Here's to the rock'n'rollers – among them musicians, producers, writers and more – who have sadly left us in 2021.
Thank you for the music.
Alexi Laiho (Children Of Bodom), 8 April 1979 – late December 2020
Former Children Of Bodom leader Alexi Laiho’s death at the age of 41 was announced on January 4. Although no cause of death was specified, the Finnish singer and guitarist had reportedly been suffering from what were described as “long term health issues”.
Laiho founded Children Of Bodom in 1993, and led them until they split up at the end of 2019. In 2020, he formed a new band, Bodom After Midnight.
- Alexi Laiho was more than just the man behind Children Of Bodom – he was the mad scientist of modern metal (opens in new tab)
Mick Bolton (Mott The Hoople keyboard player) January 1, 2021
Mick Bolton, the keyboardist best known for playing with Mott the Hoople and Dexys Midnight Runners, passed away at 72 years of age.
Bolton was born in 1948 in Wigan, England, and began his career in late 1969 as a member of White Myth, who opened for bands such as Queen, Free, Humble Pie and Atomic Rooster. Leaving the group in 1971, Bolton went on to have brief stints with Blind Eye and Clockwork Orange, before joining Mott The Hoople in 1973 to serve as their touring keyboardist that December.
In 1984, he joined Dexys Midnight Runners, most commonly known for their 1982 hit Come On Eileen.
Bolton additionally became the keyboard teacher of Paul McCartney's wife and collaborator Linda.
Steve Brown (producer) died January 2, 2021
Steve Brown died following a short illness related to a fall in December.
Brown entered the music business in the 1970s as a drum roadie following a chance conversation with Elton John at a petrol station, and went on to become a tape op in a studio alongside his schoolfriend, Steve Lillywhite, who went on to produce U2, The Pogues, Big Country, Simple Minds and more. Brown produced Wham!’s debut album Fantastic, before going on to work with The Cult and the Manics.
“She Sells Sanctuary for us was a brilliant rock record,” Nicky Wire told Classic Rock’s Scott Rowley in 2013. “That's one of the main reasons we worked with Browny. And once we went with him we were on a pattern - that's what the record [Generation Terrorists] was gonna sound like.”
In the same interview, Manics’ frontman James Dean Bradfield described how Brown’s guidance and insight shaped songs such as Slash ‘n’ Burn and Motorcycle Emptiness.
Bradfield credited Brown with transforming Generation Terrorists album opener Slash ’n’ Burn from a “shambling indie rock song” into a muscular riff-rocker. “He was like, ‘No, it's got to have straight lines, it's got to be violent! It's got to have violence and grace!’” Bradfield recalled. “That was his thing: violence and grace. He made me write that middle section - that Michael Schenker bit. And because he produced Love, we just implicitly trusted him.”
“If Steve hadn't have kept pushing us on Motorcycle…, I don't think it would have become the song it was," he added. “He just kept pushing us to write parts, to atomise everything into one song. He was trying to tell us that we had to atomise all the outrageous statements that we'd made, and all our ambitions. We had to atomise it in one song, completely and utterly, if people were going to remain convinced by all of our bullshit and bluster. And if he hadn't, we might not have survived.”
Gerry Marsden (Gerry And The Pacemakers), 24 September 1942 – 3 January 2021
Gerry Marsden, singer and guitarist with early 60s Merseybeat stars Gerry And The Pacemakers, died at the age of 78 after a short illness. Contemporaries of The Beatles, The Pacemakers became the first band to reach the top of the UK singles chart with their first three releases: How Do You Do It?, I Like It and the evergreen You'll Never Walk Alone.
Michael Fonfara (Electric Flag/Lou Reed keyboardist) August 11, 1946 - January 8, 2021
Michael Fonfara passed away at the age of 74 following a two year battle with cancer.
He was most well known for his work with The Electric Flag, Rhinoceros, Rough Trade, Lou Reed's backing band and The Downchild Blues Band.
"He’s the best musician I’ve ever worked with,” Downchild co-founder Donnie Walsh said in a statement, with bassist Gary Kendall adding, “Yesterday we lost a brother, a band mate, a co-writer and a dear friend. If you met him, you loved him. A creative genius.”
William ‘Jesus’ Jellett: June 6, 1941 – January 8, 2021
William Jellett, aka "Jesus", was a legendary UK music fan known for his frequently naked appearances at UK music festivals throughout the 70s and 80s. The Dorset-born Jellett was a fixture at gigs by everyone from Cream and Queen and to Hawkwind and Motörhead. He famously got his nickname at Blind Faith's Hyde Park show in June 1969, when DJ Jeff Dexter publicly referred to him as "Jesus" over the PA.
Marsha Zazula (Megaforce Records co-founder) 21 April 1952 – 10 January 2021
Marsha Zazula, who co-founded powerhouse US metal label Megaforce with her husband Jon, passed away on January 9 after a battle with cancer. The Zazulas were responsible for launching the careers of Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, King’s X and more. “Marsha Z is the Metal Matriarch of the East Coast. She was our mother when I had none,” said James Hetfield in a tribute. “She made great sacrifices for Metallica to grow.”
Mark Keds (Senseless Things) died 11 January 2021
Former frontman with early 90s British indie-punks Senseless Things Mark Keds died of unspecified causes at the age of 50. Keds was also briefly a member of The Wildhearts, as well as Jolt, Lams, Trip Fontaine and Deadcuts.
Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge/Cactus/Beck Bogert & Appice), 27 August 1944 – 13 January 2021
US bassist Tim Bogert died on January 13 at the age of 76. He made his name as a member of Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Beck & Bogert Appice in the late 60s and early 70s. He later worked with Boxer, Rick Derringer and Hollywood Monsters.
Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls / The Criminals), 14 February 1951 – 13 January 2021
New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain died at the age of 69. The news was confirmed by former Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, who wrote, "Sylvain Sylvain, the heart and soul of the New York Dolls, bearer of the Teenage News, passed into his next astral incarnation on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.
"Syl loved rock and roll. His onstage joy, his radiant smile as he chopped at his guitar, revealed the sense of wonder he must have felt at the age of 10, emigrating from his native Cairo with his family in 1961, the ship pulling into New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time."
Phil Spector (convicted murderer and music producer) 26 December 1939 – 16 January 2021
'Wall of Sound' producer Phil Spector died in prison at the age of 81, where he was serving time for murder. His death was confirmed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Spector produced multiple American Top 10 hits in the first half of the 1960s, his signature "Wall of Sound" bringing success to The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Ike & Tina Turner and more, and influencing a generation of artists including the Beach Boys, The Beatles, the Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen and The Ramones.
In 2009 Phil Spector was convicted of the second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson, who'd appeared in Barbarian Queen and Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the 1980s.
Jimmie Rodgers (country musician) September 18, 1933 - January 18, 2021
Jimmie Rodgers died at 87 years of age in Palm Desert, California, following kidney disease and after testing positive for Covid-19.
Rodgers was most famously known for his debut album Honeycomb in 1957, but went on to be a regular presence within the pop, country and R&B charts with further records including the Grammy Award nominated pair, 1958's Oh-Oh I'm Falling In Love Again and 1967's Child Of Clay.
His career reached an unfortunate hinderance when he was beat severely by an off-duty Los Angeles police officer in 1967, resulting in three brain surgeries and a metal plate in his head. Although he continued to perform, he was left with constant difficulties, and became side-lined when he started having seizures at concerts.
In later years, he settled as a performer and producer in Branson, where he owned his own theatre for several years before retiring to California in 2002.
Hilton Valentine (Animals guitarist) 21 May 1943 – 29 January 2021
Hilton Valentine, original guitarist and founding member of The Animals, died at the age of 77.
In 1963 he was recruited to join The Animals alongside Chas Chandler, Alan Price and John Steel. He went on to play on classics like Baby Let Me Take You Home, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It’s My Life and Don’t Bring Me Down, and on the band's landmark, trans-Atlantic number one cover of the traditional folk song The House of the Rising Sun.
“It really was Hilton who made the early Animals a rock band because I don’t think the element of rock was in the band until we found him," Eric Burdon told Guitar International. "Hilton wasn’t just playing rock‘n’roll, he looked rock‘n’roll."
Anne Feeney (US singer-songwriter/activist) July 1, 1951 - February 3, 2021
Anne Feeney passed away at UPMC Shadyside hospital in Pittsburgh on February 3, 2021, aged 69.
Feeney was an award-winning activist/ folk singer song-writer, and was renowned for writing the classic protest song Have You Been To Jail For Justice, made popular by Peter, Paul And Mary, several films, and sung by jail inmates around the world.
She was regarded as an influential part of the folk music movement and a committed political and labor activist, who lived each day in attempt to make a difference in the lives of numerous people, including those on strike, or in a union or community organizing drive. She was also an avid defender of women's rights, the environment and human rights, and worked ceaselessly to end poverty and racism.
Performing music designed to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable", over her 35 year performing and recording career she released 12 albums, and shared stages with Pete Seeger, Loretta Lynn, John Prine, Toshi Reagon, The Mammals, Dan Bern, the Indigo Girls, and Billy Bragg.
Stefan Cush (Men They Couldn't Hang vocalist/guitarist) died February 5, 2021
Stefan Cush, co-lead vocalist and guitarist for folk-punk group The Men They Couldn't Hang died at 60 years of age following a heart attack.
Before forming the group alongside brothers Philip and Jon Odgers, Paul Simmonds and Shanne Bradley in 1984, Cush worked as a roadie for The Pogues. Off the success of their 1989 album Silver Town, The Men They Couldn’t Hang toured with David Bowie in 1990, but split up the following year. They reformed five years later and performed regularly, releasing their final album, Cock-a-Hoop in 2018.
Spider Stacey of The Pogues said on Twitter: “I am saddened beyond words to hear about the sudden passing of my good friend Stefan Cush. Cut from a strong and excellent cloth, they just don’t make them like that any more. Rest In Power”
Elliot Mazer (Producer) September 6, 1941 - February 7, 2021
Producer Elliot Mazer died at the age of 79. The news was confirmed by his sister, Bonnie Murray, who told Rolling Stone (opens in new tab) that Mazer had died of a heart attack after years spent battling dementia.
Mazer was most famous for his work with Neil Young, working on a string of releases including Harvest, Journey Through The Past, Times Fades Away, Tonight's The Night, American Stars & Bars, Hawks & Doves, Everybody's Rockin', Old Ways, Lucky 13 and the recently released "lost" album Homegrown. He also worked with The Band, Janis Joplin, Rory Gallagher and many more.
Chick Corea (Former Miles Davis musician and Return To Forever leader) June 12, 1941 – February 9, 2021
Jazz fusion keyboard player Chick Corea, who payed in Miles Davis' band in the late 60s and was one of the pioneers of jazz fusion in the 70s with Return To Forever, passed away on February 9, aged 79.
According to a post on his Facebook Corea died of a rare form of recently discovered cancer.
"Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do."
"He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions."
Richie Albright (Waylon Jennings drummer) died February 9, 2021
Richie Albright, long-time drummer for Waylon Jennings, died at 81 years old.
He was born in Oklahoma and raised in Bagdad, Arizona and joined Jennings' band The Waylors in 1964, before moving to Nashville in 1966 after the singer signed with RCA Records.
He played drums on famed Jennings albums such as Dreaming My Dreams, Ol' Waylon and the revered collection of Billy Joe Shaver songs, Honkey Tonk Heroes.
During his time drumming for Jennings, he encouraged the vocalist to adopt rock'n'roll principles, and over his lengthy career worked with an esteemed array of fellow musicians including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Johnny Rodriguez, Billy Joe Shaver, Jessi Colter and more.
When asked by musician Bronson Herrmuth whether he believed his drumming would be influential to future musicians, Albright responded: "I knew that I was playing with a very dynamic, just outrageous, great singer and guitar player, that's what I knew.
"You know when magic happens it happens a lot so that was a good barometer, I knew he was going to be big, I was just there for the ride man."
Rupert Neve (sound engineering icon) July 31, 1926 - February 12, 2021
Rupert Neve died in a hospice facility in San Marcos, Texas, at 94 years old due to pneumonia and heart failure.
Neve was a pioneering designer of professional audio recording equipment. He was incredibly sought after by professional musicians and recording technicians for his design of analogue recording and audio mixing equipment.
Regarded as the father of modern studio recording, his equipment became industry standard and influenced the sound of countless musicians including Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Santana, The Who, Pink Floyd and many more.
Nirvana even recorded their iconic album Nevermind on a mixing console at Sound City Studios designed by Neve.
Arthur Rupert Neve was born on July 31, 1926, in Newton Abbott, in southwestern England. He developed a love for technology as a young boy by taking apart and repairing shortwave radios. His hobby greatly grew during World War II, when he served in the Royal Corps of Signals, which gave communications support to the British Army.
Following years of working at various establishments, including a company that designed and manufactured transformers, he started his own business making hi-fi equipment.
He delivered his first custom-made transistor console to Phillips Studios in London in 1964, and its success led to thousands more orders over the years — bought by, among others, Abbey Road Studios in London and the Power Station in Manhattan.
Louis Clark (Electric Light Orchestra arranger/conductor) February 27, 1947 - February 13, 2021
Louis Clark, the string arranger and conductor for the Electric Light Orchestra, died at the age of 73.
Clark was born on February 27, 1947 in Kempston, England, and studied orchestration at Leeds College of Music.
He first worked with ELO on their 1974 LP, Eldorado, where he conducted the orchestra and collaborated with singer-songwriter Jeff Lynne and keyboardist Richard Tandy on the arrangements.
Clark went on to collaborate with the band on further albums, including 1975's Face the Music, 1976's A New World Record, 1977's Out of the Blue, 1979's Discovery and the soundtrack to the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film Xanadu.
Other notable collabs feature his work with Ozzy Osbourne on his 1981 album Diary of a Madman and 1983's Bark at the Moon. He also worked with groups such as Asia, Air Supply, America, Roy Orbison, City Boy and Renaissance, among others.
Sean Kennedy (I Killed The Prom Queen / Deez Nuts bassist) died February 23, 2021
Sean Kennedy, former bassist of Australian metalcore outfit I Killed The Prom Queen died at the age of 35.
Sean played bass on I Killed The Prom Queen’s first two records, 2003’s When Goodbye Means Forever and 2006’s Music For The Recently Deceased. He also played bass for Deez Nuts, appearing on 2015’s Word Is Bond, 2017’s Binge & Purgatory, and 2019’s You Got Me Fucked Up.
Ex- Prom Queen vocalist Michael Crafter said, “For years we stood side by side on stage or in band photos. We slept on floors, in vans, planes and some how managed to tour the world. Time went way [too] fast. We experienced highs and lows on the road and after all we went through, you will always be my friend. As the years passed us by I’m glad we’ve always been there for each other."
Bunny Wailer (The Wailers singer/percussionist) April 10, 1947 - March 2, 2021)
Bunny Wailer was a founding member of the Wailers, and enjoyed a career that spanned seven decades and influenced countless others.
In tribute, Ziggy Marley said: “Bunny Jah B Wailer’s body has left us but he knows just as we know that his legacy, music and spirit will never die. His contribution to our music not only as a member of the Wailers but as a solo artist has been been an enormous influence for me personally and to many more around the world. Pass It On."
Alan Cartwright (Former Procol Harum bassist) October 10, 1945 – March 4 2021
Procol Harum’s former bassist Alan Cartwright died aged 75. He was part of the band’s line-up between 1971 and 1976, playing on four albums including their groundbreaking 1972 release Live With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Cartwright spent five years touring and recording with the group – his final studio album was Procol's Ninth in 1975. His departure was announced shortly before the band's open-air concert at York's Museum Gardens in July 1976. He was replaced on bass by Procol's multi-instrumentalist Chris Copping.
After retiring from music Cartwright spent many years at Enfield's Bush Hill Park Bowls & Tennis Club in charge of social events and the bar.
Cartwright passed away in the early hours of March 4. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2020.
Tony Hendra (Ian Faith in This Is Spinal Tap) July 10, 1941 – March 4, 2021
Tony Hendra, better known as hapless band manager Ian Faith in This Is Spinal Tap, passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 79. The film’s director, Rob Reiner, paid tribute saying: “Tony Hendra who played Spinal Tap’s manager, Ian, has sadly passed away. A brilliant satirist who when learning that the band’s Boston gig had been canceled, told them not to worry that Boston wasn’t a big college town. R.I.P.”
Michael Stanley (leader of Michael Stanley Band) March 25, 1948 – March 5, 2021
Singer-songwriter Michael Stanley died of lung cancer aged 72. “Michael Stanley saw us,” wrote journalist Holly Gleason of his passing. “He knew what we were thinking, feeling, the reality of how it felt being the great unseen and never-heralded. He took it all in, twisted that truth into three, four, five visceral minutes, and sent our lives into the world with an actual dignity and understanding.”
Lou Ottens (Inventor of the audio cassette) June 21, 1926 – March 6, 2021
Lou Ottens passed away at the age of 94. The inventor of the tape cassette, he was instrumental in changing personal listening habits for an entire generation. “We were little boys who had fun playing,” he once said of his invention. “We didn’t feel like we were doing anything big.”
LG Petrov (frontman of Entombed A.D.) February 17, 1972 - March 7, 2021
Entombed AD frontman LG Petrov's bandmates revealed that the singer passed away on Sunday, March 7 after being diagnosed with bile duct cancer. He was 49. LG rose to fame as a member of Swedish death metal icons Entombed, appearing on eight of the band’s classic albums. He formed Entombed AD in 2013.
In a statement, Entombed AD wrote: “We are devastated to announce that our beloved friend Lars-Göran Petrov has left us.
“Our brother, leader, vocalist, our Chief Rebel Angel went on another ride last night. It’s with the deepest sadness that we have to announce that Lars-Göran Petrov has left us.
“He was (is!!!) an incredible friend, and a person that has touched so many people. He has changed so many lives with his voice, his music, his character and his unique personality.
James Macgaw (Magma guitarist) died March 8, 2021
Former Magma guitarist James Mac Gaw, who released the solo album La Fin Des Temples last December, had been part of the band’s live line-up but retired from performing in 2015 following the diagnosis of an aggressive brain tumour.
Magma vocalist Stella wrote in tribute: “You left today, women's day, you the charmer of these ladies... and gentlemen. Everyone was under your spell James, beyond the huge musician was the friend who knew how to listen, encourage, advise.
"You were “a child of Magma", you found your place with us, naturally. All those phrases sung in unison with your guitar, thousands of times, looking for the perfect mix, absolute sound. It didn't happen in a day but after a while the osmosis became perfect. Your fight against sickness was unusual, you foiled all the predictions and we ended up believing you were going to win. You left serene, life to the end... surrounded by Morgane, your wonderful wife, John and Louise, your beautiful children.”
Gerri Miller (Editor of Metal Edge) died March 14, 2021
Longtime Metal Edge editor Gerri Miller passed away after a battle with cancer. “Sad to hear of the passing of Gerri Miller. RIP. She was a true believer in so many bands during her time at Metal Edge as writer and editor. My condolences to her family & friends,” said Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx.
Corey Steger (Former Underoath guitarist) March 17, 2021
Corey Steger, who was the founding guitarist of Florida metalcore band Underoath, passed away in a car accident. He was 42 years old.
Steger was in the original line-up of Underoath, joining the band in 1998 and playing with them on two albums, Act Of Depression and Cries Of The Past, before departing in 2001. In 2010, he formed the thrash band Hand Of Fire with Tantrum Of The Muse’s Jim Settle, but left the group before they signed a deal with Rottweiler Records in 2016.
Dallas Taylor, who was Steger's bandmate and the original vocalist in Underoath, shared the tragic news of Steger's passing on his Instagram. He wrote:
“I don’t know how to type this. I’m without words. Yesterday 3/17/2021 at around 6:00 p.m. Corey Steger one of the original founding members of Underoath was rear ended in a car wreck, and went home to be with the Lord."
Ethel Gabriel (Grammy-winning producer for Elvis) November 16, 1921 – March 23, 2021
Ethel Gabriel was a Grammy-winning record producer who passed away in New York aged 99. A trailblazer for women in the music industry, she was one of the first women to work as a record producer. “We had a son-of-a-gun president at RCA who was not favorable to women in the industry,” she said in 1992. “He put me in charge of the Camden label, the economy line subsidiary, because it was supposed to fold. I’m sure he thought it was a way to get rid of me. Well, I made a multimillion dollar line out of it, conceived, programed and produced everything.”
Brett Bradshaw (Faster Pussycat drummer) died March 26, 2021
DMX (rapper and actor) December 18, 1970 – April 9, 2021
American rapper and actor DMX – real name Earl Simmons – died at the age of 50 following a heart attack. He was considered one of the most influential rap artists to come out of the state of New York, and was known as the Earl of Westchester county. In his career, he collaborated with the likes of Jay-Z, Ja Rule and LL Cool J.
Not only did he top the charts with songs such as Party Up (Up In Here) and X G’on Give It To Ya, but he also acted in the films Cradle 2 The Grave, Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds.
Since his passing, his birthday has been crowned Earl “DMX” Simmons day across the state of New York.
Rusty Young (Frontman of Poco) February 23, 1946 – April 14, 2021
Poco frontman Rusty Young died at the age of 75.
The news was confirmed by fellow Poco co-founder Richey Furay, who told Variety, "I just received word that my friend Rusty Young has passed away and crossed that line into eternity. My heart is saddened; he was a dear and longtime friend who help me pioneer and create a new Southern California musical sound called ‘country rock.’
"He was an innovator on the steel guitar and carried the name Poco on for more than 50 years. Our friendship was real and he will be deeply missed. My prayers are with his wife, Mary, and his children Sara and Will."
Mike Mitchell (The Kingsmen guitarist) April 16, 1944 – April 16, 2021
“We are deeply saddened by Mike’s passing," Kingsmen drummer Dick Peterson said in a statement. "He was the kindest and most generous man on the planet. For the past 57 years, we have been playing colleges, fairs, and festivals, vintage car shows and rock n’ roll shows throughout the USA. Mike is irreplaceable, and he will be greatly missed not only by us but the fans as well. Mike was a favourite for his comedic nature as well as his musicianship.”
Jim Steinman (composer and writer of Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell) November 1, 1947 – April 19, 2021
Shortly after his death, a statement was posted on Steinman's Facebook page, reading, "It's with a heavy heart that I can confirm Jim's passing. There will be much more to say in the coming hours and days as we prepare to honour this giant of a human being and his glorious legacy.
"For now, do something that makes you feel young, happy and free. He'd want that for you!"
Steinman was born in New York City in 1947, and attended school at Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he wrote The Dream Engine, a musical that laid the foundation for much of his later work, including Bat Out Of Hell and Bonnie Tyler's 1983 hit Total Eclipse Of The Heart.
After several years working on the periphery of musical theatre (Bette Midler recorded a version of the the Bat Out Of Hell classic Heaven Can Wait in 1973), Steinman met Meat Loaf during a workshop for The Dream Engine – now titled Neverland – and the two decided to record the project.
Bat Out Of Hell became a classic and a huge commercial success, selling over 50 million copies worldwide and famously spending over 500 weeks on the UK chart. and while neither Meat Loaf or Steinman would ever repeat its success, the two men worked together again on the follow-up, 1981's Dead Ringer, and on Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, released in 1993.
Les McKeown (Bay City Rollers singer) November 12, 1955 – April 20, 2021
Former Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown passed away aged 65. He fronted the band during their most successful period in the 1970s. His family paid tribute in the statement below.
pic.twitter.com/YgZLzuGbM1April 22, 2021
John Hinch (former Judas Priest drummer) July 19, 1947 – April 29, 2021
After meeting Rob Halford while playing drums in the Midlands club circuit in 1972, John Hinch and Halford began working together in the band Hiroshima. However, when Ian Hill and KK Downing saw the band, they quickly snapped up the pair to form the start of Judas Priest, with future twin lead guitarist Glenn Tipton following not far behind.
Hinch went on to play on Priest’s first album Rocka Rolla. However, he left soon after its release to pursue a career in management, with Uli Jon Roth from the Scorpions being one of his main clients.
Former Priest guitarist KK Downing paid tribute to Hinch saying: "I am extremely saddened to hear that John has passed away as he played his part so well in the creation and the history of Judas Priest. There are so many memories of crazy and fun times we all shared together. John was always so dependable and did everything to the best of his ability, including his drumming which looking back can only be described as faultless. The fact that he continued to play to his very last day is testimony to his ability and dedication to his love of the drums."
Tawny Kitaen (actress and hair metal icon) August 5, 1961 – May 7, 2021)
Actress Tawny Kitaen died at the age of 59. Kitaen came to prominence during the hair metal boom of the the mid-1980s, appearing in four Whitesnake videos and on the cover of Ratt's first album, Out Of The Cellar.
Born in San Diego, California in 1961, Kitaen's first brush with fame in the music world came after her legs appeared on the cover of Ratt's debut EP Ratt. Kitaen was dating the band's guitarist Robbin Crosby at the time, and subsequently starred on the cover of Ratt's first album, Out Of The Cellar, and in the video for Back For More, where she appeared alongside comedian Milton Berle, whose nephew managed the band.
Kitaen's career took off after she appeared in the first three videos that accompanied Whitesnake's 1987 self-titled album: Still of the Night (in a role originally intended for a pre-fame Claudia Schiffer), Is This Love, and in the video for the re-recorded version of Here I Go Again. The album would go on to sell eight million copies in the US alone, a popularity in part due to Kitaen's undoubted appeal during the golden age of MTV.
Whitesnake leader David Coverdale would go on to marry Kitaen, and she appeared in one further band video, for 1990's The Deeper the Love. The pair divorced in 1991.
"Just woke up to some very sad, unexpected news," tweeted David Coverdale. "Waiting on confirmation… but, if it is true, my sincere condolences to her children, her family, friends and fans."
Florian Pilkington-Miksa (Curved Air drummer) June 3, 1950 – May 20, 2021
Original Curved Air drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa died, aged 70.
Pilkington-Miksa had been a member of Sisyphus, alongside founder members Darryl Way and Francis Monkman, and the band morphed into Curved Air in 1970. He appeared on the band's first three albums, Air Conditioning (1970), Second Album (1971) and Phantasmagoria (1972). When the band initially split up in 1972, he joined singer Kiki Dee's band.
Pilkington-Miksa returned to a reformed Curved Air in 2008 and remained with the band until November 2017. Prog sends its condolences to his family.
The news was confirmed by Curved Air singer Sonja Kristina in a Facebook post yesterday. In it she paid tribute to Pilkington-Miksa, saying: "I am very much saddened to learn of the sudden death of my longtime friend and band mate, Florian, who passed away peacefully 7.30am May 20th 2021. I knew his lungs were compromised after bouts of pneumonia .
"Florian was a unique man and musician . His drumming style incorporated all the rhythms of the notes so that he played ‘the song’ rather than a text book drum beat.
"His spirituality was centred around Beings of Light and a Universal Consciousness. Florian was also a sculptor."
B.J Thomas (Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head singer) August 7, 1942 – May 29, 2021
B.J Thomas died of complications from lung cancer aged 78. The singer was best known for the classic track Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, from the soundtrack of the popular film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which spent four weeks at the top of the US chart.
Johnny Solinger (Former Skid Row singer) August 7, 1965 – June 26, 2021
Former Skid Row singer Johnny Solinger died at the age of 55. Solinger was hired to replace original Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach in 1999, after bassist Rachel Bolan discovered him via the internet. He appeared on two of the band's album – Thickskin and Revolutions Per Minute – as well as two EPs: United World Rebellion: Chapter One and Rise of the Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two.
Solinger left Skid Row after 14 years in 2015, saying he was ready to pursue a solo career. The band quickly replaced him with former TNT vocalist Tony Harnell, and insisted it was their decision to let him go.
The news of his passing was confirmed in a social media post by Solinger's wife, the actress Paula Marcenaro, who wrote, "Johnny has passed. I was holding his hand. He went in peace. Thank you all. I will take a break from everything but please know I am forever grateful for your love."
The news was also shared by Skid Row, who posted, "We are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. Godspeed Singo. Say hello to Scrappy for us."
Dusty Hill (ZZ Top bassist) May 19, 1949 - July 28, 2021
Dusty Hill, the longtime bassist for Texas blues-rock legends ZZ Top, died at the age of 72 in his sleep.
"We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, Texas," said the band's surviving members, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard.
"We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top'. We will forever be connected to that 'Blues Shuffle in C.'”
John Lawton (Former Uriah Heep singer) July 11, 1946 – June 29, 2021
Former Uriah Heep singer John Lawton died at the age of 74. Lawton joined Uriah Heep in 1976, having made his name in Germany as the frontman of cult rockers Lucifer’s Friend. The Yorkshireman’s blues voice presented Heep with a raft of new possibilities, and he would record three studio albums with the band: Firefly, Innocent Victim, and Fallen Angel.
Lawton parted ways with Uriah Heep in September 1979, but remained on good terms with his former bandmates.
Following his departure from Uriah Heep, Lawton recorded a solo album, Heartbeat, in 1980, before rejoining Lucifer's Friend for 1982's Mean Machine. They broke up a year later, but reunited in 2015 for some live shows and a new album, Too Late To Hate. And Lawton filled in for Uriah Heep singer Bernie Shaw in 1995 after the latter was forced to miss two week's worth of shows with a throat problem.
Lawton also sang at Roger Glover's Butterfly Ball live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1975, alongside David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes and Ian Gillan. He also recorded with The Les Humphries Singers - whose Sing Sang Song was the German entrant at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975 - plus Rebel, Zar, Gunhill, the Hensley Lawton Band, the Lawton Dunning Project and his own John Lawton Band.
The news of his death was confirmed by Uriah Heep, who wrote, "It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29 June 2021.
"Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible. He went peacefully with his wife at his side.
"John will be greatly missed. A private funeral service to celebrate John’s life will be held following his wishes, with only family and close friends attending.
"We would appreciate that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time."
Jeff LaBar (Cinderella guitarist) March 18, 1963 – July 14, 2021
Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar passed at the age of 58. The news was confirmed in an Instagram post by LaBar's son, Sebastian, who wrote, "My father, my hero, my idol, passed away today. I’m currently at a loss for words. I love you pop! If you could, please share pictures or video of all the fun times we all had with my dad. It would be greatly appreciated."
LaBar joined Cinderella in 1985, three years after the band formed in Philadelphia. He went on to play on the band's albums Night Songs (1986), Long Cold Winter (1988), Heartbreak Station (1990) and 1994's Still Climbing, and was their longest serving member apart from Kiefer and Brittingham.
Although Cinderella hadn't released a studio album since Still Climbing, the band returned from hiatus in 2010 for a series of live shows, undertook a 25th anniversary tour the following year, and in 2013 performed on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, which set sail from Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
LaBar released his debut solo album, One For The Road, in 2014, telling Guitar World, "Because I had been threatening to do it for so many years, the fact that I did it was a big accomplishment. It finally took my friends and loved ones to really encourage me to do it. I hope it makes an impact and that people enjoy it."
Gary Corbett (Kiss/Cinderella keyboardist) July 15, 1968 – July 14, 2021
Former KISS keyboardist Gary Corbett passed away following a battle with an aggressive form of lung cancer. His family confirmed the news via a statement that read: "It is with great sadness and the heaviest of hearts that the Cohen/Corbett family needs to let everyone know that after a hard-fought battle with cancer Gary Corbett passed away last night on Wednesday [July] 14, 2021. Those who knew Gary know that we and the world of music have all lost a very talented, funny, kind and gentle soul."
Robby Steinhardt (violinist, singer and Kansas co-founder) May 25, 1950 – July 17, 2021
Kansas founding member, violinist and singer Robby Steinhardt died aged 71, of complications from acute pancreatitis.
In a short statement, his family announced: "Robert Eugene Steinhardt, was well recognised as a founding member and original violinist and vocalist for the rock band Kansas. His violin and vocals on, Dust in The Wind, Point Of Know Return and Carry On Wayward Son, have etched Robby a solid place in rock history.
"Robby had been recording his new album with producer Michael Franklin, who put together an all-star cast of famous musicians in support of Robby’s comeback. Steinhardt was very proud of this project, slated for release in late 2021. He had begun rehearsals for a national tour when he became ill."
Steinhardt had been a member of White Clover alongside Phil Ehart, Steve Walsh and Robbie Williams when they joined forces with guitarist Kerry Livgren, and the basis for Kansas as people knew them was born.
Steinhardt was co-lead singer and MC along with keyboardist Steve Walsh from 1973 to 1982 and from 1997 to 2006. Steinhardt was replaced in the band by Dave Ragsdale.
He and Steve Walsh are the only original members of the band who are not from Topeka, where the band formed.
Martin Kahan (renowned music video director) July 18, 2021
Acclaimed music video director Martin Kahan died at the age of 74 on July 18 in Lakewood, NJ, following a battle with cancer. He was best known for his work with bands such as Rush, Kiss, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, although also made it as a celebrated director in the country scene.
Close friend and CEO of Yidstock Ventures, Arthur Levy, said: “In his final years in Lakewood, Kahan never stopped theorizing about country music’s gradual downsizing of its promo video output, and how he could work his way back into the fold.”
Many of Kahan's projects for the MTV platform solidified his position as one of the industry's most prolific directors, including KISS' first ever music video featuring the band without makeup, for songs Lick It Up and All Hell's Breakin' Loose. He also worked on the videos for Bon Jovi's In and Out of Love and She Don’t Know Me, Motley Crue's Too Young to Fall in Love, The Firm with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers' Satisfaction Guaranteed, Scorpions' I’m Leaving You, and many more.
Joey Jordison (former Slipknot drummer) April 26, 1975 – July 26, 2021
Jordison played on Slipknot's infamous demo CD and unofficial debut album Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. in 1996, and on four studio albums: 1999's Slipknot, the classic Iowa (2001), Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) in 2004 and All Hope Is Gone four years later.
In 2002 Jordison formed horror punk band Murderdolls with frontman Wednesday 13. He played guitar on the band's two albums, Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls and Women and Children Last, while other extra-curricular activity included stints on tour with Korn, Ministry, Satyricon and, memorably, Metallica, with who he performed at 2004's Download Festival after Lars Ulrich was hospitalised.
Over the course of his career Jordison became famous for an incredibly fast and precision-tooled playing style - particularly in his double kick drumming - and in 2010 was voted best drummer in the world by the readers of Rhythm Magazine. He received 37% of the vote, ahead of the likes of Mike Portnoy and Rush's Neil Peart.
Jordison stayed with Slipknot until 2013, but was fired as the band were gearing up to record .5: The Gray Chapter, their first album since the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010. In 2016, at the Metal Hammer Awards in London, Jordison revealed that he'd been suffering at the time from a neurological condition that restricted his movement.
Towards the end of his tenure with Slipknot Jordison announced a new project, Scar The Martyr, whose self-titled debut album was released in October 2013. The recording of a second album began in 2015, but the following year Jordison announced that the band were no more.
Mike Howe (Metal Church singer) August 21, 1965 – July 26, 2021
Metal Church frontman Mike Howe died at the age of 56 on July 26.
In a statement on social media, the band said, "It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music. Mike Howe passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time."
Howe started his career in music as the frontman of Detroit-based Hellion, before moving to Los Angeles and becoming the singer for Metal Blade-signed Heretic in 1986. After appearing on the band's debut album The Breaking Point, he departed to join Metal Church in 1988, replacing original singer David Wayne.
Howe stayed with Metal Church until they split in 1996, singing on 1989's Blessing In Disguise, 1991's The Human Factor and Hanging In The Balance in 1993. In 2015 he rejoined the band - who had first reformed in 1998 - and recorded 2016's XI, and Damned If You Do in 2018.
Paul Cotton (Poco guitarist) February 26, 1943 – August 1, 2021
Former Poco guitarist Paul Cotton died at the age of 78. The news was broken in a post on Cotton's Facebook page, which revealed that he'd passed away unexpectedly but peacefully.
The news was also shared by Poco founder Jim Messina, who posted, "I woke up this morning to very sad news. Paul Cotton was a special musical kindred brother. We spent time together before he joined Poco and indeed gave me a great honour when he filled my position.
Cotton was born in Alabama but raised in Chicago. He formed the Illinois Speed Press in 1965, who released two albums for Columbia Records at the turn of the decade, before joining Poco in 1970 to replace founding member Messina. After singer/guitarist Richie Furay left the band in 1973, Cotton became co-leader of the group alongside singer/pedal-steel player Rusty Young.
Among the songs Cotton wrote for Poco was one of the band's biggest hits, Heart Of The Night, which reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. Inspired by his love for the city of New Orleans, Cotton claimed to have written the song in 20 minutes.
Cotton left Poco in 1987 but rejoined the band four years later and continued to play with them until 2010. He also released five solo studio albums. The most recent, 100% Paul Cotton, came out in 2014.
Nanci Griffith (singer, guitarist, songwriter) July 6, 1953 – August 13, 2021
Grammy-winning folk and country music singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith died aged 68. Country artist Suzy Bogguss shared a tribute that read: "My heart is aching. A beautiful soul that I love has left this earth. I feel blessed to have many memories of our times together along with most everything she ever recorded. I’m going to spend the day revelling in the articulate masterful legacy she’s left us. Rest my dear friend Nanci Griffith."
Don Everly (Everly Brothers founder) February 1, 1937 – August 21, 2021
Don Everly, one half of pioneering rock'n'rollers the Everly Brothers, died at the age of 84.
"Don lived by what he felt in his heart," said a statement released by Everly's family. "Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams... living in love with his soul mate and wife Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother. Don always expressed how grateful he was for his fans."
Everly was born in Brownie, Kentucky, in 1937, and formed the Everly Brothers with his sibling Phil in 1956. They went on to have hits with Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have to Do Is Dream and Cathy's Clown, and were an influence on a generation of musicians including The Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Eric Wagner (former Trouble frontman) April 24, 1959 – August 22, 2021
Eric Wagner, vocalist with US doom metal band The Skull, and formerly the frontman of cult heroes Trouble, died after contracting Covid pneumonia at the age of 62.
The news of Wagner’s passing was announced by his former bandmate Chuck Robinson, who played guitar alongside the singer in both Trouble and The Skull. “This morning I awoke to the worst news...” Robinson wrote in a Facebook post. “We are all truely [sic] devastated.. My dear friend, band mate and brother Eric Wagner has passed. Goodnight Tempter.. We love you.”
Influenced by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and 1970s psych and stoner rock, Aurora, Illinois act Trouble are held up as one of the most significant acts in doom metal, having attracted critical acclaim for their first two albums, 1984’s Psalm 9 and its follow-up, 1985’s The Skull, and were subsequently signed by Rick Rubin to his Def American label, with Rubin producing their self-titled fourth album Trouble, released in 1990. Wagner led the band from their formation in 1979 through to 1997, and subsequently rejoined for 2007’s Simple Mind Condition. He founded The Skull with former Trouble bandmates Jeff Olson and Ron Holznerin 2014, and released two albums with the group, 2014’s For Those Which Are Asleep and 2018’s The Endless Road Turns Dark.
Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones drummer) June 2, 1941 – August 24, 2021
The news was confirmed by his publicist, Bernard Doherty, who said: "It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today [August 24] surrounded by his family.
"Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also, as a member of The Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation.
"We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.''
Born in London in 1941, Watts hooked up with the Stones in 1963, joining Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones a year before the release of the band's debut album. Influenced by jazz drummers like Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes, his style was marked by its lack of flamboyance, performing with a minimum of apparent effort and providing a relaxed, rhythmic backbone that gave the band much of their swing.
Also a trained graphic artist, Watts published a book of drawings entitled Ode to A Highflying Bird in 1965, and two years later supplied the cartoon strip that adorned the back cover of the Rolling Stones' Between The Buttons album. Away from The Stones, he released a series of jazz albums with The Charlie Watts Orchestra, The Charlie Watts Quintet and The Charlie Watts Tentet.
Ron Bushy (Iron Butterfly drummer) December 23, 1941 – August 29, 2021
Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy died at the age of 78, after a battle with oesophageal cancer.
The news was confirmed by the band, who released a statement on Facebook that said, "Ron Bushy our beloved legendary drummer of Iron Butterfly has passed away peacefully, with his wife Nancy by his side, at 12:05am on August 29th at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. All three of his daughters were also with him. He was a real fighter. He was born Dec 23, 1941. He will be deeply missed!"
Bushy joined Iron Butterfly in 1966, and was the only musician to appear to each of the band's six albums, from 1968's Heavy to 1975's Sun And Steel. He'll be best-remembered for In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the 17-minute classic to which he contributed a lengthy drum solo.
Lee 'Scratch' Perry (producer and singer) March 20, 1936 – August 29, 2021
Beastie Boys’ Mike D paid tribute to the legendary reggae singer, producer, and studio whizz saying: “We send the most love and respect we can to Lee Perry who passed today, to his family and loved ones and the many he influenced with his pioneering spirit and work. We are truly grateful to have been inspired by, worked with and collaborated with this true legend. Let us all listen to his deep catalog in tribute.”
Rickie Lee Reynolds (Black Oak Arkansas guitarist) September 5, 2021
Black Oak Arkansas founder and guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds died at the age of 72.
The news was broken by Reynolds' daughter Amber Lee in a post on Facebook, who revealed that the guitarist had suffered a cardiac arrest in hospital, and that medical staff had been unable to revive him.
Lee's post came less than a week after she wrote that Reynolds had been admitted to hospital and had been battling COVID, but had subsequently been diagnosed with kidney failure and was unconscious after suffering an earlier cardiac arrest.
Reynolds first hooked up with future Black Oak Arkansas singer Jim Dandy when the pair met in junior high school.
The pair formed a psychedelic rock band called the Knowbody Else, who released a self-tiled debut album in 1969 on the Stax record label. It tanked, but the band signed a new deal with Atco Records the following year and changed their name to Black Oak Arkansas.
The band were an enormous live draw and achieved some chart success, with albums Black Oak Arkansas, Raunch 'N' Roll Live and High On The Hog being certified gold, but they failed to achieve the secure the same level of financial reward as former support acts Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger or Bruce Springsteen.
“On paper it looked good,” said Reynolds. “We had a full road crew, we had a business manager back home who was hiring all these people. We donated three-quarters of a million dollars in charities to the state of Arkansas. We replaced the last one-room schoolhouse in Arkansas, we helped build a radiology wing in a hospital, we gave money to the YMCA, we got a letter from Betty Ford for our contributions to the American Cancer Society, battered wives…
"We donated a lot of money back then. So as much money as we made, we gave a lot of it away. We had our bills paid, but we never saw a great fortune."
Reynolds left the band in 1976 but returned in in 1984, and in later years the band found a new audience as old favourites like Hot Rod and Hot And Nasty found new favour amongst America's biker community.
Roger Newell (Rick Wakeman's former bassist) died September 10, 2021
The bassist suffered an aortic aneurysm on Friday September 10, following a long battle with heart-related illness.
He was best known for performing on Wakeman’s 1974 prog opus, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, as well as its follow-ups, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and No Earthly Connection, and associated tours.
Pee Wee Ellis (influential jazz saxophonist) April 21, 1941 – September 23, 2021
Bootsy Collins is mourning the loss of the influential jazz saxophonist best known for his work with James Brown, Parliament, George Benson, Ginger Baker, Marianne Faithful and Van Morrison, describing the 80-year-old as “a silent genius”. Floridian Ellis spent a big part of his life playing with Brown and Morrison. “They were both very demanding artists because they want things to be how they wanted it to be,” Ellis once said. “Me, I’m easy.”
Steve Strange (legendary booking agent) September 24, 2021
Steve Strange, booking agent for Queens Of The Stone Age, Coldplay, Eminem, Snow Patrol, Stiff Little Fingers, Jimmy Eat World, Ash and many more, passed away at the age of 53.
The news of Strange’s passing was shared in a social media post by X-Ray Touring, the live booking agency he-co-founded in 2005.
The statement reads: “X-ray Touring are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Strange, one of the founding partners of the agency, has passed away after a short illness. We have lost a legendary figure in our personal and professional lives that we will all deeply miss. Steve was a unique individual within our industry, his overwhelming love of music lead to a 30 year plus career guiding the touring of an eclectic mix of artists from all genres of music that he adored."
Alan Lancaster (former Status Quo bassist) February 7, 1949 – September 26, 2021
Former Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster died at the age of 72.
The news was broken by Australian broadcaster Craig Bennett, who wrote on Facebook, "At the request of his loving and deeply cherished family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of Alan Lancaster, British born music royalty, guitar God and founding member of iconic band, Status Quo.
"Alan Lancaster passed away this morning at his Sydney home, surrounded by family. Alan had been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. He was 72. Status Quo began Rockin’ All Over The World in 1967. The legendary band amassed decades of hit songs, including Down Down and Whatever You Want. Alan married his beautiful wife Dayle Lancaster in 1978. They met when Alan and Status Quo, along with Slade and Lindisfarne, toured Australia in 1973.
Lancaster anchored Status Quo on their most successful albums, a run that included Piledriver, Hello!, Quo, On the Level, Blue for You, Rockin' All Over the World, If You Can't Stand the Heat..., Whatever You Want, Just Supposin' and Never Too Late in the decade between 1972 and 1981.
He departed the band after completing the band's End Of The Road tour in 1984 and the following year's brief appearance as the opening act at Live Aid, but would return as the Frantic Four line-up reformed for a series of shows in 2013 and 2014.
George Frayne (Commander Cody And The Lost Planet Airmen leader) July 19, 1944 - September 26, 2021
George Frayne, a.k.a. Commander Cody, leader of country rockers Commander Cody And The Lost Planet Airmen died at the age of 77. He had been battling cancer.
Frayne was born in Boise, Idaho, in 1944 and formed Commander Cody And The Lost Planet Airmen in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1967. He gave himself the stage name Commander Cody after being inspired by the character Commando Kody, King of the Rocket Men, who appeared in the American 1951 science fiction film Lost Planet Airmen.
The Lost Planet Airmen took country music and infused it with boogie woogie, rock'n'roll, rhythm and blues, western swing and jazz to create a sound that placed them amongst the first bands to give a counter-cultural twist to the Nashville sound. They were perhaps best known for their 1972 hit Hot Rod Lincoln, a cover of a 1960 hit by singer/songwriter Charlie Ryan.
Jem Targal (Third Power bassist/co-vocalist) February 28, 1947 – October 8, 2021
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jem Targal was the bassist, co-vocalist and primary songwriter with cult heavy psychedelic rockers Third Power. Part of the same Detroit scene that spawned the Stooges and the MC5, Third Power released their only album, Believe, in 1970. After they disbanded, Targal made a solo album, Luckey Guy [sic], in 1978. He was 78 at the time of his death, of to-be-determined cause.
Sean Kilkenny (Dog Eat Dog/Mucky Pup guitarist) died October 8, 2021
Sean Kilkenny was a co-founding guitarist of the New Jersey-based punk-rapcore-funk band Dog Eat Dog, having joined them from hardcore crew Mucky Pup. With MTV support, Dog Eat Dog’s debut album, 1994’s All Boro Kings, sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide. Their single No Fronts made the UK Top 10 in ’95. Having left the band in 2005, Kilkenny returned to play with them again in 2010 and 2015. He was 51 years old at the time of his death.
Dee Pop (Bush Tetras drummer) died October 9, 2021
Post-punk drummer Dee Pop passed away aged 65. In a statement, bandmates Cynthia Sley and Pat Place said: “Dee Pop was a quintessential New Yorker, growing up in Forest Hills Queens and living in New York ever since. He was not only Bush Tetras drummer, but also our archivist, owning an original copy of every Bush Tetras release and T-shirt and also maintaining the band’s masters.
“In addition to Bush Tetras, Dee Pop played with Richard Lloyd, Michael Karoli (Can), the Gun Club, Jayne County, and the Shams, William Parker, Eddie Gale, Roy Campbell, Freedomland, Hanuman Sextet, Radio I-Ching, and 1000 Yard Stare.
“He will be sorely missed by his bandmates and the many people he touched throughout his life. Rest in peace, Dee.”
Andrea Haugen (black metal musician/model) died 13 October, 2021
Andrea Meyer, a black metal musician from Germany, was one of five people who were reportedly killed in a bow and arrow attack in Kongsberg, Norway on October 13, 2021.
Meyer, who died at the age of 52, was known for her ambient pagan music released under the names Nebelhexë, Hagalaz’ Runedance and Andrea Nebel, as well as for her guest appearances on Cradle Of Filth's 1994 album The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh and Satyricon’s Nemesis Divina, released in 1996. She was also an actress, writer, model and mother to daughter Alva, who she shared with her former husband and Emperor guitarist Tomas 'Samoth' Haugen.
Meyer also wrote film scripts, both horror and satire, as well as Gothic and surreal poetry, and started writing in 1995. Additionally, she identified as Pagan, and had been known to "publicly criticise what she viewed as patriarchal religions that inhibit people’s inner nature". Some of her writing endeavours include the book The Ancients Fire Of Midgard, which explores Germanic spirituality and mythology, as well as pieces of social-critical commentary which were frequently printed in alternative magazines and in Norwegian tabloids.
Francis Stueber (Paul Stanley’s guitar tech) August 21, 1968 – October 16, 2021
Paul Stanley’s guitar tech Francis Stueber died of covid-19. He was 52 years old. Stueber worked on every Kiss and Paul Stanley solo tour since 2002, and his voice introduced the band each night. He had tested positive and was self-isolating in a Detroit hotel.
“Our End Of The Road World Tour had safety protocols in place that met, but most often exceeded, federal, state, and local guidelines,” the band insisted in a statement.
Alan Hawkshaw (collaborator with David Bowie, The Hollies and more) March 27, 1937 – October 16, 2021
As well as working with Serge Gainsbourg and David Bowie, composer Alan Hawkshaw wrote the theme tunes for Channel 4 News and Grange Hill and the music to accompany the Countdown clock.
Judy Totton (award-winning publicist) died October 20, 2021
Award-winning publicistJudy Totton has died at the age of 69 following a period of illness. Totton started as a press officer at Sony CBS records, where she represented ABBA and The Jacksons. After setting up her own company she took on a diverse roster that included Status Quo, David Bowie, The Kinks and Diamond Head, and in later years Donovan, Joan Armatrading and John Otway. For 11 years she was the press officer for the Monsters Of Rock Festival at Donington Park. Other, unusual, clients included the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, the Chinese State Circus and the Dalai Lama.
Totton opted to keep her illness secret, and it was her life partner John Taylor who announced her passing.
“Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart I must let you know my beautiful partner Judy Totton has passed away this morning,” wrote Taylor. “In keeping with Judy’s character, it was peaceful, calm and completely dignified at home here, with absolute air of serenity.”
“Judy was a fine publicist and photographer and I’m so sad to hear of her passing,” said Squeeze’s Chris Difford. “Always so engaging and positive, she supported me with her charm and personality.”
Sonny Osborne (American bluesgrass musician) October 29, 1937 – October 24, 2021
American bluegrass musician, singer and banjo player, Sonny Osborne was one half of the Osbourne Brothers duo, along with elder sibling Bobby. Formed in Kentucky in 1953, the Osbourne Brothers played for 52 years, until Sonny’s retirement in 2005, and were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall Of Fame. Their biggest hit, Rocky Top, was released in 1967. Osborne was 83 when he died as the result of a stroke.
Willie Cobbs (American blues singer, harmonica player and songwriter) July 15, 1932 – October 25, 2021
American blues singer, harmonica player and songwriter Cobbs began his career in the 1950s, recording his most famous song, You Don’t Love Me, in 1960. It was later covered by a long list of artists including John Mayall, The Allman Brothers Band, Albert King, Gary Moore and Sonny & Cher. Cobbs was 89 years old at the time of his death, of as-yet unknown cause.
Herbie Herbert (Journey manager) February 5, 1948 – October 25, 2021
Journey’s long-serving manager Herbie Herbert died of natural causes at the age of 73.
“I’ll cherish all the incredible times and trials and tribulations we experienced together,” Journey guitarist Neal Schon wrote on Instragram. “Herbie was an incredible hands-on manager and fought like a motherfucker for all of us every step of the way. I can easily say that without his vision there would have never been many of the innovative things that we shared. I hold the greatest times in my heart forever.”
Born Walter James Herbert in California, Herbert began his career in music working as a member of Santana’s road crew, which is where he met future Journey members Schon and Gregg Rolie. Having played a big part in defining the Journey line-up, Herbert masterminded their rise to becoming stadium-selling giants through albums including Escape, Frontiers, Infinity and Departure. During the mid-1990s, conflicts with vocalist Steve Perry saw him replaced by Irving Azoff. Herbert also managed The Steve Miller Band, Mr. Big, Roxette and Europe during his career.
Malcolm Dome (celebrated music journalist) 1955 – October 29, 2021
Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981.
His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.
In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and has also been a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.
He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio, which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.
Pat Martino (jazz guitarist) August 25, 1944 – November 1, 2021
Philadelphia-born jazz guitarist Pat Martino passed away at 77 after a long fight with a respiratory disorder.
Incredibly, he re-taught himself to play again following surgery for a brain aneurysm that also damaged his memory. Due to a chronic respiratory disorder, Martino ceased performing in 2018.
Emmett Chapman (American jazz musician and inventor of the Chapman Stick) September 28, 1936 – November 1, 2021
The American jazz musician and inventor of the Chapman Stick lost a long battle with cancer at the age of 85.
Emmett Chapman began his music career in the late 1960s as a guitar player, performing alongside the likes of Tim Buckley and Barney Kessel, before becoming a bandleader.
He went on to pioneer The Stick, a virtually bodyless eight-, ten- and 12-stringed instrument that wassometimes known as the 'freedom guitar’, as it enabled a two-handed tapping technique. The Stick was adopted by Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), Mike Oldfield, Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett, Steven Wilson), Dream Theater’s John Myung, Trey Gunn (King Crimson, David Sylvian) and Alphonso Johnson of Weather Report, among others.
During the 1970s, Chapman toured extensively to promote his music and the instrument.
In 1985 he released a solo album titled Parallel Galaxy. One of its tracks, Back Yard, was included in the soundtrack to the 1984 film Dune.
Chapman and his team went on to produce more than 6,000 Sticks, all from his own workshop.
“I picked two roles for myself, both as a manufacturer and a musician,” he once stated, admitting: “Sometimes they’re at odds with each other.”
Peter Makowski (legendary music writer) November 3, 2021
Classic Rock writer Peter Makowski passed away at the age of 65. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi are among those to pay tribute, with Page commenting that Makowski should "be praised for his enormous, upbeat and positive contribution to musical journalism. I will miss Pete."
Peter Makowski was one of the first music writers to take hard rock and heavy metal seriously. He joined Sounds music weekly aged 15 as a messenger boy but his taste for the rock music of that time – disdained by the paper's more conservative critics – meant that he was soon given albums to review.
When no-one at the paper wanted to review Deep Purple's Made In Japan, Makowski did the honours. The following week the phone rang in the Sounds office. It was Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. "Thanks for the review," said Blackmore. "How would you like to come on tour with us in Europe?"
It was the first of many stories he filed for the paper, including probably the greatest ever piece on Lynyrd Skynyrd – with Makowski lucky to escape with his life after a brush with speed-crazed bikers with guns – and profiles of all the biggest bands of the day: Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, Rush and more.
As well as writing, Makowski had a side gig as a press officer for the likes of Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Motörhead, the New York Dolls and more. (In fact, Pete was their press officer when NY Dolls drummer Billy Murcia tragically died in London in 1972.)
Andy Barker (808 State bassist/keyboard player) March 9, 1968 – November 6, 2021
Mystery surrounds the death of Andy Barker, bassist and keyboard player with the Manuncian electronic band 808 State. Local police are trying to trace a man who came to the aid of the 53-year-old before he was found unconscious in the street and wearing “a white bandage wrapped around his head”.
Andy John Burton (Former More drummer) May 9, 1959 - November 7, 2021
The former drummer with New Wave Of Heavy Metal band More has succumbed to cancer. He was 62 years old. Andy Burton joined the Londoners following the release of their debut, Warhead, in 1981 and appeared on its follow-up Blood & Thunder. He was with the band when they supported both Iron Maiden and Def Leppard on tour, and for More’s opening spot at the 1981 Monsters Of Rock Festival, headlined by AC/DC.
John Goodsall (Brand X guitarist) February 15, 1953 – November 11, 2021
The passing of Brand X guitarist John Goodsall prompted his bandmates Percy Jones and Robin Lumley to officially call time on the pioneering jazz-fusion band.
“With John’s demise, Brand X can be no more and must rest in peace,” the pair said in a statement. The 68-year-old Goodsall had been ill with pneumonia.
John Goodsall was born in Middlesex. He began playing guitar at age seven, and at 15 he became a professional musician.
He was a member of the Alan Bown Sect and then Atomic Rooster, the latter under the pseudonym of Johnny Mandala. He co-founded Brand X in 1974, and appeared on all eight of the band’s studio records, including Unorthodox Behaviour, and Is There Anything About.
In 1979 Goodsall relocated to the States to become a session musician, where he worked with Peter Gabriel, Bryan Adams and Bill Bruford, and was also part of the bands Zoo Drive and Fire Merchants. In later years Goodsall was a driving force in Brand X reunions in 1992 and 2016. Robin Lumley said: “I’m in mourning over John’s passing. John and I, and Percy too, had a love of the jazz-rock genre and we delighted together to compose tunes. I’m especially delighted to have made music with them.”
Graeme Edge (Moody Blues drummer) March 30, 1941 - November 11, 2021
"Sadly Graeme left us today," said Lodge on Twitter. "To me he was the White Eagle of the North with his beautiful poetry, his friendship, his love of life and his unique style of drumming that was the engine room of the Moody Blues. I will miss you Graeme."
Edge was a founding member of the Birmingham band in 1964, along with Ray Thomas (flute, vocals), Mike Pinder (keyboards), Denny Laine (singer, guitarist) and Clint Warwick (singer, bassist).
As well as the band's drummer, Edge also contributed poetry to the band, although this was often recited by Pinder owing, according to Edge, to the fact his voice better suited due to his fondness for whiskey and cigarettes. Morning Glory, Late Lament, The Word, In The Beginning and The Dream, the latter recited by Edge himself, were just some of his written word contributions to the band's early albums.
By 1969 Edge began contributing songs to the band; Higher And Higher on To Our Children's Children's Children, album opener Procession on Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971), You And Me on 1972's Seventh Sojourn, and it later years, 22,000 Days on Long Distance Voyager (1981), Going Nowhere (1983's The Present) and The Spirit on 1986's The Other Side Of Life, were just some of his contributions.
When The Moodies went on hiatus in 1974 Edge formed The Graeme Edge band with Adrian and Paul Gurvitz and released two albums, 1975's Kick Your Muddy Boots Off which featured a guest appearance from Ginger Baker, and Paradise Ballroom in 1977.
Edge remained the last original member of the Moody Blues in the current line-up. Singer and flute player Ray Thomas passed away in 2018 aged 76.
Mick Rock (legendary photographer) November 21, 1948 - November 18, 2021
Legendary rock photographer Mick Rock, nicknamed "the man who shot the seventies", died at the age of 72. The news was confirmed in a statement on his Twitter account authored by his daughter, Nathalie.
Rock was born in Hammersmith, West London, in 1948, and took up photography as a hobby while studying Medieval and Modern Languages at Cambridge University. Amongst his iconic portraits were the covers of Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs, Iggy And The Stooges' Raw Power, David Bowie's Pin-Ups and Lou Reed's Transformer.
Perhaps Rock's most famous work was the iconic cover of Queen's second album, which the band later recreated for the Bohemian Rhapsody video.
As well as acting as David Bowie's official photographer – and later, videographer – Rock worked with Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Motley Crue, Jane's Addiction, The Misfits, Queens of the Stone Age, the Black Keys and many more.
Hank von Helvete (former Turbonegro frontman) June 15, 1972 - November 19, 2021
Hank Von Helvete, the former frontman of Norwegian death-punks Turbonegro, passed away aged 49.
Born on June 15, 1972, the singer joined Turbonegro in 1993, ahead of the release of their second album, Never Is Forever (1994). Having adopted a new denim-and-’taches image, the band truly hit their stride with album three, Ass Cobra, which featured fan favourites Denim Demon (later covered by Therapy?) and I Got Erection (later covered by Satyricon).
The Norwegians came close to crashing mainstream rock circles with 1998’s Apocalypse Dudes, which included shoutalong rock club anthems Don’t Say Motherfucker, Motherfucker, Rendezvous With Anus and Rock Against Ass. This would prove to be the highpoint of the initial von Helvete-era, as the singer’s escalating heroin dependency and mental health issues made touring an increasingly fraught proposition.
Following several more albums, the singer left the band to launch a solo career in July 2010. Turbonegro would return with former Fabric/Dukes Of Nothing frontman Tony Sylvester as their new vocalist.
In 2011, von Helvete returned with a new group, Doctor Midnight & The Mercy Cult, and the album I Declare: Treason. As Hank Von Hell, his first solo album, Egomania, emerged in 2018, followed up by Dead in 2020.
David Longdon (Big Big Train singer) June 16, 1965 - November 20, 2021
Big Big Train frontman and multi-instrumentalist David Longdon passed away on November 20, at 56 years of age.
The band confirmed in a statement that the singer passed away following an accident.
"Big Big Train are extremely saddened to announce the death of David Longdon this afternoon in hospital in Nottingham, UK at the age of 56 following an accident in the early hours of Friday morning.
Partner Sarah Ewing commented: "David and I were best friends, partners and soul mates and I am utterly devastated by his loss. He was a beautiful person and I feel so lucky to have known and loved him."
David joined Big Big Train in 2009, immediately making a significant impact with that year’s The Underfall Yard album. He proceeded to record a further eight studio albums with the band, including the forthcoming Welcome To The Planet, as well as fronting the band for a series of highly acclaimed concerts from 2015 onwards. In addition last year he released an album with the late Judy Dyble under the name Dyble Longdon. On the day before his accident he had been in the studio working on a new solo album.
John Miles (vocalist for Jimmy Page and Alan Parsons Project) April 23, 1949 - December 5, 2021
John's manager, Cliff Cooper said: "The UK has lost one of its most talented musicians. John famous for his worldwide hit “Music was my first love and it will be my last” died peacefully in his sleep with his family at his bedside.
"John played alongside a plethora of artists from Tina Turner, Jimmy Page, Joe Cocker to Andre Botticelli amongst many others. As John's manager and friend for over 50 years, John was not only so kind and gentle but a brilliant musician and songwriter on the world stage. John leaves behind his wife Eileen married 50 years, two children and two grandchildren.
Miles was signed to Decca Records in 1975, for whom he released four notable albums: Rebel (1976), Stranger In The City (1977), Zaragon (1978) and More MIles Per Hour (1979). He also featured on four Alan Parsons Project albums: Tales Of Mystery And Imagination (1976), Pyramid (1978), Stereotomy (1985) and Gaudi (1987), as well as on Eric Woolfson's Freudiana album.
Miles toured regularly with Tina Turner, for whom he sang and played guitar, and featured on Jimmy Page's 1988 solo album Outrider and the subsequent world tour.
In 1990, Miles participated in the UK heat of A Song For Europe, coming second with the song Where I Belong.
Michael Nesmith (Monkees' singer/songwriter) December 30, 1942 - December 10, 2021
Monkees singer/songwriter and guitarist Michael Nesmith died aged 78.
Nesmith was born in Texas in 1942, and turned to songwriting after serving a tour of duty in the airforce. He wrote Different Drum (later a hit for Linda Ronstadt) in 1964 and Mary, Mary, a pro-Marijuana ditty later recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
From 1965 to early 1970 Nesmith was a member a The Monkees, and in 1967 led the band's rebellion against their manufactured, made-for-TV image, breaking ties with impresario Don Kirshner and creating an environment where the Headquarters album could be recorded. For the first time, the band could play and record their own songs, rather than using provided material and session musicians.
He continued writing songs during his time with The Monkees, but held much of the material back for other projects, including three albums by The First National Band, the pioneering country rock band whose debut album, Magnetic South, is considered by many to be a minor masterpiece.
Nesmith continued to record and release his own music and produce others – in 1977 he had an international hit with Rio – and made sporadic live appearances with other members of The Monkees. In 1995, he joined the other members in the studio to record the comeback album Justus, and two years later wrote and directed the TV special Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees.