On This Day April 29

Musical Milestones

1967 – Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy maintain their hold on No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart with “Somethin’ Stupid.” The duet remains a chart-topper for four weeks.

1969 – On his 70th birthday, jazz legend Duke Ellington receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon in the East Room of the White House. Nixon concludes the presentation by playing the piano and singing. 

1970 – George Harrison tells reporters that The Beatles will reunite eventually and announces plans for his first post-Beatles solo album.

1976 – Bruce Springsteen wraps up a concert performance in Memphis as part of his “Born to Run” tour and he and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt decide to pay their idol, Elvis Presley, a visit at his Graceland estate. Security guards escort Springsteen off the grounds after he jumps the gate and runs toward the front door. The King was not home at the time. 

1978 – Topping the singles chart for the seventh consecutive week: The Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

1989 – Madonna has the No. 1 single with “Like a Prayer,” from her album of the same name.

1993 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Barry White appears in the “Whacking Day” episode of the animated series “The Simpsons.” As White sings, Bart and Lisa place loudspeakers on the ground to lure snakes away from Springfield residents trying to kill them as part of Whacking Day tradition.

1995 – “This Is How We Do It,” by Montell Jordan, is in the midst of a seven-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100. 

2000 – “Maria Maria,” by Santana featuring The Product G&B, is in the middle of a 10-week domination of the singles chart.

2006 – Daniel Powter owns the top spot on the pop chart with “Bad Day.”

History Highlights

1854 – Originally established as The Ashmun Institute, Lincoln University receives its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, becoming the first degree-granting college in the U.S. founded solely for African-American students.

1945 – U.S. military forces liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Nazi Germany.  More than 188,000 prisoners were incarcerated in Dachau between 1933 and 1945, and more than 28,000 died in the camp and its sub-camps.

1974 – President Richard Nixon announces that he will release edited transcripts of taped White House conversations in response to a subpoena in the Watergate scandal. The House Judiciary committee insists that he also turn over the tapes. 

1986 – Pitching for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Roger Clemens sets a Major League Baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1992 – Riots erupt across Los Angeles after four LAPD officers are acquitted in the beating of unarmed African American motorist Rodney King. Protesters in south-central L.A. block freeway traffic, wreck and loot shops and set more than 100 fires. The rioting continues for five days and sparks a national conversation about racial and economic disparity and police use of force — a debate that still rages today.

2004 – The National World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C. It honors the 16 million people who served as part of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, including more than 400,000 who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. 

2004 – General Motors’ last Oldsmobile rolls off a Lansing, Michigan assembly line, marking the end of America’s oldest automotive brand. The final model is an Alero GLS sedan, which factory workers signed under the hood.

2011 –  Great Britain’s Prince William marries his longtime girlfriend, Catherine “Kate” Middleton, at Westminster Abbey in London. An estimated two billion people around the world watch the ceremony on television.

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The Essential Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Sound Track)

Bee Gees, Tavares, KC and the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman and other artists

Where the Birds Never Sing: The True Story of the 92nd Signal Battalion and the Liberation of Dachau

Jack Sacco

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Anna Deavere Smith

16 Biggest Hits

Willie Nelson

Hairspray

Starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken, and directed by Adam Shankman

On This Day September 29

History Highlights

1941 – The Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children begins on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine. The two-day bloodbath becomes a symbol of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

1966 – General Motors rolls out the sporty Chevy Camaro in an effort to go head-to-head with the popular Ford Mustang, which debuted two years earlier.

1988 – NASA launches the so-called “Return to Flight Mission” — the first space shuttle launch since the devastating Challenger explosion that claimed the lives of all seven crew members in January 1986. STS-26 marks the seventh flight for shuttle Discovery.

1988 – Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon, becomes the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.

1995 – President Bill Clinton posthumously awards voting rights advocate Willie Velasquez the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Velasquez and the organizations he founded are credited with dramatically increasing political awareness and participation among the Hispanic communities of the Southwestern U.S.

2005 – New York Times reporter Judith Miller is released from a federal detention center after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.

2008 – Congress fails to pass a $700 billion bank bailout plan, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting nearly 780 points — at the time, the largest single-day point loss in history. The free fall follows the bankruptcies of Wall Street brokerage firm Lehman Brothers, Savings and Loan bank Washington Mutual and the Fed’s pledge to extend an $85 billion bailout for insurance provider AIG.

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Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story

Rick Bragg

Purple Rain

Prince

In Broad Daylight: The Secret Procedures behind the Holocaust by Bullets

Father Patrick Desbois

Beyond the Limits: A Woman's Triumph on Everest

Stacy Allison

The Essential Gene Autry

Gene Autry

Blazing Saddles

Starring Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens and Madeline Kahn, and directed by Mel Brooks

On This Day September 14

History Highlights

1814 – After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812, 35-year-old lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key writes a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which is later set to music, and in 1931, becomes America’s national anthem under its new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over the fort at daybreak.

1901 – Six months into his second term as U.S. president, William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. 

1959 – The Soviet’s Luna 2 rocket reaches the surface of the moon, becoming the first man-made object sent from Earth to the lunar surface. The event gives the Soviets a short-lived lead in the Space Race, and prompts the U.S. to speed up efforts to develop its own space program.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards entertainment pioneer Walt Disney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying “in the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author John Steinbeck, who had already received numerous other honors for his literary work, including the 1962 Nobel Prize and 1939 Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1965 – Marching onto TV screens for the first time are the military farce “F Troop” and the short-lived sitcom “My Mother the Car.” 

1972 – Americans meet the Walton family and witness its trials and tribulations for nine years on CBS. “The Waltons” airs for the last time on this day in 1981, the same day that “Entertainment Tonight” premieres.  

1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), who was an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning American actress before marrying into royalty, dies in a car crash at the age of 52. 

1999 – Millions evacuate their homes along the southeastern coast of the U.S. as Hurricane Floyd advances. The storm weakens from Category 4 to Category 2 by the time it makes landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina on September 16. Floyd is blamed for nearly 60 deaths across eight U.S. states and The Bahamas.

2015 – A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested at his Irving, Texas high school after a digital clock he had reassembled at home using a pencil case was mistaken by his teacher to be a bomb. Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest triggers a media frenzy, as many saw the incident as a case of racial profiling.

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The Essentials

The Rascals

The Best of Eric Clapton: The Millennium Edition

Eric Clapton

How To Be Like Walt

Pat Williams with Jim Denney

The Waltons

Based on the life of series creator Earl Hamner Jr. and starring Richard Thomas

The Hunt for Red October

Starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn and Sam Neill, and directed by John McTiernan

The Fighter

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, and directed by David O. Russell