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In Memoriam 2021 - Over 100 Musical Losses

Here is our Goldmine tribute to the musical heroes who we said goodbye to in 2021
Charlie Watts, 2015 photo by Ivor Levene

Charlie Watts, 2015 photo by Ivor Levene

In 2021, we lost a pair of British Invasion drummers, The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts and The Moody Blues’ Graeme Edge, The Everly Brothers’ Don Everly, Gerry Marsden of Gerry and The Pacemakers, Jay Black of Jay & The Americans, The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith, ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, The Supremes’ Mary Wilson, The Marvelettes’ Wanda Young, Labelle’s Sarah Dash, The Tokens’ Phillip Margo, Bay City Rollers’ Les McKeown, B. J. Thomas, Chick Corea, Nanci Griffith, Michael Stanley, producer Phil Spector, composers Jim Steinman and Stephen Sondheim, two members of The Animals, two members of Poco, two members of James Brown’s band, two members of UB40, and sadly over 100 more.

Keith Allison

Paul Revere and The Raiders member from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, Keith Allison, passed away November 17 at age 79. During his time with The Raiders, Allison was heard on hits including “Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon,” their sole gold single “Let Me” and the group’s sole No. 1 hit and platinum single “Indian Reservation.” He was also heard on The Monkees’ final Top 40 hit of the 1960s, “D.W. Washburn,” and toured with Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart in the mid-1970s.

Razzy Bailey

In 1974, male vocalist, songwriter and guitarist Razzy Bailey reached No. 67 on Billboard’s pop singles chart with the soulful “I Hate Hate,” with a message still applicable today. From 1980 through 1982, he achieved a string of five consecutive country No. 1 singles beginning with “Loving Up a Storm” through “She Left Love All Over Me.” Bailey passed away August 4 at age 82.

Anne Beatts

In the 1982-1983 television season, the high school comedy Square Pegs featured music from new wave acts The Waitresses, including performing the theme song, Devo and others on this series written and created by Anne Beatts, who passed away April 7 at age 74. Beatts was a former writer for Saturday Night Live with characters she created including Todd and Lisa Lupner, portrayed by Bill Murray and Gilda Radner. She also wrote for musicals, including 1979’s Gilda: Live and 1985’s Leader of the Pack.

Byron Berline

Fiddler Byron Berline, featured on “Orange Blossom Special,” on The Flying Burrito Brothers’ album The Last of the Red Hot Burritos, passed away July 10 at age 77.

Biz Markie

Rapper Biz Markie, known for his 1990 Top 10 platinum single “Just a Friend,” passed away July 16 at age 57. Missy Elliott shared this dedication to her fellow rapper, “Your energy was always so full of life, love, and good vibes. Your impact in the culture is forever and you will never be forgotten.”

David Blatt

Jay & The Americans’ second “Jay,” David “Jay Black” Blatt passed away October 22 at age 82. He was the lead singer on most of the vocal group’s hit singles. Jay & The Americans debuted in the Top 40 in 1962 with the song “She Cried,” the first of four Top 10 hits for the group and the only big hit sung by John “Jay” Traynor, who passed away in 2014. The first “Jay” left the group in 1963, due to a desire to not tour. Auditions were held and David Blatt became the second “Jay” for the group and was known as Jay Black. The group rebounded with the Top 40 hit “Only in America,” written by a combination of the songwriting teams Leiber and Stoller and Mann and Weil. The following year the group returned to the Top 10 with “Come a Little Bit Closer,” written by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart and Wes Farrell.

1965’s Top 10 single “Cara Mia” earned Jay Black the nickname of “The Voice” among his fellow Americans. By mid-summer of 1966, Jay & The Americans departed from the Top 40 but made a tremendous comeback on January 25, 1969 with “This Magic Moment,” which had previously reached No. 16 at the beginning of the decade for The Drifters. Jay & The Americans’ version reached No. 6 and became their sole gold single. That updated nostalgic approach continued with their final Top 40 entry, “Walkin’ in the Rain,” which previously reached No. 23 for The Ronettes in 1964 and reached No. 19 in early 1970 for Jay & The Americans.

Jay Black was in the Top 100 for a final time in 1980 with the smooth ballad “The Part of Me That Needs You Most,” written by the pop writing duo Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn who provided Suzi Quatro and The Knack with hit singles in the 1970s.

Jay & The Americans are currently on tour with the powerful third “Jay,” Jay Reincke, along with the original Americans Sandy Deanne, Marty Sanders and Howie Kane, who stated, “We mourn David Blatt’s passing and acknowledge the great successes we had with him both as a partner and as a lead singer. We’ll always remember ‘The Voice.’”

Tim Bogert

In 1967, Vanilla Fudge’s self-titled debut album included Beatles compositions, which George Harrison was a fan of, and the Holland-Dozier-Holland composition, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” slowed down from the crisp pace of The Supremes’ hit in the prior year, and ran over seven minutes. In the summer of 1968, an edited version of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” went to the Top 10.

Composer Lamont Dozier told Goldmine, “Tim Bogert was an amazing bassist in Vanilla Fudge. He gave ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ an incredible feeling and in my opinion was the reason the song went all the way to the Top 10 for a second time, after The Supremes’ initial success. I was thrilled to hear the cover of my song by this band, and it will always be one of my favorites of all time. Tim, God bless you and rest in peace, my brother.”

After Vanilla Fudge, Tim Bogert and the group’s drummer Carmine Appice went on to the bands Cactus and Beck, Bogert and Appice, with Jeff Beck. Bogert passed away January 13 at the age of 76.

Gil Bridges

Rare Earth had one member who was with them from their 1960s beginnings through this year, saxophonist and flautist Gil Bridges, who passed away December 8 at age 80. From 1970 through 1972 the Detroit band was in the Top 20 on Motown’s Rare Earth label five times, beginning with a pair of Temptations’ covers “Get Ready” and “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” which both reached the Top 10 in 1970. 1971 began with “Born to Wander,” featuring Bridges on flute. In the summer, the group was back in the Top 10 with “I Just Want to Celebrate” and they ended the year with “Hey Big Brother.”

Mick Brigden

Mick Brigden co-founded Wolfgang Records, a Columbia Records imprint which featured Eddie Money, after many years as a road manager for Mountain, Humble Pie, Peter Frampton, and others. For the past three decades he managed the career of guitarist Joe Satriani, who said, “I had so many worldwide adventures with Mick at my side. He was the ultimate music business mentor, honest, tough, nurturing, hardworking, respectful, tenacious, and insightful. I learned so much about how to be a good person from Mick. He always knew it was important to be kind.” Brigden passed away September 5 at age 73.

Vic Briggs

Lead guitarist Vic Briggs for Eric Burdon and The Animals, during their latter years, passed away on June 30 at age 76. He was featured on three albums for the group in 1967 and 1968 which produced the Top 40 hit singles “When I Was Young,” “Monterey,” “San Franciscan Nights,” and “Sky Pilot.”

Steve Bronski

The British techno-pop trio reached the upper half of Billboard’s U.S. Top 100 in the mid-1980s with “Smalltown Boy,” co-written by synthesizer player Steve Bronski, who passed away December 7 at age 61.

Ed Bruce

In 1963, Ed Bruce fell just a bit short of Billboard’s Top 100 pop singles chart with “See the Big Man Cry,” with a vocal sound on par with Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. 1978, his composition “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” by Waylon & Willie topped the country music chart. In the next decade, as a recording artist, Bruce achieved six country Top 10 hits beginning with the No. 1 single “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had.” Ed Bruce passed away on January 8 at the age of 81.

James Burke

In 1970, as the late 1960s bubblegum music era ended for Buddah Records, the label successfully promoted their soul group, The 5 Stairsteps, who had a pair of Top 40 soul hits on the label in 1968, “Something’s Missing” and “A Million to One.” As the new decade began, the Chicago Burke siblings achieved their sole Top 40 pop hit, “O-o-h Child,” with the members singing lead on different parts, beginning with the only female, Alohe “Lannie,” along with her brothers Keni on bass, Dennis on drums and guitar, Clarence, Jr. on guitar, and also on guitar, James, who passed away on February 19 at the age of 70. The soothing “O-o-h Child” reached No. 8 in 1970 and became a gold single for the family quintet. “O-o-h Child” has been covered throughout the years, including a new pair of 2021 covers by Merry Clayton and Paul Stanley’s Soul Station.

Lori Burton

New Haven, Connecticut songwriter Lori Burton passed away on May 19 at the age of 80. She and Pam Sawyer co-wrote a pair of songs for the self-titled debut album for The Young Rascals. Felix Cavaliere told Goldmine, “In addition to co-writing great songs for The Young Rascals, including our first charting single, ‘I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” Lori was a fine woman.” “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” charted on Christmas Day 1965 for The Young Rascals, and peaked at No. 52 in early 1966. This song also became the highest charting single for the band Angel in 1978, reaching No. 44. Her other composition on The Young Rascals’ debut album was “Baby Let’s Wait,” which The Royal Guardsmen covered in 1966 and eventually became a Top 40 hit for the Florida band in late 1968, peaking at No. 35.

In the following decade, Burton was heard as a background vocalist on John Lennon’s Top 10 hit single “#9 Dream,” which reached No. 9 in 1975. That decade, she and her husband bought the New York City recording studio The Record Plant, which she managed and where John Lennon recorded his final songs in December 1980.

Ron Bushy

Iron Butterfly’s drummer Ron Bushy achieved legendary fame courtesy of the quartet’s classic “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” A three-minute version of the song debuted in the Top 40 in the fall of 1968, edited from their seventeen-minute version, which filled the entire second side of their iconic album. Aspiring rock drummers played along with side two’s solos from Bushy, who passed away August 29 at age 79.

The group’s singles reached the Top 100 three more times in the following year, but never captured the level of attention of their sole Top 40 hit. Iron Butterfly were scheduled to play at Woodstock in 1969, but the helicopter never arrived for them that Sunday and the group regretted that they couldn’t share “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” with the historic crowd.

Ron Campbell 

Yellow Submarine film animator Ron Campbell passed away January 22 at age 81. Being an animator is something that Campbell dreamed of since he was six years old when he learned that the short films of Tom & Jerry that he saw in the theaters were made from drawings which could come to life. In the 1960s he was a cartoonist for Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Krazy Kat, and was key in the animated series The Beatles, that ran from 1965 through 1969. Ringo Starr said to the other Beatles about the show, “Hey guys, they made me the idiot.” In 1968, when the Yellow Submarine film was running behind schedule, Campbell was brought in to save the day. His colorful scenes included the “Sea of Time” sequence and scenes featuring Nowhere Man, Chief Blue Meanie and Max.

After Yellow Submarine, Campbell wrote and animated George of the Jungle and segments for Sesame Street. He animated, produced and directed several cartoons including The Smurfs, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and Rugrats. After retiring from animation, he focused his time on creating paintings based on his cartoon career, and touring with his paintings, meeting fans and creating new paintings at the shows, including a painting that blended the iconic Beatles walk on Abbey Road with colorful Yellow Submarine animation art.

Alan Cartwright

England’s Procol Harum debuted in the Top 40 in 1967 with “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” featuring a melody based on Bach’s “Sleepers Awake.” After years of absence, they returned to the Top 40 in 1972 with an orchestrated version of “Conquistador” from their Live in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra album, recorded in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in November 1971. The group’s leader, lead singer and pianist Gary Brooker stated, “It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Alan Cartwright, bassist with Procol Harum from 1971 through 1976, beginning with the Live in Concert album. He was always a very solid, musical, and reliable bass player, and a good bloke who gave his best, both in the studio and on our extensive tours. I often think of those very rich years, sharing music, humor, and endless voyages thanks to his wonderful, positive presence. Rest in peace, Alan.” Alan Cartwright passed away on March 4 at the age of 75.

Phil Chen

Bassist Phil Chen, heard on Rod Stewart’s hits “Hot Legs,” “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks” passed away December 14 at age 80. Prior to his time with Stewart, he was a member of the post-Doors’ Butts Band with guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore and was heard on Jeff Beck’s classic album Blow by Blow.

Louis Clark

Beginning in 1974, with ELO’s fourth album Eldorado: A Symphony by The Electric Light Orchestra, Louis Clark became the group’s orchestrator, with his first chart success for the group being “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” their first Top 10 single in the U.S. Louis also reached the Top 10 in the following decade as the conductor of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with the medley “Hooked on Classics.” Beginning in the 1990s, Clark was also a member of Electric Orchestra Part II, which evolved into The Orchestra. Clark passed away on February 13 at the age of 73.

Sanford Clark

Rockabilly’s Sanford Clark, known for the 1956 Top 10 hit “The Fool,” passed away July 4 at age 85 from COVID-19.

Rick Coghill

Cincinnati guitarist and producer Rick Coghill passed away December 13 at age 74. In the 1960s, he was known for his work in Ivan and the Sabres, Sixth Day Creation, and The Lemon Pipers. His electric guitar solo on Sixth Day Creation’s “Cherry Pie” was one of the elements which drove the single to reach No. 1 on WSAI in Cincinnati in 1969, sharing a similar tempo as The Lemon Pipers’ “Rice is Nice” from the prior year. Coghill also played electric guitar on the soulful holiday album James Brown and His Famous Flames Sing Christmas Songs. His stunning acoustic guitar was heard on the song “Eli, Eli” by Lamb, a group he co-led in the 1970s and 1980s. Cincinnati music producer Adam Scovanner told Goldmine, “Rick was a giant in the Cincinnati music scene. He was loved and respected by many and will be missed.”

Charles Connor

Charles Connor first gained recognition as Little Richard’s drummer in the 1950s, including performing three songs in the 1956 film The Girl Can’t Help It, the title tune plus a pair of flip sides, “Reddy Teddy” and “She’s Got It.” His drumming continued in the following decade with Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and many others. Connor passed away July 31 at age 86.

Gary Corbett

On July 14, the same day that we lost Cinderella’s guitarist Jeff LaBar, their touring keyboardist Gary Corbett also passed away at age 62. Corbett joined Cinderella for their Heartbreak Station tour. Prior to that he co-wrote Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 gold single “She Bop” and then toured with KISS.

Guitarist Bruce Kulick told Goldmine, “Gary was an extremely talented songwriter and keyboard player who I had the pleasure to tour with during my KISS years. During the Crazy Nights tour, we performed the power ballad ‘Reason to Live,’ and while I was playing lead guitar, I fondly recall Gary playing keyboards. He always knew how to support us and create the sound like the keyboards heard on our albums. His talent was very evident to the band and his friendship and good nature made him like the fifth member of KISS.”

Chick Corea

Improvisational jazz pianist Chick Corea passed away in his Florida home on February 9 at the age of 79. He began his career in the early 1960s with Stan Getz, Herbie Mann and others and at the end of the decade he joined Miles Davis’ band. In his 2020 Goldmine interview Chick said, “Miles treated me like a son and he kind of took me under his wing. He really opened things up for the rest of us.”

In the 1970s, Chick achieved major success with the jazz fusion group Return to Forever. Most recently he was heard on Jon Anderson’s 1000 Hands album and his own live Plays album, both released in 2020.

Paul Cotton

Poco’s Paul Cotton passed away August 1 at age 78, just a few months after the passing of his bandmate Rusty Young. Cotton joined the country rock band in 1970, after the departure of Jim Messina, who went on to ultimately form Loggins & Messina with Kenny Loggins. Messina stated, “Paul Cotton was a special musical kindred brother. We spent time together before he joined Poco and indeed gave me a great honor when he filled my position. May he, this very kindhearted soul, rest in peace.”

Cotton’s first album with Poco was 1971’s From the Inside, composing three songs for the record. His Top 100 singles debut, as a composer, happened in 1977, with the gentle title song from Poco’s Indian Summer album. Late the following year, the group’s Legend album was released, which included Poco’s first Top 40 hit single, “Crazy Love,” written by Rusty Young. Its flip side, “Barbados,” written by Cotton, was filled with nautical escapism. The second single from the Legend album also reached the Top 20, “Heart of the Night,” written and sung by Cotton, with water imagery, and inspired by his love of New Orleans.

In 1980, two more of Cotton’s compositions reached the Top 100. First was the title song from the group’s next album Under the Gun, a John Fogerty-like up-tempo rocker, followed by the ballad “Midnight Rain,” also from the album. In 1984, Cotton’s steady tempo “Days Gone By,” the opening number from the group’s Inamorata album, also reached the Top 100 singles chart. Paul Cotton left Poco later in the decade and recorded five solo albums from 1990 through 2014’s 100% Paul Cotton.

Johnny Crawford

From 1962 through 1963, young actor Johnny Crawford reached the Top 40 four times including his Top 10 hit “Cindy’s Birthday.” He was one of the original Mouseketeers and played Chuck Connors’ son Mark McCain in the television show The Rifleman from 1958 through 1963. Crawford passed away April 29 at age 75.

Joey D’ambrosio

The original saxophonist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Bill Haley & His Comets, Joey D’ambrosio (stage name Joey Ambrose), passed away August 9 at age 87. Ambrose was heard on the group’s early Top 10 hits “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and the song credited as kicking off the rock and roll era, “Rock Around the Clock,” which spent eight weeks at No. 1.

Sarah Dash

Labelle’s Sarah Dash passed away September 20 at age 76 just days after performing with Patti LaBelle, who said, “Sarah was an awesomely talented, beautiful, and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many. I could always count on her to have my back. She was a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn’t have one. She was a true giver, always serving and sharing her talent and time. I know that Sarah’s spirit and all that she has given to the world will live on.”

In 1975, Labelle’s gold single “Lady Marmalade,” from their Nightbirds album, reached No. 1 for Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx who said, “We shared a musical language, as singing brought us together. Our Nightbird will now let heaven be her new home.”

In addition to her work with Labelle, which evolved from Patti Labelle and Her Blue Belles, Dash also worked with The Rolling Stones along with Keith Richards and The X-Pensive Winos. Dash said in her 2017 Goldmine interview, “Keith’s my baby! He doesn’t like to talk on the phone, you know, so what did he do? He sent me a fax! Who does that? He has written so many great songs. He is the Rolling Stones! I was thrilled to be part of the backing vocal trio on the Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels album with ‘Mixed Emotions’ and all those great songs. Keith is one of my favorite guitarists.” Keith Richards said of Dash in his Goldmine 2021 interview, “What an incredible lady and what a voice.”

John Davis

John Davis was a studio singer for Milli Vanilli’s 1988 German debut album All or Nothing, which contained the Top 5 singles “Girl You Know It’s True,” which he sang lead on, “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You,” and “All or Nothing.” In 1989, the album was reissued for the American market as Girl You Know It’s True, with a slightly different selection of songs including their U.S. platinum single, “Blame it on the Rain,” written by Diane Warren.

In 1991, John Davis and other studio singers stepped into the spotlight as The Real Milli Vanilli with the album The Moment of Truth, featuring the dance single “Keep on Running,” their next single “Too Late (True Love),” plus the ballad “When I Die,” and the steady tempo love song “Tell Me Where it Hurts,” which Kathy Troccoli covered in 1994 and became an adult contemporary hit.

Davis passed away May 24 at age 66. His daughter Jasmin said, “My father made a lot of people happy with his laughter and smile, his happy spirit, his love and especially through his music. He gave so much to the world. Please give him the last round of applause. We will miss him dearly.”

B.B. Dickerson

The Southern California band War first gained attention when Eric Burdon joined forces with them on the 1970 Top 10 gold single “Spill the Wine.” In 1971, War entered the Top 40 without Burdon with “All Day Music.” Over the next five years, War achieved five gold singles with “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “The World is a Ghetto,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and “Summer.” Most of these hits, plus “Low Rider” and so much more will be available June 12 as a Record Store Day special release called The Vinyl: 1971-1975, a five vinyl album box set, featuring co-founder B.B. Dickerson on bass, who passed away on April 2 at the age of 71.


On April 9, the day that rapper DMX passed away at age 50, his powerful hip-hop and rock hybrid single “X Moves” was released, joined by Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice, Steve Howe on guitar, known for his work with Yes and Asia, and bassist Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic fame. Fellow rapper Chingy stated, “DMX was a true legend to the hip-hop community. I was individually inspired by him with his unique style. We toured together and he always showed me love throughout the years. He will be forever missed by me and the hip-hop community for his legacy.”

John Drake

John Drake was heard on AM radio in the summer of 1968 singing “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” as the lead vocalist for The Amboy Dukes. The Detroit band’s sole Top 40 single was co-written by their guitarists Steve Farmer and Ted Nugent, the first hit for Nugent. Drake passed away August 29 at age 74.

Graeme Edge

The British Invasion quintet The Moody Blues debuted in the U.S. Top 40 in early 1965 with “Go Now!” The single reached No. 10 with Graeme Edge on drums, who passed away November 11 at age 80 in Florida. Two years later, significant personnel changes happened in the group with guitarist Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge joining the band for their creative orchestrated album Days of Future Passed. At the end of Hayward’s composition “Nights in White Satin,” there was a poem called “Late Lament” which Edge wrote, beginning with the words, “Breathe deep.” In his 2017 Goldmine interview Edge said, “I was trying to write a song lyric, and when I finished, I gave it to the boys and suggested they put some music to it. They said it was fabulous, but it was much too wordy to sing. Our producer Tony Clarke said that it was a poem and that I should just read it, but at the time my voice was too squeaky, so we asked our keyboardist Mike Pinder to deliver it because he had the right kind of voice. That became sort of a tradition and we became known for it, so one of my jobs became to sort of thread the needle with the theme of each album by writing a poem.”

The new members in The Moody Blues grew close to Graeme Edge. Justin Hayward said, “Graeme’s sound and personality is present in everything we did together and thankfully that will live on. In the late 1960s, we became the group that Graeme always wanted it to be, and he was called upon to be a poet as well as a drummer. He delivered that beautifully and brilliantly. Graeme and his parents were very kind to me when I first joined the group and for the first two years, he and I either lived together or next door to each other. We had fun and laughs all the way as well as making what was probably the best music of our lives.”

John Lodge quoted the poem “The Dream” from the group’s 1969 album On the Threshold of a Dream which opened with the line, “When the white eagle of the north is flying overhead.” Lodge said, “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.” In his November 2021 interview with Goldmine, Lodge said, “Graeme was a great supporter of my solo efforts, and he contributed a reading of his poem ‘Late Lament’ from Days of Future Passed. I very much wanted him to voice his own poem. He recorded it for me, and I filmed him recording it. I do that on stage prior to ‘Nights in White Satin.’ Edge lived in Florida near Lodge, who told Goldmine, “I was speaking with Graeme all the while, and I spent an afternoon with him. My wife and I went to see him, along with my daughter Emily and Jon Davison. It was lovely. We talked about old times and about the future, and I gave him my new CD, and he was just tickled pink to have that. It was a really nice time with him, and he was great. He still had the twinkle in his eyes. So yes, it’s very sad, but I'm so pleased I was with him near the end. The important thing is that we had fifty years of real friendship. Graeme told his daughter he wanted to be sent into space. Hopefully his wish will come true.”

The seventh album, with what is considered the classic Moody Blues lineup, was called Seventh Sojourn. Side two began with a Hayward and Edge composition “You and Me” and ended with Lodge’s “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” which was fun to watch live with Edge’s enthusiastic drumming. The group then took a break and issued solo and project albums in the mid-1970s including a pair from The Graeme Edge Band featuring Adrian Gurvitz, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots and Paradise Ballroom.

The group reunited in 1978 with the album Octave, followed by a personal favorite album of Edge’s, Long Distance Voyager featuring the Top 20 singles “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice.” The flip side of “The Voice” was Edge’s composition “22,000 Days,” inspired by what was considered to be the average life expectancy at the time, the chorus included the lines, “22,000 days, it’s not a lot, it’s all you got,” encouraging listeners to make the most of life, which Edge certainly did, spending close to 22,000 days as an iconic member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s The Moody Blues.

Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis

Alfred Ellis, known professionally as Pee Wee Ellis was a saxophonist, composer and arranger. He played in James Brown’s band in the late 1960s, co- writing the No. 1 R&B hits “Cold Sweat” and “Mother Popcorn.” In 1979, he joined Van Morrison for Morrison’s album Into the Music and performed on eleven more of Morrison’s albums over the next twenty years. Ellis passed away September 23 at age 80.

Les Emmerson

Canada’s Five Man Electrical Band were in Billboard’s U.S. Top 100 five times in the 1970s with all of the songs written by the group’s singer and guitarist Les Emmerson, who passed away December 10 at age 77. Their 1971 gold single “Signs” was their biggest hit and was covered for its 20th anniversary by the hard rock band Tesla, who brought it back to the Top 10 in 1991. One of Emmerson’s solo singles also appeared in the U.S. Top 100 in the 1970s, “Control of Me.” Canadian DJ Ted Yates told Goldmine, “Les Emmerson was a great talent who not only wrote the hits but sang lead on all of them. I had the pleasure of introducing Les on stage at a concert. He was a very friendly and humble individual who gave us some of the best Canadian hits.”

Deon Estus

In 1989, Deon Estus and George Michael reached No. 5 with the tender song they co-wrote “Heaven Help Me,” from his Estus’ album Spell. Estus played bass on albums by Wham! and George Michael’s first two solo albums, reaching the Top 10 seventeen times beginning with Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” in 1984 through Michael’s “Freedom” in 1990. Estus passed away October 11 at age 65.

Don Everly

On August 21, Don Everly passed away at age 84, seven years after the passing of his younger brother Phil. Bob Cowsill told Goldmine, "The Everly Brothers were one of the earliest influences on The Cowsills, especially regarding their vocals. Their harmonizing, and the sibling component in the vocal stack, made not only The Everly Brothers but all the family singers special in a unique DNA kind of way. Don and Phil paved the way for many of us and will always be remembered and revered."

The Kentucky duo had eight singles in the Top 40 in the late 1950s on the Cadence label. Half of the flip sides made the Top 40 as well. Their first No. 1 hit was “Wake Up Little Susie,” and their biggest No. 1 record was “All I Have to Do is Dream,” both written by the couple Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. At the former Georgia Music Hall of Fame location, a display on the Bryants detailed how they would write lead parts for both Phil and Don Everly, stating that the recordings were really twin lead vocals rather than either of the brothers being relegated to a harmony part, and, to minimize conflict, they wouldn’t tell either brother which part they considered to be the “real lead” on any of the songs. The Bryants wrote both sides of the duo’s third and final No. 1 single on the Cadence label, the fun “Bird Dog,” and the beautiful “Devoted to You,” which Carly Simon and James Taylor brought back to the Top 40 in 1978.

As the 1960s began, The Everly Brothers joined Warner Bros., and their first single for the new label was one that the brothers wrote themselves called “Cathy’s Clown,” which tied their Cadence record of No. 1 for five weeks and seventeen weeks on the charts. More Top 10 success happened for them that year and the following year. Carole King, with lyricist Howard Greenfield, supplied “Crying in the Rain.” This became The Everly Brothers’ second highest charting hit on Warner Bros. in 1962. In this early 1960s era the duo’s Top 10 hits also included “When Will I Be Loved” and “Walk Right Back,” successfully covered by Linda Ronstadt and Anne Murray in the following decade. Their final Top 40 pop hit was “Bowling Green,” in 1967.

After the Warner Bros. decade, it took a while for the duo’s comeback, which happened in the 1980s. The single “On the Wings of a Nightingale” was written by Paul McCartney, who previously paid tribute to “Phil and Don” in his 1976 Wings gold single “Let ‘Em In.” Their biggest 1980s success happened in 1986, when Steve Popovich was running the Mercury label in Nashville with “Born Yesterday,” written by Don Everly, and reached No. 17 on the country chart. At the end of the decade Popovich united The Everly Brothers with Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash for new versions of Johnny Cash’s early songs “Ballad of a Teenage Queen,” with “Get Rhythm” on its flip side, and this became The Everly Brothers’ final charting single.

Mike Finnigan

Keyboardist Mike Finnigan passed away August 11 at age 76. He was an in-demand musician, most recently on tour with Bonnie Raitt. Finnigan was heard on Crosby, Stills and Nash’s 1982 Top 20 hit single “Southern Cross,” along with drummer Joe Vitale, who told Goldmine, “Mike was a giant! He was an amazing player and a wonderful person, loved and respected by all the people he worked with and he never failed to ‘bring it’ either live or in the studio. One night, as members of The Stephen Stills Band, we played the Atlantic Records Blues Foundation Awards show at the House of Blues in L.A. The headliner was Ray Charles, and his organ player didn’t make the show, so Ray asked Mike to sit in with him. I think it was Mike’s greatest musical moment and I was so fortunate to witness it. Mike was incredible that night, and both he and Ray shared great big smiles on their faces. He will be missed. RIP Big Mike!”

Michael Fonfara

Keyboardist Michael Fonfara passed away on January 8 at the age of 74. He was heard on The Electric Flag’s classic 1968 song “Groovin’ is Easy” and the following year on Rhinoceros’ sole Top 100 entry “Apricot Brandy.”

George Frayne

Commander Cody was the name adopted by vocalist and keyboardist George Frayne from a 1950s sci-fi film. In 1967, he formed the group Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in San Francisco. The group’s western swing, country and rock blend fit in with other groups from that area’s era, a bit Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks and a bit Grateful Dead in sound, along with being a California parallel to Texas’ Asleep at the Wheel. Their cover of the 1955 Charley Ryan song “Hot Rod Lincoln” became a Top 10 hit in 1972. Similar in style, their single “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” a cover of a 1947 Tex Williams song, reached the Top 100 the following year. In total, the group reached the Top 100 four times. George Frayne passed away September 26 at age 77.

Marty Fried

The Cyrkle’s drummer Marty Fried passed away September 1 at age 77. The group’s vocalist and guitarist Don Dannemann told Goldmine, “Marty’s passing leaves a whole in my heart that will never go away. He was part of so many special events including our special Beatles show in 1964, which led to our management contract with Brian Epstein and Nat Weiss, a Columbia Records contract, receiving our band name from John Lennon, and touring with The Beatles on their 1966 cross country tour. I can hardly describe the camaraderie that still existed when we got together over the years, both to play and just to meet up for a reunion. Marty Fried and Tom Dawes, from our 1960s lineup, now rest comfortably in rock and roll heaven.”

In 1966, the year of their tour with The Beatles, The Cyrkle, as a trio, were in the Top 40 twice with “Red Rubber Ball” and Turn-Down Day.” By the end of the year, keyboardist Mike Losekamp joined the group. In early 1967, the quartet’s single “I Wish You Could Be Here” was released, featuring a soft folk-rock vocal style on par with The Association that year. The flip side, “The Visit (She Was Here),” contained a gentle samba beat from Fried.

The Cyrkle disbanded in 1968 and have reunited in recent years with concerts and new recordings, including a new version of “The Visit.” The current lineup includes the surviving 1960s members Don Dannemann and Mike Losekamp plus Dean Kastran, a co-founding member of The Ohio Express, Pat McLoughlin, Don White, and Scott Langley.

James Giombetti

James “Mr. G” Giombetti, the owner of The Exclusive Company record store chain in Wisconsin, passed away November 13 at age 80. Giombetti opened his first store in the mid-1950s and survived competition from discount stores, big box stores, and online music purchases and the record chain still operates seven stores across the state.

Larry Goshorn

Pure Prairie League’s Larry Goshorn passed away on September 14 at age 73. Goshorn was a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the Southern Ohio band from 1975 through 1978, between the Craig Fuller and Vince Gill eras. He appeared on five albums beginning with Two Lane Highway through Just Fly.

Tom Gray

Cyndi Lauper’s solo album debut She’s So Unusual began with her exciting performance of “Money Changes Everything,” written by Atlanta musician Tom Gray, who passed away October 16 at age 70. Gray’s band The Brains recorded “Money Changes Everything” on their 1980 debut album on Mercury and was released as a single, but it was the placement on Lauper’s album as the song before “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which brought Gray’s composition the noteriety it deserved. After The Brains ended, Gray moved on to the band Delta Moon, a popular group in the Atlanta music scene.

Nanci Griffith

Nanci Griffith, known for the 1980s country Top 40 hit singles “Lone Star State of Mind” and “I Knew Love” and her Americana composition “Love at the Five and Dime,” passed away August 13 at age 68.

Tom T. Hall

In 1968, Tom T. Hall’s composition “Harper Valley P.T.A.” became a No. 1 gold single for Jeannie C. Riley. In 1974, as a composer and singer, his song “I Love” became his sole Top 40 pop hit and spent two weeks at No. 1 on the country chart, one of his seven country chart toppers. Hall passed away August 20 at age 85.

Sarah Harding

Sarah Harding, a vocalist for Girls Aloud, passed away September 5 at age 39, after a yearlong battle with advanced breast cancer. The vocal quintet achieved twenty consecutive Top 10 singles in the U.K. including their No. 1 hit “The Promise,” which received the 2009 Best British Single BRIT Award.

Roger Hawkins

Drummer Roger Hawkins was a drummer in the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, nicknamed The Swampers, known for their session work at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He played on many hits including The Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” and many more. Hawkins passed away on May 20 at the age of 75.

Dusty Hill

In January 1971, ZZ Top’s First Album was released, with Billy Gibbons on guitar, Frank Beard on drums, and Dusty Hill on bass, who passed away July 28 at age 72 in his home in Houston.

The Texas blues-rock trio’s breakthrough radio success happened three years later with their John Lee Hooker inspired “La Grange,” from the group’s 1973 album Tres Hombres, which fell just one position shy of the Top 40 nationally, while the next single, “Tush,” became ZZ Top’s Top 40 debut, peaking at No. 20 in 1975. By the end of the decade, the trio was excitedly picked up by Warner Bros., who provided strong promotion. In November 1979, their first album for the label was released, Deguello, including their cover of Sam & Dave’s “I Thank You” and “Cheap Sunglasses,” released as singles, which received strong FM rock radio airplay in 1980.

In the mid-1980s, the trio became video stars on MTV with Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons sporting long beards, sunglasses, hats, and twirling guitars. “Legs,” from their 1983 album Eliminator, became their first Top 10 hit single and biggest record. Eliminator also reached the Top 10 album chart and sold 10 million copies.

In 2004, the Texas trio were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2020, the documentary ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas was released.

Billy Hinsche

Dino, Desi & Billy were formed in 1964 by Dean Martin’s son Dean “Dino” Martin Jr., Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s son Desi Arnaz Jr. and their friend Billy Hinsche, who passed away November 20 at age 70. The trio reached the Top 40 twice in 1965 with the pop-rock hit “I’m a Fool” followed by the folk-rock song “Not the Lovin’ Kind,” written by Lee Hazelwood, who also supplied their next flip side, “The Rebel Kind,” with a garage rock sound. The trio reached the Top 100 for a final time in 1968 with Hinsche’s composition “Tell Someone You Love Them.” Their final single was 1970’s “Lady Love” which Hinsche co-wrote with Brian Wilson. Hinsche was Carl Wilson’s brother-in-law and he played guitar and keyboards on many of The Beach Boys’ albums in the 1960s and the 1970s, the same decade that he toured with the band as a keyboardist.

Gary “Chicken” Hirsh

Country Joe and The Fish’s drummer Gary “Chicken” Hirsh passed away August 17 at age 81. The group opened their Woodstock set with “Rock and Soul Music,” which also included their sole Top 100 single, “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine,” with Hirsh adjusting to alternating tempos on the psychedelic song from their album Electric Music for the Mind and the Body. The set concluded with their Vietnam War protest song “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die-Rag,” which became a popular anthem in the early 1970s, following the 1970 release of the Woodstock film.

Mike Hoffmann

Milwaukee, Wisconsin music scene legend Mike Hoffmann passed away October 24 at age 67. He was a member of the power pop band Yipes! with two albums on the Millennium label and the Americana group Semi-Twang on Warner Bros. In the Goldmine December 2021 article celebrating the 25th anniversary of the song “Closer to Free” BoDeans co-founder Sam Llanas told Goldmine, “My new album Ghosts of Yesterday’s Angels is produced by Mike Hoffmann, who recorded our early BoDeans songs, which got us signed to our record deal.” In addition to his work with BoDeans, Hoffmann also recorded with Herb Alpert, k.d. lang and opened for Lou Reed, The Clash, Cheap Trick, The Replacements, Wilco, and more, as Marshall Crenshaw’s bassist.

Dan Hrdlicka

Eric Carmen’s lead guitarist Dan Hrdlicka passed away October 5 at age 69. Hrdlicka’s Top 100 debut came in 1973 as a member of the Cleveland band Circus with “Stop, Wait & Listen.” After Circus, Dan was a member of the Cleveland band Magic, with Richard Reising and George Sipl on keyboards, Steve Knill on bass and D. Dwight Krueger on drums.

After The Raspberries disbanded in the mid-1970s, Eric Carmen recruited Magic along with drummer Mike McBride from The Raspberries to be his backing band as he embarked on a solo career and released his highly successful self-titled debut solo album, featuring three hit singles.

In 1976, Hrdlicka was in the Top 40 three times with Carmen’s gold single “All by Myself” followed by “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” and “Sunrise.” Steve Knill told Goldmine, “We had such wondrous times together, being kids from Cleveland who got to live our dream, at least for a while, and then remain musicians our whole lives. Who could ask for more really? Finding the right spot for guitar solos is not easy in a band with different instrument combinations by song, but Dan did it. His tour de force was ‘Sunrise’ but his guitar playing on all the songs was stellar.” Richard Reising agreed, “Dan’s opening guitar and ending on ‘Sunrise’ was so cool.” Hrdlicka’s playing was reminiscent of what he previously brought to Magic’s cover of Elton John’s “Love Lies Bleeding.” Reising continued, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” was Magic’s signature performance with great guitar soloing from Dan.” George Sipl added, “I realized in my reflections on our past that we never had one disagreement. That’s a lot to be said for two musicians who played together for over five years. In the studio we worked together on background vocals. With Dan’s powerful voice, they always asked him to step back from the microphone. He was always pitch perfect and was a pleasure to sing with.”

Reising and Sipl also sang with Hrdlicka in 1978 on the first single by The Euclid Beach Band called “There’s No Surf in Cleveland,” co-written by Reising.

Hrdlicka’s final vinyl release came in 1988, on the flip side of Eric Carmen’s Top Five hit “Make Me Lose Control,” with Carmen’s version of “That’s Rock ‘N Roll,” originally on his debut album and successfully covered by Shaun Cassidy.

Leonard Hubbard

The Roots’ bassist Leonard “Hub” Hubbard passed away December 16 at age 62. Hubbard played on The Roots’ first seven albums through 2007, including the late 1990s Top 40 hits “What They Do” and “You Got Me.”

Paul Humphrey

On April 4, at the of age 61, Paul Humphrey, vocalist and keyboardist from the Canadian new wave band Blue Peter, best known for their 1983 single and video “Don’t Walk Past,” passed away.

Paul Jackson

Bassist Paul Jackson passed away on March 18 at the age of 73. In 1972, after the original lineup for Santana’s first three albums disbanded, percussionist brothers Coke and Pete Escovedo formed the Latin rock band Azteca. The group included Pete Escovedo’s teenage daughter Sheila E. joining the family on percussion, Paul Jackson on bass and around twenty members of the entourage on stage. They released two albums on Columbia, the same label as Santana, in 1972 and 1973. When the group disbanded, Jackson joined Columbia’s Herbie Hancock, beginning with his jazz fusion Head Hunters album and achieved the soul Top 40 instrumental hit “Chameleon.” At the end of the decade, Jackson returned to the soul Top 40 on Hancock’s “Ready or Not” single.

Stonewall Jackson

Country music legend Stonewall Jackson passed away December 4 at age 89. In 1959, after Jackson’s breakthrough single “Life to Go” reached No. 2 on Billboard’s country chart, his next single, the bouncy country/folk song “Waterloo” reached No. 4 on Billboard’s pop chart and went all the way to No. 1 on the country chart, where it remained for five weeks, becoming his signature song. Jackson’s final Top 10 country hit came in 1971 with his cover “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,” originally recorded and written by Lobo, who told Goldmine, “I always appreciated Stonewall Jackson’s loyalty to pure country music and was proud to be a small part of his wonderful career. His version of ‘Me and You and a Dog Named Boo’ was always one of my favorites.”

Bob James

In the post-Sammy Hagar mid-1970s era of the band Montrose, Bob James was the group’s vocalist on their Warner Bros. Presents and Jump On It albums and toured North America extensively with the group. James passed away on February 26 at the age of 68.

Phil Johnstone

Songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, and producer Phil Johnstone passed away May 31 at age 63. His production work with Robert Plant included the 1988 album Now and Zen featuring the Top 40 hit single “Tall Cool One,” which he co-wrote.

Joey Jordison

Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison passed away July 26 at age 46. In 2006, the Iowa band’s percussive song “Before I Forget” won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Bob Koester

Bob Koester, founder of Chicago’s Delmark Records, with blues acts including Lonnie Brooks and Otis Rush and jazz acts including Lonnie Smith and Sun Ra, passed away on May 12 at the age of 88.

Ken Kragen

Music manager and producer Ken Kragen passed away December 14 at age 85. He was the manager for Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, and others and is known as the organizer for the 1985 “We Are the World” humanitarian fundraiser, which led to the Grammy winning platinum No. 1 single by the star filled entourage known as USA For Africa.

Jeff LaBar

In 1986, Cinderella debuted with their album Night Songs. The following year they achieved their Top 40 singles debut with “Nobody’s Fool,” which peaked at No. 13.

In 1988, the group’s most successful album was released, Long Cold Winter, which brought three songs to the Top 40, beginning with “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” The single featured an electric guitar solo from Jeff LaBar, who passed away July 14 at age 58. Both sides of the next single were guitar driven, with the A side, “The Last Mile,” capturing the energy of AC/DC and its bluesy flip side, the album’s title song “Long Cold Winter,” sounding Led Zeppelin inspired. The final Top 40 single for the band from the album was “Coming Home,” featuring acoustic guitars. “Gypsy Road” was also released as a single from the album, but landed a bit below the Top 40.

Cinderella appeared in the Top 40 for a final time in 1991 with a song from their late 1990 album Heartbreak Station called “Shelter Me,” with an expanded sound, including guest saxophonist Jay Davidson.

In 2014, LaBar released his solo album, One for the Road, which included his tribute to Jimmy Page called “Ode to Page.” A tour followed its release, with Zach Ballard on drums, who told Goldmine, “In addition to playing songs from Jeff’s solo album, we played Cinderella’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’ and ‘Gypsy Road’ at the end of the shows. It was truly a blast and never a dull moment with Jeff. He was hilarious and we laughed a lot. I’m honored that I got the chance to play with him.”

The surviving members of Cinderella shared, “Heavy hearts cannot begin to describe the feeling of losing our brother Jeff. The bond between us over decades of creating music and touring the world is something that we as a band uniquely shared. Jeff’s memory and music will be with us forever.”

Rick Laird

Mahavishnu Orchestra founding member and bassist Rick Laird passed away July 4 at age 80. In 1970, Laird’s double bass notes opened the title song “Keep the Customer Satisfied” on the Buddy Rich Big Band album, where they gave the Simon & Garfunkel flip side a jazzy treatment. The following year, he co-founded Mahavishnu Orchestra with guitarist John McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jerry Goodman, and drummer Billy Cobham, and stayed with the jazz fusion group for their first three albums.

Alan Lancaster

Status Quo’s bassist Alan Lancaster passed away September 26 at age 72. Although the British group has achieved tremendous global success, including 22 Top 10 hits in their U.K. homeland, in the U.S. they are primarily known for the 1968 Top 40 psychedelic hit “Pictures of Matchstick Men.” Lancaster’s performance with the group in 1985 at the Live Aid concert included a popular U.K. cover of John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over the World.” He was also part of the Frantic Four reunion tours which lasted through 2014.

David Lasley

Songwriter and background vocalist David Lasley passed away December 9 at age 74. His compositions include co-writing “Lead Me On” for Maxine Nightingale in the 1970s and “Jojo” for Boz Scaggs in the following decade. He was a background vocalist on many of James Taylor’s albums beginning in 1979, and multiple albums from Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Melissa Manchester, Garland Jeffreys, Timothy B. Schmit and Ringo Starr.

John Lawton

In 1970, the powerful vocalist John Lawton co-founded Lucifer’s Friend, who debuted that year with their self-titled album and first single, “Ride the Sky.” He continued with Lucifer’s Friend for the next four albums. Lawton then replaced David Byron in Uriah Heep as their lead singer from late 1976 through 1979 for three studio albums, with songs including the catchy “Falling in Love.”

After Lawton’s Uriah Heep years, he returned to Lucifer’s Friend. In recent years the group released the 2016 reunion album Too Late to Hate and 2018’s Black Moon. Lawton also performed at different Uriah Heep concerts and reunions.

On July 1, 2019, John Lawton sang Uriah Heep’s “July Morning” at the annual Bulgarian July Morning festival for a final time and reported to Goldmine, “The gig was good, with sunrise at 5:33 a.m. just as the opening notes to ‘July Morning’ rang out, so it was quite moving.” In 2020, the festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he shared with Goldmine, “It was the first time in fifteen years that I missed it. Maybe next year.” In late June 2021, Lawton and his wife Iris arrived in Bulgaria, where he passed away unexpectedly on June 29 at age 74. Lawton’s passing is the third Uriah Heep member death in the past year, beginning with drummer Lee Kerslake last September followed by keyboardist Ken Hensley last November.

Uriah Heep’s Mick Box shared, “The passing of John Lawton came as a complete shock and has left me numb. John was a big part of the Heep family. We never stopped laughing and I will always remember those joyous times. I enjoyed the songs we wrote together, and he had an amazing voice that was powerful, soulful and with a bluesy edge. Rock music has lost one of the great rock voices of all-time and his legacy will live on forever.”

Robin Le Mesurier

British guitarist Robin Le Mesurier, heard on Rod Stewart’s mid-1980s singles “Baby Jane,” “What Am I Gonna Do (I’m So in Love with You)” and “Love Touch,” passed away December 22 at age 68.

David Cutler Lewis

Ambrosia’s keyboardist David Cutler Lewis passed away June 7 at age 68. He joined the group in 1978, as the band was finalizing their Life Beyond L.A. album, and stayed through their 1982 album Road Island. Lewis’ keyboard work was prominently heard on the pair of hit singles from Ambrosia’s 1980 One Eighty album, “Biggest Part of Me,” which reached No. 3 and “You’re the Only Woman,” which reached No. 13.

After his time with Ambrosia, Lewis joined the new age/electronic band Shadowfax for four albums from 1984 through 1990. From 2005 through 2009, he rejoined Ambrosia for concert tours.

Lewis’ daughter Sondra told Goldmine, “I really miss my dad. Every day that passes is harder and harder. I watch videos of him performing and I am so proud of him. He was so talented, special and one of a kind.” The group’s main vocalist David Pack said about Lewis, “David was a gift from God for Ambrosia. He helped take our music to a higher place at the perfect time.” Their bassist Joe Puerta shared, “Dave was a genius in creating some of the most amazing sounds and solos that added so much to the music and sound of Ambrosia.” Their drummer Burleigh Drummond added, “No one could light a fire on stage like David Lewis.”

Frank Little Jr.

The O’Jays 1960s singer, songwriter and guitarist Frank “Frankie” Little Jr. was last seen in the 1970s and his remains were finally identified on December 14. Little co-wrote the Northeast Ohio group’s 1966 flip side “Pretty Words” with lead vocalist Eddie Levert and was heard playing a soulful guitar on the single. By the end of the decade Little left the group, not wanting to tour, but wishing to stay close to Cleveland, where he was born in 1943. He also served in the U.S. Army, being deployed to Vietnam, and was a father of two children. In 1982, partial human remains were discovered in the Cleveland suburb of Twinsburg. The DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit entity that uses genetic genealogy, recently became involved with this this case and provided authorities with the names of potential living relatives. After relatives said that the remains could be Little’s, a close relative provided a DNA sample, Little’s identity was confirmed and his death was determined to be a homicide. A representative for The O’Jays stated, “We wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story.” The O’Jays were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Downtown Cleveland in 2005.

Joe Long

Bassist and vocalist Joe Long was a member of The Four Seasons from late 1965 through early 1975. During his tenure with the group, they achieved the Top 10 hit singles “Working My Way Back to You,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Tell It To the Rain,” “C’mon Marianne,” and “Who Loves You.” Long passed away on April 21 at the age of 88 from COVID-19.

Kenny Malone

Kenny Malone, the session drummer heard on Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away,” Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” passed away August 26 at age 83.

Philip Margo

The Brooklyn vocal group The Tokens debuted in the Top 40 in the spring of 1961 with “Tonight I Fell in Love,” co-written by the group’s Philip Margo, who passed away November 13 at age 79. Late that year, the group’s biggest hit debuted, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” That gold single spent three weeks at No. 1.

In 1964, The Tokens recorded the Gerry Goffin and Carole King composition “He’s in Town,” which peaked just below the Top 40. In the mid-1960s, they returned to the Top 40 twice with “I Hear Trumpets Blow,” which Margo co-wrote and “Portraits of My Love.” This was followed by the Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil composition “It’s a Happening World,” which was also recorded by Lesley Gore. Around the same time, The Tokens were producing another vocal group, The Happenings, who had Top Five hit singles with up-tempo covers of “See You in September” and “I Got Rhythm” on The Tokens’ B.T. Puppy label. The Tokens ended the decade with the gently beautiful “She Lets Her Hair Down (Early in the Morning).”

In the early 1970s, Margo, along with two other members of The Tokens, formed the vocal trio Cross Country, and their slowed down cover of Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” reached No. 30 in 1973. The Tokens were inducted in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.

Carlos Marin

Il Divo’s baritone vocalist Carlos Marin passed away December 19 at age 53. The multi-national quartet reached the U.S. Adult Contemporary Top 40 in 2005 with “Regresa a Mi,” a Spanish language version of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” and in 2006 with “I Believe in You (Je Crois en Toi)” joined by Celine Dion.

Jon Mark

British guitarist Jon Mark, who passed away on February 10 at the age of 77, was heard on a pair of John Mayall albums, The Turning Point in 1969 and Empty Rooms in 1970, and met fellow saxophonist and flautist Johnny Almond in that band. Together they formed the group Mark-Almond, beginning a pair of albums on Blue Thumb in 1971 and 1972. Their lengthy jazz-rock song “The City” became an FM progressive rock favorite.

Gerry Marsden

Like Chad & Jeremy, Gerry and The Pacemakers were also part of The British Invasion in 1964, led by vocalist and guitarist Gerry Marsden, who passed away on January 3 at the age of 78. Paul McCartney said, “Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool. He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene.” Before their 21st birthdays in 1963, both musicians reached the No. 1 spot in England. The Pacemakers and The Beatles were both managed by Brian Epstein and worked with George Martin at Parlophone records.

In 1964, Gerry’s composition “Don’t Let the Sun Catch you Crying” became the first of three U.S. Top 10 hits for the quartet, followed immediately in the U.S. by “How Do You Do It?” which reached No. 9 stateside and had reached No. 1 in Britain in the prior year.

In 1965, the musical film Ferry Cross the Mersey was released, featuring The Pacemakers, with songs written by Gerry including the title tune, which became their third U.S. Top 10 hit. In England, the Mersey Ferry continues to provide a roundtrip on the River Mersey, with the song “Ferry Cross the Mersey” played daily.

Barry Mason

British songwriter Barry Mason co-wrote the 1960s hits “The Last Waltz,” “Les Bicyclettes De Belsize,” and “Winter World of Love” for Engelbert Humperdinck,

“Delilah” and “Love Me Tonight” for Tom Jones, and “Kiss Me Goodbye” for Petula Clark. His composition “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” was a Top 5 gold single for the Brititsh studio group Edison Lighthouse in 1970. Later in the decade he supplied Tom Jones with his U.S. comeback hit “Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow.” Mason passed away on April 16 at the age of 85.

Ellen McIlwaine

Singer and blues guitarist Ellen McIlwaine passed away June 23 at age 75 in Calgary. In the mid-1960s she played guitar with Jimi Hendrix in Greenwich Village. After one album in 1968, as the leader of the band Fear Itself, McIlwaine recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She toured with Johnny Winter and Taj Mahal, who said, “She had a tremendous guitar sound and great outbursts of improvisation, playing with a tremendous amount of energy.”

Fatboy Slim sampled McIlwaine’s version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” on his 2001 “Song for Lindy,” and included it on his album A Break from the Norm under his name Norman Cook.

Fritz McIntyre

Simply Red’s keyboardist Fritz McIntyre passed away August 24 at age 62. He played on the British group’s pair of No. 1 1980s singles “Holding Back the Years” and their Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes cover “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.”

Les McKeown

Bay City Rollers’ lead vocalist and guitarist Les McKeown passed away on April 20 at the age of 65. In 1975, the Scottish band debuted in the U.S. with their self-titled third album, containing the weekend party anthem “Saturday Night,” which spelled out S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y and climbed the U.S. Top 40 all the way to No. 1 in early January 1976 and became a gold single. The flip side was the gentler “Marlina,” co-written by McKeown and more in line with what would become their final U.S. Top 40 hit, late the following year, “The Way I Feel Tonight.”

“Money Honey” was the next single for the group in 1976 and reached the Top 10 as did “You Made Me Believe in Magic” the following year. Their energetic cover of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You” was their fourth highest charting single in the U.S. “Yesterday’s Hero,” written by The Easybeats’ Harry Vanda and George Young, gave a hint of the edgier direction the band wished to pursue later in the decade. At their 1970s peak, Bay City Rollers were Scotland’s biggest band. With a proposed change in musical direction, McKeown decided to leave the group in 1978, but later rejoined the band for comeback tours and live recordings.

Marilyn McLeod

Motown songwriter Marilyn McLeod passed away November 24 at age 82. Her biggest success as a composer was co-writing “Love Hangover” with Pam Sawyer, which reached No. 1 for Diana Ross in 1976.

Robin McNamara

One-hit wonder Robin McNamara passed away October 21 at age 74. McNamara reached No. 11 in 1970 with a catchy song he co-wrote “Lay a Little Lovin’ On Me,” with background vocals from his fellow cast members from the musical Hair. Months later, “Got to Believe in Love” was released as his next and final Top 100 single, which peaked at No. 80.

Maria Mendiola

Baccara’s Maria Mendiola passed away September 11 at age 69. The Spanish vocal duo’s 1977 disco hit “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” reached No. 1 in ten European countries including the U.K.

John Miles 

In the U.S., 1977’s “Slowdown” was the sole Top 40 hit for England’s John Miles who passed away December 5 at age 62. In 1976, Miles debuted with the album Rebel, produced by Alan Parsons, containing the singles “Highfly” and “Music.” He was also a guest vocalist for The Alan Parsons Project. Parsons stated, “I am hugely saddened by the news that my good friend and musical genius John has passed. I am so very proud to have worked with him on some of the greatest vocal performances ever recorded, including of course ‘Music,’ which as well as being a big hit internationally, became an anthem for the hugely popular Night of the Proms concerts. Whenever I invited John to sing on The Alan Parsons Project albums, he always delivered magical and sensitive renditions. He will be greatly missed not only by his many friends and associates but also by the millions of fans who recognize his amazing talent.”

Mike Mitchell

The Kingsmen reached the Top 10 twice in the 1960s with “Louie, Louie” and “The Jolly Green Giant,” with Mike Mitchell on lead guitar, who passed away on April 16 at the age of 77.

Paul Mitchell

The Detroit R&B quartet The Floaters reached No. 2 on Billboard’s pop chart and No. 1 on the R&B chart in 1977 with their smooth gold single “Float On,” sung by Paul Mitchell, who passed away on December 20. Its flip side, “Everything Happens for a Reason” was a lively dance number. Two more Top 40 R&B hits followed for the group, their cover of Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and “I Just Want to Be with You,” through the following year.

Jackson Mohler

Jackson “Jay” Mohler was a Cleveland bassist who played with the groups Dick Whittington’s Cats in the 1960s and Charade and Rainbow Canyon in the 1970s. He liked hiking and went missing on July 5th, and later determined to have passed away July 16 at age 80. Buddy Maver said, “Jay’s throbbing bass laid down the groove for the rhythm section in all three groups we played in. His falsetto vocals took the top part in all the harmonies, but most importantly he was a great person, a nice guy, a humble guy, always reasonable and thoughtful, and will be missed by all who knew him.”

Paddy Moloney

In Dublin, Ireland in 1962, Paddy Moloney co-founded the The Chieftans, playing uillean pipes and tin whistle, and married artist Rita O’Reilly, who survived him on his passing October 11 at age 83. The Chieftains, performing traditional Irish music, have achieved tremendous crossover appeal, joined by classical flautist James Galway in 1987 and rock’s Van Morrison in 1988 for a pair of successful albums, In Ireland and Irish Heartbeat, respectively.

Bob Moore

In 1961, bassist and orchestra leader Bob Moore reached the Top 10 with the Latin instrumental hit “Mexico.” Previously he played bass on Elvis Presley recordings, including the No. 1 1959 single “A Big Hunk O’ Love” and created musical arrangements for Roy Orbison. Moore was the bassist on most of Patsy Cline’s recordings including the hits “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy” and “She’s Got You.” Bob Moore passed away September 22 at age 88.

Misty Morgan

Husband and wife duo Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan debuted in country music’s Top 100 in 1969 with “Big Black Bird (Spirit of Our Love).” As the next decade began, the duo’s single, the playful “Tennessee Bird Walk,” went all the way to No. 1 on the country chart and crossed over to the pop Top 40. Misty passed away on January 1 at the age of 75.

Everett Morton

Ska drummer Everett Morton of The English Beat passed away October 8 at age 71. The British group charted just below the U.S. Top 100 in 1983 with “I Confess” at No. 104 and “Save It for Later” at No. 106. The group disbanded later that year and spawned two groups who achieved success in the U.S. in the 1980s, General Public and Fine Young Cannibals.

Juan Nelson

Bassist Juan Nelson, who was a member of Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals for 27 years, passed away June 9 at age 62. The group’s reggae-funk flavored “Steal My Kisses” was featured on the compilation Now That’s What I Call Music! 4 in 2000, surrounded by songs from Lenny Kravitz, Smash Mouth, Train, Blink-182, and others. Ben Harper said, “Juan was the finest man I’ve ever known.”

Michael Nesmith

The Monkees debuted on television and on record in the fall of 1966. Their self-titled album included the country sounding song “Papa Gene’s Blues” written by the group’s guitarist Mike Nesmith, who passed away December 10 at age 78, less than a month after concluding the tour known as The Mike and Micky Show, a Monkees farewell tour with the surviving two Monkees, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz.

A few of Nesmith’s popular compositions with The Monkees include “Mary, Mary,” the flip side “The Girl I Knew Somewhere,” and the single “Listen to the Band,” which was the last song he sang lead on in his final concert.

As a composer, Nesmith’s highest charting flip side with The Monkees was “Tapioca Tundra,” which he sang lead on, and served as the flip side of “Valleri,” their sixth and final gold single, released a month ahead of their fifth album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. In his 2013 interview with Goldmine Nesmith said, “The song itself is about the moment when the performer realizes that the songs he or she sings belong to the people, the fans and the crowds who love the songs, and the performer is only there in service to that relationship. ‘It cannot be a part of me, for now it’s part of you.’"

After leaving The Monkees, Nesmith returned to the Top 40 for a final time in 1970 with his country-rock single “Joanne” by Michael Nesmith & The First National Band. The following year, his composition “Some of Shelly’s Blues” was in the Top 100 by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Both “Joanne” and “Some of Shelly’s Blues” were included on Nesmith’s 1978 album Live at The Palais where he was joined by steel guitarist Al Perkins, who told Goldmine, “Not only was Michael a pioneer in the field of video music, with his Pop Clips innovation, but also one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet!

I had the pleasure to tour with him in Australia, during which the Live at The Palais was recorded, but also played on his Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma album. In addition, he asked me to produce a steel guitar album featuring several other West Coast players called Pacific Steel Co. He loved music greatly and will be missed by many!”

In 1980, Nesmith’s mother, who invented the correction fluid called Liquid Paper, passed away, leaving him with a sizeable inheritance which allowed him to invest more money in Pop Clips which evolved into MTV. Nesmith was offered the chance to be MTV’s production head, but he turned it down.

Nesmith reunited with the other Monkees in 1996 for their 30th anniversary album Justus, again in 2016 for their 50th anniversary album Good Times! and in 2018 for Christmas Party. In 2020, a 25 song live album was released from 2019 concert recordings called The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show. In 2021, Micky Dolenz released the album Dolenz sings Nesmith, comprised of Nesmith’s compositions including “Different Drum,” which was Linda Ronstadt’s breakthrough hit, entering the Top 40 in late 1967 when The Monkees were on the charts with “Daydream Believer.” Micky Dolenz said, “I’m heartbroken. I’ve lost a dear friend and partner. I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best, singing, laughing, and doing shtick. I’ll miss it all so much, especially the shtick.”

Ian North

Ian North, from the 1970s New York City power pop band Milk ‘n’ Cookies, passed away on February 28 at the age of 68. The group’s bassist Sal Maida shared with Goldmine, “When I joined Milk ‘n’ Cookies, I realized that Ian was a teenager who had written perfect pop gems for teenagers. He was also savvy enough to send his demos to John Hewlett, who then quickly put the wheels in motion which enabled us to land a deal with Island Records and Muff Winwood. Ian was also an extremely creative guitar player.”

Jamie O’Hara

As a songwriter, Jamie O’Hara reached the top of the country music chart with The Judds’ family ballad “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘bout the Good Old Days)” in 1986. The following year, as a member of the country duo the O’Kanes, he reached No. 1 with “Can’t Stop My Heart from Loving You,” one of six Top 10 country hits for the duo in the 1980s. Jamie passed away on January 7 at the age of 70.

Melvin Parker

James Brown’s drummer Melvin Parker passed away December 3 at age 77. His drumming was key on Brown’s 1965 Top 10 pop hits “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good),” along with the 1976 Top 10 R&B hit “Get Up Offa That Thing.”

Florian Pilkington-Miksa

Drummer and co-founder of the British progressive rock band Curved Air, Florian Pilkington-Miksa passed away May 20 at age 70. He was heard on the the group’s first three studio albums in the early 1970s plus their 1975 live album.

Lloyd Price

In the 1950s, Louisiana’s Lloyd Price had a string of hits, which he co-wrote, including “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Stagger Lee,” “Personality,” and “I’m Gonna Get Married.” Price, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, passed away on May 3 at the age of 88.

Prince Markie Dee

Rapper Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales passed away on February 18 at the age of 52. He reached the pop Top 40 twice in the late 1980s with a pair of 1960s covers, and fun videos, as a member of The Fat Boys. First was “Wipeout,” joined by The Beach Boys, followed by “The Twist (Yo, Twist!),” joined by Chubby Checker. The Fat Boys appeared in the soul Top 40 seven times in the 1980s with songs including “Jail House Rap” and “Falling in Love.” In the following decade Prince Markie Dee & The Soul Connection reached the soul Top 40 twice with “Trippin Out” and “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way),” which was also a No. 1 rap record.

Rickey Lee Reynolds

Rickey Lee Reynolds was heard on the radio and seen on late night television in 1973 as Black Oak Arkansas’ guitarist, performing their rock cover of LaVerne Baker’s chart-topping R&B hit “Jim Dandy.” Reynolds passed away September 5 at age 72.

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers, who passed away January 18 at the age of 87, began his chart career in 1957 with the No. 1 single “Honeycomb” followed by four consecutive Top 10 hits, “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” “Oh-Oh, I’m Falling in Love Again,” “Secretly,” and “Are You Really Mine.” His chart success continued through 1967.

Al Schmitt

Al Schmitt, producer for Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Al Jarreau, and Spirit, passed away on April 26 at the age of 91.

Ralph Schuckett

Keyboardist Ralph Schuckett passed away on April 3 at the age of 73. He was heard on the mid-1970s albums Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and its successor Another Live.

Joe Simon

Soul singer Joe Simon, who passed away on December 13 at age 85, debuted in Billboard’s pop Top 40 in 1968 with “(You Keep Me) Hangin’ On” (not to be confused with the Holland-Dozier-Holland composition) from his No Sad Songs album. The following year he achieved his first gold single “The Chokin’ Kind.” Two more gold singles followed in the 1970s, “Drowning in the Sea of Love” and “Power of Love.” His highest charting pop hit happened in 1975 with “Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor).”

Joe Siracusa

Drummer for Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Joe Siracusa passed away on November 13 at age 99. During his time with the novelty orchestra in the 1940s, they achieved their sole No. 1 single with their version of “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” in 1948, the same year that they reached the Top 10 with “William Tell Overture” filled with a horse racing narration and puns based on the horses’ names.

Johnny Solinger

Skid Row lead singer from 1999 through 2015 Johnny Solinger passed away June 26 at age 55. He replaced Sebastian Bach when he left the group and was heard on 2003’s Thickskin and 2006’s Revolutions Per Minute albums.

Stephen Sondheim

Eight-time Tony Award winning lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim passed away Nov 26 at age 91. Sondheim’s storytelling lyrics helped to make the West Side Story movie soundtrack become the longest running No. 1 album in chart history for Billboard, spending 54 weeks in the top position in the early 1960s. In 1966, a bouncy tempo version of “Somewhere” from West Side Story gave Sondheim his Top 40 pop debut as a composer and became the second highest solo single for the Dovell’s Len Barry, a year after his solo Top 40 debut “1-2-3.” Barbra Streisand’s 1985 Broadway-style “Somewhere” single included another Sondheim composition on its flip side, “Not While I’m Around” originally from the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon of Barber Fleet Street. Sondheim’s highest charting pop Top 40 composition was Judy Collins’ reading of “Send in the Clowns,” from A Little Night Music, the Tony Award winning musical with both lyrics and music written by Sondheim. The single reached No. 17 in 1977, the same decade that Alice Cooper included Sondheim’s West Side Story lyrics in the final minute of the song “Gutter Cat vs. The Jets” on the School’s Out album.

Phil Spector

In the early 1960s, producer Phil Spector created his legendary wall of sound, and this style was heard on girl group hits including “Be My Baby” for the Ronettes, with his ex-wife Ronnie Spector on lead vocals, “Uptown” by The Crystals and more female led hits. His classic 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector included the song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love, which he co-wrote. The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” are more examples of the full sound that Phil Spector created in the 1960s.

In the 1970s, Spector brought orchestration to The Beatles’ final No. 1 single “The Long and Winding Road,” from their Let It Be album. His wall of sound style was heard on John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” and he produced classic Beatles’ solo albums including George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and The Concert for Bangladesh and John Lennon’s Imagine, plus his single “Happy Xmas (War is Over).”

Spector’s style was a key influence for Brian Wilson, as heard on Beach Boys records, along with big sounding recordings by Bruce Springsteen, ABBA, Meat Loaf and many more. Spector passed away January 16 at the age of 81.

Michael Stanley

Midwest music icon, and friend of Goldmine, Michael Stanley passed away on March 5, at the age of 72.

In 1969, while in college, Stanley released his first album as part of the band Silk. After two solo albums featuring “Rosewood Bitters,” “Moving Right Along,” and “Let’s Get the Show on the Road” in the early 1970s, The Michael Stanley Band was formed in the middle of the decade, receiving FM radio airplay and enjoying a live regional hit single with “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Mind,” written by bandmate Jonah Koslen, who shared with Goldmine, “In 1973, we were wide eyed and full of promise, hope and confidence. Michael, Tommy Dobeck, Dan Pecchio, (and soon Bob Pelander) and I began the initial four year run of MSB. It changed our lives and impacted a generation of music fans in ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined. Michael and I were truly creative and spiritual kin, bonding for a lifetime. Later when we went our separate ways, we continued to make sure our paths crossed time and time again. It was always like coming home. Michael will always be in my heart. I can’t possibly express how grateful I am for him taking a chance on that skinny, young hippie from Beachwood, Ohio and encouraging our lifelong musical partnership and close friendship. I mourn the loss of my friend, but I also celebrate the personal life and musical legacy of truly one of the best. Rest in peace my brother. Love you always.”

In 1981, The Michael Stanley Band finally broke through to the national Top 40 with the single “He Can’t Love You,” featuring Clarence Clemons’ sax solo, their first of seven Top 100 singles, including the Top 40 single “My Town” in 1983. In recent years, Stanley released albums, reviewed in Goldmine, which included former members of MSB, with Bill Szymczyk as the sound engineer.

From 1990 through February 2021, Stanley was the afternoon drive time disc jockey on Cleveland’s classic rock station WNCX, where he would include a Cleveland Connection song on his show each afternoon and each May 4 he would play a Northeast Ohio song as a memorial to the 1970 Kent State University shootings. He led the group Michael Stanley and The Resonators for the past twenty plus years. The weekend of his passing, we debuted Michael Stanley’s 10 Albums That Changed My Life article. His final album, Tough Room, was released posthumously in 2021.

Pervis Staples

In 1967, The Staple Singers debuted in the Top 100 with a pair of songs of which the highest charting single was their gospel style cover of The Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” The quartet was comprised of Roebuck “Pop” Staples and his children Mavis, Cleotha, and Pervis Staples, who passed away on May 6 at the age of 85. Their participation in the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival is captured in Questlove’s new documentary Summer of Soul. In 1970, Pervis Staples left the group and was replaced by his sister Yvonne Staples.

Robby Steinhardt

In 1974, the debut album from the band Kansas was released on the Kirshner label, opening with “Can I Tell You.” In addition to the keyboard, guitar, and drums format which progressive rock acts generally showcased, this sextet also had a violinist as a key driving force on the song, Robby Steinhardt, who passed away July 17 at age 71, in Florida.

In 1977, “Carry on Wayward Son,” from the group’s fourth album, Leftoverture, became their Top 40 singles debut. Steinhardt provided harmony vocals on the gold single and the album reached the Top 5. A year later, their gentle song “Dust in the Wind” entered the Top 40 and featured a beautiful violin solo from Steinhardt from the group’s fifth album, Point of No Return. Three more Top 40 singles on the Kirshner label followed, 1979’s “People of the South Wind,” 1980’s “Hold On,” and 1982’s “Play the Game Tonight.” Steinhardt then left the group and rejoined them from 1997 through early 2006.

In 2020, Steinhardt’s violin was heard on Jon Anderson’s song “Activate” from his 1000 Hands: Chapter One album, produced by Michael Franklin. Steinhardt began working with Franklin on a comeback album, planned for release this year, and supported by a tour, when he became ill.

Steinhardt’s fellow musicians shared, “The members of Kansas, past and present, wish to express our deepest sorrow over the death of our bandmate and friend, Robby Steinhardt, who will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music. What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of Kansas, will always be heartfelt. We love him and will miss him always.” Steinhardt is survived by his daughter Becky and his wife Cindy, who said, “We are beyond devastated, as our lives were about to start a new adventure. Robby was looking forward to being back on stage, doing what he loved. We have lost one of the most incredible people of our time.”

Jim Steinman

Dramatic songwriter Jim Steinman passed away on April 19 at the age of 73. Steinman wrote Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, the seven song 1977 debut album for Steve Popovich’s Cleveland International Records. While FM rock radio played the title tune, “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” and “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth,” Top 40 radio settled on the big ballad, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” which reached No. 11 in 1978, and became a gold single, with another ballad from the album, “For Crying Out Loud,” on its flip side.

In 1981, Jim Steinman returned to the Top 40 with his own “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” from his sole Cleveland International album Bad for Good, with Rory Dodd on vocals. In 1983, three of Steinman’s compositions became Top 40 hit singles, the No. 1 platinum single “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” by Bonnie Tyler, the No. 2 gold single “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply, and “Read ‘Em and Weep” by Barry Manilow.

In the mid-1990s, propelled by FM radio creating a classic rock format, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell had a major resurgence, which led to new albums and Top 40 singles from Meat Loaf and Steinman, including the No. 1 platinum single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” Meat Loaf’s version of “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” and “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are.” During that mid-1990s era, Steinman also wrote the Top 40 platinum single “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” for Celine Dion.

In 2006, thirteen years after Meat’s Loaf’s successful Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell album, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose was released, with seven Steinman compositions including Meat Loaf’s version of “Bad for Good” with Queen’s Brian May on guitar. In 2016, Meat Loaf released his final album of Jim Steinman compositions called Braver Than We Are. In his interview with Goldmine, Meat Loaf said, “Jim wrote the album as a script and overall, as a musical. He feels the album is visionary, operatic and theatrical.”

Jim Steinman, the Grammy winning composer, passed away near his home in Connecticut after being ill for some time.

Tom Stevens

Bassist Tom Stevens, a founding and current member of the 1980s alternative country group The Long Ryders, passed away January 21 at age 64. The group’s albums include a pair of mid-1980s Island Records releases. Psychedelic Country Soul, the most recent Long Ryders album, was released in 2019.

Sylvain Sylvain

The New York Dolls rhythm guitarist and pianist Sylvain Sylvain passed away on January 13 at the age of 69. The group, led by David Johansen, blended glam rock and punk rock and were late night television rock concert favorites in the 1970s, performing songs including their dramatic cover of “Stranded in the Jungle.”

Ralph Tavares

Tavares debuted in the Top 40 in 1973 with brothers Antone “Chubby,” Feliciano “Butch,” Arthur “Pooch,” Perry Lee “Tiny” and Ralph Tavares, who passed away December 8 at age 79. The R&B-disco vocal quintet reached the pop Top 20 twice in the mid-1970s beginning with their highest charting pop hit “It Only Takes a Minute” followed by their gold single “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel.” They were also included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack performing The Bee Gees’ composition “More Than a Woman,” which appeared in the pop Top 40 in the spring of 1978.

B.J. Thomas

B.J. Thomas, who passed away on May 29 at the age of 78, had 27 pop Top 100 songs in the 1960s through the 1980s. His biggest pop hits were his three gold singles. First there was the original version of “Hooked on a Feeling” charting in late 1968 through early 1969, with Reggie Young (from the American Sound Studio house band, The Memphis Boys) on electric sitar. Next there was the Academy Award winning Hal David and Burt Bacharach composition “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This song stayed in the Top 40 for 22 weeks and was No. 1 for most of January 1970. Thomas’ third gold record not only was No. 1 on the pop chart, but also on the adult contemporary and country charts in 1975, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”

From the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, Thomas was highly successful in the contemporary Christian market, winning Dove and Grammy awards.

In 1983, Thomas longed for traditional values, as he had done with 1971’s “No Love at All,” with the Lewis Anderson composition “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love,” his first single on Steve Popovich’s Cleveland International label. While the song only spent two weeks near the bottom of the pop Top 100, it rose all the way to No. 1 on the country chart, for his second time in that country position. While this was Thomas’ final charting single in the pop Top 100, three more Cleveland International singles followed and all made the country Top 20, “Two Car Garage,” “The Whole World’s In Love When You’re Lonely,” and “The Girl Most Likely To.”

In the mid-1980s, B.J. Thomas reached the No. 1 country position for a final time with “New Looks from an Old Lover.” In that era, he also recorded “As Long as We Got Each Other,” the theme song for the television show Growing Pains.

Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas

Kool & The Gang saxophonist Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas’ final appearance with the group was July 4, 2021 at the Hollywood Bowl, before passing away August 7 at age 70. As a co-founding member, Thomas was heard on all seven of the New Jersey group’s gold singles and their platinum single “Celebration.”

Sue Thompson

Eva Sue McKee, who passed away September 23 at age 96, picked her stage name Sue Thompson from a telephone book and debuted with a pair of back to back releases in 1961, both written by John D. Loudermilk. The brokenhearted ballad “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” reached No. 5, followed by the fun and bouncy “Norman,” which reached No. 3 in early 1962. Thompson had three more Top 40 singles that decade, “Have a Good Time,” “James (Hold the Ladder Steady)” and “Paper Tiger.” Following those hits, Thompson traveled to Vietnam to entertain the troops followed by return trips to other parts of Asia. In the following decade, Thompson appeared in the country Top 40 three times, including two duets with Don Gibson.

Russ Thyret

Russ Thyret spent over thirty years as a Warner Bros. Records leader from the early 1970s through 2001. In the 1970s, Russ and his staff came through with big hits from Alice Cooper, The Doobie Brothers, James Taylor and more. While Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was achieving major success in 1977, he was responsible for facilitating the signing of eighteen-year-old Prince to the label, driving Prince and Prince’s manager to Russ’ California home where they sat on the floor, listened to music, and discussed the music business with the personal style Russ was known for. In the 1980s, Russ championed Madonna and helped to bring John Fogerty and R.E.M. to the label, at the time when The B-52’s were finally breaking through with “Love Shack.” From the mid-1990s through 2001 Russ became Board Chairman during the era of breakthrough success for Faith Hill, Barenaked Ladies, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and when Cher achieved her all-time biggest No. 1 hit, the platinum selling single “Believe.” Russ passed away on February 12 at the age of 75.

Brian Travers

UB40’s saxophonist Brian Travers passed away August 22 at age 62. The British group reached No. 1 twice in the U.S. with reggae cover singles, first with Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” in 1988 and again in 1993 with “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which originally reached No. 2 in early 1962 for Elvis Presley.

Rosalie Trombley

Influential music director Rosalie Trombley passed away November 23 at age 82. From 1968 through 1984 she was the music director at CKLW AM radio in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, a 50,000 watt station in the Detroit/Windsor market with a strong eastern reach beyond Cleveland, Ohio to the Western Pennsylvania border, and heard throughout Ontario, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Trombley was known for being able to pick the hits including U.S. breakthroughs for Canadian acts, The Guess Who with “These Eyes,” written by Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, The Poppy Family with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?,” written by Terry Jacks and sung by Susan Jacks, and David Foster’s Top 40 debut with “Wildflower” by the band Skylark. Additionally, she helped promote the music of U.S. singles written by Canadians including The Carpenters’ version of Klaatu’s “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.”

“Bennie and the Jets” was CKLW’s No. 1 song of 1974, which MCA and Elton John agreed to release as a single based on Trombley’s recommendation to expand his audience to black listeners who were buying the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album only for that song. She was also instrumental in the breakthrough successes for Alice Cooper with “Eighteen” and The Main Ingredient’s “Everybody Plays the Fool.” Detroit’s Bob Seger wrote the song “Rosalie” about her, “She’s got the power. She’s got the tower,” referring her 50,000 watt legendary reach.

Ron Tutt

Drummer Ron Tutt was a member of Elvis Presley’s band from 1969 through Presley’s death in 1977, playing on hit singles including “Burning Love” and Presley’s final charting single while he was alive “Way Down.” After Presley’s death, Tutt became Neil Diamond’s drummer for many years and played on Diamond’s final Top 40 hit “I’m Alive” in 1982. He was spotlighted on Diamond’s live albums Hot August Night II in 1987 and Hot August Night III in 2018. Tutt passed away October 16 at age 83.

Terry Uttley

The British quartet Smokie debuted on Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart in the mid-1970s with the Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman composition “If You Think You Know How To Love Me” and reached the Top 40 next with another Chinnichap composition “Living Next Door to Alice.” The member of the group who had been with them the longest, from the 1960s through this year, was bassist Terry Uttley, who passed away December 16 at age 70.

Hilton Valentine

The Animals’ guitarist Hilton Valentine passed away on January 29 at age 77. His guitar was prominently featured on the hit single “It’s My Life” and he played on the quintet’s British Invasion hits “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” and their 1964 U.S. chart topping debut “The House of the Rising Sun,” with Valentine’s guitar playing on that record considered to be among the top twenty most recognizable rock intros and one which spawned tens of thousands of guitarists around the world.

Stan Wade

As a member of The Trammps vocal group, Stan Wade reached the Top 40 three times in the mid-1970s with the beach music classic “Hold Back the Night,” the disco hit “That’s Where the Happy People Go,” and achieved his highest chart success with “Disco Inferno,” featured in the Saturday Night Fever film and soundtrack. Stan was 75 when he passed away on January 12 from COVID-19.

Bunny Wailer

Along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, singer-songwriter/percussionist Bunny Wailer was a founding member of The Wailers, one of the most influential reggae bands to emerge from Jamaica. However, most of Bunny Wailer’s own acclaim came from his 1976 solo album, Blackheart Man. Wailer (born Neville Livingston) passed away on March 2 at the age of 73 from a stroke.

Eric Wagner

Eric Wagner, the lead vocalist for the bands Trouble and The Skull, passed away August 23 at age 62 from COVID-19.

Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones debuted in the U.S. Top 40 in the summer of 1964 as part of The British Invasion, with Charlie Watts on drums, who passed away August 24 at age 80. KISS’ drummer Eric Singer told Goldmine, “This is a sad loss for all. Charlie influenced generations of fans and drummers. He was the king of playing ‘for the song.’ Charlie left us with a legacy of iconic tunes. What an amazing career!”

An official statement from Watts’ spokesperson stated, “Charlie Watts passed away peacefully in a London hospital 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.”

In his Goldmine 2012 interview Watts expressed his true love for traditional jazz music, and specifically the boogie woogie genre, “Boogie woogie was a popular form of music for about five years in America. All the big bands did one boogie woogie record. The Andrew Sisters sang about boogie woogie. Tommy Dorsey and all the big bands had a section of the show that featured the piano player playing eight to the bar, and called it, ‘Beat me, Daddy, eight to the bar’ stuff.”

In 2012, Watts’ band, The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie, released their live debut album, Live in Paris, recorded over several nights in September 2010 at the Duc Des Lombards jazz club.

Back in the spring of 1965, The Rolling Stones achieved their first U.S. Top 10 composition with “The Last Time,” and its flip side was a song Watts co-wrote with the rest of the quintet, the gentle “Play with Fire.” That summer, they had their first No. 1 gold single with the classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” with Watts’ driving beat being a key ingredient as was the case three years later with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” At the end of the decade, Watts’ cowbell was prominent on “Honky Tonk Women,” which, like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” spent four weeks at No. 1 as their third gold single.

In 1971, The Rolling Stones debuted their own record label with the album Sticky Fingers and its first single “Brown Sugar” with “Bitch” on the flip side, where Mick Jagger sang, “My heart is beating louder than a big bass drum,” with Watts supplying the pounding backdrop. Later in the decade, during the disco era, “Miss You” became the group’s final No.1 gold single. In addition to the three minute 45, a 12-inch disco single was released, running over eight minutes, highlighting Watts’ steady dance beat in clubs.

In 1981, The Rolling Stones’ highest charting single that decade was released, “Start Me Up,” which peaked at No. 2 for three weeks and captured the energy Watts brought to the group’s biggest hits. The jazz loving rock and roll drummer continued to record and tour with the band for the next forty years.

Blondie’s drummer Clem Burke shared with Goldmine, “If you were an aspiring drummer during the height of the British Invasion, Charlie Watts was one of your two main role models. His style, class and influence on all drummers of the era is immeasurable. I was lucky enough to visit with him on the Stones 2019 tour and found him to be a very warm and friendly gentlemen. His love of jazz prevailed as Duke Ellington played in the background in his dressing room and we of our mutual admiration for the drummer Earl Palmer. Mr. Watts’ legacy will continue to be an influence on all aspiring drummers of the future.”

Jim Weatherly

As a songwriter, Jim Weatherly reached the Top 5 three times with hits by Gladys Knight & The Pips, beginning in 1973 with “Neither One of Us (Wants To Be the First To Say Goodbye),” followed by the No.1 single “Midnight Train to Georgia” later that year, and “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” in 1974, the same year he achieved his sole Top 40 hit as a performer with “The Need to Be,” which reached No. 11. Jim passed away on February 3 at the age of 77.

Tommy West

Music icon Tommy West passed away on May 2 at the age of 78. He co-produced all of Jim Croce’s hits including “You Don’t Mess With Jim,” “Operator,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” “I Got a Name,” “Time in a Bottle,” and “It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way.”

Henry Gross, known for the gold single “Shannon” on the Lifesong label, told Goldmine, “Tommy West was a true renaissance man. A songwriter, singer, performer, producer, record company head, publisher, you name it, Tommy did it. Working with Terry Cashman they had hits like ‘Medicine Man’ under the name The Buchanan Brothers and as Cashman and West they had a timeless song called ‘American City Suite.’ They co-produced legendary records by Jim Croce and had lasting hits with me and other acts on their Lifesong label. They wrote songs for many hit acts while being the voices of countless national jingles. Tommy went on to head Mary Tyler Moore’s Nashville label MTM Records, while signing many artists and writers who became mainstays of the Nashville music scene. More importantly, Tommy was my friend, mentor, collaborator and sounding board while we brought my songs to life in the studio. I’ll miss him always. May he rest in peace in the place that’s the best.”

Mary Wilson

In the 1960s, the Motown sound was an American popular music phenomenon with that label’s biggest act being The Supremes, featuring Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, and the one member who was with the group their entire career from 1959 through 1977, Mary Wilson, who passed away on February 8 at the age of 76. The trio achieved a dozen No. 1 singles in the 1960s, surpassed only by The Beatles, beginning with “Where Did Our Love Go” in 1964 through “Someday We’ll Be Together” in 1969.

In a 2010 interview with Goldmine, Mary openly expressed her everlasting love for The Supremes’ music, “I believe our hits were so good and so timeless, I sing them to myself while I’m driving.” Mary wrote about the trio’s mid-1960s success in her 1986 book Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, “We were recording our hits in German and Italian, which we learned phonetically, recording new vocals over the original backing tracks, and were enjoying our fifth consecutive number one hit, ‘Back in My Arms Again.’” Mary, along with Florence, were mentioned in the lyrics, in the song written by the Holland-Dozier-Holland team. Lamont Dozier told Goldmine, “Mary’s loss is so sudden and sad.”

In 1967 Florence left the group, as did Diana in early 1970, with Mary as the sole surviving member in the 1970s for the Top 10 hits “Up the Ladder to the Roof” and “Stoned Love,” plus six more Top 40 hits that decade.

Berry Gordy stated, “The world has lost one of the brightest stars in our Motown family. Mary Wilson was an icon and was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer and will be deeply missed.” Mary, along with Diana and Florence, were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Ronnie Wilson

Multi-instrumentalist Ronnie Wilson, from Tulsa’s The Gap Band, passed away November 2 at age 73. The funk trio was in the R&B Top 10 fourteen times from 1979 through 1990, including four No. 1 hits in the 1980s, the decade that they crossed over to the pop Top 40 twice in 1982 with “Early in the Morning” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and released a series of fun videos.

Terrence Wilson

UB40 vocalist Terrence “Astro” Wilson passed away November 6 at age 64. The British group reached No. 1 twice in the U.S. with reggae cover singles, first with Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” in 1988 and again in 1993 with “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which originally reached No. 2 in early 1962 for Elvis Presley. Wilson is the second UB40 member to pass away this year, following saxophonist Brian Travers, who passed away August 22 at age 62.

Willie Winfield

The Harptones’ lead vocalist Willie Winfield passed away July 27 at age 91. In 1961, the Harlem doo-wop group reached the Top 100 with the smooth breakup song, “What Will I Tell My Heart.”

Walter Yetnikoff

In the summer of 1978, Cleveland International Records President Steve Popovich asked his boss, Walter Yetnikoff, to fly to Cleveland for a huge special event, a Meat Loaf concert, attended by 22,000 people, and celebration party. After finishing the song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” Yetnikoff, the President and CEO of CBS Records from 1975 through 1990, joined Meat Loaf and Karla DeVito on stage to present a platinum record for the album Bat Out of Hell. Success continued in Yetnikoff’s CBS era the following decade with many more acts, including Michael Jackson with Thriller, a No. 1 album for 37 weeks. Yetnikoff passed away August 8 at age 87.

Rusty Young

Poco’s Rusty Young passed away on April 14 at the age of 75. In 1968, he co-founded the group with Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner, and George Grantham. Prior to Poco, Young’s steel guitar was heard on The Buffalo Springfield’s “Kind Woman,” written by Richie Furay, who said, “My heart is saddened. Rusty was a dear and longtime friend who helped 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 fifty years. Our friendship was real, and he will be deeply missed. My prayers are with his wife Mary and his Children Sara and Will.”

In Poco’s first decade, while faced with numerous personnel changes, the group achieved modest album sales, FM radio airplay, and were a steady concert draw. In his 2017 interview with Goldmine, Young shared, “After no Top 40 hits, our label was ready to drop us. They got us together and we played them my ‘Crazy Love’ and Paul Cotton’s ‘Heart of the Night.’ They looked at us, smiled, and said, ‘OK! Let’s make a record.’” In early 1979, Young’s “Crazy Love,” from the group’s late 1978 album Legend, became Poco’s first Top 40 hit and reached No. 17. “Heart of the Night” followed, with Young’s composition “The Last Goodbye” on the flip side, and it reached No. 20.

In recent years, Young signed with Blue Élan Records. Kirk Pasich, Founder and Co-President shared, “It was one of my great privileges that he recorded his first solo album ever for us, Waiting for the Sun, in 2017. His songwriting confirms just how important Rusty was, not only to Poco, but for artists that followed like The Eagles.”

Young’s final recording was 2019’s Blue Élan single “Listen to Your Heart,” an animal shelter fundraiser.

Wanda Young

The Marvelettes’ Wanda Young sang lead on three mid-1960s Top 20 hits written by Smokey Robinson beginning with the gold single “Don’t Mess With Bill” followed by “The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game” and “My Baby Must Be a Magician” on Motown’s Tamla label. Young passed away December 16 at age 78. The Marvelettes’ were the first Motown act to reach No. 1, which they did with their 1961 gold single “Please Mr. Postman,” the first of their ten Top 40 hits in the 1960s.