R.I.P. 2020 R.I.P. 2020

Published on January 2nd, 2020 | by Gerry Galipault


R.I.P. 2020

Notable musicians and other music-related figures who have died this year:

Tommy DeVito (a founding member of The Four Seasons)

Georgia Dobbins Davis (an original member of the Marvelettes and co-writer of “Please Mr. Postman”)

Roy Head (1960s singer, best known for “Treat Her Right”)

Pamela Hutchinson (The Emotions)

Dave Kusworth (Jacobites)

Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep and Ozzy Osbourne drummer)

Sid McCray (original lead singer of Bad Brains)

Troy Jones (hit Nashville songwriter)

Roy C, aka Roy Charles Hammond (Southern soul legend)

Al Kasha (Oscar-winning songwriter of “The Morning After”)

Edna Wright (Honey Cone lead singer and sister of Darlene Love)

Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals)

Ronald Bell (co-founder of Kool & The Gang)

Gary Peacock (jazz bass player and member of Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio)

Simeon Coxe (Silver Apples)

Bruce Williamson (The Temptations’ lead singer in the 2000s)

Bill Pursell (Grammy-nominated pianist-composer, famous for “Our Winter Love”)

Ian Mitchell (Bay City Rollers)

Erick Morillo (aka Reel 2 Real, famous for the 1993 hit “I Like to Move It”)

Dan Parise (producer of Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show, the iHeart Radio Festival, etc.)

John Meyer (former Rose Tattoo guitarist)

Jay White (The Agony Scene bassist)

Clarence Burke Sr. (father and manager of the members of the singing group The Five Stairsteps)

Riley Gale (Power Trip lead singer)

Justin Townes Earle (singer-songwriter and son of Steve Earle)

Pandit Jasraj (master Indian vocalist)

Yiannis Poulopoulos (Greek singer)

Walter Lure (co-founder of the ’70s punk group The Heartbreakers)

Lou Ragland (The World Famous Ink Spots)

Jack Sherman (former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist)

Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot drummer)

DJ Rogers (1970s soul singer)

Hal Singer (jazz saxophonist)

Ron “Rontrose” Heathman (former Supersuckers guitarist)

Todd Nance (founding member of Widespread Panic)

Arcelio Garcia (lead singer of Malo)

Steve Grossman (saxophonist and former Miles Davis band member)

Edward “Felix” McTeigue (country songwriter)

Pandit Jasraj (Indian classical vocalist)

Pete Way (UFO bassist)

Duane L. Tatro (TV composer)

Trini Lopez (singer-actor)

Julian Bream (classical guitarist)

Martin Birch (producer worked on albums by Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Rainbow, etc.)

Wayne Fontana (Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders)

Salome Bey (Canada’s first lady of the blues)

Helen Jones Woods (trombonist with the pioneering all-female WWII-era big band International Sweethearts of Rhythm)

Billy Goldenberg (Emmy-winning composer and songwriter)

Pat O’Day (famed Seattle disc jockey)

Tony Costanza (former Machine Head and Crowbar drummer)

FBG Duck (Chicago rapper)

Michael Smith (folk singer-songwriter whose songs have been covered by Jimmy Buffett, Steve Goodman, Suzy Bogguss, David Allan Coe, Spanky and Our Gang, etc.)

Steve Holland (guitarist and last surviving original member of Molly Hatchet)

Randy Barlow (traditional country artist)

Bill Mack (country music icon wrote the Patsy Cline hit “Blue”)

Alan Parker (British filmmaker directed such movie hits as “Fame,” “Pink Floyd: The Wall,” “Evita” and “The Commitments”)

Balla Sidibé (Orchestra Baobab)

Bent Fabric (pianist-composer best known for “Alley Cat”)

Bennett Glotzer (manager who repped Frank Zappa and Janis Joplin)

Malik B. (a founding member of The Roots)

Pepe Cardona (Alive and Kicking)

Miss Mercy (Frank Zappa muse and style icon who co-founded GTOs, Girls Together Outrageously)

Joseph B. Jefferson (Nat Turner Rebellion member co-wrote several hits for The Spinners, including “Games People Play,” “Mighty Love” and “One of a Kind [Love Affair]”)

Denise Johnson (session and touring vocalist sang on Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica,” as well as recordings by Pet Shop Boys, Electronic, etc.)

Peter Green (guitarist and founding member of Fleetwood Mac)

Tony Elliott (founder of the Time Out magazine empire)

Mickey McGee (Goose Creek Symphony drummer who worked with Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, etc.)

Tim Smith (frontman of U.K. cult rock band Cardiacs)

Jamie Oldaker (Tractors drummer)

Annie Ross (of the jazz vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross)

Emitt Rhodes (power-pop legend)

Ryan Bowers (San Diego rapper)

Víctor Víctor (Dominican artist best known for the hit “Mesita de Noche”)

Philip Ashley (session keyboardist played on hits for KISS, Billy Idol, Aerosmith, Mick Jagger, etc.)

Eddie Gale (trumpeter for Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor)

Rich Priske (Matthew Good Band)

Rod Bernard (swamp pop musician and broadcaster)

Lil Marlo (Atlanta rapper)

Gordon Stone (banjo and pedal steel guitar player who collaborated with Phish)

Benjamin Keough (musician, son of Lisa Marie Presley and grandson of Elvis Presley)

Judy Dyble (singer and founding member of Fairport Convention)

Gary Walker (founder of Nashville record shop The Great Escape)

Fiona Adams (photographer of The Beatles and other rock stars)

Tami Lynn (American soul singer who scored a U.K. Top hit with “I’m Gonna Run Away From You” in 1971)

Charlie Daniels (Country Music Hall of Famer)

Ennio Morricone (Spaghetti Western movie composer)

Joe Porcaro (session drummer-percussionist and father of Toto members Jeff, Mike and Steve Porcaro)

Nick Cordero (Broadway veteran)

Sharon Paige (soul singer performed with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes)

Mary “Mickey” Diage (Capitol Records staffer going back to the Beatles)

Willie Wright (soul singer-songwriter)

Carl Reiner (actor, writer and producer and Grammy-nominated comedian, with Mel Brooks, for the album “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks”)

Johnny Mandel (“M*A*S*H” theme song composer)

Hachalu Hundessa (Ethiopian protest singer)

Benny Mardones (singer-songwriter, of “Into the Night” fame)

Manuel “Cowboy” Donley (“Godfather of Tejano music”)

Tom Finn (founding member of The Left Banke)

Freddy Cole (singer and younger brother of Nat King Cole)

Arnie Ginsburg (famed Boston disc jockey)

Pete Carr (Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section guitarist played on “Kodachrome,” “Tonight’s the Night [Gonna Be Alright],” “Mainstreet,” etc.)

Charles Lawton Jiles (wrote songs for Patsy Cline and other artists and was bandleader for Buck Owens in the 1960s)

Jacqueline Cavanagh (entertainment publicist)

Huey (rapper famous for the 2006 hit “Pop, Lock & Drop It”)

Graeme Williamson (Pukka Orchestra)

Siya Kakkar (TikTok star popular for her Indian music and dance-themed content)

Jesse Sanders (a founding member of The Tornadoes)

Lynford “Hux” Brown (session guitarist played on Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” and Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come”)

Kay Bateman (longtime manager of The Fall)

Tray Savage (Chicago rapper)

Ellington “Fugi” Jordan (co-wrote Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind”)

Elly Stone (distinctive singer in “Jacques Brel” revue)

Dame Vera Lynn (singer and “Forces’ Sweetheart”)

Frederick C. Tillis (jazz / classical music composer)

Kim Jeong-hwan, aka Yohan (of the K-pop group TST)

Larry Johnson (songwriter co-wrote Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl”)

Glenn Ray (country songwriter wrote the John Anderson hit “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories”)

Maiesha Rashad (“first lady of go-go music”)

Tyrone Proctor (“Soul Train” dancer popularized the L.A. dance style “waacking” and choreographed for New Kids on the Block, etc.)

Keith Tippett (early King Crimson collaborator)

Bobby Lewis (R&B singer, of “Tossin’ and Turnin'” fame)

Ricky Valance (first Welshman to have a U.K. No. 1 song)

Pau Donés (lead singer of the Spanish rock band Jarabe de Palo)

James “Slim” Hand (Austin singer-songwriter)

Paul Chapman (former UFO guitarist)

Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters)

Claude Heater (opera singer portrayed Jesus in the Oscar-winning film “Ben-Hur”)

Rupert Hine (producer, singer and songwriter; produced Stevie Nicks, Rush, The Fixx, etc.)

Mark Barkan (songwriter; “Pretty Flamingo,” “The Tra La La Song,” etc.)

Steve Priest (bassist and founding member of Sweet)

Chris Trousdale (Dream Street)

Terry Quirk (artist designed the album cover for The Zombies’ classic “Odessey and Oracle”)

Lennie Niehaus (Emmy-winning film composer and frequent Clint Eastwood collaborator)

Jimmy Capps (Grand Ole Opry guitarist)

Joey Image (Misfits drummer)

Robert Northern, aka “Brother Ah” (jazz musician and a member of Sun Ra Arkestra)

Bob Kulick (KISS guitarist)

Bobby Digital (Jamaican reggae producer)

Bucky Baxter (pedal-steel guitarist toured with Bob Dylan and was a founding member of Steve Earle’s Dukes)

Jimmy Cobb (jazz drummer played on “Kind of Blue” and other Miles Davis albums)

Mory Kanté (African music star)

Nolan Porterfield (producer and host of “Old Scratchy Records” on WKU Public Radio and author of “Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America’s Blue Yodeler”)

David Hayman (music supervisor who worked on the “Once We Were Brothers” documentary, “Schitt’s Creek,” “Letterkenny,” etc.)

Lucky Peterson (blues legend)

Phil May (The Pretty Things)

Jorge Santana (a founder of Malo and younger brother of Carlos Santana)

Astrid Kirchherr (photographer of the Beatles and former fiancée of Stuart Sutcliffe)

Melva Houston (Stax and Hi backup singer)

Moon Martin (singer-songwriter; “Bad Case of Loving You,” “Rolene”)

Darick Campbell (The Campbell Brothers)

Fuzzy Owen (Bakersfield Sound icon)

Jonathan Pierce (gospel singer)

Betty Wright (R&B singer; “Clean Up Woman”)

Little Richard (rock ‘n’ roll pioneer)

Andre Harrell (music executive who founded Uptown Records, headed Motown and gave Sean “Puffy” Combs his first break)

Benny Garcia (guitar tech and musician had a 50-year friendship and 30-year working relationship with Vince Gill)

Hillard “Sweet Pea” Atkinson (Was [Not Was] singer)

John Macurdy (Met Opera singer)

Ty (Mercury prize-nominated UK rapper)

Brian Howe (Bad Company singer)

John Erhardt (Ass Ponys and Wussy)

Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk co-founder)

Millie Small (Jamaican singer, best known for “My Boy Lollipop”)

Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers keyboardist)

Cady Groves (pop/country singer)

Bob Garcia (longtime A&M executive)

Hamilton Bohannon (disco drummer and bandleader)

Oscar Chávez (Mexican protest singer)

John Lancaster (Gary Allan’s keyboardist)

Tony Allen (drummer for Fela Anikulapo Kuti and an Afrobeat founder)

Scott Taylor (Then Jerico guitarist)

Danny Leake (noted studio and live engineer)

India Adams (Hollywood “ghost singer” sang in MGM movie musicals)

Troy Sneed (Grammy-nominated gospel singer)

Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers)

Derek Jones (Falling in Reverse guitarist)

Fred the Godson (New York rapper)

Ian Whitcomb (British singer, best known for “You Turn Me On [Turn On Song]”)

Wallace Roney (jazz trumpeter)

Barney Ales (former Motown Records president)

Matthew Seligman (former Soft Boys bassist played on albums by Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby, David Bowie, etc.)

Moraes Moreira (Brazilian songwriter and “Cowboy of Sound”)

Knox Phillips (studio owner, engineer and producer and son of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips)

Sibel Thrasher (singer who was featured heavily on Destroyer’s 2011 album “Kaputt”)

Christophe (French pop balladeer)

Gary McSpadden (former member of Oak Ridge Boys, Bill Gaither Trio and Gaither Vocal Band)

Lee Konitz (alto sax great)

Christen Thomas (champion of Chicago music)

Ryo Kawasaki (jazz fusion guitarist and inventor of the guitar synthesizer)

Ceybil Jeffries, aka Sweet Sable (house dance music legend)

Art Dudley (music journalist / deputy editor at Stereophile Magazine)

Jimmy Webb (punk icon; owner of Trash and Vaudeville shop in New York City)

Eddy Davis (Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band)

Carl E. Dobkins Jr. (country singer; “My Heart’s an Open Book”)

Steve Farmer (The Amboy Dukes)

Andy González (Latin dance and jazz bassist)

Travis Nelsen (former Okkervil River drummer)

Chynna Rogers (rapper)

Krzysztof Penderecki (Polish composer and conductor)

John Prine (Grammy-winning singer-songwriter)

Hal Willner (music producer and “SNL” alum)

Alex Harvey (singer-songwriter wrote “Delta Dawn”)

Bill Withers (soul legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer)

Luis Eduardo Aute (Spanish singer-songwriter)

Ellis Marsalis (jazz master and musical family patriarch)

Bucky Pizzarelli (jazz guitarist)

Cristina Monet Zilkha (1980s art-pop singer)

Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne and Ivy)

Delroy Washington (reggae singer)

Bob Ojeda (jazz trumpeter, composer and arranger)

Bubbha Thomas (jazz drummer)

Alan Merrill (lead singer of the Arrows co-wrote “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”)

Joe Diffie (country star)

Jan Howard (country singer and Grand Ole Opry member)

Lou “L.A.” Kouvaris (original Riot guitarist)

Bill Martin (Scottish songwriter co-wrote many 1960s and ’70s hits, including Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night” and Elvis Presley’s “My Boy”)

Bob Andy (Bob & Marcia)

Gabriel “Gabi” Delgado-López (of the influential German electronic duo D.A.F.)

Karen Ichiuji-Ramone (wife of the late Phil Ramone and one of Karen Carpenter’s closest friends; under the stage name, Karen Kamon, she performed the song “Manhunt” on the “Flashdance” soundtrack and charted briefly with “Loverboy” in August 1984)

Phil Phillips (“Sea of Love” singer)

Manu Dibango (Afro-Funk sax legend)

Cy Tucker (British singer)

Mike Longo (jazz pianist and longtime musical director for Dizzy Gillespie)

Bill Rieflin (former King Crimson and R.E.M. drummer)

Tres Warren (Psychic Ills)

Julie Felix (Britain’s First Lady of Folk)

Eric Weissberg (“Dueling Banjos” musician)

Kenny Rogers (country music legend)

Jerry Slick (founder of The Great Society and first husband of Grace Slick)

Joey Bautista (lead singer of OPM band Mulatto)

Ramsey Kearney (country singer-songwriter)

Jason Rainey (Sacred Reich guitarist)

Suzy Delair (French actress and chanteuse)

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle / Psychic TV)

Pete Mitchell (DJ for BBC Radio 2 and 6Music)

Don Burrows (Australian jazz legend)

Danny Ray Thompson (saxophonist for Sun Ra)

“Snooky” Flowers (sax player in Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues Band)

Tom Watkins (artist manager who helped launch the Pet Shop Boys’ career)

Eric Taylor (Texas singer-songwriter)

Keith Olsen (star-making, hit-making producer)

Charlie Baty (Little Charlie and the Nightcats)

Jim Owen (country singer-songwriter; best known for writing “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”)

Laura Smith (Canadian folk singer-songwriter)

Biff Adam (longtime drummer for Merle Haggard)

Steve Weber (The Holy Modal Rounders)

McCoy Tyner (influential jazz pianist)

Barbara Martin (early Supremes member)

Walt Mills (gospel music legend)

Mike Somerville (former Head East guitarist)

Nick Apollo Forte (actor-singer, most famous for “Broadway Danny Rose”)

David Roback (Mazzy Star co-founder and guitarist)

Derrell Stewart (The Florida Boys)

Lindsey Lagestee (Dixie Crush)

Pop Smoke (rising rapper)

Ron Thompson (Bay Area blues guitar legend)

Zoe Caldwell (four-time Tony Award winner)

Ja’net DuBois (“Good Times” actress composed and sang the “Movin’ On Up” theme song for “The Jeffersons”)

Jimmy Edward (lead singer of the pioneering Tejano band Latin Breed)

Andrew Weatherall (DJ, remixer and producer)

Buzzy Linhart (underrated singer-songwriter)

Jacob Thiele (former keyboardist for The Faint)

James Carmichael (lead singer of Instant Funk)

Derrick Lara (The Tamlins)

Mike Lilly (bluegrass banjoist)

Bonnie MacLean (rock poster artist)

Paul English (longtime Willie Nelson drummer and manager)

Joseph Shabalala (Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder)

Lyle Mays (Pat Metheny Group)

Lynn Evans Mand (The Chordettes)

Paula Kelly (dancer and Broadway star)

Mirella Freni (opera star)

Diego Farias (former Volumes guitarist)

Steven Cagan (composer-conductor)

Buddy Cage (former New Riders of the Purple Sage pedal steel guitarist)

Josh Pappe (D.R.I. / Gang Green bassist)

Andrew Brough (Straitjacket Fits)

Ivan Kral (co-founding guitarist for Blondie)

Harold Beane (guitarist for Isaac Hayes and Funkadelic)

Peter Serkin (Grammy-nominated pianist)

Andy Gill (Gang of Four)

Lucien Barbarin (trombonist for Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Harry Connick Jr.)

Ed Setser (songwriter who wrote “Seven Spanish Angels” and Eric Clapton’s “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart”)

Wes Wilson (psychedelic rock concert poster artist)

Natasha Stuart (star of Australia’s “The Voice”)

Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity drummer)

Bob Shane (co-founder of The Kingston Trio)

Sean Reinert (Death / Cynic drummer)

Joseph Payne (former bassist for Nile and Divine Heresy)

Mark Yeary (keyboardist with Merle Haggard and the Strangers)

Terry Jones (Monty Python co-founder)

Robert Parker (R&B singer-songwriter, most famous for “Barefootin'”)

Barry Mayger (founder of Chicory Tip)

Claudio Roditi (Brazilian trumpet virtuoso)

Jimmy Heath (jazz saxophone legend)

David Olney (singer-songwriter)

Steve Martin Caro (The Left Banke)

Chris Darrow (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The Corvettes)

Neil Peart (Rush drummer)

5th Ward Weebie (New Orleans bounce music pioneer)

Edd Byrnes (“Grease” star and one-hit recording artist)

Pat Collins (fiddler in Mushroom and Café Orchestra)

Martin Griffin (former Hawkwind drummer)

Nick Blagona (veteran studio engineer)

Norma Tanega (“Cat Named Dog” singer; her Dec. 29, 2019, death wasn’t reported until Jan. 2, 2020)

Tommy Hancock (influential Texas musician)

Lexii Alijai (21-year-old rapper)

Marty Grebb (The Buckinghams)

R.I.P. 2019

R.I.P. 2018

R.I.P. 2017

R.I.P. 2016

R.I.P. 2015

R.I.P. 2014

R.I.P. 2013

R.I.P. 2012

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About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.

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