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 April 4

History Highlights

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.

1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast. 

1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world. 

1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.

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The Beatles 1962-1966 (The Red Album)

The Beatles

Bedtime Stories

Madonna

Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last 31 Hours

Joseph Rosenbloom

City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center

James Glanz and Eric Lipton

Iron Man

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges, and directed by Jon Favreau

The Dark Knight

Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Heath Ledger, and directed by Christopher Nolan

On This Day March 3

History Highlights

1820 – Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, temporarily resolving the first serious political clash between slavery and antislavery interests by admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.

1887 – Anne Mansfield Sullivan begins teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing at 19 months of age. Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, the previously uncontrollable Keller thrived, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. 

1923 – The first edition of Time magazine is published. The 32-page issue features former U.S. House Speaker Joseph G. Cannon on the cover. 

1931 – With the stroke of President Herbert Hoover’s pen, the United States officially adopts the “Star-Spangled Banner” as its national anthem.

1950 – Marilyn Monroe makes her first screen appearance when the musical comedy “Love Happy,” starring the Marx Brothers, opens in movie theaters.

1952 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law (Feinberg Law) that prohibits communists from teaching in public schools. Coming at the height of the Red Scare in the U.S., the high court’s decision was further proof that many Americans feared possible subversive communist activity within their borders.

1991 – In what’s believed to be the first viral video, amateur video footage captures the beating of African American motorist Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers, igniting outrage over alleged police brutality and social inequalities in LA’s black community. The cops are later tried and acquitted, which triggers riots.

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The Best of Both Worlds

Van Halen

Rhythm Nation 1814

Janet Jackson

Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem

Marc Ferris

The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption

Rodney King &  Lawrence J. Spagnola

Jean Harlow: Tarnished Angel

David Bret

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, Walter Koenig and others

On This Day February 18

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Rock Around The Clock

Bill Haley

What'd I Say

Ray Charles

Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards

Mason Wiley

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

Pulp Fiction

Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, and directed by Quentin Tarantino

Sixteen Candles

Starring Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, and directed by John Hughes

On this Day August 28

Musical Milestones

1961 – The Marvelettes release their first single, “Please Mr. Postman,” which sells over a million copies and becomes the group’s biggest hit. It reaches the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B survey, becoming Motown’s first chart-topper.

1961 – Joe Dowell rockets to No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart with his cover of “Wooden Heart,” originally performed by Elvis Presley a year earlier in the movie “G.I. Blues.” Presley’s version reached No. 1 in the U.K.

1965 – Bob Dylan kicks off a 40-date North American tour with a performance at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York. For the second time that year, he angers folk music purists when he performs the latter half of his show with an electric guitar.

1971 – The Bee Gees enjoy their fourth and final week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”

1982 – “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor, roars into its sixth and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The track is the theme from the movie “Rocky III,” starring Sylvester Stallone.

1986 – Grammy-winning “Queen of Rock ‘n Roll” Tina Turner is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1993 – Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams” begins three weeks atop the Billboard album chart. The album features cover artwork painted by Joel’s then-wife, Christie Brinkley.

1999 – Christina Aguilera wraps up a five-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Genie in a Bottle.”

2004 – Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe and Remy lays claim to the top spot on the singles chart with “Lean Back.”

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The Best Of The Marvelettes: The Millennium Collection

The Marvelettes

Number Ones

Bee Gees

Nobody Turn Me Around: A People's History of the 1963 March on Washington

Charles Euchner

The Maltese Falcon

Starring Humphrey BogartMary AstorGladys George, and directed by John Huston

Greatest Hits

Shania Twain

School of Rock

Starring Jack Black, Joan Cusack and Miranda Cosgrove, and directed by Richard Linklater

On this Day August 11

History Highlights

1934 – The first inmates, classified as “most dangerous,” arrive at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, joining a few dozen prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

1956 – Abstract artist Jackson Pollock dies in a drunk-driving car crash at the age of 44. 

1965 – Following the arrest of a young black motorist, the predominately black Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts erupts in riots that last six days and leave more than 30 people dead. 

1965 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Bronco to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. 

1973 – “American Graffiti” opens in theaters. The coming-of-age film set in 1962 California was co-written and directed by George Lucas and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford.

1984 – During a sound check before a Saturday radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan jokingly says, “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Reagan was unaware, however, that the feed was live. The Soviets, who find no humor in the remark, put their military on high alert.

2014 – Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy,” “The World According to Garp,” “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Socity,” “Aladdin,”  “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting”) dies by suicide at the age of 63. 

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The Very Best Of Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka

HELP! / The Beatles

The Beatles

Alcatraz #1259

William G. Baker

American Graffiti

Starring Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford, and directed by George Lucas

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Alex Haley

Greatest Hits: Joe Jackson (Reissue)

Joe Jackson