2006 – Ali Farka Toure dies from bone cancer. The Mali musician was renowned as one of the finest guitarists in the world, and his ghostly picking was likened to Delta bluesman John Lee Hooker.
2005 – Little Milton Campbell dies after suffering a stroke. The blues singer was 71. Campbell was a popular performer during the 1960s, scoring No. 1 hits like “We’re Gonna Make It.”
2005 – Lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge announces she is cancer free nine months after being diagnosed with the disease.
2005 – Blues musician Little Milton slips into a coma after suffering a stroke. The guitarist/singer wrote the tune “The Blues Is Alright.” But clearly he isn’t.
2005 – Former Fleshtones saxophonist and harmonica player Gordon Spaeth dies in New York’s Prince Gordon Hotel. He was 53.
2005 – Ray Charles was at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Genius Loves Company.’
2004 – Hank Garland, a guitarist who played with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline among others, dies from a staph infection in Florida. He was 74. Garland enjoyed his own million-selling single with “Sugar Foot Rag” when he was 19.
2004 – Forbes Magazine names Elvis Presley the highest-earning dead celebrity. Presley’s estate pulls in around $40 million a year in merchandise sales. John Lennon, George Harrison and Bob Marley also make the Top 10 list.
2004 – ’80s hit-maker Laura Branigan (“Gloria”) dies of a brain aneurysm at her home in East Quogue, N.Y. She was 47.
2004 – a Fender Stratocaster that Eric Clapton nicknamed “Blackie” sold at a Christie’s auction for $959,500 (£564,412) in New York, making it the most expensive guitar in the world. The proceeds of the sale went towards Clapton’s Crossroads addiction clinic, which he founded in 1998.
2004 – Ray Charles’ funeral is held at the First AME Church in Los Angeles. Among the performers at the service are Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, and B.B. King. Also in attendance are Little Richard, Berry Gordy Jr. and Jesse Jackson.
2004 – Blues singer Arnold “Gatemouth” Moore dies in Yazoo City, Miss., after a long illness. He is 90. Born in Topeka, Kan., Moore grew up in Memphis. He worked with various Kansas City jazz bands, and fronted Bennie Moten’s legendary group.