On This Day

Musicians Who Died on May 17

  • 1050 Guido van Arezzo, Italian music theorist, dies
  • 1626 Juan Pujol, Catalan composer, dies at 56
  • 1796 Jacob Wilhelm Lustig, German composer, dies at 89
  • 1866 Adolf Bernhard Marx, German composer, dies at 70
  • 1872 Eduard Sobolewski, Polish-American violinist and composer, dies at 63
  • 1884 Louis Brassin, Belgian pianist, composer and music educator, dies at 43
  • 1913 Dwijendralal Ray, Bengali poet, playwright and lyricist (Dwijendrageeti), dies of epilepsy at 49
  • 1916 Gervais Salvayre, French composer (Calypso; La Résurrection), and music critic dies at 68
  • 1919 Bohumil Pazdírek, Moravian composer, dies at 80
  • 1935 Paul Dukas, French composer (The Sorcerer's Apprentice), dies at 69
  • 1942 Alfred Hollins, British composer, dies at 76
  • 1950 Eduardo Fabini, composer, dies at 67
  • 1951 Karl Heinrich David, composer, dies at 66
  • 1953 Eric De Lamarter, American organist, composer and conductor (Chicago Symphony), dies at 73
  • 1955 Francesco Balilla Pratella, Italian composer, dies at 75
  • 1957 Shalva Azmayparashvili, composer, dies at 54
  • 1961 Henri Gagnon, Canadian organist (Notre-Dame Basilica (Quebec), 1915-1961), composer (Rondel de Thibaut de Champagne), and music educator, dies at 74
  • 1967 John Wesley Work III, African-American composer, musicologist and scholar of African-American folklore and music, dies at 65
  • 1975 Arthur Trappier, American jazz drummer (Blanche Calloway: Fats Waller), dies at 64
  • 1981 Hugo Friedhofer, American composer, dies at 80
  • 1985 Abe Burrows [Borowitz], American Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning songwriter, composer, and writer, dies from Alzheimer's disease at 74
  • 1986 Jack Waldman, American jazz and rock keyboardist and avant garde composer dies of HIV related illness at 33
  • 1990 Frank Wright, American free jazz saxophonist, dies at 54
  • 1992 Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and orchestra leader (Lawrence Welk Show), dies of pneumonia at 89
  • 1992 Leonardo del Ferro [Keyser], American operatic tenor, dies at 71
  • 1994 (Donald) Keith Falkner, British bass-baritone singer, dies at 94
  • 1995 Nathan "Dambuza" Mdledle, South African singer (Manhattan Brothers) and actor, dies at 72
  • 1996 Johnny "Guitar" Watson, musician, dies at 61
  • 1999 Bruce Fairbairn, Canadian musician and record producer (Loverboy; Bon Jovi; Aerosmith) dies at 49
  • 2001 Ikuma Dan, Japanese composer (Yūzuru), dies at 77
  • 2002 Sharon Sheeley, American songwriter (Somethin' Else), dies of complications following a cerebral hemorrhage at 62 (b. 1940)
  • 2006 Laurence Shurtliff [Ram Rod], American music executive and roadie (the Grateful Dead), dies at 61
  • 2010 Yvonne Loriod, French pianist, composer (Mélopées africaines), and teacher, dies at 86

Donna Summer

2012 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

  • 2013 Alan O'Day, American singer and songwriter ("Undercover Angel"; over 100 songs for the Muppet Babies), dies of brain cancer at 72
  • 2013 Harold Shapero, American composer (9 Minute Opera), dies at 93
  • 2015 Chinx [Lionel Pickens], American rapper (Coke Boys), dies in a drive-by shooting at 31
  • 2016 Guy Clark, American folk and country singer-songwriter (Heartbroke), dies of lymphoma at 74
  • 2020 (Judge) "Lucky" Peterson, American contemporary blues, soul, and R&B musician ("The Son of A Bluesman"), dies from ahead injury after a fall at 55
  • 2022 Vangelis [Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou], Greek composer, keyboardist, and Academy Award winner (Chariots of Fire), dies at 79 [1]
  • 2022 Shiv Kumar Sharma, Indian santoor (100-string dulcimer-like instrument) master, and composer, dies of cardiac arrest at 84
  • 2022 Rick Price, British rock bassist (The Move, 1969-71; Wizzard, 1972-75), and pedal steel guitar player, dies at 77