On This Day March 31

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.

Own a Piece of This Day

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Oklahoma!

Starring Gordon Macrae, Gloria Grahame and Shirley Jones, and directed by Fred Zinnemann

To Selena, With Love

Chris Perez

Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It

Jill Jonnes

Raging Bull

Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty, and directed by Martin Scorsese

The Partridge Family: The Complete Series

Starring Shirley Jones and David Cassidy

Catch Me If You Can

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken, and directed by Steven Spielberg

On this Day May 19

History Highlights

1749 – England’s King George II grants the Ohio Company of Virginia a charter of 200,000 acres stretching out from the forks of the Ohio River on the present site of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1921 – Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act (also known as the Immigration Act of 1921), establishing national quotas on the immigration of foreigners into the U.S.

1935 – T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. He is just 46. The legendary war hero, author, and archaeological scholar succumbed to to severe brain injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident six days earlier. His death eventually led to development of the crash helmet. Lawrence was famously portrayed in the Oscar-winning 1962 movie, “Lawrence of Arabia,” by actor Peter O’Toole.

1962 – Marilyn Monroe takes center stage at New York’s Madison Square Garden as she sings “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. About 15,000 people are on hand for the star-studded gala that takes place 10 days before JFK’s actual birthday.

2006 – Amid a firestorm of publicity and controversy, director Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s mega-bestselling thriller, “The Da Vinci Code,” debuts in theaters, starring Tom Hanks.

2016 – EgyptAir Flight 804, an Airbus A320 on a routine flight from Paris to Cairo, disappears over the Mediterranean Sea with 66 passengers and crew. It takes weeks to find signs of the wreckage, and while terrorism is suspected initially, investigators conclude that the aircraft broke up in midair after a fire broke out in the cockpit and quickly spread.

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Talking Book

Stevie Wonder

Breakfast in America

Supertramp

Lawrence of Arabia

Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn, and directed by David Lean

My Story

Marilyn Monroe

Sleepless in Seattle

Starring Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks and Bill Pullman, and directed by Nora Ephron

The Best of The Who: The Millennium Collection

The Who