May 2020 in Music History

Deaths in Music

  • May 3 Dave Greenfield, British rock keyboardist, and songwriter (The Stranglers - "Golden Brown"), dies of complications from Covid-19 at 71
  • May 3 Frederick Charles Tillis, American jazz and classical composer, dies at 90
  • May 3 Rosalind Elias, American mezzo-soprano (Wagner's Die Walküre - "Grimgerde"; Barber's Vanessa - "Erika"), and opera director, dies of congestive heart failure at 90
  • May 5 Hillard "Sweet Pea" Atkinson, American R&B singer (Was (Not Was)), dies of a heart attack at 74 [1]
  • May 5 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

Little RichardLittle Richard (1932-2020)

May 9 American singer-songwriter and rock 'n' roll pioneer (Tutti Frutti), dies at 87

  • 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 14 Ezio Bosso, Italian pianist, composer (Rain, In Your Black Eyes; Domes of Freedom), and conductor, dies from complications of a neurodegenerative syndrome at 48
  • 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 17 (Judge) "Lucky" Peterson, American contemporary blues, soul, and R&B musician ("The Son of A Bluesman"), dies from ahead injury after a fall at 55
  • May 22 Mory Kanté, Guinean singer and kora harp player (Yé ké yé ké), dies at 70
  • May 24 Al Rex [Piccirilli], American rock upright bass player (Bill Haley & His Comets - "Rock Around The Clock"), dies at 91
  • May 24 [Wilbur James] Jimmy Cobb, American jazz drummer (Miles Davis' First Great Sextet), dies of lung cancer at 91
  • May 25 Joel Revzen, American opera conductor and pianist, dies of Covid-19 at 74
  • May 28 Lennie Niehaus, American jazz saxophonist and film composer (Clint Eastwood films), dies at 90