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February 21st: The Biggest Music Headlines

Scroll down the page to see all the music headlines, stories, and events for February 21 throughout music history

Celine Dion

Celine Dion Tops the UK Chart with ‘My Heart Will Go On’

In 1998, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” which was already on its way to becoming the best-selling single of the year, topped the UK pop chart. Composed by James Horner, with lyrics by Will Jennings, the ballad served as the theme to the blockbuster film Titanic, and quickly became the French Canadian singer’s signature hit. The song, which also appeared on Dion’s 1997 LP, Let’s Talk About Love, topped the charts in more than 25 countries, including the US a week later. It has sold more than 18 million copies worldwide and is one of the best-selling physical singles of all time.

In 2012, Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot staged a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour to protest the reelection of Vladimir Putin. Donning colorful balaclavas, the group was escorted out of the building less than a minute after their performance began, and three of the women were arrested and charged with hooliganism. They later used footage of the event in the music video for “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Drive Putin Away.”

In 1968, Otis Redding had his first entry on the UK singles chart with his posthumous hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay.” The song, which peaked at No.3, was the final song recorded by the legendary soul star. Across the Atlantic, it became the first posthumously-released song to top the US charts.

In 1961, The Beatles played three shows across Liverpool in one day. They began with a lunchtime performance at the Cavern Club – marking bassist Stuart Sutcliffe’s first appearance at the venue. The band later performed at the Cassanova Club before playing at Litherland Town Hall.

In 2014, Kurt Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, unveiled a statue in honor of the late Nirvana frontman. The tribute was also accompanied by the announcement of the annual celebration of Kurt Cobain Day.

Looking for more things that happened on this day in music?
Keep scrolling for all of the headlines for February 21.

BORN ON FEBRUARY 21:

1933: Nina Simone
1943: David Geffen (Record Executive)
1952: Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers)
1954: Mike Pickering (M People)
1969: James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers)
1967: Michael Ward (The Wallflowers)
1986: Charlotte Church
1995: GIVÉON

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Keep scrolling for all of our February 21 birthdays.


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February 21st

On this day in music
21 Feb 2019
American musician Peter Tork died age 77. He was diagnosed with a rare form of tongue cancer in 2009. The Monkees were brought together for an American sitcom TV series in 1966. Best known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist, they had the 1967 UK & US No.1 single 'I'm A Believer' plus other hits including 'Last Train to Clarksville', 'Pleasant Valley Sunday', and 'Daydream Believer'.
21 Feb 2014
A statue of a weeping Kurt Cobain was unveiled in Aberdeen, Washington - the hometown of the late Nirvana frontman. The statue, which sees Cobain crying a single tear, is situated in the Aberdeen Museum of History. Kurt Cobain Day would now be celebrated annually in the city of Aberdeen. Of the day, Mayor Bill Simpson recently read a proclamation, which stated: "Aberdeen residents may justifiably take pride in the role our community played in the life of Kurt Cobain and the international recognition our community has gained from its connections with Cobain and his artistic achievements."
21 Feb 2014
A crew member working on a biopic about Gregg Allman died after being hit by a train during filming. Police in south Georgia said the woman was struck after the crew for Midnight Rider placed a bed on the railway tracks in Doctortown. Wayne County Sheriff John Carter said several other people had been injured, two of them seriously.
21 Feb 2012
Five members of the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot staged a performance on the soleas of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior where their actions were stopped by church security officials. By that evening, they had turned the performance into a music video entitled "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!" The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leader's support for Putin during his election campaign. The following month, three of the group members were arrested and charged with hooliganism and were were held in custody until their trial began in late July when the three members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", and each was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
21 Feb 2009
Rihanna issued a statement thanking fans for their support after an alleged assault by her R&B singer boyfriend Chris Brown, but the singer declined to comment on a leaked photograph which appeared to show her with facial injuries. The Los Angeles Police Department had launched an internal investigation and asked for the public's help in finding the person who leaked the photograph.
21 Feb 2008
A US music aficionado sold his collection of more than three million vinyl albums, singles and compact discs to an eBay buyer from Ireland for just over $3 million. An eBay spokeswoman said the sale was one of the highest ever for the online auction site.
21 Feb 2008
Britney Spears failed in a court bid to regain visitation rights to her two children. Spears was banned from monitored visits in January of this year after refusing to hand the children back, resulting in a stand-off with police at her house. The singer's ex-husband Kevin Federline was awarded primary custody of two-year-old Sean Preston and Jayden James, aged one, in October.
21 Feb 2008
A computer expert was jailed for two years for electronically stalking Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. Devon Townsend worked at a US national security laboratory in New Mexico, where she used a computer to track Bennington, she admitted to obtaining family photos, accessing e-mail and voicemail, and threatening his wife Talinda.
21 Feb 2004
Simon Cowell was set to appear in a new episode of The Simpsons. The TV Pop Idol judge would play a nursery boss who gets punched by Homer Simpson.
21 Feb 2004
Les Gray the lead singer of the British band Mud died of a heart attack, whilst fighting throat cancer, aged 57. Mud scored the 1974 UK No.1 single 'Tiger Feet' plus had 14 other UK Top 40 singles.
21 Feb 2002
Elton John accused the music industry of exploiting young singers and dumping talented artists for manufactured group's. He said 'There are too many average and mediocre acts; it damages real talent getting airplay. It's just fodder.'
21 Feb 2001
Robbie Williams was attacked and thrown from the stage during a concert in Stuttgart, Germany after a man got onto the stage and pushed Williams into the security pit. The attacker was arrested and taken to a secure psychiatric clinic.
21 Feb 1998
Celine Dion went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with My Heart Will Go On. The song was the theme from the movie Titanic. The world's best-selling single of 1998.
21 Feb 1987
Ben E King was at No.1 in the UK singles chart with Stand By Me. The track was first released in 1961 and became a hit in 1987 after being featured in the film 'Stand By Me.'
21 Feb 1982
American DJ Murry The K died. Murray is thought to be the first person to play a Beatles record on radio in America. During the early days of Beatlemania, he frequently referred to himself as "the Fifth Beatle". Married six times, he died of cancer a week after his 60th birthday.
21 Feb 1981
Dolly Parton started a two week run at No.1 on the US charts with '9 to 5', the singer's first No.1 hit. The track was taken from the 1980 comedy film of the same name. The song garnered Parton an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations, winning her the awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. For a time, the song became something of an anthem for office workers in the US.
21 Feb 1976
The Four Seasons were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'December '63 (Oh What A Night). Written by original Four Seasons keyboard player Bob Gaudio and his future wife Judy Parker who first met when both were working as producers for Motown Records. The song's lyrics were originally set in 1933 with the title "December 5th, 1933," and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition.
21 Feb 1972
Led Zeppelin released 'Rock And Roll / Four Sticks' as a 7 inch single in the US, peaking at No.47 on the chart. The song was written as a spontaneous jam session, whilst the band were trying to finish 'Four Sticks'. Drummer John Bonham played the introduction to Little Richard's 'You Keep A-Knockin' and Page added a guitar riff; with the tapes rolling the basic song was finished fifteen minutes later.
21 Feb 1970
Simon and Garfunkel went to No.1 on the UK chart with Bridge Over Troubled Water. The album went on to stay on the chart for over 300 weeks, returning to the top of the charts on eight separate occasions and spending a total of 41 weeks at No.1.
21 Feb 1968
Otis Redding had his first entry on the UK singles chart when '(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay' entered the chart, it went on to be a No.3 hit. The song became the first posthumous single to top the charts in the US.
21 Feb 1967
Pink Floyd started their first sessions at the EMI Studios, St. John's Wood, London on their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, working on the song 'Matilda Mother'. While Pink Floyd were recording their album with former Beatles engineer Norman Smith, The Beatles themselves were working in the studio next door, recording 'Fixing A Hole' for their Sgt. Pepper album. Micky Dolenz from The Monkees attended the mixing session during the day.
21 Feb 1964
New York band The Echoes recruited a new young unknown piano player, named Billy Joel.
21 Feb 1964
Three classic British singles were released on this day. The Rolling Stones 'Not Fade Away', (a UK No.3), The Hollies 'Just One Look', (a UK No.2), and Billy J Kramer's 'Little Children', (a UK No.1).
21 Feb 1961
The Beatles played three gigs in one day. The first was a lunchtime show at The Cavern Club, then at night they appeared at the Cassanova Club, Liverpool and at Litherland Town Hall, Liverpool.
Born on this day in music
21 Feb 1995
Giveon Evans, known as Giveon (typeset as GIV?ON), American R&B singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence with his collaboration with Drake on their 2020 single, 'Chicago Freestyle' and was featured alongside Daniel Caesar on the Justin Bieber US No.1 single 'Peaches'.
21 Feb 1989
Corbin Bleu, American actor and singer from High School Musical, as part of the cast had the 2006 US No.1 ‘High School Musical’ album and 2007, US No.1 ‘High School Musical 2’ album. Over 17 million viewers in the United States watched the TV premier of High School Musical; making it the highest rated basic cable broadcast in U.S. history.
21 Feb 1986
Charlotte Church, Welsh singer, who had the 1999 UK No.34 single 'Just Wave Hello' and the 1998 UK No.4 album, 'Voice Of An Angel'.
21 Feb 1969
Welsh singer, songwriter, and musician James Dean Bradfield, with Manic Street Preachers who had the 1996 UK No. 2 single 'A Design For Life', and the 1998 UK No.1 album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. Manic Street Preachers have sold more than ten million albums worldwide.
21 Feb 1967
Michael Ward, guitarist with American rock band The Wallflowers who had the 1997 US No.3 album Bringing Down The Horse.
21 Feb 1962
Mark Arm singer, guitarist with American alternative rock band Mudhoney. Their early releases on the Sub Pop label were massively influential on the Seattle music scene.
21 Feb 1961
Ranking Roger, singer, musician from British group The Beat who had a string of UK hit singles in the 80s, including 'Mirror in the Bathroom,' 'Can't Get Used to Losing You' and 'Hands Off, She's Mine'. He later was a member of General Public. He died on 26 March 2019.
21 Feb 1954
British musician and DJ Mike Pickering, who with M People had the 1993 UK No.2 single 'Moving On Up', plus over 15 other UK Top 40 singles. He was a DJ at the Manchester club and worked for Factory Records where he signed Happy Mondays, To Hell With Burgundy and James.
21 Feb 1952
Franco-English musician, producer and songwriter Jean-Jacques Burnel, best known as the bass guitarist with The Stranglers who had the 1982 UK No.2 single 'Golden Brown' plus over 20 other UK Top 40 hits.
21 Feb 1951
American keyboardist Vince Welnick with The Tubes who had the 1977 UK No.28 single 'White Punks On Dope'. 1983 US No.10 single 'She's A Beauty'. Also a member of Grateful Dead and the band's keyboard player from the fall of 1990 until Jerry Garcia's death in August 1995, when the group disbanded. Welnick died by suicide on 2 June 2006. He was 55 years old.
21 Feb 1949
American songwriter, musician Jerry Harrison, keyboards, guitar, Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers, and Talking Heads, who had the 1983 US No.9 single 'Burning Down The House', and the 1985 UK No.6 single 'Road To Nowhere'. Also a member of Casual Gods.
21 Feb 1943
David Geffen, Geffen record label boss. Founder of Asylum records who signed the Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell. Formed Dreamworks in 1995.
21 Feb 1933
American singer, songwriter, pianist, composer, arranger and civil rights activist Nina Simone. She had the 1959 US No.18 single 'I Love You, Porgy', and the 1968 UK No.2 single 'Ain't Got No I Got Life', and went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974. She suffered from breast cancer for several years before she died in her sleep at her home in Carry-le-Rouet (Bouches-du-Rhône), on 21 April 2003.
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