Blues Music in History

Blues: Blues Artists

Events in Music

  • 1900-03-16 AL meets in Chicago, Ban Johnson announces AL league will be Chicago White Stockings, Washington Senators, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Blues, Boston Americans, Philadelphia Athletics and Baltimore Orioles

Book releaseHistoric Publication

1912-09-27 W. C. Handy publishes "Memphis Blues", considered the 1st blues song

Musician and Father of the Blues W. C. Handy
Musician and Father of the Blues
W. C. Handy
  • 1914-09-11 W. C. Handy "Father of the Blues" publishes his most famous composition "St Louis Blues"
  • 1917-02-26 1st jazz records recorded - "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company
  • 1917-03-07 1st jazz record released on a 78 by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company ("Dixie Jazz Band One Step," one side "Livery Stable Blues" other)
  • 1920-08-10 Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds record “Crazy Blues” for Okeh Records, first significant Blues hit by African American artist
  • 1924-06-09 "Jelly-Roll Blues" is recorded by jazz pioneer pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1928-06-28 Louis Armstrong makes 78 recording of "West End blues"

Jazz Musician Louis Armstrong
Jazz Musician
Louis Armstrong
  • 1928-12-28 Last recording of Ma Rainey, "Mother of the Blues," made
  • 1940-02-20 Larry Clinton & his Orchestra record "Limehouse Blues"

Music releaseMusic Single

1949-02-11 "Lovesick Blues" single released by Hank Williams (Cashbox "Best Hillbilly Record of the Year", Billboard Song of the Year 1949)

Country Music Singer and Songwriter Hank Williams
Country Music Singer and Songwriter
Hank Williams

Music release#1 in the Charts

1952-02-02 B.B. King's “3 O’Clock Blues” hits #1 on the US Billboard's R&B hit parade to become his first national hit

Blues Musician B.B. King
Blues Musician
B.B. King

Music releaseMusic Single

1955-12-15 "Folsom Prison Blues" single released by Johnny Cash (Billboard Song of the Year 1968)

Country Singer Johnny Cash
Country Singer
Johnny Cash
  • 1956-12-08 Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" single goes #1 for 10 weeks
  • 1958-09-29 "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran peaks at #8 in US; #18 in UK
  • 1963-03-03 American country blues musician "Mississippi" John Hurt 're-discovered' by musicologist Tom Hoskins in Avalon, Mississippi [1]

Music releaseTheater Premiere

1964-04-23 James Baldwin's play "Blues for Mr Charlie" premieres in NYC

Novelist and Playwright James Baldwin
Novelist and Playwright
James Baldwin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1965-03-13 British guitarist Eric Clapton quits the Yardbirds due to the band moving away from traditional blues; Jeff Beck becomes his replacement

Rocker, Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter Eric Clapton
Rocker, Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter
Eric Clapton

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1969-10-11 American blues musician Muddy Waters involved in a car crash that kills 3

Blues Musician Muddy Waters
Blues Musician
Muddy Waters

Music concertMusic Concert

1970-06-12 Rocker and blues singer Janis Joplin debuts in Kentucky

Singer-Songwriter Janis Joplin
Singer-Songwriter
Janis Joplin

Music releaseMusic Recording

1970-08-27 Jimi Hendrix creates his last studio recording at Electric Lady Studios in New York, an instrumental called "Slow Blues"

Rock Guitarist Jimi Hendrix
Rock Guitarist
Jimi Hendrix

Music releaseAlbum Release

1970-09-25 Ringo Starr releases his album "Beaucoups of Blues"

Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr
Beatles Drummer
Ringo Starr
  • 1972-08-05 Moody Blues re-issue their 1967 single "Nights in White Satin", and it reaches #2 on US charts, higher than the initial release
  • 1974-07-17 1st quadrophonic studio in UK is open by Moody Blues

Film release premierFilm Premier

1980-06-16 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers" starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and directed by John Landis, premieres in Chicago

Actor and Comedian Dan Aykroyd
Actor and Comedian
Dan Aykroyd
  • 1980-06-20 Film "Blues Brothers" with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi opens in 594 theaters
  • 1982-06-02 "Blues in the Night" opens at Rialto Theater NYC for 53 performances
  • 1982-07-18 "Blues in the Night" closes at Rialto Theater NYC after 53 performances
  • 1984-08-07 Harmonica Frank [Floyd], American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player dies of lung cancer and diabetes complications at 75
  • 1984-12-29 Blues took 27 shots against Islanders in 1 period

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1985-06-22 "Smuggler's Blues" by Glenn Frey peaks at #12

Rock Vocalist Glenn Frey
Rock Vocalist
Glenn Frey
  • 1987-12-19 Bruins' Linseman & Blues' Doug Gilmore score goals, 2 seconds apart
  • 1995-03-10 Chiel Meijering's "St Louis Blues" premieres in Arnhem
  • 2007-05-19 English FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London (89,826): Chelsea beats Manchester United, 1 – 0 (a.e.t.); Didier Drogba scores 116' winner for Blues' 4th title
  • 2010-05-15 English FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London (88,335): Chelsea beats Portsmouth,1-0; Didier Drogba scores 59' winner; Blues' 6th title
  • 2014-10-03 Blues guitarist and singer B.B. King's last live performance, at the House of Blues in Chicago
  • 2015-04-18 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Green Day, Bill Withers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the 5 Royales

Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 351


Person of interestW. C. Handy

1873-11-16 W. C. Handy, American composer and musician known as the "Father of the Blues" (Memphis Blues, St Louis Blues), born in Florence, Alabama (d. 1958)

Musician and Father of the Blues W. C. Handy
Musician and Father of the Blues
W. C. Handy
  • 1883-05-26 Mamie Smith, American vaudeville singer, dancer and actress (Crazy Blues), born in Cincinnati, Ohio (d. 1946)
  • 1885-05-11 [Joe] King Oliver, American jazz musician (Dippermouth Blues), born in Aben, Louisiana (birth date disputed - could be Dec. 19) (d. 1938)
  • 1886-04-26 Ma Rainey [Gertrude Pridgett], American singer "Mother of the Blues", born in Columbus, Georgia (d. 1939)
  • 1887-09-19 Lovie [Cora] Austin, American jazz pianist (Down Hearted Blues), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 1972)

Person of interestLead Belly

1888-01-20 Lead Belly [Huddie William Ledbetter], American blues 12 string guitarist (Rock Island Line), born in Mooringsport, Louisiana (d. 1949)

Blues Musician Lead Belly
Blues Musician
Lead Belly
  • 1888-02-26 Ida Cox (nee Prather), American blues singer and vaudeville performer, born in Habersham County, Georgia (d. 1967) [birth year disputed, may be 1894 or 1896]
  • 1891-04-28 Charley Patton, American Delta blues musician ("Pony Blues"; "High Water Everywhere"), born in Hinds County, Mississippi [date disputed] (d. 1934)
  • 1893-03-06 [Walter] Furry Lewis, father of the blues, born in Greenville, Mississippi (d. 1981) [birth year disputed]
  • 1893-03-08 Mississippi John Hurt, American country blues singer and guitarist, born in Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi (d. 1966)
  • 1893-06-26 Big Bill Broonzy, American blues singer and guitarist (Blues by Broonzy), born in Scott, Mississippi (d. 1958)
  • 1893-09-24 Lemon Henry "Blind Lemon" Jefferson, American blues singer and guitarist, born in Coutchman, Texas (d. 1929)
  • 1894-04-15 Bessie Smith, American blues singer known as the "Empress of the Blues" (recorded over 200 songs), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 1937)
  • 1894-04-23 Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport, American boogie-woogie and blues musician, born in Anniston, Alabama (d. 1955)
  • 1895-01-05 Elizabeth Cotten, American folk and blues guitarist and songwriter ("Freight Train"), born in Carrboro, North Carolina (d. 1987)
  • 1895-03-31 Lizzie Miles [Elizabeth Landreaux], Creole American jazz, blues and gospel singer ("Man O'War"), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1963)
  • 1895-04-01 Alberta Hunter, American blues singer, and composer ("Downhearted Blues"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1984)
  • 1895-04-09 (Beau De Glen) "Mance" Lipscomb, American blues singer and guitarist ("Shine On, Harvest Moon"), born in Navasota, Texas (d. 1976)
  • 1896-03-12 Jesse Fuller, American one-man blues band ("San Francisco Bay Blues"), born in Jonesboro, Georgia (d. 1979)
  • 1896-04-30 "Reverend" Gary Davis, American blues and folk guitarist ("Samson And Delilah"; A Little More Faith), born in Laurens, South Carolina (d. 1972)
  • 1897-01-22 "Blind" Willie Johnson, American gospel blues singer and guitarist ("Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground"), born in Pendleton, Texas (d. 1945)
  • 1897-04-01 Lucille Bogan, American blues singer and songwriter ("Sweet Petunia"; "Black Angel Blues"), born in Amory, Mississippi (d. 1948)
  • 1897-06-03 Memphis Minnie [Lizzie Douglas], American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter ("Bumble Bee"; "Me and My Chauffeur Blues"), born in Algiers, Louisiana (d. 1973)
  • 1898-02-07 Morgan Lee "Dock" Boggs, American folk and blues singer and banjo player, born in Norton, Virginia (d. 1971)
  • 1898-11-01 Sippie Wallace [Beulah Belle Thomas], American blues singer, (Women Be Wise), born in Plumb Bayou, Arkansas (d. 1986)
  • 1899-01-25 "Sleepy" John Estes, American blues musician, born in Ripley, Tennessee (d. 1977)
  • 1899-12-05 Sonny Boy Williamson II [Aleck Miller], American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, born in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi (d. 1965) (year of birth disputed)
  • 1900-02-13 Joseph "Wingy" Manone American jazz trumpeter, composer, singer, and bandleader ("Tar Paper Stomp"; "Downright Disgusted Blues"), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1982)
  • 1900-06-15 Paul J. Mares, American jazz trumpeter and composer ("Farewell Blues"), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1949)
  • 1901-02-15 James "Kokomo" Arnold, American blues slide guitarist, and singer, born in Lovejoy's Station, Georgia (d. 1968) [some research gives birth year as 1896]
  • 1901-02-20 Jimmy Yancey, American boogie-woogie jazz and blues pianist, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1951) [birth year disputed - documentation ranges from 1894-1903]
  • 1901-08-26 Jimmy Rushing, American blues pianist and singer, known as"Mr. Five By Five", born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (d. 1972)

Person of interestLangston Hughes

1902-02-01 Langston Hughes, American poet (Weary Blues), playwright (Mulatto), and librettist (Troubled Island), born in Joplin, Missouri (d. 1967)

Poet and Playwright Langston Hughes
Poet and Playwright
Langston Hughes
  • 1902-03-21 Edward "Son" House, American delta blues singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Walking Blues"; "Preachin' The Blues"), born in Lyons, Mississippi (d. 1988)
  • 1902-06-09 Nehemiah "Skip" James, American Delta blues singer, guitarist and piano player ("I'm So Glad"), born in Bentonia, Mississippi (d. 1969)
  • 1902-12-14 Viola Wells [Evans], American jazz, blues, and gospel singer, born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 1984)
  • 1902-12-21 Peetie Wheatstraw [William Bunch], American blues singer, songwriter, and piano player, born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas (d. 1941)
  • 1903-05-06 Cliff Carlisle, American country and blues musician, singer, songwriter, and yodeler ("Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad"), born in Taylorsville, Kentucky (d. 1983)
  • 1904-01-12 "Mississippi" Fred McDowell, American blues singer and guitarist, born in Rossville, Tennessee (d. 1972)
  • 1905-01-15 Roosevelt Holts, American blues singer and guitarist, born in Tylertown, Mississippi (d. 1994)
  • 1905-03-15 Bertha "Chippie" Hill, American blues and vaudeville singer (King Oliver's Jazz Band), born in Charleston, South Carolina (d. 1950)
  • 1905-03-27 Leroy Carr, American blues piano player and singer-songwriter ("How Long, How Long Blues"), born in Nashville, Tennessee (d. 1935)
  • 1905-08-24 Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist (That's Alright), born in Forest, Mississippi (d. 1974)
  • 1906-01-31 Roosevelt Sykes, American blues and boogie-woogie pianist, and singer (The Honeydripper), born in Elmar, Arkansas (d. 1983)
  • 1906-04-18 Eurreal "Little Brother" Montgomery, American jazz, boogie-woogie and blues pianist, singer, and composer ("Crescent City Blues"), born in Kentwood, Louisiana (d. 1985)
  • 1906-11-12 (Booker T. Washington) "Bukka" White, American country and Delta blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter ("Shake'Em On Down"; "Parchman Farm Blues"), born near Aberdeen, Mississippi (d. 1977)
  • 1907-07-14 (Henry) "Rubberlegs" Williams, American vaudeville dancer, and blues and jazz singer, born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1962)
  • 1907-09-05 Sunnyland Slim [Albert Luandrew], American blues pianist, born in Vance, Mississippi (d. 1995)
  • 1908-01-22 Hammie Nixon [Nickerson], American blues harmonica player (Sleepy John Estes), born in Brownsville, Tennessee (d. 1984)
  • 1908-03-31 Red Norvo, American jazz vibraphonist known as "Mr. Swing" ("Congo Blues"; "Knockin' On Wood"), born in Beardstown, Illinois (d. 1999)
  • 1908-10-12 Harmonica Frank [Floyd], American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player, born in Toccopola, Mississippi (d. 1984)
  • 1909-03-17 Lovie Lee [Edward Lee Watson], American electric blues pianist, singer, and songwriter, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 1997)
  • 1910-04-03 Homesick James [Williamson], American blues slide guitarist and singer (Elmore James band, 1955-62), born in Somerville, Tennessee (d. 2006) [date of birth variously reported as 1905, 1910, and 1914; surname also disputed]
  • 1910-05-23 Benjamin "Scatman" Crothers, American singer, musician ("Television Blues"), and actor (Chico and the Man; The Shining), born in Terre Haute, Indiana (d. 1986)

Person of interestT-Bone Walker

1910-05-28 T-Bone Walker, American blues guitarist ("Funky Town"; "Well Done"), born in Linden, Texas (d. 1975)

Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter T-Bone Walker
Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter
T-Bone Walker
  • 1910-06-10 Howlin' Wolf [Chester Arthur Burnett], American blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player ("Smokestack Lightnin'"; "Killing Floor"), born in White Station, Mississippi (d. 1976)
  • 1911-02-03 Jesse Thomas, blues singer
  • 1911-05-03 John Rhea "Yank" Lawson, American jazz trumpeter ("Dogtown Blues"; "Stormy Weather"), born in Trenton, Missouri (d. 1995)

Person of interestRobert Johnson

1911-05-08 Robert Johnson, American blues singer-songwriter, and guitarist (King of Delta Blues Singers), born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi (d. 1938)

Singer and guitarist Robert Johnson
Singer and guitarist
Robert Johnson
  • 1911-05-18 "Big" Joe Turner, American blues singer ("Corrine Corrina"; "Shake Rattle & Roll"), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 1985)
  • 1911-09-15 Silas Hogan, blues singer/guitarist
  • 1911-10-24 Sonny Terry, blind Piedmont blues musician, born in Greensboro, Georgia (d. 1986)
  • 1911-12-18 Peg Leg Sam [Arthur Jackson], American country blues harmonica player, singer and comedian, born in Jonesville, South Carolina (d. 1977)

Person of interestLightnin Hopkins

1912-03-15 (Sam) Lightnin' Hopkins, American blues musician (Ball of Twine), born in Centerville, Texas (d. 1982)

Blues Singer Lightnin Hopkins
Blues Singer
Lightnin Hopkins
  • 1913-01-09 Dr. Hepcat [Albert Lavada Durst], American blues pianist, born in Austin, Texas (d. 1995)
  • 1913-03-13 Lightnin' Slim [Otis Hicks], American Louisiana blues electric guitarist, singer, and songwriter ("Bad Luck And Trouble"), born near St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1974)
  • 1913-03-31 Etta Baker, American blues guitarist, born in Caldwell County, North Carolina

Person of interestMuddy Waters

1913-04-04 Muddy Waters [McKinley Morganfield], American blues guitarist ("Hoochie Coochie Man"), born in Jug's Corner (Issaquena County) or Rolling Fork, Mississippi (d. 1983)

Blues Musician Muddy Waters
Blues Musician
Muddy Waters
  • 1913-04-11 John Lee Granderson, American Chicago-style blues guitarist, born in Ellendale, Tennessee (d. 1979)
  • 1913-06-23 Helen Humes, American jazz and blues singer (Harry James; Count Basie; "Million Dollar Secret"), born in Louisville, Kentucky (d. 1981)
  • 1914-02-11 Josh White, Blues, folk and gospel musician, born in Greenville, South Carolina (d. 1969)
  • 1914-03-19 James "Buster" Bennett, American blues saxophonist and blues shouter, born in Pensacola, Florida (d. 1980)
  • 1914-03-30 Sonny Boy Williamson I [John Lee], American blues musician ("Down & Out Blues"), born in Madison County, Tennessee (d. 1948)
  • 1914-09-02 Lawrence "Booker T." Laury, American boogie-woogie and blues pianist and singer, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1995)
  • 1914-11-25 Eddie Boyd, American blues pianist and singer ("Five Long Years"), born in Mississippi (d. 1994)
  • 1914-12-18 Connie "Pee Wee" Crayton, American R&B and blues guitarist and singer ("Do Unto Others"), born in Rockdale, Texas (d. 1985)
  • 1915-03-27 Robert Lockwood Jr., American blues guitarist, born in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas (d. 2006)

Person of interestBillie Holiday

1915-04-07 Billie Holiday [Eleanora Fagan], American jazz singer ( "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"; "Strange Fruit"), and songwriter ("God Bless The Child"; "Lady Sings the Blues"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1959) [1]

Jazz Musician Billie Holiday
Jazz Musician
Billie Holiday
  • 1915-04-12 Hound Dog Taylor [Theodore Roosevelt], American Chicago blues guitarist and singer, born in Natchez, Mississippi (d. 1975)
  • 1915-04-26 Johnny Shines, American delta blues singer and guitarist, born in Memphis, Tenneessee (d. 1992)
  • 1915-06-28 David "Honeyboy" Edwards, American delta blues guitarist, born in Shaw, Mississippi (d. 2011)
  • 1915-07-01 Willie Dixon, American blues musician ("Hoochie Coochie Man"), born in Vicksburg, Mississippi (d. 1992)
  • 1915-07-21 Floyd McDaniel, American blues singer and guitarist (Five Blazes), born in Athens, Alabama (d. 1995)
  • 1915-09-03 Memphis Slim [John Len Chatman], American blues musician ("Every Day I Have the Blues"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1988)
  • 1915-11-30 Walter Brown "Brownie" McGhee, Knoxville Tennessee, American blues singer/guitarist
  • 1916-01-07 Bobo Jenkins [John Pickens Jenkins], American blues singer-songwriter (Democrat Blues), born in Forkland, Alabama (d. 1984)
  • 1916-02-10 Oscar "TV Slim" Wills, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Flatfoot Sam"), born in Houston, Texas (d. 1969)
  • 1917-01-25 Floyd "Guitar" Smith, American jazz and blues guitarist and record producer, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1982)
  • 1917-03-12 Leonard Chess [Lejzor Czyż], Polish-American blues and R&B record company executive (Chess Records), born in Motal, Poland (now Belarus) (d. 1969)
  • 1917-04-06 "Big" Walter Horton, American blues harmonica player ("Everybody's Fishin'"), born in Horn Lake, Mississippi (d. 1981)

Person of interestElla Fitzgerald

1917-04-25 Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz, swing, pop, and blues singer, known as "The First Lady of Song" (Verve "Songbook" series), born in Newport News, Virginia (d. 1996)

Jazz Musician Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz Musician
Ella Fitzgerald
  • 1917-05-28 "Papa" John Creach, American blues violinist (Hot Tuna; Jefferson Airplane), born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (d. 1994)
  • 1917-07-27 Moses Rascoe, American blues singer, born in Windsor, North Carolina (d. 1994)
  • 1917-08-22 John Lee Hooker, American blues guitarist (Boogie Chillen), born in Clarksdale, Mississippi (d. 2001)
  • 1917-12-18 Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, American blues, jazz, and R&B alto saxophonist, born in Houston, Texas (d. 1988)
  • 1918-03-23 Granville "Sticks" McGhee, American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter ("Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee"), born in Knoxville, Tennesee ( d. 1961)
  • 1918-05-05 Erbie Bowser, American blues and jazz pianist, born in Davila, Texas (d. 1995)
  • 1918-12-12 Joe Williams [Joseph Goreed], American jazz singer (Everyday I have the Blues), born in Cordele, Georgia (d. 1999)
  • 1918-12-19 Professor Longhair [Henry Roeland Byrd], American blues singer and pianist, born in Bogalusa, Louisiana (d. 1980)
  • 1919-12-22 Lillian "Lil" Green, American blues singer and songwriter ("Romance In The Dark"), born in Mississippi (d. 1954) [some sources cite year of birth as 1901, and some 1910]

Weddings in Music

  • 1904-02-02 US blues singer Gertrude Pridgett marries comic William Rainey

LoveWedding of Interest

1932-11-20 American blues musician Muddy Waters (19) weds Mabel Berry

Blues Musician Muddy Waters
Blues Musician
Muddy Waters

LoveWedding of Interest

1944-11-11 Blues musician B.B. King (19) marries his first wife Martha Denton

Blues Musician B.B. King
Blues Musician
B.B. King

LoveWedding of Interest

1987-10-11 British rock and blues singer Joe Cocker (43) weds Pam Baker

Rocker Joe Cocker
Rocker
Joe Cocker
  • 2006-09-16 Blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd (29) weds Mel Gibson's daughter Hannah Gibson at the altar of The Holy Family Church in Malibu

Deaths in Music

Deaths 1 - 100 of 239

  • 1929-12-19 Lemon Henry "Blind Lemon" Jefferson, American blues singer and guitarist, dies at 36
  • 1933-03-04 Willie Walker, US jazz singer and guitarist (Dupree Blues), dies at 36
  • 1934-04-28 Charley Patton, American Delta blues musician ("Pony Blues"; "High Water Everywhere"), dies of a mitral valve disorder between the ages of 37 and 43
  • 1935-04-29 Leroy Carr, American blues piano player and singer-songwriter ("How Long, How Long Blues"), dies of nephritis of the kidneys at 30
  • 1937-09-26 Bessie Smith, American blues singer known as the "Empress of the Blues" (recorded over 200 songs), dies of injuries sustained in car crash at 43
Singer and guitarist Robert Johnson
Singer and guitarist
Robert Johnson
  • 1939-12-22 Ma Rainey [Gertrude Pridgett], American singer "Mother of the Blues", dies at 53
  • 1941-12-21 Peetie Wheatstraw [William Bunch], American blues singer, songwriter, and piano player, dies on his 39th birthday when the car in which he was a passenger met a freight train
  • 1945-09-18 "Blind" Willie Johnson, American gospel blues singer and guitarist ("Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground"), dies of malarial fever, syphilis and blindness at 48
  • 1946-09-16 Mamie Smith, American vaudeville singer, dancer and actress (Crazy Blues), dies at 63
  • 1948-06-01 Sonny Boy Williamson I [John Lee], American blues musician (Down & Out Blues), dies at 34
  • 1948-08-10 Lucille Bogan, American blues singer and songwriter ("Sweet Petunia"; "Black Angel Blues"), dies from coronary sclerosis at 51
  • 1949-08-18 Paul J Mares, US jazz trumpetist/composer (Tin Roof Blues), dies at 49

Person of interestLead Belly

1949-12-06 Lead Belly [Huddie William Ledbetter], American blues 12 string guitarist (Rock Island Line), dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at 64

Blues Musician Lead Belly
Blues Musician
Lead Belly
  • 1950-05-07 Bertha "Chippie" Hill, American blues and vaudeville singer (King Oliver's Jazz Band), struck and killed by a car in New York City at 45
  • 1951-09-17 Jimmy Yancey, American boogie-woogie jazz and blues pianist, dies (somewhere between 50 and 57 - birth year documentation uncertain)
  • 1954-04-14 Lillian "Lil" Green, American blues singer and songwriter ("Romance In The Dark"), dies at 39 [or 57, or 48 - year of birth disputed]
  • 1955-12-03 Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport, American boogie-woogie and blues musician, dies of hardening of the arteries at 61

Person of interestW. C. Handy

1958-03-28 W. C. Handy, American composer and musician known as the "Father of the Blues" (Memphis Blues, St Louis Blues), dies of bronchial pneumonia at 84

Musician and Father of the Blues W. C. Handy
Musician and Father of the Blues
W. C. Handy
  • 1958-08-14 Big Bill Broonzy, American blues singer and guitarist (Blues by Broonzy), dies of cancer at 65
  • 1959-02-07 Guitar Slim [Eddie Jones], American blues guitarist (The Things That I Used to Do) dies at 32
  • 1960-04-17 Eddie Cochran, American rock vocalist and guitarist ("Summertime Blues"; "C'Mon Everybody"), dies in a English taxi-car crash at 21
  • 1961-08-15 Granville "Sticks" McGhee, American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter("Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee"), dies of lung cancer
  • 1962-10-17 (Henry) "Rubberlegs" Williams, American vaudeville dancer, and blues and jazz singer, dies at 55
  • 1963-03-17 Lizzie Miles [Elizabeth Landreaux], Creole-American jazz, blues and gospel singer ("Man O'War"), dies of a heart attack at 68
  • 1963-05-24 Elmore James, American blues slide guitarist, dies of a heart attack at 45
  • 1965-05-25 Sonny Boy Williamson II [Aleck Miller], American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, dies at 65
  • 1966-11-02 Mississippi John Hurt, American country blues singer and guitarist, dies at 73
  • 1967-04-29 J. B. Lenoir, African American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, active in the 1950s, dies from injuries sustained in a car crash at 38

Person of interestLangston Hughes

1967-05-22 Langston Hughes, American poet (Weary Blues) and playwright (Mulatto), and librettist (Troubled Island), dies at 65

Poet and Playwright Langston Hughes
Poet and Playwright
Langston Hughes
  • 1967-11-10 Ida Cox (nee Prather), American blues singer and vaudeville performer, dies at 79, 73, or 71 [year of birth disputed]
  • 1968-02-15 Little Walter [Marion Walter Jacobs], American blues singer-songwriter and harmonica player, dies as the result of a fight at 37
  • 1968-11-08 James "Kokomo" Arnold, American blues slide guitarist, and singer, dies at 67 [or 72]
  • 1969-07-03 Brian Jones, British blues and rock guitarist, organist and sitar player (Rolling Stones, 1962-69), drowns in his swimming pool at 27
  • 1969-09-05 Josh White, American blues, folk and gospel musician, dies at 55
  • 1969-10-03 Skip James, American blues musician (b. 1902)
  • 1969-10-16 Leonard Chess [Lejzor Czyż], Polish-American blues and R&B record company executive (Chess Records), dies at 52
  • 1969-10-21 Oscar "TV Slim" Wills, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Flatfoot Sam"), dies in a car wreck at 53
  • 1969-12-01 "Magic" Sam [Maghett], American blues guitarist ("Feelin' Good (We're Gonna Boogie)"), dies of a heart attack at 32
  • 1970-01-31 Slim Harpo [James Moore], American blues musician (I'm a King Bee, Baby Scratch My Back), dies of a heart attack at 46
  • 1970-04-21 Earl Hooker, American blues slide guitar player ("Blue Guitar"), dies of tuberculosis at 40
  • 1970-07-17 Juano Hernandez, actor (St Louis Blues, Two Loves), dies at 74

Person of interestJanis Joplin

1970-10-04 Janis Joplin, American rocker and blues singer-songwriter (Down on Me), dies of a drug overdose at 27

Singer-Songwriter Janis Joplin
Singer-Songwriter
Janis Joplin
  • 1971-02-07 Morgan Lee "Dock" Boggs, American folk and blues singer and banjo player, dies on his 73rd birthday
  • 1971-11-18 [Herman] Junior Parker, American blues singer and musician (Mystery Train), dies during brain operation at 39
  • 1971-11-28 Alexander "Papa" Lightfoot, American blues singer and harmonica player, dies of respiratory failure at 47
  • 1972-05-05 [Reverend] Gary Davis, American blues and folk guitarist (A Little More Faith), dies of a heart attack at 76
  • 1972-06-08 Jimmy Rushing, American blues pianist and singer, known as"Mr. Five By Five", dies at 70
  • 1972-07-08 Lovie [Cora] Austin, American jazz pianist (Down Hearted Blues), dies at 84
  • 1973-08-06 Memphis Minnie, American blues musician, dies at 76
  • 1974-03-28 Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist (That's Alright), dies of a heart attack at 68
  • 1974-07-27 Lightning Slim, blues singer (Nothing But the Devil), dies at 61
  • 1974-07-27 Lightnin' Slim [Otis Hicks], American Louisiana blues electric guitarist, singer, and songwriter ("Bad Luck And Trouble"), dies of stomach cancer at 64
  • 1974-08-13 Tina Brooks, American blues and funk saxophonist (True Blue), dies of liver failure at 42

Person of interestT-Bone Walker

1975-03-16 T-Bone Walker, blues guitarist (Funky Town, Well Done), dies at 64

Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter T-Bone Walker
Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter
T-Bone Walker
  • 1975-12-17 Hound Dog Taylor [Theodore Roosevelt], American Chicago blues guitarist and singer, dies of lung cancer at 60
  • 1976-01-10 Howlin' Wolf [Chester Arthur Burnett], American blues musician (Smokestack Lightnin', Killing Floor), dies of complications during kidney surgery at 65
  • 1976-01-30 (Beau De Glen) "Mance" Lipscomb, American blues singer and guitarist ("Shine On, Harvest Moon"), dies of a stroke at 80
  • 1976-05-14 Keith Relf, British blues-rock singer and harmonica player (The Yardbirds - "For Your Love"; Renaissance, 1969-71), electrocuted while playing an improperly earthed electric guitar at 33
  • 1976-08-29 Jimmy Reed, American blues singer (Soulin', Big Boss Man), dies of epileptic seizure at 50
  • 1976-12-28 Freddie King, American blues singer (Hideaway), dies at 42
  • 1977-02-26 (Booker T. Washington) "Bukka" White, American country and Delta blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter ("Shake'Em On Down"; "Parchman Farm Blues"), dies of cancer at 70
  • 1977-06-05 "Sleepy" John Estes, American Blues musician ("Drop Down Mama"), dies at 78
  • 1977-10-27 Peg Leg Sam [Arthur Jackson], American country blues harmonica player, singer and comedian, dies at 65
  • 1978-12-12 Clifton Chenier, American blues singer (Bayou Blues), dies at 53
  • 1979-08-22 John Lee Granderson, American Chicago-style blues guitarist, dies at 71
  • 1980-01-30 Professor Longhair [Henry Roeland Byrd], American blues singer and pianist, dies from a heart attack at 61
  • 1980-07-03 James "Buster" Bennett, American blues saxophonist and blues shouter, dies at 66
  • 1980-11-16 O. V. [Overton Vertis] Wright, American blues singer, dies at 41
  • 1981-09-09 Helen Humes, American jazz and blues singer (Harry James; Count Basie; "Million Dollar Secret"), dies of cancer at 68
  • 1981-09-14 [Walter] Furry Lewis, father of blues, dies at 88 of a heart attack
  • 1981-12-08 Big Walter Horton, American blues harmonica player (Everybody's Fishin'), dies of heart failure at 64

Person of interestLightnin Hopkins

1982-01-30 Lightnin' [Sam] Hopkins, American blues musician (Ball of Twine), dies of esophageal cancer at 69

Blues Singer Lightnin Hopkins
Blues Singer
Lightnin Hopkins
  • 1982-03-29 Floyd "Guitar" Smith, American jazz and blues guitarist and record producer, dies at 65
  • 1982-07-09 Joseph "Wingy" Manone American jazz trumpeter, composer, singer, and bandleader ("Tar Paper Stomp"; "Downright Disgusted Blues"), dies at 82
  • 1982-07-22 Sonny Stitt [Edward Hammond Boatner Jr], American jazz saxophonist (Blows the Blues), dies of cancer at 58
  • 1983-02-02 Sam Chatman, elder statesman of the blues, dies
  • 1983-04-05 Cliff Carlisle, American country and blues musician, singer, songwriter, and yodeler ("Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad"), dies at 79

Person of interestMuddy Waters

1983-04-30 Muddy Waters [McKinley Morganfield], American blues singer and guitarist ("Mannish Boy"; "Got My Mojo Working"), dies at 70

Blues Musician Muddy Waters
Blues Musician
Muddy Waters
  • 1983-06-18 Luther Tucker, American blues guitarist, dies of a heart attack at 57
  • 1983-07-17 Roosevelt Sykes, American blues and boogie-woogie pianist, and singer (The Honeydripper), dies of a heart attack at 77
  • 1984-01-01 Alexis Korner, British blues musician (Blues Inc-Bootleg Him), dies at 55
  • 1984-04-28 Moses "Whispering" Smith, American blues harmonica player and singer ("A Thousand Miles From Nowhere"; "Hound Dog Twist"), dies at 52
  • 1984-06-16 Harmonica Slim [Travis Blaylock], American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter ("You Better Believe It"), dies at 49
  • 1984-08-14 Bobo Jenkins [John Pickens Jenkins], American blues singer-songwriter (Democrat Blues), dies at 68
  • 1984-08-17 Hammie Nixon [Nickerson], American blues harmonica player (Sleepy John Estes), dies at 76
  • 1984-10-17 Alberta Hunter, US blues singer/composer, dies at 89
  • 1984-12-22 Viola Wells [Evans], American jazz, blues, and gospel singer, dies at 82
  • 1985-06-25 Connie "Pee Wee" Crayton, American R&B and blues guitarist and singer ("Do Unto Others"), dies of a heart attack at 70
  • 1985-09-06 Eurreal "Little Brother" Montgomery, American jazz, boogie-woogie and blues pianist, singer, and composer ("Crescent City Blues"), dies at 79
  • 1986-03-11 Sonny Terry, American bind Piedmont blues musician, dies at 74
  • 1986-11-01 Sippie Wallace [Beulah Belle Thomas], American blues singer, (Women Be Wise) dies at 88
  • 1987-05-04 Paul Butterfield, American blues singer and harmonica player (Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Better Days), dies of drug abuse at 44
  • 1988-02-24 Memphis Slim [John Len Chatman], American blues musician ("Every Day I Have the Blues"), dies at 72
  • 1988-07-02 Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, American blues, jazz, and R&B alto saxophonist, dies of a heart attack at 70
  • 1988-08-14 Roy Buchanan, American blues guitarist, dies at 48
  • 1988-10-19 Edward "Son" House, American delta blues singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Walking Blues"; "Preachin' The Blues"), dies of larynx cancer at 86
  • 1989-12-01 Alvin Ailey, US choreographer (Blues Suite, Revelations), dies at 58
  • 1990-03-18 Robin Harris, American comedian and actor (House Party, Mo' Better Blues), dies of a heart attack at 36
  • 1990-08-22 "Boogie" Bill Webb, American Louisiana blues and R&B guitarist, singer and songwriter ("Bad Dog"), dies at 66

Famous Jazz Musicians