On This Day

On This Day in Music for December 21

Events in Music

Music releaseMusic Premiere

1920 Jerome Kern/BG DeSylva's musical "Sally" premieres in NYC

Broadway Composer Jerome Kern
Broadway Composer
Jerome Kern

Film release premierFilm Premier

1934 French film "Zouzou" premieres in Paris, starring Josephine Baker; 1st black woman to star in a major motion picture

Dancer, Singer, Spy and Civil Rights Activist Josephine Baker
Dancer, Singer, Spy and Civil Rights Activist
Josephine Baker
  • 1941 David Diamond's 1st Symphony premieres
  • 1945 "Billion Dollar Baby" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 219 performances
  • 1946 "If the Shoe Fits" closes at Century Theater NYC after 20 performances

Music releaseMusic Premiere

1950 Cole Porter's musical "Out of this World" premieres at New Century Theater NYC; runs for 157 performances

Composer and Lyricist Cole Porter
Composer and Lyricist
Cole Porter

Music releaseMusic Recording

1960 Ornette Coleman records his influential album "Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation", establishes the name for the Free Jazz sound

Jazz Composer Ornette Coleman
Jazz Composer
Ornette Coleman
  • 1961 Beatles record "Sweet Georgia Brown" & "Ready Teddy"

Music release#1 in the Charts

1968 Glen Campbell's album "Wichita Lineman" goes to #1 in the US

Country Singer Glen Campbell
Country Singer
Glen Campbell

Appears on tv showTV Show Appearance

1969 Diana Ross' final TV appearance as a Supreme on "The Ed Sullivan Show", performing “Someday We’ll Be Together", after which Sullivan announced her upcoming departure from the group

Singer and Actress Diana Ross
Singer and Actress
Diana Ross
TV Host Ed Sullivan
TV Host
Ed Sullivan

Meeting of InterestElvis Meets Nixon

1970 Elvis Presley meets US President Richard Nixon in the White House - the image of this meeting is the most requested photo from the entire National Archives

Learn More
Richad Nixon meets Elvis Presley at the White House, December 21, 1970
Richad Nixon meets Elvis Presley at the White House, December 21, 1970
Learn More
  • 1975 "Hello, Dolly" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 51 performances
  • 1975 "Very Good Eddie" opens at Booth Theater NYC for 307 performances
  • 1978 "Broadway Musical" opens/closes at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC
  • 1983 Musical "Tap Dance Kid" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 669 performances
  • 1985 Heart's "Heart" album goes #1
  • 1993 "The Sign" single released in the US by Ace of Base (Billboard Song of the Year 1994)
  • 2005 Civil Partnership Act comes into force in the UK, with singer Elton John and David Furnish one of the first couples to form a same-sex civil union

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2012 "Gangnam Style" by Psy becomes the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube

K-Pop Star Psy
K-Pop Star

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2012 Flavor Flav's Chicken & Ribs opens in Sterling Heights, Michigan

Rapper & TV star Flavor Flav
Rapper & TV star
Flavor Flav

Birthdays in Music

  • 1616 Pietro Andrea Ziani, Italian organist & composer, born in Venice, Italy (d. 1684)
  • 1628 Samuel Friedrich Capricornus, Czech composer, born in Žerčice, Czech Republic (d. 1665)
  • 1728 Hermann Friedrich Raupach, German composer, born in Stralsund, Germany (d. 1778)
  • 1756 Thomas Anton Kunz, Czech composer, born in Prague, Czech Republic (d. 1830)
  • 1810 Ludwig Schuncke, German pianist & composer, born in Kassel, Germany (d. 1834)
  • 1826 Ernst Pauer, Austrian composer and pianist, born in Vienna (d. 1905)
  • 1848 Edward Everett Rice, American musical composer & theater producer, born in Brighton, Boston (d. 1924)
  • 1850 Zdenek Fibich, Czech classical composer (Šárka, The Bride of Messina), born in Všebořice (d. 1900)
  • 1867 John Winter Thompson, American organist, born in Michigan (d. 1951)
  • 1873 Blagoje Bersa, Croatian composer, born in Dubrovnik, Croatia (d. 1934)
  • 1886 George Norman Peterkin, English composer & music publisher, born in Liverpool, England (d. 1982)
  • 1895 Paul Hoffer, German composer, born in Barmen, Germany (d. 1949)
  • 1896 Leroy Robertson, American composer & music educator, born in Fountain Green, Utah (d. 1971)
  • 1902 Peetie Wheatstraw [William Bunch], American blues singer, songwriter, and piano player, born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas (d. 1941)
  • 1911 Paul Burkhard, Swiss composer, born in Zürich, Switzerland (d. 1977)
  • 1915 Werner von Trapp, Austrian singer (Trapp Family Singers), born in Zell am See, Austria (d. 2007)
  • 1917 Andre Eglevsky, Russian-born ballet dancer & teacher (Limelight), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1977)
  • 1921 Alicia Alonso, Cuban ballerina, founder of the National Ballet of Cuba, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2019)
  • 1921 Joan Dickson, British cellist and teacher, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1994)
  • 1924 Rita Reys [Maria Reijs], Dutch jazz singer, born in Rotterdam, Netherlands (d. 2013)
  • 1926 John Herbert McDowell, American composer for ballet, TV and the stage, born in Washington, D.C. (d. 1985)
  • 1928 Thomas Rajna, British-Hungarian pianist, and composer (Amarantha; Stop All The Clocks), born in Budapest, Hungary
  • 1929 Jack Philip Cannon, British composer & teacher, born in Paris, France (d. 2017)
  • 1931 Caroline Kaart [Paterson Raitt], Dutch alto singer, born in Blackness, United Kingdom
  • 1931 David Baker, American composer (Reflections) and educator, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2016)
  • 1932 Ilja Zeljenka, Slovak composer, born in Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 1933 Miklos Kocsar, Hungarian composer, born in Debrecen, Hungary
  • 1934 (Bennie Ross) "Hank" Crawford, American saxophonist, arranger and songwriter ("Help Me Make It Through the Night"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2009)
  • 1934 Harmonica Slim [Travis Blaylock], American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter ("You Better Believe It"), born in Texarkana, Texas (d. 1984)
  • 1936 Éric Gaudibert, Swiss composer, pianist, and teacher, born in Vevey, Switzerland (d. 2012)
  • 1938 Roland Coryn, Belgian violist, composer, and music educator, born in Kortrijk, Belgium
  • 1940 Tony Rivers [Thompson], British pop singer and vocal arranger (Harmony Grass; Cliff Richard), born in Shildon, England
  • 1940 Frank Zappa, American rocker, composer, activist and filmmaker (Mothers of Invention, Hot Rats), born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1993)
  • 1940 Paul [Ray Hildebrand], American singer (Paul & Paula), born in Joshua, Texas
  • 1942 Carla Thomas, American singer (Let Me Be Good to You)
  • 1942 Reinhard Mey, German singer, born in Berlin, Germany
  • 1943 Albert Lee, English guitarist, born in Lingen, Herefordshire
  • 1944 Michael Tilson Thomas, American conductor (San Francisco Symphony, 1995-2020), and composer (Shówa/Shoáh), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1946 Carl Wilson, American rock vocalist and guitarist (Beach Boys), born in Hawthorne California (d. 1998)
  • 1946 Christopher Keene, American conductor (La Traviata), born in Berkeley, California (d. 1995)
  • 1946 Kevin Peek, Australian guitarist, born in Adelaide, Australia (d. 2013)
  • 1947 Paco de Lucía, Spanish flamenco guitarist and composer, born in Algeciras, Spain (d. 2014)
  • 1948 Willi Resetarits, Austrian musician, born in Stinatz, Austria
  • 1950 Lillebjørn Nilsen, Norwegian singer-songwriter, born in Oslo, Norway
  • 1953 Betty Wright [Bessie Norris], American R&B singer-songwriter (Clean Up Woman), born in Miami, Florida (d. 2020)
  • 1953 Andras Schiff, Hungarian-British concert pianist and conductor, born in Budapest, Hungary
  • 1955 Kazuyuki Sekiguchi, Japanese musician, born in Agano, Niigata Prefecture
  • 1956 Lee Roy Parnell, American country singer (Oughta be a Law), born in Abilene, Texas
  • 1960 Louis Demetrius Alvanis, English classical pianist, born in London, United Kingdom
  • 1961 Ryuji Sasai, Japanese video game composer, born in Osaka Prefecture, Japan
  • 1962 Christy Forester, American musician (Forester Sisters-Men), born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
  • 1965 Gabrielle Glaser, American musician (Luscious Jackson)
  • 1969 Julie Delpy, French-American actress (Before Sunrise; before Sunset; Before Midnight), singer-songwriter, and director born in Paris, France
  • 1971 Matthieu Chedid, French musician, born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France
  • 1971 Brett Scallions, American singer (Fuel, The X's), born in Brownsville, Tennessee
  • 1972 Erwin Schrott, Uruguayan opera singer, born in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • 1973 Karmen Stavec, German-born Slovenian singer, born in West Berlin
  • 1975 Paloma Herrera, Argentine ballet dancer, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1979 Tuva Novotny, Swedish actress and singer, born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1981 Lynda Thomas, Mexican singer, born in Tijuana, Mexico

Weddings in Music

LoveWedding of Interest

1996 Famous singer Lionel Richie (47) weds clothing designer Diane Alexander (30) at Metropolitan Club in New York

  • 2012 "Rolling Stones" guitarist Ronnie Wood (65) weds theater producer Sally Humphreys (34) at Dorchester Hotel in London
  • 2012 "McFly" drummer Harry Judd (27) weds former Escala violinist Izzy Johnston (29) at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden, Herts

LoveWedding of Interest

2014 British pop piano player and singer Elton John (67) marries Canadian filmmaker David Furnish (51)

Singer Elton John
Elton John

Deaths in Music

  • 1734 Philipp Hyacinth Lobkowitz, composer, dies at 54
  • 1755 Caspar Ruetz, German composer, dies at 47
  • 1807 John Newton, English cleric and hymnist, died at 82
  • 1820 Charles-Francois Dumonchau, French pianist and composer, dies at 45
  • 1864 William Henry Fry, American composer, dies at 51
  • 1890 Niels Wilhelm Gade, Danish violinist, organist, composer, and conductor, dies at 73
  • 1906 Adalbert von Goldschmidt, Austrian composer, dies at 58
  • 1940 Hal Kemp American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger and sweet jazz bandleader, dies as a result of a car accident at 36
  • 1941 Peetie Wheatstraw [William Bunch], American blues singer, songwriter, and piano player, dies on his 39th birthday when the car in which he was a passenger met a freight train
  • 1957 Eric Coates, English viola palyer and composer, dies at 71
  • 1957 Tony Lewis, British rock singer-songwriter and bass player (The Outfield - "Your Love") (d. 2020)
  • 1965 Claude Champagne, Canadian composer, dies at 74
  • 1984 Judith Raskin, American soprano (Susanna-Le Nozze di Figaro), dies at 56
  • 1989 Ján Cikker, Slovak composer, dies at 78
  • 1992 Albert King [Nelson], American blues guitarist and singer (BB King & Friends, Blues Alive), dies of a heart attack at 69
  • 1997 Amie Comeaux, American country music singer, dies at 21
  • 1998 Karl Denver [Angus McKenzie], Scottish pop singer ("Never Say Goodbye"; "Wimoweh"), dies of a brain tumor at 67
  • 2012 Lee Dorman, American rock bassist (Iron Butterfly; Captain Beyond), dies at 70
  • 2013 Lars Edlund, Swedish composer, dies at 91
  • 2016 Weston Noble, American music educator and conductor (Luther College, 1948-2005), dies at 94
  • 2017 Wolfgang Ludewig, German composer, dies at 91
  • 2020 K. T. Oslin, American country singer (80's Ladies), dies at 78 [1]