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In Memoriam: Remembering those we lost in 2020

Denise Johnson (July 31, 1963 - July 27, 2020)

Denise Johnson sang with bands including New Order, A Certain Ratio and Primal Scream. Johnson played with Primal Scream between 1991 and 1995, appearing on Screamadelica and Give Out But Don't Give Up.


Sir Alan Parker (February 14, 1944 – July 31, 2020)

“It’s a mish-mash, an amalgam of lunatic ideas”. Sir Alan Parker was the director of the movie version of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece The Wall, which debuted at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.


Steve Holland (February 2, 1954 – August 2, 2020)

Guitarist of southern rock group Molly Hatchet, Steve Holland played on their first five albums, including the self-titled 1978 debut, 1979’s Flirtin’ With Disaster, 1980’s Beatin’ The Odds, 1981’s Take No Prisoners and 1983’s No Guts No Glory.

“Steve was the last man standing and has joined the rest of his fellow band brothers up in heaven," said the band in a statement. "Steve's health had been on a downward spiral for a while, with Steve finally getting his angel wings on August 2. 

“You will always be one of the greatest, Steve. Rest well and sing out with Danny Joe Brown, Dave Hlubek, Duane Roland, Banner ThomasBruce CrumpJimmy Farrar and Ralph ‘Riff’ West in heaven.”


Gerry McGee (August 15, 1962 – August 25, 2020)

Frontman with Canadian hard rockers Brighton Rock, Gerry McGee, joined the band in 1982. He co-wrote One More Try, a Top 20 hit for the band in Canada.


Toots Hibbert (December 8, 1942 – September 11, 2020)

As the leader of Toots & The Maytals, Hibbert was a pioneering figure in ska and reggae music, credited with inventing the very word 'reggae', and a songwriter whose compositions have been covered by artists like The Clash, The Specials, Keith Richards, Izzy Stradlin, Govt Mule, Robert Palmer, Willie Nelson, Amy Winehouse and more. 

His latest album, Got To Be Tough, was released on 28 August 2020. Hibbert fronted The Maytals (later called Toots & The Maytals) from the early 1960s. In 1968, writing a novelty song about a passing dance craze Toots miss-pronounced the Jamaican term “streggae” as “reggae”, giving rise to a whole new term. 


Floyd Lee (August 20, 1933 – June 7, 2020)

Floyd Lee was a veteran Mississippi bluesman, best recognized for his crowd-drawing performances of blues music in subway stations in New York for almost 30 years, before he reached acclaim through recording four albums and touring in his later years. 


Peter Starkie (Died September 13, 2020)

Starkie co-founded the Aussie rock group Skyhooks, and performed at many of their first gigs. Although he made his departure the same year, Starkie kept on playing music with bands such as Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons.


Dave Kusworth (March 26, 1960 – September 19, 2020)

Birmingham-born Dave Kusworth formed his first punk rock band in 1976 titled TV Eye, and had since blossomed into a staple of the punk scene, establishing himself within bands such as The Jacobites. 


Todd Nance (November 20, 1962 – August 19, 2020)

Todd Nance was best known as the original drummer of Widespread Panic, a southern rock jam band formed in the late 80s. Nance was a member until 2016, after playing on the band's first eleven studio albums. 


Tommy Devito (June 19, 1928 – September 21, 2020)

Co-founder, vocalist and lead guitarist of rock band The Four Seasons, Tommy Devito became internationally successful with the band in the 1960s and 1970s. Since 1970, they have also been referred to as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. 


Eddy Pumer (October 7, 1947 – September 25, 2020)

Eddy Pumer was guitarist and organ player with Kaleidoscope, an English psychedelic rock band from London, which also sometimes went under the name of Farfield Parlour. 


Paul Matters (Died October 14, 2020)

Bassist Paul Matters joined AC/DC in 1975 following the recording of the band’s debut album, High Voltage, but was replaced just weeks later by Mark Evans, apparently at the request of Bon Scott. He allegedly quit music after being fired from the band.

His friend Rod Westcome wrote: "Shocked and sad to hear of the passing of Paul Matters. I first met Paul in 1973 when he was playing bass in 'Armageddon' at a gig in Hamilton, Newcastle N.S.W. When I was living in Toronto he would drop into the house in the late hours to party and he loved to party. 

"He will be missed by all who knew him.”


Jimmy Winston (April 20, 1945 – September 26, 2020)

In addition to being founding member and original keyboard player with The Small Faces, Jimmy Winston was an actor who made an appearance on Doctor Who in 1972, as well as the 1968 stage musical Hair.


Emitt Rhodes (February 25, 1950 – July 19, 2020)

Emitt Rhodes was a cult US singer/songwriter, who crafted unforgettable power pop through his solo albums in the 1970s.


Mac Davis (January 21, 1942 – September 29, 2020)

Most famously the mind behind Elvis Presley's sensational track In The Ghetto, Mac Davis was a Nashville-based country-rock singer and songwriter.


Thee Slayer Hippy (September 23, 1969 – May 22, 2020)

Thee Slayer Hippy was the legendary US drummer of influential punk outfit Poison Idea. He joined the band at the early age of 15 and left following the band's split in 1993. 


Steve York (April 24, 1948 – October 14, 2020)

Steve York was an esteemed bass player with a long list of significant collaborations, including Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and more.


Peter Green (October 29, 1946 – July 25, 2020)

Peter Green and guitar

(Image credit: Ivan Keeman / Redferns / Getty Images)

Green founded Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967. Born in London’s East End in 1946, he was turned on to the possibilities of guitar at the age of 11, in the skiffle era of the mid-50s. 

After acquiring a cheap Spanish guitar from his brother, he went on to become one of British blues rock's most notable players. Green recorded three studio albums – Fleetwood Mac (1968), Mr. Wonderful (1968), Then Play On (1969) – with Fleetwood Mac before he left the band in 1970 following a struggle with his mental health.

Read Peter Green: a tribute to a reluctant genius