On This Day January 18

Musical Milestones

1944 – The first jazz concert — known as the Esquire All-American Jazz Concert — is held at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden and Billie Holiday.

1960 – Johnny Preston starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Running Bear,” a song written by J. P. Richardson (a.k.a. “The Big Bopper”). The song was released shortly after Richardson’s death in the February 1959 plane crash that also claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

1964 – The Beatles make their U.S. singles chart debut when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” enters at No. 45. It goes on to spend seven weeks at No. 1. 

1969 – Marvin Gaye is midway through a seven-week ride atop the Billboard singles chart with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The track becomes Motown’s biggest-selling hit at that time.

1975 – Barry Manilow scores his first chart-topping single when “Mandy” reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1986 – “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick, featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, is the No. 1 single. The track, written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, wins Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Song of the Year Grammys.

1989 – At 38 years of age, Stevie Wonder becomes the youngest living person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has excellent company, as other inductees in his class include The Rolling Stones, The Temptations and Dion (DiMucci).

1992 – Michael Jackson wraps up seven weeks as a chart-topper with “Black or White,” off his “Dangerous” album.

2003 – Eminem finds himself on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for another week with “Lose Yourself,” from the “8 Mile” soundtrack.

History Highlights

1778 – British explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands when he sails past the island of Oahu. Two days later, he lands at Waimea on the island of Kauai and names the island cluster the Sandwich Islands, after the voyage’s sponsor, the Earl of Sandwich.

1919 – Leaders of the Allied powers — the United States, France, Great Britain and Italy — convene in Paris, France to begin the long and complex negotiations that would pave the way for the end of World War I. The Paris Peace Conference, as it is known, leads to creation of the League of Nations, an international peacekeeping organization.

1975 – The sitcom “The Jeffersons,” one of several spin-offs from TV’s groundbreaking “All in the Family,” premieres on CBS and becomes a ratings bonanza of its own during an 11-season run. Another Norman Lear creation, it stars Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as a successful African-American couple adjusting to life on Manhattan’s ritzy East Side after leaving their modest Queens neighborhood.

1977 – Scientists identify the cause of a mysterious outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed 34 people at a 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia. 

1990 – An FBI sting leads to the arrest of Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for possession of crack cocaine. After serving six months in federal prison, the so-called “mayor for life” makes one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of American politics in 1994 when D.C. residents elect him to a fourth term as mayor.

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Esquire All-American Jazz Concert

Featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and other jazz legends

Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection

Stevie Wonder

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Margaret MacMillan

Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.

Marion Barry, Jr. and Omar Tyree

To Catch A Thief

Starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Jessie Royce Landis, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Dances with Wolves

Starring Kevin Costner and Mary McDonnell, and directed by Kevin Costner

On this Day August 29

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The Ultimate Collection

Roy Orbison

#1s

Diana Ross & The Supremes

The Little Black Book of Motorcycle Wisdom

Malcolm Nelson

Katrina: After the Flood

Gary Rivlin

Off The Wall

Michael Jackson

Risky Business

Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay and Joe Pantoliano, and directed by Paul Brickman

On this Day June 14

Musical Milestones

1969 – “Get Back,” by The Beatles with Billy Preston, is in the midst of a five-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1975 – “Sister Golden Hair,” by the band America, begins one week on top of the Billboard singles chart.

1975 – Janis Ian releases “At Seventeen,” which peaks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and goes on to win a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, beating out Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy.

1980 – Billy Joel starts a six-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with “Glass Houses.” It becomes Joel’s second chart-topping album and contains his first No. 1 single, “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.” It is nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy, but Joel wins a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

1986 – Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald begin three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their duet “On My Own.” LaBelle and McDonald really were on their own, recording their vocal parts separately. It was only after the song reached No. 1 that they met.

1994 – Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning composer-conductor-arranger Henry Mancini (“Moon River,” “Love Theme from Romeo And Juliet,” “The Pink Panther” and “Peter Gunn” themes) dies at the age of 70.

1995 – Some 60 million viewers tune in for Diane Sawyer’s interview with Michael Jackson and his bride, Lisa Marie Presley, on ABC’s PrimeTime Live. The widely advertised “no holds barred” interview was the first Jackson had given since being accused of child molestation by a 13-year-old boy in 1993.

1997 – “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, kicks off 11 weeks as a No. 1 single.

2003 – “21 Questions,” by 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg, is in the middle of four weeks on top of the pop chart.

History Highlights

1777 – The Continental Congress passes the Flag Act, a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag becomes known as the “Stars and Stripes.”

1885 – America’s first Flag Day is celebrated when Wisconsin schoolteacher Bernard J. (B.J.) Cigrand arranges for his students to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as “Flag Birthday.”  For years, Cigrand — known today as the “Father of Flag Day” — lobbied to have June 14 designated for a national celebration of the American flag. In 1948, 17 years after Cigrand’s death, President Harry S. Truman signed a Congressional Act into law, establishing a voluntary observance, but not an official national holiday.

1922 – President Warren G. Harding dedicates a memorial site in Baltimore for “Star Spangled Banner” composer Francis Scott Key, and in addressing the crowd, becomes the first U.S. president to have his voice transmitted by radio. Harding was the first president to own a radio and to have one installed in the White House.

1951 – Engineers take the wraps off the first commercial computer, the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer).

1954 – On Flag Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Exactly two years later, he signs another measure into law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto.

1968 – Acclaimed pediatrician and author, Dr. Benjamin Spock, an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, is convicted of aiding draft resistors. His two-year prison term is reversed on appeal in 1969, but for the rest of his life, Spock continues to engage in political protests and peace activism.

1976 – “The Gong Show,” a prime-time amateur talent contest, premieres on NBC with host Chuck Barris.

1982 – Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the Falkland Islands War.

1985 – Shiite Hezbollah gunmen hijack TWA Flight 847 from Athens, Greece to Rome, forcing the plane to land in Beirut, Lebanon, where they execute a U.S. Navy diver on board.

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America's Greatest Hits / History

America

Glass Houses

Billy Joel

A Grand Old Flag:
A History of the United States Through its Flags

Kevin Keim

Dr. Spock's The First Two Years: The Emotional and Physical Needs of Children from Birth to Age 2

Dr. Benjamin Spock

The Jeffersons:
The Complete Series

Starring Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford and Marla Gibbs

Greatest Hits

Culture Club