On This Day February 24

Musical Milestones

1958 – The Silhouettes are on top of the Billboard pop chart with “Get a Job.” Thanks to the band’s performances on “American Bandstand” and “The Dick Clark Show,” the single goes on to sell over a million copies.

1968 – French orchestra leader Paul Mauriat is in the middle of a five-week run atop the Billboard singles chart with his instrumental, “Love is Blue.” It is the only song by a French artist to ever top Hot 100.

1973 – Roberta Flack begins a five-week reign over the singles chart with “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The song garners Flack the 1973 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, with co-writers Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel earning the Song of the Year Grammy.

1975 – Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album, “Physical Graffiti,” is released in the U.S. and immediately sees one million copies ship — a whopping order for Atlantic Records. The double album, which features the iconic photo of a New York City tenement on the cover, contains some of the band’s most memorable tracks, including “Kashmir,” “Ten Years Gone” and “In My Time of Dying.”

1982 – Winners at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards include John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Album of the Year (“Double Fantasy”), songwriters Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon for Song of the Year (“Bette Davis Eyes” performed by Kim Carnes), Sheena Easton for Best New Artist and Quincy Jones for Producer of the Year.

1990 – Singer-songwriter and pianist Johnnie Ray dies of liver failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Ray is credited with 20 Top 40 singles between 1952 and 1960, including “Just Walking in the Rain.”

1990 – Paula Abdul and The Wild Pair enjoy their third and final week as Billboard chart-toppers with “Opposites Attract.”

1996 – “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men is the No. 1 single.

2001 – “Stutter,” by Joe featuring Mystikal, kicks off four weeks on top of the pop chart.

2007 – Nelly Furtado lands on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a week with “Say It Right.”

History Highlights

1836 – Under attack by soldiers of the Mexican Army, Colonel William Travis issues an urgent call for reinforcements on behalf of his Texan troops defending the Alamo in Bejar, Texas (San Antonio today).

1868 – Andrew Johnson becomes the first U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives, which charges him with violating the Tenure of Office Act and bringing into “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt, and reproach the Congress of the United States.” Johnson, who assumed office after the Lincoln assassination, is acquitted three months later in the Senate.

1903 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs a deal with the new government of Cuba to lease 45 square miles at the mouth of Guantanamo Bay for 2,000 gold coins a year.

1909 – The Hudson Motor Car Company is founded. In the mid-1950s, it becomes American Motors, best known for production of the Gremlin and Pacer.

1968 – The Tet Offensive ends as U.S. and South Vietnamese troops recapture the ancient capital of Hue from communist forces.

1981 – Socialite Jean Harris is convicted of murdering ex-lover Dr. Herman Tarnower, author of the bestselling “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet,” concluding a sensational trial that ignited a national debate about whether Harris was a woman scorned or a victim of abuse.

1988 – The U.S. Supreme Court sides with Larry Flynt’s Hustler magazine by overturning a lower court decision to award the Reverend Jerry Falwell $200,000 for defamation.

1991 – After the six-week-long bombing campaign against Iraq and its armed forces known as Operation Desert Storm, U.S.-led coalition forces launch a massive ground offensive against Kuwait and Iraq.

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Killing Me Softly

Roberta Flack

Physical Graffiti

Led Zeppelin

Very Much a Lady: The Untold Story of Jean Harris and Dr. Herman Tarnower

Shana Alexander

Unseemly Man Hardcover

Larry Flynt

Barney Miller (Season One)

Starring Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda, Ron Glass, Max Gail and others

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson

On this Day August 7

History Highlights

1782 – General George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the “Badge for Military Merit” — a decoration for valor consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk with the word “Merit” stitched across the face. Only three soldiers were awarded the badge before it fell into disuse. It was revived in 1932 as the Purple Heart, consisting of a bust of Washington below a coat of arms.

1959 – The sheaves of wheat image on the U.S. penny is replaced with the Lincoln Memorial. 

1959 – NASA launches the Explorer 6 satellite to study trapped radiation, galactic cosmic rays and geomagnetism in the upper atmosphere. It is the first spacecraft to transmit images of Earth from orbit.

1972 – Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Gomez and Early Wynn are inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. 

1974 – After six years of planning and preparation, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walks a tightrope a quarter mile above the streets of Manhattan between the World Trade Center towers.

1990 – President George H. W. Bush orders the launch of Operation Desert Shield in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2. The order prepares American troops to join an international coalition in the war against Iraq that would be launched as Operation Desert Storm in January 1991.

2005 – Longtime ABC News anchor and reporter Peter Jennings loses his battle with cancer at the age of 67.

2005 – The seven-person crew of a small Russian submarine (Priz) is rescued by an unmanned British submersible that freed the sub after its propellers became entangled in fishing nets deep in Pacific waters.

Own a Piece of This Day

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Timeless: The All-Time Greatest Hits

Bee Gees

Mirage (Deluxe Edition)

Fleetwood Mac

The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball's Greats

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Man on Wire

Philippe Petit

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey

Brian Urquhart

North Country

Starring Charlize TheronFrances McDormand andSean Bean, and directed by Niko Caro

On this Day August 2

History Highlights

1776 – The official signing of the Declaration of Independence takes place on this day, not July 4 as widely believed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, signs the engrossed copy with a bold signature. The other delegates, following custom, sign beginning at the right with the signatures arranged by states from northernmost New Hampshire to southernmost Georgia.

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken. It determines that there are nearly 4 million citizens in the 16 states and Ohio Territory. The U.S. has taken a census every 10 years since then.

1934 – With the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer (“Leader”).

1943 – Almost two decades before becoming U.S. president, John F. Kennedy is commander of a U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat (PT-109) in the Solomon Islands that is rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sliced in half. Two crewmen are killed, but 11 survive due largely to Lt. Kennedy’s dramatic rescue efforts.

1985 – Wind gusts from a severe thunderstorm are blamed for the crash of Delta Airlines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet, at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport that leaves 137 people dead. 

1990 – Iraqi troops invade Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait, quickly capturing Kuwait City and establishing a provincial government. The move leads to “Operation Desert Storm,” a massive U.S.-led military offensive aimed at ousting Iraqi forces to prevent further invasion into nearby Saudi Arabia. 

1992 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first woman ever to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon.

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One of These Nights

Eagles

Solitude / Solitaire

Peter Cetera

The American Census: A Social History, Second Edition

Margo J. Anderson

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy

William Doyle

Lawrence of Arabia

Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn, and directed by David Lean

Avatar

Starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by James Cameron