We note with sadness the 2019 passings of these contributors to rock and pop music of the 60s, 70s and 80s – the BEST music ever made!
● Pegi Young / (Margaret Mary Morton Young) → Folk-rock singer, songwriter, activist, wife of folk-rock legend Neil Young, mother of two children with cerebral palsy and co-founder of The Bridge School for children suffering from speech and physical impairments, her annual charity benefit concert for the school featured top artists such as Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica and Sheryl Crow during its 30-year run, sang back-up in her husband’s bands and issued five solo albums before dying from cancer on 1/1/2019, age 66.
● Daryl “Captain” Dragon / (Daryl Frank Dragon) → Touring and recording keyboardist, and occasional song co-writer, with The Beach Boys in the early 70s, later joined with future wife Toni Tennille in MOR/light pop-rock duo Captain & Tennille (“Love Will Keep Us Together,” #1, 1975 and six other Top 10 hits), their popularity leading to a TV variety program in 1976-77, continued to tour and record until developing a neurological condition in 2009, died from kidney failure on 1/2/2019, age 76.
● Eric Haydock / (Eric John Haydock) → Original bassist for British Invasion pop-rock The Hollies (“Bus Stop, #5, 1966) and one of the first English bassists to play the six-string Fender Bass IV, fired in 1966 after questioning the integrity of the bands managers, attempted an unsuccessful solo career and eventually became a music shop proprietor, died from undisclosed causes on 1/5/2019, age 76.
● Alan Pearlman / (Alan Robert Pearlman) → NASA sound engineer, inventor and founder of ARP Instruments, Inc. in 1969, the company became the leading producer of music synthesizers for the rock, pop, jazz, electronic and avant-garde genres, his full-sized ARP2600 and the smaller ARP Odyssey were preferred instruments in the progressive rock movement of the 70s and the synth-pop wave of the 80s, an earlier model was featured in the classic film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) and as the voice of R2D2 in the Star Wars film series, later founded a computer graphics company and consulted on various sound engineering projects, died from natural causes on 1/5/2019, age 93.
● Clydie King / (Clydie Mae King) → R&B/pop singer with over 30 singles as a solo artist, the lead singer in various groups and under the pseudonym Brown Sugar, scored a lone pop hit “Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again)” (#44, 1973), best known as a backing singer for dozens of major artists such as Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd, joined Bob Dylan‘s band in 1980 and had a romantic relationship with him through the late 80s, dropped out of the music business for health reasons and died from complications of a blood infection acquired during dialysis treatment on 1/7/2019, age 75.
● Larry Cunningham → Tenor vocals with Detroit-based, one hit wonder R&B/soul quintet The Floaters (“Float On,” #2, R&B #1, UK #1, 1977), their hit song was used in the 90s in an advertisement for Cadbury chocolates, continued to perform as a gospel singer and with Floaters reunion tours until hospitalized with heart failure, died following a heart attack on 1/10/2019, age 67.
● Bonnie Guitar / (Bonnie Buckingham) → One of the earliest female country-pop crossover singers with “Dark Moon” (#6, Country #14, 1957) plus eight other Country Top 40 hits, co-founded Dolton Records to energize her own music but instead brought R&B/doo wop The Fleetwoods (“Come Softly To Me,” #1, 1959) and instrumental/surf-rockThe Ventures (“Walk Don’t Run,” #2, 1960) to national prominence, as an audio engineer, record producer and label executive in the 60s was an extremely rare female in the top echelons of a vastly male-dominated music industry, largely retired in the 70s but performed occasionally until shortly before her death from natural causes on 1/12/2019, age 95
● Lorna Doom / (Teresa Marie Ryan) → High school chum of Belinda Carlisle (who would go on to lead vocals for the Go-Gos), together answered an ad for musicians to form a new punk rock band and became founding member and bassist in influential L.A. punk rock Germs (“Lexicon Devil,” 1979 – the debut single on Stash Records), left the band in 1980 but returned from New York in 2005 for a reunion and tours, died of cancer on 1/6/2019, age 61.
● Reggie Young / (Reggie Grimes Young) → Guitarist, A-list session musician and member of The Memphis Boys, American Sound Studio‘s house band, played electric sitar on The Box Tops‘ “Cry Like A Baby” (#2, 1968) and B. J. Thomas‘s “Hooked On A Feeling” (#5, 1969), and six-string on hundreds of hits by Elvis Presley (“Suspicious Minds,” #1 1969), Dusty Springfield (“Son Of A Preacher Man,” #10, 1969), Kenny Rogers (“The Gambler,” #16, Country #1, 1978) and others, also played in the Bill Black Combo in the 50s and 60s, Jimmy Buffett‘s Coral Reefer Band in the 70s and 80s, and the touring band for supergroup The Highwaymen in the 90s, issued a lone solo album in 2008 and wrote and recorded until dying from heart failure on 1/17/2019, age 82.
● Ted McKenna / (Edward McKenna) → Scottish drummer and bandmember of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (“Delilah,” UK #7, 1975) and The Michael Schenker Group, toured with Ian Gillan in 1990 and did session work for Rory Gallagher and many others, lectured in Applied Arts at North Glasgow College from 1996–2011, died of a hemorrhage during a routine operation for a hernia on 1/19/2019, age 68.
● Jackie Steiner / (Jacqueline Steiner) → Folk singer, songwriter, social activist and lyricist of the banjo-and-guitar folk standard “M.T.A.” (popularly known as “Charlie On The MTA”), the absurd 1949 political campaign song about a man trapped in the Boston subway system later made a hit in a slightly altered version by The Kingston Trio (#15, 1959), performed in concert in the Soviet Union and released two albums, No More War (1966) , a collection of self-penned anti-Vietnam War songs, and Far Afield: Songs of Three Continents (1991) with songs in multiple languages, served as secretary of a local Connecticut chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for many years, sang in churches and synagogues until dying from pneumonia on 1/25/2019, age 94.
● Michel Lagrand / (Michel Jean Legrand) → French jazz pianist and award-winning composer with over 150 film scores and dozens of timeless songs to his credit, including an Oscar for “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Song of the Year in 1972 for “The Summer Knows” from Summer of ’42, and a Grammy for best TV instrumental composition, “Brian’s Song” (#56, 1972), issued 24 albums as a solo artist (I Love Paris, Holiday In Rome and Castles In Spain were all US Top 10 albums) and collaborated with Stan Getz, Lena Horne and others on six more, remained active writing concertos, performing on stage and conducting major orchestras in Washington, D.C., Boston and Minnesota into his 80s, died from an immune system failure (sepsis) on 1/26/2019, age 86.
● James Ingram → Grammy-winning R&B/soul-pop singer, songwriter, musician and producer with eight Top 40 hits to his credit, including the duet with Patti Austin, “Baby, Come to Me” (#1, 1982), his solo “I Don’t Have The Heart” (#1, 1990) and a duet with Linda Ronstadt, “Somewhere Out There” (#2, 1987), collaborated with Quincy Jones on multiple projects: the all-star charity single “We Are the World” (worldwide #1, 1985); the soundtrack to the Steven Spielberg film The Color Purple (1985); singing on Jones’s 1989 album, Back On The Block; and co-writing Michael Jackson’s hit “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” (#10, 1983), died from brain cancer on 1/29/2019, age 66.
● Harold Bradley / (Harold Ray Bradley) → Guitarist, producer, de facto leader of the “Nashville A-Team” of versatile, in-demand session musicians and one of the most widely-heard guitarists of all time, over a 50-year career played on thousands of songs by Patsy Cline (“I’m Sorry,” #1, 1960), Roy Orbison (“Only The Lonely,” #2, 1960), The Lovin’ Spoonful (the tribute song “Nashville Cats,” #8, 1966) and many others, including Bob Dylan, The Byrds and Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded five solo albums as a pop guitarist, in the 90s and 00s served as a senior executive with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and received a Trustees Award from the Grammy-awarding The Recording Academy in 2010, died of undisclosed causes on 1/31/2019, age 93.
Deaths this week:
● Izzy Young / (Israel Goodman Young) → Mentor to young musicians, concert promoter and proprietor of the Folklore Center, the hub of the folk-revival scene in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early 60s, his customers included Joni Mitchell, Dave Van Ronk, John Sebastian and Bob Dylan, who later remembered the small book store, record emporium and folkie hang-out as the “citadel of Americana folk music,” relocated his life and store to Stockholm in 1973 and continued his calling in Sweden until his death from natural causes on 2/5/20919, age 90.
● Guy Webster / (Guy Michael Webster) → Rock music and celebrity magazine photographer known for shooting many of rock’s most iconic 1960s album covers, from debut albums by The Mamas & Papas (If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears, 1966) and The Doors (The Doors, 1967) to The Byrds‘ Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965) and The Rolling Stones‘ anthology LP Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (1966), left the US for Italy in the early 70s to study art history and begin amassing a collection of vintage motorcycles, returned to the US in 1979 to focus on celebrity photoshoots, photo editing for WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, and teaching photography at a California K-12 school until his death from liver cancer on 2/5/2019, age 79.
● Ethel Ennis / (Ethel Llewellyn Ennis) → Affectionately but unofficially the “First Lady of Jazz” in Baltimore, Maryland, up-and-coming jazz singer in the 50s and 60s who toured Europe with Benny Goodman, worked with Miles Davis and John Coltrane, appeared on TV with Duke Ellington, recorded eight solo albums and became a regular on Arthur Godfrey Time on national radio and TV, but gave up the limelight and potential superstardom for the smaller stages, including her own nightclub, in her home city where she died following a stroke on 2/17/2019, age 86.
● Fred Foster / (Fred Luther Foster) → Songwriter, record producer and music business executive, as a young and rising talent scout at Mercury Records in 1955 tried and failed to convince management to buy Elvis Presley‘s contract from Sun Records, left in 1958 to co-found Monument Records, the small label which nurtured the careers of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton, among other emergent and important country, pop and rock artists, produced Roy Orbison‘s early hits, including “Oh, Pretty Woman” (#1, UK #1, 1964), sold Monument in the 80s but continued to work as a producer, most notably on the 2007 Grammy-winning album Last Of The Breed by Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Ray Price, died from complications of a stroke on 2/20/2019, age 87.
● Peter Tork / (Peter Halsten Thorkelson) → Struggling Greenwich Village folkie who found nearly instant fame after answering a casting call seeking actor/musicians for a new TV sitcom modeled on The Beatles‘ “A Hard Day’s Night ” and “Help!” movies, the show begat 60s bad-rap, pre-fab pop-rock The Monkees and six Top 10 hits, including “Last Train To Clarksville” (#1, 1966), continued to perform and record as a solo artist and bandleader for Shoe Suede Blues, as well as in Monkees reunion tours, until his death from cancer on 2/21/2019, age 77
● Jackie Shane → Black, transgender child in the Jim Crow South in the 40s and 50s, moved to Canada and became a superstar in the Toronto R&B/soul and blues music scene in the 60s with a minor hit “Any Other Way” (CAN #67, 1968) plus five other singles and five albums, disappeared from music after turning down an offer to join George Clinton‘s Funkadelic band to care for her elderly mother, never lost her cult following, reappeared in Nashville in the 10s and authorized an anthology album Any Other Way in 2017, died in her sleep on 2/21/2019, age 78.
● Mac Wiseman / (Malcolm Bell Wiseman) → Known as “The Voice with a Heart,” former radio DJ and guitarist for Bill Monroe‘s Foggy Mountain Boys, started a solo career in 1951 and became a legend in bluegrass and country music with over 60 albums and a knack for pulling from other genres through his versions of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (Country #10, 1955), the R&B standard “I Hear You Knockin’,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” and others, also recorded with jazz great Woody Herman and folkie John Prine, co-founded the Country Music Association (CMA) in 1958 to save country music from the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship in 1993 honoring his contributions to traditional American music and arts, died from kidney failure on 2/14/2019, age 93.
● Mark Hollis / (Mark David Hollis) → Guitarist, songwriter and frontman for 1980s New Romantic synth-pop Talk Talk (“It’s My Life,” #31, UK #24, 1984), his band was far more influential than commercially successful, their languid, experimental album This Is Eden is widely considered the first “post-rock” album, continued to record as a solo artist until dropping out of the music scene in the late 1990s, died from undisclosed causes on 2/25/2019, age 64.
● Kenneth Pitt / (Kenneth Cooper Pitt) → British music promoter and talent manager for Manfred Mann, Goldie & The Gingerbreads and other early-60s pop-rockers, signed in 1967 as manager for vaudeville/pop artist David Jones just before he changed his name to David Bowie, attempted to develop him as a pop, film and theater star but was fired after the release of “Space Oddity” (#124, UK #5, 1969) when Bowie moved to glam rock, thereafter became a consultant and publicity agent for U.S. artists touring the U.K., published a book Bowie: The Pitt Report in 1985, died after a brief illness on 2/25/2019, age 96.
● Andy Anderson / (Clifford Leon Anderson) → In-demand session drummer and briefly a full member of post-punk/goth-rock The Cure (“Let’s Go To Bed,” Dance/Club #32, 1983), worked with Hawkwind, Iggy Pop, the Steve Hillage Band, Peter Gabriel, Mike Oldfield and many others, diagnosed with terminal cancer in early February 2019 and died a few weeks later on 2/26/2019, age 68.
● Doug Sandom / (Douglas Sandom) → Bricklayer by day, rock ‘n’ roller by night, drummer for The Who in the early 60s when they were The Detours, married with children and at least 15 years older (and maybe wiser) than his teenaged bandmates, let go by Pete Townshend after the band failed an audition with Fontana Records in April 1964 and was replaced within weeks by Keith Moon, dropped from the music business into obscurity in the construction trades but published an autobiography The Who Before The Who (2014), which included a foreword by Townshend, died (40 years after Moon) from natural causes on 2/27/2019, age 89.
● André George Previn / (Andreas Ludwig Priwin) → German-American jazz pianist, ten-time Grammy-winning film score composer, heralded conductor for symphony orchestras in Houston, London, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, one of the most versatile musicians of any era with hundreds of recorded pieces in various genres, his many compositions and arrangements are well-known but include only one charting single, “Like Young” (#46, 1959), performed until just prior to his death from natural causes on 2/28/2019, age 89.
● Keith Flint / (Keith Charles Flint) → High-energy, double-mohawk dancer and vocalist for electronic dance/rap The Prodigy (“Firestarter,” #30, UK #1, 1996), one of several bands at the forefront of the 90s underground British “big beat,” “rave” and “hardcore” movements developed from industrial dance music of the 70s and 80s, the band scored eleven UK Top 10 hits despite attempts by the UK government to clamp down on the rave music scene, after the mid-00s balanced his Prodigy performances with motorbike racing and pub ownership, suffered from lifelong depression and hung himself at home on 3/4/2019, age 49.
● Jacques Loussier → French pianist, composer and frontman for the Jacques Loussier Trio from 1959 to the late 70s, specialized in jazzed-up versions of classical masterpieces, a good many by Johann Sebastian Bach, sold over 7 million copies of nearly 40 albums, performed in over 3,000 concerts worldwide and, following the Trio‘s disbandment, composed film scores, concertos and ballet pieces, performed with Pink Floyd and Elton John, among other rock acts, and recorded portions of Pink Floyd‘s The Wall (1979) in his private studio, reformed the Trio on the tricentenary of Bach‘s birth in 1985, toured and recorded until releasing his last album on his 80th birthday in 2014, suffered an on-stage stroke in 2011, retired from touring and died from an undisclosed degenerative disease on 3/5/2019, age 84.
● Gerry Stickells / (Gerald Richard Stickells) → Car mechanic turned roadie and later manager for Jimi Hendrix at the peak of his short career, later went on to run Jimi Hendrix‘s Electric Lady recording studios in New York City and form a partnership with fellow entrepreneur Chris Lamb to manage multiple rock acts, most notably Queen but also Paul McCartney, Elton John, Abba and other superstars, died from a brain tumor on 3/6/2019, age 76.
● Hal Blaine / (Harold Simon Belsky) → Renowned session drummer and founding member of the acclaimed Wrecking Crew group of L.A. studio musicians, played on hundreds of albums, thousands of songs and over 150 Top 10 singles (including 40 #1 hits) behind The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, Natalie Cole and many others, his trademark is the opening drum beat on the Ronette‘s “Be My Baby” (#2, 1963), credited with drumming on six consecutive Grammy Album of the Year winners between 1966 and 1971, gradually faded from session work starting in the 80s as studio recording practices changed to favor of youth and electronic drum machines, died from natural causes on 3/11/2019, age 90.
● Dick Dale / (Richard Anthony Monsour) → The inarguable “King of the Surf Guitar” for his pioneering use of the single-note staccato picking technique and reverberation that underlay 1960s surfer music and influenced The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix and others, real-life surfer and frontman for surf rock The Del-Tones (“Let’s Go Trippin’,” #60, 1962), worked with Fender Guitars to develop new models and amplifiers, continued to tour and record to earn income to pay medical expenses until his death from heart and kidney failure on 3/16/2019, age 81.
● Dave White / (David Ernest White) → Rock ‘n’ roll/pop singer-songwriter, founding member of doo-wop quartet Danny & The Juniors, co-wrote their hit “At the Hop” (#1, 1957) and composed the follow-on single “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” (#19, 1958), left in 1960 to team with John Madara to write and produce “The Fly” (#7, 1961) for Chubby Checker, “You Don’t Own Me“ (#2, 1963) for Lesley Gore and “1-2-3” ( 1965) for Len Barry, among many other songs, later founded short-lived pop trio The Spokesmen (“The Dawn Of Correction,” #36, 1966), lived off royalties from his hits and performed occasionally with a reformed Danny & The Juniors until dying from lung and throat cancer on 3/16/2019, age 79.
● Andre Williams / (Zephire Andre Williams) → Detroit-area R&B/blues musician whose talking-style vocals were an early precursor of hip hop/rap music, recorded with The Don Juans and solo (“Bacon Fat,” R&B # 9, 1957), co-wrote “Shake A Tail Feather” covered by The Five Du-Tones, James & Bobby Purify (#25, 1967) and Ike & Tina Turner, spent the 60s writing for Motown acts and occasionally recording (“Cadillac Jack,” R&B #46, 1968), descended into drug addiction and homelessness in the 80s but returned in the 90s when his gravelly-baritone delivery and smutty, off-color songs were “discovered” by a new generation – including neo-punk rockers – and his popularity resurged, recorded a variety of albums in disparate genes, including country, smooth soul, funk and rap until his death from cancer on 3/17/2019, age 82.
● Scott Walker / (Noel Scott Engel) → Guitar and vocals for blue-eyed soul/pop trio The Walker Brothers, the band had two Top 20 hits in the US – “Make It Easy On Yourself” (#16, UK #1, 1965) and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” (#13, UK #1, 1966) – but were far more successful in the UK, where they emigrated in 1967, left the band for a baroque pop solo career with three UK Top 10 albums, became a UK citizen in 1970 and later shifted to an eclectic, avant-garde style that carried him through four decades and influenced David Bowie, Julian Cope, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and many others, died from cancer on 3/22/2019, age 76.
● Ranking Roger / (Roger Charlery) → “Toaster” (Jamaican slang for rapper) in pioneering mixed-race British ska/pop/soul/punk rock fusion band The Beat (known as the English Beat in the US) and eight UK Top 40 hits in the early 80s, including “Mirror In The Bathroom” (Dance/Club #22, UK #4, 1980), formed pop-soul General Public with Beat-mate Dave Wakeling in 1983 and scored a half dozen US Dance Top 25 hits, among them a remake of “I’ll Take You There” (#22, Dance #1, UK #73, 1994), later issued several solo albums and collaborated with The Specials, The Police, Big Audio Dynamite and in Beat reunions, wrote his autobiography I Just Can’t Stop It before dying from lung cancer on 3/26/2019, age 56.
● Earl Thomas Conley → Deep, smoky baritone country singer and one of the most popular country music stars of the 80s with thirty charting singles (of which 18 were #1 hits) including the crossover duet with Anita Pointer, “Too Many Times” (Country #2, 1986), the two performed the song in an extremely rare appearance by a country artist on the R&B-themed TV music show Soul Train, his waning popularity in the 90s led to an extended hiatus from music, returned in the 00s and continued to write and perform into the 10s, died from cerebral atrophy on 4/10/2019, age 77.
● Gary Stewart / (Gary Lee Stewart) → Rhino Records in-store salesman, rose to senior vice president for A&R at the label, championed the creation of the box set, reissue and anthology business for which Rhino is known, including the quirky but definitive Have A Nice Day compilation of 70s pop-rock and the Nuggets series of obscure garage rock and psychedelic bands, lured by Steve Jobs to Apple iTunes in 2004 as chief music officer to oversee curation of download playlists, left in 2011 but returned in 2016 to lead streaming music, left again in 2018 and, becoming depressed over his career direction, committed suicide on 4/11/2019, age 62.
● Phil McCormack / (Philip Wallace McCormack) → Lead vocals and harmonica for Southern rock dual-guitar Molly Hatchet (“Flirtin’ With Disaster,” #42, 1980), took over full time in 1996 after several stints as stand-in for original lead vocalist Danny Joe Brown, appeared on every Molly Hatchet studio and contemporary live album from Devil’s Canyon (1996) to Live at Rockpalast 1996 (2013), died from undisclosed causes on 4/26/2019,age 58.
● Doris Day / (Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff) → Award-winning, wholesome film heroine in nearly 40 feature films from the Golden Age of 1940s Hollywood through the advance of TV culture in the 60s, scored 42 Top 20 pop hits first as a Big Band singer and later as a solo artist until rock ‘n’ roll ended her relevance, her signature song “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” (#2, 1956) won an Academy Award, dropped out of film acting and hosted her own TV program from 1968-1973, thereafter became an animal rights activist and reluctant, retired film star honoree, issued a first-in-two-decades album of new material in 2011, died from pneumonia on 5/13/2019, age 97.
● Tony “Little Sun” Glover / (David Curtis Glover) → Minneapolis native, Bob Dylan contemporary, music critic, guitarist and harmonica player, member of the blues-folk trio Koerner, Ray & Glover with “Spider John” Koerner and Dave “Snaker” Ray, the band at the center of the folk music revival of the 1960s that influenced The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and many others, went on to become an esteemed music writer and radio host, intermittently touring with the Allman Brothers Band, Patti Smith, Beck and others, tutored Mick Jagger on the harmonica, authored the Blues with a Feeling: The Little Walter Story (2002), wrote liner notes multiple albums including The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (1998), died from natural causes after a brief hospitalization on 5/29/2019, age 79.
● Leon Redbone / (Dickran Gobalian) → Cyprus-born, baritone jazz/blues/ragtime singer and interpreter of early 20th century popular songs and Tin Pan Alley songwriters, “discovered” by Bob Dylan in a Toronto-area folk festival in 1972, his wry, savvy and skillful updates of ragtime to blues to jazz standards garnered critical acclaim and a cult following over a four-decade career, released thirteen studio albums, including Double Time (#38, 1977) plus “Seduced” (#72, 1981) and multiple other singles, sang the theme song to the TV sitcom Mr. Belvedere (1985-1990), retired from performing due to ill health and died from complications of dementia on 5/30/2019, age 69.
● Roky Erickson / (Roger Kynard Erickson) → Singer, songwriter, guitarist and founding member of legendary Austin, Texas acid/garage rock The 13th Floor Elevators (the first band to use the term “psychedelic rock” to describe their music – and their LSD/stoner lifestyle), the band’s 3-year stint led to four albums, seven singles and a lone charting hit (“You’re Gonna Miss Me,” #55, 1966), became an early casualty of LSD and other hallucinogens and entered a state mental institution to avoid imprisonment on drug charges after the band broke up in 1969, fronted his own bands and recorded and performed with others over the ensuing decades, all the while suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia, died from undisclosed causes on 5/31/2019, age 71.
● Dr. John / (Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, Jr.) → Six-time Grammy-winning New Orleans boogie-blues-folk-rock pianist, guitarist and singer of “voodoo” music, swamp rock and Mardi Gras-tinted jazz and blues, best-known for the piano funk single “Right Place, Wrong Time” (#9, 1973) and the Grammy duet with Rickie Lee Jones, “Makin’ Whoopee” (1989), but issued 32 albums and appeared with numerous other artists on hundreds of recordings, died from a heart attack on 6/6/2019, age 77.
● Mickey Kapp / (Michael Ivan Kapp) → Hollywood music executive with his father’s Kapp Records and, among other song credits, producer of Louis Armstrong‘s version of “Hello, Dolly!” from the musical of the same name, the song knocked The Beatles‘ “Can’t Buy Me Love” off the No. 1 spot on the U.S. pop charts in 1964, best known for producing the one hit wonder novelty hit “The Astronaut” (#19, 1961) recorded by comedian Bill Dana as the dim-witted, space-suited character José Jiménez, which eventually led to a side career providing SONY TC-50 cassette player mixtapes to multiple NASA space missions, including the 1969 Apollo moon shot when his music playlist was often heard in the background of radio transmissions, consulted for NASA into the 70s, during his career worked in various capacities at Elektra Records, Capitol Records and later Warner Music, died from congestive heart failure on 6/11/2019, age 88.
● Jack Renner / (Jack Lee Renner) → High school music teacher turned recording engineer, pioneer of digital recording processes and co-founder of Telarc International Corp., the record label known by audiophiles for its ultra-high quality recordings of jazz, classical and symphonic music, developed the first commercially available digital recording of symphonic music in the U.S. in 1978, won eleven Grammy Awards for technical achievements beginning in 1985 and sold Telarc to Concord Music Group in 2005, retired from the business and died from cancer on 6/19/2019, age 84.
● Elliott Roberts / (Elliott Rabinowitz) → Hugely influential rock music manager for a variety of prominent 60s and 70s folk-rock acts, including Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and Jackson Browne, most importantly in a five-decade relationship with Neil Young as manager, confidant, advocate and friend, partnered with David Geffen in the 60s to develop the Los Angeles singer-songwriter scene, co-founded Asylum Records with Geffen in 1970, managed the affairs of Tom Petty, Eagles and others, launched the careers of Tracey Chapman and The Cars, died from undisclosed causes on 6/21/2019, age 76.
● Jerry Carrigan / (Jerry Kirby Carrigan) → Teenage session drummer and early co-creator of the “Muscle Shoals sound” at the Alabama studio, left in 1965 for Nashville, where he shortly became a sought-after session player and helped develop the R&B-tinged “countrypolitan” sound during the 70s country music boom, played on scores of albums and hundreds of hits by nearly every top star, including Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Charlie Rich, toured with John Denver‘s band in the 80s, died after a long illness on 6/22/2019, age 75.
● Dave Bartholomew / (David Louis Bartholomew) → American roots music pioneer, New Orleans R&B musician, enduring composer and one of rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest producers, co-wrote and produced “Ain’t That A Shame” (#10, 1955) and 43 other charting hits with Fats Domino between 1950 and 1962, many of which were covered by other rock acts, including “I Hear You Knocking” (Dave Edmunds, #3, UK #1, 1970), “Blue Monday” (Bob Seger, #40, 1989), also produced records for The Spiders, T-Bone Walker, Roy Brown and others, retired from producing in the 1970s but continued to record and perform in jazz and “big beat” ensembles as a trumpeteer into his late 80s, died from heart failure on 6/23/2019, age 100.
● Gary Duncan / (Eugene Duncan, Jr. (Gary Ray Grubb)) → Lead and rhythm guitarist for San Francisco-based psychedelic folk-rock Quicksilver Messenger Service, “Fresh Air” (#49, 1970), formed and fronted his own Quicksilver in the 80s and rejoined QMS in the 00s, suffered a seizure and multiple cardiac arrests after a fall and was in a coma for 10 days before dying on 6/29/2019, age 72.
● Alan Rogan → Freelance guitar technician with dozens of superstar and guitar-god clients, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne, but closest and longest relationship with The Who and Pete Townshend, for whom he repaired scores of guitars smashed onstage as part of his act, played bass and fronted his own band, BluesClub, died of cancer on 7/3/2019, age 68.
● João Gilberto / (João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira) → The “Father of Bossa Nova,” Brazilian bandleader, songwriter, guitarist and pioneer of the “new thing” music blending Brazilian samba with American jazz and pop in the late 50s, his 78 rpm album Chega de Saudade (1959) is considered the first bossa nova record and its follow-on siblings in 1960-1961 launched the early 60s bossa nova dance craze in North America, in all his oeuvre is over 30 albums, including the widely-acclaimed, two-time Grammy-winning Getz/Gilberto (1964) with jazz saxophonist Stan Getz and featuring then-wife Astrud Gilberto on vocals and the hit “The Girl From Ipanema” (#5, AC #1, 1964), continued to record and perform for decades until declining mental and physical health forced his retirement, died from undisclosed causes on 7/6/2019, age 88.
● Jerry Lawson / (Jerome Eugene Lawson) → Lead vocals, arranger and producer for a cappella The Persuasions (“Chain Gang,” 1971), fronted the group for 40 years and 22 solo albums, left in 2002 to retire from music but joined a cappella Talk Of The Town in 2004, released his first solo album in 2015 and died from a compromised immune system caused by Guillain-Barre syndrome on 7/10/2019, age 75.
● Russell Smith / (Howard Russell Smith) → Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Grammy-winning country-rock Amazing Rhythm Aces (“Third Rate Romance,” #14, Country #11, CAN #1, 1975), left the group in 1985 for a career as a solo artist with five albums mixing country, Southern rock, blues and bluegrass (“I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight,” Country #37, 1989), his songwriting oeuvre contains four County #1 hits recorded by others, including “Look Heart, No Hands” (1993) for Randy Travis, formed novelty bluegrass Run C&W with erstwhile Eagle Bernie Leadon in the mid-90s before restarting ARA and performing until dying from cancer on 7/12/2019, age 70.
● Art Neville / (Arthur Lonan Neville) → Vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist and fixture on the New Orleans music scene for over six decades, first as lead singer for the Hawketts (“Mardi Gras Mambo,” 1954) and as a solo R&B artist in local clubs, later co-founded soul-funk The Meters (“Cisy Strut,” #23, R&B #4, 1969) and joined his three siblings in The Neville Brothers (“Yellow Moon,” 1989), reunited The Meters in 1989 and performed in various Meters spinoffs through to his retirement in 2018, died after years of declining health on 7/22/2019, age 82.
● Hal Prince / (Harold Smith) → Thirty-two Tony-winning Broadway show producer and director, in a career spanning four decades oversaw hundreds of award-winning productions that spawned dozens of enduring pop recordings, among them Madonna‘s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from Evita (#8, Dance #1, 1997) and the soundtrack to West Side Story (1961), the longest running #1 album of all-time (54 weeks) on the Billboard 200 chart, remained active into the 10s and co-directed a retrospective of his career, Prince Of Broadway (2015) before dying following a brief illness on 7/31/2019, age 91.
● Henri Belolo → Club DJ in his native French-Morocco and record label A&R man in Paris, then US-based disco-era songwriter, band manager, producer and, with with his business partner, composer Jacques Morali, co-creator of R&B/disco The Ritchie Family and overtly gay, campy funk-disco troupe The Village People, the two co-produced multiple disco hits, often co-written with VP lead singer Victor Willis, including “Brazil” for the Ritchies (#11, Dance/Club #1, 1975), and “Y.M.C.A.” (#2, 1979) and “In The Navy” (#3, 1979) for the Village People, returned to France in the 90s and produced Latin-tinged dance music until his death from pancreatic cancer on 8/3/2019, age 82.
● Larry Taylor / (Samuel Lawrence Taylor) → Eighteen-year-old session bassist for Jerry Lee Lewis and later on several late-60s albums by The Monkees, co-founded blues/boogie-rock Canned Heat (“Going Up The Country,” #11, 1968) in 1967 and appeared at Monterrey (1967) and Woodstock (1969) plus on 26 albums with the original Canned Heat lineup and various reunions through 2015, worked as a session bassist for dozens of artists over the decades, from John Mayall to Tom Waits and Leo Kottke, died after a 12-year battle with cancer on 8/19/2019, age 77.
● Pedro Bell → Graphic artist and musician known for his several dozen album cover illustrations for George Clinton‘s Funkadelic and its offshoot band, Parliament, the core bands in the musicians’ collective known as “P-Funk” that pioneered the unique blend of heavy funk and psychedelic rock also called P-Funk, wrote the liner notes to several P-Funk albums under the pseudonym “Sir Lleb” (Bell spelled backwards), participated in several production studio, comic book, e-magazine and start-up band projects before going legally blind in 1996, died following years of declining health on 8/27/2019, age 69.
● Donnie Fritts / (Donald Ray Fritts) → Session musician and songwriter, first in the Muscle Shoals, Alabama music scene in the 60s and later in Nashville as part of the “outlaw country” movement of the 70s, wrote or co-wrote dozens of songs, including “Breakfast In Bed” for Dusty Springfield (#10, 1968), “We Had It All” for Dolly Parton (#28, 1986) and seven other charting singles, played in Kris Kristofferson’s band for over 20 years, issued five solo albums (three after 2008), died from complications following heart surgery on 8/27/2019, age 76.
● LeShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels / (LeShawn Ameen Daniels) → R&B/pop songwriter, vocal arranger and producer for megastars including Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and others, co-wrote his first hit at age 21, “Top Of The World” for Brandy Norwood (R&B #1, UK #2, 1998) and followed with “The Boy Is Mine” for Brandy & Monica (#1, 1998), the Grammy-winning “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child (#1, R&B #1, 2000) and 25 other charting singles before
dying in a car crash on 9/3/2019, age 41.
● Jimmy Johnson / (Jimmy Ray Johnson) → Guitarist, session musician, recording engineer and founding member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as The Swampers), the renowned studio ensemble that recorded hundreds of songs and albums, first at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in the 60s and, starting in 1969, at their own Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in nearby Sheffield, contributed to dozens of hits by Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, Paul Simon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and countless others, also engineered three tracks on The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album, among many others, died from kidney failure on 9/5/2019, age 76.
● Eddie Money / (Edward Joseph Mahoney) → NYPD police trainee turned 70-80s “working class” rocker and songwriter with two Top 20 albums and eleven Top 40 hits, including “Baby Hold On” (#11, 1978), “Take Me Home Tonight” (#4, 1986) and “Walk On Water” (#9, 1988), toured and recorded through the 00s and appeared on several TV sitcoms and variety shows, his 12th studio album, Brand New Day, was scheduled for release at the time of his death from esophageal cancer on 9/13/2019, age 70.
● Ric Ocasek / (Richard Theodore Otcasek) → Co-founder, rhythm guitarist and chief songwriter for New Wave synth-pop/hard rock The Cars, his songs and lyrics skillfully blended 60s pop with 70s punk rock and created thirteen Top 40 hits for the band, including “Just What I Needed” (#27, 1978) and “Drive” (#3, 1984), started a solo career during the band’s last years together and issued seven solo albums and six charting singles over 20 years, including “Emotion In Motion” (#15, 1986), appeared on screen in cameo roles and published books of his poetry and lyrics before dying while recovering from an unspecified surgery on 9/15/2019, age 75.
● John Cohen → Folk musician, musicologist, photographer, filmmaker and co-founder of influential 50s-60s roots-folk trio New Lost City Ramblers, his career focused on preserving and promoting the traditional music of the rural American South, influencing countless folk musicians who followed and inspiring the Grateful Dead song “Uncle John’s Band,” his collected works are enshrined in the Library of Congress and numerous museums country-wide, enjoyed a second career as a visual arts professor at SUNY Purchase College (New York) for 25 years and performed in several “old time” jug and string bands through the 00s, died from cancer on 9/16/2019, age 87.
● Robert Hunter → Folk-bluegrass musician, singer, songwriter and poet best known as the Grateful Dead‘s chief lyricist, wrote the words to dozens of the band’s best known songs, including “Truckin’,” “Friend Of The Devil,” “Touch Of Grey,” and “Uncle John’s Band,” also co-wrote songs with Bob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby, Elvis Costello and others, issued several folk-country-rock albums as a solo artist and published numerous books of poetry and his lyrics, died following an undisclosed surgery on 9/23/2019, age 78
● Jimmy Spicer / (James Bromley Spicer) → Early and influential hip hop artist with a number of old-school rap songs in the 70s and 80s, including the ground-breaking, 15-minute epic “Adventures Of Super Rhyme (Rap)” (1980) and electro-rap “Money (Dollar Bill Y’All)” (1983), turned to producing and operating a recording studio when his career stalled in the mid-80s, died from a brain tumor and lung cancer on 9/27/2019, age 61.
● Larry Willis / (Lawrence Elliott Willis) → Five-decade session and touring pianist fluent in jazz, jazz-rock fusion, Afro-Cuban, bepop and R&B/pop sounds as an accompanist to jazz saxophonist Jackie McLean and jazz-pop Hugh Masekela in the 60s, on six albums in the mid-70s as a member of brass rock Blood, Sweat & Tears, on hundreds of albums by numerous artists and groups through the 80s, 90s and 00s, including over 20 of his own, died from a pulmonary hemorrhage on 9/29/2019, age 78.
● Beverly “Guitar” Watkins / (Beverly Hayes Watkins) → Rare female electric blues guitarist known for her searing delivery and endless stamina, recorded her first album (Back In Business, 1999) at age 60 after four decades as a session and touring guitarist for The Ink Spots, James Brown, Taj Mahal and others, and as a solo artist on the club and blues festival circuit, including as part of the all-star Hot Mamas: Women in the Blues tour in the late 90s, died from a heart attack following a stroke on 10/1/2019, age 80.
● Kim Shattuck / (Kimberly Dianne Shattuck) → Singer, songwriter and former bassist for L.A. all-female garage rock The Pandoras, left in 1990 to found and front pop-punk rock The Muffs (“Sad Tomorrow,” 1995), known for sneering vocals, high-pitched screams, loud guitars and jangle-pop melodies, during breaks from band collaborated with others (including the Pixies) and with Pandoras reunions, died from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), just weeks before release of the Muffs‘ seventh studio album, No Holiday, on 10/2/2019, age 56.
● Ginger Baker / (Peter Edward Baker) → One of the first superstar rock drummers, known equally for his jazz-influenced artistry as for his difficult personality, played in jazz ensembles in London during the 50s, joined early Brit blues-rock Blues Incorporated in 1962 and R&B/blues Graham Bond Organisation in 1963, co-founded blues-rock super-trio Cream (“Sunshine Of Your Love,” #5, 1968) and supergroup Blind Faith (US #1 album Blind Faith, 1969), went solo in 1970 and fronted jazz-rock fusion Ginger Baker’s Air Force for a brief period before dropping out of the mainstream to open a recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria, played with various other artists and in Cream spin-offs and reunions until his death from heart failure on 10/6/2019, age 80.
● Larry Junstrom / (Lawrence E. Junstrom) → “The Big Man on the Big Bass,” founding member and original bassist for Southern rock, Ronnie Van Zant-fronted Lynyrd Skynyrd, left in 1971 and joined Donnie Van Zant-fronted .38 Special (“Caught Up In You,” #10, 1982) in 1976, played bass on all of the band’s albums until forced to retire in 2014 after hand surgery restricted his playing ability, died from undisclosed causes on 10/6/2019, age 70.
● Stephen Swid / (Stephen Claar Swid) → Wall Street analyst, financial advisor and private equity partner, purchased CBS Songs, the music publishing division of CBS Inc., for $125 million in 1986 and sold it less than 3 years later to Thorn-EMI for $335 million, later paid $25 million to acquire SESAC (the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers), a small player in the music copyright and royalty collection business, and grew the company to rival industry giants ASCAP and BMI, also co-owner of The “21” Club in New York City and CEO of Spin magazine, retired in 2013 after selling SESAC to an investment firm for $1.2 billion and died from complications of frontotemporal degeneration on 10/06/2019, age 78.
● Molly Duncan / (Malcolm Duncan) → Tenor saxophonist and founding member of Scottish blue-eyed soul Average White Band (“Pick Up The Pieces,” #1, 1974), left the band in the 80s for session work and tours with Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Tom Petty and others, reunited and toured with AWB bandmates in 2015 as The 360 Band, diagnosed with terminal cancer and died on 10/8/2019, age 74.
● George “Pops” Chambers / (George Chambers) → Bass, vocals and oldest of four brothers in pioneering, interracial psychedelic-soul The Chambers Brothers (“Time Has Come Today,” #11, 1968), the band at the forefront of the late-60s blending of traditional blues and gospel with funk and psychedelic rock, left after a string of successful albums in the 70s and performed occasionally as a gospel singer over the next four decades, died from undisclosed causes on 10/12/2019, age 88.
● Ray Santos / (Raymond Santos) → Grammy-winning Latin jazz saxophonist, played with top mambo bands led by stars Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez in the 50s and 60s, taught music at City College in New York for nearly thirty years, arranged the score to the movie The Mambo Kings (1992) and Linda Ronstadt‘s Frenesi album (US Latin #17, 1992), among many other projects, remained active until dying from congestive heart failure on 10/17/2019, age 90.
● Nick Tosches / (Nicholas P. Tosches) → Music journalist, biographer and poet labelled as one of the “Noise Boys” in the 70s for his brash, unconventional “gonzo” style, wrote for <emCreem, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and others magazines but best known for his biographies of Jerry Lee Lewis (Hellfire, 1982), Dean Martin and boxer Sonny Liston, also issued four novels and many other works of fiction and journalism, his Autobiography was released in 2018, died from undisclosed causes on 10/20/2019, age 69.
● Paul Barrere → Multi-genre guitarist and songwriter, most prominently with Southern-fried blues/boogie rock Little Feat for three decades, wrote or co-wrote some of the band’s best-known songs, including “All That You Dream” (1975), “Time Loves A Hero” (1977), “Down On The Farm” (1979) and “Hate To Lose Your Lovin’” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1989), during breaks from the band issued three solo albums and performed with Taj Mahal, Carly Simon, Phil Lesh And Friends, Bob Dylan, Robert Palmer and others, and as a duo with bandmate Fred Tackett, died from liver disease on 10/26/2019, age 71.
● Robert Freeman / (Robert Grahame Freeman) → English graphic designer and newspaper photojournalist best known for his iconic cover images on five early Beatles albums, including Beatles For Sale (1964), Help! (1965) and Rubber Soul (1965), also shot the closing credit sequences for the movies A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965) plus various promotional images during his three year stint with the band, later enjoyed a long career as a film producer and glamour, celebrity and landscape photographer, died in a London hospital from pneumonia on 11/6/2019, age 82.
● Iain Sutherland → Vocals, guitars and keyboards with his brother, Gavin in Scottish folk-rock sibling duo The Sutherland Brothers (“(I Don’t Want To Love You But) You Got Me Anyway,” #48, 1973), then joined with an obscure rock group (and former backing band for Al Stewart) to form The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, releasing nine UK singles including “Arms Of Mary” (#81, UK #5, 1975), earlier co-wrote “Sailing,” which became a hit when covered by Rod Stewart (#58, UK #1, 1975), retired from performing in the 80s but continued to write songs covered by Paul Young, Boyzone and others, died from undisclosed causes on 11/25/2019, age 71.
● Lord Burgess / (Irving Louis Burgie) → Second generation West Indian American musician and songwriter largely credited with starting the Caribbean music craze of the 1950s with the 34 songs composed for singer Harry Belafonte, including eight of 11 songs on the album Calypso (1956 – the first album of any kind to sell one million copies) and Belafonte‘s signature song, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” (#5, 1956), also wrote the lyrics of the National Anthem of Barbados, his oeuvre has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, died at home from heart failure on 11/29/2019, age 95.
● Joe Smith / (Joseph Benjamin Smith) → Legendary music industry executive whose career spanned the earliest days of rock ‘n’ roll to the CD boom of the 1990s, headed three major record labels – Capitol, Elektra/Asylum and Warner Bros. – and nurtured the careers of hundreds of artists across many genres, from Petula Clark and Peter, Paul & Mary to the Grateful Dead and Jackson Browne to The Cars and Bonnie Raitt, conducted several hundred hours of interviews with over 200 record executives, producers, songwriters, managers and musicians, including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John and Ella Fitzgerald, published excerpts in his 1998 book, Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music and eventually donated the tapes to the Library of Congress, died from undisclosed causes on 12/2/2019, age 91.
● Marie Fredriksson / (Gun-Marie Fredriksson) → Pop singer and songwriter who balanced a successful solo career in Sweden and international acclaim as lead singer with Per Gessle in pop-rock duo Roxette, the second most successful Swedish pop act after ABBA, the pair scored multiple Top 10 hits worldwide and four #1 hits the U.S., including “Joyride” (#1, SWE #1, 1991), diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2002, underwent surgery and chemotherapy, recovered to continue performing and recording as a solo artist and with Gessle in Roxette reunions until her death from a recurrence of a brain tumor on 12/9/2019, age 61.
● Gershon Kingsley / (Götz Gustav Ksinski) → German-American composer and pioneer of popular electronic music and the Moog synthesizer, on which he recorded film scores, Broadway musicals, TV commercials, a rock versions of Jewish services, and three dozen albums as a solo artist or in collaboration with others, his signature song “Pop Corn” has been recorded by hundreds of artists, including synth-pop Hot Butter (#9, 1973), Latin jazz Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, dance-pop Crazy Frog and techno/ambient Aphex Twin, later switched to digital electronics and new age music, and composed theatrical concerts and operas into the 00s, died from undisclosed causes on 12/10/2019, age 97.
● Roy Loney / (Roy Alan Loney) → Founding member, frenetic frontman and growling lead vocalists for The Flamin’ Groovies, the San Francisco garage rock/proto-punk cult band that cut a contrarian groove through the late-60s Bay-area hippie psychedelic scene with their loud, bluesy 50s rock ‘n’ roll sound, left in 1971 after release of the band’s third studio album, the acclaimed Teenage Head (1971), combined a mostly quiet, on-again-off-again solo career over 40 years with stints in other bands and as a record store salesman, performed with a reincarnated Groovies as recently as six months before dying during surgery to correct severe organ failure on 12/13/2019, age 73.
● Emil Richards / (Emilio Joseph Radocchia) → Veteran vibraphonist, percussionist, bandleader and session musician whose finger-snapping kept time on The Addams Family TV theme song, whose bongo playing underscored the Mission Impossible theme, and who performed as part of the Wrecking Crew team of L.A. studio musicians, appearing on thousands of recordings by George Harrison, Quincy Jones, Steely Dan, Frank Zappa and scores of others, issued nine LPs as frontman for the Microtonal Blues Band and other groups, collected over 350 world music instruments and eventually donated or sold the collection before dying from undisclosed causes on 12/13/2019, age 87.
● Allee Willis / (Alta Sherral Willis) → Former Columbia Records office secretary who rose to become a Grammy-winning songwriter as co-writer of Patti LaBelle’s “Stir It Up” from the soundtrack album to Beverly Hills Cop (1984), also co-wrote wedding-reception staple song “September” for Earth, Wind & Fire (#8, R&B #1, 1978), the theme song to the hit TV sitcom Friends by the Rembrandts (“I’ll Be There For You,” #1, 1995), and the score to the Tony-winning Broadway musical The Color Purple (2005), worked as an art director, set designer and community promoter in her hometown Detroit through the 10s, died from cardiac arrest on 12/24/2019, age 72.
● Sleepy La Beef / (Thomas Paulsley LaBeff (nee LaBoeuf)) → Early rockabilly guitarist and singer with droopy eyelids whose 60-year career, deep repertoire, 30 solo albums and tireless touring made him a legend despite not having a hit record per se, his highest charting single was “Blackland Farmer” (Country #67, 1971), appeared in the B-movie Swamp Thing (1968) and developed a cult status, including Europe, touring into the mid-10s, died from natural causes on 12/26/2019, age 84.
● Neil Innes / (Neil James Innes) → Multi-instrumentalist British comedian, songwriter and early member of 60s art/comedy-rock Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, wrote their lone hit “I’m The Urban Spaceman” (UK #5, 1968) and many other satirical and nutty songs over 40 years, including several well-known pieces – “Knight Of The Round Table” (1975) for one – for comedy troupe Monty Python, with whom he collaborated during the 70s, and co-founded The Beatles parody band The Rutles with Python-mate Eric Idle in 1978 and wrote most of their deadpan sendups, appeared in children’s TV programs in the 80s, contributed to Rutles and Monty Python reunions over the years, formed the Idiot Bastard Band in the 10s and died from an unexpected heart attack on 12/29/2019, age 75.