Remembering Those We Lost in 2021

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

As we wrap up 2021, American Songwriter takes a look back at those in the music industry we lost this past year.

January 2021

January 3 Gerry Marsden
(b. Sept. 24, 1942) – English singer-songwriter, musician, and television personality, best known for being the leader of the Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers.

January 3 – Mick Bolton
(b. 1948 ) – Keyboardist with Mott the Hoople and Dexys Midnight Runners.

January 7 Deezer D
(b. 1965) – Dearon Thompson, known professionally as Deezer D, was an American actor, rapper, and motivational speaker.

January 7Jamie O’Hara
(b. August 1950) –  Country music artist and 1/2 of the O’Kanes between 1986 and 1990 with Kieran Kane.

January 8 Ed Bruce
(b. Dec. 29, 1939) – Country music songwriter, singer, and actor. Best known for writing the 1975 song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”

January 8Michael Fonfara
(b. 1947) – Canadian keyboard player best known for his work as a member of The Electric Flag and Rhinoceros in the 1960s, Rough Trade and Lou Reed’s backing band in the 1970s, and The Downchild Blues Band, from 1990 to the present

January 16Phil Spector
(b. Dec. 26, 1939) – record producer, musician, and songwriter.

January 18Jimmie Rodgers
(b. Sept. 18, 1933) – Singer-songwriter and musician (aka  The Father of Country Music)

January 18Perry Botkin Jr.
(b. April 16, 1933) – American composer, producer, arranger, and musician.

January 23 – Jonas Gwanga
(b. Oct. 1937) South African jazz musician, songwriter, and producer.

January 29 – Hilton Valentine
(b. 21 May 1943 ) –  Rock and roll musician. Original guitarist in The Animals.

January 30 – Sophie Xeon, known as Sophie
(b. Sept. 17, 1986) Scottish trans-EDM artist-producer, musician, and DJ

January 30 – Double K (nee Michael Turner)
One-half of hip hop duo People Under The Stairs

February 2021

February 3 – Jim Weatherly
(b. March 17, 1943) – Singer-songwriter who wrote mostly pop and country music.

February 3 – Anne Feeney
(b. July 1, 1951) – American folk musician and singer-songwriter, political activist, and attorney.

February 8 – Mary Wilson
(b. March 6, 1944) – Founding member of The Supremes.

February 9 – Chick Corea
(b. June 12, 1941) – Jazz composer, keyboardist, bandleader, and 25-time Grammy Award-winner.

February 9 – Richie Albright
Longtime drummer for Waylon Jennings 

February 15 – Johnny Pachecho
(b. March 25, 1935) –  Dominican-American musician, arranger, composer, bandleader, and record producer. Founder and musical director of Fania Records leader figure of Salsa.

February 18 – Prince Markie Dee (nee Mark Anthony Morales)
(b. February 19, 1968) – Rapper and songwriter. Member of hip hop group the Fat Boys.

March 2021

March 2 – Bunny Wailer
(b.April 10, 1947) – Jamaican singer-songwriter and percussionist and original member of the reggae group The Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

March 5- Michael Stanley
(b. March 25, 1948) – Singer-songwriter, musician, radio and television personality.

March 14 – Eulalio Cervantes Galarza
(b. Oct. 30, 1968) Composer, Musician, better known as Sax.

March 17 – Matt “Money” Miller
(b. 1987) – Founding keyboardist of Titus Andronicus.

March 18 – Paul Jackson
(b. March 28, 1947) –  Jazz electric bassist and composer. Founding member of the Headhunters.

April 2021

April 2 – Morris “BB” Dickerson
(b. August 3, 1949) – Founding member of the band War,

April 9 – DMX (nee Earl Simmons)
(b. December 18, 1970) – Rapper and actor.

DMX

April 16 – Mike Mitchell
(b. 1944) Musician best-known for his guitar solo on The Kingsmen’s Louie Louie

April 17 – Black Rob (nee Robert Ross)
(b. June 8, 1968) – Rapper, best known for his single “Whoa!” in 2000.

April 19 – Jim Steinman
(b. November 1, 1947) –  Composer, lyricist, record producer, and playwright.

April 20 – Les McKeown
(b. November 12, 1955) – Lead singer of the Bay City Rollers during the 1970s.

April 22- Shock G – (nee Gregory Edward Jacobs)
(b. August 25, 1963) –  Rappe, best known as the lead vocalist of the hip hop group Digital Underground.

April 23 – Charlie Black
(b. November 23, 1949) –  Country music songwriter and record producer.

April 28 – Anita Lane
(b. March 18, 1960) –  Singer-songwriter, former member of the Bad Seeds.

April 29 – John Hinch
(b. 19 June 1947) – Original drummer of heavy metal band Judas Priest.

May 2021

May 2 – Tommy West
(b. August 17, 1942) – Record producer and singer-songwriter.[1]

May 4 – Nick Kamen
(b. April 25, 1962) – English singer-songwriter, musician and model. Best known for the singles “Each Time You Break My Heart” and “I Promised Myself.”

May 3 – Lloyd Price
(b. March 9, 1933 ) –  R&B and swing singer-songwriter, record executive and bandleader. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

May 26 – Patrick Sky
(b. October 2, 1940) –  Musician, folk singer, songwriter, and record producer.

May 29 – BJ Thomas
(b. August 7, 1942 ) – Singer, known for hits of “Hooked on a Feeling” (1968), “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (1969), “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.” 

May 31 – Lil Loaded – (nee Dashawn Maurice Robertson)
(b. August 1, 2000) – Rapper, known for his viral hit “6locc 6a6y”

June 2021

June 9 – Juan Nelson
(b. August 24, 1958) – Bassist for Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals.

June 18 – Timothy “Gift Gab” Parker
(b. October 7, 1970) – American rapper best known for performing in the hip hop duo Blackalicious.

June 26 – Johnny Solinger
(b. 1965) – Singer-songwriter. Best known for being the lead vocalist of Skid Row

June 29 – John Lawton
(b. 11 July 1946) – British rock and blues vocalist best known for his work with Lucifer’s Friend, Uriah Heep, and the Les Humphries Singers.

July 2021

July 4 – Sanford Clark
(b. October 24, 1935) – Rockabilly singer and guitarist, best known for his 1956 hit “The Fool.”

July 9 – Andy Williams
(b. May 13, 1972) – Former Casting Crowns drummer.

July 10 – Byron Berline
(b. July 6, 1944) – Fiddle player

July 24 – Jeff LaBar
(b.March 18, 1963) – Guitarist was known for playing in the metal band Cinderella.

July 16 – Biz Markie (nee Marcel Theo Hall)
(b. April 8, 1964) – Rapper, DJ, and record producer, best known for his 1989 single “Just a Friend.”

July 17 – Robby Steinhardt
(b. May 25, 1950) – Rock violinist and singer best known for his work with the group Kansas.

July 21 – Clarence McDonald
Pianist, composer, arranger, and producer best known for his composition, “Silly,” sung by Deniece Williams.

July 25 – Count M’Butu
Drummer for Derek Trucks Band and Aquarium Rescue Unit.

July 26 – Mike Howe
(b. August 21, 1965) – Heavy metal singer who performed with Metal Church, Heretic, and Snair.

July 26 – Joey Jordison
(b. April 26, 1975) –  Drummer and co-founder of metal band Slipknot and guitarist for horror punk band Murderdolls.

July 28 – Dusty Hill
(b. May 19, 1949) – Bassist for the rock band ZZ Top.

July 31 – Paul Cotton
(b. February 26, 1943) – Guitarist and singer-songwriter. Member of the band Poco.

August 2021

August 3 – Kelli Hand
(b. September 15, 1964) – DJ and musician in Detroit.  Known as the “First Lady of Detroit techno”

August 7 – Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas
(b. February 9, 1951 ) – Co-founder of enduring soul icons Kool & the Gang.

August – Chucky Thompson
(b. July 12, 1968) –  Hip hop and R&B record producer.

August 13 – Nanci Griffith
(b. July 6, 1953) – Folk singer, guitarist, and songwriter.

August 20 – Tom T. Hall
(b. May 25, 1936 ) –  Country music singer-songwriter, nicknamed “The Storyteller.” 

August 21 – Don Everly
(b. February 1, 1937) – One half of the American country-rock duo, The Everly Brothers.

August 22 – Brian Travers
(b. February 7, 1959) – Founding member and saxophonist, arranger, and lyricist of UB40.

August 22 – Eric Wagner
(b. April 24, 1959) – Heavy metal singer. Member of the metal band Trouble.

August 24 – Charlie Watts
(b. 2 June 1941 ) –  Drummer of the Rolling Stones from 1963 until his death in 2021.

August 26 – Kenny Malone
(b. August 4, 1938 ) –  Drummer and percussionist.

August 29 – Lee “Scratch” Perry (nee Rainford Hugh Perry)
(b.March 20 1936) – Jamaican record producer and singer. Known as the pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music. 

August 29 – Ron Bushy
(b. December 23, 1941) – American drummer best known as a member of the rock band Iron Butterfly.

September 2021

September 2 – Mikis Theodorakis
(b.  29 July 1925) – Composer and lyricist. Scored for the films Zorba the Greek (1964), Z (1969), and Serpico (1973).

September 20 – Sarah Dash
(b. August 18, 1945 ) Singer and actress. Member of Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles and Labelle. Session musician, and sideman for The Rolling Stones, and Keith Richards.

September 22 – Bob Moore
(b. November 30, 1932) – Session musician bassist. Played with Elvis Presley, Roger Miller.

September 27 – Andrea Martin
(b. April 14, 1972 ) – Songwriter of R&B hits, Monica’s “Before You Walk Out of My Life” and Toni Braxton’s “I Love Me Some Him.” 

September 28 – Dr. Lonnie Smith
(b. July 3, 1942) –  Jazz organist and member of the George Benson quartet.

October 2021

October 8 – Robert “Bob” Rudolph
(b. ) – Jazz trombonist who played with bandleaders Woody Herman and Sam Kenton.

October 11 – Deon Estus
(b. July 4, 1956) – Musician and singer, best known as the bass player for Wham! 

October 11 – Emani 22 – (nee Emani Johnson )
(b. December 27, 1998) – R&B singer.

October 12 – Paddy Moloney
(b. August 1, 1938 ) –  Irish musician, composer, and record producer who co-founded the Irish musical group the Chieftains.

October 16 – Ron Tutt
(b. March 12, 1938) – American drummer. Played concerts and recording sessions for Elvis Presley, the Carpenters, Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, and Jerry Garcia.

October 21 – Tommy Debarge
(b. September 6, 1957) – Founding member of the band, Switch.

October 24 – Sonny Osborne
(b. October 29, 1937) – Bluegrass musician and banjo player. One half of the Osborne Brothers duo, with his brother Bobby Osborne. 

November 2021

November 1 – Alvin “Seeco” Patterson (nee Francisco Aloysius Willie)
(b. December 30, 1930) – Jamaican percussionist and member of The Wailers Band.

November 2 – Ronnie Wilson
(b. 1948) – Co-founder of R&B group The Gap Band

November 6 – Terence Astro Wilson
(b. June 24, 1957) – Member of British Reggae group UB40

November 6 – Andrew Barker
(b. March 9, 1968) – Member of Manchester electronic band 808 State 

November 8 – Margo Guryan
(b. September 30, 1937) – New York-born singer-songwriter, musician, lyricist.

November 11 – Graeme Edge
(b. March 30, 1941) – Musician and songwriter. Co-founder and drummer of the English band the Moody Blues. 

November 17 – Young Dolph (real name Adolph Robert Thornton Jr)
(b. July 27, 1985) – Rapper

November 17 – Keith Allison
(b. August 26, 1942) – Member and singer in Paul Revere & the Raiders band.

November 19 – Hank Von Hell (real name Hans Erik Dyvik Husby)
(b. June 15, 1972) – Lead vocalist of the punk rock band Turbonegro.

November 20 – Billy Hinsche
(b. June 29, 1951) – Member of the singing group Dino, Desi & Billy and a touring musician with The Beach Boys.

November 26 – Steven Sondheim
(b. March 22, 1930) – American composer and lyricist. Sondheim was praised for having “reinvented the American musical.” 

December. 2021

December 3 – Melvin Parker
(b. June 7, 1944) – American drummer. Key member of James Brown’s band.

December 4 – Stonewall Jackson
(b. November 6, 1932) – country music singer

December 8 – Robbie Shakespeare
(b. September 27, 1953) – Jamaican bass guitarist and record producer. Best known as 1/2 of Sly and Robbie.

December 8 – Slim 400 (nee Vincent Cohran)
(b. ) Rising West Coast hip-hop artist

December 8 – Ralph Tavares
(b. December 10, 1941) Eldest of five brothers in the musical group Tavares.

December 9 – David Lasley
(b. August 20, 1947) – American recording artist, singer, and songwriter. Best known as a touring background singer for James Taylor.

December 10 – Michael Nesmith
(b. December 30, 1942) – Musician, songwriter, actor, producer, and novelist. Best known as a member of the pop-rock band the Monkees.

December 13 – Joe Simon
(b. September 7, 1936) –  Soul and R&B musician.

December 15 – Wanda Young
(b. August 9, 1943) – Singer, best known for being a member of the all-female singing group the Marvelettes.

December 16 – Leonard “Hub” Hubbard
(b. 1959) – Former longtime bassist of the hip-hop band The Roots.

December 18 – Drakeo the Ruler
(b. December 1, 1993) –  American rapper and songwriter.

December 18 – Kangol Kid
(b. August 10, 1966) –  Hip hop producer, songwriter, breakdancer, and emcee. Best known as a member of the hip-hop group UTFO.

December 19 – Carlos Marin
(b. October 13, 1968) – Spanish baritone singer and member of the classical crossover group Il Divo.

December 19 – Bill Conway
(b. 1856) – Drummer best known for his work with Treat Her Right and Morphine.

December 25 – JD Crowe
(b.August 27, 1937)  Banjo virtuoso and bluegrass innovator.

Credits: Tom T Hall by John Russell; Michael Nesmith Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Mary Wilson photo courtesy Mary Wilson Collection.

Sylvain Sylvain (nee Sylvain Mizrahi) – New York Dolls guitarist

Chuck E. Weiss – singer-songwriter, subject of Rickie Lee Jones song

Rusty Young – Poco pedal-steel guitaris/singer

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