On This Day March 31

Musical Milestones

1943 – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” premieres on Broadway. In 1955, the musical is produced as a motion picture starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (in her film debut).

1958 – Chess Records releases “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song climbs as high as No. 8 on the pop chart and goes on to become a rock and roll classic.

1962 – Connie Francis claims the top spot on the pop chart for a week with “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”

1967 – Jimi Hendrix suffers minor burns to his hands when he sets his guitar on fire during a performance at Finsbury Park in London. Nevertheless, he goes on to torch guitars several times during his short career.

1973 – Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” returns to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week after The O’Jays interrupted her for a week with their hit, “Love Train.”

1979 – “Tragedy,” by the Bee Gees, dominates the singles chart for a second and final week.

1984 – Kenny Loggins kicks off a three-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Footloose,” from the movie of the same name.

1987 – Prince releases his ninth studio album, “Sign o’ the Times,” which spawns three Top 10 hit singles: “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “U Got the Look,” (with Sheena Easton) and the title track. 

1995 – Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as the “Mexican Madonna,” is shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Selena was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy, in the Best Mexican-American album category, for her 1993 album “Selena Live!” At the time of her murder, at age 23, Selena was on the brink of international fame, recording her first English language album.

2007 – “Glamorous,” by Fergie featuring Ludacris, enters its second and final week as the No. 1 single.

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Oklahoma!

Starring Gordon Macrae, Gloria Grahame and Shirley Jones, and directed by Fred Zinnemann

To Selena, With Love

Chris Perez

Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It

Jill Jonnes

Raging Bull

Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty, and directed by Martin Scorsese

The Partridge Family: The Complete Series

Starring Shirley Jones and David Cassidy

Catch Me If You Can

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken, and directed by Steven Spielberg

On This Day March 22

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Physical Graffiti (Remastered)

Led Zeppelin

The Wall

Pink Floyd

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Daniel Okrent

Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment Is Now

Jessica Neuwirth

West Side Story

Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn, and directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise

Walk The Line

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon and Ginnifer Goodwin, and directed by Jim Wright and James Mangold

On This Day February 4

Musical Milestones

1967 – The Monkees maintain their grip on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m a Believer.” In all, the track remains a chart-topper for seven weeks.

1968 – The Beatles record “Across The Universe” at London’s Abbey Road Studios with backup vocals from two teenage fans who were among the groupies (“Apple scruffs”) that routinely gathered outside the facility on recording days.

1975 – Known as “The King of the Jukebox,” American jazz, blues and rhythm & blues musician, songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan dies at the age of 66.

1977 – Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album, “Rumours,” is released, introducing fans to the Top 10 hits “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” and “You Make Loving Fun.”

1978 – The Bee Gees have a No. 1 single with “Stayin’ Alive,” while another single of theirs, “Night Fever,” debuts on the pop chart, later staking its own claim to the top spot for eight weeks. Both songs are from the Grammy-winning “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

1982 – “Centerfold,” by the J. Geils Band, reaches No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for six weeks.

1983 – Heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa claims the life of 32-year-old singer Karen Carpenter of the acclaimed 1970s brother-sister pop duet, Carpenters.

1984 – Culture Club begins a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Karma Chameleon,” the band’s fifth Top 10 hit.

1995 – “Creep,” by TLC, is midway through a four-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the trio’s first chart-topper.

2006 – “Check On It,” by Beyoncé, featuring Bun B and Slim Thug, kicks off five weeks on top of the singles chart. 

History Highlights

1789 – George Washington — commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War — is unanimously elected the first president of the United States, garnering all 69 electoral votes. No other American president since has come into office with a universal mandate to lead.

1922 – The Ford Motor Company acquires the bankrupt Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million, giving Ford a luxury division to compete against Cadillac, Packard and Auburn.

1938 – Disney releases “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated feature (83 minutes in length) in color and with sound, and a pioneering classic tale in film history.

1945 – President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet at the Yalta Conference to discuss the Allied war effort against Germany and Japan.

1957 – Smith Corona Manufacturing of New York begins selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine, known as the model 5TE, weighs 19 pounds.

1974 – The radical group Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, from her California apartment. 

2004 – Nineteen-year-old Harvard University sophomore Mark Zuckerberg launches “TheFacebook.com,” an online directory designed to connect fellow Harvard students with one another. By the next day, more than a thousand people had registered. The service sparks a social media revolution, with billions now using Facebook each day.

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Saturday Night Fever

Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool and The Gang, Tavares, The Trammps, Yvonne Elliman and other artists

Freeze Frame

The J. Geils Band

His Excellency: George Washington

Joseph J. Ellis

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Starring Adriana CaselottiHarry Stockwell and Lucille La Verne, and directed by David Hand

Night of the Living Dead

Starring Duane Jones and Judith O’Day, and directed by George Romero

Mascara & Monsters: The Best Of Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper