2020 - in Memoriam


Happy New Year! Before we leave 2020 firmly behind us, Susan Omand spares a thought for just a few of the arts and music people that we lost last year...


I’ve written In Memoriam lists at the start of a new year for several years now. Some of these names will be more familiar than others but, when you consider their work, you realise what an impact they had in their own specific field and on the work of others. This is by no means an exhaustive list - every year there seem to be always far too many, so these are just a few that I thought were worth a mention. [if you want to find out more about them, they all have a wiki page - Ed]

In Memoriam...


  • Neil Peart, 67, Canadian Hall of Fame drummer and lyricist (Rush) 
  • Tom Alexander, 85, Scottish musician (The Alexander Brothers) 
  • Wes Wilson, 82, American psychedelic poster artist (Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Bill Graham
  • Lyle Mays, 66, American jazz pianist and composer (Pat Metheny Group) 
  • Paul English, 87, American drummer (Willie Nelson)
  • Pearl Carr, 98, English singer (Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson) 
  • Tom Watkins, 70, English music manager (Pet Shop Boys) 
  • Ulay, 76, German performance artist
  • Barbara Martin, 76, American singer (The Supremes) 
  • Johnny Harris, 87, Scottish composer and arranger, (Theme for Buck Rogers TV Show)
  • Kenny Rogers, 81, American Hall of Fame singer (The Gambler, Just Dropped In, Islands in the Stream), songwriter and actor
  • Ray Mantilla, 85, American percussionist
  • Julie Felix, 81, American-British folk singer
  • Eric Weissberg, 80, American folk musician (Dueling Banjos in Deliverance)
  • Bill Martin, 81, Scottish songwriter (Puppet on a String, Congratulations, Back Home) and music publisher
  • Alan Merrill, 69, American musician (Arrows) and songwriter (I Love Rock 'n' Roll) 
  • Bill Withers, 81, American Hall of Fame singer-songwriter (Lean on Me, Ain't No Sunshine, Lovely Day)
  • Adam Schlesinger, 52, American musician (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy) and songwriter (That Thing You Do),  
  • John Tydeman, 84, English radio producer and theatre director
  • Kenny Young, 79, American songwriter (Under the Boardwalk, Ai No Corrida, Captain of Your Ship), producer and environmentalist
  • Barney Ales, 85, American record label executive (Motown) 
  • Matthew Seligman, 64, English new wave bassist (The Soft Boys, Thompson Twins) 
  • Florian Schneider, 73, German electronic musician (Kraftwerk)
  • Else Blangsted, 99, German-born American music editor (The Goonies, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, The Color Purple) 
  • Rosalind Elias, 90, American operatic mezzo-soprano
  • Dave Greenfield, 71, English keyboardist (The Stranglers)
  • Jean Erdman, 104, American dancer and choreographer
  • Sweet Pea Atkinson, 74, American singer (Was (Not Was))
  • Alfred Uganda Roberts, 77, American percussionist (Professor Longhair, Dr John)
  • Millie Small, 72, Jamaican singer (My Boy Lollipop)
  • Brian Howe, 66, English rock singer (Bad Company)
  • Mark Barkan, 85, American songwriter (Pretty Flamingo, The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana), She's a Fool) 
  • Iepe Rubingh, 45, Dutch performance artist, co-founder of chess boxing
  • Little Richard, 87, American Hall of Fame rock and roll singer (Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille), pianist and songwriter
  • Aldo Bassi, 58, Italian jazz trumpeter
  • Moon Martin, 69, American singer-songwriter (Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor), X-Ray Vision) 
  • Derek Lawrence, 78, English record producer (Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash) 
  • Denny DeMarchi, 57, Canadian multi-instrumentalist (Alias, Killer Bee, The Cranberries)
  • Phil May, 75, English singer (The Pretty Things)
  • Jimmy Cobb, 91, American jazz drummer (Miles Davis Quintet) 
  • Al Rex, 91, American bassist (Bill Haley & His Comets) 
  • Bucky Baxter, 65, American guitarist (Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams) 
  • Jonathan Whitehead, 59, English musician and composer
  • Brendan Bowyer, 81, Irish singer (The Hucklebuck) 
  • Bob Kulick, 70, American guitarist (WASP, Lou Reed) and record producer (Kiss) 
  • Lennie Niehaus, 90, American saxophonist and film composer (Unforgiven, The Bridges of Madison County, Space Cowboys) 
  • Gaynel Hodge, 83, American doo-wop singer, pianist and songwriter (Earth Angel) 
  • Steve Priest, 72, British bassist and singer (The Sweet) 
  • Xu Sihai, 74, Chinese teapot creator and collector, expert on purple Yixing clay teapots, founder of the Sihai Teapot Museum
  • Bonnie Pointer, 69, American singer (The Pointer Sisters)
  • Paul Chapman, 66, Welsh rock guitarist (UFO, Lone Star) 
  • Katsuhisa Hattori, 83, Japanese composer (Fist of the North Star)
  • Ricky Valance, 84, Welsh singer (Tell Laura I Love Her) 
  • Keith Tippett, 72, British jazz pianist (King Crimson, Centipede) and composer
  • Hux Brown, 75, Jamaican guitarist (Toots and the Maytals) 
  • Ellington Jordan, 80, American songwriter (I'd Rather Go Blind) 
  • Dame Vera Lynn, 103, British singer (We'll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover) 
  • Margarita Pracatan, 89, Cuban singer
  • Milton Glaser, 91, American graphic designer, creator of the I ❤ NY slogan and co-founder of New York magazine
  • Tami Lynn, 77–78, American soul singer
  • Jim Holloway, American artist (Dungeons & Dragons) 
  • Johnny Mandel, 94, American composer (Suicide Is Painless, The Shadow of Your Smile, Emily) 
  • Max Crook, 83, American keyboardist and songwriter (Runaway) 
  • Claude Mercier-Ythier, 88–89, French harpsichord maker
  • Louis Colavecchio, 78, American counterfeiter
  • Charlie Daniels, 83, American Hall of Fame country singer-songwriter and musician (The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Uneasy Rider)
  • Ennio Morricone, 91, Italian film composer (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Hateful Eight)
  • Gabriella Tucci, 90, Italian operatic soprano
  • Eddie Gale, 78, American jazz trumpeter
  • Judy Dyble, 71, English singer-songwriter (Fairport Convention, Trader Horne) 
  • Jamie Oldaker, 68, American drummer (Eric Clapton, The Tractors) 
  • Victor Chizhikov, 84, Russian children's book illustrator, designer of Misha
  • Kansai Yamamoto, 76, Japanese fashion designer
  • Peter Green, 73, English Hall of Fame blues rock singer-songwriter (Black Magic Woman) and guitarist (Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green Splinter Group) 
  • Bent Fabric, 95, Danish pianist and composer (Alley Cat) 
  • Larry Novak, 87, American jazz pianist
  • Billy Goldenberg, 84, American composer (Kojak, Rhoda, Play It Again, Sam) and songwriter
  • Tony Costanza, 52, American metal drummer (Machine Head, Crowbar) 
  • Wayne Fontana, 74, English singer (The Game of Love)
  • Martin Birch, 71, British music producer and engineer (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden) 
  • Duane Tatro, 93, American composer (Dan August, The Manhunter, The Love Boat) 
  • Trini Lopez, 83, American singer (If I Had a Hammer, Lemon Tree) and actor (The Dirty Dozen) 
  • Howell Binkley, 64, American lighting designer (Hamilton, Jersey Boys, In the Heights)
  • Julian Bream, 87, English classical guitarist and lutenist
  • Pete Way, 69, English rock bass guitarist (UFO, Waysted, Fastway)
  • Roger Quigley, 51, English singer and songwriter
  • Jack Sherman, 64, American guitarist (Red Hot Chili Peppers) 
  • Fern Cunningham, 71, American sculptor (Harriet Tubman Memorial) 
  • Frankie Banali, 68, American drummer (Quiet Riot, WASP, Heavy Bones)
  • Chi Chi DeVayne, 34, American drag queen (RuPaul's Drag Race)
  • Walter Lure, 71, American guitarist (The Heartbreakers)
  • Gerry McGhee, 58, Scottish singer (Brighton Rock)
  • Jerilyn Lee Brandelius, 72, American rock and roll tour director (Grateful Dead), photographer and author (The Grateful Dead Family Album)
  • Bruce Williamson, 49, American singer (The Temptations) 
  • Ronald Bell, 68, American saxophonist (Kool & the Gang) and songwriter (Ladies' Night, Celebration) 
  • Sir Terence Conran, 88, English designer (Habitat) and restaurateur (D&D London) 
  • Al Kasha, 83, American songwriter (Operation Heartbreak, The Morning After, We May Never Love Like This Again), Oscar winner (1973, 1975) 
  • Lee Kerslake, 73, English drummer (Uriah Heep, Ozzy Osbourne, Toe Fat) 
  • Tommy DeVito, 92, American Hall of Fame musician and singer (The Four Seasons) 
  • Jimmy Winston, 75, English musician (Small Faces) and actor (Doctor Who) 
  • Mac Davis, 78, American singer-songwriter (Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me, It's Hard to Be Humble) 
  • Helen Reddy, 78, Australian-American singer (I Am Woman, Delta Dawn) and actress (Pete's Dragon) 
  • Kenzō Takada, 81, Japanese-French fashion designer and painter, founder of Kenzo
  • Bunny Lee, 79, Jamaican reggae producer
  • Johnny Nash, 80, American singer-songwriter (I Can See Clearly Now, Hold Me Tight, Tears on My Pillow) 
  • Eddie Van Halen, 65, Dutch-born American Hall of Fame musician (Van Halen) and songwriter (Eruption, Panama)
  • Brian Locking, 81, English rock bass guitarist (The Shadows) 
  • Jon Gibson, 80, American minimalist musician (Philip Glass Ensemble) 
  • Kim Massie, 63, American blues singer
  • Herbert Kretzmer, 95, South African-born English journalist and lyricist (Les Misérables) 
  • Paul Matters, Australian rock bassist (AC/DC) 
  • Gordon Haskell, 74, English singer-songwriter (How Wonderful You Are) and musician (King Crimson, The Fleur de Lys)
  • Spencer Davis, 81, Welsh singer and guitarist (The Spencer Davis Group)
  • Jerry Jeff Walker, 78, American singer-songwriter (Mr Bojangles)
  • Stan Kesler, 92, American musician, songwriter (I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone, I Forgot to Remember to Forget) and producer 
  • Ronnie Peel, 74, Australian guitarist and singer (Thunderclap Newman, The La De Da's, John Paul Young) 
  • Baron Wolman, 83, American photographer (Rolling Stone)
  • Ken Hensley, 75, English singer-songwriter (Uriah Heep, Blackfoot, Toe Fat) 
  • Len Barry, 78, American singer (1-2-3, Bristol Stomp) 
  • Bones Hillman, 62, New Zealand bassist (Midnight Oil, The Swingers, Suburban Reptiles)
  • Lynn Kellogg, 77, American singer and actress (Hair, Charro!) 
  • Jim Tucker, 74, American guitarist (The Turtles) 
  • Tony Hooper, 81, English guitarist (Strawbs) 
  • Alto Reed, 72, American saxophonist (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Little Feat, Grand Funk Railroad) 
  • Pierre Cardin, 98, French-Italian fashion designer
  • Martin Lambie-Nairn, 75, English graphic designer (BBC, Channel 4) 
  • Geoff Stephens, 86, English songwriter (Sorry Suzanne, Daughter of Darkness, You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me) and record producer
  • Stella Tennant, 50, British model
  • Leslie West, 75, American singer and guitarist (Mountain, West, Bruce and Laing, The Vagrants)
  • Pelle Alsing, 60, Swedish drummer (Roxette) 
  • Roger Berlind, 90, American theatre producer (Amadeus, The Book of Mormon, Guys and Dolls), 25-time Tony winner
  • Jeff Clayton, 66, American jazz saxophonist
  • Charley Pride, 86, American Hall of Fame singer (Kiss an Angel Good Mornin', Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone) and baseball player (Memphis Red Sox)
  • Kenneth Alwyn, 95, English conductor (BBC Radio 2, London Symphony Orchestra)