Overlooked No More: Notable Deaths Missed in 2021


We overlooked the following contributors to rock and pop music from the 50s to the 80s – the BEST music ever made! – who passed away in 2021:

January 22
Ron Campbell → Australian artist and cartoonist, animated the Saturday morning TV show The Beatles (1965-69), as a result joined Hanna-Barbera Productions and moved to Hollywood to illustrate enduring cartoons such as The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo and others, became a key figure in the production of The Beatles‘ animated comedy film Yellow Submarine (1968), later opened his own studio and produced cartoon films for Disney and Nickelodeon, died from reported complications of the COVID-19 virus on 1/22/2021, age 81.

February 7

Elliot Mazer → Record producer and audio engineer known for producing scores of albums by top rock artists from Big Brother And The Holding Company (Cheap Thrills, 1968) to The Band (The Last Waltz, 1977) and over a dozen albums by Neil Young, including (1970) and Lucky 13 (1992), in the 90s through the 10s produced compilation collections and remix albums by artists from Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan, suffered from dementia in his later years and died following a heart attack on 2/7/2021, age 79.

February 16

Henry Goldrich / (Henry Jerome Goldrich) → Music instrument salesman and long-time store owner who “played the cash register” with top rock artists in his Midtown Manhattan shop, Manny’s Music, selling wah-wah pedals to Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, a Gibson guitar to John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Fenders to Sting and Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, among many others, even though he played no instruments himself, the store originally opened by his father closed in 2009 after 74 years in business as one of the largest and best known of the “Music Row” shops on West 48th Street, died from unspecified causes on 2/16/2021, age 88.

May 31

Phil Johnstone → English record producer and songwriter, best known for his collaborative work with former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant, co-wrote “Heaven Knows” (Main #1, 1988) and most of the other songs on Plant‘s album Now And Zen (1988) and co-produced several other Plant 90s solo albums, later worked with singer Alannah Myles and pop-folk The Levellers, suffered from declining health for several years and died on 5/31/2021, age 63.

August 26

Kenny Malone / (Kenneth Morton Malone) → Premier Nashville session drummer and percussionist known for his versatility and innovative styles, recorded with scores of top country, folk and light rock artists, including Dolly Parton (“Jolene,” Country #1, 1973), Dobie Gray (“Drift Away,” #5, 1973), Crystal Gayle (“Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” #2, Country #1, AC #4, 1977), Kenny Rogers and Bela Fleck, in the mid-80s founded modern jazz Tone Patrol and recorded two albums in decidedly un-jazzy Nashville, in later years recorded with notable Contemporary Christian Music artists, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus on 8/26/2021, age 83.

August 29

John Drake / (John William Brake) → One of the “founding fathers of Detroit rock ‘n’ roll,” lead singer in 60s psych-rock Amboy Dukes with high school classmate Ted Nugent, co-wrote their lone hit single, “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” (#16, 1968), left in 1969 to form the John Drake Shakedown, work for a short period as a Detroit-area radio DJ, manage concert bookings through a talent agency, operate an auto parts distribution company and appear occasionally with Nugent or in Amboy Dukes reunion shows, retired in 2017 and died from complications of bladder cancer on 8/29/2021, age 74.

September 12

Don Maddox / (Kenneth Chalmer Maddox) → With brothers Cal, Fred, Henry and sister Rose, vocals and songwriting – and chief comedian – in pioneering hillbilly/”country boogie” band Maddox Brothers & Rose, “the most colorful hillbilly band in the land” in the 40s and 50s, their blend of slap-bass honky tonk and frantic R&B along with flamboyantly embroidered outfits and a raucous stage presence gave rise to both early rock ‘n’ roll and generations of sequined country artists, following dissolution in the late 60s started a successful cattle ranching career, returned to the stage in the 90s into the early 10s at rockabilly and bluegrass festivals as a representative founder of rock n roll, last performed in Las Vegas in 2014 at age 91 and was the only living Maddox sibling at his death from complications of dementia on 9/12/2021, age 98.

October 25

Willie Cobbs / (Willie C. Cobbs) → Blues singer and songwriter best known for penning the now-blues standard “You Don’t Love Me” (1960), the song has been covered by dozens of artist from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to Junior Wells to Ike & Tina Turner to, most notably, The Allman Brothers Band on the live album At Fillmore East (1971), continued to record on various labels and perform at blues festivals, as well as a role in the 1991 movie Mississippi Masala, until just before his death from unspecified causes on 10/25/2021, age 89.

November 23

Rosalie Trombley / (Rosalie Helen Gillan (Trombley)) → Switchboard operator and receptionist, rose to become music director at AM Top 40 powerhouse CKLW in Windsor, ON (across the river from Detroit), known for her uncanny ability to tag a hit record and is generally credited with “breaking” numerous artists across North America, including Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and Bob Seger, who later wrote a tribute “Rosalie” about her (on the LP Back In ’72, 1978), left the station after a format change in the 80s, in 2005 received Canada’s first Juno Award recognizing women in Canadian broadcasting, now memorialized as the “Rosalie Award,” died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on 11/23/2021, age 82.

December 10

Mensi / (Thomas William Mensforth) → Frontman, lead singer and political conscience for Brit working class “Oi” punk rock Angelic Upstarts, co-founded the band in 1977 and issued eight albums and seven charting singles through 2016 (their 1978 debut single, “The Murder of Liddle Towers, appears on Mojo magazine’s 2001 list of the best punk rock singles of all time), performed with the band in various lineups through 2020 and was believed to have at least 16 surviving children from various relationships at his death from complications of the COVID-19 virus on 12/10/2021, age 65.


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