Famous Percussionists in Music History

Birthdays in Music

  • 1917-02-07 Milton "Milt" Holland, American drummer, percussionist, ethnomusicologist (film Tinkerbell's tinkle, Bewitched's nose tinkle), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2005)
  • 1922-04-07 Ramón "Mongo" Santamaría, Cuban percussionist (Afro Blue), born in Havana (d. 2003)
  • 1923-09-06 William Kraft, American composer and percussionist, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1927-04-07 Babatunde Olatunji, Nigerian percussionist (Drums of Passion), born in Ajido, Lagos (d. 2003)
  • 1931-07-18 "Papa" Dee Allen, American percussionist (War-World is a Ghetto), born in Wilmington, Delaware (d. 1988)
  • 1933-02-05 Ron Wilson, US percussionist (Joy of Cooking)
  • 1934-02-28 Willie Bobo [Correa], American jazz percussionist (Evil Ways), born in NYC, New York (d. 1983)
  • 1936-05-15 Jean Balissat, Swiss composer pedagogue and conductor (Kaleidoscope for trumpet and percussion), born in Lausanne, Switzerland (d. 2007)
  • 1938-03-04 Angus MacLise, American percussionist (d. 1979)
  • 1939-08-09 Max Neuhaus, American classical musician and experimental percussionist (sound sculptures), born in Beaumont, Texas (d. 2009)
  • 1940-01-06 Laudir de Oliveira, Brazilian percussionist (Chicago), born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (d. 2017)
  • 1941-04-30 Joseph "Coke" Escovedo, Mexican-American percussionist (Santana, Malo, Azteca), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 1986)
  • 1944-02-13 Rebop Kwaku Baah, Ghanaian percussionist, born in Konongo, Ghana (d. 1983)
  • 1944-03-15 Ralph MacDonald, American rock percussionist and songwriter (Just the Two of Us), born in New York City (d. 2011)
  • 1946-07-25 José Areas, Nicaraguan percussionist (Santana), born in Leon, Nicaragua
  • 1947-03-22 Patrick Olive, percussionist (Hot Chocolate-You Sexy Thing)
  • 1947-04-10 Bunny Wailer [Neville O'Riley Livingston], Jamaican vocalist and percussionist (The Wailers with Bob Marley), born in Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1947-06-03 Mickey Finn, British guitarist and percussionist (T. Rex) (d. 2003)
  • 1947-06-17 Paul Young, English singer and percussionist (Mike + The Mechanics), born in Manchester (d. 2000)
  • 1947-09-02 Richard Coughlan, English drummer and percussionist (Caravan), (d. 2013)
  • 1948-05-31 Paulinho da Costa, Brazilian percussionist (Thriller, Saturday Night Fever), born in Rio de Janeiro
  • 1948-10-10 Cyril Neville, American singer and percussionist (Neville Brothers), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1949-05-02 Joey Phillips, percussionist (Atlantic Starr-Touch a 4 Leaf Clover)
  • 1949-07-06 Michael Shrieve, American drummer, percussionist, and composer (Santana), born in San Francisco, California
  • 1951-04-05 Everett Morton, Nevisian-born English drummer and percussionist (English Beat), born in Saint Kitts, West Indies
  • 1951-06-28 David “Frankie” Toler, American drummer and percussionist (Allman Brothers), born in Connersville, Indiana, USA), (d. 2011)
  • 1952-10-23 Pierre Moerlen, French drummer and percussionist (d. 2005)
  • 1954-04-01 Jeff Porcaro, drummer/percussionist (Toto-Roxanne, Africa), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1954-10-20 Günter Müller, German sound artist, improvisor and percussionist
  • 1956-03-17 Will Rigby, rock percussionist (Amy Rigby Diary of a Mad Housewife)
  • 1957-02-28 Phil Gould, rock percussionist (Level 42-Hot Water)
  • 1957-12-12 Sheila E.[scovedo], American singer, drummer and percussionist (Krush Grove, Holly Rock), born in Oakland, California
  • 1958-02-13 Marc Fox, British percussionist (Haircut 100-Nobody's Fool)
  • 1962-10-20 Steven R "Randy" Jackson, US percussionist/singer (Enjoy Yourself)
  • 1964-04-18 Bez [Mark Berry], English percussionist and dancer (Happy Mondays), born in Bolton, Lancashire
  • 1965-07-19 Evelyn Glennie, Scottish percussionist
  • 1973-02-24 Chris Fehn, American percussionist (Slipknot)

Deaths in Music

  • 1983-01-12 Rebop Kwaku Baah, Nigerian percussionist (b. 1944)
  • 1983-09-15 Willie Bobo [Correa], American jazz percussionist (Evil Ways), dies of cancer at 49
  • 1986-07-13 Joseph "Coke" Escovedo, Mexican-American percussionist (Santana, Malo, Azteca), dies from cirrhosis at 45
  • 1988-11-04 Milton "Milt" Holland, American drummer, percussionist, ethnomusicologist (film Tinkerbell's tinkle, Bewitched's nose tinkle), dies at 88
  • 1999-05-19 James Blades, English percussionist (b. 1901)
  • 2003-02-01 Mongo Santamaria, Cuban percussionist & band leader, dies at 85
  • 2007-08-16 Max Roach, American percussionist, drummer, and composer (b. 1924)
  • 2007-09-16 Jean Balissat, Swiss composer pedagogue and conductor (Kaleidoscope for trumpet and percussion), dies at 71
  • 2009-02-03 Max Neuhaus, American classical musician and experimental percussionist (sound sculptures), dies of cancer at 69
  • 2011-06-04 David “Frankie” Toler, American drummer and percussionist (Allman Brothers), dies at 59
  • 2011-11-22 Paul Motian, American jazz drummer, percussionist and composer, dies at 80
  • 2011-12-18 Ralph MacDonald, American rock percussionist and songwriter (Just the Two of Us), dies of cancer at 67