Musicians We’ve Lost in 2022

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Jerry Lee Lewis, Christine McVie, Olivia Newton-John, Meat Loaf and Ronnie Spector were among the greats we lost in 2022

Many luminaries within the wide sphere of the music community left us in 2022.

Below are just some of the artists and music industry influencers we lost. They are arranged alphabetically, the person’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.

Below the list of musical artists, we’ve also noted several other prominent figures whose lives were lost in 2022.

We will miss all of these great talents. RIP.

Cynthia Albritton—4/21—Groupie better known as Cynthia Plaster Caster, she created plaster molds of rock stars’ penises

Jerry Allison—8/22—Drummer and founding member of the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s backing band on his earliest hits

Rick Anderson—12/16—Bassist of the Tubes

Ernie Andrews—2/21—Jazz and R&B singer

Bruce Arnold—10/?—Founder and lead vocalist/songwriter of Boston band Orpheus (“Can’t Find the Time”)

Brooks Arthur—10/9—Engineer for Janis Ian, Lovin’ Spoonful, Neil Diamond, Chiffons, others

Angelo Badalamenti—12/11—Composer of music for David Lynch projects Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and also songs covered by David Bowie, Paul McCartney and other

Barry Bailey—3/12—Atlanta Rhythm Section guitarist

Chris Bailey—4/9—Lead singer of Australian band the Saints

Carlos Barbosa-Lima—2/23—Brazilian classical and jazz guitarist

Thom Bell—12/22—Producer, arranger and songwriter, associated with Gamble and Huff and The Sound of Philadelphia

Marilyn Bergman—1/8—Award-winning lyricist (“The Windmills of Your Mind,” “The Way We Were”)

Warren Bernhardt—8/19—Keyboardist who played with Steely Dan and many jazz artists

Jet Black—12/6—Stranglers drummer

Alan Blaikley—7/4—British songwriter; wrote “Have I the Right” by the Honeycombs

Michael Borbridge—12/14—Blues-rock drummer who worked with Harvey Mandel, Sidewinders, others

Benjamin Bossi—12/14—Saxophonist in Romeo Void

Jaimie Branch—8/22—Jazz trumpeter and composer

Gary Brooker—2/19—Singer, pianist and primary composer for Procol Harum

Hal Bynum—6/2—Country songwriter; wrote “Lucille” by Kenny Rogers

D.L. Byron—11/5—Indie singer-songwriter

Pat Campbell—7/28—Bay Area-based bassist who played with Jerry Garcia, Big Joe Turner, Mike Bloomfield and others

Irene Cara—11/25—Singer of “Flashdance” and “Fame”

Jeff Carson—3/26—Country singer

Aaron Carter—11/5—Singer-actor who released debut album at age 9; brother of Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter

Fred Catero—10/6—Producer and engineer who worked with Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Santana and others

Manny Charlton—7/5—Founding guitarist of Nazareth

Kerry Chater—2/4—Founding member and bass guitarist for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap

Gene Cipriano—11/12—Prolific multi-instrumentalist who recorded with Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mandel and many others

Jeff Cook—11/7—Co-founder of country band Alabama

Coolio—9/28—Rapper best known for “Gangsta’s Paradise”

Morty Craft—1/27—Label owner, arranger, producer and songwriter

Don Craine—2/24—Guitarist/vocalist for long-running British band the Downliners Sect

Julee Cruise—6/9—Singer known primarily for her collaborations with filmmaker David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti

Bettye Crutcher—10/20—Stax songwriter who co-wrote “Who’s Making Love” by Johnnie Taylor

Jerry Crutchfield—1/11—Country/pop songwriter, producer and musician

Ronnie Cuber—10/8—Jazz saxophonist

David Dalton—7/13—Music writer and photographer for Rolling Stone and other outlets

Dino Danelli—12/15—Drummer of the Rascals

Miguel Vicens Danus—2/12—Bassist of Spanish pop group Los Bravos (“Black is Black”)

Kal David—8/16—Guitarist with Illinois Speed Press, the Fabulous Rhinestones and solo artist

Betty Davis—2/9—R&B and funk singer, and second wife of Miles Davis

John Dean—3/8—Singer with the Reflections, of “(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet” fame

Joey DeFrancesco—8/25—Jazz organist

Jimbo Doares—9/7—Guitarist with the Swingin’ Medallions

Lamont Dozier—8/8—The middle name in Motown’s famed songwriting and production team, Holland-Dozier-Holland

Philip Drucker—7/16— (a.k.a. Jackson Del Rey) Founding member of Savage Republic

Martin Duffy—12/18—Keyboardist for Primal Scream and the Charlatans (U.K.)

Shonka Dukureh—7/21—Actress who played Big Mama Thornton in this year’s Elvis film

Judith Durham—8/5—Lead singer of Australian folk-rock group the Seekers (“Georgy Girl”)

John Eastman—8/9—Linda McCartney’s brother and attorney to Paul McCartney since the Beatles era

Ray Edenton—9/21—Guitarist on hits by Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, the Beach Boys, Roger Miller and others

Shirley Eikhard—12/15—Writer of “Something to Talk About,” a hit for Bonnie Raitt

Ralph Emery—1/15—Country music disc jockey and TV host

Tommy Facenda—11/18—Member of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps and one-hit wonder who recorded 30 different versions of  “High School USA”

Anton Fier—9/21—Drummer with the Feelies, Golden Palominos, Lounge Lizards and others

Andy Fletcher—1/13—Keyboardist and co-founder of Depeche Mode

Inez Foxx—8/25—R&B singer, who sang the original 1963 version of “Mockingbird” with her brother Charlie

Dallas Frazier—1/14—Songwriter (“Alley Oop,” “Elvira”)

Ricky Gardiner—5/14—Guitarist who played with David Bowie and others

Donny Gerrard—2/3—Lead singer of Skylark (“Wildflower”)

Mickey Gilley—5/7—Country music legend who launched the “Urban Cowboy” movement

Sam Gooden—8/4—Original member of the soul group the Impressions

Mick Goodrick—11/16—Jazz guitarist

Robert Gordon—10/18—Singer who spawned rockabilly revival in the ’70s/’80s

Manuel Göttsching—12/4—Leader of the groups Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra in the 1970s

Charlie Gracie—12/16—Early rocker who had a number one hit with “Butterfly”

Jeremiah Green—12/31—Drummer with Modest Mouse

Howard Grimes—2/12—Drummer for Hi Records artists (Al Green, Ann Peebles)

Steve Grimmett—8/15—Lead vocalist for Grim Reaper

Terry Hall—12/16—Lead singer for The Specials and Fun Boy Three

Dick Halligan—1/18—Keyboardist, trombonist and flutist for original lineup of Blood, Sweat and Tears

William “Poogie” Hart—7/14—Lead singer of the R&B group the Delfonics

Ronnie Hawkins—5/29—Rockabilly singer who gave The Band their start

Rosa Lee Hawkins—1/11—Member of the Dixie Cups vocal group (“Chapel of Love”)

Taylor Hawkins—3/25—Foo Fighters’ drummer

Michael Henderson—7/19—Jazz bassist with Miles Davis and others, and solo R&B artist (“You Are My Starship”)

Judy Henske—4/27—Folk singer best known for her rendition of the song “High Flying Bird”

Tony Hill—12/8—Member of the bands the Answers, the Misunderstood, High Tide and also  a solo artist

Darryl Hunt—8/8—Bassist with the Celtic punk band the Pogues

Ivy Jo Hunter—10/6—R&B songwriter and producer, best known for his work with Motown

Susan Jacks—4/25—Singer with the Poppy Family (“Which Way You Goin’ Billy?”)

Roddy Jackson—12/7—Early rock ‘n’ roll singer who recorded for Specialty Records

Joni James—2/20—Popular vocalist of the 1950s, whose hits included “Why Don’t You Believe Me?” and a cover of Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart”

Harvey Jett—12/21—Guitarist with Black Oak Arkansas (played on “Jim Dandy”)

Mable John—8/26—Blues and soul vocalist

Cliff Johnson—7/17—Singer with Pezband and Off Broadway

Fred Johnson—3/31—Bass singer on the Marcels’ “Blue Moon”

James Johnson—4/16—Played the “chicken scratch” guitar on Slim Harpo’s “Baby Scratch My Back”

Jimmy Johnson—1/31—Blues guitarist and singer

Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson—12/25—Chicago blues singer and guitarist

Syl Johnson—2/6—Blues and soul singer

Wilko Johnson—11/21—Guitarist with U.K. pub-rock band Dr. Feelgood

Naomi Judd—4/30—Country music superstar, with the duo The Judds

Danny Kalb—11/19—Lead guitarist of the influential NYC ’60s band the Blues Project

Michael Kane—9/8—Bassist with the Youngbloods in 1971-72

David “Guitar Shorty” Kearney—4/20—Blues musician

Anita Kerr—10/10—Multiple Grammy-winning vocalist who led the Anita Kerr Singers

John King—8/1—Co-founder of Memphis label Ardent Records

Pat King—1/25—Played bass on Billy Ocean’s first Top 40 hit, “Love Really Hurts Without You” and with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from 1977-1982

Charles Koppelman—11/25—Music business executive who worked with Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, many others

Art Laboe—10/7—Los Angeles disc jockey who coined the term oldies but goodies

Mark Lanegan—2/22—Lead singer for Screaming Trees and later a member of Queens of the Stone Age

Michael Lang on day one of the Woodstock festival (Photo © Elliott Landy; used with permission)

Michael Lang—1/8—Co-creator and producer of the Woodstock music festival; manager of Joe Cocker and others

Sam Lay—1/29—Drummer for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Muddy Waters, etc.

Willie Leacox—2/2—Drummer with America

Keith Levene—11/?—Guitarist who was a founding member of the Clash and Public Image Ltd.

Gord Lewis—8/?—Lead guitarist with Canadian band Teenage Head

Jerry Lee Lewis—10/28—”The Killer,” one of the undisputed pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll. Last of the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to pass

Ramsey Lewis—9/12—Jazz keyboardist who scored a top 10 hit in 1964 with “The In Crowd”

Jon Lind—1/15—Co-wrote “Boogie Wonderland” for Earth, Wind & Fire, “Crazy for You” for Madonna and “Saving the Best For Last” by Vanessa Williams

Lenny Lipton—10/5—Lyricist of Peter, Paul and Mary classic “Puff the Magic Dragon”

Loretta Lynn—10/4—Country music legend

Ken Mansfield—11/17—U.S. manager of Beatles’ Apple Records

Emmaretta Marks—1/4—Sang with Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones and others; appeared in Hair; inspiration for Deep Purple song “Emmaretta.”

Jo Mersa Marley—12/27—Reggae artist; grandson of Bob Marley; son of Stephen Marley

James Mazzeo—8/2—Creator of album cover art for Neil Young albums Zuma and Greendale, as well as Young set designs

Dan McCafferty—11/8—Original lead singer of Nazareth

C.W. McCall—4/1—Singer and co-writer of country hit “Convoy”

Mary McCaslin—10/2—Folk singer

Charles McCormick—4/12—Member of R&B group Bloodstone

Deborah McCrary—6/1—Member of the vocal group the McCrary Sisters

Ian McDonald—2/9—Founding member of King Crimson and Foreigner

Andy McKaie—10/15—Publicist for MCA Records, UMe and other labels

Bertha McNeal—12/15—Co-founder of Motown group the Velvelettes

Christine McVie—11/30—Longtime keyboardist/singer/songwriter of Fleetwood Mac

Sister Janet Mead—1/26—The Catholic nun earned an unlikely pop hit in 1974 with a rock version of “The Lord’s Prayer”

Meat Loaf—1/20—Singer/actor best known for his multi-platinum 1977 album Bat Out of Hell

Eric Mercury—3/14—Canadian R&B singer

Joe Messina—4/4—Guitarist with Motown house band the Funk Brothers

Ron Miles—3/9—Jazz cornetist

Jody Miller—10/6—Country singer best known for her 1964 hit “Queen of the House” (an answer song to Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”)

Charnett Moffett—4/11—Jazz bassist

Mick Moloney—7/27—Irish traditional musician and scholar

Grachan Moncur III—6/3—Jazz trombonist

Misty Morgan—1/1—Teamed with her husband Jack Blanchard to record the 1970 country crossover novelty hit “Tennessee Bird Walk”

Barbara Morrison—3/16—Jazz and blues vocalist

James Mtume—1/9—Jazz and R&B musician and songwriter

David Muse—8/6—Multi-instrumentalist for Firefall

Rachel Nagy—1/14—Singer for the Detroit Cobras

Bobbie Nelson—3/10—Longtime pianist with Willie Nelson’s band, and his sister

Sandy Nelson—2/14—Hitmaking drummer (“Teen Beat”)

Bob Neuwirth—5/18—Dylan collaborator, co-composer of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”

Olivia Newton-John—8/8—Beloved singer and Grease star

Mo Ostin—7/31—Music business executive who worked with Warner Bros., Verve and other labels, playing a role in the careers of artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jimi Hendrix

Ric Parnell—5/1—Drummer for Atomic Rooster and (one of several) in the film This is Spinal Tap

Fred Parris—1/13—Lead singer with the Five Satins (“In the Still of the Night”)

Philip Paul—1/30—Drummer for Freddie King, Hank Ballard and other blues/R&B artists

D.H. Peligro—10/28—Dead Kennedys drummer

Jerome Peloquin—11/1—Original drummer of Jefferson Airplane; left the band before it recorded

Kelly Joe Phelps—5/31—Singer-songwriter with blues and jazz influences

Bill Pitman—8/11—Guitarist with the L.A. studio session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew

Richie Podolor—3/9—Producer for Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf and others

Anita Pointer—12/31—Founding member of the Pointer Sisters

Jim Post—9/14—Singer-songwriter who hit the top 10 with 1968’s “Reach Out of the Darkness” as half of Friend and Lover

Rick Price—5/17—Bassist with the Move, Wizzard and others

Tim Price—7/21—Jazz woodwinds player

Howie Pyro—5/4—Bassist with punk and metal bands such as the Blessed and D Generation

Mike Rabon—2/11—Lead guitarist and singer for The Five Americans (“Western Union”)

James Rado—6/21—Co-creator of the Broadway musical Hair

Bob Rafelson—7/23—Co-creator of The Monkees and director, writer and producer who worked on such films as Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces

Randy Rand—4/26—Founding bassist of Autograph

Don K. Reed—7/16—Host of “The Doo-Wop Shop” program on New York City radio station WCBS-FM, from 1971-2002.

Hargus “Pig” Robbins—1/30—Session keyboardist for hundreds of artists, mostly country

Garry Roberts—11/9—Co-founder and lead guitarist of the Boomtown Rats

Marty Roberts—1/13—Half of lounge act Marty & Elayne, featured in the film Swingers

Beverly Ross—1/15—Songwriter (“Lollipop,” “Candy Man”) and performer

Freddie Roulette—12/24—Lap steel guitarist who played with Charlie Musselwhite, Harvey Mandel, others

Badal Roy—1/22—Tabla player with Miles Davis and others

Ed Rudy—11/7—Radio reporter who covered the Beatles’ arrival in America extensively

Art Rupe—4/15—Founder/owner of Specialty Records, the label that made stars out of Little RIchard, Sam Cooke, Lloyd Price and other early R&B stars

Bobby Rydell—4/5—Pop star and actor in the late ’50s and early ’60s, considered a teen idol

Pharoah Sanders—9/24—Jazz saxophone giant

Klaus Schulze—4/26—German electronic musician/composer

Jim Schwall—6/19—Blues musician, co-founder of the Siegel-Schwall Band

Jim Seals—6/6—Half of the soft-rock vocal group Seals and Crofts

Donald “Tabby” Shaw—3/29—Lead singer of reggae group the Mighty Diamonds

Burke Shelley—1/10—Lead vocalist and bassist with Welsh band Budgie

Dave Sherman—9/4—Doom metal musician

Paul Siebel—4/5—Singer-songwriter (“Louise”)

Kim Simmonds—12/13—Guitarist-singer-songwriter with the British blues band Savoy Brown

Calvin Simon—1/6—Member of Parliament-Funkadelic; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee

Lucy Simon—10/20—Tony-winning sister of Carly Simon

Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson—4/1—Member of reggae group the Mighty Diamonds

David Smith—6/2—Engineer and musician, founder of the synthesizer company Sequential.

Jimy Sohns—7/29—Lead singer of the Shadows of Knight (“Gloria”)

Ronnie Spector—1/12—Lead singer of the Ronettes (“Be My Baby”)

Meghan Stabile—6/12—Jazz impresario and promoter

Jim Stewart—12/5—Founder of Stax Records

Re Styles—4/17—(Shirley Macleod) Vocalist with the Tubes

Alec John Such—6/5—Founding bassist of Bon Jovi

Bobby Sutliff—8/29—Singer-guitarist with the Windbreakers

John Swenson—3/28—Music journalist

Robin Sylvester—10/29—Bassist for Bob Weir’s band Ratdog

Joseph Tarsia—11/1—Philadelphia-based recording engineer who worked for the Cameo-Parkway labels (Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, etc.)

Creed Taylor—8/23—Jazz producer who founded the Impulse! and CTI labels

R. Dean Taylor—1/7—Singer and songwriter for Motown (the Supremes’ “Love Child”) and his own “Indiana Wants Me”

Nicky Tesco—2/26—Founding member of the U.K. punk group the Members

Timmy Thomas—3/11—R&B singer (“Why Can’t We Live Together?”)

John Till—9/4—Guitarist for the Full Tilt Boogie Band; played on “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

Rosmarie Trapp—5/13—Last daughter from the original von Trapp family, of The Sound of Music fame

Brett Tuggle—6/19—Keyboardist with Fleetwood Mac, David Lee Roth, others

Nik Turner—11/10—Saxophonist with Hawkwind

Rick Turner—4/17—Luthier who built guitars used by David Crosby, Lindsey Buckingham, Jerry Garcia, Jackson Browne and others.

Sonny Turner—1/13—Singer with the Platters beginning in 1959; sang the hit “With This Ring” in 1967

Ian Tyson—12/29—Half of the Canadian folk duo Ian and Sylvia; solo singer-songwriter who specialized in cowboy music

Paul VanceSongwriter (“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “Catch a Falling Star”)

Vangelis—5/17—Electronic music composer best known for the score of Chariots of Fire

David Tyson—2/17—Singer with the Manhattans

Adam Wade—7/8—Singer and actor who was America’s first Black game show host

Abdul Wadud—8/10—Jazz cellist

Walter “Wolfman” Washington—12/22—Blues guitarist and singer

Norma Waterson—1/30—Member of the English folk group the Watersons

Shirley Watts—12/19—Wife of Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts

Greg Webster—1/14—Last original member of the Ohio Untouchables/Ohio Players

Bobby Weinstein—3/16—Songwriter for Little Anthony and the Imperials and others (“Goin’ Out of My Head”)

Sonny West—9/8—Songwriter and musician; wrote “Rave On” and “Oh Boy!” by Buddy Holly

Steve West—12/28—Early guitarist for Paul Revere and the Raiders

Joel Whitburn—6/14—Historian and collector whose 300=plus books compiling chart data from Billboard and other trade publications became the industry standard

Alan White—5/26—Longtime Yes drummer; also played with John Lennon, George Harrison and others

Roland White—4/1—Bluegrass mandolinist and singer; older brother of the Byrds’ Clarence White

Don Wilson—1/22—Co-founding rhythm guitarist of best-selling instrumental group the Ventures (“Walk Don’t Run”)

Bernard Wright—5/19—Jazz and funk keyboardist

Jon Zazula—2/1—Founder of Megaforce Records (first label for Metallica, among others)

Related: Musicians who died in 2021


Kirstie Alley—12/5—Star of Cheers and other TV programs

Louie Anderson—1/21—Comedian and actor

Sonny Barger—6/29—Leader of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels during the time when the outlaw bikers served as security at the Altamont concert

Peter Bogdanovich—1/6—Director of films such as The Last Picture Show, Mask and Paper Moon; and the Tom Petty documentary, Runnin’ Down a Dream

James Caan—6/29—Multi-faceted actor who played Sonny Corleone in The Godfather

Robert Clary—11/16—Actor who played Corporal LeBeau on ’60s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes

Tony Dow—7/27—Actor who portrayed Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver


Ron Galella—4/30—Celebrity photographer often considered the “Father of the Paparazzi”

Jean-Luc Godard—9/13—Influential, daring film director associated with the Frencn New Wave

Gilbert Gottfried4/12—Sharp-witted, often acerbic comic

Franco Harris—9/20—NFL Hall of Fame running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Anne Heche—8/12—Emmy-winning actress

Howard Hesseman—1/29—Actor best known for his starring role as Dr. Johnny Fever in TV’s WKRP in Cincinnati

Dwayne Hickman—1/9—Actor who starred in the 1960s sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

William Hurt—3/13—Actor in Body Heat, Broadcast News, Children of a Lesser God and many other great films

Sally Kellerman—2/24—Actress best known for her role as “Hot Lips” in Robert Altman’s M.A.S.H.

Ray Liotta–—5/26—Actor best known for his appearance in Goodfellas

Yvette Mimieux—1/17—Actress (The Time Machine)

Nichelle Nichols—7/30—Played Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek series

Pelé—12/29—Brazilian soccer legend

Sidney Poitier—1/6—Actor, director; first Black man to win Best Actor Oscar

Ivan Reitman—2/12—Film director and producer (Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Animal House)

Peter Robbins—1/18—Original voice of Charlie Brown in ’60s cartoons

Vin Scully—8/2—Broadcaster of the Los Angeles Dodgers

Bob Saget—1/9—Stand-up comic and actor known as “America’s Dad” on TV’s Full House

Tony Sirico—7/8—Part of the great ensemble cast of The Sopranos as mobster Paulie Walnuts

Paul Sorvino—7/25—Actor in Goodfellas, Law & Order and other films and TV programs

Larry Storch—7/8—Starred as Corporal Randolph Agarn in the ’60s sitcom F Troop

Judy Tenuta—10/6—Standup comic

Barbara Walters—12/30—Trailblazing broadcast journalist who broke the “glass ceiling”

Vivienne Westwood—12/29—British fashion designer who helped shape punk style

Best Classic Bands Staff

2 Comments so far

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  1. TyStick
    #1 TyStick 21 December, 2022, 01:47

    We are losing our classic rockers too fast. The 60s were a fabulous time for music. There were so many creative bands from San Francisco, LA to London that have left future generations in ah. We lost two legendary counter-culture legends, Michael Lang and Sonny Barger. One created Woodstock the other created the Hells Angels. The 60s generation is slowly becoming a great memory in American history and culture. Thank you for the memories.

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  2. Lorelei
    #2 Lorelei 21 December, 2022, 08:39

    Nobody should have to die in 23 because way too many have died this year :'( That list was so long and heartbreaking and then you add the Covid list too and the Earth must be much lighter now 🙁

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