Musicians Who Died in 1978

  • Jan 10 Don Gillis, American composer (Symphony 5½ - A Symphony for Fun), dies at 65
  • Jan 10 Zeb Turner, country-rock performer (Chew Tobacco Rag), dies at 62
  • Jan 14 Robert Heger, composer, dies at 91
  • Jan 15 Jack Jackson, British trumpeter, dance band leader, and influential BBC disc jockey, dies at 71
  • Jan 18 Ivan Ivonovich Dzerzhinsky, Russian composer, dies at 68
  • Jan 23 Terry Kath, American rock guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist (Chicago - "Make Me Smile"), accidentally shoots himself in head at 31
  • Jan 23 Vic Ames, American singer (Ames Brothers - "Tammy"), dies in a car accident at 52
  • Jan 27 Marguerite Canal, French conductor and composer (1st woman in France to conduct an orchestra), dies at 87
  • Feb 9 Julio Jaramillo, Ecuadorian pasillo and ranchera singer, dies of peritonitis at 42
  • Feb 15 Alex Bradford, American gospel composer and singer (Your Arms Too Short To Box With God), dies of a stroke at 51
  • Feb 27 Vadim Salmanov, Soviet Russian composer, dies at 65
  • Mar 11 Claude François, French pop singer-songwriter ("Comme d'habitude"), electrocuted in a home mishap at 39
  • Mar 12 Tolchard Evans, British pop pianist, songwriter (Lady of Spain; If) and bandleader, dies at 76
  • Mar 13 David McKinley Williams, Welsh born American church composer, dies at 91
  • Mar 21 Louis Cottrell Jr., Creole-American jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist (Heritage Hall Jazz Band), dies at 67
  • Mar 23 Bill Kenny, American singer, dies at 63
  • Mar 26 Alix Combelle, French swing saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader (Quintette du Hot Club de France), dies at 65
  • Mar 30 Larry Young [Khalid Yasin], American jazz musician (Unity), dies at 37 in unclear circumstances
  • Apr 3 Ray Noble, English bandleader, comedian and actor (The Very Thought of You), dies at 74
  • Apr 4 Gino Contilli, Italian composer, dies at 70
  • Apr 6 Nicolas Nabokov, Russian composer (Holy Devil), dies at 74
  • Apr 7 Ernest Kanitz, Austrian-American composer, dies at 83
  • Apr 21 Sandy Denny, country singer, dies at 37
  • May 1 Aram Khachaturian, Armenian composer (Masquerade Suite, Gayane), dies at 74
  • May 16 William Steinberg, German-American conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony, 1952-76; Boston Symphony, 1969-71), dies at 78
  • May 20 Ivan Harold Browning, American stage and screen actor and singer (Shuffle Along - "I'm Just Wild About Harry"), dies at 87
  • May 22 Bjarne Brustad, Norwegian composer, dies at 83
  • Jun 6 D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, Dutch composer and philosopher, dies at 85
  • Jun 6 Lester "Shad" Collins, American jazz trumpet player, composer and arranger (Chick Webb; Lester Young: Cab Calloway), dies at 67
  • Jun 14 Theodore Karyotakis, composer, dies at 74
  • Jul 9 Zoltán Aladár, Transylvanian composer, music critic and teacher (The Goat and the Three Goons), dies at 49
  • Jul 10 Michel Gusikoff, American violinist and composer, dies at 85
  • Jul 13 Antonio Veretti, composer, dies at 78
  • Jul 27 Willem Van Otterloo, Dutch cellist, composer, and conductor (Residentie Orkest, 1949-73; Melbourne Symphony, 1967-70; Sydney Symphony, 1971-77), dies in a car crash at 70
  • Jul 29 Glen Goins, American guitarist and singer (Parliament-Funkadelic - "Fantasy is Reality"), dies from Hodgkin's lymphoma at 24
  • Jul 29 Wesley LaViolette, American composer,conductor, poet, and educator dies at 84
  • Jul 30 Aasan Ferit Alnar, Turkish classical composer, dies at 72
  • Jul 31 Enoch Light, American orchestra leader (Gulf Road Show with Bob Smith), dies at 70
  • Aug 2 Carlos Chávez, Mexican conductor and composer (Sinfonía India), dies at 79
  • Aug 7 (Albert) Eddie Calvert, British trumpeter ("Oh, Mein Papa"; "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)"), dies of a heart attack at 56
  • Aug 7 Franz Alphons Wolpert, German composer, dies at 60
  • Aug 14 (Giuseppe) "Joe" Venuti, American jazz musician and pioneer violinist considered the "father of jazz violin", dies of cancer at 74
  • Aug 15 Harrison Kerr, American composer, dies at 80
  • Aug 20 Ivan Jirko, Czech composer, music critic and psychiatrist, dies at 51
  • Aug 24 Louis Prima, American jazz and pop singer, trumpeter, and bandleader ("That Old Black Magic"; "Oh, Marie"), dies at 67
  • Aug 26 Charles Trowbridge Haubiel, American composer, pianist and lecturer (Tre Ritratti Characteristici), dies at 86
  • Sep 1 Olga de Haas, Dutch ballerina, dies as a result of anorexia nervosa at 33
  • Sep 5 Joe Negroni, American rock vocalist (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers), dies of a brain hemorrhage at 37
  • Sep 6 Tom Wilson, American record producer (Sun Ra; Bob Dylan; Simon & Garfunkel; Mothers of Invention; Velvet Underground), dies of a heart attack at 47

Keith MoonKeith Moon (1946-1978)

Sep 7 British rock drummer (The Who - "Bell Boy"), dies of a drug overdose at 32

  • Sep 8 Pancho Vladigerov, Bulgarian composer, dies at 79
  • Sep 24 Ruth Etting, American dancer/singer (Ziegfeld Follies), dies at 80
  • Sep 30 Beryl Booker, American swing and cool jazz pianist (Dinah Washington), dies at 56
  • Oct 8 Tibor Serly, Hungarian violinist and composer (American Elegy), dies at 76
  • Oct 9 Jacques Brel, Belgian singer, songwriter, actor, director and composer (Le Far West, Pain in the A__), dies of a pulmonary embolism at 49
  • Oct 10 Ralph Marterie, American big band leader (b. 1914)

Maybelle CarterMaybelle Carter (1909-1978)

Oct 23 American country singer (Johnny Cash Show), dies at 69

  • Nov 9 Otto Siegl, Austrian composer, dies at 82
  • Nov 12 Howard Swanson, American composer known for his settings of poems of Langston Hughes, dies at 71
  • Nov 18 Lennie Tristano, American jazz pianist (The New Tristano), dies of a heart attack at 59
  • Nov 26 Frank Rosolino, American jazz trombonist (The Frank Rosolino Sextet), kills himself after shooting his sons at 52
  • Nov 29 Alan Richardson, Scottish pianist and composer, dies at 74
  • Dec 3 William Grant Still, American composer ("Afro-American" Symphony), dies at 83
  • Dec 12 Clifton Chenier, American blues singer (Bayou Blues), dies at 53
  • Dec 16 Blanche Calloway, American jazz vocalist, band leader (Twelve Clouds of Joy), civil rights activist, and broadcaster, dies of breast cancer at 76
  • Dec 17 Don Ellis, American avant garde jazz trumpeter, and Grammy Award-winning film score composer (The French Connection), dies of a heart attack at 44
  • Dec 17 Don Ellis, American jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader, dies of a heart attack at 44
  • Dec 27 Chris Bell, American rock guitarist (Big Star - "In The Street"), dies in a car crash at 27