On This Day

Musicians Who Died in 1979

  • Jan 5 Charles Mingus, American jazz bassist (Pithecanthropus Erectus), dies from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at 56
  • Jan 7 Zbigniew Turski, Polish composer, dies at 70
  • Jan 8 Sara Carter, American country musician, songwriter and vocalist (Carter Family), dies at 81
  • Jan 9 Avery Claflin, composer, dies at 80
  • Jan 13 Donny Hathaway, American rocker (Ghetto), commits suicide at 33
  • Jan 13 Marjorie Lawrence, Australian soprano (b. 1907)
  • Jan 15 Euphemia Giannini Gregory, Italian-American opera singer and educator (Curtis Institute), dies at 83
  • Jan 16 Fred Elizalde, Spanish Filipino composer, dies at 71
  • Jan 18 Cyril Mockridge, British composer for film and television (Miracle On 34th Street; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), dies at 82
  • Jan 20 Gustav Winckler, Danish pop singer ("Skibet skal sejle i nat"- "The Ship Is Leaving Tonight"), dies in a car crash at 53
  • Jan 31 Grant Green, American jazz guitarist, dies of a heart attack at 43

Sid Vicious

Feb 2 Sid Vicious [John Simon Ritchie], English musician and bassist (Sex Pistols), dies of a heroin overdose at 21

  • Feb 7 Herbert "Peanuts" Holland, American swing jazz trumpeter, dies at 68
  • Feb 15 Alex Bradford, American gospel composer and singer (Your Arms Too Short To Box With God), dies of a stroke at 51
  • Feb 21 Ray Whitley, American country and western singer-songwriter ("Back in the Saddle Again") and actor (Tim Holt films), dies at 77
  • Mar 5 Vicente Ascone, Italian composer, dies at 81
  • Mar 7 Guiomar Novaes, Barzilain concert pianist (Brazilian Order of Merit), dies at 84
  • Mar 7 Klaus Egge, Norwegian composer (Fanitullen), dies at 72
  • Mar 15 Leonide Massine, Russian ballet dancer and choreographer (Diaghilev Ballet Russe 1914-20), dies at 82
  • Mar 25 Anton Heiller, Austrian organist and composer, dies at 55
  • Mar 29 Ray Ventura, French jazz pianist and big band leader ("Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise"), dies at 69
  • Apr 1 Bruno Coquatrix, French music impresario (b. 1910)
  • Apr 6 Milton Ager, American composer, dies at 85
  • Apr 10 Nino Rota [Giovanni Rota Rinaldi], Italian classical and film score composer (Il cappello di paglia di Firenze; The Godfather (I & II; 16 Fellini films), dies from a coronary thrombosis at 67
  • Apr 12 Pernell Charity, American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, dies at 58
  • Apr 23 Doug Rauch, American rock and jazz-fusion bassist (Santana, 1972-74), dies of a heroin overdose at 28
  • Apr 28 Feliks Roderyk Łabuński, Polish composer, dies at 86
  • Apr 29 Julia Perry, American classical composer (Soul Symphony; Cask of Amontillado; Homunuclus C.F.) dies at 55
  • May 9 Lan Adomian, Russian-born American composer, dies at 73
  • May 11 Lester Flatt, American bluegrass guitarist (Flatt & Scruggs - "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"; "Ballad of Jed Clampett"), dies at 64
  • May 21 Blue [Richard Allen] Mitchell, American jazz musician (Riverside, Blue Note), dies of cancer at 79
  • May 28 William Edmonson, American bass harmony and gospel vocalist (Southernaires), radio, stage and screen actor (Thirty Years Later), dies at 76

Jack Haley

Jun 6 (John Joseph) "Jack" Haley, American vaudevillle and screen actor, singer, and dancer (The Wizard of Oz - "Tin Man"; Higher and Higher), dies of a heart attack at 81

  • Jun 8 Louis Palange, American arranger, classical music and film score composer (Hollywood Panorama; King Dinosaur), and conductor, dies at 61
  • Jun 16 Ben Weber, American composer (Thorne Music Award 1965), dies at 62
  • Jun 21 Angus Maclise, American percussionist, mystic, shaman, and composer (Velvet Underground), dies of hypoglycemia and pulmonary tuberculosis at 41
  • Jun 28 Paul Dessau, German composer and conductor (Adventures of Casanova; Never Trust a Woman), dies at 84
  • Jun 29 Lowell George, American rock vocalist and guitarist (Mothers of Invention; Little Feat), dies at 34
  • Jul 3 Louis Durey, French composer, dies at 91
  • Jul 6 Van McCoy, American musician and songwriter (The Hustle), dies of a heart attack at 39
  • Jul 8 Charles Kynard, American soul, jazz, and funk Hammond B-3 organ player (Reelin With The Feelin'), dies at 46
  • Jul 10 Arthur Fiedler, orchestra leader (Boston Pops), dies at 84
  • Jul 12 Kalervo Tuukkanen, Finnish composer, dies at 69
  • Jul 12 Minnie Ripperton [Andrea Davis], American pop, R&B, and disco singer-songwriter ("Lovin' You"), dies of breast cancer at 31
  • Jul 16 Alfred Deller, English countertenor (b. 1912)
  • Jul 28 Charles Shadwell, English conductor and bandleader (b. 1898)
  • Aug 3 Renato Fasano, Italian composer, dies at 76
  • Aug 19 Dorsey Burnette, American rockabilly singer (The Rock and Roll Trio), and songwriter ("It's Late"), dies of a heart attack at 46
  • Aug 22 John Lee Granderson, American Chicago-style blues guitarist, dies at 71
  • Aug 25 Stan Kenton, American musician, jazz pianist, arranger and bandleader (Artistry In Rhythm), dies at 67
  • Aug 27 Bolesław Szabelski, Polish organist and composer, dies at 82
  • Sep 6 Ronald Binge, British composer (Elizabethan Serenade, Sailing By), dies at 69
  • Sep 9 Solon Michaelides, Cypriot composer, and musicologist, dies at 73
  • Sep 9 Wilbur Ware, American jazz double bassist (Riverside Records; Thelonious Monk; Sonny Rollins), included in photographer Art Kane's photo "A Great Day In Harlem", dies of emphysema at 56
  • Sep 9 Norman "Norrie" Paramor, British composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader, and record producer (Cliff Richard: The Shadows; Helen Shapiro), dies at 65
  • Sep 10 Stanyslav Lyudkevych, Ukranian composer, and musicologist, dies at 100
  • Sep 10 Stanislaw Lyudkevich, Ukranian composer, dies at 100
  • Sep 14 Raymond Loucheur, French composer, dies at 80
  • Sep 15 Tommy Leonetti [Tomaso Lionetti], American singer ("Free"), songwriter ("My City of Sydney"), and actor (Gomer Pyle, USMC), dies of cancer at 50
  • Sep 17 Miloslav Kabeláč, Czech composer, dies at 71
  • Sep 25 Tapio Rautavaara, Finnish athlete, actor, and singer (Me tulemme taas, Rion yö), dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 64
  • Sep 26 Seymour Shifrin, American composer (Satires of Circumstance), dies at 53
  • Sep 27 Gracie Fields, English music hall/vaudeville performer and actress (Queen of Hearts), dies at 81
  • Sep 27 Jimmy McCulloch, Scottish songwriter and guitarist (Wings), dies at 26
  • Oct 1 Roy Harris, American composer, dies at 81
  • Oct 4 Christina Spierenburg, Dutch singer, dies at 56
  • Oct 10 Paul Paray, French organist, conductor (Detroit Symphony, 1951-62), and composer, dies at 93
  • Oct 13 Rebecca Clarke, British-American violist and classical composer (Morpheus), dies at 93
  • Oct 17 Karel Reiner, Czech pianist, composer, and Theresienstadt concentration camp survivor, dies at 69
  • Oct 22 Nadia Boulanger, French composer and conductor (1st woman to conduct Boston Symphony), dies at 92
  • Oct 29 Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood, American funk drummer (Parliament-Funkadelic; Miles Davis), dies of stomach cancer at 35
  • Nov 11 Dimitri Tiomkin, Russian-American film score composer and conductor (Academy Award 1954-High & Mighty), dies at 85
  • Nov 17 John Glascock, British bass guitarist and singer (Carmen, 1972-75; Jethro Tull, 1976-79 - "Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die"), dies of congenital heart valve defect at 28
  • Nov 23 Judee Sill, American singer-songwriter ("Crayon Angels"; "Jesus Was A Cross Maker"), dies of a drug overdose at 35
  • Dec 2 Vasily Pavlovich Solov'yov-Sedoy, Russian composer, dies at 72
  • Dec 29 Branimir Sakač, Croatian composer (Matrix Symphony), dies at 61

Richard Rodgers

Dec 30 Richard Rodgers, American composer, mostly for theater (Rodgers & Hart - "Pal Joey"; "Babes In Arms"; Rodgers & Hammerstein - "Oklahoma!"; "South Pacific"; "The King And I"; "The Sound Of Music") and 1st EGOT (Emmy; Grammy; Oscar; and Tony awards winner), dies at 77