On This Day

Year 2020 in Music History

Events in Music


Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 8 Singer Justin Bieber reveals he has Lyme disease, an infectious disease spread by ticks

Pop Star Justin Bieber
Pop Star
Justin Bieber

Music awardsGrammy Awards

Jan 26 62nd Grammy Awards: Billie Eilish wins 5 Grammys, including album, record and song of the year

Singer-Songwriter Billie Eilish
Singer-Songwriter
Billie Eilish
  • Feb 18 40th Brit Awards: Best Album "Psychodrama" by Dave, Best, Song of the Year "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 2 American rap group Public Enemy part ways with Flavor Flav after 35 years over playing for free at Bernie Sanders rally

Rapper & TV star Flavor Flav
Rapper & TV star
Flavor Flav
US Senator Bernie Sanders
US Senator
Bernie Sanders
  • Mar 6 American rapper Lil Uzi Vert second album, "Eternal Atake", tops the Billboard charts upon its release
  • Mar 17 Golden Raspberry Film Awards (Razzies): Musical "Cats" wins six awards including worst film

Music concertMusic Concert

Apr 13 Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sings a special Easter concert in the deserted Milan cathedral, accompanied by an organist

Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli
Italian Tenor
Andrea Bocelli

Music concertMusic Concert

Apr 19 Together At Home concert for COVID-19 aid curated by Lady Gaga and streamed worldwide

Singer-Songwriter Lady Gaga
Singer-Songwriter
Lady Gaga

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 21 Kurt Cobain's guitar during Nirvana's MTV Unplugged show sells for a record $6 million

Rocker Kurt Cobain
Rocker
Kurt Cobain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 25 American country music band "The Dixie Chicks" change their name to "The Chicks" to remove connotations of Confederate history, two weeks after band "Antebellum" changed their name to "Lady A"

Singer-Songwriter Natalie Maines
Singer-Songwriter
Natalie Maines
  • Jul 2 Funeral for slain Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa in Ambo amid nationwide unrest at his death that has killed over 80 people

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 22 Kim Kardashian asks for understanding of her husband Kanye West's struggles with his bipolar disorder on Instagram

Rapper Kanye West
Rapper
Kanye West
TV Personality and Model Kim Kardashian
TV Personality and Model
Kim Kardashian

Music releaseMusic Single

Aug 7 Cardi B releases single "WAP", featuring Megan Thee Stallion, debuts at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100

Rapper Cardi B
Rapper
Cardi B
Rapper and Singer-Songwriter Megan Thee Stallion
Rapper and Singer-Songwriter
Megan Thee Stallion

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 8 Music mogul Simon Cowell breaks his back riding an electric bike

Recording Executive Simon Cowell
Recording Executive
Simon Cowell

Music releaseMusic Single

Aug 21 BTS's release new single Dynamite, becomes 1st video to be watched more than 100 million times in 24 hours on YouTube

K-Pop Star Jimin
K-Pop Star
Jimin
  • Aug 31 Singer Akon lays first stone for Akon city, futuristic solar-powered city to be built in Senegal, saying will be real-life version of Wakanda in "Black Panther"
  • Sep 1 BTS become the 1st all-Korean pop act to top the Billboard 100 singles chart with "Dynamite"
  • Oct 21 54th CMT Music Awards: Carrie Underwood, and Luke Bryan win

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 13 Singer Harry Styles becomes the first-ever solo male cover star for US Vogue

Singer Harry Styles
Singer
Harry Styles

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 13 Kylie Minogue becomes the first woman to top the UK album chart over five consecutive decades with "Disco"

Pop Star & Singer Kylie Minogue
Pop Star & Singer
Kylie Minogue

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 7 Bob Dylan sells his entire songwriting catalog of more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for over $300 million

Singer-Songwriter Bob Dylan
Singer-Songwriter
Bob Dylan

Divorces in Music


Broken heartDivorce of Interest

Jan 20 Actor Liam Hemsworth and singer Miley Cyrus divorce after a year of marriage

Actor Liam Hemsworth
Actor
Liam Hemsworth
Actress and Singer Miley Cyrus
Actress and Singer
Miley Cyrus

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 1 Jaap Schröder, Dutch violinist, conductor, musicologist, and pedagogue ( Academy of Ancient Music), dies at 94
  • Jan 3 Bo Winberg, Swedish instrumental rock guitarist (The Spotnicks - "Hava Nagila"; "Amapola"; "Karelia"), dies at 80
  • Jan 7 Neil Peart, Canadian musician and drummer (Rush-A Farewell to Kings) dies from glioblastoma (brain cancer) at 67
  • Jan 19 Jimmy Heath "Little Bird", American jazz saxophonist and composer, dies at 93
  • Jan 19 Robert Parker, American saxophonist and soul singer (Barefootin'), dies at 89
  • Jan 26 Bob Shane, American folk vocalist (Kingston Trio - Tom Dooley), dies at 85
  • Jan 27 Alberto Naranjo, Venezuelan jazz drummer, composer and arranger, dies at 78
  • Feb 1 Peter Serkin, American pianist (Tashi), dies at 72
  • Feb 2 Ivan Král, Czech-American bass player, songwriter, record producer (Patti Smith; Iggy Pop; John Waite), and filmmaker, dies of cancer at 71
  • Feb 3 Eric Parkin, British classical pianist and champion of British composers, dies at 95
  • Feb 5 Buddy Cage, American pedal steel guitarist (New Riders of the Purple Sage, Great Speckled Bird), dies from multiple myeloma at 73
  • Feb 6 Lynn Evans [Carolyn Hargate], American pop vocalist (The Chordettes - "Mr. Sandman"; "Lollipop"), dies of a stroke at 95
  • Feb 7 Nexhmije Pagarusha, Albanian singer ‘the Nightingale of Kosovo’ and actress, dies at 86
  • Feb 7 Steve Weber, American folk guitarist, (Holy Modal Rounders), dies at 76
  • Feb 9 Mirella Freni, Italian lyric soprano (Madame Butterfly), dies at 84
  • Feb 9 Sorrel [Doris Ernestine] Hays, American pianist and composer (The Glass Woman), dies of cancer at 78
  • Feb 11 (Bhekizizwe) Joseph Shabalala, South African singer, songwriter, founder and musical director of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, dies at 79
  • Feb 19 Pop Smoke [Bashar Barakah Jackson], American rapper and singer-songwriter (Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon), shot and killed in a home invasion at 20
  • Feb 24 Jahn Teigen, Norwegian pop-rock singer (Popol Ace; Eurovison Song Contest, 1978, 1982 & 1983), dies at 70
  • Mar 6 McCoy Tyner, American jazz pianist (John Coltrane Quartet), dies at 81
  • Mar 9 Keith Olsen, American rock record producer and sound engineer (Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac; Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station; Joe Walsh - The Confessor), dies of cardiac arrest at 74
  • Mar 14 Genesis P-Orridge [Neil Megson], British avant-garde rock singer-songwriter, and performance artist (Throbbing Gristle; Psychic TV), dies of leukemia at 70
  • Mar 15 Suzy Delair, French actress and singer (The Murderer Lives at Number 21, Utopia, White Paws), dies at 102

Person of interestKenny Rogers

Mar 20 Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter (The Gambler, Through the Years) and entrepreneur (Kenny Rogers Roasters), dies of natural causes at 81

Country Singer Kenny Rogers
Country Singer
Kenny Rogers
  • Mar 22 Eric Weissberg, American singer and musician (Duelling Banjos), dies of Alzheimer’s at 80
  • Mar 22 Julie Felix, American-born British-based folk-rock singer-songwriter, and BBC presenter (The Frost Report; Once More With Felix), dies at 81
  • Mar 24 Manu Dibango, Cameroonian musician (Soul Makossa), dies of COVID-19 at 86
  • Mar 24 Gerard Schurmann, Dutch-British conductor, and composer of classical music (The Double Heart), and film scores, (The Bedford Incident) dies at 96
  • Mar 24 Bill Rieflin, American rock drummer (Nine Inch Nails; R.E.M.; King Crimson), dies at 59
  • Mar 28 Jan Howard [Lula Grace Johnson], American country music singer and songwriter (For Loving You), dies at 91
  • Mar 29 Joe Diffie, American country singer and guitarist (Home), dies of COVID-19 complications at 61
  • Mar 29 Alan Merrill [Allan Sachs], American vocalist and songwriter (The Arrows -"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"), dies from Covid-19 complications at 69
  • Mar 29 Krzysztof Penderecki, Polish composer ("Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima"), dies at 86

Person of interestBill Withers

Mar 30 Bill Withers, American singer-songwriter and rhythm & blues musician ("Ain't No Sunshine"; "Lean on Me"; "Just The Two Of Us"), dies of heart complications at 81

Rhythm & Blues Musician Bill Withers
Rhythm & Blues Musician
Bill Withers
  • Mar 31 Wallace Roney, American post-bop jazz trumpeter, dies of Covid-19 complications at 59 [1]
  • Mar 31 Zoltán Peskó, Hungarian opera conductor and composer, dies at 83
  • Mar 31 Cristina [Monet Zilkha], American dance-pop singer songwriter (Sleep It Off), dies at 64
  • Apr 1 Ellis Marsalis, American jazz musician and prominent teacher, dies of COVID-19 complications at 85
  • Apr 1 Adam Schlesinger, American rock musician (Fountains Of Wayne) and songwriter (That Thing You Do), dies of COVID-19 complications at 52
  • Apr 1 John "Bucky" Pizzarelli, American jazz guitarist, dies of Covid-19 at 94
  • Apr 2 Claudio Spies, Chilean American composer, dies at 95
  • Apr 7 John Prine, American country folk singer-songwriter ("Hello In There"; "Angel From Montgomery"; "Paradise"), dies of Covid-19 complications at 73
  • Apr 7 Hal Willner, American music producer (Lost In The Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill; Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films; The Carl Stalling Project), dies with symptoms of Covid-19 at 64
  • Apr 13 Ryo Kawasaki, Japanese jazz fusion guitarist, composer, band leader, and synthesizer software programmer, dies at 73
  • Apr 15 Lee Konitz, American jazz saxophonist (Birth of the Cool), dies of COVID-19 complications at 92
  • Apr 16 Kenneth Gilbert, Canadian harpsichordist, organist, musicologist, and educator, dies at 88
  • Apr 17 Arlene Saunders, American soprano, dies of COVID-19 complications at 89
  • Apr 17 Matthew Seligman, British studio and touring new wave rock bassist (Robyn Hitchcock; Thompson Twins; Thomas Dolby), dies from Covid-19 complications at 64
  • Apr 19 Ian Whitcomb, English rocker ("You Turn Me On"), dies at 78
  • Apr 22 Robert "Bootsie" Barnes, American jazz tenor saxophonist, dies of Covid-19 at 82 [1]
  • Apr 24 Harold Reid, American country bass vocalist (Statler Brothers - "Bed Of Rose's"), dies of kidney failure at 80 [1]
  • Apr 27 Lynn Harrell, American cellist, dies at 76
  • Apr 28 Bobby Lewis, American rock and roll singer ("Tossin' and Turnin'"), dies at 95
  • Apr 30 Tony Allen, Nigerian drummer who pioneered Afrobeat sound, dies of an aortic aneurysm at 79
  • May 3 Frederick Charles Tillis, American jazz and classical composer, dies at 90
  • May 3 Dave Greenfield, British rock keyboardist, and songwriter (The Stranglers - "Golden Brown"), dies of complications from Covid-19 at 71
  • May 5 Hillard "Sweet Pea" Atkinson, American R&B singer (Was (Not Was)) dies of a heart attack at 74 [1]
  • May 6 Millie Small, Jamaican ska singer, and songwriter ("My Boy Lollipop"), dies of a stroke at 72
  • May 6 Brian Howe, British rock singer (Bad Company, 1986-93 - "This Love"; "Holy Water"), dies of a heart attack at 66

Person of interestLittle Richard

May 9 Little Richard [Wayne Penniman], American singer-songwriter and rock 'n' roll pioneer (Tutti Frutti), dies at 87

Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Little Richard
Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer
Little Richard
  • May 10 Betty Wright [Bessie Norris], American R&B singer-songwriter ("Clean Up Woman"), dies at 66
  • May 11 John "Moon" Martin, American rockabilly singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Bad Case Of Loving You"), dies at 74
  • May 12 Astrid Kirchherr, German photographer, helped establish The Beatles image, dies at 81
  • May 14 (Guillermo) "Jorge" Santana, Mexican rock guitarist (Malo- "Suavecito"), dies at 68
  • May 15 Phil May, English rocker (Pretty Things), dies at 75
  • May 16 Donn Trenner, American jazz pianist, arranger, and orchestra leader (Steve Allen's Westinghouse Show), dies at 93
  • May 22 Mory Kanté, Guinean singer and kora harp player (Yé ké yé ké), dies at 70
  • May 24 [Wilbur James] Jimmy Cobb, American jazz drummer (Miles Davis' First Great Sextet), dies of lung cancer at 91
  • May 24 Al Rex [Piccirilli], American rock upright bass player (Bill Haley & His Comets - "Rock Around The Clock"), dies at 91
  • May 28 Lennie Niehaus, American jazz saxophonist and film composer (Clint Eastwood films), dies at 90
  • Jun 4 Steve Priest, English rock bassist and vocalist (The Sweet - "Ballroom Blitz"), dies at 72
  • Jun 4 Marcello Abbado, Italian pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher, dies at 93
  • Jun 7 Frank Bey [Bass], American blues singer-songwriter ("All My Dues Are Paid"), dies at 74
  • Jun 8 Bonnie Pointer, American pop singer (Pointer Sisters - "Jump"; "I'm So Excited"), dies at 69
  • Jun 18 Vera Lynn 'the Forces Sweetheart', English singer (We'll Meet Again), dies at 103
  • Jun 23 Ryan Anthony, American trumpet player (Canadian Brass, 2000-03; Dallas Symphony, 2006-20), dies of cancer at 51
  • Jun 25 Marga Richter, American classical pianist and composer (Landscapes of the Mind; Out of Shadows and Solitude), dies at 93
  • Jun 27 Johnny Mandel, American composer, arranger and musician (M*A*S*H theme), dies at 94
  • Jun 27 (Lionel) Frederick "Freddy" Cole, American jazz singer and pianist, dies at 88 [1]
  • Jun 27 (Jesse) "Pete" Carr, American session guitarist (Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section), dies at 70
  • Jun 29 Hachalu Hundessa, Ethiopian singer songwriter (Waa'ee Keenyaa), shot and killed at 34
  • Jul 1 Ida Haendel, Polish-British-Canadian child prodigy violinist, teacher, and author (Woman with Violin), dies of kidney cancer at 91
  • Jul 2 Nikolai Kapustin, Russian jazz pianist and composer, dies at 82
  • Jul 6 Ennio Morricone, Italian composer and musician (film soundtracks for The Mission and The Hateful Eight), dies at 91 [1]
  • Jul 6 Charlie Daniels, American singer (Devil Went Down to Georgia), dies at 83
  • Jul 8 Naya Rivera, American actress and singer (Glee), drowns at 33
  • Jul 12 Rod Bernard, American "swamp pop" singer ("Allons Danser Colinda"), dies at 79 [1]
  • Jul 12 Judy Dyble, British folk singer-songwriter (Fairport Convention), dies of lung cancer at 71
  • Jul 17 Zizi Jeanmaire, French dancer, singer and actress (Carmen), dies at 96
  • Jul 21 Annie Ross, British-American jazz singer (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - "Twisted") and actress, dies from emphysema and heart disease, at 89 [1]
  • Jul 25 Peter Green [Greenbaum], English guitarist (Fleetwood Mac -"Albatross"), dies at 73 [1] [2]
  • Jul 27 Denise Johnson, British rock and soul singer (Primal Scream - "Don’t Fight It, Feel It"), and songwriter (Where Does It Go), dies at 56
  • Jul 28 Bent Fabric [Fabricius-Bjerre], Danish pianist and composer (Alley Cat), dies at 95 [1]
  • Aug 2 Leon Fleisher, American pianist and conductor (Annapolis Symphony 1970-82), dies of cancer at 92 [1]
  • Aug 6 Wayne Fontana [Glyn Geoffrey Ellis], British rocker (The Mindbenders - "The Game Of Love"), dies at 74
  • Aug 7 Constance Weldon, American symphonic tuba player (Boston Pops; Concertgebouw) and educator, dies at 88
  • Aug 9 Martin Birch, British sound engineer and record producer ( Whitesnake; Iron Maiden), dies at 71 [1]
  • Aug 11 Trinidad "Trini" Lopez, American singer and guitarist ("If I Had A Hammer"; "Lemon Tree"), and actor (The Dirty Dozen) dies of COVID-19 at 83
  • Aug 14 Julian Bream, English classical guitarist and lutenist, dies at 87
  • Aug 18 Hal Singer, American jazz and R&B saxophonist ("Corn Bread"), dies at 100 [1]