On This Day April 7

History Highlights

1776 – U.S. Navy Captain John Barry, commander of the warship Lexington, achieves the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he seizes the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turns Barry into a national hero and boosts the morale of the Continental forces.

1948 – The United Nations establishes the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote “the highest possible level of health” around the globe. A major cornerstone of WHO is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. World Health Day is observed internationally every April 7.

1954 – President Dwight Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a “domino effect” in Southeast Asia. The so-called “domino theory” guided U.S. strategy toward Vietnam for the next decade.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy lobbies Congress to fund the preservation of historic monuments in Egypt’s Nile Valley threatened by construction of the Aswan High Dam.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material (Stanley v. Georgia). 

1970 – At the 42nd annual Academy Awards, screen legend John Wayne ropes his first and only Oscar: Best Actor for his role in the Western “True Grit.”

1978 – President Jimmy Carter cancels planned production of the neutron bomb.

1994 – Violence in Rwanda fuels the launch of what becomes the worst episode of genocide since World War II: the massacre of an estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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The Rolling Stones All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon

Make It Big

Wham!

John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail

Tim McGrath

True Grit

Starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby, and directed by Henry Hathaway

The Essential Billie Holiday: The Columbia Years

Billie Holiday

A Beautiful Mind

Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, and directed by Ron Howard

On This Day March 2

Musical Milestones

1963 – “Walk Like a Man,” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart. It is the band’s third chart-topping hit.

1967 – The Beatles win three Grammys for records issued the previous year: Best Song for “Michelle,” Best Vocal Performance for “Eleanor Rigby” and Best Cover Artwork for the album design of “Revolver” by Klaus Voormann.

1974 – “Seasons in the Sun,” by one-hit wonder Terry Jacks, claims the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stays there for three weeks.

1974 – At the 16th Annual Grammy Awards, Stevie Wonder captures five honors: Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording for “Innervisions,” Best R&B Song and Best Vocal for “Superstition,” and Pop Vocal Performance for “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” 

1974 – Roberta Flack wins Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammys for “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The track also garners a Song of the Year Grammy for its writers, Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox.

1985 – “Careless Whisper,” by Wham! featuring George Michael, begins its third and final week at No. 1 on the singles chart.

1985 – Sheena Easton becomes the first musical artist ever to land Top 10 hits on the pop, R&B, country, dance and adult contemporary charts when “Sugar Walls,” written by Prince, reaches No. 9.

1999 – Acclaimed British pop vocalist Dusty Springield (“I Only Want To Be With You,” “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”) dies at the age of 59 following a five-year battle with breast cancer.

2002 – “Always on Time,” by Ja Rule featuring Ashanti, enters its second and final week as a No. 1 single.

History Highlights

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The Very Best Of Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Greatest Hits

Sheena Easton

King Kong

Starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot, and directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

The Sound of Music

Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Eleanor Parker, and directed by Robert Wise

Theodor Seuss Geisel: A Portrait of the Man Who Became Dr. Seuss

Donald E. Pease

The Long, Long Trailer

Starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and Marjorie Main, and directed by Vincente Minnelli

On This Day February 16

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The Best of Captain & Tennille: The Millennium Collection

Captain & Tennille

Ladies And Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael

George Michael

The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen (Egypt)

Howard Carter and A. C. Mace

Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography

Ignacio Ramonet and Fidel Castro

The Best Of Sonny & Cher

Sonny & Cher

New Jack City

Starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and Allen Payne, and directed by Mario Van Peebles

On This Day January 16

Musical Milestones

1938 – Acclaimed clarinetist and band leader Benny Goodman (a.k.a. “The King of Swing”) makes history when he takes the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall. It not only marks the first time jazz is played in the hallowed music venue, but the first time a racially integrated ensemble performs.

1965 – The Supremes have a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Come See About Me.”

1971 – George Harrison marks his fourth and final week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “My Sweet Lord.”

1979 – Cher’s divorce from Gregg Allman is finalized.

1988 – Twenty-four years after The Beatles first rule the singles chart, “Got My Mind Set On You” by George Harrison is No. 1. The track was originally recorded by R&B singer James Ray in 1962.

1988 – After huge success as half of the pop duo Wham! during the early to mid-80s, George Michael claims the top spot on the Billboard album chart with his debut solo album, “Faith.” The production packs several major hits, including the title track, “Father Figure,” “One More Try” and “Monkey.”

1993 – “I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston, is in the middle of a 14-week domination of the Billboard singles chart.

1999 – Brandy’s “Have You Ever?” tops the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for two weeks. 

2004 – King of Pop, Michael Jackson, pleads not guilty to child molestation charges, as fans, reporters and TV crews from around the world swarm outside the California courthouse. The judge admonishes Jackson for arriving late.

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Benny Goodman: The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

Benny Goodman

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

The Supremes

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Daniel Okrent

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

Robert Matzen

Merman...Her Greatest!

Ethel Merman

Halloween

Starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis, and directed by John Carpenter

On This Day December 1

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Buddy Holly: Greatest Hits

Buddy Holly

Carpenters Gold
5th Anniversary Edition

Carpenters

Basketball: Its Origin and Development

James Naismith

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Jeanne Theoharis

Annie Hall

Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts and Christopher Walken, and directed by Woody Allen

It's the Girls!

Bette Midler

On This Day November 24

Musical Milestones

1950 – The musical comedy “Guys and Dolls” premieres on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Two years later, it spawns a film adaptation starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. 

1962 – The Four Seasons, featuring Frankie Valli, are in the second week of a five-week run as Billboard chart-toppers with “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

1966 – The Beatles gather in a studio for the first time since wrapping up their U.S. summer concert tour and spend the entire day recording John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

1972 – Don Kirshner’s “Rock Concert” TV show debuts, featuring Chuck Berry, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Alice Cooper.

1973 – Ringo Starr’s “Photograph” begins a week as the No. 1 single.

1979 – The Barbra Streisand-Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” kicks off two weeks as a No. 1 single.

1984 – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

1991 – Queen frontman Freddie Mercury dies of complications from AIDS exactly one day after publicly disclosing that he is HIV positive. He was 45 years old.

1997 – Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols is the defendant in an episode of TV’s “Judge Judy.” The case is a wrongful termination suit brought on by his former drummer, which Rotten wins.

2007 – Jay-Z climbs to the top of the Billboard album chart with “American Gangster,” his 10th chart-topping album. This ties the rapper to 2nd place with Elvis Presley for the most No. 1 albums. Only The Beatles have had more, with 19. 

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Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear

Rich Podolsky

The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo: Lover Of Life, Singer Of Songs

Freddie Mercury

The Last Master Outlaw: How He Outfoxed the FBI Six Times But Not A Cold Case Team

Thomas J. Colbert and Tom Szollosi

The Last Days of Letterman

Scott Ryan

Scott Joplin Piano Rags

Joshua Rifkin

The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game

Oscar P. Robertson

On This Day November 17

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The Very Best Of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

11-17-70

Elton John

Watergate

Fred Emery

Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal

Zachary Karabell

Pillow Talk

Starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall, and directed by Michael Gordon

Get Shorty

Starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Rene Russo, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

On this Day June 25

History Highlights

1876 – Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River. The conflict becomes known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

1942 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower (a.k.a. “Ike”), who would later become 34th U.S. president, assumes command of all U.S. troops in the European theater during World War II. In 1943, Ike is appointed supreme Allied commander of all forces in Europe.

1950 – Armed forces from communist North Korea invade South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly springs to the defense of South Korea and fights a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years.

1962 – In the case of Engel v. Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that prayers read aloud in public schools violate the separation of church and state stipulated by the First Amendment.

1968 – Congress passes the Flag Desecration Law, making it a crime to burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag. However, in 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down flag desecration laws in 48 states in its 5-4 Texas v. Johnson ruling, stating that flag desecration is a constitutionally protected form of free speech.

1993 – Kim Campbell is sworn in as Canada’s 19th prime minister, becoming the first woman to hold the country’s highest office.

2009 – Actress Farrah Fawcett — best known for TV and movie roles in “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Cannonball Run” and “The Burning Bed,” and who rocketed to pin-up status when a 1976 poster of her in a red bathing suit sold 12 million copies — dies at 62 following a three-year battle with anal cancer.

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The Hollies Greatest Hits

The Hollies

Purple Rain

Prince

Eisenhower in War and Peace

Jean Edward Smith

The Religious Roots of the First Amendment

Nicholas P. Miller

Antonio Gaudi: Master Architect

Juan Bassegoda Nonell

Network

Starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden and Peter Finch, and directed by Sidney Lumet

On this Day May 25

History Highlights

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Bookends

Simon & Garfunkel

Make It Big

Wham!, featuring George Michael

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

Douglas Brinkley

Star Wars The Digital Six Film Collection

George Lucas

Gods and Monsters

Starring Sir Ian McKellan, Brendan Fraser and Lynn Redgrave, and directed by Bill Condon

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley and Michael York, and dorected by Jay Roach