This Day in Music History: October 21

1968  Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison is awarded Best Album at the Country Music Awards.
Johnny Cash first became interested in Folsom Prison in 1953, when his Air Force Security Service unit watched a movie called “Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison.” The movie inspired Cash to write Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison album coverhis hit song “Folsom Prison Blues,” which was his second single on Sun Records.

The song became a favorite of prisoners around the U.S. Many of them wrote Cash, asking if he would perform for them. His first prison show took place in 1957, at Huntsville State Prison. Cash would perform at a number of other prisons, before making his appearance at Folsom.
Recorded during the legendary show, Cash performs a song written by Folsom inmate Glen Sherley, called “Greystone Chapel”.

The album would be certified Gold on October 30, 1968, Platinum and 2x Platinum on November 21, 1986 – and 3x Platinum on March 27, 2003.

Other Events on this Day in History

1908  Columbia offers first 2-sided vinyl record for sale in The Saturday Evening Post
1958  Buddy Holly’s last recording session takes place at Pythian Temple Studios in New York – recording “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” becomes #1 hit
1961  Bob Dylan records debut album Bob Dylan
1965  The Beatles record “Norwegian Wood”
1972  Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling” hits #1 on U.S. charts
1975  Los Angeles declares “Elton John Week” – who gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
1976  Keith Moon plays his final concert with The Who at Maple Leaf Gardens in Canada
1992  Madonna releases controversial photography book “Sex”
1996  Former EMI executive Ray Barbiera launches first internet-only record label, J-Bird Records
2002  Radiohead gets 2nd consecutive London Q Award for “Best Act in the World Today”
2004  Bobby “Boris” Pickett re-records his novelty hit “Monster Mash” as “Monster Slash” to protest Bush administration environmental policies

Billboard #1 Singles

1950  “Goodnight Irene” Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers
1955  “The Yellow Rose of Texas” Mitch Miller
1960  “Save the Last Dance for Me” The Drifters
1965  “Yesterday” The Beatles
1970  “I’ll Be There” The Jackson 5
1975  “Bad Blood” Neil Sedaka
1980  “Another One Bites the Dust” Queen
1985  “Take On Me” A-ha
1990  “I Don’t Have the Heart” James Ingram
1995  “Fantasy” Mariah Carey
2000  “Come on Over Baby (All I Want is You) Christina Aguilera
2005  “Gold Digger” Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
2010  “Just the Way You Are” Bruno Mars


1917  Dizzy Gillespie
1937  Norman Wright (Del-Vikings)
1940  Manfred Mann
1946  Lee Loughnane (Chicago)
-Lux Interior (The Cramps)
1952  Brent Mydland (The Grateful Dead)
-Patti Davis
1953  Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Gos)
1955  Eric Faulkner (Bay City Rollers)
1957  Steve Lukather (Toto)
1959  Rose McDowell (Strawberry Switchblade)
1964  Jon Carin (Pink Floyd, The Who)
1972  Matthew Friedberger (The Fiery Furnaces)
1973  Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay)
1976  Josh Ritter (The Loyal City Band)
1980  Brian Pittman (Reliant K)


1965  Bill Black (rockabilly pioneer, Elvis Presley’s bassist), brain tumor surgery, age 39
-Marie McDonald (American singer), drug overdose, age 42
1995  Maxene Andrews (The Andrews Sisters), heart attack, age 55
1996  Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), cocaine overdose, age 28
2003  Elliot Smith (songwriter, musician), 2 chest stab wounds, possibly self-inflicted, age 32
2006  Sandy West (drummer, The Runaways), lung cancer, age 47
2007  Paul Fox (The Ruts), lung cancer, age 56