This has been running for more than a year now, but I thought it required some sort of explanation and clarification for new visitors to the blog.
The list is a regularly updated feed, drawn from musician obituaries I post to my del.icio.us account, and processed for presentation here by the very fine Feed digest. When I see that a musician has died (via any number of sources), I post an entry to del.icio.us, and soon afterwards it appears here. At the end of the year, I post the full list for that year. Links to these may be found in the sidebar.
The name of the deceased musician is in bold, and clicks through to a recently published obituary; their principal profession is in italics. Note that many newspaper articles expire or disappear behind paywalls. It’s always worth searching Google Groups to see if anyone has posted a copy to any mailing lists – some fabulous people are very assiduous about doing this, and we love them for it.
I can’t claim anything close to comprehensiveness about this list – because of the nature of the world and my sources, the vast majority are American and European musicians, an imbalance I’ve not yet been able to correct. I have a pretty broad notion of what constitutes a professional musician, so patrons, promoters, publishers, recording engineers and the like all get in, as long as they have had made a professional impact of some distinction.
Note – if you are looking for more details of musician deaths, you could do much worse than visit the Washington University in St Louis’ Gaylord Music Library Necrology. This is an awesome, regularly maintained, scholarly resource.