On This Day November 24

Musical Milestones

1950 – The musical comedy “Guys and Dolls” premieres on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Two years later, it spawns a film adaptation starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. 

1962 – The Four Seasons, featuring Frankie Valli, are in the second week of a five-week run as Billboard chart-toppers with “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

1966 – The Beatles gather in a studio for the first time since wrapping up their U.S. summer concert tour and spend the entire day recording John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

1972 – Don Kirshner’s “Rock Concert” TV show debuts, featuring Chuck Berry, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Alice Cooper.

1973 – Ringo Starr’s “Photograph” begins a week as the No. 1 single.

1979 – The Barbra Streisand-Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” kicks off two weeks as a No. 1 single.

1984 – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

1991 – Queen frontman Freddie Mercury dies of complications from AIDS exactly one day after publicly disclosing that he is HIV positive. He was 45 years old.

1997 – Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols is the defendant in an episode of TV’s “Judge Judy.” The case is a wrongful termination suit brought on by his former drummer, which Rotten wins.

2007 – Jay-Z climbs to the top of the Billboard album chart with “American Gangster,” his 10th chart-topping album. This ties the rapper to 2nd place with Elvis Presley for the most No. 1 albums. Only The Beatles have had more, with 19. 

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Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear

Rich Podolsky

The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo: Lover Of Life, Singer Of Songs

Freddie Mercury

The Last Master Outlaw: How He Outfoxed the FBI Six Times But Not A Cold Case Team

Thomas J. Colbert and Tom Szollosi

The Last Days of Letterman

Scott Ryan

Scott Joplin Piano Rags

Joshua Rifkin

The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game

Oscar P. Robertson

On this Day August 18

Musical Milestones

1962 – “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” by Neil Sedaka, is Billboard’s top-ranked single. 

1962 – Two days after firing Pete Best, The Beatles introduce new drummer Ringo Starr in time for a performance in Birkenhead, England. Starr was no stranger to the band, having stood in on several occasions in Hamburg and Liverpool, where he primarily played for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

1969 – Jimi Hendrix brings the Woodstock Music and Art Fair to a memorable close with one of the most powerful, searing renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner” ever recorded. While some believe that Hendrix improvised the electrified anthem on the spot, he had actually been experimenting with it for more than a year and would continue to play it until his untimely death in September 1970.

1973 – With “Touch Me in the Morning,” Diana Ross scores her second No. 1 single since leaving The Supremes.

1979 – “Good Times,” by Chic, tops the Billboard Hot 100. The disco standard is one of the most sampled tracks in music history, especially in hip hop. It is the band’s second No. 1 hit.

1984 – Ray Parker, Jr. continues to haunt the top spot on the pop chart with his theme from the movie “Ghostbusters.” The single spends three weeks at No. 1.

1990 – Mariah Carey is midway through a four-week run at No. 1 on the pop chart with “Vision of Love.”

2001 – Alicia Keys kicks off three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Fallin,” which goes on to capture three Grammy Awards.

Celebrity Birthdays

1927 – Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

1933 – Director Roman Polanski, born Raimund Polanski, whose first American movie was 1968’s “Rosemary’s Baby”

1936 – Oscar-winning actor, director, producer and Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford (“Barefoot in the Park,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Candidate,” “The Way We Were,” “The Sting,” “All the President’s Men,” “Ordinary People,” “Out of Africa,” “Legal Eagles,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”)

1943 – Actor-comedian Martin Mull (“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “Fernwood 2 Night,” ” Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “Two and a Half Men”)

1952 – Actor Patrick Swayze (“Red Dawn,” “Uncommon Valor,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost,” “Donnie Darko”) (d. 2009)

1957 – Actor-comedian Denis Leary (“True Crime,” the “Ice Age” movie series, “Rescue Me,” “Recount,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Draft Day,” “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll”)

1969 – Golden Globe-winning actor Christian Slater (“The Legend of Billie Jean,” “Heathers,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “True Romance,” “Murder in the First,” “Mr. Robot”)

1969 – Oscar-winning actor-director Edward Norton (“Primal Fear,” “American History X,” “Fight Club,” “The Italian Job,” “The Illusionist,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel”)

1970 – Actor-director Malcolm-Jamal Warner, best known for his role as Theo Huxtable on the NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show”

1978 – Golden Globe-winning comedian, actor, musician and “SNL” alum Andy Samberg (“Hot Rod,” “I Love You, Man,” “That’s My Boy,” “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” the “Hotel Transylvania” movies, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”)

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Neil Sedaka: The Definitive Collection

Neil Sedaka

All The Great Hits / Diana Ross

Diana Ross

The Woman's Hour

Elaine Weiss

Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov

Barefoot in the Park

Starring Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and Charles Boyer, and directed by Gene Saks

Fight Club

Starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter, and directed by  David Fincher

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.”

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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 June 6

Musical Milestones

1962 – The Beatles, with Pete Best on drums, gather at EMI Studios in London for an audition that doubles as their first recording session. They record  “Besame Mucho,” “Love Me Do,” “PS I Love You” and “Ask Me Why.”

1964 – The Dixie Cups give The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” the boot and begin three weeks on top of the Billboard singles chart with “Chapel of Love.”

1965 – The Rolling Stones release “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in the U.S. (the track is released in the U.K. that August), and within four weeks, it becomes a No. 1 hit.

1972 – David Bowie releases what many still consider the definitive rock ‘n’ roll concept album: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.”

1982 – The “Peace Sunday, We Have A Dream” antinuclear concert draws 85,000 people to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California for a musical lineup featuring Tom Petty, Crosby Stills & Nash, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne and more. Dylan and Joan Baez perform duets of “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “With God On Our Side.”

1987 – Kim Wilde’s cover of The Supremes’ 1966 hit, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” is the most popular single.

1992 – Hip hop duo Kris Kross maintain a hold on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Jump.”

2006 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and keyboard player Billy Preston dies of kidney failure at age 59. Over the years, Preston collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

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Anthology 1

The Beatles

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

David Bowie

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

Antony Beevor

Sundays with Sullivan: How the Ed Sullivan Show Brought Elvis, the Beatles, and Culture to America

Bernie Ilson

Everything Bad & Beautiful

Sandra Bernhard

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Starring John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund, and directed by Wes Craven