Blues Music in History

Blues: Ragtime

Events in Music

Meeting of Interest

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

Historic Publication

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

  • 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 American jazz pioneer pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton

Music History

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

  • 1928-12-28 Ma Rainey, "Mother of the Blues" makes her last record "Big Feelin' Blues"
  • 1931-01-22 Jazz trumpeter Clyde McCoy records "Sugar Blues" for Columbia Records; sells over 14 million copies internationally

Music Recording

1936-11-23 Legendary Delta blues musician Robert Johnson's first recording session with producer Don Law at the Gunter Hotel, San Antonio, Texas

  • 1937-06-19 Second of two legendary recording sessions by Delta Blues musician Robert Johnson with producer Don Law at the Vitagraph Studios, Dallas, Texas
  • 1940-02-20 Larry Clinton & his Orchestra record "Limehouse Blues"

Music Single

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

#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

  • 1952-08-13 Blues singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton records "Hound Dog" song, written a day earlier especially for her by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, at Radio Recorders Studio in Los Angeles, California

Music Single

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

  • 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 History

1963-04-14 Quiet Beatle George Harrison is impressed by unsigned British blues band "Rolling Stones"

Theater Premiere

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

Music History

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

Music History

1968-12-28 100,000 attend Miami Pop Festival; performers included: The Jimi Hendrix Experience; The Mothers of Invention; Chuck Berry; John Lee Hooker; The Crazy World of Arthur Brown; and Blues Image,

Music History

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

Music Concert

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

Music Recording

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

Album Release

1970-09-25 Ringo Starr releases his 2nd solo album "Beaucoups of Blues", a collection of country music recorded in Nashville, Tennessee

  • 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 The Moody Blues open 1st quadrophonic recording studio in UK

Album Release

1978-11-28 Atlantic Records releases "Briefcase Full of Blues", the debut album by The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi); album tops the chart and becomes best-selling blues record of all-time

  • 1980-06-16 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and directed by John Landis, premieres in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1980-06-20 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and featuring appearances by Aretha Franklin; Cab Calloway; and Ray Charles opens in 594 theaters
  • 1980-06-20 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and featuring appearances by Aretha Franklin; Cab Calloway; and Ray Charles opens in 594 theaters
  • 1982-06-02 "Blues in the Night" opens at Rialto Theater NYC for 53 performances
  • 1982-06-18 Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, England opens: Van Morrison and Jackson Browne headline; other performers include: Osibisa, Judie Tzuke, Richie Havens, Aswad, Steel Pulse, Thompson Twins, Climax Blues Band, Talisman, and Incubus
  • 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

Music History

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

  • 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
  • 2014-10-03 Blues guitarist and singer B.B. King's last live performance, at the House of Blues in Chicago

Hall of Fame

2015-04-18 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Green Day; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; Lou Reed; Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble; Bill Withers; The "5" Royals; and Ringo Starr


Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 431

W. 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)

  • 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)

Lead Belly

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

  • 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, American blues musician, 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 "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)
  • 1895-02-20 Jimmy Yancey, American boogie-woogie jazz and blues pianist, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1951) [birth year disputed - documentation ranges from 1894-1903]
  • 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)
  • 1896-09-02 Amanda Randolph, American jazz and blues piano player and singer; stage, radio, and screen actress (The Laytons; Amos 'n Andy - "Ramona"; Danny Thomas Show - "Louise"), born in Louisville, Kentucky (d. 1967)
  • 1896-09-08 Elmer Schoebel, American jazz pianist, arranger (New Orleans Rhythm Kings; Isham Jones), and composer ("Farewell Blues"; "Prince Of Wails"), born in East St. Louis, Illinois (d. 1970)
  • 1897-01-10 (Vivian) "Sam" Chatmon, American Delta blues guitarist, banjo player, and singer (The Mississippi Sheiks), born in Bolton, Mississippi (d. 1983)
  • 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)
  • 1899-07-01 "Georgia" Tom [Dorsey], American blues and gospel pianist, songwriter ("Peace In The Valley"), and evangelist, born in Villa Rica, Georgia (d. 1993)
  • 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]
  • 1901-08-26 Jimmy Rushing, American blues pianist and singer, known as"Mr. Five By Five", born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (d. 1972)

Langston Hughes

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

  • 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)
  • 1902-07-26 Gus Aiken, American jazz and blues trumpeter (Jenkins Orphanage Band), born in Charleston, South Carolina (d. 1973)
  • 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)
  • 1903-12-29 Clyde McCoy, American jazz trumpeter ("Sugar Blues"; the wah-wah sound), bandleader and co-founder of "Down Beat" magazine, born in Ashland, Kentucky (d. 1990)
  • 1904-01-12 "Mississippi" Fred McDowell, American blues singer and guitarist, born in Rossville, Tennessee (d. 1972)
  • 1904-11-17 L.F. "Jack" Owen, American blues singer and guitarist ("It Must've Been The Devil"), born in Bentonia, Mississippi (d. 1997)
  • 1904-12-24 Daniel Womack, American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer and harmonica player, born in Danville, Virginia (d. 1996)
  • 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)
  • 1905-06-26 Teddy Grace [Stella Crowson], American jazz and blues singer, born in Arcadia, Louisiana (d. 1992) [1]
  • 1905-08-24 Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist ("That's Alright"), born in Forest, Mississippi (d. 1974)
  • 1905-11-14 John Henry Barbee, American blues guitarist and singer, born in Henning, Tennessee (d. 1964)
  • 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 ("Vicksburg Blues"; "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)
  • 1907-11-26 "Kansas City" Frank [Melrose], American jazz and blues pianist, born in Sumner, Illinois (d. 1941)
  • 1907-12-25 Cab Calloway, American singer, bandleader ("Minnie the Moocher"; "The Jumpin' Jive"), writer, radio host, and actor (The Blues Brothers), born in Rochester, New York (d. 1994)
  • 1908-01-22 Hammie Nixon [Nickerson], American blues harmonica player (Sleepy John Estes), born in Brownsville, Tennessee (d. 1984)
  • 1908-03-31 Red Norvo [Kenneth Norville], 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)
  • 1909-03-06 Dave Clark, American blues music promoter, and songwriter ("Why I Sing The Blues"), born in Jacksonville, Florida (d. 1995)
  • 1909-03-17 Lovie Lee [Edward Lee Watson], American electric blues pianist, singer, and songwriter, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 1997)
  • 1909-10-27 Henry "Mule" Townsend, American blues singer, guitarist, and piano player, born in Shelby, Mississippi (d. 2006)
  • 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)

T-Bone Walker

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

  • 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)
  • 1910-07-04 (William Thomas) "Champion Jack" Dupree, American boxer, blues and boogie-woogie pianist, singer-songwriter (Walkin' The Blues), and WWII P.O.W., born in Irish Channel, New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1992)
  • 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)

Robert Johnson

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

  • 1911-05-18 "Big" Joe Turner, American blues singer ("Corrine Corrina"; "Shake Rattle & Roll"), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 1985)
  • 1911-07-10 (Charles) "Cootie" Williams, American jazz, jump-blues, and R&B trumpeter (Duke Ellington Orchestra, 1929-40 & 1962-74), born in Mobile, Alabama (d. 1985)
  • 1911-08-15 Buster Brown, American blues singer and harmonica player (Fannie Mae), born in Cordele, Georgia (d. 1976)
  • 1911-09-15 Silas Hogan, American blues singer and guitarist, born in Westover, Louisiana (d. 1994)
  • 1911-10-24 Sonny Terry, blind Piedmont blues musician, born in Greensboro, Georgia (d. 1986)
  • 1911-11-17 Jimmy DeBerry, American blues guitarist, banjo player, and singer, born in Gumwood, Arkansas (d. 1985)
  • 1911-12-18 Peg Leg Sam [Arthur Jackson], American country blues harmonica player, singer and comedian, born in Jonesville, South Carolina (d. 1977)

Lightnin Hopkins

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

  • 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 ("Nothing But The Devil";"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

Muddy 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)

  • 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)
  • 1914-05-13 (Louis Charles) "L. C. Robinson, American blues singer, guitarist, fiddler, and electric steel guitar player, born in Brenham, Texas (d. 1976)
  • 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)
  • 1915-02-16 Calvin Frazier, American country and Detroit blues singer-songwriter, and guitarist ("This Old World's In A Tangle"), born in Osceola, Arkansas (d. 1972)
  • 1915-03-27 Robert Lockwood Jr., American blues guitarist, born in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas (d. 2006)

Billie 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]

  • 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)

Weddings in Music

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

Muddy Waters

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

B.B. King

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

  • 1958-06-04 American blues musician B.B. King (32) weds his second wife Sue Hall; divorce in 1966

Cher

1975-06-30 American singer and actress Cher (28), weds American blues-rcoker Gregg Allman (27), 4 days after her divorce from Sonny Bono is finalized; divorce 1979

Stevie Ray Vaughan

1979-12-23 American blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan (25) weds Lenora "Lenny" Bailey; divorce in 1988

Joe Cocker

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

  • 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 292

  • 1929-12-19 Lemon Henry "Blind Lemon" Jefferson, American blues singer and guitarist, dies at 36
  • 1933-03-04 Willie Walker, American 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
  • 1939-12-22 Ma Rainey [Gertrude Pridgett], American singer "Mother of the Blues", dies at 53
  • 1941-09-01 "Kansas City" Frank [Melrose], American jazz and blues pianist, killed in a bar fight in Hammond, Indiana at 33
  • 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

Lead Belly

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

  • 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 age 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

W. 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

  • 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
  • 1959-08-15 "Blind" Willie McTell [McTier], American blues and ragtime singer and guitarist, dies at 61
  • 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) "Stick" McGhee, American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter ("Drinkin' Wine. Spo-Dee-O-Dee"), dies of lung cancer at 43
  • 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
  • 1963-12-14 Dinah Washington [Ruth Lee Jones], American jazz, blues, pop, and R&B singer ("What a Diff'rence a Day Makes": "September In The Rain"), dies of sleeping pill overdose at 39
  • 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

Langston Hughes

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

  • 1967-08-24 Amanda Randolph, American jazz and blues piano player and singer; stage, radio, and screen actress (The Laytons; Amos 'n Andy - "Ramona"; Danny Thomas Show - "Louise"), and restauranteur, dies of a stroke at 70
  • 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 Nehemiah "Skip" James, American Delta blues singer, guitarist and piano player ("I'm So Glad"), dies at 67
  • 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
  • 1970-04-24 Otis Spann, American blues pianist and singer (The Blues Never Die!), dies of liver cancer at 40 [or perhaps, 46; birth date disputed]

Janis Joplin

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

  • 1970-12-14 Elmer Schoebel, American jazz pianist, arranger (New Orleans Rhythm Kings; Isham Jones), and composer ("Farewell Blues"; "Prince Of Wails"), dies at 73
  • 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
  • 1972-07-03 "Mississippi" Fred McDowell, American blues singer and guitarist, dies of cancer at 68
  • 1972-07-08 (Cora) "Lovie" Austin, American jazz pianist, and bandleader ("Down Hearted Blues"), dies at 84
  • 1972-09-23 Calvin Frazier, American country and Detroit blues singer-songwriter, and guitarist ("This Old World's In A Tangle"), dies of cancer at 57
  • 1973-04-01 Gus Aiken, American jazz and blues trumpeter (Jenkins Orphanage Band), dies at 70
  • 1973-08-06 Memphis Minnie [Lizzie Douglas], 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 Lightnin' Slim [Otis Hicks], American Louisiana blues electric guitarist, singer, and songwriter ("Nothing But The Devil"; "Bad Luck And Trouble"), dies of stomach cancer at 61
  • 1974-08-13 (Harold) "Tina" Brooks, American hard-bop jazz saxophonist, and composer ("True Blue"), dies of liver failure at 42
  • 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
  • 1976-01-31 Buster Brown, American blues singer and harmonica player (Fannie Mae), dies at 64
  • 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
  • 1976-09-26 (Louis Charles) "L. C." Robinson, American blues singer, guitarist, fiddler, and electric steel guitar player, dies of a heart attack at 62
  • 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
  • 1977-07-01 (Robert) "Baby Boy" Warren, American blues singer and guitarist, dies of a heart attack at 57
  • 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
  • 1979-04-12 Pernell Charity, American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, dies at 58
  • 1979-08-22 John Lee Granderson, American Chicago-style blues guitarist, dies at 71
  • 1980-01-30 Professor Longhair [Henry Roeland Byrd], American boogie-woogie, New Orleans R&B, and mambo pianist and singer ("Tipitina": "Go To The Mardis Gras"), 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, American country blues guitarist and songwriter, dies of a heart attack at 88 (or 82) [year of birth disputed]
  • 1981-12-08 "Big" Walter [Horton], American blues harmonica player (Everybody's Fishin'), dies of heart failure at 60

Lightnin Hopkins

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

  • 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 (Vivian) "Sam" Chatmon, American Delta blues guitarist, banjo player, and singer (The Mississippi Sheiks), dies at 86
  • 1983-04-05 Cliff Carlisle, American country and blues musician, singer, songwriter, and yodeler ("Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad"), dies at 79

Muddy Waters

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

  • 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 revivalist, guitar player (Blues Incorporated - "Please Please Please Please"), and radio broadcaster, dies of lung cancer 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 (John) "Bobo" 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, American blues singer and composer, dies at 89
  • 1984-12-22 Viola Wells [Evans], American jazz, blues, and gospel singer, dies at 82
  • 1985-01-17 Jimmy DeBerry, American blues guitarist, banjo player, and singer, dies at 73
  • 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