On this Day August 12

Musical Milestones

1960 – The Silver Beatles become The Beatles, and on this day, the newly renamed band hires Pete Best as drummer. Two years later, he is fired and replaced by Ringo Starr.

1964 – The Beatles’ first film, “A Hard Day’s Night,” opens in 500 U.S. theaters to rave reviews.

1966 – The Beatles’ final U.S. tour begins with two performances at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago. During a pre-show press conference, reporters challenge John Lennon to explain his recent boast that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.

1967 – The Doors close out three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Light My Fire.” About a month later, the band performs the song before a national audience on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

1978 – “Three Times a Lady,” by the Commodores featuring Lionel Richie, is the No. 1 single.

1985 – Japanese singer-actor Kyu Sakamoto is killed at the age of 43 in the crash of a Japan Airlines jetliner outside Tokyo. Sakamoto was the first Asian recording artist to have a No. 1 hit in the U.S.: “Sukiyaki” in June of 1963, which sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.

1995 – TLC is in the midst of a seven-week domination of the singles chart with “Waterfalls.”

2000 – “Incomplete,” by Sisqó, begins a two-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

2009 – Legendary guitarist Les Paul dies of pneumonia at age 94. Paul designed one of the first solid-body electric guitars, which went on sale in 1952 and was “instrumental” in the development of rock ‘n roll. He also pioneered other recording innovations such as multi-track recording and overdubbing.

History Highlights

30 B.C. – Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, takes her life following the defeat of her forces against Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome.

1851 – Business tycoon Isaac Merritt Singer patents the sewing machine.

1939 – “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland and featuring words and music by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg and Harold Arlen, makes its world premiere at the Strand Theatre in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

1963 – The first 1964 Ford Thunderbird rolls off a Detroit assembly line. 

1977 – Space Shuttle Enterprise passes a critical test as it separates from the top of a 747 for its first free flight and makes a smooth landing in the Mojave Desert. 

1981 – IBM takes the wraps off the first personal computer (the IBM 5150) with a price tag starting at $1,565. That includes the system unit, a keyboard and color/graphics capability. It costs more for options including a display, a printer, two diskette drives, extra memory, a game adapter and application packages — including one for text processing. 

1990 – Digging on a cliff near Faith, South Dakota, paleontologist Susan Hendrickson unearths three huge bones that turn out to be part of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered — a 67 million-year-old specimen dubbed Sue, after its discoverer.

2014 – Lauren Bacall, the smoky-voiced movie legend who taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in “To Have and Have Not,” dies at the age of 89. Bacall made more than 40 films during a 70-year career, including “The Big Sleep,” “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”

Own a Piece of This Day

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A Hard Day's Night

The Beatles

The Definitive Collection

The Commodores

Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance

Ruth Brandon

Father, Son & Co.: My Life at IBM and Beyond

Thomas J. Watson, Jr. and Peter Petre

Adventures in the Screen Trade

William Goldman

Neck and Neck

Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins

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