On This Day

May 2020 in Music History

Deaths in Music

  • 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 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