Musician Deaths of 2024

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Dickey Betts, on his 80th birthday, with Devon Allman (L) and son Duane Betts, Dec. 12, 2023 (Photo: Chris Brush; used with permission)

The year 2024 is now halfway over as we write this, but already we’ve lost numerous luminaries within the wide sphere of the music community. Below are many of the artists and music industry influencers who passed in the first six months of this year. 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 underlined, 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 2024.

We will miss all of these great talents. RIP.

Steve Albini—5/7—Producer/engineer for Nirvana, the Pixies and others

John Barbata—5/8—Drummer for the Turtles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship

Aston “Family Man” Barrett—2/3—Bassist for Bob Marley and the Wailers

Jim Beard—3/2—Keyboardist for Steely Dan, John McLaughlin, others

Casey Benjamin—3/31—Saxophonist and keyboardist with the Robert Glasper Experiment

Ernest “Bilbo” Berger—3/1—Drummer for Heatwave (“Boogie Nights”)

Dickey Betts—4/18—Founding guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band

Watch Betts perform his biggest hit with the Allman Brothers Band in 1982

Seth “Shifty Shellshock” Binzer—6/24—Singer for Crazy Town

Angela Bofill—6/13—R&B/soul/dance singer

Joe Bonsall—7/9—Tenor singer with the Oak Ridge Boys

Tony Bramwell—6/2—Longtime Beatles associate who worked with Brian Epstein at NEMS and later for the band’s Apple company, as well as serving as an early tour manager

Brother Marquis—6/3—Rapper with 2 Live Crew

Dean Brown—1/26—Jazz guitarist

Debra Byrd—3/5—Lead vocalist of Lady Flash, Barry Manilow’s background singers

Eric Carmen—3/11—Raspberries singer and solo star (“All By Myself”)

Ruth Ellsworth Carter—1/4—Songwriter for Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fabulous Thunderbirds and others

Buzz Cason—6/16—Singer-songwriter whose compositions included the R&B hits “Everlasting Love” (a hit for Carl Carlton) and :Soldier of Love” (recorded by Arthur Alexander)

James Chance—6/18—Singer/saxophonist/keyboardist who pioneered the “no wave” movement with bands including the Contortions, James White and the Blacks, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks

Hank Cicalo—1/31—Engineer for Carole King’s Tapestry, the Monkees and others

W.C. Clark—3/2—Blues and soul artist

Tony Clarkin—1/7—Guitarist and songwriter of U.K. band Magnum

Charlie Colin—5/17—Founding bassist of Train (“Drops of Jupieter”)

Larry Collins—1/5—Rockabilly guitarist with the Collins Kids

Peter Collins—6/30—Record producer who worked with Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Rush and many others

Gerry Conway—3/29—Drummer for Cat Stevens, Fairport Convention, others

Michael Corcoran—7/1—Texas-based music journalist

Chris Cross—3/25—Bassist for the British band Ultravox

Michael Cuscuna—4/19—Jazz producer and co-founder of Mosaic Records

Nick Daniels III—4/26—Bassist for New Orleans band Dumpstaphunk

Palle Danielsson—5/18—Swedish jazz bassist

Eugene ED Denson—4/12—Manager of Country Joe and the Fish, John Fahey

Toumani Diabate—7/19—Malian kora player

Duane Eddy—4/30—Early rock guitar pioneer, known for his “twangy” sound

Joe Egan—7/6—Co-founder (with Gerry Rafferty) of Scottish band Stealers Wheel; co-wrote their big 1973 hit, “Stuck in the Middle With You”

Abdul “Duke” Fakir—7/22—Founding member of the Four Tops

Henry Fambrough—2/7—Singer with R&B group the Spinners

Frank Farian—1/23—Founder of the ’70s disco-pop group Boney M and the pop band Milli Vanilli

Tom Fowler—7/2—Bass guitarist with Frank Zappa and others

Kinky Friedman—6/27—Singer-songwriter and humorist

Jerry Fuller—7/18—Songwriter (Rick Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man”), producer (Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Knickerbockers) and recording artist

Randy Fuller—5/16—Bassist with the Bobby Fuller Four

Shelley Ganz—1/24—Co-founder of the garage-rock band the Unclaimed

Mark Germino—7/3—Singer-songwriter

Rusty Golden—7/1—Songwriter and musician; son of Oak Ridge Boys founder William Golden

Françoise Hardy—6/11—French singer-songwriter and actress

Steve Harley performing “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” with Cockney Rebel on TopPops in 1975

Steve Harley—3/17—Frontman of U.K. band Cockney Rebel

Alex Hassilev—4/22—Last remaining member of the folk group the Limeliters

John Hawken—5/15—Keyboardist on recordings by the Nashville Teens, Renaissance and others

Bill Hayes—1/12—Singer and actor whose recording of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” was #1 for five weeks in 1955

Albert “Tootie” Heath—4/3—Jazz drummer

Bob Heil—2/28—Audio engineer

Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson—6/11—Co-founder of the U.K. ska revival band the Selecter

Clarence “Frogman” Henry—4/7—New Orleans R&B singer/pianist (“Ain’t Got No Home,” “But I Do”)

Malcolm Holcombe—3/9—Singer-songwriter

Frank Ifield—5/18—Australian country star popular in the early ’60s

Doug Ingle—5/24—Singer/keyboardist for Iron Butterfly

Mark James—6/8—Songwriter who wrote “Suspicious Minds,” a #1 hit for Elvis Presley, and co-wrote the Willie Nelson hit “Always on My Mind”

Byron Janis—3/14—Classical pianist

Gylan Kain—2/7—Founding member of the Last Poets proto-rap group

Chris Karrer—1/2—Guitarist and composer with Amon Düül II

Toby Keith—2/5—Country singer

“Spider” John Koerner—5/19—Blues/folk artist and last surviving member of the trio Koerner, Ray and Glover

James Kottak—1/9—Drummer with the Scorpions

Daniel Kramer—4/29—Photographer known for his photos of mid-’60s Bob Dylan, including the album covers for Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited

Wayne Kramer in MC5

Wayne Kramer—2/2—Lead guitarist of the MC5

Paul Lacques—1/17—Guitarist/songwriter with I See Hawks in L.A., other bands

Steve Lawrence—3/7—Pop singer (“Go Away Little Girl”) and half of an entertainment duo with his wife, Eydie Gormé

David Libert—2/20—Member of the Happenings (“See You in September,” “I Got Rhythm”), road manager for Alice Cooper, manager of Parliament-Funkadelic

Laurie Lindeen—7/1—Singer and guitarist for all-female rock group Zuzu’s Petals; author and essayist

Dave Loggins—7/10—Singer best known for the 1974 hit “Please Come to Boston”

John “Duff” Lowe—2/22—Member of the Quarrymen, the Liverpool skiffle band that also included John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison

Ed Mann—5/31—Drummer with Frank Zappa from 1977-88

Tony Middleton—2/7—Lead singer of the R&B vocal group the Willows (“Church Bells May Ring”)

Jerry Miller—7/21—Guitarist/vocalist with Moby Grape

Chude Mondlane—6/24—African jazz singer

Peter Morgan—2/25—Lead singer of reggae band Morgan Heritage

Martin Mull—6/28—Actor, comedian, singer-songwriter who starred in such TV shows as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Fernwood 2 Night and also recorded albums and performed live

Mojo Nixon—2/7—Irreverent roots-rockin’ singer of novelty songs

Paul Nelson—3/10—Blues guitarist, producer and manager, known primarily for his work with Johnny Winter

Seiji Ozawa—2/6—Groundbreaking Japanese conductor

Larry Page—4/19—English producer/manager/label owner who worked with the Kinks, Troggs

Del Palmer—1/4—Bassist for Kate Bush

Claudia Perry—5/16—Music jopurnalist specializing in country music

Tony Pigg—4/26—Radio announcer best known for his 15-year tenure on New York’s WPLJ

Mike Pinder—4/24—Moody Blues founding member who introduced the Mellotron to the group’s sound

Listen to “A Simple Game,” written and sung by Pinder

John Pisano—5/2—Jazz guitarist

Sandy Posey—7/20—Singer who scored two top 20 hits in 1966, “Born a Woman” and “Single Girl”

George Ed Powell—3/30—Founding guitarist/vocalist with Pure Prairie League

Kevin Ransom—6/?—Detroit area music critic

Bernice Johnson Reagon—7/17—Founding member of the Freedom Singers and Sweet Honey in the Rock

Chita Rivera—1/30—Broadway singer and actress

Pete Rodriguez—3/11—Latin boogaloo pianist and bandleader

Chan Romero—4/21—Singer known for “Hippy, Hippy Shake”

Dexter Romweber—2/16—Rockabilly guitarist, member of Flat Duo Jets

Tawl Ross—1/3—Rhythm guitarist of Funkadelic from 1968-71

Jim Rotondi—7/8—Jazz trumpeter and composer

Melanie performing at Woodstock

Melanie Safka—1/23—Singer/songwriter, whose hits included “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”

David Sanborn—5/12—Alto saxophonist who spanned several genres, including jazz, pop and R&B

Peter Schickele—1/16—Composer and parodist best known for his work under an alter-ego, P.D.Q. Bach

Marlena Shaw—1/19—Jazz, blues and soul singer

John Sinclair—4/2—Activist, poet/writer, White Panther Party co-founder, manager of the MC5, subject of John Lennon song

C.J. Snare—4/5—Vocalist for pop-metal group FireHouse

Jo-El Sonnier—1/13—Cajun/country accordionist and singer/songwriter

David Soul—1/4—Co-star of TV’s Starsky & Hutch; singer of #1 hit “Don’t Give Up on Us”

Randy Sparks—2/11—Founder of the New Christy Minstrels folk ensemble; entrepreneur who discovered Kenny Rogers, John Denver and Steve Martin

Gale Sparrow—3/31—Director of Artist Relations at MTV

Toni Stern—1/17—Carole King’s songwriting collaborator on some Tapestry songs

Dick Summer—5/14—Disc jockey on Boston’s WBZ in the ’60s and ’70s

Damo Suzuki—2/9—Lead singer of the German group Can

Richard Tandy—5/1—Longtime keyboardist for Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

Arthur Tavares—4/15—Singer with soul group Tavares

Bobby Tench—2/19—English guitarist/vocalist/songwriter who worked with Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, Freddie King, Humble Pie and others

Jeremy Tepper—6/14—Frontman of World Famous Blue Jays, SiriusXM executive, founder of Diesel Only Records

Dennis Thompson—5/9—Drummer of the MC5

Kevin Toney—3/18—Pianist for the Blackbyrds (“Walkin’ in Rhythm”)

Happy Traum—7/17—Folk musician who performed solo and with his brother Artie

Brit Turner—3/2—Drummer for Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke

Jimmy Van Eaton—2/9—Drummer on Sun Records recordings by Jerry Lee Lewis, others

Frank Wakefield—4/26—Bluegrass mandolinist

Karl Wallinger—3/10—Founder and sole constant member of World Party (“Ship of Fools”)

Michael Ward—4/1—Guitarist with the Wallflowers

Dick Waterman—1/26—Writer and photographer who chronicled the blues

Mary Weiss (right) with the Shangri-Las

Mary Weiss—1/19—Lead singer of the ’60s girl group the Shangri-Las (“Leader of the Pack”)

Melinda Wilson—1//30—Wife and manager of Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson


Dabney Coleman—5/16—Actor in 9 to 5, Tootsie, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and other films and TV programs

Roger Corman—5/9—Director renowned for low-budget films of the ’60s (The Wild Angels, The Trip)

Herbert Coward—1/24—Actor in Deliverance

Shelley Duvall—7/11—Actress in The Shining, Popeye, Nashville and other films

Louis Gossett Jr.—3/29—Actor in Roots, An Officer and a Gentleman

Norman Jewison—1/20—Canadian filmmaker (In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck)

Glynis Johns—1/4—Actress (Mary Poppins)

Richard Lewis—2/28—Comic actor (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Joyce Randolph—1/13—Actress who portrayed Trixie Norton on the pioneering sitcom The Honeymooners

Watch Joyce Randolph (at left in video) in The Honeymooners

Richard Simmons—7/13—Fitness guru

OJ Simpson—4/11—Football star and actor acquitted of murder

Donald Sutherland—6/20—Actor who starred in M*A*S*H., Ordinary People, The Hunger Games series and many more films

Bill Walton—5/27—NBA great and legendary Grateful Dead fan who claimed to see over 850 of the band’s shows

Carl Weathers—2/1—Actor who played Apollo Creed in the Rocky films

Jerry West—6/11—One of the NBA’s all-time greats, whose silhouette was used for the league’s iconic logo

Ruth Westheimer—7/12—Known as Dr. Ruth, she was America’s most popular TV/radio sex counselor in the ’80s and beyond

Best Classic Bands would like to extend our gratitude to those readers who’ve informed us of names we had overlooked.

Best Classic Bands Staff

1 Comment so far

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  1. Samhainkid
    #1 Samhainkid 1 July, 2024, 08:35

    Albini hated being called a “producer”. Plus, you shouldn’t overlook his work in his own bands. Big Black and Shellac were groundbreaking and continue to inspire and influence countless bands today.

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