Eddie Van Halen and Neil Peart feature with Darth Vader in ‘Sgt. Pepper’ style artwork mourning 2020’s greatest losses

Chris Barker artwork 2020
(Image credit: Chris Barker)

British artist Chris Barker has included guitar legend Eddie Van Halen and Rush drummer Neil Peart in his annual tribute to famous figures who have passed away in the past 12 months. 

Each year since 2016, Barker has been re-imagining the iconic cover artwork of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in order to salute some of the most-missed figures from pop culture, politics and sport.

In his newly unveiled 2020 artwork, Van Halen and Peart are featured alongside Little Richard, Darth Vader (aka actor Dave Prowse), Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona, actors Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman, basketball great Kobe Bryant, George Floyd and former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green to name but a few.

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“Every time I do this montage it is an emotional journey,” Barker tells Billboard. “However detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the PhotoShop, when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment. I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives."

Barker asks that anyone moved by his work considers donating to an NHS charity.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.