On This Day

Musicians Who Died in 2012

  • Jan 1 Yafa Yarkoni, Israeli Singer, dies after years of Alzheimer's disease at 86
  • Jan 1 Fred Milano, American doo-wop singer, member of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, dies from lung cancer at 72
  • Jan 2 Ian Bargh, Canadian jazz pianist & composer, dies from lung cancer at 76
  • Jan 2 Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, American rock guitarist (Iron Butterfly) dies at 63
  • Jan 3 Bob Weston, British guitarist & songwriter (Fleetwood Mac), dies from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage at 64 (body found this date)
  • Jan 5 Hikaru Hayashi, Japanese pianist, conductor and composer (Onibaba), dies at 80
  • Jan 6 W. Francis McBeth, American composer (Of Sailors and Whales), conductor, and pedagogue (Ouachita Baptist University, 1957-96), dies at 78
  • Jan 8 Alexis Weissenberg, Bulgarian born pianist (Levintritt Prize, 1948), and composer, dies at 82
  • Jan 9 Ruth Fernandez, Puerto Rican singer and politician, dies from septic shock and pneumonia at 92
  • Jan 9 Bridie Gallagher, Irish singer, dies at 87
  • Jan 12 Sadao Bekku, Japanese classical and film composer (Matango), dies at 89
  • Jan 16 Gustav Leonhardt, Dutch harpsichordist, organist and conductor, dies at 87
  • Jan 16 Jimmy Castor, American pop and funk musician (Troglodyte (Cave Man), Jimmy Castor Bunch), died of heart failure at 71
  • Jan 17 Johnny Otis [Ioannis Veliotes], American R&B musician, songwriter, producer and talent scout ("Willie and the Hand Jive"; "Cupid's Boogie"), known as "the godfather of rhythm and blues", dies at 90
  • Jan 17 Francisco Pulgar Vidal, Peruvian musicologist and composer, dies at 82
  • Jan 19 Rudi van Dantzig, Dutch ballet dancer an choreographer (Painted Birds) dies from lymphoma at 78
  • Jan 20 Etta James [Jamesetta Hawkins], American singer, dies from leukaemia at 73
  • Jan 24 Patricia Neway, American opera and musical theatre singer, dies at 83
  • Jan 25 Paavo Berglund, Finnish violinist and conductor (Helsinki Chamber Orchestra; Finnish RSO, 1956-72) dies aged 82
  • Jan 26 Clare Fischer, American musician, composer and arranger, dies at 83
  • Jan 29 Camilla Williams, American operatic soprano, dies at 92
  • Feb 1 Ton de Kruyf, Dutch composer, dies at 74
  • Feb 5 Al De Lory, American session pianist, arranger, and record producer (Glen Campbell), dies 82
  • Feb 6 Noel Kelehan, Irish pianist, conductor (RTÉ Concert Orchestra), and arranger (Eurovision; U2), dies at 77
  • Feb 8 Luis Alberto Spinetta, Argentinian rock musician, dies from lung cancer at 62

Whitney Houston

Feb 11 Whitney Houston, American singer (I Will Always Love You; I Wanna Dance With Somebody), and actress (The Bodyguard), dies from an accidental bathtub drowning at 48

  • Feb 14 Dory Previn, American singer-songwriter, dies at 86
  • Feb 15 Charles Anthony [Caruso], American tenor, dies from kidney failure at 82
  • Feb 17 Michael Davis, American bass guitarist, and songwriter (MC5 -"Kick Out The Jams"), dies of liver failure at 68
  • Feb 22 Billy Strange, American singer-songwriter, dies at 81
  • Feb 22 Mike Melvoin, American jazz and studio pianist, composer, and arranger, dies of cancer at 74
  • Feb 24 István Anhalt, Hungarian-Canadian classical and electronic music composer(La Tourangelle; Winthrop), educator (McGill; Queens (Ontario) Universities), and writer (Alternative Voices), dies at 92
  • Feb 25 Louisiana Red, American blues musician, dies from stroke at 79
  • Feb 25 Red Holloway [James], American jazz tenor saxophonist, dies from stroke and kidney failure at 84
  • Feb 25 Maurice André, French classical trumpeter and baroque revivalist, dies at 78
  • Feb 25 Louisiana Red [Iverson Minter], American blues guitarist, and singer-songwriter ("Sweet Blood Call"), dies of a stroke at 79
  • Feb 26 Rolf "Hazy" Osterwald, Swiss jazz bandleader, trumpeter, and vibraphonist, dies at 90

Davy Jones

Feb 29 Davy Jones, English musician (The Monkees), dies from heart attack at 66

  • Mar 3 Ronnie Montrose, American rock guitarist (Montrose, Gamma), dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 64
  • Mar 3 Frank Marocco, American jazz, pop, classical, and session accordionist, arranger and composer, dies at 81
  • Mar 6 Robert Sherman, American songwriter, dies at 86
  • Mar 6 Gene “Joe” Byrd, American jazz bassist (Charlie Byrd Trio), dies in a car crash at 78
  • Mar 6 Lucia Mannucci, Italian jazz singer (Quartetto Cetra, 1947-88), dies at 91
  • Mar 7 Jimmy Ellis, American soul singer, dies from complications from Alzheimer's disease at 74
  • Mar 10 Heinz Wunderlich, German organist and composer, dies at 92
  • Mar 11 Hans G. Helms, German writer and composer, dies at 79
  • Mar 12 Michael Hossack, American rock drummer (The Doobie Brothers), dies of cancer at 65
  • Mar 18 Jalal Zolfonun, Iranian composer (Gol-e Sadbarg), setar (Persian lute) player, and teacher, dies of a heart attack at 74
  • Mar 28 Alexander Arutiunian, Armenian composer, dies at 91
  • Mar 28 Earl Scruggs, American bluegrass banjo player (Flatt & Scruggs - "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"; "Ballad of Jed Clampett"), dies from natural causes at 88
  • Apr 5 Jim Marshall, British business man and electric guitar amplifier pioneer known as "The Father of Loud", dies at 88
  • Apr 12 Andrew Love, American saxophonist (The Memphis Horns), dies of Alzheimer's disease at 70
  • Apr 12 George Mesterhazy, Hungarian-American jazz pianist, and arranger, dies at 56
  • Apr 17 Dimitris Mitropanos, Greek singer, dies from a heart attack at 64
  • Apr 19 Levon Helm, American drummer and singer (The Band - "Up On Cripple Creek"; "The Weight"), and actor (Coal Miner's Daughter; The Right Stuff), dies from throat cancer at 71
  • Apr 19 Greg Ham, Australian rock saxophonist and flutist (Men At Work - "Who Can It Be Now"), dies under mysterious circumstances at 58
  • Apr 20 Bert Weedon, British jazz, pop, and blues guitar player ("Guitar Boogie Shuffle"), dies at 91
  • Apr 23 Chris Ethridge, American country rock bass guitarist (International Submarine Band; The Flying Burrito Brothers), dies from pancreatic cancer at 65
  • Apr 23 Tommy Marth, American rock saxophone player (the Killers, 2008-2010), dies of self-inflicted gunshot at 33
  • Apr 28 Jackie Kelso [John Joseph Kelson Jr], American jazz saxophonist & session musician, dies at 90
  • Apr 29 Jim McCrary, American photographer (album covers such as Tapestry, Ticket to Ride), dies of a chronic nervous system disorder at 72
  • May 1 Charles "skip" Pitts, American soul and blues guitarist, dies from lung cancer at 65
  • May 2 Zvi Zeitlin, Russian-American classical violinist and music professor (Eastman School, 1967-2012), dies at 90

Adam Yauch

May 4 MCA [Adam Yauch], American rap-rock vocalist (Beastie Boys -"(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)"), dies from cancer at 47

  • May 4 Mort Lindsey [Lippman], American pianist, arranger, musical director (Judy Garland, 1961-64; Merv Griffin Show, 1962-86; Barbra Streisand, 1968), and composer, dies at 89
  • May 5 "Sweet Joe" Russell, American a cappella singer (The Persuasions - "Slip Sliding Away"), dies at 72 [1]
  • May 13 Donald "Duck" Dunn, American bassist (Booker T & The MG's; Stax Records house band; The Blues Brothers), dies at 70
  • May 14 Derek Hammond-Stroud, English operatic baritone, dies at 86
  • May 16 Doug Dillard, American country rock musician (The Dillards, Gene Clark, Dillard & Clark) and actor (Clem-Popeye), dies of a lung infection caused by a collapsed lung at 75

Donna Summer

May 17 Donna Summer [LaDonna Gaines], American disco and pop singer-songwriter ("Love to Love You, Baby"; "On The Radio"; "Last Dance"), dies from lung cancer at 63

  • May 18 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, German baritone (Doktor Faust), dies at 86

Robin Gibb

May 20 Robin Gibb, British singer-songwriter (The Bee Gees - "Night Fever"), dies from colon and liver cancer at 62

  • May 20 Robert Nix, American drummer and songwriter (Roy Orbison; Atlanta Rhythm Section - "So Into You"; "Imaginary Lover"), dies at 67
  • May 29 Doc Watson, American bluegrass musician, dies from complications following surgery at 89
  • May 29 Mark Minkov, Russian/Soviet theater and film score composer, dies at 67
  • Jun 4 Herb Reed, American pop singer (The Platters - "Only You"; "The Great Pretender"), dies from multiple medical complications at 83
  • Jun 4 George Marino, American Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer (Guns N' Roses; Bon Jovi; Stevie Wonder; John Lennon & Yoko Ono), dies of lung cancer at 65
  • Jun 7 Bob Welch, American musician (Fleetwood Mac), commits suicide by gunshot at 66
  • Jun 7 Nabil Totah, Palestinian-American jazz double bassist, dies at 72
  • Jun 13 Graeme Bell, Australian pianist and composer, dies at 97
  • Jun 14 Dumitru Capoianu, Romanian conductor and classical and film composer (The Little Man), dies at 82
  • Jun 21 Richard Adler, American musical theater composer and songwriter (Pajama Game; Damn Yankees)), dies at 90
  • Jun 28 Éric Gaudibert, Swiss composer, pianist, and teacher, dies at 75
  • Jul 1 Evelyn Lear, American operatic soprano, dies at 86
  • Jul 3 Andy Griffith, American actor, comedian, television producer, Southern gospel singer, and writer (Andy Griffith Show, Matlock), dies from a heart attack at 86
  • Jul 4 Larance Marable, American jazz drummer (Charlie Haden's Quartet West; Stan Getz; Groove Holmes), dies at 83
  • Jul 16 Jon Lord, English keyboardist and composer (Deep Purple - "Smoke On The Water"; Whitesnake), dies from a pulmonary embolism at 71
  • Jul 16 Kitty Wells [Ellen Deason], American country singer ("It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels"), dies from complications after a stroke at 92
  • Jul 16 Bob Babbitt [Kreinar], Hungarian-American bassist (The Funk Brothers), dies of brain cancer at 74
  • Jul 17 Ilhan Mimaroglu, Turkish electronic music composer and musician, dies at 86
  • Jul 22 Nan Merriman, American-Dutch singer (Arturo Toscanini NBC Orchestra), dies at 92
  • Jul 23 Robert Cage, American blues guitarist (From Lake Mary), dies at 75
  • Jul 27 Tony Martin, American singer, dies from natural causes at 98
  • Jul 31 Bobby Edwards [Moncrief], American country singer-songwriter ("You're The Reason"), dies at 86
  • Aug 1 Douglas Townsend, American composer, dies at 90
  • Aug 2 Marguerite Piazza, American operatic soprano (Young Broadway), dies at 86
  • Aug 2 Jimmy Jones, American singer-songwriter ("Handy Man"), dies at 75
  • Aug 6 Marvin Hamlisch, American composer and conductor (The Sting; A Chorus Line), dies at 68
  • Aug 6 Ruggiero Ricci, American composer and violinist (Paganini), dies from heart failure at 94
  • Aug 11 Carlo Curley, American classical concert organist dies at 59
  • Aug 12 Mendelis Bašs, Latvian composer, conductor, and pedagogue, dies at 93
  • Aug 15 Bob Birch, American session and touring bassist (Elton John), commits suicide at 56
  • Aug 18 Scott McKenzie, American singer, dies at 73
  • Aug 30 Chris Lighty, music executive and manager (Violator), dies of a gunshot wound at 44
  • Sep 1 Hal David, American lyricist ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"; "What The World Needs Now Is Love";"Do You Know the Way to San Jose"), dies at 91
  • Sep 2 Mark Abrahamian, guitarist (Starship), dies of a heart attack at 46
  • Sep 4 Ian Parrott, British-Welsh composer (The Black Ram), dies at 96
  • Sep 5 Joe South, American singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Games People Play"; "Walk A Mile In My Shoes"), dies from heart failure at 72
  • Sep 7 Dorothy "Dottie" McGuire, American pop vocalist (McGuire Sisters - "Sincerely"; "Sugartime"), dies at 84
  • Sep 10 Steven Springer, American guitarist, dies from lung cancer at 60
  • Sep 13 William Duckworth, American composer (Time Curve Preludes), teacher (Bucknell, 1973-2011), and internet pioneer (PitchWeb), dies of pancreatic cancer at 69

Andy Williams

Sep 25 Andy Williams, American pop singer ("Moon River"), dies from bladder cancer at 84

  • Sep 27 R. B. Greaves, American singer, dies from prostate cancer at 68
  • Sep 27 Eddie Bert, American bebop jazz trombonist, dies at 90
  • Sep 30 César Bolaños, Peruvian electro-acoustic and experimental musician and composer, dies at 81
  • Oct 2 Big Jim Sullivan [Tomkins], British session and touring rock guitarist, sitar, and banjo player, dies of heart disease and diabetes at 71
  • Oct 3 "Kathi" McDonald, American blues and rock singer (Ike & Tina Turner revue; Big Brother & The Holding Company), and songwriter, dies at 64
  • Oct 5 Edvard Mirzoyan, Armenian composer, dies at 91
  • Oct 7 John Tchicai, Danish jazz saxophonist and composer (New York Art Quartet), dies at 76
  • Oct 9 Theo Olof, German-Dutch violinist and concert master, dies at 88
  • Oct 18 David Spencer Ware, American free jazz saxophonist, dies at 62
  • Oct 27 Hans Werner Henze, German composer, dies at 86
  • Oct 27 Terry Callier, American soul, folk and jazz guitarist, and singer-songwriter ("What Color Is Love"), dies of cancer at 67
  • Nov 4 Ted Curson, American jazz trumpeter, dies from a heart attack at 77
  • Nov 5 Elliott Carter, American composer, dies from natural causes at 103
  • Nov 7 Cleve Duncan, American rocker (The Penguins - "Earth Angel"), dies at 78
  • Nov 9 Major Harris, American R&B singer (Love Won't Let Me Wait), dies from congestive heart and lung failure at 65
  • Nov 18 Philip Ledger, British organist, composer, conductor, and academic (King's College Cambridge), dies of cancer at 74
  • Nov 20 Michael Dunford, British guitarist and songwriter (The Nashville Teens, 1960-63; Renaissance - "Scheherazade"), dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 68
  • Nov 24 Christopher "Chris" Stamp, British music producer, psychodrama therapist and manager (The Who; Jimi Hendrix), dies of cancer at 70
  • Nov 27 Mickey Baker, American guitar player ("Love is strange"), dies at 87
  • Nov 27 Jan Maegaard, Danish composer and musicologist (Triptykon), dies at 86
  • Nov 28 Franco Ventriglia, American opera singer, dies at 90
  • Dec 1 Galina Vishnevskaya, Russian soprano opera singer (Britten's "War Requiem"), dies at 85
  • Dec 4 Jonathan Harvey, British composer (Bhakti; Wheel of Emptiness),educator, and musicologist (Music of Stockhausen), dies at 73
  • Dec 5 Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist ("Take Five") and composer (Gates of Justice), dies from heart failure at 91
  • Dec 7 Russ "Rusty" Thacker, American stage actor and singer, dies of cancer at 66

Jenni Rivera

Dec 9 Jenni Rivera, Mexican-American singer-songwriter, dies in a plane crash at 43

  • Dec 9 Charles Rosen, American pianist and musicologist (Sonata Forms), dies at 85

Ravi Shankar

Dec 11 Ravi Shankar [Chowdhury], Bengali Brahmin sitar master and Indian classical music composer (West Meets East; Concert for Bangladesh), dies at 92

  • Dec 13 Otto Ketting, Dutch trumpeter and composer (Passacaglia), dies at 77
  • Dec 20 Jimmy McCracklin, American pianist, dies from diabetes and hypertension at 91
  • Dec 21 Lee Dorman, American rock bassist (Iron Butterfly; Captain Beyond), dies at 70
  • Dec 24 Richard Rodney Bennett, English pianist, classical and film score composer (Four Weddings And A Funeral), dies at 76
  • Dec 24 Hugh Atkin, American composer, dies at 88
  • Dec 24 Ray Collins, American rock vocalist (Mothers of Invention), dies at 76
  • Dec 26 Fontella Bass, American R&B and soul singer and songwriter (Rescue Me), dies from a heart attack at 72