Musicians Who Died in 1997

  • Jan 1 Hagood Hardy, American-Canadian jazz and easy listening pianist, vibraphonist and film score composer ("The Homecoming"), dies from lymphoma at 59
  • Jan 1 Townes Van Zandt, American singer-songwriter ("Pancho and Lefty"), dies of a heart attack at 52
  • Jan 2 Randy California, American rock guitarist, dies at 45
  • Jan 3 Burton Lane, American film and stage composer and lyricist (Finian's Rainbow), dies at 84
  • Jan 3 David Kraehenbuehl, American composer (March of the Trolls), pianist, teacher (Yale), and music theorist (Journal of Music Theory), dies of a heart attack at 73
  • Jan 3 Roger Goeb, American composer, dies at 82
  • Jan 7 Sándor Végh, Hungarian-French violinist teacher and conductor, dies at 84
  • Jan 8 Carole Carr [Carless], British singer and actress (Down Among the Z Men), dies of cancer at 68
  • Jan 8 George Handy [Hendleman], American bebop jazz arranger, pianist and composer Handyland, U.S.A.), dies at 76
  • Jan 10 Alvinio Misciano, Italian tenor, killed in a fall from a window
  • Jan 11 Cavan O'Connor, British singer ("I'm Only a Strolling Vagabond"), dies at 97
  • Jan 16 Charlie Alfred Galbraith, English jazz trombonist, dies at 76
  • Jan 18 Myfanwy Piper, British librettist and art critic, dies at 85
  • Jan 22 Billy MacKenzie, Scottish rock vocalist (The Associates-Affectionate Punch), committed suicide at 39
  • Jan 22 Irwin Levine, composer (Tie a Yellow Ribbon), dies at 58
  • Jan 22 Ron Holden, American singer (b. 1939)
  • Jan 22 Wally Whyton, musician/broadcaster, dies at 66
  • Jan 23 Audie Pitre, American bass guitarist (Acid Bath), killed by a drunk driver at 26
  • Jan 23 Charles Craig, English opera singer, dies at 77
  • Jan 23 Richard Berry, African-American singer and musician (Louie Louie), dies at 61
  • Jan 25 Seldon Powell, American jazz tenor saxophonist and flautist, dies at 68
  • Jan 27 Gerald Marks, American songwriter ("All of Me"), dies at 96
  • Jan 30 Héctor Campos Parsi, Puerto Rican classical music composer, dies at 75
  • Feb 1 Marjorie Reynolds [Goodspeed], American actress & dancer (Holiday Inn; Life of Riley), dies from congestive heart disease at 79
  • Feb 2 Chico Science Francisco Franca, musician, dies at 40
  • Feb 3 Anthony Cuthbert Baines, English music scholar, dies at 84
  • Feb 4 Ross Lee Finney, American composer (Landscapes Remembered), dies at 90
  • Feb 7 Danil Shafran, Soviet Russian concert cellist, dies at 74
  • Feb 8 Elroy Josephs, British jazz dance teacher, dies at 57
  • Feb 9 Brian Connolly, Scottish rock singer (Sweet, 1968-79- "The Ballroom Blitz"), dies of heart failure at 51
  • Feb 9 L.F. "Jack" Owen, American blues singer and guitarist ("It Must've Been The Devil"), dies at 92
  • Feb 10 Lou Bennett, American bebop pianist, and jazz organist, dies at 70
  • Feb 18 Eric Fenby, English composer and president (Delius Society), dies at 90
  • Feb 20 Zachary Breaux, American jazz guitarist, dies of a heart attack while trying to save a distressed swimmer in Miami Beach at 36
  • Feb 23 Tony Williams, American jazz drummer (Miles Davis), dies at 51
  • Feb 24 Isabelle Harriet Lucas, Canadian-born British actress and singer (Outland, Comics), dies at 69
  • Mar 3 Finn Høffding, Danish composer (Karlsvognen), dies at 97
  • Mar 9 The Notorious B.I.G. [Christopher Wallace], American rapper (Life After Death), shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at 24
  • Mar 10 (Dolores) LaVern Baker [Evans], American pop and R&B vocalist ("Jim Dandy"; "I Cried A Tear"), dies of cardiovascular disease at 67
  • Mar 11 Hugo Weisgall, American composer (4 Impressions), dies at 84
  • Mar 17 Jermaine Stewart, American R&B singer (We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off) dies of cancer at 37
  • Mar 24 Harold Melvin, American soul and R&B singer (The Blue Notes - "If You Don't Know Me By Now"), dies at 57
  • Mar 31 Arthur Cunningham, American composer, dies at 68
  • Apr 2 Zsolt Durko, Hungarian composer, dies at 62
  • Apr 8 Laura Nyro, American singer-songwriter ("Wedding Bell Blues"; "Stoned Soul Picnic"; "And When I Die"), dies of ovarian cancer at 49
  • Apr 10 Toshiro Mayuzumi, Japanese composer (Sphenogramme), dies at 68
  • Apr 16 Mae Boren Axton, American songwriter, known as the"Queen Mother of Nashville" ("Heartbreak Hotel"), dies at 82
  • Apr 16 Ray Green, American composer and publisher, dies at 88
  • Apr 19 El Duce [Eldon Wayne Hoke], American singer and drummer (The Mentors), dies from a "misadventure" on a train-track at 39
  • Apr 24 Robert Erickson, American composer, dies at 80
  • Apr 26 Gene Ames, American singer (Ames Brothers), dies of cancer at 73
  • Apr 29 Keith Ferguson, American blues-rock bassist (Fabulous Thunderbirds), dies of liver failure due to heroin use at 50
  • May 3 Narciso Yepes, Spanish classical guitarist (b. 1927)
  • May 5 Tolia Nikiprowetzky, French composer, ethno-musicologist and broadcaster of Russian heritage, dies at 80
  • May 9 Willy Hess, Swiss musicologist, composer and famous Beethoven scholar, dies at 90
  • May 14 Thelma Carpenter, American radio and jazz band singer (Coleman Hawkins; Count Basie) and stage and screen actress (Barefoot In The Park), dies of cardiac arrest at 76
  • May 23 Lovie Lee [Edward Lee Watson], American electric blues pianist, singer, and songwriter, dies at 88
  • May 26 Jack Jersey, Indonesian-Dutch singer and producer, dies at 55
  • May 29 Jeff Buckley, American musician and singer ("Hallelujah"), drowns at 30
  • May 30 West Arkeen, American musician, best known for co-writing several Guns N' Roses songs (It's So Easy, The Garden), dies of a drug overdose at 36
  • Jun 2 Aldophus "Doc" Cheatham, American jazz trumpeter, dies of stroke at 91
  • Jun 4 Johnny "Hammond" Smith, American jazz and bop organist (Wild Horses Rock Steady), dies of cancer at 63
  • Jun 4 Ronnie Lane, British bassist (Faces), dies of multiple sclerosis at 51
  • Jun 12 Bulat Okudzhava, Russian poet, writer, and singer-songwriter, dies at 73
  • Jun 16 John Wolters, American drummer (Dr. Hook -"When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman"), dies at 52
  • Jun 19 Bobby Helms [Robert Lee Helms], American country music singer (Jingle Bell Rock), dies at 63
  • Jun 20 Lawrence Payton, American pop & soul singer (Four Tops - "I'll Be There"), dies at 59
  • Jun 21 Arthur Prysock, American jazz and R&B singer ("I Didn't Sleep a Wink Last Night"; "In The Rain"), dies at 68 or 73 [birth year disputed]
  • Jun 21 Shintaro Katsu, Japanese actor, singer, producer, and director (Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman), dies at 65
  • Jun 22 Ted Gärdestad, Swedish singer (b. 1956)
  • Jun 25 Ziggy Talent, American singer (Vaughn Monroe Show), dies at 85
  • Jun 26 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Native Hawaiian singer, songwriter ("Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World"), and Hawaiian sovereignty advocate, dies from respiratory failure at 38
  • Jul 5 Mrs. Miller, American singer (A Lover's Missouri), dies at 89
  • Jul 13 Alexandra Danilova, Russian-American ballerina (The Turning Point), dies at 92
  • Jul 29 Chuck Wayne [Jagelka], America session and bebop jazz guitarist (Woody Herman's First Herd; George Shearing Quintet; Gil Evans; Tony Bennett), dies of emphysema at 74
  • Aug 1 Svyatoslav Richter, Russian pianist, dies of heart attack at 82
  • Aug 2 Fela Kuti, Nigerian Afrobeat musician and composer, dies of an illness, disputedly AIDS related, at 58
  • Aug 8 Duncan Swift, jazz pianist, dies at 74
  • Aug 9 Robert Satanowski, Polish opera conductor and general, dies at 79
  • Aug 10 Conlon Nancarrow, American composer (Soundings 4), dies at 84
  • Aug 12 Jack Delano [Jacob Ovcharov], Russian-born American composer and photographer, dies at 83
  • Aug 12 Luther Allison, American blues and session guitarist (Howlin' Wolf; James Cotton), dies of lung and brain cancer at 57
  • Aug 16 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani qawwal (Sufi devotional music) vocalist, and composer, dies of cardiac arrest at 48
  • Aug 19 Petr Novák, Czech rock singer-songwriter (George and Beatovens; Flamengo), dies of apparent poisoning at 51
  • Aug 24 (Vincente) "Tete" Montoliu, Catalonian jazz pianist, dies at 64
  • Sep 2 Rudolf Bing, Austrian-born opera impresario (NY Metropolitan Opera manager, 1950-72), dies of complication of Alzheimer's disease and respiratory failure at 95
  • Sep 4 Belle Stewart, Scottish traditional singer, dies at 91
  • Sep 4 Natko Devčić, Croatian composer, dies at 83
  • Sep 5 Sir Georg Solti [György Stern], Hungarian-British conductor, winner of 31 Grammy awards (Chicago Symphony, 1969-91), dies at 84
  • Sep 7 Derek Taylor, Beatles publicist, dies of cancer at 65
  • Sep 12 (Stig) "Stikkan" Anderson, Swedish actor, music entrepreneur and co-founder of Polar Music (ABBA), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • Sep 18 James "Jimmy" Witherspoon, American jump blues singer (Ain't Nobody's Business), dies at 77
  • Sep 19 Rich Mullins, American contemporary Christian music singer and songwriter, dies in a car accident at 41
  • Sep 24 Larry Hall, American rocker (Sandy), dies at 57
  • Sep 25 Hélène Baillargeon, Quebec singer and folklorist, dies at 81
  • Sep 25 Jean Françaix, French classical pianist, and composer, dies at 85
  • Sep 29 Bobby [Robert Arthur Thornbury] Campbell, Scottish journalist and musician, dies at 55
  • Sep 29 Sven-Eric Emanuel Johanson, Swedish composer, dies at 77
  • Oct 7 Friedrich Zipp, German composer, dies at 83
  • Oct 9 Arthur Tracy, American radio personality (The Street Singer), dies at 98
  • Oct 10 George Malcolm, British keyboard player and conductor (Westminster Cathedral Master of the Music, 1947-59), dies at 80

John Denver

Oct 12 (Henry) John Denver [Deutschendorf], American pop songwriter ("Leaving On A Jet Plane"), country-pop singer ("Sunshine On My Shoulders"; "Calypso"; "Thank God I'm A Country Boy"), and actor (Oh, God!), dies in a solo plane crash at 53

  • Oct 19 Glen Buxton, American guitarist (Alice Cooper) and composer, dies at 49
  • Oct 20 Henry Vestine, American guitarist (Canned Heat), dies of heart and respiratory failure at 52
  • Oct 22 Harry Goodman, American jazz bassist, and sometimes tuba player, dies at 91
  • Nov 5 Epic Soundtracks [Kevin Paul Godfrey], English musician (Swell Maps, Crime and the City Solution, These Immortal Souls), dies in his sleep at 38
  • Nov 10 Tommy Tedesco, American jazz and Los Angeles session guitarist (Wrecking Crew; Lalo Schifrin), dies of lung cancer at 67
  • Nov 12 Carlos Surinach, Spanish-American composer, dies at 82
  • Nov 13 André Boucourechliev, Bulgarian-French composer, dies at 72
  • Nov 15 Saul Chaplin [Kaplan], American Oscar Award-winning stage, and screen composer, arranger, and orchestrator (An American in Paris; "The Anniversary Song"), dies at 85
  • Nov 17 Wilfred Josephs, British composer (Rebecca; Requiem), dies at 70
  • Nov 21 Robert Simpson, British classical composer, and broadcaster (BBC), dies at 76

Michael Hutchence

Nov 22 Michael Hutchence, Australian rock singer and actor (INXS), commits suicide at 37

  • Nov 25 Barbara [Monique Andrée Serf], French singer ("L'Aigle noir"), dies at 67
  • Nov 25 Fenton Robinson, US blues guitarist (Tennessee Woman), dies at 62
  • Nov 26 Francis Paudras, designer and jazz fan, dies at 62
  • Nov 28 William "Smitty" Smith, American rock keyboardist and session musician (Motherlode - "When I Die"), dies of a heartattack at 53
  • Dec 1 Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, dies at 89
  • Dec 2 Michael Hedges, American new age guitarist and composer, dies in a car accident at 43
  • Dec 6 Eliot Daniel, American composer (I Love Lucy theme), dies at 89
  • Dec 9 Tamara Geva, Russian-born dancer and actress, dies at 91
  • Dec 12 (Irving) "Mouse" Randolph, American swing jazz trumpeter (Cab Calloway Orchestra), dies at 88
  • Dec 14 Kurt Winter, Canadian musician (The Guess Who), dies of kidney failure at 51
  • Dec 16 Nicolette Larson, American rock vocalist (Lotta Love; Twins), dies from brain seizure at 45
  • Dec 19 Jimmy Rogers, American blues musician (Muddy Waters' Band) dies at 73
  • Dec 21 Amie Comeaux, American country music singer, dies at 21
  • Dec 22 Johnny Coles, trumpeter, dies at 71
  • Dec 24 Alan Fluck, Scottish musical educator, dies at 69
  • Dec 25 Giorgio Strehler, Italian opera and theatre director, dies at 76
  • Dec 27 Anthea Joseph, British music promoter, dies at 57
  • Dec 27 Buxton Orr, Anglo-Scottish composer, dies at 73
  • Dec 28 Henry Barraud, French composer, dies at 97
  • Dec 31 Floyd Cramer, American Country Music Hall of Fame pianist ("Last Date"; "On the Rebound"), dies of cancer at 64