On this Day June 5

History Highlights

1933 – The U.S. goes off the gold standard, a monetary system in which currency is backed by gold, when Congress enacts a joint resolution nullifying the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.

1967 – Israel responds to an ominous build-up of Arab forces along its borders by launching simultaneous attacks against Egypt and Syria. And so begins the Six-Day War.

1968 – Senator Robert Kennedy is fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary. He is just 42, four years younger than his brother, President John F. Kennedy, when he was assassinated in November 1963.

1981 – The “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that five people in Los Angeles have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what turns out to be the first recognized cases of AIDS.

1998 – More than 3,400 unionized General Motors (GM) workers at a Flint, Michigan plant begin a 54-day strike — the longest walkout at GM in nearly three decades. Later joined by more than 5,000 workers from a nearby plant, the strike causes parts shortages that force some 30 GM assembly plants to shut down.

2004 – Ronald Reagan, the Hollywood actor who became one of the most popular presidents of the 20th century and transformed the political landscape of an era with his vision of conservative government, dies at age 93 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

2012 – Prolific science fiction author Ray Bradbury, whose books include such classics as “The Martian Chronicles,” “Fahrenheit 451” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” dies at the age of 91.

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The Essential Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky

U2

Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

Michael B. Oren

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

Bill Moyers Journal

Bill Moyers

Boogie Nights

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore and Heather Graham, and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

On This Day April 24

History Highlights

1916 – The Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret organization of Irish nationalists led by Patrick Pearse, launches the so-called Easter Rebellion (also known as Easter Rising), a six-day armed uprising against British rule. 

1945 – President Harry Truman is briefed on the full details of the Manhattan Project, an effort by American scientists to develop the world’s first atomic bomb. The project was so secret that President Franklin Roosevelt never informed Truman, his fourth-term vice president, that it existed by the time FDR died.

1962 – The first coast-to-coast satellite telecast takes place, as signals from California bounce off the first experimental communications satellite, Echo I, and are received in Massachusetts. 

1967 – Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed in Soyuz 1 when the spaceship’s parachute fails to open during its descent to Earth. It is the first in-flight fatality in aerospace history.  

1980 – Eight U.S. servicemen die in a failed mission to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran. The fatalities occur when two U.S. military aircraft collide. In a nationally broadcast address, President Jimmy Carter says he assumes full responsibility for the disastrous outcome of Operation Eagle Claw.

1980 – Longtime Illinois Congressman John Anderson announces he is quitting the Republican party and will run as an independent presidential candidate against incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan. He ends up finishing a distant third, capturing less than 7 percent of the vote and failing to win a single electoral vote.

1982 – Already well established as an Oscar-winning actress and outspoken political activist, Jane Fonda adds fitness guru to her credentials with the release of the million-plus-selling “Jane Fonda’s Workout” video. The video sparks the aerobics craze and popularizes leg-warmers and Spandex among fitness-minded women.

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Full Moon Fever

Tom Petty

Taking the Long Way

Dixie Chicks

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age

Matthew Brzezinski

The Guts to Try: The Untold Story of the Iran Hostage Rescue Mission by the On-Scene Desert Commander

Col. James H. Kyle, USAF (Ret.) and John Robert Eidson

Being There

Starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Jack Warden, and directed by Hal Ashby

Funny Girl

Starring Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif and Kay Medford, and directed by William Wyler

On This Day April 26

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The Wall

Pink Floyd

Parade: Music from the Motion Picture "Under the Cherry Moon"

Prince

Polio: An American Story

David M. Oshinsky

Love, Lucy

Lucille Ball

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection

Carol Burnett

Do The Right Thing

Starring Ossie Davis, Danny Aiello and Giancarlo Esposito, and directed by Spike Lee

On This Day April 11

Musical Milestones

1960 – Movie music dominates the pop chart as Percy Faith’s “Theme From A Summer Place” remains at No. 1 for an eighth consecutive week. The track holds the top spot for a total of nine weeks and goes on to capture a Grammy for Record of the Year.

1964 – “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by The Beatles, is in the middle of five weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1970 – The Beatles’ “Let It Be” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for two weeks. It is the Fab Four’s last hit before their break-up.

1981 – Rocker Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli (“One Day at a Time”) tie the knot, The marriage lasts until 2007, when their divorce is finalized.

1981 – Darryl Hall & John Oates have the No. 1 single in the U.S. with “Kiss on My List.” The song remains on top of that list for three weeks.

1988 – Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley (of The Righteous Brothers) perform “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” at the Academy Awards. The song, from the “Dirty Dancing” movie soundtrack, becomes the third one by Warnes to capture an Oscar.

1992 – “Save the Best for Last,” by Vanessa Williams, is parked at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. It holds the top spot for five weeks.

1998 – “All My Life,” by R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo, is midway through a three-week domination of the Billboard pop chart.

2006 – June Pointer, the youngest of the four Pointer Sisters, who went from teenage gospel singers to the top of the pop chart with hits like “‘Fire,” “Slow Hand” and “I’m So Excited,” dies of cancer at the age of 52.

2009 – The Billboard Hot 100 deals Lady Gaga a favorable hand as “Poker Face” begins a week at No. 1. The track, which also tops the charts in 19 other countries, wins Best Dance Recording honors at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

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Let It Be

The Beatles

Dirty Dancing (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Various Artists

Beyond the Last Path: A Buchenwald Survivor's Story

Eugene Weinstock

The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years

Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot

J. Randy Taraborrelli

The Soul Sessions

Joss Stone

On This Day March 30

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. Current host Alex Trebek takes over in 1984.

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. 

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The Chiffons Absolutely The Best!

The Chiffons

John Denver's Greatest Hits

John Denver

Jeopardy! HD - America's Favorite Quiz Game

Sony Pictures Television

The Reagan Diaries

Ronald Reagan

Bonnie and Clyde

Starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Michael J. Pollard, and directed by Arthur Penn

The Best Of Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

On This Day March 23

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The Very Best of Cher

Cher

The Essential Billy Joel

Billy Joel

The Third Reich in History and Memory

Richard J. Evans

Titanic

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane, and directed by James Cameron

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

Starring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Victor Buono, and directed by Robert Aldrich

Waitress

Starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion and Cheryl Hines, and directed by Adrienne Shelly

On This Day March 8

History Highlights

1950 – The Volkswagen microbus (also known as the VW Type 2) goes into production, becoming an icon of America’s counter-culture movement as the vehicle of choice for hippies during the 1960s. 

1971 – Boxing titans Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier meet for the “Fight of the Century” before a crowd of more than 20,000 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The showdown marks Ali’s return to the ring three and a-half years after his boxing license was revoked over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War. Frazier wins by unanimous decision, retaining his heavyweight champion title and delivering Ali the first loss of his career.

1983 – Addressing the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Florida, President Ronald Reagan publicly refers to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” for the second time in his political career.

1993 – MTV airs the first episode of the animated series “Beavis and Butthead,” which goes on to become the network’s highest-rated series up to that point.

1999 – Baseball legend and cultural icon Joe DiMaggio (“The Yankee Clipper”), who devoted his entire 13-year Major League Baseball career as a New York Yankees center fielder, dies at the age of 84.

2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, loses contact with air traffic control less than an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur then veers off course and vanishes. Most of the Boeing 777, and everyone on board, are never seen again.

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Bringing It All Back Home

Bob Dylan

Welcome to the Real World

Mr. Mister

The Volkswagen Bus Book

Malcolm Bobbitt

The Fight of the Century: Ali vs. Frazier March 8, 1971

Michael Arkush

I'm a Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness

Micky Dolenz

Boys and Girls

Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Claire Forlani and Jason Biggs, and directed by Robert Iscove

On This Day February 6

History Highlights

1917 – Three days after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson severs diplomatic relations with Germany and warns that war would follow if American interests at sea were again assaulted, a German submarine torpedoes and sinks the passenger steamer California off the Irish coast.

1933 – The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, establishing the beginning and ending of the terms of elected federal offices, takes effect. 

1937 – John Steinbeck’s novella, “Of Mice and Men,” the story of the bond between two migrant workers during the Great Depression, is published. Eight months later, the stage adaptation opens in New York and earns Steinbeck the New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s Best Play Award in 1938.

1952 – Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen of England when her father, King George VI, dies following a long illness. But it takes the 25-year-old Elizabeth more than a day to learn of her new royal status. She was on safari at the time, inside a Kenyan tree hut watching a herd of elephants gather at a watering hole.

1978 – One of the worst Nor’easters in New England history pounds the region for more than 30 hours, with wind gusts exceeding 100 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour. High tides cause damaging coastal flooding, while inland, thousands of cars are stranded in snow drifts. Remembered as “The Blizzard of ’78,” the monster storm leaves about 100 people dead and 4,500 others injured.

1993 – Tennis champion Arthur Ashe, the only African-American man to win Wimbledon and the U.S. and Australian Opens, dies of complications from AIDS, at age 49 in New York City.

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The Very Best Of The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

The Righteous Brothers

Tony Orlando & Dawn: The Definitive Collection

Tony Orlando & Dawn

Understanding Legislative Term Limits

Edward Sternisha, J.D.

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck

An American Life: The Autobiography

Ronald Reagan

The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

Leigh Montville

On This Day January 20

Musical Milestones

1964 – The British Invasion is on as Capitol Records releases “Meet the Beatles!,” the band’s second album in the U.S.

1965 – American disc jockey Alan Freed is 43 years old when he dies from cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. Freed, a 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll.” His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that shook up the American broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

1968 – “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” a parody of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” puts John Fred and his Playboy Band at No. 1 on the singles chart for two weeks. 

1971 – “What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye, is released and introduces fans to a different, more personal side of the Motown star in this anthem about social injustice. The song spends five weeks on top of the Hot Soul Singles chart before crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it climbs to No. 2.

1973 – Carly Simon begins her third and final week on top of the singles chart with “You’re So Vain.”

1988 – Mick Jagger presides as The Beatles are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney decides not to attend, issuing a statement citing ongoing business differences among The Beatles.

1990 – Michael Bolton rules the Billboard Hot 100 with “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” The single holds the No. 1 spot for three weeks.

1996 – The Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men collaboration, “One Sweet Day,” is midway through a 16-week ride on top of the Billboard singles chart –the longest-running No. 1 song in the chart’s history at that time.

2007 – “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé, is in its sixth week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The track remains there for another four weeks and clinches a Record of the Year Grammy nomination.

History Highlights

1841 – During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention — an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as U.S. president for the second time. His first inauguration, in 1933, was held in March, but the 20th Amendment, passed later that year, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future presidents. 

1961 – President John F. Kennedy is sworn into office and delivers his inaugural address outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The speech concludes with his now-famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” 

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter calls for the 1980 Summer Olympics to be moved from the planned host city, Moscow, or canceled altogether if the Soviet Union fails to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan within a month.

1981 – Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th U.S. president, 52 American captives held at the American embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. 

1984 – Hungarian-born Olympic gold medal swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movies, dies at the age of 79. 

1993 – Actress, fashion icon and philanthropist Audrey Hepburn (“Roman Holiday,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “My Fair Lady”) dies of colon cancer at the age of 63. Hepburn remains among just a handful of performers who have won Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

2009 – On a freezing day in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. president. The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama was the first African-American to win election to the nation’s highest office.

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Meet The Beatles (The U.S. Album)

The Beatles

Anthology: The Best Of Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam

Mark Bowden

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Starring Audrey HepburnGeorge PeppardPatricia Neal, and directed by Blake Edwards

I Love Her, That's Why!

George Burns

Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Boxed Edition (Complete Series)

Starring Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean and directed by David Lynch

On This Day November 8

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The Essential Fifth Dimension

The 5th Dimension

Black Ice

AC/DC

The Plots Against Hitler

Danny Orbach

An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963

Robert Dallek

This is My Song: A Memoir

Patti Page

12 Years a Slave

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch and Alfre Woodard, and directed by Steve McQueen

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