Jimmy Ellis, ‘Disco Inferno’ Singer, Dies at 74

Jimmy Ellis, frontman for the Trammps, is shown in the center of the group known for the 1970s song "Disco Inferno." The singer has died at age 74. The full band, from left to right, is Harold Wade, Earl Young, Jimmy Ellis, Stanley Wade and Robert Upchurch. (Atlantic Records)

Jimmy Ellis, the lead singer of The Trammps, the music group responsible for the 1970s anthem “Disco Inferno,” died in a Rock Hill, S.C. nursing home of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter told The New York Times. He was 74.

Born in South Carolina, Ellis formed the Philadelphia rhythm and blues band the Trammps in the early 1970s. Their hit “Disco Inferno” was featured in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever. The song reached No. 11 on the Billboard pop chart and the movie’s soundtrack climbed to No. 1. The album later won the Grammy for album of the year in 1979. The Trammps continued to be a popular concert draw, and Ellis toured with them until 2008. “Disco Inferno” was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Artist such as Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper have covered the track.

Ellis is survived by his wife, two children, three brothers, one sister, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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