It happened today – this day in history – April 21

753BC: Traditional date for when Romulus and Remus founded Rome.

1536: Thomas Cromwell begins to plan Anne Boleyn’s downfall while feigning illness.

1689: William III and Mary Stuart are proclaimed King and Queen of England.

1789: John Adams is sworn in as the first Vice President of the USA.

1796: The French, led by Napoleon, defeat the Piedmontese at the Battle of Mondovi.

1816: Birth of novelist Charlotte Bronte in Thornton, West Yorkshire.

1836: Texas wins independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto.

1894: George Bernard Shaw’s “Arms & the Man” premieres in London.

1910: Death of author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) aged 74.

1913: German passenger ship Imperator runs aground.

1916: The Aud, carrying a cargo of 20,000 rifles to assist Irish republicans in staging what would become the 1916 Rising, is captured by the British Navy and forced to sail towards Cork Harbour.

1918: German fighter ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen – the “Red Baron” – is shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme, France.

1925: Noel Coward’s “Fallen Angels” premieres in London.

1930: A fire at Ohio State Penitentiary kills 322.

1935: King Boris of Bulgaria forbids all political parties.

1941: Greece surrenders to Nazi Germany.

1945: The Russian Army enters the outskirts of Berlin.

1954: Georgi Malenkov becomes premier of the USSR.

1955: National newspapers in Britain are published for the first time in nearly a month following the end of a strike by maintenance workers.

1960: Brasilia becomes capital of Brazil.

1961: The French army revolts in Algeria.

1966: Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie visits Kingston, Jamaica.

1967: Working at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, The Beatles complete the recording of the album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The final recordings are a short section of gibberish and noise which would follow the final long chord of A Day in the Life in the run-out groove. They record assorted noises and voices, which engineer Geoff Emerick cuts up and randomly re-assembles and edits backwards. At John Lennon’s suggestion, they also add a high-pitched 15 kilocycle whistle audible only to dogs. On the same day, Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Allilueva arrives in New York after defecting to the US.

1968: Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding

1968: Album chart:

  1. John Wesley Harding – Bob Dylan
  2. Greatest Hits – The Supremes
  3. The History Of – Otis Redding
  4. Greatest Hits – The Four Tops
  5. The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – The Incredible String Band
  6. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  7. Live At The Talk Of The Town – The Supremes
  8. Live At The Talk Of The Town – Tom Jones
  9. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
  10. 13 Smash Hits – Tom Jones

1969: The Ministry of Defence announces that British troops would be used in Northern Ireland to guard key public installations following a series of bombings.

1975: The President of South Vietnam, Nguyen Van Thieu, steps down accusing the United States of betrayal.


1977: Zia ur-Rahman is appointed president of Bangladesh.

1978: Singer Sandy Denny dies aged 31 of a traumatic mid-brain haemorrhage four days after collapsing at a friend’s home following an earlier fall downstairs.

1982: The Clash frontman Joe Strummer disappears, causing the cancellation of a tour. He is found three weeks later living rough in Paris.

1983: The £1 coin is introduced.

1985: Ingrid Kristiansen wins the London Marathon in a record 2:21:06.

1987: A bomb planted by extremist Tamil Tigers explodes in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo killing 100 people.

1990: Paul McCartney plays to 184,000 fans at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, creating a new world record for the largest crowd attending a rock concert.

1994: One of the Guildford Four, Paul Hill, wins an appeal against his conviction for the IRA murder of former soldier Brian Shaw in 1974 after it is declared unsafe.

1995: The FBI arrests Timothy McVeigh and charge him with the Oklahoma City bombing of two days earlier.

1997: The ashes of Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are launched into orbit.

2000: Neal Matthews of Elvis’ backing singers The Jordanaires dies of a heart attack.

2001: REM guitarist Peter Buck is charged by police at Heathrow airport with being drunk on an aircraft and assaulting British Airways crew.

2002: Cold Feet wins best drama at the BAFTA Television Awards.

2003: Death of singer Nina Simone (Eunice Waymon) aged 70.

2004: Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan is attacked in The Joiner’s Arms pub in central London and suffers a fractured cheekbone after being kicked, punched and hit with a metal bar.

2008: Soul singer-songwriter Al Wilson dies of kidney failure at the age of 68.

2012: Actress Carey Mulligan marries “Mumford & Sons” lead singer Marcus Mumford in Somerset.

2013: Liverpool’s Luis Suárez is sent off and banned for 10 matches after biting Branislav Ivanović’s arm in the Liverpool v Chelsea Premier League match at Anfield.

Singles chart:

  1. Waiting All Night – Rudimental ft Ella Eyre
  2. Thatpower – ft Justin Bieber
  3. Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft Pharrell Williams
  4. Need You (100 Percent) – Duke Dumont ft Ame
  5. Just Give Me A Reason – Pink ft Nate Ruesss
  6. Hey Porsche – Nelly
  7. I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris ft Ellie Goulding
  8. Feel This Moment – Pitbull ft Christina Aguilera
  9. Pompeii – Bastille
  10. Gentleman – Psy

2016: Prince is found dead in a lift at his home in Minnesota at the age of 57. On the same day, country singer-guitarist Lonnie Mack dies of natural causes in hospital near his log cabin home, 70 miles east of Nashville.

2018: Death of actor Verne Troyer aged 49.

2019: Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a Extinction Rebellion protest in London amid city-wide climate protests where Waterloo Bridge was occupied over four days. On the same day, Ukranian actor/comedian Volodymyr Zelensky wins the country’s presidential election in a landslide.

2020: Health Secretary Matt Hancock comes under criticism for the lack of personal protective equipment and testing for COVID-19 – despite a pledge to test 100,000 a day, only 19,000 done April 20).

2021: Manhattan district attorney’s office announces it will no longer prosecute prostitution, dismissing 914 open cases.

2022: Ex-president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández extradited to the US to face drug trafficking and weapons charges.

James McAvoy (Image: Gage Skidmore)

BIRTHDAYS: Iggy Pop (James Osterberg), singer-songwriter, 77; Tony Danza (Iadanza), actor, 73; Mike Barson, keyboardist/songwriter (Madness) 66; Andie (Rosalie) MacDowell, actress, 66; Robert Smith, singer-songwriter/guitarist (The Cure) 65; John Maher, drummer (The Buzzcocks) 64; Johnny McElhone, guitarist/songwriter (Altered Images/Texas) 61; Toby Stephens, actor, 55; James McAvoy, actor, 45; Robbie Amell, actor, 36.