On This Day December 31

Musical Milestones

1966 – The Monkees swing to the top of the singles chart with “I’m a Believer” and hold on for seven weeks, finally yielding to The Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” in mid-February.

1970 – Eight months after the The Beatles’ breakup and subsequent release of their last album, “Let It Be,” Paul McCartney files suit against bandmates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to officially dissolve their partnership.

1972 – Dick Clark begins a new holiday tradition as his first “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” concert is broadcast on ABC-TV, featuring performances by Three Dog Night and Al Green. Clark hosts the annual event for the next 32 years before turning the reins over to Ryan Seacrest.

1977 – “How Deep Is Your Love,” by the Bee Gees, is in the middle of three weeks as the No. 1 single. The song is part of the “Saturday Night Fever” movie soundtrack.

1983 – Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are in the middle of a six-week domination of the pop chart with “Say Say Say.”

1985 – Former teen idol Ricky Nelson and six others are killed when their chartered plane crashes in Texas.

1988 – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” by Poison, is in the midst of a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard single chart.

2005 – Mariah Carey begins a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Don’t Forget About Us.”

2015 – Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter Natalie Cole (“This Will Be,” “I’ve Got Love On My Mind,” “Miss You Like Crazy,” “Unforgettable”), daughter of legendary crooner and jazz pianist Nat King Cole, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 65.

History Highlights

1781 – The first bank in the U.S. opens under the name The Bank of North America.

1862 – Nine months after engaging in the most famous naval battles in American history, the ironclad warship USS Monitor sinks in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Sixteen crewmen are killed. The Monitor had dueled to a standstill with another ironclad, the CSS Virginia (originally the CSS Merrimack), off Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862.

1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison demonstrates his incandescent light bulb to the public for the first time.

1904 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in New York’s Times Square — known then as Longacre Square — at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Three years later, in 1907, the tradition of the dropping ball is introduced.

1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1984 – Bernhard Goetz, the white man known as the “subway vigilante” after he shot four young black men on a New York City subway train, turns himself in to authorities in New Hampshire.

1999 – Days after Mikhail Gorbachev is re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, stuns his country and the world by announcing his resignation six months before the end of his term. He turns control over to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, undercutting Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together. 

1999 – The United States officially turns control of the Panama Canal over to Panamanian authorities for the first time.

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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

Rick Nelson: Greatest Hits

Ricky Nelson

One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World

Joe McKendry

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Randall E. Stross

Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection

Patsy Cline

The Silence of the Lambs

Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, and directed by Jonathan Demme

Gandhi

Starring Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, and directed by Richard Attenborough

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 15

Musical Milestones

1960 – Elvis Presley is king of the pop chart with “It’s Now or Never.” The song remains at No. 1 for five weeks. 

1965 – More than 56,000 Beatles fans pack New York’s Shea Stadium for a concert introduced by TV host Ed Sullivan. The event serves as the kickoff of the Fab Four’s second U.S. tour.

1969 – Half a million hippies, flower children and 60s counter-culture zealots converge on a farm in Bethel, New York for what is billed as “three days of peace and music.” Decades later, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair is still considered the definitive concert event.

1970 – The Carpenters’ breakthrough hit, “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” marks its fourth and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The track garners the sibling duo the first of three career Grammys.

1981 – Diana Ross and Lionel Richie kick off nine weeks on top of the pop chart with “Endless Love,” the theme from the movie of the same name. The track receives a Best Original Song Oscar nomination for Richie.

1992 – “End of the Road,” by Boyz II Men, is a Billboard No. 1, and holds the top spot for a then-record-breaking 13 weeks. The song goes on to capture two Grammys at the 1993 Grammy Awards.

1998 – Brandy and Monica have a lock on the No. 1 slot on the pop chart with “The Boy Is Mine.”

2015 – Omi wraps up four consecutive weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Cheerleader.” The track returns to No. 1 two weeks later and remains there for an additional two weeks.

Celebrity Birthdays

1769 – French military general/emperor Napolean Bonaparte (d. 1821)

1912 – TV chef and cookbook author Julia Child (d. 2004)

1925 – Actor Mike Connors, most remembered for his role as a detective in the CBS series “Mannix” (d. 2017)

1925 – Grammy-winning jazz pianist-composer Oscar Peterson (d. 2007)

1944 – Journalist, author and former NBC News correspondent Linda Ellerbee 

1946 – Grammy-winning songwriter-composer Jimmy Webb, who penned some of the highest-charting singles of the 20th century, including “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “The Worst That Could Happen,” “All I Know,” “MacArthur Park”

1968 – Actress Debra Messing, best known as Grace Adler in the sitcom “Will & Grace”

1972 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor-director-producer Ben Affleck (“Dazed and Confused,” “Chasing Amy,” “Good Will Hunting,”  “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town,” “Argo,” “Gone Girl,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)

1989 – Singer-actor Joe Jonas, who originally performed with the Jonas Brothers before forming the band DNCE (“See No More,” “Just in Love,” “Cake by the Ocean”)

1990 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence (“The Bill Engvall Show,” “Winter’s Bone,” “X-Men: First Class,” “The Hunger Games,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle,” “Joy”)

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The Beatles At Shea Stadium

Dave Schwensen

Woodstock: Music From the Original Soundtrack and More

Various artists

Never Met a Man I Didn't Like: The Life and Writings of Will Rogers

Will Rogers, Joseph Carter and Jim Rogers

Apocalypse Now

Starring Marlon BrandoMartin SheenRobert Duvall, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Good Will Hunting

Starring Ben AffleckMatt DamonRobin Williams, and directed by Gus Van Sant

Silver Linings Playbook

Starring Bradley CooperJennifer LawrenceRobert De Niro, and directed by David O. Russell