June 15, 2024

This Day in History: 2025-05-21

MAY 21st

Soundgarden’s fifth album, “Down On The Upside,” is released. 1996

Frontman Chris Cornell describes some of the songs as “self-affirming.”

The Wallflowers’ sophomore effort, “Bringing Down The Horses,” is released. 1996

Produced by T-Bone Burnett the album includes the singles: “6th Avenue Heartache,” “One Headlight” and “The Difference.”

“OK Computer” from Radiohead is released. 1997

Though deemed uncommercial by the band’s label (EMI) it goes double platinum in the U.S.

Selling 272,000 copies in its first week, “With Teeth” tops the Billboard 200 album chart. It’s the second time Nine Inch Nails lands at #1. The first was with “The Fragile” in ’99.” 2005

Green Day blasts retail chain Wal-Mart for refusing to stock “21st Century Breakdown” due to explicit lyrics.  2009

“They won’t carry our record because they wanted us to censor it,” explains frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. “We just said no.” Despite Wal-Mart’s ban, “21st Century Breakdown” becomes the #1 album in the U.S.


The Animals original guitarist, Hilton Valentine (born Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine), starts his life in North Shields, England. 1943

Chuck Berry records “Maybelline,” his first single for Chess Records. Now we’re cookin’. 1955

The Mamas & Papas debut album, “If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears” with “Monday, Monday” and “California Dreamin’, is #1 on the Billboard album chart.  1966

Credited to Paul & Linda McCartney “Ram,” McCartney’s second post-Beatles album goes to #2 in the U.S. 1971

“Agents Of Fortune,” one of Blue Oyster Cult’s best albums, is released. The set contains the darkly majestic “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” 1976

After losing the top spot on the on the Billboard 200 to The Eagles “Hotel California,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” gets back, after five weeks, to #1.  1977

“Sir Duke,” Stevie Wonder’s tribute to Jazz great Duke Ellington, is the #1 song in the U.S. 1977

Elton John plays the Soviet Union. The first stop is Leningrad where Soviet officials monitor the show to make sure that Elton doesn’t kick over his piano stool during “Bennie And The Jets.” Don’t want people to get too excited. 1979

David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” knocks off Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” to become the #1 song in the U.S. It stays at the top for all of one week. 1983

Killswitch Engage’s sophomore album, “Alive Or Just Breathing,” drops.  It’s considered one of the first albums to be identified as Metalcore. 2002

“With Teeth,” the fourth album from Nine Inch Nails, tops the Billboard 200 for a week.  2005

Velvet Revolver’s “She Builds Quick Machines,” the first single from their “Libertad” album, hits the airwaves. “It’s a great f**kin’ rock song,” says bassist Duff McKagan. “It has a kick-ass guitar riff, a great chorus, a really big bridge and a great Slash solo.” 2007

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler enters rehab. He checks himself into a Pasadena, CA clinic for treatment of unspecified substance-abuse problems. Tyler battled drug addiction throughout much of Aerosmith’s early career, undergoing rehabilitation in the ’80s. 2008

Sting and Sheryl Crow perform at the “One Night Live” concert in Toronto. The event raises more than $1.8 million for the Women & Babies Program at the city’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. 2009

Uriah Heep and Spiders From Mars bassist Trevor Bolder dies of cancer at the age of 62. Bolder joined David Bowie’s backing band in ’71 before replacing John Wetton in Heep five years later. “Trevor was a wonderful musician and a major inspiration for whichever band he was working with,” says Bowie. “But he was foremostly a tremendous guy, a great man.” 2013

Jack White (White Stripes) appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The accompanying article is titled: “The Strange World of a Rock & Roll Willy Wonka.” 2014

Late ’60’s Rock group Spirit files a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin claiming the guitar arpeggio opening of “Stairway To Heaven” infringes Spirit’s ’68 instrumental track “Taurus.” Zeppelin opened for Spirit in ’69. As far as the suit goes, Zeppelin prevails. 2014

Jon Bon Jovi performs his song “Reunion” during the graduation ceremony at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. The singer also receives an honorary doctor of letters for his work in philanthropy. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation addresses issues of hunger, homelessness and poverty. 2015

Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza dies after collapsing on stage during an L.A. performance with his progressive Jazz trio OHM. The 51-year-old succumbs to heart failure. 2016

Arcade Fire’s “We” sits atop Billboard’s Rock Albums chart.  2022

Ghost land their fifth #1 on the Mainstream Rock Airplay chart with “Call Me Little Sunshine.”  2022

Foo Fighters officially name Josh Freese as their new drummer (replacing the late Taylor Hawkins). Freese previously performed with Guns N’ RosesA Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails, among others.  2023

Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite For Destruction” is honored by the Grammy Hall of Fame in L.A. The song was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier in the year.  2024