Intro

A chronology of music from prehistory to the present day

This is a timeline of major musical events, works, composers and artists colour coded for ease of use (see below for key).

Once completed it will cover a vast array of music and music makers including classical, jazz, rock, electronica, blues, folk and country. The emphasis will be on artistic importance rather than commercial success. This is a distinction that is inevitably subjective, but as I see it there are three grounds for inclusion – artistic merit, historical significance and cultural influence. Thus areas such as contemporary classical, jazz and the avant-garde are given more weight than their commercial clout would allow, but at the same time, significant mainstream pop acts are not ignored. I’m aware that the coverage of music from outside of Europe and the Americas is inadequate, something I intend to address in the future.

Status

Generally speaking, the site is probably more than 98% complete now. Everything up to the end of 2004 is more or less finished.  There are currently more than 60,000 individual entries.

If you spot any errors or serious omissions, please let me know.

Key

Births

Deaths

Books, collections, manuscripts etc

Single musical works, songs etc

Operas, operettas, musicals, stage plays, ballets

Film, radio, television

Albums

Singles and EPs

Dates are in European d/m/y format.

Record release dates

These have been tricky to pin down with any real accuracy, so they are listed by month rather than precise date of issue. It also looks tidier to have records listed separately on a month by month basis. Important recording sessions are given their own entries, and where known (or relevant) the recording dates are given for most releases. Where there is no country listed after the record company name, then this refers to a US release. As a rule of thumb, where there are multiple record companies involved I’ve used the artists’ country of origin to determine which issue to use, but there are exceptions where an act is primarily associated with an overseas record company, especially when it comes to acts whose home countries have relatively undeveloped recording industries.

SOURCES (incomplete)

Abraham – Concise Oxford History of Music (Oxford 1985)
All Music Guide
Amadeus Online
American Music
Amazon
Answers.com
The Louis Armstrong Discography
Bach Cantatas
The Beatles Bible
Billboard Magazine – various issues
Bix Beiderbecke Resources
Boosey & Hawkes music publishers
Both Sides Now Album Discographies
Breitkopf Härtel music publishers
Classical Composers Database
Classicalmanac
Cultural Uruguay
The Dead Rock Stars Club
Discogs
George / Defoe – International Discography of the New Wave (Omnibus 1982)
Doctor Jazz
Ellingtonia
Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings
Finnish Music Information Centre
Global Dog Productions
Marv Goldberg’s R&B Notebooks
Terry Gordon’s Rockin’ Country Style
Tim Gracyk’s Phonographs and Old Records
Gramophone Magazine archives
The Guardian (obituaries)
Here of a Sunday Morning
IMSLP Petrucci Music Library
Jazz Discography Project
Jazz Oracle
Keep On Living
Kennedy – The Oxford Dictionary of Music, rev ed. (Oxford 1994)
Lahee – Annals of Music in America (Marshall Jones 1922)
Lebrecht – The Companion to 20th Century Music (Simon & Schuster 1992)
Lescharts.com
The Lute Resource Page
MacDonald – Revolution in the Head (Pimlico 1995)
Mainspring Press
Mojo magazine – various issues
Montreaux Jazz Festival
Mosaic Records
The Mozart Forum
Musicologie.org
Naxos
Neely – Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1950-1975 (Krause 2004)
The New York Times (obituaries)
The Online 78 RPM Discography Project
Opera Glass
Oxford Music Online
Praguefrank’s Country Music Discographies
Rate Your Music
Red Saunders Research Foundation
The Red Hot Jazz Archive
Roberts – Guinness British Hit Singles & Albums 17th edition (Guinness World Records 2004)
Rockabilly Hall of Fame
Ross – The Rest is Noise (Fourth Estate 2008)
Ruppli – Atlantic Records. A Discography (Greenwood Press 1979)
Sadie – The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music (MacMillan 1994)
Secondhand Songs
Setlist.fm
Paul Scharfenberger’s Music and History website
Solly – Record Collector 100 Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Records (Record Collector 2005)
Soulful Kind of Music
Strong – The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition (Canongate 2004)
Strong – The Great Folk Discography Volume 1 (Polygon 2010)
Swingmusic.net
Taruskin – The Oxford History of Western Music (Oxford 2010)
This Day In Music
Vail – Bird’s Diary: The Life of Charlie Parker 1945-1955 (Sanctuary 1996)
Vail – Jazz Milestones: A Pictorial Chronicle of Jazz 1900-90 (Sanctuary 1993)
Vail – Miles’ Diary: The Life of Miles Davis 1947-1961 (Sanctuary 1996)
Various individual artist discography / biography web pages
Various record sleeve notes
Whitburn – Pop Memories 1890-1954 (Record Research 1986)
Whitburn- Top Pop Albums 1955-2001 (Record Research 2003)
Whitburn – Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (Record Research 2002)
Whitburn – Top R&B Singles 1942-1999 (Record Research 2000)
The Wire magazine – various issues

Wikipedia