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In Memoriam: Remembering those we lost in 2020

Sean Tyla (August 3, 1946 – May 17, 2020)

Known as "Britain’s Godfather of pub-rock boogie", Sean Tyla was guitarist and singer for Ducks Deluxe and later the Tyla Gang.


Mark Stone (Died September 26, 2020)

The original bass player of Van Halen, Stone's history with the band goes all the way back to 1972, when he played in the group Genesis with Eddie and Alex Van Halen.


Wayne Fontana (28 October 1945 – 6 August 2020)

Pop singer Wayne Fontana, best known for his major hit The Game Of Love in 1965, took his stage name from the Elvis Presley drummer DJ Fontana. 

With his band the Mindbenders, he released a debut single in 1963. The singles that followed increased the band's success, with Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um reaching No 5 in the UK in 1964 and The Game of Love reaching No 2 the following year.


Martin Birch (December 27, 1948 – August 9, 2020)

Producer Martin Birch worked on some of the best-known albums in rock with artists including Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Fleetwood Mac and Rainbow

He first collaborated with Deep Purple for Concerto For Group And Orchestra in 1969 and went on to work on albums Deep Purple In Rock, Machine Head and Burn And Stormbringer. This led him to hook up with Iron Maiden for their 1981 album Killers, as well as the band's next nine albums, including The Number Of The Beast, Powerslave, Somewhere In Time and Fear Of The Dark.

The news of his death was confirmed on Twitter by Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale, who said: “It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend and producer Martin Birch has passed away.

"Martin was a huge part of my life, helping me from the first time we met through until Slide It In. My thoughts and prayers to his family, friends & fans.”


Pat Fairley (April 14, 1943 – August 11, 2020)

Glasgow-born Pat Fairley formed The Gaylords in 1961 with Billy Johnston, and enjoyed humble success in Scotland. However after a name change to Marmalade, their success grew, and shortly became the first Scottish group to top the UK singles charts, and was also seen performing on Top Of The Pops sporting kilts. 


Pete Hawarth (July 7, 1957 – August 12, 2020)

Existing as part of the new wave of British heavy metal in the late 1970's, Jersey-based Pete Hawarth released three independent records between 1981 and 1983, and also the two albums, Legend And Death In The Nursery and the EP Frontline, as guitarist for the band Legend.


Jack Sherman (January 18, 1956 – August 18, 2020)

Sherman joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983, replacing founding guitarist Hillel Slovak. He played guitar on the band's self-titled debut album as well as picking up co-writing credits, and also composed material on the follow-up, Freaky Styley. Sherman also contributed to the Abbey Road EP and to the band's breakthrough release Mother's Milk – singing backing vocals on Good Time Boys and Higher Ground.


Ron Heathman (Died August 18, 2020)

Guitarist Ron Heathman was part of the classic Supersuckers lineup and appeared on their first two albums: 1992’s The Smoke Of Hell and 1994’s La Mano Cornuda. He left the band in 1995 and was replaced by Rick Sims, but returned to the fold for 1997’s Must Have Been High and remained in the line up for 1999’s The Evil Powers Of Rock’N’Roll, 2003’s Motherfuckers Be Trippin’, 2006’s Paid and Get It Together in 2008.


Denny Demarchi (November 28, 1962 – May 15, 2020)

Denny DeMarchi was a Canadian musician best known as a keyboardist and singer-songwriter. He played with The Cranberries during their reunion tour, and also performed with Dolores O'Riordan as her keyboardist and guitarist during her solo world tour in 2007. 


Lyle Mays (November 27, 1953 – February 10, 2020)

Lyle Mays, was a celebrated pianist, keyboardist, and composer, best known for his long-standing work with guitarist Pat Metheny.


Frankie Banali (November 14, 1951 – August 20, 2020)

Drummer Frankie Banali was a founding member of Quiet Riot. His success with the band included the 10-million-selling classic Metal Health, which topped the Billboard charts in 1983. He also played with Hughes/Thrall, W.A.S.P., and on the charity record Hear 'n Aid. He died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

"He put up an inspiringly brave and courageous 16-month battle to the end and continued playing live as long as he could," said his widow Regina Banali. "Standard chemotherapy stopped working and a series of strokes made the continuation on a clinical trial impossible. 

"He ultimately lost the fight at 7:18PM on August 20th in Los Angeles surrounded by his wife and daughter." 


Walter Lure (April 22, 1949 – August 22, 2020)

Walter Lure was the former guitarist of punk legends Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers. Lure joined the Heartbreakers in 1975 and played on the band's classic L.A.M.F. album as the punk scene in New York began to explode. 

His passing was confirmed in a Facebook post from Los Angeles club The Starwood. It read, "Walter Lure (April 22, 1949 - August 22, 2020) our dear friend has passed away. Walter was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer in July 2020, which spread rapidly and he died from complications related to the cancer at the age of 71, peacefully in the hospital, surrounded by family.

"He was much loved by all and respected for all he contributed to the world of music. He will be dearly missed. To his family, friends and fans our deepest condolences. May he RIP."

The Heartbreakers were also part of the infamous Anarchy tour in the UK, flying in to join a line-up that also included The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned.


Justin Townes Earle (January 4, 1982 – August 23, 2020)

US singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle However crafted his much-loved sound after hearing Nirvana’s unplugged version of Lead Belly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night, which caused him to throw away his electric guitar in exchange for an acoustic one. This led to the release of his 2008 debut album The Good Life, with his most recent record The Saint of Lost Causes arriving in May 2019.


Riley Gale (May 2, 1985 – August 24, 2020)

Riley Gale was the singer with Texas thrash metal band Power Trip. He was known for his unmistakable, rasping bellow, which was made the focal point around which Power Trip’s buzzsaw thrash attack could flow; his effortless command of a crowd made him a formidable presence onstage. 

As Power Trip's success grew over the last few years, so did Riley’s reputation as one of the most legitimate and approachable guys in all of metal. He looked out for the musicians he shared the road with and he cared deeply about the scene in general and the health it was in.

“Riley was just a kid out of Texas that was doing really good," said his friend Ice-T. "He was making his way, the band was building power, and it’s sad when somebody’s legacy gets cut short. He was gonna do big things. That band was one of the hottest new bands coming out. I’ll just always remember him as a cool- ass dude, just the easiest  person to meet. I knew we were gonna tour together eventually, and do things together, so it’s extremely sad, and a huge loss for the new metal community, and his family and people that loved him. He was a very loved person.”

Read Power Trip’s Riley Gale: the modern metal hero who was one of us


Judy Dyble (February 13, 1949 – July 12, 20201)

Dyble was an early member of the folk rock band Fairport Convention, originally hooking up with founding members Ashley Hutchings, Simon Nicoll and Richard Thompson. She appeared in the band's 1968 self-titled debut album. She also worked with pre-King Crimson outfit Giles, Giles and Fripp, before forming acid folk band Trader Horne with Jackie McAuley, with whom she released Morning Way in 1970 as well as guesting on The Incredible String Band's 1968 album The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter.


Paul Chapman (June 9, 1954 – June 9, 2020)

Paul Chapman joined UFO in 1974 and toured with them in support of their third studio album Phenomenon. However, his first tenure with the band didn’t last, and Chapman departed the following year to form Lone Star. He played on their self-titled debut album in 1976 and 1977’s Firing On All Six. Chapman then went on to rejoin UFO in 1978 and played on the studio albums No Place To Run, The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent, Mechanix and Making Contact

Following UFO’s split in 1983, Chapman hooked up with the band’s former bassist Pete Way in Waysted, playing on 1985’s The Good The Bad The Waysted and Save Your Prayers the following year.


Jamie Oldaker (September 5, 1951 – July 16, 2020)

James Oldaker was an American drummer and percussionist, who played with a number of esteemed artists such as Eric Clapton, Bob Seger, Leon Russell and more.


Roy Head (January 9, 1941 – September 21, 2020)

Roy Head was a Texas-born singer, best known for his hit record Treat Her Right, recorded by Roy Head And The Traits. He achieved fame as a member of a musical group from San Marcos, known as The Traits.


Tony Constanza (July 2, 1968 – August 4, 2020)

Tony Costanza was the original drummer and founding member of Machine Head, as well as former member of Crowbar. Although Costanza was around during Machine Head's earliest days, he left the group before they fully recorded their debut LP, Burn My Eyes. He joined Crowbar in 2001, and left in 2004 after playing on album Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form.


John Meyer (Died September 1, 2020)

Former Rose Tattoo guitarist John Meyer co-wrote many of the songs that appeared on their 1984 album Southern Stars, including its title track. Meyer also co-wrote numerous tracks on the band’s fifth studio album, 1986’s Beats from a Single Drum.