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In Memoriam: Remembering those we lost in 2020

Phil May (November 9, 1944 – May 15, 2020)

The Pretty Things were widely regarded as one of the great UK R&B groups of the early 60s, with their off-stage antics outstipping their friends and rivals the Rolling Stones.

Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant even considered them “unmanageable” – although they still went on to sign for Zeppelin’s Swan Song label. May was also something of a revolutionary figure, with David Bowie once scribbling the word, ‘God!’ beside his name in an old address book. 

May founded the Pretty Things with guitarist Dick Taylor, with the pair then bringing in bassist John Stax, drummer Pete Kitley and guitarist Brian Pendleton for their first official lineup.

The Pretty Things’ 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is widely regarded as one of the first concept albums.


Johnny Nash (August 19, 1940 – October 6, 2020)

Best known for his hit I Can See Cleary Now in 1972, Johnny Nash was a Texas-born singer-songwriter, reggae and pop singer, and was one of the first non-Jamaican artists to record reggae music in Kingston.


Matthew Seligman (July 14, 1955 – April 17, 2020)

Matthew Seligman was bass guitarist with The Soft Boys and also collaborated with a number of celebrated artists such as the Thompson Twins, Morrissey and David Bowie. One of Seligman's most notable performances was as Bowie's bassist at 1985's Live Aid concert. 


Gene Shay (March 4, 1935 – April 17, 2020)

Dubbed as Philadelphia's "grandfather of folk music", Gene Shay was the co-founder of Philadelphia's Folk Festival and was also a radio DJ spanning over 50 years.


Jimmy Capps (May 25, 1939 – June 2, 2020)

Nashville country-rock guitarist Jimmy Capps performed on some of country's most influential recordings. Deemed as one of the most dedicated studio musicians around, it was said that Capps worked more than 500 sessions a year.


Florian Schneider (April 7, 1947 – April 21, 2020)

Co-founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider formed the band in 1970, where he remained a member until leaving in 2008. 

"In the year 1968 Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider started their artistic and musical collaboration," the band said in a statement. "In 1970 they founded their electronic Kling Klang studio in Düsseldorf and started the multi-media project Kraftwerk. All the Kraftwerk catalogue albums were conceived and produced there."

The influence Kraftwerk have had on modern music has been great, informing everything from pop to techno as well as rock and metal acts including David BowieNine Inch Nails and HIM


Trini Lopez (May 15, 1937 – August 11, 2020)

Known for his hit If I Had a Hammer and appearance in The Dirty Dozen hit film, Trini Lopez gained international success as an American singer, guitarist and actor in the early 1960s. 


Rupert Hine (September 21, 1947 – June 4, 2020)

Rush producer Rupert Hine produced the Canadian prog rockers' Presto and Roll The Bones albums in 1989 and 1991, and was also a noted musician and songwriter in his own right.

Hine had his biggest commercial success with Quantum Jump, with whom he had a Top Ten UK hit in 1979 with The Lone Ranger. But it was as a producer that he was best known, working with a string of artists such as Martin Grech, Camel, Kevin Ayers, Anthony Phillips, Saga, Underworld, Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, among others.

"So sorry to have to say goodbye to my dearest and oldest friend - and partner in crime - Rupert Hine," said Rush engineer Stephen W. Tayler. "We shared so many wonderful journeys and adventures in the process of working with so many great artists and projects. 

"It has been a true privilege to have been so close to this charming, kind and creative soul with the most wicked sense of humour."


Al Rex (July 13, 1928 – May 24, 2020)

In 1949, Al Rex became the bass player for Bill Haley and the Saddlemen. Soon after recording Rocket 88 in 1951, Rex left to pursue a solo career. In 1955 he was invited to join Bill Haley and the Comets.


Ennio Morricone (November 10, 1928 – July 6, 2020)

A man who changed the sound of cinema, Veteran Italian film composer Ennio Morricone became famous for his work on noted westerns such as A Fistful Of Dollars and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. 

Metallica, who play Morricone’s The Ecstasy Of Gold before every show, paid tribute, saying: “RIP Ennio Morricone. Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983.”

Metallica’s James Hetfield later posted his own personal tribute to Morricone, calling him "part of the Metallica family."


Keith Tippett (August 25, 1947 – June 14, 2020)

Keith Tippett was a noted Jazz pianist who worked not only within his 50-strong Centipede orchestra, but with a variety of groups, such as King Crimson, Ovary Lodge and Mujician. 

"When pianist and composer Keith Tippett played you listened," wrote writer Dis Smith in tribute. "Not a cursory, in the background while you’re busy with something else but more of a dumb-struck, stopped-in-your-tracks, type of listening that commanded attention and struck deep."

Read King Crimson collaborator Keith Tippett remembered


Little Richard (December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020)

Little Richard performs at London Rock'n'Roll show, Wembley Stadium, London, 5th August 1972

(Image credit: Michael Putland / Getty Images)

While Elvis will go down in history as the king of rock n’ roll, during his lifetime there was only one serious challenger to his crown. 

For years, especially during his late 60s/early 70s comeback, Little Richard deliberately depicted himself as a mad pretender to rock’s throne: extravagant, outlandish, cocky and wild. 

Rock as a transgressive force that breaks social, racial and sexual boundaries? No one did more transgressing in the 1950s than this black performer who became a teen idol for millions of fans.


Tim Smith (July 3, 1961 – July 21, 2020)

Tim Smith was the enigmatic frontman of the Cardiacs. Smith formed Cardiacs in 1977 with his brother Jim (bass), Michael Pugh (vocals) and Peter Tagg on drums. The band's sound mixed the energy of punk rock with the complexity of progressive rock, leading to the dubbing of the band as "pronk".

Musician and prog writer Rhodri Marsden said in tribute: "Incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Cardiacs' Tim Smith. A unique musical mind, a wonderful man. What a shit day. But he'll always be the dazzling light at the centre of a huge musical family."


Sally Cato (Died May 19, 2020)

Singer of 80's glam metallers Smashed Gladys, the band released two studio albums, Smashed Gladys in 1985 and Social Intercourse in 1988.


Bob Kulick (January 16, 1950 – May 29, 2020)

Guitarist Bob Kulick auditioned for Kiss in 1972 and lost out to Ace Frehley, but his association with the band didn't end there, and he later added guitar parts to Alive II, Unmasked, Killers and Creatures Of The Night. Other credits included Lou Reed's Coney Island Baby, Meat Loaf's Bad Attitude, W.A.S.P.'s The Crimson Idol and Still Not Black Enough, and Michael Bolton's self-titled third album.

The news of his death was confirmed in an Instagram post by his younger brother and fellow guitarist Bruce, who wrote, "I am heartbroken to have to share the news of the passing of my brother Bob Kulick. His love of music, and his talent as a musician and producer should always be celebrated. 

"I know he is at peace now, with my parents playing his guitar as loud as possible. Please respect the Kulick Family’s privacy during this sad time."


Ken 'Mr Chi Pig' Chinn (October 19, 1962 – July 16, 2020)

Ken Chinn (a.k.a. Mr. Chi Pig) was the singer of Canadian hardcore-punk band Society’s No F**king Use (SNFU). Formed in 1981, Chinn first performed with the band at Live Sex Shows in Edmonton with twin-brother guitarists Marc and Brent Belke. 


Charlie Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020)

Country music and southern rock legend Charlie Daniels learned to play guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin and became a session musician in his twenties, co-writing It Hurts Me – released by Elvis Presley as the b-side of Kissin' Cousins in 1964 – and playing bass on three Bob Dylan albums: Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning. 

He achieved his first solo success in 1973 with the spoken word single Uneasy Rider, and over the following two decades would score a number of hit albums with The Charlie Daniels Band, who, along with the Marshall Tucker Band, were among Southern rock’s most country-orientated exponents.


Chris 'CP' Lee (January 19, 1950 – July 25, 2020)

Singer and guitarist with Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, the band were a celebrated live and recording act. CP also wrote a stage show, Sleak, which became a hit at the Royal Court theatre in London in 1977.


Terry Quirk (June 22, 1941 – June 1, 2020)

Terry Quirk was a noted artist, most celebrated for his work on The Zombies’ album Odessey And Oracle.


Sid McCray (Died September 9, 2020)

Sid McCray was the man behind Bad Brains' venture into punk rock, and fronted the Washington DC hardcore legends from 1977 - 1978. Bad Brains were originally a jazz-fusion band called Mind Power before McCray, their vocalist, introduced bandmate Darryl Jennifer to the world of punk.