On This Day March 31

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Musical Milestones
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.

On This Day January 30

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On This Day January 5

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On This Day November 27

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On This Day October 10

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1956 – Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender,” from the movie of the same name, debuts on the pop chart, reaching No. 1 a month later. It is an adaptation of the Civil War-era tune “Aura Lee or The Maid with Golden Hair.”

1960 – The novelty song “Mr. Custer,” by Larry Verne, begins a week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1970 – “Cracklin’ Rosie” gives Neil Diamond his first ride to the top of the singles chart, where it holds for a week.

1979 – “The Rose,” starring Bette Midler as a self-destructive 1960s rock star, premieres in Los Angeles. The movie, based on the life of rock legend Janis Joplin, goes on to receive four Oscar nominations, including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Midler, in her screen debut).

1981 – The Diana Ross-Lionel Richie duet, “Endless Love,” concludes its nine-week reign over the singles chart.

1987 – “Here I Go Again,” by British rockers Whitesnake, spends a week on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1988 – U2 release “Rattle and Hum,” a companion to the movie of the same name. The album contains live performances from the band’s successful 1987-88 “The Joshua Tree” tour, as well as additional songs recorded at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

1992 – Boyz II Men are in the middle of an epic 13-week domination of the singles chart with their Grammy-winning smash, “End of the Road.”

2009 – The Black Eyed Peas begin the final week of a marathon 14-week hold on the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Gotta Feeling.” The song goes on to capture a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

On this Day August 26

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1920 – The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. In 1973, Congress designates this date Women’s Equality Day.

1939 – The first Major League baseball game is televised. It’s a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Dodgers at New York’s Ebbets Field, with the teams splitting the match. 

1957 – The Soviet Union declares that it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of being fired “into any part of the world.” The announcement sets nations around the world on edge.

1968 – As the Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago, thousands of demonstrators take to the streets to protest the Vietnam War. 

1974 – Aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, dies of cancer in Hawaii at the age of 72. 

1985 – The Yugo, the Yugoslavian-built compact car that Americans loved to hate, is introduced to the U.S. auto market. Sales begin to sputter in the late 1980s, and by 1992, Yugo America is out of business.

1986 – In what becomes known as the “Preppy Murder” case because of the upper-class status of both the victim and killer, the body of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin is discovered in New York’s Central Park shortly after leaving a bar with 19-year-old Robert Chambers. Chambers is arrested, charged and ultimately found guilty of Levin’s murder, and dubbed the “Preppy Killer.”

On this Day July 19

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1966 – Wedding bells ring as legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra marries actress Mia Farrow. He’s 50, she’s 21. The marriage lasts just two years.

1969 – Zager and Evans are No. 1 on the pop chart with “In the Year 2525.”

1974 – The three-day Ozark Music Festival opens at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri, and draws a crowd estimated at 350,000 — bigger than the more famous Woodstock Festival. Acts include Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Blue Öyster Cult, Eagles, Aerosmith, America, Jefferson Starship, the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Joe Walsh.

1975 – Paul McCartney and Wings reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Listen To What The Man Said” off the “Venus and Mars” album.

1980 – Billy Joel holds the top position of both the album and singles charts. His album, “Glass Houses,” contains his first and biggest No. 1 hit, “It’s Still Rock ’n’ Roll to Me.”

1986 – “Invisible Touch,” off the Genesis album of the same name, grabs hold of the top spot on the Billboard singles chart for a week. It is the band’s first and only U.S. No. 1.

1988 – A year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bruce Springsteen performs for more than 300,000 fans in East Berlin, saying “I’m not here for any government. I’ve come to play rock ‘n’ roll for you in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down.”

1997 – “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, is midway through an 11-week domination of the pop chart.

2003 – No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a second straight week: “Crazy in Love,” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z. 

On this Day July 10

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1850 – Vice President Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th U.S. president. President Zachary Taylor had died the day before of a severe intestinal ailment. Fillmore becomes only the second man to inherit the presidency due to death.

1925 – The so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law. 

1962 –  Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin receives a U.S. patent for the three-point, lap-and-shoulder seatbelt he invented while head of safety at Volvo. Considered one of the most significant safety innovations of all time, the seatbelt is credited with saving millions of lives and preventing at least as many injuries in car crashes around the world. Bohlin received a gold medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science in 1995 and, in 1999, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

1962 – NASA launches Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, from Cape Canaveral. Two days later, the man-made orb relays the first transatlantic television signal from Maine to France.

1978 – The ABC News nightly “World News Tonight” broadcast premieres, featuring co-anchors Frank Reynolds in Washington, D.C., Max Robinson in Chicago and Peter Jennings in London. 

1985 – French secret service agents plant two bombs on the hull of the Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of international conservation group Greenpeace, and sink the vessel in Auckland Harbor New Zealand. One crew member is killed in the blast, which was aimed at stopping the Rainbow Warrior from a protest mission to a French nuclear test site in the South Pacific.

1992 – The Alaska court of appeals overturns the conviction of Joseph Hazelwood, former captain of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez, citing a federal statute that gave him immunity from prosecution for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.