R.I.P. 2021 R.I.P. 2021

Published on January 1st, 2021 | by Gerry Galipault

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R.I.P. 2021

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

Jay Black (Jay & The Americans)

Phil Leadbetter (bluegrass artist)

Leslie Bricusse (“Goldfinger” songwriter also co-wrote “Candy Man,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Talk to the Animals”)

Ralph Carmichael (film and TV composer and arranger of Christmas classics)

Joe Palmaccio (Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer)

Ronnie Tutt (longtime drummer for Elvis Presley)

Alan Hawkshaw (British TV theme composer)

Billy Robinson (Hank Williams and Grand Ole Opry steel guitarist)

Bob Fisher (music journalist and catalog expert)

Regi Hargis (Brick co-founder and guitarist)

Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains founder)

Deon Estus (Wham! and George Michael bassist and solo singer, best known for “Heaven Help Me”)

Everett Morton (The English Beat drummer)

Robert Altman (Rolling Stone magazine photographer)

Greg Gilbert (The Delays)

Barry Ryan (British pop singer)

Dr. Lonnie Smith (master of the Hammond organ)

Andrea Martin (R&B singer-songwriter)

Sue Thompson (pop-country singer, best known for “Sad Movies [Make Me Cry]” and “Norman”)

George Frayne, aka Commander Cody

Alan Lancaster (Status Quo bassist)

Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis (James Brown bandleader and prolific songwriter)

Bob Moore (Nashville “A Team” bassist)

Richard H Kirk (Cabaret Voltaire)

Sarah Dash (Labelle)

Courtney Granger (The Pine Leaf Boys)

Jane Powell (actress-singer; star of the movie musicals “Royal Wedding” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”)

Freddie Combs (“X Factor” singing star and minister)

Michael Chapman (British folk artist)

Ruth Olay (acclaimed jazz singer)

Roger Newell (bassist for Rick Wakeman)

George Wein (co-founder and creator of Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival)

Don Maddox (The Maddox Brothers & Rose)

Mick Brigden (tour manager for The Rolling Stones and many others)

María Mendiola (Baccara)

Susan Anway (original Magnetic Fields singer)

Jerry Blair (veteran music promoter)

Tony Banks (iHeartMedia’s director of talent development)

Dell Furano (co-founder of Winterland Productions and Epic Rights)

Carl Bean (singer of gay pride hit “I Was Born This Way”)

Phil Schaap (Grammy-winning jazz DJ and historian)

Lee Williams (The Spiritual QC’s)

Bennie Pete (Hot 8 Brass Band)

Sunil Perera (Sri Lankan music legend)

Sarah Harding (Girls Aloud)

Rickie Lee Reynolds (Black Oak Arkansas guitarist)

Tim Akers (session keyboardist)

Carol Fran (Louisiana blues artist)

Mikis Theodorakis (Greek composer)

John Drake (Amboy Dukes vocalist)

Brian Green (keyboardist for Steven Curtis Chapman)

Ruth Marx (commercial jingle singer and mother of Richard Marx)

Ron Bushy (Iron Butterfly drummer)

Lee “Scratch” Perry (reggae / dub legend)

George Horn (mastering engineer)

Sheila Bromberg (harpist played on The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home”)

Kim Tribble (country songwriter)

Sir Victor Uwaifo (Nigerian singer-guitarist)

Kenny Malone (country session drummer)

Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones drummer)

Fritz McIntyre (original Simply Red keyboardist)

Dennis Caplinger (Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist)

Don Everly (Rock and Roll Hall of Famer)

Brian Travers (founding member of UB40)

Lisa Lee (Academy of Country Music senior executive)

Gary “Chicken” Hirsh (Country Joe & the Fish drummer)

Eddie Middleton (NewSong)

Eric Wagner (former Trouble singer)

Bill Emerson (Bluegrass Hall of Fame banjo player)

Tom T. Hall (Country Music Hall of Fame singer-songwriter)

Larry Harlow (iconic salsa musician and producer)

Squeak (Chicago hip-hop group Pivot Gang)

Nanci Griffith (Grammy-winning folk singer-songwriter)

Walter Yetnikoff (longtime Columbia Records president/CEO)

Chucky Thompson (part of Bad Boy Entertainment’s in-house “Hitmen” production crew)

Jane Withers (actress-singer)

Bob Ringwald (jazz ambassador and father of Molly Ringwald)

Dennis “D.T.” Thomas (Kool & The Gang)

Paul Johnson (Chicago house music DJ)

Patricia Kennealy-Morrison (rock journalist, author and partner of Jim Morrison)

Razzy Bailey (country singer-songwriter; “I Hate Hate,” “9,999,999 Tears,” “Loving Up a Storm,” etc.)

Alvin Ing (Broadway actor-singer starred in “Flower Drum Song”)

Paul Cotton (longtime Poco guitarist-singer)

Charles Connor (drummer for Little Richard)

Jacob Desvarieux (co-founder of the pioneering Caribbean zouk music band Kassav’)

Dusty Hill (bassist and founding member of ZZ Top)

Johnny Ventura (legendary Dominican merenguero)

Willie Winfield (The Harptones)

Clarence “Mac” McDonald (session keyboardist and producer)

Joey Jordison (former Slipknot drummer)

Chuck E. Weiss (singer-songwriter and the subject of “Chuck E.’s in Love”)

Jerry Granelli (jazz drummer played on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as part of Vince Guaraldi Trio)

Martin Kahan (1980s-’90s music video director)

Robby Steinhardt (violinist and founding member of Kansas)

Tolis Voskopoulos (Greek folk singer)

Sir Graham Vick (founder and artistic director of Birmingham Opera Company)

Dolores Claman (“Hockey Night in Canada” theme song composer)

Joe Cassidy (musician, songwriter and artist manager)

Biz Markie (“Just a Friend” rapper)

Gary Corbett (session keyboardist and songwriter co-wrote Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop”)

Jeff LaBar (Cinderella guitarist)

Jono Coleman (British TV and radio star)

Byron Berline (fiddler played for Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, et al)

Andy Williams (former Casting Crowns drummer)

Chick Vennera (actor-singer)

John Lawton (former Uriah Heep singer)

Sanford Clark (rockabilly singer best known for “The Fool”)

Rick Laird (bassist for Mahavishnu Orchestra)

Bryan St. Pere (longtime drummer for Hum)

Stuart Damon (“General Hospital” and Broadway star)

Peter Zinovieff (founder of EMS, maker of the Synthi and VCS3; his instruments were used by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Kraftwerk, etc.)

Jon Hassell (trumpeter and “Fourth World” composer)

Johnny Solinger (former Skid Row singer)

Ellen McIlwaine (Canadian blues singer-guitarist)

Don Hill (saxophonist with The Treniers)

Timothy J. Parker, aka Gift of Gab (Blackalicious)

Jim Bessman (music journalist for Billboard and other trades)

Nobuo Hara (Japanese jazz saxophonist)

Janet D’Addario (co-founder of D’Addario & Company, manufacturer of musical instrument strings and accessories)

Jim “Koz” Kozlowski (indie rock label veteran)

Juan Nelson (longtime bassist for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals)

Karla Burns (operatic mezzo-soprano and Tony-nominated actress for “Show Boat”)

Jon Lukas (Maltese singer who had a U.K. Top 40 hit with “Can’t Afford to Lose”)

Grace Griffith (folk and Celtic singer who championed Eva Cassidy)

David Cutler Lewis (Ambrosia keyboardist)

Erin O’Brien (singer and “77 Sunset Strip” actress)

Farhad Humayun (Pakistani singer)

Alfonso Paredes “Niño Alfonso” (flamenco singer)

John Matousek (mastering engineer at Motown and founder of Masterworks Digital Audio)

Karla Burns (music theater trailblazer who won coveted Olivier award)

Turn Me Up Josh (hip-hop producer)

Lil Loaded (Dallas rapper)

Johnny Trudell (trumpeter played on many Motown hits in the 1960s and ’70s, including Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” album)

B.J. Thomas (hit-making singer)

Glenn Douglas Tubb (country songwriter)

Jesus “Chuy” Negrete (Chicago folk singer)

Craig Duffy (U.K. tour manager worked with Duran Duran, The Damned, Blur, etc.)

Patrick Sky (1960s folk singer-songwriter)

Dewayne Blackwell (songwriter wrote “Friends in Low Places,” “Mr. Blue,” etc.)

Florian Pilkington-Miksa (Curved Air drummer)

John Davis (the “real” Milli Vanilli singer)

Kevin Clark (“School of Rock” drummer)

Lou Robin (concert promoter and Johnny Cash’s longtime manager)

Rusty Warren (female comedian released 15 comedy albums)

Zion Aquino (Filipino singer-songwriter)

Chi Modu (famed hip-hop photographer)

Alix Dobkin (singer/feminist activist)

Roger Hawkins (longtime drummer in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section)

Franco Battiato (Italian singer)

Patsy Bruce (songwriter and widow of Ed Bruce)

Neal Ford (Neal Ford and the Fanatics)

Fred Dellar (music journalist and crossword compiler)

J. Yoon (singer with Korean band M.C. The Max)

Jack Terricloth (The World/Inferno Friendship Society)

Norman Simmons (jazz pianist)

Bob Koester (owner of Chicago’s legendary Jazz Record Mart and founder of Delmark Records)

Pervis Staples (The Staple Singers)

Rob Farr (Warrior bassist)

Daniel Hutchens (Bloodkin co-founder)

Andrew Bernard (John Fred & His Playboy Band, co-writer of “Judy In Disguise [With Glasses]”)

Lloyd Price (R&B singer, best known for “Stagger Lee” and “Personality”)

Nick Kamen (British singer and model)

Ed Ward (music journalist, author and historian)

Tony Smith (veteran New York disco DJ)

Tommy West (one-half of Cashman & West and co-producer of Jim Croce albums)

Charles McCardell (Time-Life music writer-producer)

Pierce Fulton (EDM producer)

Bobby Morris (drummer to the Vegas greats)

Phil Naro (Talas singer)

Ray Reyes (Menudo)

Malcolm Campbell (veteran SPIN, Fader, Blender publishing executive)

Will Mecum (Karma to Burn)

Johnny Crawford (actor-singer)

John Hinch (drummer on first Judas Priest album)

Nick Weaver (Deep Sea Arcade co-founder)

Al Schmitt (23-time Grammy-winning engineer)

Charlie Black (Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer co-wrote “Shadows in the Moonlight” and “A Little Good News” for Anne Murray and Jennifer Warnes’ “I Know a Heartache When I See One”)

Bob Fass (pioneer of underground radio)

Shock G (Digital Underground rapper)

Les McKeown (Bay City Rollers)

Milva (Italian singer popular in the 1960s and ’70s)

Christa Ludwig (opera singer)

Joe Long (a member of the Four Seasons from 1965 to 1975)

Jim Steinman (Meat Loaf songwriter, writer of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and solo artist)

Eric Roberts (Welsh baritone)

Paul Oscher (Austin blues musician played in Muddy Waters’ band)

Wayne Peterson (Pulitzer Prize-winning composer)

Lars Ratz (former bassist and keyboardist for Metalium)

Mike Mitchell (founding guitarist of The Kingsmen)

Black Rob (former Bad Boy Records rapper)

Pat Rizzo (former Sly and the Family Stone saxophonist)

Barry Mason (British songwriter co-wrote “The Last Waltz,” “Delilah,” “Love Grows [Where My Rosemary Goes],” “Winter World of Love,” etc.)

Rusty Young (Poco co-founder)

Sonny Simmons (alto saxophonist)

Mary Ellen Pracht (Metropolitan Opera singer)

Trinity (reggae artist)

DMX (rapper-actor)

Shay Healy (Irish broadcaster and Eurovision-winning songwriter)

Quindon Tarver (former “American Idol” contestant)

Bill Owens (Dolly Parton’s uncle and musical mentor)

Paul Humphrey (frontman of Canadian ‘80s band Blue Peter)

Ralph Schuckett (former keyboardist for Todd Rundgren’s Utopia)

Tony Pola (Beasts of Bourbon drummer)

B.B. Dickerson (founding member of War)

Jill Corey (1950s singer)

Jane Manning (opera soprano)

Patrick Juvet (’70s disco star)

Malcolm Cecil (synth pioneer and Stevie Wonder collaborator)

Rob Vitale (Black Train Jack and Nine Lives frontman)

Ethel Gabriel (pioneering female A&R executive and producer for RCA Records)

Don Heffington (Lone Justice drummer and session player)

Constance Demby (ambient/space music pioneer)

JT Gray (longtime owner of Nashville’s Station Inn)

Dan Sartain (cult rocker)

Randy Myers (songwriter, co-writer of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” with his sister Jackie DeShannon)

Paul Jackson (bassist for Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters)

Corey Steger (former Underoath singer)

Matt “Money” Miller (founding member of Titus Andronicus)

James Levine (former Met Opera maestro)

Gerri Miller (longtime editor of Metal Edge)

Reggie Warren (Troop)

Doug Parkinson (Australian musician)

Dion Hirini (guitarist for Paul Kelly and Vika & Linda)

Isidore Mankofsky (“Jazz Singer,” “Muppet Movie” cinematographer)

Sally Grossman (widow of Bob Dylan manager who famously posed on album cover)

Carmel Quinn (Irish singer and storyteller)

Lou Ottens (inventor of the cassette tape)

Alan Cartwright (former Procol Harum bassist)

LG Petrov (Entombed)

Chucky Trill (rising Texas rap artist)

Max Graham (Kind Country)

Michael Stanley (Cleveland rock legend)

Tony Hendra (actor and National Lampoon alumunus played the band manager in “This Is Spın̈al Tap”)

Bhaskar Menon (founding chairman and CEO at EMI Music Worldwide)

Barbara Ess (Y Pants)

Duffy Jackson (drummer with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and others)

Joan Weldon (opera singer and “Them!” star)

Bunny Wailer (reggae legend and the last surviving member of the Wailers)

Chris Barber (British jazz trombonist)

Ralph Peterson Jr. (Jazz Messenger Big Band)

Ian North (Milk ‘N’ Cookies)

Patti Palmer (1940s singer, Jerry Lewis’ ex-wife and mother of Gary Lewis)

Robert “Bob” James (former Montrose singer)

Dave Philips (guitarist with Frank Black and Tommy Stinson)

Peter Ostroushko (fiddler/mandolinist was a regular on “A Prairie Home Companion” and played with music legends like Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris)

Antoine Hodge (Met Opera singer who last performed in “Porgy and Bess”)

Sean Kennedy (former I Killed the Prom Queen bassist)

James Burke (The Five Stairsteps)

Gene Taylor (The Blasters)

Djordje Balasevic (Serbian pop singer)

U-Roy (legendary reggae toaster)

Prince Markie Dee (The Fat Boys)

Miles Seaton (Akron/Family)

Françoise Cactus (Stereo Total)

Carman (pioneering Christian singer)

Ketchy the Great (L.A. rapper)

Raymond Lévesque (Quebec singer-songwriter)

Johnny Pacheco (salsa music bandleader and Fania Records co-founder)

Cedrick “Swab” Cotton (former Ideal singer)

Ari Gold (pioneering LGBTQ singer-dancer)

Louis Clark (conducted and arranged music for Electric Light Orchestra and Hooked On Classics)

Johnny Rogan (music biographer)

Rupert Neve (audio equipment pioneer)

Chick Corea (jazz keyboard legend)

Richie Albright (Waylon Jennings’ longtime drummer)

Mary Wilson (co-founder of The Supremes)

Elliot Mazer (producer-engineer for The Band, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, etc.)

Christopher Plummer (Oscar winner and star of “The Sound of Music”)

Gil Saunders (former Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes singer)

Yiannis Polykandriotis (popular Greek bouzouki player)

Nolan Porter (L.A. singer whose music rose to prominence as part of the U.K.’s northern soul movement in the 1970s)

Chuck Kaye (the force behind the formation of Warner Chappell Music and later headed publishing at DreamWorks)

Jim Weatherly (singer-songwriter wrote “Midnight Train to Georgia”)

Anne Feeney (folk singer, songwriter and guitarist)

Hal Holbrook (film and Broadway actor)

Danny Ray (valet, emcee and ‘cape man’ for James Brown)

Double K (People Under the Stairs)

Sophie (Grammy-nominated experimental artist and producer)

Hilton Valentine (original Animals guitarist)

Billy Ryan (guitarist played in pre-E Street bands)

James White (owner of iconic Austin honky-tonk Broken Spoke)

Jonas Gwangwa (South African jazz musician whose music in “Cry Freedom” received two Oscar nominations)

Joe Camarillo (The Waco Brothers)

Tom Stevens (The Long Ryders)

James Purify (James & Bobby Purify)

Perry Botkin Jr. (film and TV composer and Grammy-winning arranger of “Nadia’s Theme”)

Ron Campbell (Beatles cartoon and “Yellow Submarine” animator)

Narendra Chanchal (Bhajan singer)

Randy Parton (singer-songwriter and younger brother of Dolly Parton)

Winfield Parker (R&B vocalist and saxophonist who accompanied Little Richard, Otis Redding and Ike & Tina Turner)

Jimmie Rodgers (early rock star and “Honeycomb” singer)

Junior Mance (jazz pianist)

Hugh X. Lewis (country singer-songwriter)

Sammy Nestico (Count Basie arranger)

Little Walter DeVenne (Boston DJ, remastering engineer and host of the syndicated retro oldies program “Little Walter’s Time Machine”)

Phil Spector (legendary producer)

Jason “Rowdy” Cope (The Steel Woods)

Don Miller (lead singer of The Vogues)

Duke Bootee (rapper and co-writer of the hip-hop classic “The Message”)

Chris Murphy (longtime manager of INXS)

Duranice Pace (The Pace Sisters)

Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls guitarist)

Larry Willoughby (A&R executive at Capitol Records)

Joanne Rogers (pianist and wife of Fred Rogers)

Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge bassist)

Howard Johnson (tuba player with The Band, Taj Mahal, etc.)

David Darling (Grammy-winning cellist)

Mark Keds (Senseless Things)

Michael Fonfara (longtime Lou Reed keyboardist)

Marsha Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records)

Ed Bruce (country music legend)

Michael Apted (“Coal Miner’s Daughter” film director)

Jamie O’Hara (The O’Kanes)

Eugene Wright (bassist and last surviving original member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet)

Alejandro Morales (drummer in the noise-punk band Running and experimental duo Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan)

Steve Brown (producer worked with Wham!, ABC, The Cult, Manic Street Preachers, etc.)

George Gerdes (singer-songwriter turned character actor)

Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom singer)

Gerry Marsden (of Gerry and The Pacemakers)

Mick Bolton (keyboardist for Mott the Hoople and Dexys Midnight Runners)

Liam Reilly (Irish Eurovision singer and frontman of the rock band Bagatelle)

Misty Morgan (Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan)

R.I.P. 2020

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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