Musicians Who Died on December 17

  • 1562 Adrian Willaert, Flemish singer, bandmaster, and composer, dies at about 82
  • 1651 Wolfgang Schonsleder, Germany composer and clergyman, dies at 81
  • 1811 John Antes, American composer and missionary, dies at 71
  • 1811 Louis Abel Beffroy de Reigny, French dramatist and composer, dies at 54
  • 1829 Bernard Jumentier, French composer, primarily of sacred music, dies at 80
  • 1870 Saverio Mercadante, Italian composer, dies at 75
  • 1913 Stefano Gobatti, Italian composer, dies at 61
  • 1926 Alexander Kastalsky, Russian composer, dies at 70
  • 1930 Peter Warlock [Philip Heseltine], British composer, dies of a probable suicide at 36
  • 1948 Edgar Istel, German composer, dies at 68
  • 1949 David Stanley Smith, American composer (Merrymount), dies at 72
  • 1966 Gustaf Paulson, Swedish organist and composer (The Resurrection Symphony), dies at 68
  • 1972 Erwin Dressel, German composer, dies at 63
  • 1973 Patrick Hadley, composer, dies at 74
  • 1975 Hound Dog Taylor [Theodore Roosevelt], American Chicago blues guitarist and singer, dies of lung cancer at 60
  • 1975 Noble Sissle, jazz musician, dies at 86
  • 1978 Don Ellis, American avant garde jazz trumpeter, and Grammy Award-winning film score composer (The French Connection), dies of a heart attack at 44
  • 1978 Don Ellis, American jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader, dies of a heart attack at 44
  • 1982 Leonid Kogan, Soviet Russian violinist (Lenin Prize, 1952), dies of a heart attack at 58
  • 1982 Philipp Jarnach, French pianist, composer, and music educator (Hamburg Music Academy, 1949-70), dies at 90
  • 1996 Francesco Siciliani, Italian opera administrator, dies at 85
  • 1996 Irving Caesar, American lyricist and theater composer (Tea for Two; Just A Gigilo; Sometimes I'm Happy; Animal Crackers In My Soup), dies at 101 [1]
  • 1996 Ruby Murray, Irish singer ("Heartbeat"; "Softly, Softly"), dies of liver cancer at 61
  • 1996 Wayne Barlow, American composer, dies at 84
  • 1999 Grover Washington Jr., American jazz saxophonist ("Just The Two Of Us"; "Mr Magic"; "Let It Flow"), dies of a heart attack at 56
  • 1999 Rex Allen, American singer-songwriter known as the "the Arizona Cowboy", and actor (Frontier Doctor - "Dr. Baxter"), dies at 78
  • 2004 Dick Heckstall-Smith, British jazz-blues saxophonist, dies at 70
  • 2006 Denis Payton, British rock saxophonist (Dave Clark Five - "Glad All Over"), dies of cancer at 63
  • 2006 Timmie Rogers [Ancrum], American comedian (The Jackie Gleason Show), actor and singer-songwriter ("Back to School Again"; "I Love Ya, I Love Ya, I Love Ya"), dies at 91
  • 2008 Freddy Breck, German schlager singer, composer, record producer and news anchor, dies of cancer at 66
  • 2010 Captain Beefheart [Don Van Vliet], American rock musician, complications from multiple sclerosis at 69
  • 2011 Cesária Évora, Cape Verdean morna singer known as "the Barefoot Diva", dies from respiratory failure at 70
  • 2013 Leland Smith, American composer, bassoonist and computer coder who led music publishing into the digital age (SCORE), dies at 88
  • 2017 Kevin Mahogany, American jazz vocalist ("Double Rainbow"; "Pride And Joy"), dies of diabetes complications at 59 [1] [2]
  • 2018 Galt MacDermot, Canadian musician and composer (Hair), dies at 89
  • 2018 Raven Wilkinson, American ballerina, first African American woman to dance with major ballet company, dies at 83
  • 2020 Stanley Cowell American jazz pianist (Heath Brothers), record label co-founder (Strata-East), and educator, dies from hypovolemic shock at 79