Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Notable Deaths in October 2021


We note with sadness the following contributors to rock and pop music from the 50s through the 80s – the BEST music ever made! – who passed away last month:

October 08
Everett Morton / (Everett Matthew Livingstone Morton) → Kittitan-born British pecussionist whose Caribbean-influenced drumming provided the reggae beat behind 80s ska revival band The Beat (known as the English Beat in the US), “Mirror In The Bathroom” (Dance/Club #22, UK #4, 1980), later performed with former bandmate Saxa in The International Beat, and with Roger Ranking in a reincarnation The Beat from 2005 through Roger’s death in 2019, died from undisclsoed causes on 10/8/2021, age 70.

October 09
Dee Pop / (Dimitri Constantin Papadopoulos) → Founding member and drummer for influential, female-fronted New York post-punk, no wave rock quartet Bush Tetras, best known for the typically funky, jagged “Too Many Creeps”(Club #55, 1980), the band enjoyed little mainstream success but were top-tier in the post-punk Manhattan club scene in the 80s and 90s with Sonic Youth, Television and other bands, left in 1983 but returned for two stints from 1995-1998 and 2005-2021, in between joining various pop, Americana and punk bands in New York and Los Angeles, gigging with free jazz artists and organizing avant garde music perforamnces at clubs around New York, died from heart failure on 10/9/2021, age 65.

October 11
Deon Estus / (Jefery Deon Estus) → Bass guitarist in Marvin Gaye‘s touring band before joining early boyband duo Wham! (“Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” #1, 1984), playing on their groundbreaking tour as the first Western pop group to appear in China, stayed with Wham! star George Michael as bassist on his first two solo albums, the Grammy-winning Faith (Worldwide #1, 1987) and Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (#2, UK #1, 1990), released a solo album Spell (1989) with the hit single “Heaven Help Me” (#5, R&B #3, 1989), co-written and with backing vocals by Michael, continued to work with Michael until his death in 2016, all the while doing sessions for Elton John, George Clinton, Frank Zappa and others, died from undisclosed causes on 10/11/2021, age 65.

October 12
Paddy Moloney / (Patrick Moloney) → Irish folk musician, songwriter, and a lead figure in the revival of traditional Irish folk music and its meshing with rock, pop and coubtry music in the 70s and 80s, co-founded Irish music group The Chieftains in 1962 and fronted the band and wrote much of their music for 60 years, appearing on all 44 of their albums, including six Grammy winners, also collaborated with rockers Van Morrison and Mick Jagger, with country music stars Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, and with international stars in various genres, composed music for multiple films, including Stanley Kubrick‘s Barry Lyndon (1975), Braveheart (1995) and Gangs of New York (2002), died in a hospital from unspecified causes on 10/12/2021, age 83.

October 16
Ronnie Tutt / (Ronald Ellis Tutt) → Versatile rock music drummer who played in local Dallas bands before being hired in 1969 to Elvis Presley‘s backing group, the TCB (Taking Care of Business) band, supported Elvis‘s career-reviving return to the Las Vegas stage and pop relevance after an eight-year hiatus, stayed with the band through Elvis‘s 1977 death and later tribute reunions, as well as backing Grateful Dead‘s Jerry Garcia on solo tours and as a member of the Jerry Garcia Band, doing session work for the “other” Elvis (Costello), the Carpenters and Billy Joel, and performing with Neil Diamond as permanent drummer and backing vocalist on stage and in studio from 1981 through 2018, died from heart failure on 10/16/2021, age 83.

October 19
Leslie Bricusse → Multiple award-winning pop music composer and lyricist, beginning in 1960 with “My Old Man’s A Dustman” (UK#1, 1960) for Lonnie Donegan and continuing over four decades on Broadway, TV and Hollywood, often in collaboration with actor/singer Anthony Newley or other partners, wrote or co-wrote the music and lyrics for the films Doctor Dolittle (1967), Scrooge (1970), Victor/Victoria (1982), Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1993) among others, and the hit songs “Goldfinger” (#8, AC #2, UK #21, 1964) for Shirley Bassey from Goldfinger (1964), “The Candy Man” (#1, Easy #1, 1972) for Sammy Davis Jr. from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and “Can You Read My Mind?” (#52, AC #3, 1979) for Maureen McGovern from Superman (1978), published a 2015 memoir Pure Imagination: A Sorta-Biography with a foreword written by his friend Elton John, died at home in France from natural causes on 10/19/2021, age 90.

October 22
Jay Black / (David Blatt) → Lead vocals and de facto frontman for clean-cut, pop-rock vocal group Jay & The Americans, joined the group in 1963 (replacing departed lead singer Jay Traynor) and sang lead on nine Top 25 hits in the rest of the decade, including “This Maguc Moment” (#6, AC #5, 1968) and his signature song “Cara Mia” (#4, 1965), following breakup of the group in 1973, contiunued to tour as Jay Black & The Americans with a variety of backing musicians until losing the rights to the name in 2006 in a personal bankruptcy proceding to satisfy unpaid taxes incurred to cover gambling debts, toured as a solo act through 2014 and died of a heart attack while suffering from dementia and pneumonia on 10/22/2021, age 82.

October 26
Rose Lee Maphis / (Doris Helen Schetrompf) → Singer, guitarist, songwriter and early figure in the development of the renegade Bakersfield sound in country music in tandem with her husband, Joe Maphis, the two became known as “Mr. and Mrs. Country Music” for their long-running appearances as cast members of Town Hall Party, a pioneering TV barn dance seen on KTTV in Los Angeles in the 1950s, later co-wrote with Joe the honky-tonk standard “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)” originally recorded by Flatt & Scruggs and later by New Riders Of The Purple Sage and other country rock bands, dropped out of the music industry in the 70s to raise her faimly and died of kidney failure on 10/2/2021, age 98.


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