Rockers We Lost in 2013
Sadly, 2013 saw a large number of classic rock musicians pass away. Their names range from members of some of the most popular bands of all time to sidemen to those who are lesser known, but still influential. Here are brief tributes to the contributions each made to the history of classic rock.
Andy Pierce, the singer for Swedish hard-rock band Nasty Idols, died on Dec. 5, after suffering a brain hemorrhage at the age of 45. Formed in 1987, Nasty Idols reached their commercial peak in the early ’90s. While they were never huge in the U.S., the band enjoyed a string of minor international hits.
Richard Coughlan, the original drummer for the art-rock band Caravan, died on Dec. 1. He was 66 and had been in poor health for the past few years. Coughlan was a founding member of Caravan, who were part of the celebrated Canterbury Scene of the late ’60s that also included Soft Machine, Gong, Camel and Hatfield. Early on, he was also involved with the Wilde Flowers, an early-’60s ensemble that also featured two founding members of the Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers.
Dick Dodd, lead singer and drummer for ’60s garage rockers the Standells, passed away in November of 2013 at 68 years of age. He is best known for his performance on the band’s big 1966 hit ‘Dirty Water.’
Billy Adamson, a prolific session drummer whose career highlights included a nearly 30-year stint with the Searchers, passed away in November of 2013. Prior to joining the band, Adamson compiled a series of session credits for artists such as Lulu and Emile Ford.
Lee Crystal, who played drums for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts during their most commercially successful period in the ’80s, has died. He passed away in November from complications from multiple sclerosis, which he was diagnosed with in 1993. Crystal was the Blackhearts’ drummer from 1981-86, playing on the band’s most popular recordings, including ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.’
Mike O’Neill — a session piano player who performed with the Beatles, Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix – has died of cancer at the age of 75 in November. Throughout the ’60s and early ’70s, O’Neill led and played with a number of British bands, including Colin Hicks and the Cabin Boys, Nero and the Gladiators, Poet & the One Man Band and Heads, Hands & Feet, which also included guitarist Albert Lee.
Lou Reed died at the age of 71 on Oct. 27. The legendary Velvet Underground leader and solo artist underwent a liver transplant in May 2013. He spent more than 50 years making music, first with the influential Velvet Underground in the mid ’60s and then as a solo artist, starting in the early ’70s with a string of terrific records. His influence on punk and New Wave music is immeasurable.
Gypie Mayo, who played guitar for Dr. Feelgood and the reunited Yardbirds, passed away on Oct. 23. He was 62. Mayo replaced Wilko Johnson in Dr. Feelgood in 1977 and stayed with them until 1981. In 1996, he joined the restructured Yardbirds, playing guitar with the band until 2004.
Jan Kuehnemund, guitarist and founding member of glam-metal pioneers Vixen, died in October after what was deemed a “fierce battle” with cancer. ln 1988 Vixen broke through with their debut self-titled album, which boasted two top 40 singles: ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’ and ‘Cryin’.
Founding Climax Blues Band guitarist Pete Haycock died in October 2013 at the age of 62. The group, formed in 1968, is best known for 1976′s ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’ and the 1981 ballad ‘I Love You.’ Heycock left the group in 1985, moved to Germany and worked on film scores with noted composer Hans Zimmer.
Guitarist Phil Chevron died in October 2013 after a long battle with cancer. Even though he got his start as a founding member of the Radiators From Space, Chevron was best known as the guitarist for the Irish punk band the Pogues. He was 56.
Doug Grassel, a guitarist for the Ohio Express, died on Sept. 21, from fibrosis of the lungs. He was 64. Ohio Express were originally put together as a studio band. When the producers needed a band to tour, they enlisted a group called Sir Timothy and the Royals from Mansfield, Ohio. Grassel was their guitar player. They had a Top 5 hit in 1968 with ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy.’
Lorne Black, a former bassist with Great White, passed away on Sept. 27. Black played on the Los Angeles hard-rock band’s first three albums: 1984′s self-titled debut, 1986′s ‘Shot in the Dark’ and 1987′s ‘Once Bitten.’ He was part of the group’s lineup in 1982, when it was still known as Dante Fox.
Roger Pope, who played drums for Elton John at more than 80 shows and on six albums (including his debut and 1976’s ‘Blue Moves’), died on Sept. 17, 2013, in England at the age of 66. Pope also played drums on records by Hall and Oates and Nilsson, among others.
Pete Gentil, bassist for the veteran U.K. metal band Dealer, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 14. The 52-year-old Gentil’s band was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the ’80s. They reunited in 2010 after a 25-year break.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Jackie Lomax died on Sept. 16 at the age of 69. His 50-year career included sessions with Eric Clapton and members of the Beatles. He released a solo album on Apple Records in 1968 titled ‘Is This What You Want?’
Blue Oyster Cult’s founding guitarist and keyboard player died on Aug. 14 at the age of 67 as a result of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. He was with the group for nearly 30 years and co-wrote several fan favorite songs, including ‘True Confessions’ and ‘In Thee.’
Keyboardist George Duke, a member of Frank Zappa‘s Mothers of Invention throughout the 1970s, passed away on Aug. 5 at the age of 67. In addition to his time with Zappa, Duke was a pioneer in jazz fusion who worked as a sideman with such luminaries as Miles Davis, Joe Sample and Billy Cobham, and recorded more than 30 solo albums.
The lead singer for the Deviants, Mick Farren, died on July 27 after he collapsed on a London stage. Between 1967 and 1969, the group released three influential albums that mixed psychedelic rock with proto-punk before launching a solo career in the mid-’70s.. Farren also more than 30 fiction and non-fiction books, and many newspaper and magazine columns.
Singer-songwriter JJ Cale, died of a heart attack on July 26. Cale wrote two of Eric Clapton‘s biggest hits, ‘After Midnight’ and ‘Cocaine,’ as well as songs for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kansas and Waylon Jennings. On his own, the Oklahoma native had a hit in 1971 with ‘Crazy Mama,’ and continued to record up through 2009’s ‘Roll On.’
The Good Rats, a beloved bar band from Long Island, lost its lead singer when Peppi Marchello passed away on July 10. Although never nationally famous, the Good Rats had a reputation as an exciting live act for nearly 50 years and frequently opened up for national acts. Bruce Kulick was a member of the band in the early-’80s before joining Kiss.
Drummer Alan Myers, whose stint with New Wave pioneers Devo coincided with the band’s first flush of critical and commercial success, passed away in June following a struggle with cancer. Myers joined Devo in 1976, becoming the group’s third drummer, and stayed for the next 10 years — a period in which they scored their biggest hits (including ‘Whip It‘) and released a string of well-received LPs such as ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!,’ ‘Duty Now for the Future,’ and ‘Freedom of Choice.’
Shaun Kirkpatrick, the singer for the British metal band Bronz, died of an apparent heart attack. Bronz released one album in its lifetime, 1984’s ‘Taken by Storm.’ A second album, ‘Carried by the Storm,’ remained unreleased until 2010, during the band’s most recent reunion.
When Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman needed a vocalist for his solo albums, ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ and ‘The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable,’ he called on Gary Pickford-Hopkins, who died in June after a long bout with cancer. In addition to his work with Wakeman, Pickford-Hopkins also fronted the band Wild Turkey.
Joey Covington, who was the drummer for Jefferson Airplane from 1969-72, was killed in a car crash in Palm Springs, Calif. on June 4. Covington was also a co-founder of Hot Tuna with fellow Airplane members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen. Although he never joined Jefferson Starship, he co-wrote their 1976 hit, ‘With Your Love.’
Although Marshall Lytle, who passed away on May 25 at the age of 79, wasn’t a household name, his upright bass playing for Bill Haley and the Comets formed the bottom end for two of the biggest hits of rock’s early days, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll.’ The Comets were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
As the drummer on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ for nearly 30 years, Ed Shaughnessy had one of the highest profiles of any musician in America. Although known as a big band jazz drummer, he frequently sat in with rockers who performed on the show, including Jimi Hendrix. Shaughnessy died of a heart attack on May 24 at the age of 84.
Trevor Bolder, who was the bassist for Uriah Heep, died on May 21 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Before that, he played with David Bowie from 1971-73, including the ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars’ albums. He also spent a year in Wishbone Ash.
Singer and guitarist Steve Hyams passed away on May 11. Hyams worked with several British bands and, in 1977, was briefly a member of Mott the Hoople before legal issues over the use of the band’s name put an end to the project. He was 62.
The rock world lost one of its most famous members when Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors, died on May 20 from bile duct cancer at the age of 74. Manzarek brought classical and jazz influences to L.A. rock, and also often held down the bass line with his left hand. In 1980, he also produced ‘Los Angeles,’ the debut album by the punk band X.
Ken Whaley, a former member of the progressive group Man, passed away on May 8 at the age of 66. Whaley played bass in Man from 1974-5, including their ‘Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics’ album, which was one of their most successful efforts.
The original bass player with Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher’s Taste, Eric Kitteringham, died on May 7. Kitteringham and drummer Norman Damery were in Taste from 1966-68, which resulted in one independently released single.
Legendary folk guitarist Richie Havens died on April 22 from an undisclosed illness. Best known as the opening act at Woodstock, Havens was a mainstay of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the ’60s and devoted much of his life to political and environmental activism.
Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure at the age of 49 in May of 2013. He was with the group since their formation in 1981, and appeared on each of their studio albums, most recently 2009′s ‘World Painted Blood.’
Dani Crivelli, who played with Krokus from 1987-89, died on April 21 when he fell off a bridge in Trimbach, Canton of Solothurn in his native land of Switzerland. Crivelli played on 1988’s ‘Heart Attack,’ which was the last Krokus album to reach the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 87.
Andy Johns passed away on April 7 due to complications for a stomach ulcer. As either a producer or engineer, he worked on some of rock’s greatest albums, including nearly every Led Zeppelin album, ‘Exile on Main Street’ by the Rolling Stones and Television’s ‘Marquee Moon.’
Former AC/DC bassist Neil Smith lost his fight with cancer on April 7. Smith left the group before the release of their debut album, 1975’s ‘High Voltage,’ and was a member of Rose Tattoo in 1979.
Chris Bailey, the bassist for the Australian hard rock band the Angels, died on April 4. Bailey was in the band from 1975-82, but rejoined in 2001 and played on several other reunion projects after that.
One of the most famous producers in music history, Phil Ramone, died on March 30 at the age of 72 after suffering an aortic aneurysm. In a career of more than 50 years, he worked with nearly every major name in the business, including Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett and Ray Charles. He was nominated for 33 Grammys, winning 14 times.
Former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr died on March 12 after a battle with multiple sclerosis. He was 56 years old. Burr joined Maiden in 1979 after playing with a group called Samson, which also featured future Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson. He played with Iron Maiden on their landmark first three albums; ‘Iron Maiden’ (1980), ‘Killers’ (1981) and ‘The Number of the Beast’ (1982).
Virtuoso guitarist Alvin Lee of Ten Years After passed away on March 6 due to complications following a routine surgical procedure. Lee and his band had a breakout performance at Woodstock and a Top 40 hit in 1971 with the counterculture anthem, ‘I’d Love to Change the World.’
Dan Toler, who played guitar in the Allman Brothers from 1979-82, died on Feb. 25. Known as “Dangerous Dan,” he was also a member of the Gregg Allman Band and several other southern rock and jazz fusion supergroups. Toler suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
The bassist on the self-titled debut album by the Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, died on Feb. 18 at the age of 68. After leaving the group, Ayers went on to an acclaimed solo career, releasing 15 albums between 1969 and 1988.
Tony Sheridan gave the Beatles their professional recording debut when, in Germany in 1961, they were hired to back him on a single of ‘My Bonnie.’ Sheridan died on Feb. 16 in Hamburg after undergoing heart surgery.
From 1958-70, Rick Huxley played bass in the Dave Clark Five, which had 17 Top 40 hits between 1964 and 1967. Huxley died on Feb. 11, reportedly from emphysema.
The lead singer for the Troggs, Reg Presley gave his voice to such garage rock classics as ‘Wild Thing,’ ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ and ‘With a Girl Like You,’ as well as the ballad ‘Love is All Around.’ He died on Feb. 4 due to lung cancer.
Nic Potter had two stints as bassist for Van Der Graaf Generator, from 1969-70 and again from 1977-78. He passed away on Jan. 16 from pneumonia.