On This Day April 27

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – High school freshman Little Peggy March (born Margaret Annemarie Battavio) marches to the top of the Billboard singles chart with “I Will Follow Him.” The song remains at No. 1 for three weeks and makes March, at age 15, the youngest female singer to ever have a chart-topping hit.

1967 – Motown Records releases the Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell duet, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which becomes a Top 20 hit. Diana Ross’ 1970 version rockets to the top of the pop chart, becoming her first No. 1 since leaving The Supremes. 

1974 – “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” by MFSB and The Three Degrees, is the No. 1 single. 

1981 – Singer-songwriter and legendary Beatles drummer Ringo Starr weds actress Barbara Bach, best known for her roles in the James Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Force 10 from Navarone.”

1985 – “We Are The World,” the musical collaboration produced under the baton of Quincy Jones as a fundraiser for African famine relief, is in the middle of a four-week reign over the Billboard Hot 100.

1991 – Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby begins two weeks as the most popular single in the U.S.

1999 – British rockers The Verve, best known for their Grammy-nominated hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and the chart-topping singles “The Drugs Don’t Work” and “Lucky Man,” announce their second breakup. The band re-forms in 2007, but by 2009, the musicians truly go their separate ways.

2002 – “Foolish,” off Ashanti’s self-titled debut album, tops the Billboard Hot 100 and remains at No. 1 for 10 weeks. The accompanying music video features actor Terrence Howard.

On This Day April 5

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1969 – Tommy Roe enjoys his fourth and final week on top of the pop chart with “Dizzy.”

1975 – “Lovin’ You,” by Minnie Riperton, tops the Billboard Hot 100. At the end of the track, you can hear her sing, “Maya, Maya” to her daughter, actress-comedian and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph. Tragically, Riperton dies of breast cancer four years later at the age of 31.

1980 – “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II,” by Pink Floyd, is the No. 1 single. 

1984 – The funeral service for Motown legend Marvin Gaye takes place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown talent are on hand to pay their respects.

1985 – At 3:50 p.m. GMT, more than 5,000 radio stations around the world simultaneously broadcast the single “We Are the World,” produced as a charity to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. The single, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, features the voices of some of the biggest musical acts of the day.

1994 – Grunge music icon Kurt Cobain, Nirvana founder and frontman, commits suicide. His body is discovered at his Seattle home three days later by an electrician who showed up to  install a security system.

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

2008 – Leona Lewis has the No. 1 single with “Bleeding Love.” The track holds the top spot for a week.

On This Day January 28

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1915 – The American merchant ship William P. Frye becomes the first casualty of World War I as a German cruiser opens fire and sinks the vessel. Despite apologies from the German government, the attack sparks outrage in the U.S.

1922 – Ninety-eight guests are killed, 133 others are injured when the roof of Washington, D.C.’s Knickerbocker Theatre collapses under the weight of a heavy snowfall. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst, and the “Knickerbocker Snowstorm,” as it is known, still holds the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall.

1958 – The interlocking stud-and-tube plastic Lego brick is patented by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the Lego toy company (“Lego,” from the Danish term “leg godt,” meaning “play well”). The colorful bricks have covered playroom floors for generations. In fact, it’s estimated that Lego has since produced the equivalent of 62 bricks for every human being on the planet.

1964 – The State Department accuses the Soviet Union of shooting down an unarmed Air Force trainer jet over East Germany, killing its three occupants.

1986 – A nation watches in horror as Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) explodes 73 seconds into flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe — who was to have been the first civilian in space — and fellow crew members Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.

1997 – Four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before a tribunal in South Africa, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

On this Day May 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1932 – Mobster Al Capone begins serving an 11-year sentence for income tax evasion in a federal prison in Atlanta.

1961 – Civil rights activists calling themselves the “Freedom Riders” decide to test a recent Supreme Court decision prohibiting racial segregation in interstate travel. They set out on a dangerous journey aboard buses from Washington, D.C. through the Deep South to New Orleans, defying segregated restrooms, restaurants and bus station waiting areas along the way.

1970 – Four students are killed, nine others wounded when National Guard troops open fire during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University in Ohio. Guardsmen fire 67 rounds in 13 seconds. The tragedy sends shockwaves across the U.S. and around the world.

1977 – British journalist David Frost sits down with former President Richard Nixon for the first of four revealing television interviews. Nixon apologizes for putting “the American people through two years of needless agony” during the Watergate scandal.

1979 – Britain’s Conservative Party leader, Margaret Thatcher, becomes that nation’s first female prime minister.

2008 – The term “May the 4th be with you,” a tribute to the popular Star Wars phrase, “May the force be with you,” becomes a part of pop culture as it begins to be used among members of Star Wars-related Facebook groups that turn it into a celebration of the beloved sci-fi franchise. In 2011 and 2012, Star Wars Day is observed by fans in Toronto during a festival that draws significant media coverage. In 2013, just months after purchasing Lucasfilm, Disney officially recognizes May 4 as Star Wars Day, and its marketing of new movies, TV shows and merchandise continues to explode today.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1959 – The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents the first Grammy Awards with ceremonies held simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles. Among the awards handed out, “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” (better known as “Volare”) wins both song and record of the year for composer Domenico Modugno.

1968 – Bobby Goldsboro is in the middle of a five-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Honey.”

1973 – Led Zeppelin opens its 1973 North American tour in Atlanta. Billed as “the biggest and most profitable rock & roll tour in the history of the United States,” the group would gross more than $4 million from it.

1974 – The soundtrack to the motion picture “The Sting,” featuring Marvin Hamlisch’s interpretation of ragtime music by Scott Joplin, begins a five-week run at No. 1 on the album chart.

1974 – Grand Funk Railroad chugs its way to the top of the Billboard singles chart with “The Loco-Motion.”

1985 – “We Are The World,” the musical collaboration produced under the baton of Quincy Jones as a fundraiser for African famine relief, begins its fourth and final week as a chart-topper.

1990 – Madonna kicks off the North American leg of her 57-date Blond Ambition World Tour with a performance in Houston, Texas at The Summit (now Lakewood Church). Years later, Rolling Stone magazine would call the tour “the Greatest Concert of the 1990s.”

2002 – Ashanti has the No. 1 single in the U.S. with “Foolish.” The single remains on top of the pop chart for 10 weeks.