On This Day April 12

Musical Milestones

1954 – Bill Haley and his Comets record “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” at Pythian Temple studios in New York City. The song, widely credited with bringing rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream, becomes a worldwide No. 1 and the biggest-selling pop single, with sales exceeding 25 million. 

1963 – Bob Dylan performs his first major solo concert at Town Hall in Manhattan. Dylan’s 24-song set includes “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Highway 51” and “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie.”

1969 – The 5th Dimension soar to the top of the singles chart with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” which holds at No. 1 for six weeks.

1973 – Stevie Wonder is just 23 years old when he makes a guest appearance on the children’s television show Sesame Street. Wonder interacts with several beloved characters in segments throughout the program, including Grover, whom he teaches how to sing. He also performs his smash hit, “Superstition.”

1975 – Elton John claims the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks with “Philadelphia Freedom,” a song he wrote for his good friend, international tennis legend Billie Jean King.  “Philadelphia Freedom” is the name of the tennis team that King coached at the time.

1986 – Falco wraps up three weeks atop the Billboard singles chart with “Rock Me Amadeus.”

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

2003 – 50 Cent rules the singles chart with “In da Club,” which remains at No. 1 for nine weeks. 

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The Best of Bill Haley & His Comets: The Millennium Collection

Bill Haley & His Comets

Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy

Elton John

The Civil War: An Illustrated History

Geoffrey C. Ward with Ric Burns and Ken Burns

Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space

Deborah Cadbury

Could It Be Forever? My Story

David Cassidy

When a Man Loves a Woman

Starring Andy Garcia, Meg Ryan and Lauren Tom, and directed by Luis Mandoki

On This Day December 17

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You Light Up My Life

Debby Boone

All the Best

Paul McCartney

The Wright Brothers

David McCullough

The Simpsons (Season One)

Starring Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Albert Brooks and Maggie Roswell

The Hardball Handbook: How to Win at Life

Chris Matthews

Independence Day

Starring Bill Pullman, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, and directed by Roland Emmerich

On This Day November 30

History Highlights

1965 – Consumer advocate Ralph Nader publishes “Unsafe at Any Speed,” a book that singles out the Chevy Corvair while criticizing U.S. auto safety standards. It immediately becomes a bestseller and prompts passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, seat belt laws in 49 states (all but New Hampshire) and other highway safety initiatives.

1967 – Senator Eugene McCarthy, who advocated for a negotiated end to the Vietnam War, declares that he will challenge President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic Party nomination. However, four months later, Johnson announces that he is not seeking re-election.

1971 – The made-for-television movie “Brian’s Song” premieres on ABC, starring James Caan as Brian Piccolo, the Chicago Bears running back who is stricken with terminal cancer, and Billy Dee Williams as his teammate, Gale Sayers. It leaves audiences sobbing with its compelling portrayal of the strong friendship the two athletes form. The movie captures five Emmy Awards.

1977 – After nearly four decades with CBS News, anchor Eric Sevareid retires. Sevareid was among a group of elite war correspondents hired by legendary CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, and nicknamed “Murrow’s Boys.” He was the first to report the Fall of Paris when the city was captured by the Germans in World War II.

1993 – President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Bill into law, requiring a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.

Celebrity Birthdays

1835 – Author Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens, best known for his classic American novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” (d. 1910)

1874 – Winston Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born in Oxfordshire, England. (d. 1965) 

1918 – Actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (“77 Sunset Strip,” “The F.B.I.”) (d. 2014)

1927 – Emmy-winning actor Robert Guillaume, best known for his role as the butler in the ABC sitcom “Benson”

1929 – Legendary TV host and producer Dick Clark, born Richard Wagstaff Clark, who is credited with such popular shows as “American Bandstand,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes,” among others. (d. 2012)

1937 – Emmy-winning director-producer Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down,” “American Gangster,” “The Martian”)

1947 – Tony-winning playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet (“The Verdict,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Wag the Dog,” “Ronin”)

1952 – Emmy and Tony-winning actor Mandy Patinkin (“Yentl,” “The Princess Bride,” “Dick Tracy,” “The Adventures of Elmo In Grouchland,” “Chicago Hope,” “Criminal Minds”)

1955 – Rock singer-guitarist Billy Idol, born William Albert Michael Broad (“Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “Rock the Cradle of Love”)

1965 – Emmy-winning actor, director and comedian Ben Stiller (“Reality Bites,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Zoolander,” the “Meet the Parents” trilogy, “DodgeBall,” “Tropic Thunder,” the “Madagascar” series, the “Night at the Museum” trilogy, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”)

1978 – Singer and “American Idol” alum Clay Aiken, born Clayton Holmes Grissom

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The Best Of Diana Ross & The Supremes: The Millennium Collection

Diana Ross & The Supremes

Thriller

Michael Jackson

Unsafe At Any Speed

Ralph Nader

Brian's Song

Starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams and Jack Warden, and directed by Buzz Kulik

The Princess Bride

Starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin and Chris Sarandon, and directed by Rob Reiner

Night at the Museum

Starring Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino and Dick Van Dyke, and directed by Shawn Levy