On October 17, Google revealed Selena Quintanilla’s Google Doodle, celebrating the Chicana icon’s legacy on the anniversary of the release of her 1989 debut album, Selena. Throughout the years, Google has remembered many other iconic musicians from all over the world, helping educate others on the extensive, diverse history of music, from France's Édith Piaf to India's Begum Akhtar.
Here are some of the most memorable Google Doodles that commemorate influential figures in music.
Celia Cruz is often dubbed “the queen of salsa,” known for classic songs like “Quimbara” and “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” and her catchphrase “Azúcar!” The Cuban singer started her career in the island in the 1930s, but moved to the United States when Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba in 1959. Cruz passed away in 2003 of brain cancer, but continues to be one of the most recognizable Cuban singers. This Google Doodle commemorated her 88th birthday on October 21, 2013.
Begum Akhtar is an Indian classical music singer and actress. She began her career in 1929 and later became one of the first female singers to give public concerts in her country. Her film career was short lived, mostly appearing in films in the 1930s, ultimately returning to her main passion: music. The singer continued her career in music up until her death in 1974. This Google Doodle commemorated her 103rd birthday on October 17, 2017.
Ella Fitzgerald, dubbed the “Queen of Jazz,” is a legendary jazz singer that played a large role in American popular music In 1958, she made history by becoming the first African American woman to win a Grammy, paving the way for female artists of color, and ultimately winning a total of 13 Grammys. The icon passed away in 1996 from diabetes, but not before influencing a new generation of star singers, such as Adele and Amy Winehouse. The Google Doodle commemorated the singer’s 96th birthday on April 15, 2013.
As a solo artist and with The Beatles, John Lennon is one of the most influential rock and pop artists of all time, so naturally his Google Doodle was special. For his 70th birthday on October 8, 2010, Google released the first animated video doodle, interweaving elements of nature with the late singer/songwriter’s signature self-portrait.
Édith Piaf is recognizable as one of France’s most legendary entertainers, rising to international stardom with songs like “La Vie en Rose,” one that resonates even with non-French speakers and has been translated numerous times. The singer was also known for being the voice behind “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” which the French Foreign Legion adopted as an anthem. Her doodle was released on December 10, 2010, commemorating her 95th birthday.
Michael Jackson is one of the most beloved artists in music history, shaping the future of pop with his groundbreaking songs and dance moves. On August 29, 2009, Google commemorated his 51st birthday months after his death with his own Google Doodle, paying homage to his iconic style.
Paco de Lucía
Paco De Lucía played an important role in revolutionizing the role of flamenco in modern day Spain, expanding his influence internationally as well. A master of guitar, who also fused elements of other genres such as jazz and classical, De Lucía became one of Spain’s most acclaimed artists. He passed away in 2014, and was commemorated with a Google Doodle on December 21, 2016 for his 69th birthday.
Violets Parra is a Chilean artist who became one of the most prominent Latin American folk singers, dubbed “The Mother of Latin American folk.” She played a large role in pioneering the Nueva canción chilena, a social justice movement of folk music, bringing attention to the country’s tumultuous political climate. The singer died by suicide in 1967, and was commemorated by Google with a doodle of her own on October 4, 2017 for her 100th birthday.