May 1971 in Music History

Events in Music

  • May 1 Rolling Stones release "Brown Sugar"
  • May 5 Courtney, Courtney, and Link's musical "Earl of Ruston" opens at Billy Rose Theater, NYC, runs for 5 performances
  • May 8 Courtney, Courtney, and Link's musical "Earl of Ruston" closes at Billy Rose Theater, NYC, after 5 performances

Musical Finale

May 15 John Kander and Fred Ebbs' musical "70, Girls, 70", starring Hans Conried and Mildred Natwick, closes at Broadhurst Theater, NYC, after 35 performances

Music Premiere

May 16 Benjamin Britten's opera "Owen Wingrave" premieres in Aldwych, London

  • May 17 Stephen Schwartz' musical "Godspell" premieres off-Broadway

Album Release

May 21 Marvin Gaye' eleventh album "What's Going On" is released; considered the best album off all-time by critic surveys in Rolling Stone (2020); The Guardian (1997); and New Music Express (1985)

  • May 23 American rock group Iron Butterfly ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida") disbands

Music Recording

May 27 John Lennon records the song "Imagine" at his Ascot Sound home studio at Tittenhurst Park, England

Album Release

May 28 Paul McCartney releases "Ram", his 2nd solo album

  • May 29 "Court Room" by Clarence Carter hits #61
  • May 30 36 hospitalized during Grateful Dead concert; drunk LSD apple juice

Birthdays in Music

  • May 3 Josey Scott, American singer (Saliva), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • May 5 David Reilly, American electro-rock singer-songwriter and keyboardist (God Lives Underwater), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2005)
  • May 6 Chris Shiflett, American guitarist (Foo Fighters), born in Santa Barbara, California
  • May 7 Horgh [Reidar Horghagen] Norwegian heavy metal drummer (Immortal; Hypocrisy), born in Bergen, Norway
  • May 8 Chris Wolf, American actor and musician (Guys Next Door - "I've Been Waiting for You")
  • May 9 Paul McGuigan, British rock bassist (Oasis, 1991-99 - "Wonderwall"), born in Manchester, England
  • May 14 Raphael Wiggins, American rapper (Lifelines), born in Oakland, California
  • May 16 Rachel Goswell, English singer and songwriter (Slowdive, Mojave 3)
  • May 20 Erato Alakiozidou, Greek classical and contemporary music concert pianist and arts director (Tangos a Cuatro; Idée Fixe”; Music Diaries; beArtive), born in Thessaloniki, Greece

Lisa LopesLisa Lopes (1971-2002)

May 27 American singer (TLC), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • May 29 Martin Lohse, Danish classical composer (In Liquid; Tree Haiku), born in Copenhagen, Denmark

Idina MenzelIdina Menzel (51 years old)

May 30 American actress and singer, born in Queens, New York

Weddings in Music

Mick Jagger

May 12 British "Rolling Stone" singer Mick Jagger (27) weds Nicaraguan actress and model Bianca Pérez-Mora Macias (24) at St Tropez Town Hall, France; separate in 1977, divorce in 1978

Deaths in Music

  • May 10 Mihail Jora, Romanian composer, dies at 79
  • May 10 Shukichi Mitsukuri, Japanese composer (10 Haikai de Basho), dies at 75
  • May 13 Valerian Mikhaylovich Bogdanov-Berezovsky, Russian composer, dies 67
  • May 19 Bernard Wagenaar, Dutch-American composer (3 Songs for Chinese), dies at 76
  • May 22 Frank Ottersen, Norwegian jazz violinist and saxophonist (Ding, Dong, Dang), dies at 50
  • May 25 Mark Brunswick, American composer, dies at 69
  • May 29 Max Trapp, German composer, dies at 83
  • May 30 Marcel Dupré, French organist and composer, dies at 85