Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven This Year

There will be more and more of these talented people we lose each year, 1) because the Rock Era is getting older, and 2) because of the explosion of the Baby Boom generation and the plethora of that generation that decided to get into music after the Beatles showed what could be done.

There were literally hundreds of rock & roll musicians that we lost in the past year.  There are 60 below that most would know or know of their music.  Rest in peace, and know that we loved your work!


Theme From Shaft by Isaac Hayes on Grooveshark
Johnny Allen, pianist and arranger for Isaac Hayes ("Theme From 'Shaft'"), Luther Ingram, who also wrote for Motown and Stax artists such as the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Mary Wells, Johnny Nash, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, the Dells, and the Dramatics, died of complications from pneumonia on January 29 in Detroit, Michigan at age 96.

Scott Asheton, drummer of the Stooges, died March 15 in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the age of 64.


Acker Bilk, who had the big instrumental hit "Stranger On The Shore", died November 2 in Bath, Somerset, England at age 85 after battling throat and bladder cancer and suffering a minor stroke.

Sonny Bivins (Edward) of the Manhattans ("Shining Star") died December 3 in Basking Ridge, New Jersey at the age of 78.  (Note:  some websites report that he died on December 5; according to '' and other reputable sources, he died on December 3.)

Jeanne Black ("He'll Have To Stay") died October 23 in Orem, Utah at age 76.


Jack Bruce, bassist with Cream, who also worked with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann, and Robin Trower, among others, died October 25 in Suffolk, England of liver disease at age 71.

Cubie Burke of the Five Stairsteps ("O-o-h Child") died May 14 in Smyrna, Georgia from a previous brain injury at age 49.  (Note:  some websites report that he died on May 15, but '' shows that he died on the 15th.)

Tony Cahill, drummer and bassist with the Easybeats, who also worked with Donna Summer, the O'Jays, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Martha Reeves, and King Harvest, died of a bran tumor on August 13 in Sydney, Australia at age 72.

Peter Callander, songwriter and producer ("Hitchin' A Ride" for Vanity Fare and "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde" for Georgie Fame), whose songs have been recorded by Tom Jones, Cliff Richard, Manfred Mann, Cilla Black, and the Tremeloes, died February 25 in Haresfield, Middlesex, England of a heart attack at age 74.

Bob Casale, guitarist, keyboardist, and singer with Devo, and later a sound engineer, died of heart failure in Los Angeles February 17 at the age of 61.

Ernie Chataway, guitarist and co-founder of Judas Priest before the original incarnation broke up in 1970, died May 13 of cancer at age 61.

Bobbie Clarke, drummer who worked with Jimi Hendrix, Tom Jones, Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, and Frank Zappa, died August 31 at age 74 in Coventry, England.


Jessica Cleaves of the Friends of Distinction, who also worked with Earth, Wind & Fire and Parliament-Funkadelic, died May 2 in Los Angeles at age 65 following complications of a stroke.




Joe Cocker, leader of Mad Dogs & Englishmen before becoming a solo star, died December 22 of lung cancer in Crawford, Colorado at age 70.

Jerry Corbitt, singer and guitar player with the Youngbloods, who also worked with Don McLean, Pete Seeger, the Charlie Daniels Band, Janis Ian and the Rooftop Singers, among others, died from lung cancer at age 71 in Smiley, Texas on March 9.

Glenn Cornick, bassist and co-founder of Jethro Tull, died of congestive heart failure at age 67 on August 28 in Hilo, Hawai'i.


Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle on Grooveshark

Bob Crewe, legendary songwriter and producer, who wrote many of the Four Seasons' hits, including "Sherry", "Rag Doll", "Let's Hang On", "Walk Like A Man","Dawn (Go Away)" and "Big Girls Don't Cry", and wrote for Michael Jackson, Roberta Flack, Herman's Hermits, Bobby Darin, Lesley Gore, Frankie Valli ("My Eyes Adored You"), Peabo Bryson, LaBelle ("Lady Marmalade"), Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Oliver ("Jean" and "Good Morning, Sharshine"), Freddy Cannon, the Toys ("A Lover's Concerto"), and the Rays ("Silhouettes"), died September 11 in Scarborough, Maine at age 83 after being in declining health for several years following a fall.

It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock on Grooveshark
E-Z Rock (Rodney "Skip" Bryce) of the duo Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock ("It Takes Two") died April 27, 2014 at age 46 after suffering a diabetic seizure.


Phil Everly, who with brother Don formed one of the best singing duos the world has ever known, died January 3 of complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Burbank, California at age 74.


Ed Gagliardi, original bassist with Foreigner, died May 11 of cancer at the age of 62.

Paul Goddard, bass guitarist with the Atlanta Rhythm Section, died April 29 of cancer in Atlanta, Georgia at age 68.


Gerry Goffin who, with Carole King, wrote dozens of hit songs including "The Locomotion", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Take Good Care Of My Baby", and wrote for Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, the Monkees, Herman's Hermits, Grand Funk, the Animals, Dusty Springfield, the Byrds, the Drifters, Tony Orlando,the Shirelles, the Chiffons, Little Eva, and many others, died June 19, 2014 in Los Angeles at the age of 75.

Stuart Gordon, violinist with the Korgis ("Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime"), and also a member of The Incredible String Band, died of lung cancer on August 28 at the age of 63.


Tommy Gough of the Crests ("Sixteen Candles") died of throat cancer at age 74 on August 24 in Flint Michigan.

Keith Grant, recording engineer who worked with the Beatles, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Queen, Dusty Springfield, Eric Clapton, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Troggs, and David Bowie, died June 18 in Sunbury-on-Thames at the age of 71.

Maureen Gray, singer, guitarist and keyboardist who worked with John Lennon, George Harrison, Billy Preston, Bob Marley, and David Bowie, died of cancer of the bile duct on January 7 at age 65 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Bobby Gregg, drummer and producer who worked with Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan (including on the albums Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisted and the song "Like A Rolling Stone"), Peter, Paul and Mary, and John Cale, died May 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada at age 78.

George Hamilton IV ("Abilene") died September 17 in Nashville, Tennessee after a heart attack at the age of 77.

Larry Henley, who wrote "Wind Beneath My Wings", was a member of the Newbeats ("Bread And Butter"), and also wrote for Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Perry Como, and Judy Collins, among others, died of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases December 18 in Nashville, Tennessee at age 77.

Rosetta Hightower of Orlons "(The Wah Watusi"), who also worked with John Lennon, Joe Cocker, and Dee Dee Sharp on her song "Mashed Potato Time", died August 2 in Clapham, London of a brain hemorrhage at age 70.

1946:  Deon Jackson ("Love Makes The World Go Round") died April 18, 2014 in his sleep in Arlington Heights, Illinois at the age of 68.  (Note:  some websites report Jackson died in Chicago; he died at the hospital in Arlington Heights, according to 'The Chicago Tribune'.)


Jimi Jamison, singer and guitarist with Survivor, died of a heart attack on August 31 in Los Angeles at age 73.


Bobby Keys, saxophonist who played with Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, B.B. King, John Lennon, Barbra Streisand, Marvin Gaye, Buddy Holly, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Sheryl Crow, Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, Donovan, Harry Nilsson, Chuck Berry, Bobby Vee, Joe Cocker, just to name a few, died of cirrhosis on December 2 in Franklin, Tennessee at the age of 70. 

Millie Kirkham, backup singer for Elvis Presley ("The Wonder Of You" and "How Great Thou Art"), Brenda Lee ("I'm Sorry"), Bob Dylan, Bobby Vinton ("Blue Velvet"), Roy Orbison, Patti Page, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Reba McEntire, among others, died at age 91 following a stroke on December 14 in Nashville, Tennessee.


Joe Lala, drummer and singer with Blues Image ("Ride Captain Ride"), who also worked with the Bee Gees, the Eagles, Whitney Houston, Chicago, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, Kenny Rogers, Ringo Starr, John Mellencamp, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Dionne Warwick, Dan Fogelberg, Eric Clapton, the Byrds, Dolly Parton, Poco, the Allman Brothers, Rick Derringer, and Spirit, died of lung cancer in Tampa, Florida on March 18 at the age of 66.

Freddie Fingers Lee (real name Frederick Cheesman), pianist who worked with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Cliff Richard, the Crickets, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ritchie Blackmore, died January 13 after contracting pneumonia at age 76. 


Charles Love, founding member, guitarist and lead singer with Bloodstone ("Natural High"), died in Kansas City, Missouri on March 7 from complications of pneumonia at the age of 68.

Johnny Mann, composer, arranger, and singer who worked with Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, the Crickets, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Burnette, recorded commercial jingles for radio stations such as K-EARTH in Los Angeles, and sang the voice of Theodore in the original Alvin and the Chipmunks television show, died of heart failure June 18 in Anderson, South Carolina at age 85.


Cosimo Matassa, studio owner and recording engineer for Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lloyd Price, Lee Dorsey, and Dr. John, died September 11 in New Orleans, Louisiana at age 88 after being ill since a stroke in 2009.


Ian McLagan of Faces and the Small Faces, who also worked with the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, John Mayer, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge,  Chuck Berry, and Joe Cocker, died December 3 in Austin, Texas of a stroke at the age of 69.

Skip Meyer of the Shoes ("Too Late" and "Tomorrow Night") died July 9 at age 64.


Rick Parashar (real name Rakesh Parashar), producer, engineer, keyboardist and percussionist, and co-founder of London Bridge Studio, who worked with Bon Jovi, Nickelback, Pearl Jam, Melissa Etheridge, 3 Doors Down, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and Blind Melon, died of natural causes August 14 in Queen Anne, Washington at age 50.


Andre Popp, keyboardist and composer who wrote The #1 Instrumental of the Rock Era*, "Love Is Blue" for Paul Mauriat, died in Puteaux, France May 10 at age 90.


Tommy Ramone, who played drums, guitar, mandolin, and banjo with the Ramones, and was an engineer for Jimi Hendrix, died July 11 in Queens, New York of bile duct cancer at age 65. 



Larry Ramos, singer and guitarist with the Association, and also a member of the New Christy Minstrels, died April 30 of metastatic melanoma in Clarkston, Washington at age 72.


Raphael Ravenscroft, saxophonist who gave us the memorable sax solo on Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street", and also worked with ABBA, Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, America, Maxine Nightingale, Robert Plant, Bonnie Tyler, Daft Punk, Chris Rea, Mike Oldfield, died October 19 in Exeter, England of a possible heart attack at age 60.

Frank Reed, lead singer with the Chi-Lites beginning in the early 80's, died February 26 at age 59.


Good Thing by Paul Revere and The Raiders on Grooveshark

Kicks by Paul Revere and The Raiders on Grooveshark

Paul Revere, co-founder and keyboardist of Boise, Idaho's Paul Revere & the Raiders, and one of the greatest entertainers of the Rock Era, died October 4 at age 76 in Garden Valley, Idaho after battling brain cancer for 18 months.

Rick Rosas, bass guitarist who worked with Dan Fogelberg, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Johnny Rivers, Joe Walsh, and Jerry Lee Lewis, died of lung disease on November 6 in Los Angeles at age 65.

Johnny Rotella, who played clarinet and saxophone with Neil Diamond, Steely Dan, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Ethel Mermen, and Frank Zappa, and whose songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, and Rosemarie Clooney, died peacefully in his sleep September 11 in Van Nuys, California at age 93.

Jimmy Ruffin ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted"), brother of David Ruffin, died November 17 at age 78 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joe Sample, keyboardist who worked with the Supremes,  Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, George Benson, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Joe Cocker, and Minnie Riperton, died of mesothelioma lung disease in September 12 in Houston, Texas at age 76.


This Land Is Your Land by Pete Seeger on Grooveshark

If I Had a Hammer by Pete Seeger on Grooveshark

Pete Seeger, legendary folk singer who also wrote "Turn, Turn, Turn!" and worked with Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Donovan, Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, Woodie Guthrie, and Arlo Guthrie, died January 27 in New York City of natural causes at age 94.

John Spinks, guitarist and songwriter with the Outfield, died of liver cancer July 9 at age 60.


Jay Traynor, original lead singer of Jay and the Americans, died of liver cancer January 2 in Tampa, Florida at age 70.

Reather Dixon Turner of the Bobbettes ("Mr. Lee") died January 2 in New York City of a heart attack at age 69.


Jerry Vale died at age 83 on May 18 in Palm Desert, California.

Gene Walker, saxophonist who worked with the Beatles, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and King Curtis, died July 21 in Columbus, Ohio at age 76 after suffering several health complications in recent years.

Jesse Winchester, singer, guitarist, and songwriter ("Say What"), whose songs were recorded by Anne Murray, the Everly Brothers, Patti Page, Jimmy Buffett, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Nicolette Larsen, Reba McEntire, and Fairport Convention, among others, died of cancer April 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia at age 69.

Johnny Winter, guitarist and singer, and brother of Edgar Winter, died July 16 at his hotel room near Zurich, Switzerland at age 70.


Bobby Womack, singer and guitarist, who also worked with Aretha Franklin, Sly and the Family Stone, the Box Tops, Sam Cooke, Janis Joplin, and Todd Rundgren, died June 27 in Tarzana, California at the age of 70 after suffering from prostate cancer, colon cancer, pneumonia, and Alzheimer's disease. 

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