On This Day

Musicians Who Died on May 31

  • 1696 Heinrich Schwemmer, German composer, dies at 75
  • 1809 Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer of the classical period (The Creation; Trumpet Concerto), dies at 77
  • 1854 Vatroslav Lisinski [Ignatius Fuchs], Croatian composer (Love and Malice), dies of tuberculosis at 34
  • 1947 Henri Casadesus, French violist and composer (Preludes for Viola d'amour), dies at 67
  • 1948 José Vianna da Motta, Portuguese composer, dies at 80
  • 1955 Raoul Gunsbourg, French composer, impresario and opera director (Opéra de Monte-Carlo, 1892-1951), dies at 95
  • 1962 Eduardo Toldrà, Spanish Catalan composer and conductor, dies at 67
  • 1967 Billy Strayhorn, American pianist and composer ("Take The 'A' Train"), dies of esophageal cancer at 51
  • 1992 Karl-Erik Welin, Swedish composer, dies at 58
  • 1994 Herva Nelli, Italian-born American soprano, dies at 85
  • 1994 [Emmanuel] "Mannie" Klein, American swing jazz and session trumpeter (Frank Trumbauer; NBC Orchestra), dies at 86
  • 1995 Pavel Sivic, Slovenian composer, dies at 87
  • 1996 Elsbeary Hobbs, American rocker (Drifters), dies at 59
  • 1996 Ton de Leeuw, Dutch composer, dies at 69
  • 1998 Stanislaw Wislocki, Polish conductor of classical music, dies at 76
  • 1998 Aart Verstegen, Dutch ballet dancer and choreographer (Jolly Joker's Last Joke), dies at 77
  • 2000 Tito Puente, American mambo and Latin jazz bandleader ("Oye Como Va"), dies at 77
  • 2000 Johnnie Taylor, American R&B and multi-genre singer ("Disco Lady"; "I Believe In You"), dies at 66
  • 2000 Joe Puma, American session and jazz guitarist (Herbie Mann; Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five; Chuck Wayne), dies at 72
  • 2004 Robert Quine, American rock guitarist (Lou Reed; Matthew Sweet; John Zorn), dies of an intentional heroin overdose at 61
  • 2004 Étienne Roda-Gil, French songwriter and screenwriter, dies at 62
  • 2005 Jaime Mendoza-Nava, Bolivian-American composer and conductor, dies at 79
  • 2006 Lula Mae Hardaway, American songwriter ("I Was Made to Love Her"; "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"), and mother of singer Stevie Wonder, dies at 76
  • 2010 Benjamin Lees [Lisniansky], American composer (Kalmar Nyckel; Memorial Candles), dies at 86
  • 2013 Marta Romero, Puerto Rican actress & singer (La Divina Infiel, The Shadow of the Bat), dies at 85
  • 2016 Corry Brokken, Dutch pop singer (1957 Eurovision), dies at 83
  • 2017 Jiří Bělohlávek, Czech conductor (Czech Philharmonic, 1990-92 & 2012-17; Prague Philharmonia, 1993-2005; BBC Symphony, 2006-12), dies of cancer at 71
  • 2019 Roky Erickson [Roger Kynard], American musician (The 13th Floor Elevators - "Starry Eyes"; "Don't Slander Me"), dies at 71