Steve's Dead Rock Stars


*** 2011 ***

Claim to Fame
Cause of Death
12/29/201172Robert DickeyJames and Bobby Purify Tallahassee, Florida

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Robert Dickey

September 2, 1939 - December 29, 2011

Robert Dickey was a guitarist and singer who, with his cousin, formed the soul duo James and Bobby Purify. They reached the top 10 in 1966 with "I'm Your Puppet" written by and Spooner Oldham.

Dickey left the music business in 1972 and was replaced by Ben Moore, who continued to perform as "Bobby Purify". Dickey later became a city maintenance supervisor and sang and played guitar with his church. He died at age 72 in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida.

12/28/201156Danny DeGennaroKingfish, guitaristMurderedPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

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Danny DeGennaro

February 21, 1955 - December 28, 2011

Danny "Rio" DeGennaro, a guitarist with the Grateful Dead-inspired group Kingfish, has died after being shot in his home in Levittown, near Philadelphia. Danny was found with a gunshot wound to the chest and rushed to St. Mary's Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

DeGennaro joined Kingfish in 1979 and performed alongside Bob Weir. The band released its last studio album in 1999 and has not been active in recent years. DeGennaro last played with Kingfish in 2010 on their "Live and Kicking" tour. He later formed The Danny DeGennaro Band and along the way, has performed with Billy Squier, Bo Diddley and the late Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, among others.

In the 1970s, Danny formed the band The Torpedoes with John Kuzma (guitar/vocal), Bobby Woods (bass), David Uosikkinen (drums) and Dan DeSouza (keyboards). In 1980, Kuzma, Woods and Uosikkinen went on to join the Philadelphia rock band The Hooters.

12/28/201169Jim SherwoodMothers of Invention

Jim Sherwood
May 8, 1942 - December 25, 2011

Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood was an American rock musician notable for playing soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone, tambourine, vocals and vocal sound effects in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

12/18/201177Warren Hellmanfinancier and philanthropistLeukemiaSan Francisco, California

Photo (c) 2011 Steve Covault
Warren Hellman

July 25, 1934 - December 18, 2011

Warren Hellman, the San Francisco financier who bankrolled the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, died from complications of leukemia at age 77.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival had its roots in 2001 and has since grown into an annual three-day event drawing more than 300,000 people to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Hellman left an endowment to ensure that the festival would continue after his death.

Hellman was a Wall Street investor who was president of Lehman Brothers and later formed his own investment firm, Hellman & Freidman. As a philanthropist, he bestowed millions of dollars on cultural, educational and medical charities in the San Francisco area.

To honor Hellman, San Francisco officials renamed Speedway Meadow, the site of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, naming it Hellman's Hollow.

Mr. Hellman's wife of 56 years, Chris, survived him, as do four children, Mick, Tricia Gibbs, Frances Hellman and Judith Hellman; 12 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

12/4/201180Hubert SumlinHowlin' Wolf, guitaristHeart FailureWayne, New Jersey

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Hubert Sumlin

November 16, 1931 - December 4, 2011

Hubert Sumlin was Chicago bluesman best known for his work as guitarist for Howlin' Wolf.

As a young boy, Sumlin first met Howlin' Wolf by sneaking into a show. He joined Howlin' Wolf's band in 1955 and played guitar with him until Wolf's death in 1976. He continued playing with other members of Wolf's band (known as the Wolf Pack) until about 1980. He also recorded under his own name, beginning with a session from a tour of Europe with Wolf in 1964. His last solo album was About Them Shoes, released in 2004 by Tone-Cool Records.

Sumlin died of heart failure on December 4, 2011, at the age of 80, in a hospital in Wayne, New Jersey. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards paid Sumlin's funeral expenses.

11/28/201161Ingrid PastoriusWife of Jaco PastoriusStrokeFlorida

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Ingrid Pastorius

September 5, 1950 - November 28, 2011

Ingrid Pastorius, who was married to virtuoso electric bassist Jaco Pastorius between 1979 and 1985, died from complications following an aortic aneurysm. She was 61.

Born in Indonesia, Ingrid moved with her family to Holland at age 7, and spent her teen years in Puerto Rico. At age 20, she moved to South Florida, where she worked for Eastern Airlines and then as an artist for a company that produced paintings for hotels. She became romantically involved with Jaco and toured the world by his side, at first with Weather Report and then with Joni Mitchell. Divorced from his first wife, Tracy, Jaco married Ingrid in the summer of 1979, and the couple moved into a house in Deerfield Beach. Their twin sons, Felix and Julius, were born in 1982.

11/26/201167Keef HartleyKeef Hartley Band Preston, Lancashire, England

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Keef Hartley

April 8, 1944 - November 26, 2011

Keith "Keef" Hartley was an English drummer and leader of the Keef Hartley Band, which played at Woodstock. He was later a member of Dog Soldier, and variously worked with Rory Storm, The Artwoods and John Mayall.

11/23/201148Horacio "Gamexane" VillafaneTodos Tus MuertosGastrointestinal BleedingBuenos Aires, Argentina

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Horacio "Gamexane" Villafane

October 20, 1963 - November 23, 2011

Horacio "Gamexane" Villafane, founder of the Argentinian punk/reggae rock band Todos Tus Muertos (All Your Dead), has died in Argentina at age 48.

11/15/201161Moogy KlingmanUtopiaCancerNew York, New York

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Moogy Klingman

September 7, 1950 - November 15, 2011

Mark "Moogy" Klingman was a founding member of Todd Rundgren's musical group Utopia.

At 16, he joined Jimmy James and the Blue Flames with Jimi Hendrix and Randy California.

11/14/201161Jackie LevenScottish songwriterCancerHampshire, Scotland

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Jackie Leven

June 18, 1950 - November 14, 2011

Jackie Leven was a Scottish songwriter and folk musician. He first found success with new wave band Doll by Doll. He later recorded as a solo artist, releasing more than twenty albums under his own name or under the pseudonym Sir Vincent Lone.

11/12/201162Doyle Bramhall Heart FailureAlpine, Texas

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Doyle Bramhall

February 17, 1949 - November 12, 2011

Doyle was a talented singer-songwriter and drummer from Austin, Texas. In High School, he joined a band with Jimmie Vaughan (later of the Fabulous Thunderbirds). The group, the Chessmen, opened a Dallas show for Jimi Hendrix.

Doyle formed a band in the 1970s, The Nightcrawlers, which included Jimmie's younger brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, on guitar. Doyle co-wrote the song Dirty Pool that appeared on Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut album, Texas Flood, beginning a collaboration that lasted until Stevie Ray Vaughan's death in 1990.

Doyle is the father of singer and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II. He released three solo albums beginning with 1994's Bird Nest on the Ground, which included appearances from the Vaughans and his own son. This was followed by 2003's Fitchburg Street, and his last album, Is It News, in 2007. He also appeared on Jennifer Warnes' 2001 album, The Well.

11/8/201144Heavy DrapperLos Angeles, California

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Heavy D

May 24, 1967 - November 8, 2011

Heavy D, born Dwight Arrington Myers, rose to fame as the founder of the rap music group Heavy D and the Boyz. His first album, 1987's Living Large brought him national attention; his 1991 hit with a remake of the O'Jays' "Now That We Found Love" made him a superstar. He also wrote and performed the theme songs for TV's "In Living Color," "MADtv" and "The Tracy Morgan Show." In recent years, D recorded a series of reggae fusion albums.

As an actor, Heavy D appeared in the movie "Life." His final role was as a courthouse guard in the 2011 movie "Tower Heist."

Heavy D collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home and was rushed to Cedar-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, where he died in the emergency room. He was 44 years old. His last post on twitter read simply "Be Inspired!"

11/3/201134Flattus MaximusGwar, guitarist

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Flattus Maximus

- November 3, 2011

Cory Smoot, the guitarist who portrayed the character of Flattus Maximus in the theatrical speed metal band Gwar, was found dead just hours after a performance at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis. His bandmates found Smoot lifeless on the band's tour bus as they prepared to cross the border into Manitoba, Canada to continue their tour.

A medical examiner concluded that Smoot died from "coronary artery thrombosis brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease".

Following Smoot's death, Gwar officially announced that the character of Flattus Maximus would be retired out of respect to Smoot.

10/20/201180Barry FeinsteinphotographerHeart FailureWoodstock, New York

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Barry Feinstein

February 4, 1931 - October 20, 2011

Barry Feinstein was an American photographer who made over 500 album covers. He began his professional career at Life Magazine and as a studio photographer for Columbia Pictures. He became an in-demand Hollywood photographer, taking portraits of celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Charlton Heston, Jayne Mansfield and Steve McQueen as well as U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Feinstein was a close friend of actor Steve McQueen and shot stills during the production of McQueen's 1968 classic film "Bullitt."

Feinstein became well known for his photographs of the music scene. He accompanied Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour of England and his 1974 tour of the United States. He shot the cover photos of numerous albums by Janis Joplin, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, and others. Album cover credits include Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," Joplin's "Pearl," Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Dave Mason's "Alone Together" and Eric Clapton's debut solo album "Eric Clapton."

From 1963 to 1967 Feinstein was married to Mary Travers, member of the folk music group Peter, Paul and Mary, with whom he had a daughter, Alicia. In 1969 he married actress Carol Wayne, with whom he had a son, Alex; he and Wayne divorced in 1974.

Feinstein worked as a cameraman on the classic 1968 documentary "Monterey Pop," and was also the director-cameraman on the 1968 music documentary "You Are What You Eat."

In 2008 he published two books; the first included 23 of his early Hollywood photos together with Dylan poems written in 1964; and the second, a collection of photos from the Dylan concert tours. His photographs from the 1966 Dylan tour were exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2009.

Feinstein died on October 20, 2011, at the age of 80 at a hospital near his home in Woodstock, New York.

10/18/201168Bob BrunningFleetwood Mac / Savoy Brown, bassistHeart Failure

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Bob Brunning

June 29, 1943 - October 18, 2011

Robert Brunning was a British bass player best remembered for his brief stint in Fleetwood Mac. He played bass with the band for only a few weeks before being replaced by John McVie. Brunning contributed bass guitar to one track, "Long Grey Mare", on Fleetwood Mac's debut album Fleetwood Mac.

He later joined Savoy Brown before embarking on a three-decade long teaching career.

Brunning also wrote over a dozen books, including one on the history of his former band entitled Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Masks.

10/12/201168Paul LekasongwriterLung CancerSharon, Connecticut

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Paul Leka

February 20, 1943 - October 12, 2011

Paul Leka was a songwriter and producer who wrote or co-wrote a number of hit songs, including "Green Tambourine" (a 1967 hit for the Lemon Pipers), and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" for Steam.

"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" was written by Leka, Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer, all of whom had been members of an early 1960s band from Bridgeport, Conn., called the Chateaus. Leka composed the well-known "Na Na Hey Hey" chorus for the song.

In 1977, the Chicago White Sox baseball team began using the "Na Na" song to taunt the opposing team. Use of the song in sporting events soon spread worldwide with "goodbye" in the chorus substituted with "Adios!" in Spain, "Au Revoir!" in France, "Ciao! Ciao!" in Italy and "Sayonara!" in Japan.

Mr. Leka signed REO Speedwagon to their first recording contract. He also worked with Harry Chapin, Gloria Gaynor, Peppermint Rainbow, The Left Banke and others.

Mr. Leka died of lung cancer in a hospice near his home in Sharon, Connecticut.

10/12/201167Joel "Taz" DiGregorioCharlie Daniels, keyboardistCar AccidentNashville, Tennessee

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Joel "Taz" DiGregorio

January 8, 1944 - October 12, 2011

Joel "Taz" DiGregorio, co-writer of Charlie Daniels hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and longtime member of the Charlie Daniels band, has died in a Tennessee car crash.

He was killed when his car flipped in a curve on Interstate 40 west of Nashville.

10/8/201140Mikey WelshWeezer, bassistDrug OverdoseChicago, Illinois

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Mikey Welsh

April 20, 1971 - October 8, 2011

Mikey Welsh, former bassist for Weezer, was found dead in his Chicago hotel room. Welch was with Weezer from their 2000 reunion until August 2001, when he suffered a mental breakdown and left the music industry to be an artist.

Welsh foreshadowed his own death by two weeks when he posted on Twitter "dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today". His last tweet announced a new painting for sale: "Mama's little pills spilled all over the floor."

10/5/201167Bert JanschPentangleLung CancerHampstead, London, England

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Bert Jansch

November 3, 1943 - October 5, 2011

Herbert "Bert" Jansch was a Scottish folk musician and founding member of the band Pentangle.

9/22/201165John William CannAtomic RoosterHeart FailureHampstead, London, England

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John Du Cann

June 5, 1946 - September 22, 2011

John William Cann, later known by his stage name John Du Cann, was a British guitarist and singer. He was a member of the acid-progressive band Andromeda before joining Atomic Rooster from 1970 and 1971 when they released their classic albums: Death Walks Behind You and In Hearing of Atomic Rooster. He rejoined Atomic Rooster when Vincent Crane reformed the band in 1979, but left in late 1982, frustrated with the lack of success of the band.

John Cann died on September 22, 2011 from a suspected heart attack. Vincent Crane committed suicide in 1989.

8/29/201196Honeyboy EdwardsbluesmanHeart FailureChicago, Illinois

Photo (c) 2010 Steve Covault
Honeyboy Edwards

June 28, 1915 - August 29, 2011

David "Honeyboy" Edwards was a Delta blues guitarist, singer and storyteller. Born in Shaw Mississippi in 1915, he left home at age 14 to travel with bluesman Big Joe Williams.

Honeyboy was a friend of fellow blues musician Robert Johnson and was present on the night Johnson drank poisoned whiskey which killed him.

Folklorist Alan Lomax recorded Edwards in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1942 for the Library of Congress.

8/25/201153Laurie McAllisterThe Runaways, bassist Eugene, Oregon

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Laurie McAllister

June 26, 1958 - August 25, 2011

Laurie McAllister, who rose to fame alongside Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Sandy West in The Runaways, passed away at age 53 due to complications from asthma.

Laurie was the final bassist for The Runaways. She officially joined the group in November of 1978 after playing with the Los Angeles area punk rock bands Baby Roulette and the Rave Ons. She replaced bassist Vickie Blue who had left The Runaways due to illness, but only played with the group only for a few months before the band broke up. She later formed her own group, The Orchids, another all-girl group managed by Kim Fowley.

8/24/201191Esther Gordy EdwardsThe Mother Of Motown Detroit, Michigan

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Esther Gordy Edwards

April 25, 1920 - August 24, 2011

Edwards served as an executive for Motown Records, the label founded by her younger brother Berry Gordy. She created the Motown Museum, Hitsville U.S.A, preserving the label's original headquarters at 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan.

8/22/201170Nick AshfordAshford & Simpson, singer/songwriterThroat CancerNew York, New York

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Nick Ashford

May 4, 1942 - August 22, 2011

Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson, has died at age 70.

Ashford, along with his wife, Valerie Simpson, penned Motown classics such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Reach out and Touch Somebody's Hand." Their first #1 hit was 1966's "Let's Go Get Stoned", recorded by Ray Charles. After the success of this song, Ashford & Simpson signed on with Motown as staff writers and producers. They also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps best remembered was their 1984 hit "Solid As A Rock."

In 1996, Ashford & Simpson opened Sugar Bar, a restaurant and live entertainment venue in New York City. In 2007, they received a songwriting credit on Amy Winehouse's song "Tears Dry on Their Own," which samples from "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Ashford is survived by his wife and two daughters Nicole and Asia; his brothers Paul, Albert and Frank; and his mother, Alice Ashford.

8/22/201178Jerry LeibersongwriterHeart FailureLos Angeles, California

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Jerry Leiber

April 25, 1933 - August 22, 2011

Jerry Leiber was one of the most important songwriters in the history of Rock & Roll. His 60-year partnership with Mike Stoller produced "Stand By Me," "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Young Blood," "On Broadway," "Yakety-Yak" and countless other classic hit songs.

Leiber died of cardiopulmonary failure. He was 78.

8/13/2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse Stage CollapseIndianapolis, Indiana

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Indiana State Fair stage collapse

August 13, 2011

On August 13, 2011, an outdoor stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana, killing 7 spectators and injuring dozens.

Opening act Sara Bareilles had completed her performance and headlining group Sugarland were in their tour bus when a wind gust from an approaching severe thunderstorm hit the stage's temporary roof structure, causing it to collapse.

Four people died at the scene and three died later at the hospital. At least 58 were injured. The dead were: Tammy Vandam, 42; Glenn Goodrich, 49; Alina BigJohny, 23; and Christina Santiago, 29; Stagehand Nathan Byrd, age 51; Jennifer Haskell, 22; and Meagan Toothman, 24.

A final report on the cause of the accident concluded that the collapse was due to the inadequate capacity of the lateral load resisting system, which was comprised of guy lines connected to concrete "Jersey barrier" ballast.

8/11/201147Jani LaneWarrant, lead singerAlcoholismWoodland Hills, California

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Jani Lane

February 1, 1964 - August 11, 2011

Jani Lane was the former lead singer of the 1980s hair metal band Warrant. He was born John Kennedy Oswald on February 1, 1964 in Akron, Ohio.

Lane wrote Warrant's hits "Cherry Pie," "Heaven" and "I Saw Red" in the late 1980s. The albums Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, (1989) and Cherry Pie (1990) went double platinum. Lane left and rejoined Warrant several times while pursuing a solo career. In 2005, he appeared in VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club."

Lane's body was found in a Los Angeles area Comfort Inn hotel. Reportedly, Lane would often stay in hotels when he was on a drinking binge. He had been kicked out of the Hilton Woodland Hills hotel for trashing one of their rooms just days prior to his death.

The L.A. Coroner's Office determined that the 47-year-old rocker died from "acute ethanol poisoning." A half-empty bottle of vodka and prescription medications were found in his motel room.

Lane had a history of alcohol-related problems, and was arrested twice on DUI charges, including a 2009 arrest for crashing into a parked car.

He is survived by three sisters and two daughters from two marriages. His first marriage was to model Bobbie Brown, the girl from Warrant's video of "Cherry Pie," their biggest hit.

7/24/201160Dan PeekAmerica, cofounder Farmington, Missouri

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Dan Peek

November 1, 1950 - July 24, 2011

Dan Peek was a founding member of the rock trio America during the height of their career from 1970 to 1977 when they produced hits such as "A Horse With No Name," "Ventura Highway" "Lonely People" and "Sister Golden Hair."

Peek left the band in 1977 to write and record contemporary Christian Music. He signed with Pat Boone's Lamb & Lion Records.

He published an autobiography entitled An American Band, based on America's most successful period, and his own spiritual journey. Peek died in his sleep at his home in Farmington, Missouri, outside St. Louis. He was 60.

7/23/201127Amy WinehousesingerAlcohol poisoningCamden, London, England

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Amy Winehouse

September 14, 1983 - July 23, 2011

7/11/201167Rob GrillThe Grass Roots, singer/bassiststroke/fallMount Dora, Florida

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Rob Grill

November 30, 1943 - July 11, 2011

Rob Grill was the lead singer and bassist for the rock band The Grass Roots. He performed with the band for more than four decades.

In 1977, he launched a solo career and released an album ("Uprooted") that featured performances by several members of Fleetwood Mac.

In 2006, former manager Marty Angelo published a book entitled, Once Life Matters: A New Beginning which has numerous stories about his life on the road with Grill and the Grass Roots.

Grill died July 11, 2011 in an Orlando, Florida hospital. His untimely death was due to injuries sustained after suffering a stroke and a fall.

7/10/201154Sugar MinottJamaican reggae singerHeart FailureSaint Andrew Parish, Jamaica
7/9/201161Michael "Würzel" BurstonMotörhead, guitaristHeart Failure

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Michael "Würzel" Burston

October 23, 1949 - July 9, 2011

Michael Burston (better known by his stage name of Würzel) used his creative skills as a guitarist with the British heavy metal band Motörhead. He played on the classic Motörhead albums Orgasmatron and Bastards.

7/1/201160John KuzmaHooters, guitarist

John Kuzma

Kuzma was an original member of Philadelphia rock band the Hooters and was with the group from 1980-1982. He was not a part of the lineup that enjoyed international success with the release of the 1985 album Nervous Night, but still played a major role in shaping the band's identity, stage presence and reggae-influenced sound.

Kuzma was a friend of Danny DeGennaro who also died in 2011; both were a part of the Levittown, Pennsylvania music scene.

Robert M. Woods, the original bass player for The Hooters, passed away in 2010.

6/28/201190Benton Flippenfiddler
6/18/201169Clarence ClemonsE Street Band, saxophoneStrokePalm Beach, Florida
6/15/201166Wild Man Fischer Heart FailureLos Angeles, California
6/12/201183Carl GardnerThe CoastersHeart FailurePort St. Lucie, Florida
6/3/201159Andrew Goldsinger/songwriterHeart FailureLos Angeles, California
5/27/201162Gil Scott-Heronjazz singer/poetAIDSNew York, New York
5/5/201181Nigel PickeringSpanky and Our Gang, guitarist St. Augustine, Florida

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Nigel Pickering

June 15, 2919 - May 5, 2011

Nigel Pickering was a founding member and rhythm guitarist for the 1960s folk-rock music group Spanky and Our Gang.

Spanky and Our Gang disbanded following the death of member Malcolm Hale in 1968.

4/26/201160Phoebe SnowsingerStrokeEdison, New Jersey

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Phoebe Snow

July 17, 1950 - April 26, 2011

4/25/201153Poly Styrenepunk singerBreast CancerSussex, England
4/23/201168Tom KingThe Outsiders, "Time Won't Let Me" Wickliffe, Ohio
4/22/201161Steve Whitesinger/songwriter San Diego, California
3/26/201171Carl BunchCrickets, drummerDiabetes

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Carl Bunch

November 24, 1939 - March 26, 2011

Carl Bunch was the drummer for Buddy Holly during the tragic Winter Dance Party tour. Bunch escaped death by not being on the airplane that crashed The Day The Music Died.

He was known as "The Frostbitten Cricket" after suffering from frostbite caused by a failed heater on the band's tour bus. Carl Bunch later left the music industry to become a minister.

Carl died on March 26, 2011 from diabetes.

3/21/201197Pinetop PerkinsbluesmanHeart FailureAustin, Texas

Photo (c) 2005 Steve Covault
Pinetop Perkins

July 7, 1913 - March 21, 2011

Pinetop Perkins, blues pianist, one of the last surviving old-school bluesmen, has died at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 97.

Born Joseph William Perkins on July 7, 1913 in Belzoni, Mississippi, Perkins played piano with an aggressive style and sang with a distinctive gravelly voice. He joined Sonny Boy Williamson on the popular King Biscuit Time radio show in the 1940s. He toured with Ike Turner in the 1950s and played in Muddy Waters' band in 1969 when Otis Spann left.

In 2005, Perkins received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, he became the oldest Grammy winner ever when his recording Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith won for best traditional blues album.

3/19/201182Ralph Mooneysteel guitaristCancerKennedale, Texas

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Ralph Mooney

September 16, 1928 - March 19, 2011

Ralph Mooney, born in Duncan, Oklahoma, became one of the most important steel guitarists in country music. He helped restore the popularity of the steel guitar to country music. Mooney wrote several successful country songs, including "Crazy Arms", which he co-wrote with Chuck Seals. The song was a #1 hit for Ray Price in 1956 that was later recorded by others including Marion Worth, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Patty Loveless.

Mooney work for a time as a staff musician for Capitol Records, where he played on the early recordings of Buck Owens and is heard prominently on several Merle Haggard hits, including "Swinging Doors," "The Bottle Let Me Down," and "(All My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers." He also played for many years with Waylon Jennings.

In 2010, Mooney came out of retirement to play on four tracks of Marty Stuart's Grammy-winning album Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions.

Ralph Mooney died of complications from cancer at age 82.

3/18/201171Jet HarrisThe Shadows, bassistCancerWinchester, England

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Jet Harris

July 6, 1939 - March 18, 2011

Jet Harris was the bass guitarist of the Shadows until April 1962, and had subsequent success as a soloist and as a duo with the drummer Tony Meehan.

3/15/201148Smiley Culturereggae starStabbedWarlingham, Surrey, England

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Smiley Culture

February 10, 1963 - March 15, 2011

Smiley Culture, born David Victor Emmanuel, was a British reggae artist noted for the 1980s hits "Cockney Translation" and "Police Officer." He died of an apparently self-inflicted stab wound to the heart after a police raid on his London residence. He was facing charges of distributing cocaine.

Culture appeared in David Bowie's 1986 film Absolute Beginners.

3/14/201160Ronnie HammondAtlanta Rhythm SectionHeart FailureForsyth, Georgia

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Ronnie Hammond

November 10, 1950 - March 14, 2011

Ronnie Hammond, the former lead singer for the Atlanta Rhythm Section, has died of sudden heart failure.

Mr. Hammond, the grandson of a piano tuner, became ARS's front man in 1972, after the first lead singer left the band. Ronnie was discovered working as an assistant engineer at Studio One in Doraville, Georgia.

Hammond battled alcoholism and depression off and on over the years. In one incident, he got into a confrontation with a police officer in Macon, Georgia. He was shot and seriously injured, but survived the injury and dealt with the depression.

Atlanta Rhythm Section had a series of hits in the 1970s including "Imaginary Lover," "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me," "So Into You," and "Champagne Jam."

Drummer R. J. Vealey died of a heart attack on November 13, 1999 in Orlando Florida, just after the band completed an afternoon set at a music festival.

3/13/201176Owsley StanleysongwriterCar AccidentMareeba, Queensland, Australia

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Owsley "Bear" Stanley

January 19, 1935 - March 13, 2011

Owsley Stanley was a counter-culture icon, famous for his association for the Grateful Dead and for mass-producing LSD in the mid-1960's, before LSD was outlawed. Stanley also provided LSD to The Beatles during filming of Magical Mystery Tour.

Augustus Owsley Stanley II was born the son of a U.S. government attorney, His namesake grandfather, Augustus Owsley Stanley, was a Kentucky governor and U.S. senator who campaigned against alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s.

Known affectionately as Bear, Owsley was also a talented sound engineer and the inspiration for the Grateful Dead's dancing bear logo. Stanley designed some of the first high-fidelity sound systems for rock music, including the "Wall of Sound" electrical amplification system used by the Grateful Dead in their live shows.

Stanley died in an automobile accident in Australia on March 13, 2011. His car drifted off the road and down an embankment before hitting some trees.

3/11/201196Hugh MartinsongwriterCancerEncinitas, California

Hugh Martin
August 11, 1914 - March 11, 2011

Hugh Martin wrote "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," considered one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time. The song, along with his other compositions "The Trolley Song" and "The Boy Next Door" were featured in the 1944 MGM musical Meet me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland. Martin and Garland became close friends; he was her accompanist at many of Garland's concert performances.

Martin published his autobiography Hugh Martin - The Boy Next Door in October 2010.

Hugh Martin was a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

3/8/201144Mike StarrAlice in Chains, bassistDrug Overdose?Salt Lake City, Utah

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Mike Starr

April 4, 1966 - March 8, 2011

Michael Christopher Starr was Alice in Chains' original bassist from the group's formation in 1987 until 1993. He played bass for the albums Facelift, Sap, and Dirt and left the group in the middle of the Dirt tour. He also sang backing vocals on the song "Confusion" on the Alice in Chains album Facelift.

3/8/2011 St. Clair LeeHues Corporation Lake Elsinore, California

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St. Clair Lee

April 24, 1944 - March 8, 2011

Bernard Lee, known professionally as St. Clair Lee, was a member of the Hues Corporation, a vocal trio famed for its 1974 Disco hit "Rock the Boat." Lee was found dead in his Lake Elsinore, California home. He was 66.

The Hues Corporation was formed in 1969 by baritone Lee, soprano Hubert Ann Kelly and tenor Fleming Williams (who died in the 1990s). The group's name was a pun on Los Angeles aviation giant Hughes Corporation, with the 'hue' being a reference to the group's African-American heritage.

The group's first big break came in 1972 when they recorded 3 songs for the blaxploitation film, Blacula, starring William Marshall.

After the success of "Rock the Boat" the Hues Corporation's other charted singles on the Billboard Hot 100 included "Rockin' Soul" (1974, #18), "Love Corporation" (1975, #62), and "I Caught Your Act" (1977, #92).

3/6/201159Herman ErnestDr. John, drummerCancerNew Orleans, Louisiana

Rest in Peace
Herman Ernest

Herman Ernest III, the longtime drummer for Dr. John and a fixture of New Orleans funk drumming, died of cancer on Sunday, March 6, 2011 at his home. He was 59.

3/4/201171Johnny Preston"Running Bear"Heart FailureBeaumont, Texas

Rest in Peace
Johnny Preston

August 18, 1939 - March 4, 2011

Johnny Preston (born John Preston Courville) is best remembered for his recording of J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson's 1958 teenage tragedy song "Running Bear." The song reached #1 in January, 1960.

2/26/201162Mark TulinThe Electric Prunes, bassistHeart FailureAvalon, California

Rest in Peace
Mark Tulin

November 21, 1948 - February 26, 2011

Mark Tulin was the bassist with The Electric Prunes. Their biggest "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" became an anthem for the 1960s after appearing in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.

Tulin joined The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan in the studio to record demo songs. Tulin's bass parts were featured on the first EP of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Volume 1: Songs for a Sailor. He performed with the band at a show on Record Store Day in 2010, and also for their appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno a few days later.

On February 26, 2011 Tulin collapsed and died on Santa Catalina Island while helping at the Avalon Underwater Clean-Up.

2/24/201167Suze RotoloBob Dylan, girlfriendLung CancerNew York, New York

Rest in Peace
Suze Rotolo

November 20, 1943 - February 24, 2011

Suze Rotolo was Bob Dylan's Girlfriend from 1961 until 1964. A photo of her and Dylan was used as the cover of Dylan's pioneering 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

At age 17, she met Dylan when they were attending an all-day folk music festival at Riverside Church in Manhattan. She is credited as the inspiration for several of Dylan's love songs, including "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", "Tomorrow Is a Long Time", "One Too Many Mornings", and "Boots of Spanish Leather." Rotolo's leftist political views also influenced Dylan's songwriting.

Rotolo appears in Martin Scorsese's film No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, a documentary about Dylan's early career.

Rotolo's autobiography, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, was published by Broadway Books on May 13, 2008.

2/22/201186Jean Dinningsongwriter Garden Grove, California

Rest in Peace
Jean Dinning

1924 - February 22, 2011

Jean Dinning, the songwriter of the 1959 teen tragedy song "Teen Angel," has died at age 86.

"Teen Angel" is about a girl who dies tragically while out on a ride with her boyfriend. The couple's car stalls on railroad tracks and they safely get out, but the girl runs back to get the boy's high school class ring and a train hits the car. The song was recorded by Jean's brother Mark Dinning.

"Teen Angel" was performed by rock and roll revival act Sha Na Na at the 1969 Woodstock festival. The song was also featured in the soundtrack of the 1973 movie American Graffiti.

2/21/201168Red DogAllman Brother Band, roadieCancer

Rest in Peace
Red Dog

March 27, 1942 - February 21, 2011

Joseph L. Campbell, better known as "Red Dog", was a roadie for the Allman Brothers Band. He appears, along with other members of the crew, in a Jim Marshall photo on the back cover of the group's At Fillmore East album. Red Dog is on the far left, holding a tall-boy Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. L-R: Red Dog (RIP), Kim Payne, Joe Dan Petty (RIP), Mike Callahan (RIP), Willie Perkins, Twiggs Lyndon (RIP) [up on the wall].

He wrote The Legendary Red Dog: a Book of Tails about his years as a roadie. In the movie Almost Famous by writer and director Cameron Crowe, Zack Ward played the character "Red Dog" dedicated to Campbell.

2/14/201191George Shearingjazz pianist New York, New York

Rest in Peace
George Shearing

August 13, 1919 - February 14, 2011

Sir George Shearing was blind jazz pianist noted for his innovative technique. Shearing composed over 300 songs including the jazz standard, "Lullaby of Birdland."

Shearing was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in June 2007. He won Grammy Awards in 1983 and 1984 and played for presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan at the White House.

He died of heart failure on February 14, 2011 in New York City, at the age of 91.

2/6/201158Gary MooreThin Lizzy, guitarist Estepona, Spain

Rest in Peace
Gary Moore

April 4, 1952 - February 6, 2011

Gary Moore, Irish blues and rock guitarist and member of Thin Lizzy, has died while on holiday in Estepona, Spain.

Moore's professional music career began at age 16 when he moved to Dublin and joined the group Skid Row (an Irish band, not to be confused with the later American heavy metal band of the same name). In Skid Row, Moore began his association with Phil Lynott. Lynott later brought Moore into Thin Lizzy replace outgoing guitarist Eric Bell.

Moore shared the stage with many of the best players in blues and rock including B.B. King, Albert King, and Greg Lake. He also had a successful solo career, releasing his first solo album, Grinding Stone, in 1973. He went on to release many great blues albums and appeared on a number of other projects. Moore played the lead guitar solo on "She's My Baby" from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.

2/5/201184George Sherlock"The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" Santa Clarita, California

Rest in Peace
George Sherlock

November 17, 1926 - February 5, 2011

George Raymond Sherlock, Jr. made famous in the Rollong Stones song "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man", died peacefully on February 5, 2011, at the age of 84.

Sherlock had a 30-year career in the recording industry. He worked for Decca, Tower and Capitol Records, as well as Paramount Publishing, promoting bands including The Doors, Eric Burton and the Animals, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pink Floyd, Louis Armstrong, Ian Whitcomb, and Janis Joplin. While the Rolling Stones were touring the West Coast, Sherlock was assigned to travel with the band. Unhappy with the chaperone, the Stones wrote the scathing song "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" about him. The song appears on the flip side of "Satisfaction" (a No. 1 hit in summer, 1965) and on the album "Out of Our Heads." A longer version of the song (with added lyrics) appears on the early pressings of "Out Of Our Heads" and was included on the 1985 compilation "Rolling Stones Singles Collection - The London Years."

The Stones eventually warmed to Sherlock and didn't mind having him around.

In the '80s and '90s, George worked in the computer industry and real estate.

1/28/201153Slam BuckraguitaristCancerRedding, California

Photo (c) 2006 Steve Covault
Slam Buckra

April 18, 1957 - January 28, 2011

Slam Buckra (Richard F. Gazlay) was a rock and blues guitarist from San Diego, California. He attended La Jolla High School and moved to Redding, California in 1996. His band, the Groove Palookas, played up his Captain Beefheart / Frank Zappa style of humor. His shows featured a lot props. His other bands included The Rick Gazlay band and Vic Swankly (his Sinatra act).

He opened for the likes of Willie Nelson, R.E.M., Johnny Winter, Mose Allison and Eric Johnson. He played on stage with blues guitar legends Albert King and Albert Collins.

He died, aged 53, at his home in Redding, California after a six-year battle with head and neck cancer.

1/26/201165Gladys HortonThe Marvelettes, singerStrokeSherman Oaks, California

Rest in Peace
Gladys Horton

May 30, 1945 - January 26, 2011

Gladys Horton was the founder and leader of the Motown female vocal group The Marvelettes. The group's 1961 single "Please Mr. Postman" became Motown's first #1 hit.

1/26/201183Charlie LouvinLouvin Brothers, country singerPancreatic CancerWartrace, Tennessee

Rest in Peace
Charlie Louvin

July 7, 1927 - January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin (born Charles Elzer Loudermilk) was a country singer and songwriter. He was best known for singing, with his brother Ira, as The Louvin Brothers. Their first cousin was John D. Loudermilk, the writer of hits like “Abilene” and “Tobacco Road.

The Louvin Brothers rich harmonies served as an influence on later artists such as Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and The Byrds. Their original song "The Christian Life" was covered by the Byrds on their landmark album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, while Emmylou Harris' 1975 remake of the duo's "If Only I Could Win Your Love" proved to be her country hit.

In 1965, Ira Louvin was killed in a car accident. Charlie continued to perform solo, making numerous appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and in later years acting as an elder statesman for country music.

In 2001, the Louvin Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Charlie died from complications due to pancreatic cancer.

1/17/201176Don Kirshnersong publisher and rock producerHeart FailureBoca Raton, Florida

Rest in Peace
Don Kirshner

April 17, 1934 - January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner was an influential music publisher, producer, manager and host of the TV series Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.

Don Kirshner formed AlDon Music with his partner, the late Al Nevins. The company signed several important songwriters including Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Kirshner was influential in launching the careers of many singers and songwriters in the early 1960s, including Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond and Carole King. He also owned three records labels, which included acts such as the Archies and the rock band Kansas (which he is credited as discovering).

Kirshner's songwriters were behind the success of made-for-TV band, The Monkees. Singles such as "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer" helped the Monkees TV series and album sales rocket to the top of the charts.

In 1973, Kirshner produced his own weekly TV show called Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, which featured full length musical programs. The program presented many of the most successful rock bands of the era.

In the Blue Öyster Cult song "The Marshall Plan", from the album Cultösaurus Erectus, Don Kirshner's voice is sampled to introduce the fictitious Johnny: "This is Don Kirshner. And tonight on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, a new phenomenon in the music world —with six million albums to his credit in just two short years, my good friend, here's Johnny!"

1/7/201157Phil KennemoreY&T, bassistLung CancerOakland, California

Photo (c) 2006 Steve Covault
Phil Kennemore

- January 7, 2011

Phil Kennemore was the bassist and backing vocalist for the hard rock group Y&T. The group, originally known as Yesterday and Today, sold over 4 million albums worldwide. Their biggest hit was 1985's "Summertime Girls", frequently heard on the Baywatch TV series.

On January 7, 2011, Phil Kennemore died at the age of 57 after a short battle with lung cancer.

1/4/201163Gerry Raffertysinger/songwriterLiver DiseaseStroud, Gloucestershire, England

Rest in Peace
Gerry Rafferty

April 16, 1947 - January 4, 2011

Scottish Singer Gerry Rafferty, known for his hit songs "Baker Street", "Right Down the Line" and "Stuck in the Middle" died January 4th at age 63 after a battle with alcoholism and liver disease.

In 1972, Rafferty and Joe Egan formed Stealers Wheel, which had a huge hit with "Stuck in the Middle." The song was used in the 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs in a scene in which an actor's ear is severed.

In 1979, Rafferty released his second solo album, City to City. The album contained his signature song "Baker Street" and sold over 5.5 million copies.

His next album, Night Owl, also did well. Guitarist Richard Thompson helped by performing on the track "Take The Money and Run", and the title track was a UK No. 5 hit in 1979. "Days Gone Down" reached #17 in the U.S. The follow-up single "Get It Right Next Time" made the UK and US Top 40. Subsequent albums, such as Snakes and Ladders (1980), Sleepwalking (1982), and North and South (1988), fared less well, perhaps due partly to Rafferty's longstanding reluctance to perform live, which he felt uncomfortable with.


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