On This Day

May 1940 in Music History

Events in Music


Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 28 Irving Berlin's musical "Louisiana Purchase" premieres in NYC

Composer and Lyricist Irving Berlin
Composer and Lyricist
Irving Berlin

Birthdays in Music

  • May 3 Conny Plank, German record producer and musician, born in Hütschenhausen, Germany (d. 1987)
  • May 6 Murray Sidlin, American conductor (National Symphony, 1973-77), and arranger (Defiant Requiem), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • May 7 Armando Krieger, Argentine composer, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Person of interestRicky Nelson

May 8 (Eric) "Ricky" Nelson, American pop-Rock Star ("Hello Mary Lou"; "It's Late"; "Garden Party") and actor (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), born in Teaneck, New Jersey (d.1985)

Rock Star and Actor Ricky Nelson
Rock Star and Actor
Ricky Nelson
  • May 8 (Cathryn) "Toni" Tennille, American singer-songwriter, keyboardist (Captain & Tennille - "Love Will Keep Us Together") and female Beach Boy, born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • May 9 Dick Morrissey, British jazz saxophonist, born in Horley, Surrey, England (d. 2000)
  • May 10 Arthur Alexander, American singer-songwriter ("Lonely Just Like Me"), whose songs were covered by The Beatles ("Anna"), The Rolling Stones ("You Better Move On"), and Bob Dylan ("Sally Sue Brown"), born in Sheffield, Alabama (d. 1993) [1] [2]
  • May 11 Ron Pellegrino, American electronic music composer, born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • May 12 Norman Whitfield, American songwriter and producer for Motown ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine"; "Just My Imagination"; "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone"), born in New York City (d. 2008)
  • May 13 Richard Brooks, American soul singer (Impressions, 1958-62 - "Gypsy Woman"), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • May 19 Mickey Newbury, rocker
  • May 20 (Frederick) "Shorty" Long, American soul singer, and pianist ( "Devil with the Blue Dress On"; "Here Comes The Judge"), born in Birmingham, Alabama (d. 1969)

Person of interestTony Sheridan

May 21 Tony Sheridan, British singer-songwriter and guitarist who collaborated with The Beatles ("My Bonnie"), born in Norwich, England (d. 2013)

Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist Tony Sheridan
Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist
Tony Sheridan
  • May 26 Levon Helm, American drummer and singer (The Band - "Up On Cripple Creek"; "The Weight"), and actor (Coal Miner's Daughter; The Right Stuff), born in Elaine, Arkansas (d. 2012)
  • May 27 Rene Koering, composer
  • May 28 Hans Dulfer, Dutch funk and jazz-fusion tenor saxophonist, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • May 31 August "Augie" Meyers, American singer-songwriter, producer, and record label owner (Sir Douglas Quintet, Texas Tornados), born in San Antonio, Texas

Deaths in Music

  • May 28 Theodor Streicher, Austrian composer, dies at 65