On This Day

Musicians Who Died in 1997

  • Jan 1 Townes Van Zandt, American singer-songwriter, dies at 52
  • Jan 1 Hagood Hardy, Canadian composer & musician, dies at 59
  • Jan 2 Randy California, American rock guitarist, dies at 45
  • Jan 3 Burton Lane, composer, dies at 84
  • 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 22 Irwin Levine, composer (Tie a Yellow Ribbon), dies at 58
  • Jan 22 Wally Whyton, musician/broadcaster, dies at 66
  • Jan 22 Ron Holden, American singer (b. 1939)
  • Jan 22 Billy MacKenzie, Scottish rock vocalist (The Associates-Affectionate Punch), committed suicide at 39
  • 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 23 Audie Pitre, American bass guitarist (Acid Bath), killed by a drunk driver at 26
  • 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, cellist, dies at 74
  • Feb 8 Roy George Elroy Josephs, jazz dance teacher, dies at 57
  • Feb 9 Brian Connolly, lead singer (Sweet), dies of heart failure at 52
  • 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 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 shot dead 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 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, singer, dies 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 Ronnie Lane, British bassist (Faces), dies of multiple sclerosis at 51
  • Jun 4 Johnny "Hammond" Smith, American jazz and bop organist (Wild Horses Rock Steady), dies of cancer at 63
  • Jun 12 Bulat Okudzhava, Russian writer and musician (b. 1924)
  • 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, rocker (4 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), dies at 68 or 73
  • 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 jazz guitarist ( Woody Herman; George Shearing; 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 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 Luther Allison, blues performer (Motown), dies of cancer at 57
  • Aug 12 Jack Delano [Jacob Ovcharov], Russian-born American composer and photographer, dies at 83
  • Aug 16 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani musician (b. 1948)
  • Aug 19 Petr Novák, Czech musician (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, opera manager (NY Met Opera), dies 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 "Stikkan" Stig 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 singer (b. 1955)
  • Sep 20 Edmund Falkiner, jazz saxophinist and probation officer, dies at 59
  • Sep 24 Larry Hall, American rocker (Sandy), dies at 57
  • Sep 25 Jean Françaix, French composer (b. 1912)
  • Sep 25 Hélène Baillargeon, Quebec singer and folklorist, dies at 81
  • 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

Person of interestJohn Denver

Oct 12 John Denver, American country music star (Country Boy), dies in a plane crash at 53

Country Singer John Denver
Country Singer
John Denver
  • 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
  • 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 musician (b. 1930)
  • Nov 12 Carlos Surinach, Spanish composer (b. 1915)
  • Nov 13 André Boucourechliev, Bulgarian-French composer, dies at 72

  • Nov 15 Saul Chaplin, director (West Side Story), dies at 85
  • Nov 17 Wilfred Josephs, English composer, dies at 70
  • Nov 21 Robert Simpson, British classical composer, and broadcaster (BBC), dies at 76

Person of interestMichael Hutchence

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

  • Nov 25 Fenton Robinson, US blues guitarist (Tennessee Woman), dies at 62
  • Nov 25 Barbara [Monique Andrée Serf], French singer ("L'Aigle noir"), dies at 67
  • Nov 26 Francis Paudras, designer/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, musical educationalist, dies at 69
  • Dec 24 Anthea Joseph, music producer, dies at 57
  • Dec 25 Giorgio Strehler, Italian opera and theatre director, dies at 76
  • 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