Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Notable Deaths In November 2021


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

November 01
Alvin “Seeco” Patterson / (Francisco Aloysius Willie) → Cuban-born Jamaican percussionist and early mentor to Bob Marley and his original Wailers band beginning in 1964, joined the band in 1967 as a backing musician in the studio and on tour, from 1973 contributed to every Wailers recording and live performance through to Marley’s death in 1981, continued with the reformed Wailers until a 1990 brain hemorrhage forced his retirement, died in his sleep from cerebral bleeding on 11/1/2021, age 90.

November 02
Ronnie Wilson → With his younger brothers Charlie and Robert and a rotating cast of backing musicians, founding member and keyboardist for R&B/funk The Gap Band, their stripped-down street funk is often credited as foundational to hip-hop and produced fifteen R&B Top 10 hits from 1979 to 1990, including the crossover “Early In The Morning” (#24, R&B #1, 1982), later worked in the ministry and joined his brothers for occasional reunions, died following a stroke on 11/2/2021, age 73.

November 06
Astro / (Terence Wilson) → Percussionist, vocalist and, beginning in 1979, thirty-four year member of English racially diverse reggae-pop UB40, supplemented the band’s biggest hit, “Red, Red Wine” (#1, UK #1, 1988) with a spoken word “toasting” section and provided backing vocals on all of the band’s fourteen other UK Top 10 hits, departed in 2013 and played in two splinter groups with other UB40 bandmates before dying following a short illness on 11/6/2021, age 64.
Maureen Cleave / (Mauren Diana Cleave) → British journalist with a 50-plus year career writing about prominent musicians, artists and philanthropists, best known for her interview with pre-stardom The Beatles and a 1966 interview with John Lennon in which he famously claimed the band was “more popular than Jesus,” collapsed in a London Underground station in 1992 and subsequently diagnosed with myalgia encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, later suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died from unspecified causes on 11/6/2021, age 87.

November 11
Graeme Edge / (Graeme Charles Edge) → English band manager turned drummer, songwriter, poet and sole constant member of prog rock pioneers The Moody Blues, contributed spoken-word poetry to several of the band’s songs, including the poem at the close of their biggest hit, “Nights In White Satin” (#2, UK #9, 1972), drummed on every recording and tour from 1964 through 2018, in between leading his own eponymous band for two albums and participating in several side projects, died from metastatic cancer on 11/22/2021.
John Goodsall → British-American jazz/rock fusion and progressive rock guitarist with a number of groups as a teen in the 60s, briefly played with funk rock Atomic Rooster in the early 70 using the stage name Johnny Mandala, left and co-founded jazz fusion Brand X (along with Phil Collins on drums) and played on every album released by the group over forty years (except two live albums in the 10s), worked as an L.A. sessions musician in the studio band Zoo Drive in the 80s, fronted prog rock The Fire Merchants in the 90s, died from undisclosed causes on 11/11/2021, age 68.

November 13
Phil Margo / (Philip Frederick Margules) → With his younger brother, Mitch and others in close harmony doo wop group The Tokens and their novelty hit “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (#1, UK #11, 1961), continued to tour in his version of the group with various members over the years, including Mitch and eventually, Mitch’s sons, and performed the national anthem in every major league ballpark in the US in 1998, the only group known to have done that at the time, wrote TV scripts and produced records for other groups over the years, suffered a stroke and died in a hospital on 11/13/2021, age 79.

November 17
Keith Allison / (Sydney Keith Allison) → Singer, actor, songwriter and bass guitarist for pop/garage rock Paul Revere & The Raiders from 1968 to 1975 and the last big hit for the group, “Indian Reservation” (#1, CAN #1, 1971), previously managed pop singer Ray Peterson‘s backing band and did session work for The Monkees, Sonny & Cher and others, returned to session work in 1976 and recorded with Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson, among others, over the years co-wrote several songs used in films and acted in small roles on TV and in films, died of natural causes on 11/17/2021, age 79.

November 18
Michael David “Mick” Rock / (Michael Edward Charles Smith) → Acclaimed British photographer often called “The Man Who Shot the Seventies” for his prolific and iconic images of top-level 70s rock stars including Queen, Lou Reed, The Ramones and dozens of others, official photographer to David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days, continued to shoot into the 10s, including promo images for Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga and Rufus Wainwright, published the photo album Debbie Harry and Blondie: Picture This (2019), died from undisclosed causes on 11/18/2021, age 72.

November 20
Billy Hinsche / (William Hinsche) → High school classmate of Dean Paul Martin and Desi Arnaz Jr. and member of teenage bubblegum pop trio Dino, Desi & Billy (“I’m A Fool,” #17, 1965), co-wrote the band’s “Lady Love” with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and joined Wilson’s group in 1971 after graduating from high school, played various instruments on tour and in the studio for The Beach Boys, later became the brother-in-law of Beach Boy Carl Wilson, sang backing vocals on Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (#2, UK #16, 1974) and did session work for Warren Zevon and Joan Jett, among others, died a short battle with giant call carcinoma on 11/20/2021, age 70.

November 24
Marilyn McLeod → Keypunch operator at Motown Records who in 1967 began songwriting in tandem with established Motown writers Johnny Bristol, Pam Sawyer and others on multiple R&B/soul hits, including “Love Hangover” for Diana Ross (#1, R&B #1, 1976), “You Can’t Turn Me Off” by High Inergy (#12, R&B #2, 1977) and Jermaine Jackson’s “Let Me Tickle Your Fancy” (#18, R&B #5, 1983), left Motown in 1985 but continued to write as an independent and for Motown-revival label Motorcity Records in the 90s, issued a lone solo album 2010, suffered a stroke in 2011 and died from unsiclsoed causes on 11/24/2021, age 82.

November 26
Steven Sondheim / (Steven Joshua Sondheim) → The most important composer-lyricist in musical theater in the second half of the 20th century, eight Tony and eight Grammy award-winnier best known for writing A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1962), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979) and 16 other major music theater shows, wrote the lyrics to West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1962) and other films, wrote multiple hit songs, including “Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)” for Madonna (from the folm Dick Tracy, Academy Award for Best Original Song, 1991), mentored young artists in his later years and consulted on various theater projects, including Hamilton (2015), suffered from cardiovascular disease and died suddenly the day after celebrating Thanksgiving with friends, 11/26/2021, age 91.


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