ON THIS DAY IN MUSIC HISTORY: 5.21.21

1955 - Chuck Berry recorded 'Maybellene' at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago, Illinois. The song adapted in part from the Western swing fiddle tune 'Ida Red' is said to be one of the first rock and roll songs. The track became Berry's debut single release in July of this year where it peaked at No.5 on the US chart.

1963 - "Little" Stevie Wonder taped his sophomore album, The Twelve Year Old Genius, live at a Detroit theatre. It would become Motown's first No. 1 album and it yielded Wonder's first smash hit, "Fingertips, Pt. 2."

1969 - John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's infamous 10-day "bed-in" for peace began at a Montreal hotel. As the Vietnam War raged, John and Yoko held two week-long Bed-ins for Peace (the other at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam) Each were intended to be nonviolent protests against wars, and experimental tests of new ways to promote peace. The idea is derived from a "sit-in", in which a group of protesters remains seated in front of or within an establishment until they are evicted, arrested, or their demands are met.

1970 - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released the protest single Ohio, written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, when unarmed college students were shot by the Ohio National Guard. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others

1971 - Marvin Gaye released his eleventh studio album What's Going On. The concept album consisting of nine songs tells the story from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing only hatred, suffering, and injustice. What's Going On is regarded as one of the landmark recordings in pop music history, and one of the greatest albums of the 20th century.

1971 - Ram, Paul McCartney's second solo album, was released. Unlike McCartney's first solo effort, it was not a one-man band affair. Contributing musicians included guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken. Where McCartney was homemade, sounding deliberately ragged in parts, Ram had a fuller production yet retained that ramshackle feel, sounding as if it were recorded in a shack. All this made Ram an object of scorn and derision upon its release (and for years afterward, in fact), but in retrospect it looks like nothing so much as the first indie pop album.

1983 - David Bowie's "Modern Love" shot to No. 1 in the singles charts, thanks in part to Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar playing and his Let's Dance" album hit No. 1 on the U.S. chart. Bowie said this song's call-and-response vocal arrangement "all comes from Little Richard." A defining moment in Bowie's childhood was when his dad came home with a copy of "Tutti Frutti."

1997 - Radiohead released their third studio album OK Computer. The anthemic guitar heroics present on Pablo Honey and even The Bends are nowhere to be heard here. Radiohead have stripped away many of the obvious elements of guitar rock, creating music that is subtle and textured yet still has the feeling of rock & roll. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

2011 - Adele went to No. 1 with "Rolling In The Deep." Adele described the song to Spin magazine as a kiss-off to an unfaithful dude. "It's me saying, 'Get the f--k out of my house instead of me begging him to come back," she said.

Birthdays:

Jazz pianist Fats Waller was born today in 1904.

Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers is 80.

Stan Lynch, former drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is 66.

Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine is 58.

The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls / Christopher G. Wallace) was born today in 1972.

On This Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.


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