Musicians We’ve Lost in 2021

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Mary Wilson of the Supremes died on Feb. 8, 2021 (Photo from Wikipedia; LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin)

The year 2020 was brutal. The Covid-19 pandemic took from us many musical greats, preying especially hard on the elders of the community. But even without the virus, it was a tough year.

So far, we are sad to say, 2021 isn’t looking much brighter. Already, many luminaries within the wide sphere of the music community have left us.

Below are just some of the many artists we’ve lost thus far in 2021. They are arranged alphabetically, the artist’s name followed by the death date and a brief description of who they were.

If an artist’s name is highlighted in blue, you can click on it to be taken to Best Classic Bands’ full obituary of that artist.

Below the list of musical artists, we’ve also noted several other prominent figures whose lives were lost in 2021.

We will miss all of these great talents. RIP.

Richie Albright—2/9—Drummer for Waylon Jennings

Chris Barber—3/2—Influential English jazz musician

Tim Bogert—1/13—Bassist with Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, and Beck, Bogert & Appice

Mick Bolton—1/1—Keyboardist with Mott the Hoople and Dexys Midnight Runners

Duke Bootee—1/13—Rapper who wrote Grandmaster Flash hit “The Message”

Perry Botkin Jr.—1/18—Composer, producer, arranger, and musician who worked with Bobby Darin, Harry Nilsson, others

Sérgio Brandão—4/2—Brazilian bassist who played on recordings by George Benson, Sergio Mendes and others

Jerry Brandt—1/16—Owner of New York City concert venue The Ritz

Ed Bruce—1/8—Country singer/songwriter; author of “Mammas Don’t Let your Babies Grow  Up to Be Cowboys”

Jerry Burgan—3/30—Guitarist/vocalist with We Five (“You Were on My Mind”)

James Burke—2/19—Singer with the Five Stairsteps (“O-o-h Child”)

Ron Campbell—1/22—Director of Beatles cartoon series

Ray Campi—3/11—Rockabilly singer/musician

Alan Cartwright—3/4—Bassist for Procol Harum in the ’70s

Malcolm Cecil—3/28—Producer for Stevie Wonder, designer of TONTO synthesizer

Louis Clark—2/13—Orchestrator for Electric Light Orchestra

Chick Corea—2/9—Legendary jazz keyboardist and composer

Prince Markie Dee—2/18—Rapper with the Fat Boys

Deezer D—1/7—Hip-hop artist and actor

Little Walter DeVenne—1/16—Radio personality in the Boston area

Morris “B.B” Dickerson—4/2—Bassist and vocalist with War

DMX (Earl Simmons)—4/9—Rapper

Anne Feeney—2/3—Folk singer

Related: David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Prince were among the stars we lost 5 years ago

Bobby Few—1/6—Jazz pianist

Michael Fonfara—1/8—Keyboardist with Lou Reed, Foreigner, others

Grady Gaines—1/29—Saxophonist in Little Richard’s 1950s band

Henry Goldrich—2/16—Owner of Manny’s Music retail store in New York

Milford Graves—2/12—Jazz drummer

Sally Grossman and Bob Dylan in Albert Grossman’s Woodstock home. The location provided the cover art for Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album.

Sally Grossman—3/12—Wife of rock manager Albert Grossman (Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, etc.)

Bruce Hawes—2/17—Songwriter for the Spinners and others

Don Heffington—3/23—Drummer who worked with Lone Justice, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and others

Tony Hendra—3/4—Actor who played the manager in This is Spinal Tap; editor/writer for National Lampoon

Paul Jackson—3/18—Jazz bassist (Herbie Hancock, others)

Robert “Bob” James—2/?—Singer in the band Montrose

Howard Johnson—1/11—Tuba player with the Band, Taj Mahal, others

Mark Josephson—3/2—Founder of New Music Seminar and Rockpool

James Levine—3/9—Conductor and Music Director of the New York City Metropolitan Opera

Julian “Junior” Mance—1/17—Jazz/blues pianist

Jon Mark—2/10—Singer-songwriter-guitarist with the Mark-Almond Band, John Mayall, others

Gerry Marsden—1/3—Singer with Gerry and the Pacemakers

Elliot Mazer—2/7—Producer of Neil Young, others

Bhaskar Menon—3/4—CEO of EMI Music Worldwide and Capitol Records; promoted Dark Side of the Moon, the Concert for Bangla Desh, etc.

Don Miller—1/11—Singer with the Vogues

Sammy Nestico—1/17—Composer and arranger for Count Basie

Rupert Neve—2/12—Electronics engineer and designer of audio equipment

Ian North—2/28—Member of pop-punk band Milk ‘n’ Cookies

Johnny Pacheco—2/15—Latin music musician and arranger

Ralph Peterson Jr.—3/1—Jazz drummer

Bob Porter—4/10—Jazz producer and radio personality

Nolan Porter—2/4—R&B singer

James Purify—1/22—Half of the James and Bobby Purify R&B duo (“I’m Your Puppet”)

Danny Ray—2/2—Emcee and “cape man” for James Brown’s live show

Freddie Redd—3/17—Jazz pianist/composer

Jimmie Rodgers—Early rock ‘n’ roll singer (“Honeycomb”)

Johnny Rogan—1/21—Author of books on the Byrds, Neil Young, Van Morrison and Ray Davies, plus others

Brian Rohan—3/23—Attorney for Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other San Francisco rock luminaries

Ralph Schuckett—4/4—Keyboardist/songwriter who played with Todd Rundgren, Lou Reed, Carole King, others

Thione Seck—3/14—Senegalese singer and musician

Phil Spector—1/17—Producer who worked with the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, the Crystals, the Beatles and others

Listen to “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner, one of Phil Spector’s classic ’60s productions

Michael Stanley—3/5—Cleveland-based leader of the Michael Stanley Band

Tom Stevens—1/24—Bassist with the Long Ryders

Gene Summers—2/17—Rockabilly singer

Sylvain Sylvain—1/13—Guitarist with New York Dolls

Gene Taylor—2/20—Pianist with the Blasters, Canned Heat, others

U-Roy—2/17—Reggae pioneer

Hilton Valentine—1/29—Original guitarist of the Animals

Bunny Wailer—3/2—Original member of reggae legends the Wailers

Jim Weatherly—2/3—Songwriter (“Midnight Train to Georgia”)

Mary Wilson—2/8—Co-founder of Motown powerhouse trio The Supremes

Rusty Young—4/14—Poco steel guitarist

Related: Musicians who died in 2020

Non-Musicians

Hank Aaron—1/22—Baseball great

Rennie Davis—2/2—Activist; member of the “Chicago 7”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti—2/22—Renowned poet and founder of City Lights Books

Watch: Lawrence Ferlinghetti appeared at the Band’s Last Waltz concert

Siegfried Fischbacher—1/13—Half of magician duo Siegfried and Roy, who worked with wild animals

Sonny Fox—1/24—Children’s TV show host

Hal Holbrook—1/23—Actor

Larry King—1/23—Broadcasting legend

Watch Larry King interview Frank Sinatra

Cloris Leachman—1/27—Actress

Christopher Plummer—2/5—Actor

Tanya Roberts—1/4—Actress in Charlie’s Angels and James Bond film A View to a Kill

George Segal—3/23—Actor

Cicely Tyson—1/28—Actress

Jessica Walter—3/24—Actress

Watch Jessica Walter in Play Misty for Me

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  1. CabbyJr
    #1 CabbyJr 9 April, 2021, 19:29

    What about “Whodini rapper Ecstasy John Fletcher dies aged 56”??

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