1959 in Music

Events in Music

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 5 Buddy Holly releases his last record "It Doesn't Matter"; he was killed in a plane crash 29 days later

Singer-songwriter Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly
  • Jan 17 "Say, Darling" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 332 performances
  • Jan 24 "Party with Comden & Green" closes at John Golden NYC after 38 performances
  • Jan 30 Paul Hindemith's symphony "Pittsburgh" premieres
  • Feb 2 Buddy Holly's last performance
  • Feb 3 "The Day the Music Died" plane crash kills musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J. P. Richardson and pilot near Clear Lake Iowa.
  • Feb 5 "Redhead" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 455 performances
  • Feb 7 "Whoop-Up" closes at Shubert Theater NYC after 56 performances
  • Feb 28 "Goldilocks" closes at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 161 performances
  • Feb 28 Ice Dance Championship at Colo Springs USA won by Denny & Jones of Great Britain
  • Mar 7 "Bells Are Ringing" closes at Shubert Theater NYC after 925 performances
  • Mar 9 "Juno" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 16 performances
  • Mar 11 4th Eurovision Song Contest: Teddy Scholten for Netherlands wins singing "Een beetje" in Cannes
  • Mar 15 Richard Rogers' "No Strings" opens on Broadway
  • Mar 19 "1st Impressions" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 84 performances
  • Mar 21 "Juno" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 16 performances
  • Apr 11 "Jamaica" closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 558 performances
  • Apr 16 "Party with Comden & Green" opens at John Golden NYC for 44 performances
  • Apr 23 "Destry Rides Again" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 472 performances
  • Apr 24 Neth Dance Theater opens (Rudi of Dantzig & Cut Flier)

Music awardsMusic Awards

May 4 First Grammy Awards: Perry Como & Ella Fitzgerald win

Jazz Musician Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz Musician
Ella Fitzgerald
  • May 11 "Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb" by Byrnes & Connie Stevens hits #4
  • May 11 Rodgers & Barer's musical "Once upon a mattress" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 12 "Nervous Set" opens at Henry Miller's Theater NYC for 23 performances

Author Henry Miller
Henry Miller
  • May 13 Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle last airs on NBC-TV
  • May 18 "Castin' My Spell" by Johnny Otis Show hits #52
  • May 18 "Judy" by David Seville hits #86
  • May 18 "Russian Band Stand" by Spencer & Spencer hits #91
  • May 21 "Gypsy" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 702 performances
  • May 23 "Party with Comden & Green" closes at John Golden NYC after 44 performances
  • May 28 Johnson & Bart's musical "Lock up your daughters" premieres in London
  • May 30 "First Impressions" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 84 performances
  • May 30 "Nervous Set" closes at Henry Miller's Theater NYC after 23 performances
  • Jun 13 91st Belmont: Bill Shoemaker aboard Sword Dancer wins in 2:28.6
  • Jun 22 "Class" by Chubby Checker peaks at #38
  • Jun 27 "West Side Story" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 734 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 31 Cliff Richard and the Drifters have their 1st No. 1 British single with "Living' Doll" (biggest British single of 1959)

  • Aug 4 "Billy Barnes Revue" opens at John Golden Theater NYC for 87 performances
  • Sep 11 "Duke" Ellington wins Springarn Medal for his musical achievements
  • Oct 7 "Happy Town" opens at 84th St Theater NYC for 5 performances

Film release premierFilm Release

Oct 7 "Pillow Talk" film directed by Michael Gordon and starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson is first released

Singer and Actress Doris Day
Singer and Actress
Doris Day
  • Oct 8 "At the Drop of a Hat" opens at John Golden Theater NYC for 216 performances
  • Oct 10 "Happy Town" closes at 84th St Theater NYC after 5 performances
  • Oct 17 "Billy Barnes Revue" closes at John Golden Theater NYC after 87 performances
  • Oct 22 Bob Merrill's musical "Take Me Along" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 448 performances
  • Nov 2 "Girls against the Boys" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 16 performances
  • Nov 14 "Girls against the Boys" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 16 performances
  • Nov 16 "Sound of Music" opens at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC for 1443 performances
  • Nov 23 "Fiorello!" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 796 performances
  • Nov 25 "Once Upon a Mattress" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 460 performances
  • Nov 29 2nd Grammy Awards: Mack The Knife, Bobby Darin wins
  • Dec 7 "Saratoga" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 80 performances

Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 152

  • Jan 3 Rusty Golden, rocker (Boys Band)
  • Jan 4 Denise Matthews "Vanity", singer (Prince protege) and actress (52 Pick Up), born in Niagara Falls, Ontario (d. 2016)
  • Jan 6 Kathy Sledge, vocalist (Sister Sledge-We are Family), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Jan 7 Kathy Valentine, rocker (Go-Go's-We Got the Beat)
  • Jan 8 Paul Hester, Australian drummer (d. 2005)
  • Jan 9 Cristi Minculescu, Romanian musician
  • Jan 10 Don Letts, rocker (Big Audio Dynamite)
  • Jan 10 Kirk & Curtwood, musician (Meat Puppets)
  • Jan 12 Per Helmstad Gessle, Swedish singer (Roxette-Must Have Been Love)
  • Jan 12 Blixa Bargeld, German singer and musician (Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
  • Jan 13 James Lomenzo, American musician (Megadeth)
  • Jan 14 Carl Chas Smash Smyth, rock bassist (Madness-Our House)
  • Jan 14 Geoff Tate, vocalist (Queensryche-Breaking the Silence)
  • Jan 15 Pete Trewavas, Middlesbrough, bassist, (Marillion-Clutching at Straws)
  • Jan 16 Sade [Helen Folasade Adu], Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer (Soldier of Love, Smooth Operator), born in Ibadan, Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
  • Jan 17 Susanna Hoffs, actress/rocker (Bangles-Walk Like an Egyptian)
  • Jan 17 Momoe Yamaguchi, Japanese singer and actress
  • Jan 18 Bob Rosenberg, rocker (Will To Power)
  • Jan 23 Earl Falconer, British reggae bassist (UB40-Red Red Wine)
  • Jan 28 Dave Sharp, rock guitarist (Alarm-In the Summertime)
  • Jan 28 Burkhard Dallwitz, German-born composer
  • Jan 30 Jody Watley, Chic, dancer (Solid Gold)/singer (Looking For a New Love)
  • Feb 3 Loi Tolhurst, rocker (Cure-Hell's Kitchen)
  • Feb 3 Yasuharu Konishi, Japanese musician (Pizzicato Five)
  • Feb 6 Ken Nelson, English record producer
  • Feb 7 Brian Travers, rock saxophonist (UB40-Red Wine)
  • Feb 12 Omar Hakim, drummer (Dire Straits, Weather Report)
  • Feb 14 Renée Fleming, American soprano
  • Feb 15 Ali Campbell, British reggae vocalist/guitarist (UB40-Red Red Wine)
  • Feb 21 José María Cano, Spanish musician
  • Feb 25 Mike Peters, rocker (Alarm-In the Summertime)
  • Feb 27 Johnny Van Zant, American singer (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  • Mar 2 Andrew Farriss, Australia, rock keyboardist (Inxs-Kiss the Dirt)
  • Mar 2 Larry Stewart, country singer (Restless Heart-Wheels), born in Paducah, Kentucky
  • Mar 13 Ronnie Rogers, guitarist (T'Pau-Heart & Soul)
  • Mar 14 Patrick Dupond, dancer (La Bayadere), born in Paris, France
  • Mar 16 Stan Thorn, singer (Shenandoah-Sunday in the South), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Mar 16 Flavor Flav, American rapper and reality TV star, born in Roosevelt, New York

Rapper & TV star Flavor Flav
Rapper & TV star
Flavor Flav
  • Mar 17 Mike Lindup, British rock keyboardist/singer (Level 42-Hot Water)
  • Mar 17 Paul Black, American rock singer
  • Mar 18 Irene Cara, Bronx actress/singer (Fame, DC Cab, Certain Fury), born in NYC, New York
  • Mar 19 Terry Hall, English musician (Specials, Fun Boy 3), born in Coventry
  • Mar 20 Richard Drummie, rocker (Go West-Call Me, Don't Look Down)
  • Mar 21 Sarah Jane Morris, English Singer
  • Mar 21 Nobuo Uematsu, Japanese composer
  • Mar 22 Avraham Fried, Orthodox Jewish Musician
  • Mar 23 Epic Soundtracks, English musician (Swell Maps, Crime and the City Solution, These Immortal Souls) (d. 1997)
  • Mar 29 Perry Farrell, American musician, (Jane's Addiction, Porno For Pyros)
  • Mar 30 Sabine Meyer, German clarinetist
  • Mar 31 Ali McMordie, Irish bassist (Stiff Little Fingers)
  • Apr 2 Dean Townson, singer (Pirates of Miss-Fred Jake), born in St Petersburg, Florida
  • Apr 9 Dave Innis, Bartlesville Oklahoma, country singer (Restless Heart-Wheels)
  • Apr 10 Brian Setzer, American rock guitarist and vocalist (Stray Cats), born in Massapequa Park, New York
  • Apr 17 Stephen Singleton, Sheffield, rocker (ABC)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Apr 21 Robert Smith, Sussex, English rock guitarist and vocalist (Cure-Hell's Kitchen), born in Blackpool, England

Musician Robert Smith
Robert Smith
  • Apr 21 Jerry Only [Gerald Caiafa Jr], American musician (Misfits), born in Lodi, New Jersey
  • Apr 21 Michael Timmins, Canadian musician (Cowboy Junkies)
  • Apr 25 Billy Rankin, rocker, born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Apr 26 John Corabi, American Musician
  • Apr 27 Marco Pirroni, rock guitarist (Adam & The Ants), born in London, England
  • Apr 27 Sheena Easton, [Shirley Orr], singer (Sugar Walls), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Apr 27 Louis Lortie, French Canadian concert pianist
  • May 1 Paul Smith, rock saxophonist (Haircut 100)
  • May 3 David Ball, English rock keyboardist (Soft Cell), born in Blackpool, Lancashire
  • May 4 Randy Travis, Marshville NC, country singer (Diggin' Up Bones)
  • May 5 Ian McCulloch English rock vocalist (Echo & Bunnymen - Heaven Up Here), born in Liverpool
  • May 14 Patrick Bruel, Algerian/French actor/rock vocalist (Coup of Sirocco)
  • May 15 Andrew Eldritch, rocker (Sisters of Mercy-Walk Away, Black Planet)
  • May 17 Paul Di'anno, rocker (Iron Maiden Chingford, London V Early Vocalist
  • May 20 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, American singer (d. 1997)
  • May 22 [Steven] Morrissey, British rock vocalist (The Smiths), born in Davyhulme, Lancashire
  • May 26 Wayne Hussey, rocker (Mission-Lover for Life)
  • May 26 Steve Hanley, English musician (The Fall, Tom Hingley and the Lovers)
  • May 28 Leon "The Bop" Klaasse, rock drummer/singer (The Pilgrims-Red)
  • May 28 Steve Strange [Steven Harrington], Welsh pop singer (Visage) and nightclub host, born in Newbridge, Caerphily (d. 2015)
  • May 29 Mel Gaynor, rock drummer (Simple Minds-Water Front), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Jun 1 Alan "Wild"er, English rock vocalist/music (Depeche Mode-Wild!)
  • Jun 2 Lydia Lunch, US singer/poetess (Teenage Jesus, Jerks)
  • Jun 4 Paul Taylor, rocker (Winger-17)
  • Jun 5 Michael Winans, gospel singer (Winans)
  • Jun 6 Jimmy Jam, American record producer
  • Jun 12 John Linnell, American musician (They Might Be Giants)
  • Jun 19 Mark DeBarge, rock vocalist (DeBarge-Who's Johnny), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • Jun 21 Kathy Mattea, country singer (Love at the Five & Dime)
  • Jun 22 Nicola Sirkis, French singer and lyricist (Indochine)
  • Jun 24 Andy McClusky, rocker (Orchestal Manoeveres in the Dark-Electricity)
  • Jun 27 Lorrie Morgan, country singer (Out of Your Shoes), born in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jul 3 Stephen Pearcy, heavy metal vocalist (RATT-Round & Round), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jul 4 Bill McCorvey, singer (Pirates of Miss-Fred Jake), born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Jul 5 Marc Cohn, singer (Walking in Memphis)
  • Jul 6 John Keeble, rock drummer (Spandau Ballet-True), born in London, England
  • Jul 9 Jim Kerr, rock vocalist (Simple Minds), born in Glasgow, Scotland

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Jul 11 Richie Sambora, American guitarist (Bon Jovi) and boyfriend of Cher and Heather Locklear, born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Rock guitarist Richie Sambora
Rock guitarist
Richie Sambora
  • Jul 11 Suzanne Vega, rock vocalist (My Name is Luka, Tom's Diner)
  • Jul 15 Shep Pettibone, American record producer
  • Jul 20 Radney Foster, Del Rio Tx, singer (Foster & Lloyd-Crazy Over You)
  • Jul 29 John Sykes, Irish hard rock guitarist (Thin Lizzy-Blue Murder)
  • Jul 31 Stanley Jordan, American jazz guitarist, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Aug 1 Joe Elliott, English heavy metal vocalist (Def Leppard-Hysteria, Rock of Ages), born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  • Aug 1 Otomo Yoshihide, Japanese musician

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 6 Jose Enrique Pedreira, composer, dies at 54
  • Jan 9 Paul Malengreau, composer, dies at 71
  • Jan 21 Lamar Stringfield, composer, dies at 61
  • Jan 28 Viktor Joseph Keldorfer, composer, dies at 85
  • Feb 3 Big Bopper, rocker, dies in plane crash at 28

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Feb 3 Buddy Holly, rock and roll musician (That'll be the Day), dies in a plane crash at 22

Singer-songwriter Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly
  • Feb 3 Richie Valens, American rock vocalist (Donna), killed in plane crash at 17
  • Feb 7 Guitar Slim [Eddie Jones], American blues guitarist (The Things That I Used to Do) dies at 32
  • Feb 13 William L Axt, composer, dies at 70
  • Feb 14 Baby Dodds, American jazz drummer (b. 1898)
  • Feb 18 Alfred Alessandrescu, composer, dies at 65
  • Feb 18 Eric Zeisl, Austrian American composer, dies at 53
  • Feb 18 Jaroslav Kvapil, composer, dies at 66
  • Feb 20 Ray McDonald, dancer, dies of barbituate overdose at 38
  • Mar 11 Haydn Wood, English composer, dies at 76
  • Mar 15 Lester Young, American musician (b. 1909)
  • Mar 17 Raffaele d' Alessandro, composer, dies on 48th birthday
  • Mar 25 Billy Mayerl, composer, dies at 56
  • Mar 29 Sara Wennerberg-Reuter, composer, dies at 84
  • Apr 12 Ernest Willem Mulder, composer, dies at 60
  • Apr 13 Eduard A van Beinum, Dutch musician/conductor, dies at 57
  • Apr 24 Jef van Hoof, composer, dies at 72
  • Apr 30 Armand Louis Joseph Marsick, composer, dies at 81
  • May 8 Renato Caccioppoli, Italian mathematician/pianist, suicide at 55
  • May 14 Sidney Bechet, US jazz clarinetist/saxophonist/bandleader, dies at 62
  • May 30 Thomas Carl Whitmer, composer, dies at 85
  • Jun 3 Ole Windingstad, composer, dies at 73
  • Jun 23 Jean Gallon, French composer, dies at 80
  • Jun 23 Boris Vian, French writer and musician (b. 1920)
  • Jun 30 Lazare Saminsky, composer, dies at 76
  • Jul 15 Ernest Bloch, Swiss-born American composer (MacBeth, Schelomo, Israel), dies on cancer at 78

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Jul 17 Billie Holiday, jazz singer, dies at Metropolitan Hospital in New York of cirrhosis of the liver at 44

Jazz Musician Billie Holiday
Jazz Musician
Billie Holiday
  • Jul 20 Harry Fox [Arthur Carringford], American vaudeville dancer, comedian and actor (Talent Scout), dies at 77
  • Aug 2 Prospero Bisquertt, composer, dies at 78
  • Aug 7 Armas Emmanuel Launis, composer, dies at 75
  • Aug 9 Emil Frantisek Burian, composer, dies at 55
  • Aug 15 Blind Willie McTell, American ragtime singer and guitarist (b. 1901)
  • Aug 16 Pedro Humberto Allende Saron, Chilean composer (Tonados), dies at 74
  • Aug 16 Wanda Landowska, Polish harpsichordist (b. 1879)
  • Aug 28 Bohuslav Jan Martinu, Czech composer (Hry o Marti), dies at 68
  • Sep 9 Max d' Ollone, composer, dies at 84
  • Sep 22 Josef Matthias Hauer, composer, dies at 76
  • Sep 25 Ennio Porrino, composer, dies at 49
  • Sep 28 Gerard Hoffnung, German-born British artist/humorist/musician, dies at 34
  • Oct 7 Mario Lanza, opera singer, dies at 38 of a heart attack
  • Oct 13 Rudolf Mengelberg, Dutch composer and musicologist (Concert Amsterdam), dies at 67
  • Oct 19 Stanley Bate, composer, dies at 45
  • Oct 28 Egon Kornauth, composer, dies at 68
  • Nov 3 Friedrich Niggli, composer, dies at 83
  • Nov 9 Frederick Preston Search, composer, dies at 70
  • Nov 10 Lupino Lane, English actor (Deputy Drummer), dies at 67
  • Nov 17 Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer/pianist/conductor, dies at 72
  • Nov 26 Albert Ketèlbey, British composer (In a Monastery Garden), dies at 84
  • Nov 29 Fritz Brun, Swiss composer and conductor, dies at 81
  • Dec 29 Robin Humphrey Milford, composer, dies at 56