1949 in music
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This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1949.
- February 4 – Ljuba Welitsch makes her Metropolitan Opera début in Salome.
- September 5 – Wagnerian tenor Walter Widdop appears at The Proms, singing "Lohengrin's Farewell", the day before his sudden death at the age of 51.
- December 15 – Birdland jazz club opens in New York City.
- December 24 – At the start of the Holy Year, Charles Gounod's Inno e Marcia Pontificale is adopted as the new papal anthem.
- December 29 – Les Paul and Mary Ford marry.
- The Boccherini Quintet is formed in Rome.
- Ravi Shankar becomes music director of All India Radio.
- Mitch Miller begins his career as one of the 20th century's most successful record producers at Mercury
- Eddie Fisher is "discovered" by Eddie Cantor and signs with RCA.
- Bob Hope suggests that Anthony Benedetto change his stage name from "Joe Bari" to "Tony Bennett"
- Frankie Laine records "Mule Train", considered by some critics as marking the beginning of the rock era.
- Teresa Brewer makes her first recording on the London label.
- The Ames Brothers become the first artists to record for Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca.
- Johnnie Ray performs at the Flame Showbar in Detroit.
- The legendary Al Jolson records the soundtrack to "Jolson Sings Again," the sequel to his hugely successful biopic "The Jolson Story" (1946)
- 45 rpm discs are introduced
- Gorni Kramer starts working for musical impresarios Garinei and Giovannini.
- Country singer Bill Haley enters into a partnership with musicians Johnny Grande and Billy Williamson to form Bill Haley and His Saddlemen; in 1952 the group is renamed Bill Haley & His Comets.
Albums released 
- Der Bingle – Bing Crosby
- Jerome Kern Songs – Bing Crosby
- Merry Christmas – Bing Crosby
- Stephen Foster Songs – Bing Crosby
- Lights, Cameras, Action – Doris Day
- Djangology – Django Reinhardt
- You're My Thrill – Doris Day
- Frankie Laine – Frankie Laine
- Frankie Laine Favorites – Frankie Laine
- Songs from the Heart – Frankie Laine
- The Return of the Wayfaring Stranger – Burl Ives
- Dinah Shore – Dinah Shore
- The Voice of Frank Sinatra – Frank Sinatra
- Jo Stafford with Gordon McRae – Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae
US No. 1 hit singles 
These singles reached the top of the US charts in 1949.
|First week||Number of weeks||Title||Artist|
|January 8, 1949||1||"All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"||Spike Jones|
|January 15, 1949||1||"Buttons and Bows"||Dinah Shore|
|January 22, 1949||7||"A Little Bird Told Me"||Evelyn Knight|
|March 12, 1949||2||"Cruising Down the River"||Blue Barron|
|March 26, 1949||7||"Cruising Down the River"||Russ Morgan|
|May 14, 1949||11||"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend"||Vaughn Monroe|
|July 30, 1949||5||"Some Enchanted Evening"||Perry Como|
|September 3, 1949||4||"You're Breaking My Heart"||Vic Damone|
|October 1, 1949||8||"That Lucky Old Sun"||Frankie Laine|
|November 26, 1949||6||"Mule Train"||Frankie Laine|
Biggest hit singles 
The following songs achieved the highest chart positions in the limited set of charts available for 1949.
|1||Vaughn Monroe||Ghost Riders In The Sky||1949||US BB 1 of 1949, US 1 for 11 weeks May 1949, POP 1 of 1949, Europe 33 of the 1940s, RIAA 297, Acclaimed 1303|
|2||Frankie Laine||Mule Train||1949||US 1940s 1 – Nov 1949, US 1 for 6 weeks Nov 1949, US BB 7 of 1949, POP 12 of 1949, RYM 38 of 1949, Europe 51 of the 1940s, Italy 73 of 1955|
|3||Frankie Laine||That Lucky Old Sun||1949||US 1940s 1 – Sep 1949, US 1 for 8 weeks Oct 1949, US BB 2 of 1949, POP 10 of 1949, Europe 40 of the 1940s, RYM 57 of 1949|
|4||The Andrews Sisters||I Can Dream, Can't I?||1949||US 1940s 1 – Oct 1949, US 1 for 4 weeks Jan 1950, Europe 4 of the 1940s, US BB 11 of 1950, POP 23 of 1950, RYM 69 of 1949|
|5||Gene Autry||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer||1949||US 1940s 1 – Dec 1949, US 1 for 1 weeks Jan 1950, RYM 4 of 1949, RIAA 31, Global 33 (5 M sold) – 1949, Acclaimed 1051|
Top hit records 
- "'A' — You're Adorable" – Perry Como
- "Again", recorded by
- "At The End Of The Road" – Frankie Laine
- "Baby, I Need You" – Frankie Laine
- "Baby, It's Cold Outside" – Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark
- "Baby, Just For Me" – Frankie Laine
- "Bali Ha'i" – Perry Como
- "Bamboo" – Vaughn Monroe
- "Bebop Spoken Here" – Frankie Laine
- "Carry Me Back To Old Virginney" – Frankie Laine
- "Coquette" – Guy Lombardo & Jimmy Brown
- "Cruising Down the River", recorded by
- "Dear Hearts and Gentle People", recorded by
- "Deep In The Heart Of Texas" – Bing Crosby, Woody Herman & His Woodchoppers
- "Don't Cry Little Children" – Frankie Laine
- "A Dreamer's Holiday", recorded by
- "Far Away Places", recorded by
- "Forever and Ever" – Russ Morgan
- "Georgia On My Mind" – Frankie Laine
- "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend" – Vaughn Monroe
- "God Bless The Child" – Frankie Laine
- "Jealous Heart" – Al Morgan
- "Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)" – Dinah Shore
- "A Little Bird Told Me" – Evelyn Knight
- "My Hero" – Ralph Flanagan
- "Mule Train", recorded by
- "No Orchids For My Lady" – The Ink Spots
- "'O Sole Mio" – Mario Lanza
- "On The Alamo" – Jo Stafford
- "Powder Your Face with Sunshine" – Evelyn Knight
- "Rockin' Chair" – Frankie Laine
- "Satan Wears A Satin Gown" – Frankie Laine
- "Slap 'Er Down Agin, Paw" – Arthur Godfrey
- "Slippin' Around" – Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely
- "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)" – The Mills Brothers
- "Some Enchanted Evening" – Perry Como
- "Swamp Girl" – Frankie Laine
- The Huckle-Buck", recorded by
- "That Lucky Old Sun" – Frankie Laine
- "They Didn't Believe Me" – Mario Lanza
- "You're Breaking My Heart", recorded by
Top R&B and Country hit records 
- "The Fat Man", by Fats Domino, first record with back beat all the way through
- "When Things Go Wrong With You (It Hurts Me Too)" by Tampa Red, later covered by Elmore James among others
Published popular music 
- "Again" w. Dorcas Cochran m. Lionel Newman
- "Bali Ha'i" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Juanita Hall in the musical South Pacific
- "Bamboo" w. Buddy Bernier m. Nat Simon
- "Beyond The Reef" w.m. Jack Pitman
- "Blame My Absent-Minded Heart" w. Sammy Cahn m. Jule Styne
- "Bloody Mary" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers from the musical South Pacific
- "Blue Ribbon Gal" Irwin Dash & Ross Parker
- "Bluebird On Your Windowsill" w.m. Elizabeth Clarke & Robert Mellin
- "Bonaparte's Retreat" w.m. Pee Wee King
- "Bye Bye Baby" w. Leo Robin m. Jule Styne introduced by Carol Channing and Jack McCauley in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Performed in the film version by Marilyn Monroe.
- "Cafe Mozart Waltz" m. Anton Karas played by Karas on the soundtrack of the film The Third Man.
- "C'Est Si Bon" w. (Eng) Jerry Seelen (Fr) Andre Hornez m. Henri Betti
- "Clopin Clopant" Bruno Coquatrix, Pierre Dudan & Kermit Goell
- "A Cock-Eyed Optimist" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Mary Martin in the musical South Pacific. Mitzi Gaynor sang it in the film version.
- "Count Every Star" w. Sammy Gallop m. Bruno Coquatrix
- "Crazy, He Calls Me" w. Bob Russell m. Carl Sigman
- "Daddy's Little Girl" w.m. Bobby Burke & Horace Gerlach
- "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" w. Bob Hilliard m. Sammy Fain
- "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" w. Leo Robin m. Jule Styne. Introduced by Carol Channing in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Marilyn Monroe performed the number in the film version.
- "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" w.m. Buddy Johnson
- "Dites-Moi" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Michael de Leon and Barbara Luna in the musical South Pacific
- "Don't Cry, Joe (Let Her Go, Let Her Go, Let Her Go)" w.m. Joe Marsala
- "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" w.m. Mack David, Al Hoffman & Jerry Livingston. Ilene Woods provided the vocal for the animated film Cinderella.
- "Dreamer With A Penny" w.m. Allan Roberts & Lester Lee
- "A Dreamer's Holiday" w. Kim Gannon m. Mabel Wayne
- "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later than You Think)" w. Herb Magidson m. Carl Sigman
- "The Fat Man" w. Antoine Domino m. Dave Bartholomew
- "The Four Winds And The Seven Seas" w. Hal David m. Don Rodney
- "Happy Talk" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Juanita Hall in the musical South Pacific.
- "He's A Real Gone Guy" w.m. Nellie Lutcher
- "Homework" w.m. Irving Berlin
- "Honey Bun" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers. Introduced by Mary Martin in the musical South Pacific. Performed in the 1958 film version by Mitzi Gaynor.
- "Hop-Scotch Polka" w.m. William "Billy" Whitlock, Carl Sigman & Gene Rayburn
- "The Horse Told Me" w. Johnny Burke m. Jimmy Van Heusen introduced by Bing Crosby in the film Riding High.
- "The Hot Canary" m. Paul Nero
- "How Can You Buy Killarney?" Hamilton Kennedy, Ted Steels, Freddie Grant (Grundland) & Gerard Morrison
- "How It Lies, How It Lies, How It Lies!" w. Paul Francis Webster m. Sonny Burke
- "The Hucklebuck" w. Roy Alfred m. Andy Gibson
- "Hymne à l'amour" w. Édith Piaf m. Marguerite Monnot
- "I Didn't Know The Gun Was Loaded" w.m. Hank Fort & Herb Leighton
- "I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore" w.m. Bennie Benjamin & George David Weiss
- "I Love You Because" w.m. Leon Payne
- "I Said My Pajamas" w.m. Edward Pola & George Wyle
- "I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas" w.m. Harry Stewart
- "I'll Never Slip Around Again" Floyd Tillman
- "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Mary Martin in the musical South Pacific.
- "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" w.m. Hank Williams
- "It's a Great Feeling" w. Sammy Cahn m. Jule Styne introduced by Doris Day in the film It's a Great Feeling
- "It's So Nice To Have A Man Around The House" w. John Elliot m. Harold Spina
- "Just One Way To Say I Love You" w.m. Irving Berlin introduced by Eddie Albert and Allyn Ann McLerie in the musical Miss Liberty.
- "Let's Take An Old Fashioned Walk" w.m. Irving Berlin introduced by Eddie Albert and Allyn Ann McLerie in the musical Miss Liberty
- "A Little Girl From Little Rock" w. Leo Robin m. Jule Styne introduced by Carol Channing in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe were just two little girls in the film version.
- "Lush Life" w.m. Billy Strayhorn
- "Maybe It's Because" w. Harry Ruby m. Johnnie Scott
- "Melodie d'Amour" w.(Eng) Leo Johns m. Henri Salvador
- "Mona Lisa" w.m. Ray Evans & Jay Livingston
- "Mule Train" w.m. Johnny Lange, Hy Heath & Fred Glickman
- "Music! Music! Music!" w.m. Stephen Weiss & Bernie Baum
- "My Bolero" Kennedy, Simon
- "My Foolish Heart" w. Ned Washington m. Victor Young introduced by Susan Hayward in the film My Foolish Heart
- "My One And Only Highland Fling" w. Ira Gershwin m. Harry Warren introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the film The Barkleys of Broadway.
- "Now That I Need You" w.m. Frank Loesser introduced by Betty Hutton in the film Red, Hot and Blue.
- "The Old Master Painter" w. Haven Gillespie m. Beasley Smith
- "Paris Wakes Up And Smiles" w.m. Irving Berlin introduced by Johnny V. R. Thompson and Allyn Ann McLerie in the musical Miss Liberty
- "Peter Cottontail" w.m. Jack Rollins & Steve Nelson
- "Pigalle" w.m. Georges Konyn, Charles Newman & Georges Ulmer
- "Portrait Of Jenny" w. Gordon Burge m. J. Russell Robinson
- "Put Your Shoes On, Lucy" w.m. Hank Fort
- "Quicksilver" w.m. Irving Taylor, George Wyle & Edward Pola
- "Rag Mop" w.m. Johnnie Lee Wills & Deacon Anderson
- "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend" w.m. Stan Jones
- "The Right Girl For Me" w. Betty Comden & Adolph Green m. Roger Edens introduced by Frank Sinatra in the film Take Me Out to the Ball Game
- "The River Seine" w. (Eng) Allan Roberts & Alan Holt m. Guy La Forge
- "Room Full Of Roses" w.m. Tim Spencer
- "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" w.m. Johnny Marks
- "Saturday Night Fish Fry" w.m. Louis Jordan, Ellis Walsh & Al Carters
- "Scarlet Ribbons" w. Jack Segal m. Evelyn Danzig
- "La Seine" w. Geoffrey Parsons m. Berkeley Fase
- "Sentimental Me" w.m. James T. Morehead & James Cassin
- "Sing Soft, Sing Sweet, Sing Gentle" w.m. Jimmy Durante & Jack Barnett
- "Slippin' Around" w.m. Floyd Tillman
- "Some Day My Heart Will Awake" w. Christopher Hassall m. Ivor Novello. Introduced by Vanessa Lee in the musical King's Rhapsody.
- "Some Enchanted Evening" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Ezio Pinza in the musical South Pacific. Giorgio Tozzi dubbed for Rossano Brazzi in the film.
- "A Strawberry Moon (In A Blueberry Sky)" Bob Hilliard & Sammy Mysels
- "Sunshine Cake" w. Johnny Burke m. Jimmy Van Heusen
- "Swamp Girl" w.m. Michael Brown
- "That Lucky Old Sun" w. Haven Gillespie m. Beasley Smith
- "There Is Nothin' Like A Dame" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers from the musical South Pacific.
- "Third Man Theme" m. Anton Karas played by Karas on the soundtrack of the film The Third Man. Also known as "The Harry Lime Theme".
- "This Nearly Was Mine" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Ezio Pinza in the musical South Pacific. Giorgio Tozzi dubbed for Rossano Brazzi in the film.
- "Through A Long And Sleepless Night" w. Mack Gordon m. Alfred Newman
- "Too-Whit! Too-Whoo!" Billy Reid
- "Twenty-Four Hours Of Sunshine" w. Carl Sigman m. Peter De Rose
- "Up Above My Head" w.m. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
- "The Wedding Of Lili Marlene" w.m. Tommie Connor & Johnny Reine
- "When The Wind Was Green" w.m. Don Hunt
- "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by Mary Martin in the musical South Pacific
- "Yingle Bells" adapt. Harry Stewart
- "You Can Have Him" w.m. Irving Berlin from the musical Miss Liberty
- "Younger Than Springtime" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by William Tabbert in the musical South Pacific
- "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers introduced by William Tabbert in the musical South Pacific
Classical music 
- Aaron Avshalomov – Second Symphony
- Marcel Bitsch – Six Esquisses symphoniques
- Havergal Brian – Symphony No. 8 in B-flat Minor
- George Crumb – Sonata for violin and piano
- Ferenc Farkas – Finnish Popular Dances
- André Jolivet – Flute Concerto
- Paul Hindemith – Sonata for Double Bass and Piano
- Dmitry Kabalevsky – Cello Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op.49 (1948–9)
- Olivier Messiaen – "Neumes rythmiques" and "Mode de valeurs et d'intensités", for piano (later incorporated as two of the Quatre études de rythme)
- Nikolai Myaskovsky – Cello Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, Op.81 (1948–9); Piano Sonatas 7–9, Opp.82–4; Symphony No. 27 in C Minor, Op.85; String Quartet No. 13 in A Minor, Op.86
- Sergei Prokofiev – Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.119
- Dmitri Shostakovich – Song of the Forests (oratorio)
- Edgard Varèse – Dance for Burgess
- Mieczysław Weinberg – Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Op. 47 No. 1
Musical theater 
- Belinda Fair London production opened at the Strand Theatre on June 30 and ran for 131 performances
- Brigadoon London production opened at His Majesty's Theatre on April 14 and ran for 685 performances
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Broadway production opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8 and ran for 740 performances
- King's Rhapsody London production opened at the Palace Theatre on September 15 and ran for 838 performances
- Lost in the Stars (Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill) – Broadway production opened at the Music Box Theatre on October 30 and ran for 273 performances
- Miss Liberty Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on July 15 and ran for 308 performances. Starring Eddie Albert, Allyn Ann McLerie and Mary McCarty
- South Pacific (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) – Broadway production opened at the Majestic Theatre on April 7 and ran for 1925 performances
Musical films 
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad animated film
- The Barkleys of Broadway starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court starring Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, Cedric Hardwicke and William Bendix
- Dancing in the Dark
- Don't Ever Leave Me
- The Great Lover starring Bob Hope and Rhonda Fleming
- Holiday in Havana starring Desi Arnaz and Mary Hatcher.
- In the Good Old Summertime starring Judy Garland, Van Johnson, S. Z. Sakall and Buster Keaton.
- The Inspector General starring Danny Kaye
- It's a Wonderful Day
- Look for the Silver Lining starring June Haver, Ray Bolger and Gordon MacRae
- Make Believe Ballroom starring Jerome Courtland and Ruth Warrick and featuring the King Cole Trio and Frankie Carle & his Orchestra. Directed by Joseph Santley.
- Make Mine Laughs starring Ray Bolger, Anne Shirley, Dennis Day, Joan Davis, Jack Haley, Leon Errol, Frances Langford and Frankie Carle & his Orchestra. Directed by Richard Fleischer.
- Maytime in Mayfair starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding.
- My Dream Is Yours starring Jack Carson and Doris Day and featuring Bugs Bunny. Directed by Michael Curtiz.
- My Friend Irma starring John Lund, Marie Wilson, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Directed by George Marshall.
- Neptune's Daughter starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalbán and Betty Garrett. Directed by Eddie Buzzell.
- Oh, You Beautiful Doll starring June Haver, Mark Stevens and S. Z. Sakall.
- An Old-Fashioned Girl starring Gloria Jean and Jimmy Lydon. Directed by Arthur Dreifuss.
- On the Town starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Jules Munshin and Vera-Ellen.
- Red, Hot And Blue starring Betty Hutton, Victor Mature, William Demarest, June Havoc and Frank Loesser.
- Slightly French starring Dorothy Lamour and Don Ameche.
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game starring Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett, Esther Williams and Jules Munshin.
- That Midnight Kiss starring Kathryn Grayson, José Iturbi, Ethel Barrymore, Mario Lanza and Jules Munshin.
- Top o' the Morning starring Bing Crosby, Ann Blyth, Barry Fitzgerald and Hume Cronyn. Directed by David Miller.
- January 2 – Chick Churchill (Ten Years After)
- January 5 – George Brown (Kool and the Gang)
- January 11 – Frederick Dennis Greene (Sha Na Na)
- January 12 – Andrzej Zaucha, singer
- January 19 – Robert Palmer, singer (d. 2003)
- January 22
- January 24 – John Belushi, comedian, actor and singer (d. 1983)
- February 5 – Nigel Olsson, drummer
- February 12
- February 21 – Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads)
- February 22 – Joseph Hill (Culture) (d. 2006)
- February 23 – Terry Comer (Ace)
- February 29 – Leroy Sibbles (The Heptones)
- March 6 – Mariko Takahashi, pop singer
- March 8 – Antonello Venditti, singer-songwriter
- March 13
- March 17 – Daniel Lavoie, singer-songwriter
- March 19 – Valery Leontiev, singer
- March 20 – Carl Palmer, drummer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
- March 21
- March 24 – Nick Lowe, singer-songwriter
- March 26
- March 29 – Dave Greenfield, The Stranglers
- March 30 – Lene Lovich, singer
- April 1 – Gil Scott-Heron, poet, musician and author
- April 3 – Richard Thompson, folk musician
- April 21 – Patti LuPone, singer
- May 9 – Billy Joel, pianist and singer-songwriter
- May 13 – Overend Pete Watts (Mott the Hoople)
- May 17 – Bill Bruford, drummer (Yes and King Crimson)
- May 18 – Rick Wakeman, multi-instrumentalist and composer
- May 19 – Dusty Hill, guitarist and singer (ZZ Top)
- May 26 – Hank Williams, Jr., country musician
- May 29 – Francis Rossi, guitarist and singer (Status Quo)
- June 11 – Frank Beard, drummer (ZZ Top)
- June 13
- June 14 – Alan White, drummer (Plastic Ono Band, Yes
- June 15
- June 20 – Lionel Richie, singer
- June 22
- June 26
- June 30 – Andrew Scott (Sweet)
- July 3
- July 6
- July 10 – Dave Smalley (The Raspberries)
- July 12 – John Wetton, bass guitarist (King Crimson, Roxy Music)
- July 16 – Ray Major, Mott the Hoople
- July 17 – Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath
- July 18 – Wally Bryson, The Raspberries
- July 26 – Roger Taylor (Queen)
- July 27
- July 28
- August 3 – B. B. Dickerson (War)
- August 11 – Eric Carmen, singer and songwriter
- August 12 – Mark Knopfler, guitarist and singer (Dire Straits)
- August 16 – Bill Spooner (The Tubes)
- August 17 – Sib Hashian (Boston)
- August 20 – Phil Lynott, singer (Thin Lizzy, Grand Slam (d. 1986)
- August 23
- August 25
- August 26 – Bob Cowsill (The Cowsills)
- August 27 – Jeff Cook (Alabama)
- August 28 – Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers)
- September 1 – Greg Errico (Sly & the Family Stone)
- September 5 – Clem Clempson (Humble Pie)
- September 7 – Gloria Gaynor, singer
- September 10 – Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull)
- September 14
- September 18 – Kerry Livgren (Kansas)
- September 20
- September 23 – Bruce Springsteen, singer, songwriter
- September 27 – Jahn Teigen, singer
- September 30 – Eleanor Alberga, Jamaican-British composer
- October 1 – André Rieu, violinist, conductor, and composer
- October 3 – Lindsey Buckingham, guitarist, singer, composer and producer
- October 5 – B. W. Stevenson, progressive country musician (d. 1988)
- October 6 – Thomas McClary (The Commodores)
- October 8 – Michael Rosen (Average White Band)
- October 13 – Gary Richrath (REO Speedwagon)
- October 17 – Bill Hudson, singer (Hudson Brothers)
- October 23 – Würzel (Motörhead) (d. 2011)
- October 27 – Garry Tallent (E Street Band)
- November 6 – Arturo Sandoval, jazz performer
- November 8 – Bonnie Raitt, blues singer-songwriter
- November 12 – Cândida Branca Flor, Portuguese traditional singer and entertainer (d. 2001)
- November 13 – Terry Reid, singer, guitarist
- November 14 – James Young (Styx)
- November 23 – Marcia Griffiths, reggae singer
- November 28 – Paul Shaffer, bandleader, composer and actor (Late Show with David Letterman)
- December 7 – Tom Waits, singer, composer, actor
- December 13 – Tom Verlaine (Television)
- December 14
- December 16 – Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)
- December 17 – Paul Rodgers, vocalist (Free, Bad Company, Queen)
- December 22 – Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb (d. 2003) (Bee Gees)
- December 23
- date unknown
- January 14 – Joaquín Turina, composer, 66
- January 19 – Charles Price Jones, hymn-writer, 83
- February 1 – Herbert Stothart, conductor and composer, 63
- February 11 – Giovanni Zenatello, opera tenor, 73
- March 7 – Sol Bloom, music industry entrepreneur, 78
- March 20 – Irving Fazola, jazz clarinetist, 36 (heart attack)
- March 28 – Grigoraş Dinicu, violinist and composer, 59
- April 3 – Basil Harwood, organist and composer, 89
- May 10 - Emilio de Gogorza, operatic baritone, 74
- June 2 – Dynam-Victor Fumet, organist and composer, 82
- June 4 – Erwin Lendvai, composer and conductor, 66
- June 9 – Maria Cebotari, operatic soprano, 39 (cancer)
- July 7 – Bunk Johnson, jazz trumpeter, exact age unknown
- July 9 – Fritz Hart, composer, 75
- July 18 – Vítězslav Novák, composer, 78
- September 5 - Walter Widdop, operatic tenor, 51
- September 8 – Richard Strauss, composer
- September 11 – Michael Hayvoronsky, violinist, conductor and composer (born 1892)
- September 12 – Harry T. Burleigh, composer and singer
- September 19 – Nikos Skalkottas, Greek composer, student of Arnold Schoenberg
- September 24 – Pierre de Bréville, composer, 88
- September 28 – Nancy Dalberg, Danish composer, 68
- October 1 – Buddy Clark, American singer, 38 (plane crash)
- October 4
- October 20 – Sam Collins, blues singer and guitarist, 62
- October 27 – Ginette Neveu, violin virtuoso, 30 (plane crash)
- November 25 – Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, American tap dancer, singer and actor
- December 6 – Lead Belly, folk and blues musician, 61
- December 11 – Fiddlin' John Carson, country musician, 81
- December 28 – Ivie Anderson, jazz singer, 44 (asthma)
- date unknown