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws.

1846 – Representatives of the United States and Great Britain sign the Oregon Treaty, establishing the boundary between the U.S. and Canada.

1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, becomes the first black cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

1917 – Two months after America formally enters World War I Congress passes the Espionage Act. The measure makes it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies.

1934 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established, straddling North Carolina and Tennessee.

1955 – The Eisenhower administration stages the first Operation Alert (OPAL) exercise, an attempt to assess America’s preparations for a nuclear attack.

1969 – The variety show “Hee Haw” premieres on CBS and continues through 1971 before starting a 21-year run in syndication. The show centered around country music and rural culture.

1986 –  Auto racing legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, becoming the first driver to do so.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto begins a three-week domination of the U.S. pop chart with “Sukiyaki.” Two decades later, in 1981, the band A Taste of Honey — which gave us the disco hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie” — releases its English-language version of the song and takes it to No. 3 on the pop chart.

1965 – Bob Dylan records one of the defining songs of his career: “Like a Rolling Stone.” The track is credited with transforming Dylan’s image from folk singer to rock star, and is considered one of the most influential compositions in postwar popular music. “Rolling Stone” magazine named it the best song of all time.

1974 – One-hit wonder Bo Donaldson claims a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero.”

1985 – “Around the World in a Day,” by Prince and the Revolution, begins its third and final week atop the Billboard album chart. The album contains the hits “Paisley Park and “Raspberry Beret.”

1989 – Nirvana’s debut album, “Bleach,” is released in the U.S., but doesn’t gain much traction until after the grunge band’s “Nevermind” album is released three years later.

1996 – “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, dies at the age of 79.  Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century, winning 13 Grammy awards and selling more than 40 million albums.

2002 – Ashanti’s debut single, “Foolish,” is in the midst of a 10-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100. Her accompanying music video features actor Terrence Howard.