On This Day

May 1959 in Music History

Events in Music

Music awardsGrammy 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

Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 11 Mary Rodgers & Marshall Barer's musical "Once Upon A Mattress", starring Carol Burnett and directed by George Abbott, opens at Phoenix Theatre, NYC; runs for 244 performances

Comedian and Actress Carol Burnett
Comedian and Actress
Carol Burnett

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Author Henry Miller
Author
Henry Miller
  • 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

Birthdays in Music

  • May 1 Paul Smith, rock saxophonist (Haircut 100)
  • May 3 David Ball, English rock keyboardist (Soft Cell), born in Blackpool, Lancashire

Person of interestRandy Travis

May 4 Randy Travis [Traywick], American country and gospel music singer ("Diggin' Up Bones"; "Forever and Ever, Amen"), and actor, born in Marshville, North Carolina

Country Music Singer Randy Travis
Country Music Singer
Randy Travis
  • May 5 Ian McCulloch English rock vocalist (Echo & Bunnymen - "Heaven Up Here"), born in Liverpool
  • May 5 Steve Stevens [Schneider], American rock guitarist and songwriter (Billy Idol - "Rebel Yell"; Bozzio Levin Stevens), born in New York City
  • May 13 Paul Pesco, Eurasian American session guitarist, singer-songwriter and record producer, born in Canandaigua, New York
  • May 14 Patrick Bruel [Benguigui], Algerian-French actor (Coup of Sirocco), rock vocalist ("Marre de cette nana-là" - "Fed Up With That Chick"), and world class poker player, born in Tlemcen, Algeria
  • May 15 Andrew Eldritch, rocker (Sisters of Mercy-Walk Away, Black Planet)
  • May 17 Paul Di'anno [Andrews], Brazilian-British rock singer (Iron Maiden, 1981-84), born in Chingford, London, England
  • May 20 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Native Hawaiian singer, songwriter ("Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World"), and Hawaiian sovereignty advocate, born in Honolulu, Hawaii (d. 1997)
  • May 22 [Steven] Morrissey, British rock vocalist (The Smiths), born in Davyhulme, Lancashire
  • May 23 Ken Peplowski, American swing jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist, born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • May 24 Mario Igrec, Croatian jazz guitarist, composer and music professor (Cubismo), born in Zagreb, Croatia
  • May 26 Wayne Hussey, English musician (Mission - "Lover for Life"), born in Bristol, England
  • May 26 Steve Hanley, English rock bassist (The Fall; Tom Hingley and the Lovers; Brix & the Extricated), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • May 28 Léon Klaassen, Dutch session and touring rock and jazz drummer (Powerplay; The Pilgrims; D'Wys), born in The Netherlands
  • May 28 Steve Strange [Harrington], Welsh pop singer (Visage) and nightclub host, born in Newbridge, Caerphily, Wales (d. 2015)
  • May 29 Mel Gaynor, British rock drummer (Simple Minds - "Don't You (Forget About Me)"; "Alive And Kicking"), born in Balham, London, England

Deaths in Music

  • May 8 Renato Caccioppoli, Italian mathematician and pianist, takes his own life at 55
  • May 14 Sidney Bechet, American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, band leader, and composer ("Petite Fleur"), dies of lung cancer on his 62nd birthday
  • May 30 Thomas Carl Whitmer, American composer, dies at 85