On This Day April 19

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1969 – The 5th Dimension have the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures).”

1975 – Elton John rules the pop chart with “Philadelphia Freedom.” The track is sometimes mistaken as a patriotic song about America, with the bicentennial approaching. It is actually a tribute to John’s close friend, tennis legend Billie Jean King, who, at the time, coached a tennis team called the Philadelphia Freedoms. 

1980 – For the first time ever, the top five artists on the country music chart are all female: Crystal Gayle is No. 1, with Dottie West, Debby Boone, Emmylou Harris and Tammy Wynette making up the rest of the top five. 

1980 – “Call Me” by Blondie claims the top spot on the singles chart and holds there for six weeks. The track is from the band’s “Autoamerican” album and is featured in the movie “American Gigolo,” starring Richard Gere.

1986 – “Kiss,” by Prince and The Revolution from the “Parade” album (the “Under the Cherry Moon” soundtrack) is the No. 1 single. Following Prince’s April 2016 death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 28, and jumped to No. 23 a week later.

1997 – Michael Jackson attends the unveiling of a wax statue of himself at the Grevin Museum of Wax in Paris. The King of Pop had provided one of his own outfits to dress the figure.

2008 – Mariah Carey begins her second and final week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “Touch My Body.”

On This Day March 31

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1943 – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” premieres on Broadway. In 1955, the musical is produced as a motion picture starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (in her film debut).

1958 – Chess Records releases “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song climbs as high as No. 8 on the pop chart and goes on to become a rock and roll classic.

1962 – Connie Francis claims the top spot on the pop chart for a week with “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”

1967 – Jimi Hendrix suffers minor burns to his hands when he sets his guitar on fire during a performance at Finsbury Park in London. Nevertheless, he goes on to torch guitars several times during his short career.

1973 – Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” returns to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week after The O’Jays interrupted her for a week with their hit, “Love Train.”

1979 – “Tragedy,” by the Bee Gees, dominates the singles chart for a second and final week.

1984 – Kenny Loggins kicks off a three-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Footloose,” from the movie of the same name.

1987 – Prince releases his ninth studio album, “Sign o’ the Times,” which spawns three Top 10 hit singles: “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “U Got the Look,” (with Sheena Easton) and the title track. 

1995 – Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as the “Mexican Madonna,” is shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Selena was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy, in the Best Mexican-American album category, for her 1993 album “Selena Live!” At the time of her murder, at age 23, Selena was on the brink of international fame, recording her first English language album.

2007 – “Glamorous,” by Fergie featuring Ludacris, enters its second and final week as the No. 1 single.

On This Day March 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – European forces allied against Napoleonic France march triumphantly into Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the continent.

1842 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation by Dr. Crawford Long. 

1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.

1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.” 

1964 – The popular game show “Jeopardy!” premieres on NBC with host Art Fleming. Alex Trebek takes over in 1984 and continues hosting until his death in 2020.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.

2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses. 

On This Day January 29

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1845 – The Evening Mirror publishes Edgar Allan Poe’s now-classic poem, “The Raven” which begins, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”

1936 – The first inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame are announced In Cooperstown, New York. They include Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.

1963 – Robert Frost, considered the dean of American poets, dies in Boston at the age of 88.

1964 – Stanley Kubrick’s black comic masterpiece, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” opens in movie theaters to critical acclaim. Actor Peter Sellers plays three roles in the Cold War parody.

1979 – Teenager Brenda Spencer shoots and kills two men and wounds nine children as they enter the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego. Asked by authorities upon her arrest why she did it, the 16-year-old replies, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” The incident inspires The Boomtown Rats to write their hit song, “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

1979 – President Jimmy Carter welcomes Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House following the establishment of diplomatic relations. The visit culminates with the signing of historic new accords that reverse decades of U.S. opposition to the People’s Republic of China.

2002 – In his first State of the Union address since the September 11 terror attacks on the U.S., President George W. Bush says Iraq, Iran and North Korea constitute an “axis of evil.” He outlines his rationale for the “war on terror,” a series of military engagements which would define U.S. foreign policy for years to come.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1964 – The Beatles spend the day at the Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris in their only studio recording session for EMI held outside the U.K. They record “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” in German.

1966 – “We Can Work It Out,” by The Beatles, reaches the top of the Billboard singles chart and remains there for a week.

1972 – Don McLean’s “American Pie” is in the midst of a four-week ride atop the Billboard Hot 100.

1977 – “Car Wash,” by Rose Royce, is the No. 1 single. It comes from the movie of the same name that features Richard Pryor, George Carlin and The Pointer Sisters, and is considered a staple of the disco genre.

1983 – Men at Work wrap up three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Down Under,” off the Aussie band’s “Business as Usual” album.

1994 – “All for Love,” by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting, is in the middle of a three-week run on top of the pop chart. The single comes from the soundtrack to “The Three Musketeers,” a movie starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Chris O’Donnell.

2000 – The No. 1 spot on the pop chart belongs to Australian pop duo Savage Garden with “I Knew I Loved You.”

2011 – Britney Spears lands on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a week with “Hold It Against Me.”

2019 – Two-time Grammy-winning 80s R&B singer-songwriter James Ingram (“Just Once,” “Baby, Come to Me,” “I Don’t Have the Heart”) dies of brain cancer at the age of 66.

On This Day January 27

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On This Day January 18

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1778 – British explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands when he sails past the island of Oahu. Two days later, he lands at Waimea on the island of Kauai and names the island cluster the Sandwich Islands, after the voyage’s sponsor, the Earl of Sandwich.

1919 – Leaders of the Allied powers — the United States, France, Great Britain and Italy — convene in Paris, France to begin the long and complex negotiations that would pave the way for the end of World War I. The Paris Peace Conference, as it is known, leads to creation of the League of Nations, an international peacekeeping organization.

1975 – The sitcom “The Jeffersons,” one of several spin-offs from TV’s groundbreaking “All in the Family,” premieres on CBS and becomes a ratings bonanza of its own during an 11-season run. Another Norman Lear creation, it stars Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as a successful African-American couple adjusting to life on Manhattan’s ritzy East Side after leaving their modest Queens neighborhood.

1977 – Scientists identify the cause of a mysterious outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed 34 people at a 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia. 

1990 – An FBI sting leads to the arrest of Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for possession of crack cocaine. After serving six months in federal prison, the so-called “mayor for life” makes one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of American politics in 1994 when D.C. residents elect him to a fourth term as mayor.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1944 – The first jazz concert — known as the Esquire All-American Jazz Concert — is held at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden and Billie Holiday.

1960 – Johnny Preston starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Running Bear,” a song written by J. P. Richardson (a.k.a. “The Big Bopper”). The song was released shortly after Richardson’s death in the February 1959 plane crash that also claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

1964 – The Beatles make their U.S. singles chart debut when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” enters at No. 45. It goes on to spend seven weeks at No. 1. 

1969 – Marvin Gaye is midway through a seven-week ride atop the Billboard singles chart with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The track becomes Motown’s biggest-selling hit at that time.

1975 – Barry Manilow scores his first chart-topping single when “Mandy” reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1986 – “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick, featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, is the No. 1 single. The track, written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, wins Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Song of the Year Grammys.

1989 – At 38 years of age, Stevie Wonder becomes the youngest living person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has excellent company, as other inductees in his class include The Rolling Stones, The Temptations and Dion (DiMucci).

1992 – Michael Jackson wraps up seven weeks as a chart-topper with “Black or White,” off his “Dangerous” album.

2003 – Eminem finds himself on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for another week with “Lose Yourself,” from the “8 Mile” soundtrack.

On This Day December 28

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On This Day November 21

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On this Day August 25

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

On this Day August 21

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