April 21 – Heartbreak Hotel, Payola, Annie, WinAmp, Chocolate Rain

1956

Elvis Presley has his first US#1 with Heartbreak Hotel. ▷Songfacts ▹
 
The Mae Boren Axton song had already sold a million records a week earlier. (*) In 1995 it enters the Grammy Hall of Fame. Nonetheless, two days after this #1, Elvis’ first Las Vegas appearance is a bomb.
 
 ( Elvis music fansite

1960


Clark

Payola scandal: TV host Dick Clark testifies before Congress about payola.
 
Like Congressmen need to be told how that works. It’s widely known that the music industry greases wheels since the days of Your Hit Parade. And that it dislikes radio. Part of the intent is to badly damage, preferably destroy, rock’n’roll. Partly it is racist. Rock and Roll: The Early Days (59m) 


Freed

Two top DJ’s are the focus: Clark (who leans toward ‘cleaner’ music) agrees to give up all his musical interests and saves himself. Alan Freed (plugged into what kids prefer) refuses to cooperate, becomes a scapegoat and is ruined. He dies penniless in 3 years. (*) (*)
 
People have compared Dick to Lassie: weren’t there several? ▷1973 Rolling Stone interview ▹
  ~ Rock-Scaruffi  

1977

Musical Annie opens on Broadway for 2,377 performances with Andrea McArdle as Annie.

When I’m stuck with a day, thats grey, and lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin and say,
The sun will come out, tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I luv ya, tomorrow
You’re only a day away

It’s based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip (since 1924) Little Orphan Annie, and spawns a 1982 film version and a 1999 made-for-TV version.
 
Annie at Broadway Musical Home ▹

1997
Justin Frankel (as Nullsoft) releases an early version of WinAmp, a proprietary media player software, leading to a rapid rise of the popularity of MP3 music files.
 
In 1999 AOL buys in for $100M. By fall 2006, WinAmp has 57M users.
2007

US singer ‘Tay Zonday‘ posts his music video Chocolate Rain to Youtube.
 
For no particular reason an internet meme or viral video is born, and for the first time a quite odd song has an audience over 50M people. Where it leads, noone knows.

See also: List of Internet phenomena

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