On This Day April 5

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1969 – Tommy Roe enjoys his fourth and final week on top of the pop chart with “Dizzy.”

1975 – “Lovin’ You,” by Minnie Riperton, tops the Billboard Hot 100. At the end of the track, you can hear her sing, “Maya, Maya” to her daughter, actress-comedian and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph. Tragically, Riperton dies of breast cancer four years later at the age of 31.

1980 – “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II,” by Pink Floyd, is the No. 1 single. 

1984 – The funeral service for Motown legend Marvin Gaye takes place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown talent are on hand to pay their respects.

1985 – At 3:50 p.m. GMT, more than 5,000 radio stations around the world simultaneously broadcast the single “We Are the World,” produced as a charity to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. The single, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, features the voices of some of the biggest musical acts of the day.

1994 – Grunge music icon Kurt Cobain, Nirvana founder and frontman, commits suicide. His body is discovered at his Seattle home three days later by an electrician who showed up to  install a security system.

1997 – “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” by Puff Daddy featuring Mase, is in the middle of a six-week ride atop the Billboard Hot 100.

2008 – Leona Lewis has the No. 1 single with “Bleeding Love.” The track holds the top spot for a week.

On This Day January 26

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1788 –  Britain’s First Fleet sails into Sydney Harbor and begins the European colonization of Australia. The fledgling colony marks this event each year as Australia Day, however in recent years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have objected because they see the occasion as the beginning of the deliberate destruction of their people and culture.

1905 – A 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa. Weighing 1.33 pounds,  it is the largest diamond ever found, and is named the Cullinan after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mine.

1926 – Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gives the first public demonstration of a true television system (called a “televisor”) in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment.

1950 – The Republic of India is formed as the Indian constitution takes effect.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy appoints Janet Travell, 59, as his personal physician, making her the first woman in history to hold that post. 

1979 – The General Lee, a bright orange Dodge Charger with a Confederate flag on its roof, kicks up dust clouds as “The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres on CBS.

1988 – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” has its first Broadway performance at the Majestic Theatre. 

1998 – During one of the most memorable news conferences of his presidency, Bill Clinton tells reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Clinton later confesses that he did indeed have an “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinksky, a 24-year-old White House intern.

2005 – Condoleezza Rice assumes the post of U.S. Secretary of State two months after her nomination by President George W. Bush. She becomes the highest ranking African American woman ever to serve in a presidential cabinet.

On This Day January 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman physician in U.S. history when she earns a medical degree from the all-male Geneva Medical College in upstate New York, graduating at the top of her class at the age of 28. Blackwell devotes her life to advocating for women in the healthcare professions and, in 1868, opens a women’s medical college in New York City.

1957 – The Wham-O toy company introduces the first aerodynamic plastic disc known as the Frisbee, and forever changes outdoor recreation. The disc was the creation of Walter Frederick Morrison, who originally named it the Pluto Platter.

1968 – North Korea seizes the U.S. intelligence-gathering ship USS Pueblo claiming it had violated North Korean territorial waters while spying. 

1973 – President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord had been reached in Paris to end the Vietnam War.

1975 – The ABC sitcom “Barney Miller” debuts. It’s about an NYPD precinct captain played by Hal Linden, and the shenanigans he endures with his detectives.

1976 – Singer, actor, athlete and civil rights activist Paul Robeson dies at the age of 77. 

1977 – The miniseries “Roots,” based on the book by Alex Haley, debuts. It runs for eight consecutive nights on ABC Television and becomes the single most-watched program in American history, drawing about 100 million viewers.

1997 – One day after her unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Madeline Albright is sworn in as America’s first female Secretary of State by Vice President Al Gore.

On This Day November 14

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1851 – Harper & Brothers publishes Herman Melville’s novel “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale,” a treasured piece of American literature about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, whose commander, Captain Ahab, goes on an obsessive quest for a white whale.

1941 – The Alfred Hitchcock romantic thriller “Suspicion” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. The film is nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, but loses to “How Green Was My Valley.” However, Fontaine wins a Best Actress Oscar — the only Oscar performance ever in a Hitchcock movie.

1969 – Apollo 12 clears the launch pad at Cape Kennedy in Florida on its way to America’s second manned moon landing.

1970 – A chartered jet carrying most of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team crashes while preparing to land in Huntington, West Virginia, killing 37 players, the coach, doctors, the university athletic director, flight crew and 25 team boosters. The tragedy remains the worst sports-related air disaster in U.S. history. It inspired the 2006 movie, “We Are Marshall,” starring Matthew McConaughey.

1972 – Wall Street hits record territory when the Dow Jones Industrial Average tops the 1,000 mark for the first time.

1982 – Lech Walesa, leader of communist Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, is released after 11 months of internment near the Soviet border.

2006 – State officials close the last two of Texas’ beloved Pig Stands, the only remaining pieces of the nation’s first drive-in restaurant empire. The owners had filed for bankruptcy and owed the state more than $200,000 in back-taxes.

On this Day May 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1896 – Seventy-three people are killed and homes and businesses are leveled when a powerful tornado churns through Sherman, Texas. The twister is believed to be a rare F5 tornado, with winds exceeding 260 miles per hour.

1930 – Ellen Church, a registered nurse and licensed pilot, becomes the world’s first airline stewardess, working Boeing Air Transport’s (predecessor to United Airlines) Oakland, California to Chicago route.

1940 – A new chapter in women’s fashion is written with the introduction of the nylon stocking, which lands on store shelves across New York City. By the end of the day, shoppers purchase 780,000 pairs. By the end of 1940, more than 64 million pairs of nylons sell. However, the following year, with the U.S. drawn into World War II, the three most common sheer stocking materials — silk, nylon, and rayon — are sacrificed to the war effort.

1963 – The final Mercury mission begins with the launch of Faith 7. Astronaut Gordon Cooper becomes the first American to spend more than a day in space. He orbits Earth 22 times in 34 hours and 20 minutes — the longest U.S. space flight at that time.

1972 – Alabama Governor George Wallace is shot and paralyzed while campaigning in Maryland for the U.S. presidency.

1988 – More than eight years after intervening in Afghanistan to support the pro-communist government, Soviet troops begin to withdraw. 

2009 – After decades of environmental damage and legal wrangling, General Electric (GE) finally begins its government-mandated effort to clean the Hudson River. Between 1947 and 1977, GE dumped an estimated 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the waterway.