On This Day December 31

Musical Milestones

1966 – The Monkees swing to the top of the singles chart with “I’m a Believer” and hold on for seven weeks, finally yielding to The Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” in mid-February.

1970 – Eight months after the The Beatles’ breakup and subsequent release of their last album, “Let It Be,” Paul McCartney files suit against bandmates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to officially dissolve their partnership.

1972 – Dick Clark begins a new holiday tradition as his first “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” concert is broadcast on ABC-TV, featuring performances by Three Dog Night and Al Green. Clark hosts the annual event for the next 32 years before turning the reins over to Ryan Seacrest.

1977 – “How Deep Is Your Love,” by the Bee Gees, is in the middle of three weeks as the No. 1 single. The song is part of the “Saturday Night Fever” movie soundtrack.

1983 – Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are in the middle of a six-week domination of the pop chart with “Say Say Say.”

1985 – Former teen idol Ricky Nelson and six others are killed when their chartered plane crashes in Texas.

1988 – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” by Poison, is in the midst of a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard single chart.

2005 – Mariah Carey begins a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Don’t Forget About Us.”

2015 – Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter Natalie Cole (“This Will Be,” “I’ve Got Love On My Mind,” “Miss You Like Crazy,” “Unforgettable”), daughter of legendary crooner and jazz pianist Nat King Cole, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 65.

History Highlights

1781 – The first bank in the U.S. opens under the name The Bank of North America.

1862 – Nine months after engaging in the most famous naval battles in American history, the ironclad warship USS Monitor sinks in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Sixteen crewmen are killed. The Monitor had dueled to a standstill with another ironclad, the CSS Virginia (originally the CSS Merrimack), off Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862.

1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison demonstrates his incandescent light bulb to the public for the first time.

1904 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in New York’s Times Square — known then as Longacre Square — at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Three years later, in 1907, the tradition of the dropping ball is introduced.

1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1984 – Bernhard Goetz, the white man known as the “subway vigilante” after he shot four young black men on a New York City subway train, turns himself in to authorities in New Hampshire.

1999 – Days after Mikhail Gorbachev is re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, stuns his country and the world by announcing his resignation six months before the end of his term. He turns control over to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, undercutting Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together. 

1999 – The United States officially turns control of the Panama Canal over to Panamanian authorities for the first time.

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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

Rick Nelson: Greatest Hits

Ricky Nelson

One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World

Joe McKendry

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Randall E. Stross

Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection

Patsy Cline

The Silence of the Lambs

Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, and directed by Jonathan Demme

Gandhi

Starring Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, and directed by Richard Attenborough

On This Day October 2

History Highlights

1835 – Mounting tensions between Mexico and Texas lead to violence when Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, sparking the Texan war for independence. The battle flag used by the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales gained recognition as the “Come and Take It” flag, referring to a small cannon that Mexican forces tried to repossess.

1919 – President Woodrow Wilson, who had just cut short a cross-country speaking tour to promote formation of the League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations), suffers a massive stroke, which leaves him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. The stroke is kept a secret from the public, but forces Wilson to abandon his campaign for the League and weakens his presidency.

1950 – The first Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles Schulz, is published in seven newspapers across the U.S. Schulz originally called his strip “L’il Folks,” but United Features Syndicate changed the name.

1959 – “The Twilight Zone,” created and hosted by Rod Serling, premieres with an episode called “Where Is Everybody?” starring Earl Holliman. The black & white sci-fi series runs for five seasons.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice, is sworn in to office.

1985 – Actor Rock Hudson becomes the first high-profile celebrity to die of complications from AIDS. Hudson’s death, at the age of 59, raises public awareness of the epidemic, which until that time had been ignored by many in the mainstream as a “gay plague.”

2006 – A 32-year-old milk truck driver enters the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, and fatally shoots five female students and wounds five more before taking his own life. The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, had no criminal history or record of mental illness.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

Rod Stewart

American Fool

John Cougar (Mellencamp)

The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation

Charles Solomon

The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia

Steven Rubin

American Pie

Don McLean

Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994

Sting

On this Day August 27

History Highlights

1883 – The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history jolts Krakatoa (also known as Krakatau), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia. The resulting explosions and tsunamis kill an estimated 36,000 people.

1953 – “Roman Holiday,” featuring Audrey Hepburn in her first starring movie role, premieres in New York City.

1955 – The first edition of “The Guinness Book of Records” is published in England as a resource for pub patrons to settle friendly disputes. By that Christmas, it becomes a British best-seller. Today, it is the leading international authority for certifying every conceivable world record, from longest mustache to most tattooed woman, and everything in between.

1962 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe on a mission to fly by Venus and return data on the planet’s atmosphere, magnetic field, charged particle environment and mass.

1964 – Gracie Allen, who kept radio and TV audiences laughing for decades with comedy partner and husband George Burns, dies at age 69.

1966 – Sixty-five-year-old Francis Chichester sets sail from Plymouth, England aboard his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, on the first solo around-the-world trip by sea. He completes the voyage nine months and one day later with only a single stop in Sydney, Australia, and is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1984 – President Ronald Reagan announces the Teacher in Space Project to inspire students, honor teachers and spur interest in mathematics, science and space exploration. New Hampshire social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe is eventually selected out of 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. Sadly, she is killed along with all her fellow crew members in the January 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after liftoff.

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The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

Vivek J. Tiwary and Andrew C. Robinson

Ten

Pearl Jam

Roman Holiday

Starring Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck and Eddie Albert, and directed by William Wyler

Guinness World Records Celebrating 60 Years

Guinness World Records

The Best of Captain & Tennille: The Millennium Collection

Captain & Tennille

Once Upon a Time in America

Starring Robert De Niro, James Woods, Joe Pesci, Elizabeth McGovern, Danny Aiello and Tuesday Weld and directed by Sergio Leone

On this Day August 13

Musical Milestones

1964 – The Supremes record “Baby Love,” which climbs to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 that fall, becoming the Motown sensation’s second chart-topper.

1965 – The Beatles touch down at New York’s Kennedy International Airport for their second North American tour, which includes their now-legendary performance before nearly 56,000 fans at Shea Stadium.

1966 – “Summer in the City,” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, begins three weeks as a No. 1 single. It is the first song ever produced that features a jack-hammer sound effect.

1975 – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band begin their “Born to Run” tour at New York’s Bottom Line night club.

1977 – Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO), the band that gave us “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and “Let It Ride,” breaks up. 

1977 – Andy Gibb begins his third and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Just Want to Be Your Everything.”

1980 – Devo releases the new wave/synth-pop single “Whip It,” which climbs as high as No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song continues to get heavy airplay today on 80s and new wave-format radio stations.

1982 – Soul singer Joe Tex dies at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack at the age of 49. He had nine Top 40 hits during his music career, including the 1972 No. 2 single. “I Gotcha.”

1983 – The Police are in the midst of an eight-week domination of the pop chart with “Every Breath You Take,” off their Grammy-winning “Synchronicity” album.

1994 – “Stay (I Missed You),” by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, is in the middle of a three-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The single earns Loeb the distinction of being the first artist to have a No. 1 hit before even being signed to a record label.

2005 – Mariah Carey rules the pop chart with “We Belong Together,” off her “The Emancipation of Mimi” album.

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The Lovin' Spoonful Greatest Hits

The Lovin’ Spoonful

Synchronicity (Remastered)

The Police

Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver

Eugene Salomon

The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989

Frederick Taylor

The Colonel and Little Missie

Larry McMurtry

Rear Window

Starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock

On this Day July 23

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Ultimate Manilow

Barry Manilow

Synchronicity

The Police

The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America During the 1960s

Peter B. Levy

You Have No Idea

Vanessa Williams

White Men Can't Jump

Starring Woody HarrelsonWesley Snipes andRosie Perez, and directed by Ron Shelton

Capote

Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper and Bruce Greenwood, and directed by Bennett Miller

On this Day July 16

History Highlights

1790 – President George Washington signs into law the Residence Act, which grants him the authority to select a new site for a capital of the United States on the east bank of the Potomac River.

1935 – The intersection of First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the site of the first parking meter in the U.S. — Park-O-Meter No. 1.

1945 – The nuclear age begins as the so-called “Trinity Test” is conducted. Part of the Manhattan Project, the world’s first successful test of an atomic bomb takes place during the early morning hours in the desert at Alamogordo, New Mexico. 

1951 – J. D. Salinger’s novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” is published and becomes one of the best known works in American literature. To date, more than 65 million copies have been sold.

1969 – Apollo 11 roars from its launch pad at Cape Kennedy, Florida on the first manned mission to the moon. Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin set out to fulfill a national objective declared by President John F. Kennedy in May of 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return safely to Earth.

1999 – A single-engine plane piloted by publisher and presidential son John F. Kennedy, Jr. crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, killing Kennedy, 38, his wife Carolyn, 33, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, 34. Five days later, underwater divers discover all three bodies still strapped into their seats.

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The Essentials

Tommy James & the Shondells

My World: The Definitive Collection

Smokey Robinson

The Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger

Apollo 11

A documentary featuring never-before-seen footage in its highest resolution, directed by Todd Douglas Miller

Stranger Than Fiction

Starring Will FerrellMaggie Gyllenhaal Dustin Hoffman, and directed by Marc Forster

Stand By Me

Starring Wil WheatonRiver Phoenix and Corey Feldman, and directed by Rob Reiner

On this Day July 9

Musical Milestones

1955 – “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley & His Comets, becomes the first rock ‘n’ roll record to reach No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart, known then as Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores chart.  The single spends eight weeks on top.

1958 – Johnny Cash signs with Columbia Records, where he remains for the next 30 years, releasing more than 60 albums.

1962 – Bob Dylan records the legendary protest song, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” for his second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” Hundreds of artists have recorded the song over the years, with Peter, Paul & Mary achieving the most commercially successful version. In 1994, the track is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1977 – Songwriter-turned-singer Alan O’Day has the hottest single with “Undercover Angel.” 

1983 – The Police have a No. 1 hit for eight weeks with “Every Breath You Take,” the first single released from “Synchronicity” — the band’s most successful and last studio album. 

1988 – Cheap Trick’s “The Flame” burns bright for two weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

1994 – “I Swear,” by All-4-One, is in the midst of 11 weeks as a Billboard chart-topper. Earlier that same year, the original recording of that song was a No. 1 country hit for John Michael Montgomery.

2005 – Mariah Carey returns to the top of the pop chart with “We Belong Together,” which spent four weeks at No. 1 until Carrie Underwood bumped it for a week with “Inside Your Heaven.” Carey’s hit reigns for 10 more weeks.

History Highlights

1777 – New York elects its first governor, Brigadier General George Clinton, who becomes not only the longest serving New York governor, but longest serving governor in the U.S. In 1805, he is elected vice president, serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, until his death in 1812.

1877 – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then a suburb of London. Twenty-one amateurs show up to compete in the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament — the only event at that time.

1941 – British cryptologists break the secret Enigma code used by the German army to direct ground-to-air operations on Europe’s Eastern front.

1948 – Leroy “Satchel” Paige is 42 years old when he pitches two innings for the Cleveland Indians in his debut with the newly–and barely–integrated American League. The game comes 21 years after the great pitcher’s first Negro League appearance.

1968 – Sports history is made in Houston as the first All-Star game played indoors and on artificial turf gets underway in the Astrodome. The National League wins and Willie Mays is declared MVP. 

1971 – President Richard Nixon’s National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, makes a secret trip to the People’s Republic of China to negotiate a detente between the U.S. and China.

1974 – Former U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who headed the commission that investigated the JFK assassination, dies in Washington, D.C. at the age of 83.

1999 – The teen sex comedy “American Pie,” starring Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan, opens and becomes a box office sensation, spawning an empire of sequels and direct-to-DVD spin-offs.

2000 – Venus Williams wins at Wimbledon for the first time, becoming the first female African American Wimbledon champion since Althea Gibson won back-to-back titles in 1957 and 1958. 

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The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Synchronicity

The Police

Holding Court: Inside the Gates of the Wimbledon Championships

Chris Gorringe

Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend

Larry Tye

Adaptation

Starring Nicolas CageTilda SwintonMeryl Streep and Chris Cooper, and directed by Spike Jonze

The Green Mile

Starring Tom HanksDavid MorseBonnie Hunt and Michael Clarke Duncan, and directed by Frank Darabont