On This Day

On This Day in Music for May 21

Events in Music

  • 1892 Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" premieres in Milan
  • 1941 Singer Johan Heesters visits Dachau concentration camp
  • 1955 "House of Flowers" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 165 performances
  • 1959 "Gypsy" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 702 performances
  • 1966 "Downtown" by Mrs Miller hits #82
  • 1966 "Time for Singing" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 41 performances
  • 1966 Louie Louie by The Kingsmen reentered the chart & hits #97
  • 1967 "Sing, Israel Sing" closes at Brooks Atkinson NYC after 14 performances

Music concertMusic Concert

1968 Paul McCartney and girlfriend Jane Asher attend an Andy Williams concert

Musician and Beatle Paul McCartney
Musician and Beatle
Paul McCartney
Singer and TV Host Andy Williams
Singer and TV Host
Andy Williams

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1972 "Lost in the Stars" based on the novel "Cry the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 39 performances

Author and Apartheid Activist Alan Paton
Author and Apartheid Activist
Alan Paton
  • 1977 "Fiddler on the Roof" closes at Winter Garden NYC after 167 performances
  • 1977 Electric Light Orchestra releases "Telephone Line" in the UK; it would peak in the Top 10 in the UK and US

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1980 "Star Wars Episode V - Empire Strikes Back", produced by George Lucas opens in cinemas in UK and North America

Film Director George Lucas
Film Director
George Lucas
Composer John Williams
John Williams

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1981 Reggae musician Bob Marley receives a Jamaican state funeral

Reggae Musician Bob Marley
Reggae Musician
Bob Marley
  • 1983 "Bang The Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren hits #63

Music release#1 in the Charts

1983 David Bowie's "Let's Dance" single goes #1

Singer-Songwriter David Bowie
David Bowie
  • 1988 "Da'Butt" by EU hits #35

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1988 "Fat" by Weird Al Yankovic hits #99

Parody Singer and Comedian Weird Al Yankovic
Parody Singer and Comedian
Weird Al Yankovic
  • 1994 "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" closes at Lunt-Fontanne NYC after 16 performances
  • 1996 "You're Makin' Me High" single released by Toni Braxton (Grammy Award Best Female R&B Vocal Performance 1997)

Music awardsMusic Awards

2003 38th Academy of Country Music Awards: Toby Keith, Martina McBride & Kenny Chesney win

Country Singer-Songwriter Martina McBride
Country Singer-Songwriter
Martina McBride
Country Singer and Actor Toby Keith
Country Singer and Actor
Toby Keith
  • 2005 50th Eurovision Song Contest: Helena Paparizou for Greece wins singing "My Number One" in Kiev

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2015 Flavor Flav is arrested near Las Vegas on charges including speeding and driving under the influence

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2017 BTS wins the Top Social Artist at the Billboard Awards, becoming the first Kpop group to win any Billboard Award

K-Pop Star Jimin
K-Pop Star

Birthdays in Music

  • 1633 Joseph de La Barre, composer
  • 1671 Azzolino Bernardino Della Ciaia, composer
  • 1680 Frederich Karl Erbach, composer
  • 1720 Antonio Corbisiero, composer
  • 1722 Wilhelm Gottfried Enderle, German composer and violinist, born in Bayreuth (d. 1790)
  • 1841 Joseph Parry, Welsh composer and musician, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (d. 1903)
  • 1867 Marie Joseph Leon Desire Paque, composer
  • 1880 Pablo Luna, Spanish composer (De España vengo), born in Alhama de Aragón, Spain (d. 1942)
  • 1888 May Aufderheide, American ragtime composer (Dusty Rag), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1972)
  • 1890 Albert van Raalte, conductor (AVRO-orchestra)
  • 1898 Karel Haba, Czech composer and violinist, born in Vizovice, Moravia (d. 1972)
  • 1901 Horace Heidt, Alameda California, orchestra leader (Swift Show Wagon)
  • 1901 Sam Jaffe, American music and film producer (Born Free, The Fighting Sullivans), born in Harlem, New York (d. 2000)

Person of interestFats Waller

1904 Fats Waller [Thomas Wright], American jazz singer and composer (Ain't Misbehavin', Hot Chocolate), born in NYC, New York (d. 1943)

Jazz Musician and Songwriter Fats Waller
Jazz Musician and Songwriter
Fats Waller
  • 1905 Edward Lockspeiser, British composer and musicologist (Debussy: His Life and Mind), born in London (d. 1973)
  • 1913 Gina Bachauer, Greek classical pianist of Austrian heritage, born in Athens, Greece (d. 1976)
  • 1916 Dennis Day [Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty], Irish-American tenor and comedian (Jack Benny Show, Danny Boy), born in New York City (d. 1988)
  • 1920 Anthony Steel, British actor and singer (Malta Story, The Wooden Horse), born in London, England (d. 2001)
  • 1921 Leona Wood, painter and dancer, born in Seattle, Washington
  • 1923 Doris Mae Akers, American gospel singer-songwriter (Sky Pilot Choir - Sweet, Sweet Spirit), born in Brookfield, Missouri (d. 1995)
  • 1924 Robert Parris, American composer (Book of Imaginary Beings), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1999)
  • 1926 Joseph Horovitz, composer
  • 1929 Charles Wadsworth, Barnesville Georgia, pianist (Lincoln Center)
  • 1932 Robert Sherlaw Johnson, composer
  • 1933 Maurice André, French classical trumpeter and baroque revivalist, born in Alès, France (d. 2012)
  • 1933 Gene “Joe” Byrd, American jazz bassist (Charlie Byrd Trio), born in Chuckatuck, Virginia (d. 2012)
  • 1935 Terry Lightfoot, British clarinetist and bandleader (New Orleans Jazzmen), born in Potters Bar, England (d. 2013)
  • 1939 Heinz Holliger, Swiss composer, oboist and conductor, born in Langenthal, Switzerland

Person of interestTony Sheridan

1940 Tony Sheridan, English singer-songwriter and guitarist who collaborated with The Beatles, born in Norwich, England (d. 2013)

Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist Tony Sheridan
Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist
Tony Sheridan
  • 1941 Ronald Isley, singer (Isley Brothers-Twist & Shout), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1941 Martin Carthy, English folk musician, born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire
  • 1943 Hilton Valentine, British rock guitarist (Animals - "House of the Rising Sun"), born in North Shields, Northumberland, England (d. 2021)
  • 1944 Marcie Blane [Blank], American pop singer (Bobby's Girl), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1947 William "Bill" Champlin, American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and producer (Chicago, Sons of Champlin), born in Oakland, California
  • 1948 Leo Sayer, British singer (You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, When I Need Love), born in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England
  • 1949 Arno Hintjens, Belgian singer (T C Matic)
  • 1949 Rosalind Plowright, British soprano (Aida, Senta)
  • 1954 Marc Ribot, American guitarist (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Zorn), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • 1955 John Galvin, American rock keyboardist (Molly Hatchet), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1955 Stan Lynch, rock drummer (Tommy Petty & Heartbreakers), born in Gainesville, Florida
  • 1961 Tim Lever, keyboard/sax (Dead or Alive-You Spin Me Round)
  • 1963 Kevin Shields, American born Irish musician (My Bloody Valentine), born in Queens, New York
  • 1968 Julie Vega, Filipina child actress and singer, born in Quezon City, Philippines (d. 1985)
  • 1972 Adriano Cintra, Brazilian musician (CSS)
  • 1972 The Notorious B.I.G. [Christopher Wallace], American rapper (Life After Death), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1997)
  • 1974 Havoc [Kejuan Muchita], American rapper (Mobb Deep), born in Queensbridge, Queens, New York
  • 1975 Lee Gaze, Welsh guitarist
  • 1976 Deron Miller, American rock musician
  • 1976 Kardinal Offishall, Canadian rapper
  • 1979 Gaspard Augé, French musician
  • 1981 Maximilian [Max] Mutzke, German singer
  • 1985 Kano [Robinson], English rapper and actor, born in London
  • 1985 Mutya Buena, English singer (ex-Sugababes)
  • 1985 Marco Carta, Italian singer
  • 1986 Myra, Mexican-American singer
  • 1992 Olivia Olson, American singer and actress (Love Actually - "Joanna"), born in Los Angeles, California

Weddings in Music

LoveWedding of Interest

1994 Country singer Trisha Yearwood (29) weds Robert Reynolds (32)

Country Singer Trisha Yearwood
Country Singer
Trisha Yearwood

Deaths in Music

  • 1812 Joseph Wolfl, composer, dies at 38
  • 1815 Roman Hoffstetter, German classical composer, dies at 73
  • 1817 Johann Friedrich Christmann, German composer, dies at 64
  • 1844 Guiseppi Baini, composer, dies at 68
  • 1860 Johannes Frederik Fröhlich, Danish violinist and composer, dies at 53
  • 1885 Gavril Yakimovich Lomakin, composer, dies at 73
  • 1895 Franz von Suppé, Austrian composer (Poet und Bauer), dies at 76
  • 1897 Karol Mikuli, composer, dies at 77
  • 1926 Georgy Catoire, Russian composer, dies at 65
  • 1954 János Hammerschlag, Hungarian composer, dies at 68
  • 1957 Aleksandr Vertinsky, Russian singer (b. 1889)
  • 1973 Vaughn Monroe, singer/orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), dies at 61
  • 1976 Sulo Nikolai Salonen, Finnish composer, dies at 77
  • 1976 Harold Blair, Australian tenor and Aboriginal activist, dies at 51
  • 1979 Blue [Richard Allen] Mitchell, American jazz musician (Riverside, Blue Note), dies of cancer at 79
  • 1983 Finn Einar Mortensen, composer, dies at 61
  • 1988 Sammy Davis Sr., American vaudeville dancer (Mr. Wonderful), dies at 87
  • 1996 Peter Fletcher, music teacher, dies at 60
  • 1999 Karnail "Bugz" Pitts, American rapper (D12) (b. 1979)
  • 2006 Katherine Dunham, American dancer (b. 1909)
  • 2006 Billy Walker, American singer (b. 1929)
  • 2013 Trevor Bolder, British rock musician and record producer (Uriah Heep, The Spiders from Mars), dies from cancer at 62
  • 2013 Frank Comstock, American arranger (Les Brown), and theme composer (Rocky and His Friends), dies at 90
  • 2014 Teodor Grigoriu, Romanian composer, dies at 87
  • 2015 Louis Johnson, American rock bassist and vocalist (Brothers Johnson), dies at 60
  • 2016 Nick Menza, American musician and drummer (Megadeth), dies at 51