March 21 in Music History: Faces and the Pixies release their debut albums
1952 – Cleveland stakes a claim on Rock history when the Moondog Coronation Ball is held at the Cleveland Arena. Organized by the WJW DJ Alan Freed (“Moondog” on the air), it is widely considered the first Rock concert, with Billy Ward and The Dominoes, Tiny Grimes, and Paul Williams on the bill. The crowd goes over capacity and police shut down the show because of fire code violations after just one song by Williams. The event proves to the music industry that this type of R&B music has widespread appeal.
1956 – Four years later, the movie Rock Around The Clock, about a concert promoter (played by Alan Freed) who brings Rock and Roll to the masses, opens in theaters. The film stars Bill Haley and His Comets and is named after their hit song. It is one of the first movies based on rock music and aimed at teenagers.
1961 – The Beatles play their first ever evening show under that name at The Cavern Club in Liverpool.
1970 – Having risen from the ashes of the Jeff Beck Group and Small Faces, the band now fronted by Rod Stewart and simply known as Faces releases their debut album, First Step.
1971 – Led Zeppelin perform “Stairway to Heaven,” “Black Dog,” and “Going to California” live for the first time when they appear at the Boat Club in Nottingham, England on their Back To The Clubs tour.They open the set with “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker”.
1984 – Strawberry Fields, an area in Central Park bought by Yoko Ono in memory of her late husband John Lennon, is opened.
1988 – The Pixies release their debut album, Surfer Rosa.
1989 – Bonnie Raitt releases Nick of Time.
1994 – Bruce Springsteen wins an Oscar for the song “Streets of Philadelphia.”
2000 – Soul Coughing disbands after eight years and three albums together.
2006 – Three South African women whose father, Solomon Linda, wrote “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 1939, win a six-year court battle that gave them 25% of all past and future royalties from the song. Linda, who was a cleaner at a Johannesburg record company when he wrote the song, received virtually nothing for his work and died in 1962 with $25 in his bank account. The song has been recorded by Pete Seeger (as “Wimoweh”), The Kingston Trio, The Tokens, Karl Denver, and R.E.M.; and is featured in the Disney film The Lion King. It is estimated that the song has earned $15 million for its use in that film alone.